Twelve to Perfection - A Collaborative Story

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Risa - Part 2

Postby daBelgrave » January 4th, 2015, 9:39 am

Tdurkan approached Kutrizian Sodu, who was standing at the bar on the far side of the room talking to the Andorian serving drinks. “Where is R’misse?” he asked.

Kutrizian turned to look at him. “Who?”

“R’misse, the pink-furred Caitian serving drinks earlier,” Tdurkan explained. “I thought she’d still be here.”

“She’s packing her bags,” the Andorian said.

“She’ll be working somewhere else now,” Kutrizian added. Chuckling at Tdurkan’s confused expression, he decided to explain. “Don’t worry, big guy, I have you covered. I said I’d find you a ship, and R’misse will be among the crew.”

Tori wandered over. “Did you say we’re getting a new ship? What type?”

“Probably a used freighter that will take three months of work to make operational,” Tdurkan guessed sarcastically. “He told the Captain prior to her capture that he needed to contact some scrapyard dealers.”

“No freighters,” Kutrizian assured them. “I actually have two options for you. The first is a Jem’Hadar Attack Ship scrapped sometime after the Dominion War. The dealer said it was only used once, and has some phaser damage along the starboard nacelle. The other option is my Risian corvette. It’s the 2409 model and flashier than the Lachesis, but I plan to buy the 2410 model when it comes out in a few weeks.”

“We’ll take the Attack Ship,” Tdurkan decided.

“Absolutely not!” Tori objected. She put her hand on her hip. “I have nothing against the Jem’Hadar, but there is no way I am going to spend all my time renovating thirty-four year old flimsy Dominion trash. We’ll take the corvette; at least then we’ll know our ship is spaceworthy.”

“Always trust the engineer to know the better ship,” Tdurkan said. He turned back to Kutrizian. “The Lachesis was a warship. Can your Risian corvette perform in combat?”

“I thought you’d pick the corvette,” Kutrizian smiled. “The aftermarket modifications should prove adequate, but the highlight of the ship is the engine. The impulse drive alone is souped up enough to get you to low warp. She’s fast, and can outrun pretty much anything you might encounter. I’ll provide you the full specs later.”

* * *

Several minutes later, everyone was once again seated in the conference room. For the most part, everyone was seated in the same places as before, although Tdurkan noticed a few Starfleet officers from the U.S.S. Solzhenitsyn, who had not made it to the earlier session. Chief among them was Admiral Fitzwiliam, who had arrived moments earlier insisting to speak with Admiral Rig. That brief encounter was cut short, however, when the President of the Federation stepped up to the podium, and the staff at Kutrizian’s resort provided additional seats for the newcomers. “As we continue, does anyone have any questions based on our earlier discussions?” the President asked.

The Tellarite from the Federation Security Council stood up. “Mr. President, my colleague and I were discussing One of Twelve’s threat level based on the assessment given by the Chief Medical Officer from the U.S.S. Lachesis, and we wish to know why Lieutenant Commander Sururo recommends staying out of her way. Are we not here to get in One of Twelve’s way, and prevent her from taking further action against the Federation or its neighbors?” He looked directly at Sururo. “What is it about One of Twelve that makes it so undesirable for us to cross her?”

“There was a report in her medical files, which should be available as MEDLOG 0771-79657-10-75 on your PADD, containing a conversation during her rehabilitation that seemed to be a turning point in her development,” Sururo answered. “She learned something by reviewing Starfleet’s sensor data from the battle where she was captured, and that discovery greatly improved her willingness to accept her liberation. I believe her discovery and the conversation from that day are the keys to understanding how to retain her as an ally, or make her into an enemy.”

“And what did she discover?” the Bolian asked.

“I don’t know,” Sururo told him. “Most of that conversation was redacted from the log, and the Starfleet Intelligence files are not available to us. The uncertainty of what transpired, combined with her strategic prowess, is why she is so dangerous for us to cross at this point.”

“Then who would know?” The Bolian wondered.

“Starfleet Intelligence might have the answer,” Sururo told them, “but I think you would get the best answer from Petralla Wegere, the psychologist assigned to her rehabilitation. She was the one who had that conversation with One of Twelve.”

“She is unavailable,” Kutrizian quickly said. “Mrs. Wegere is currently on a prolonged assignment assisting Romulan elderly overcome the trauma of losing their homeworld and families. It’s a small colony on a protoplanetoid orbiting Beta Pictoris. The considerable debris cloud and instability of the system means they have limited outside contact. You’d have to go there to talk to her.”

“How do you know this?” the Tellarite asked.

“She and I worked with One of Twelve from the start,” he shrugged. “I’ve kept in touch as much as is feasible.”

“Someone will need to go find Mrs. Wegere,” the President said.

“Or we could go about this the easy way,” the Tellarite interrupted. “You said earlier we could reprogram her nanoprobes to kill her. It would save time and Federation resources, and we wouldn’t need to track her down.”

“Let’s not rush to action without first knowing more about her intent,” Commander Tdurkan quickly disagreed. “One of Twelve knows something we do not, and until we learn more about the clue she gave us, we cannot know with certainty if she is the primary threat or if someone else is.”

“This is very interesting,” the Bolian from the Federation Security Council said. “We just went from One of Twelve being one of the greatest threats the Federation ever faced to being little more than a bynote, perhaps even an ally. Why are we even here?”

“We’re here because of the names on that list she gave us, and the suggestion that they are the threat to the Federation,” Kutrizian said.

The President looked at Kutrizian. “Mr. Sodu, did your search on those names turn up anything?”

“Yes, sir,” Kutrizian said. “No fewer than twenty of them disappeared in the past couple days, to include eight persons from Starfleet.” He tapped a few controls on his PADD, and the names lit up on the viewscreen at the front of the room. “There could be more, but it seems some of these people are relatively unknown to my sources.”

“I know that person,” Admiral Fitzwiliam quickly said, pointing at the viewscreen. “It was Admiral Sonatra who ordered me to come to Risa and meet with Admiral Rig. I cannot believe he would be involved in anything nefarious.”

“I don’t know why most of these people are listed, including Admiral Sonatra,” Kutrizian quickly said, “but we know this is more than just a birthday party guest list. One of these people, Admiral Werralk, allegedly sabotaged the very mission he gave One of Twelve, ultimately leading to her capture. I would assume the others are related somehow.”

“I refuse to make such an assumption,” Admiral Fitzwiliam huffed. “I am a Starfleet officer, and I do not cry ‘heresy’ easily.” She turned to the Andorian sitting beside her. “Shelana, make sure we have those names before we leave.” She sat back, and crossed her arms, silently signaling her displeasure at the idea that her former teacher could be involved in anything he shouldn’t be doing.

“And while you’re at it, Admiral, how about trying to contact Mrs. Wegere,” Aennik Okeg said. “I’m sure Mr. Sodu can provide you with the information necessary to find her.”

“Very well,” she grudgingly agreed, more interested in absolving her former mentor from any perceived crimes than investigating the motivations of a former Borg drone. She would hardly argue a Presidential order in council, and noticed no trace of recognition despite having encountered the President previously.

The President looked at Admiral Rig. “While Admiral Fitzwiliam is engaged in her investigations, I would like Admiral Rig to lead the battle group to find One of Twelve. On this short notice, I believe we can assign up to ten ships to rendezvous with the Helicon.”

“The Helicon, sir?” Rig asked. “Is there something wrong with me using the Moogie’s Revenge?”

“This is no longer a clandestine operation,” Aennik Okeg told him. “The Klingon Empire and the Romulans are probably already aware of One of Twelve’s dangerous intent. They need to know the Federation takes her just as seriously, or our diplomatic efforts with both factions could be compromised. You will lead a Starfleet battle group with a ship of Starfleet origin. Find her before someone else does, make a show of force, and hope she does not choose to fight. I will assign a ship for Commander Tdurkan and his crew, and they will also be in your group.”

“Actually, I already have a ship for them to use while the Lachesis undergoes repairs and refitting,” Kutrizian said. “She might not be of Starfleet design, but she’s just as capable.”

“Very well,” the President gave in. “Commander Tdurkan can use that ship in the interim. It will save us time requisitioning another ship.” He looked around the room at the captains and their crews. “You all have your orders. Mr. Sodu will provide his facility for coordination and command while you find One of Twelve and deal with the threat she poses. As you head your separate ways, please relay any further discussion through him. Thank you for your time and cooperation.” As the President walked from the room, those seated stood to show their respect.

* * *

Admiral Rig walked over to Commander Tdurkan. “The President said to hope One of Twelve chooses not to fight, and everyone else seems to think we have better chances of winning a small moon at dabo. Do you think she will be that combative?”

“She is an enigma, as are her methods,” Tdurkan told him, “but if I had to guess, I think she would attempt to avoid a confrontation with us until she can build up sufficient forces. At this point we believe she only has her clones and a handful of drones, but that may change in the time it takes us to find her.”

“Then we should expect a fight,” Admiral Rig decided.

Tdurkan shook his head. “Not necessarily, Admiral. When One of Twelve was created, her purpose was to fight the Federation for the Borg Collective. The complete destruction of her enemies was her mandate, and influenced every strategy she used. Her liberation, however, exposed her to another option: to allow one’s enemies to survive despite their defeat. I believe this option will influence her current strategies. Take for example the ships she has encountered in the past couple days. Even if she could completely destroy them, she took only what she wanted, and left. If One of Twelve chooses to fight, we would not come out unscathed, but I believe she would limit her actions only to our defeat, not our destruction.”

“Is there any assurance she would maintain those recent tendencies rather than reverting to her original Borg mandate?” Admiral Rig wondered as Admiral Fitzwiliam stepped up beside him.

“That is the reason Admiral Fitzwiliam needs to find Mrs. Wegere,” Tdurkan said. “She is the only one who could begin to interpret One of Twelve’s actions to determine her intent.”

“I met One of Twelve once, two years ago,” Fitzwiliam interupted, “but it was enough for me to learn she is a very solitary person with few cares beyond efficiently maintaining her distance from others. I have no clue how she made it through Command School.”

“It is too bad you do not know her better,” Tdurkan told the Admiral. “One of Twelve is not without her quirks and social integration difficulties, but she has worked very hard to make exceptional progress in the past year. She is not the same person now that she was when you met.”

“I can tell you think very highly of her,” Admiral Fitzwiliam replied diplomatically. “I am sure your opinion is well-earned.”

“We have work to do,” Admiral Rig told them. “Let’s find One of Twelve, and bring her back to the Federation.” He tapped his combadge. “Helicon, one to beam up.”
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Battle Group 12 Alpha

Postby Spomek » February 17th, 2015, 11:25 pm

With the meeting adjourned and orders given, Admiral Rig had work to do. The first task was to build a Battle Group of Federation warships with technology and skills to confront a Borg threat. Rig was no stranger to this type of mission.

Back aboard the Moogies Revenge, Rig called his First Officer, Commander R’Shee, and his long time friend Captain Ruea Mineaj to his readyroom. “Commander,” Rig stated, “I want you to contact the Division and have the Helicon ferried here to Risa. When she arrives, transfer her crew complement and prep her for Borg contact. I want the Moogie’s Revenge sent to our base at Ferenginar.” “Aye, Captain,” R’Shee snapped, turned on her heels and left the briefing room.

Turning to face Ruea Rig began, “Ruea, I’d like your assistance in building this Battle Group. Your experience with the Borg treat, the work you have done on Memory Alpha in the field of weapon remodulation, and your ship’s armament of these weapons will be invaluable to me if it becomes necessary to use force. Although my ship the Helicon will be in the Battle Group, she will be in temporary command of Commander R’Shee.” Rig smiled to himself realizing that he had not yet informed her of this fact. “I will be transferring my flag to the Cumleaj’Que’Teaj, and naming you Fleet Captain. I don’t want this ship filled with a Battle Group of officers, so lets return to Risa and see if Mr. Sodu might have a facility we could use as a temporary Command and Control.” With that they headed off to the transporter room to return to the briefing room in hopes of finding Mr. Sodu.

Glancing around the briefing room which for some reason was still emptying, Rig spied Kutrizian and said “Ah there he is,” and they headed off in his direction.

“Ah, Admiral Rig, and who is this lovely young lady?” Smiling, Rig introduced Ruea to Kutrizian and turning his head to her said in a joking manner while keeping an eye on their host, “I’d keep a sharp eye on him if I were you.”

Ruea smiled and said, “nice to meet you.”

“And how can I be of assistance to you Admiral?” Sodu said not taking his eyes of Ruea.

“Well Mr. Sodu, as you know I have been tasked with heading up the Battle Group. This will take some planning and I was wondering if you might have a secure Command and Control facility here on Risa? It would be nice to remain ashore instead of returning to my ship for this task if possible. Our ships will be very busy in preparation for this mission and I would prefer if all the various Captains and their staffs could come here instead of adding a large compliment to my ship.”

It seemed to Rig that Kutrizian’s eyes lit up as he momentarily gazed over his head, saying, “Why of course Admiral, my home is yours. I am sure that you will find our facilities adequate for any task.” Kutrizian glanced over Rig’s head once again; and, feeling a presence, Rig turned to see one of the very large ‘attendants’ that he had notice holding up the door jam at the main entrance to this briefing room. Security Rig thought immediately, although dressed as a concierge. “Please follow Mr. Goal, and he will direct you to our humble Command and Control facility,” Kutrizian offered with a pleasant smile.

Rig was amazed as he and Ruea were escorted into this “humble” facility. With a subdued smile, Rig turned and faced Mr. Goal, and said, “This will do,” then turning abruptly to Ruea said, “Ok let’s get started. First order of business is to get this place staffed, and security in place. Since the Cumleaj’Que’Teaj will be my flagship, I want the staffing to come from her. We will want and need the continuity when we get underway.”

Answering in the affirmative Ruea said, “By your leave, sir,” and departed for the transporter facility.

Within the space of an hour, now Fleet Captain Mineaj had the C and C facility humming with activity. Her officers were working like a well oiled machine as Admiral Rig had anticipated.

It was 0700 when Admiral Rig received a call from Captain Mineaj. She reported that the Battle Group had been identified and wanted to brief him before setting up a Command Briefing for the President and his staff. “Ruea, I’ll be there in fifteen,” Admiral Rig replied.

CMDBRF- Stardate 86360.89

The briefing room began to fill with the core bridge officers of each of the ships assigned to the battle group; some of the best women and men that Starfleet and the Federation had to offer. Along with these fine men and women, the President’s staff again took their seats. At precisely 0900 the Battle Group’s Quartermaster piped the President’s arrival, and all stood at attention as he entered the room. The President said “Take your seats,” as he himself sat down.

Captain Mineaj took the podium and began the briefing straight away with no further formalities.

“After considerable deliberation, and considering the available ships in the sector, Battle Group 12 Alpha has been organized. Heading the Battle Group will be Admiral Rig who will be utilizing the U.S.S. Cumleaj’Que’Teaj, a Vesta class research science vessel, bearing the most advanced anti-Borg technology and weapons currently available, as his flagship.

Remaining in commanding of this ship will be Captain Ruea Mineaj. [Utilizing her innate abilities, Captain Ruea first assisted Starfleet on Memory Alpha in the development of advanced anti-Borg weapons, and then after receiving her first command, aboard Starfleet’s latest research science vessel, turned it into a anti-Borg weapons test platform.] Captain Mineaj will be acting as Fleet Captain during this mission.

The U.S.S. Helicon, Admiral Rig’s command, will be Commanded temporarily by his first Officer Acting Captain R’Shee. Along with the crew of the Helicon (who also crewed the Moogie’s Revenge when One and Two of Twelve were lost), will be the crew of the U.S.S. Lachesis (currently in drydock), who will be lead by One of Twelve’s security chief, Acting Captain Tdurkan. This crew will be utilizing a non-Starfleet vessel on loan from Mr. Sodu. He claims it will be up to the challenge.

The following ships have been culled from a number of nearby sectors with Captains that have seen combat with the Borg some time in their careers where possible. That being said, the Battle Group’s main firepower will come from six ships, if it becomes necessary.

These ships are as follows:

U.S.S. Forrestal - Avenger Class Battle Cruiser
U.S.S. Nimitz - Advanced Defiant Class,
U.S.S. Bonhomme Richard - Patrol Escort,
U.S.S. Hornet - Patrol Escort,
U.S.S. Aenar - Andorian Kumari
U.S.S. Shran - Andorian Kumari

The following ships will provide support and round out the battle group:

U.S.S. Devilfish - Caitan Carrier
and Two Vulcan D’Kyr Support Ships contributed by the Vulcan High Command.

“Are there any questions Mr. President?” At that question Admiral Rig approached the podium to stand by his Fleet Captain and friend.

“I just have two. Firstly, "Do you believe you have all the necessary resources for this mission? And secondly, when will you be ready to depart?”

Admiral Rig replied, “Mr. President, although we have put this massive undertaking together in less than 24 hours,...” Rig seemed to suddenly grow two inches as he put on his best military front, ...“I am confident we will be able to accomplish this mission with the resources on hand. The Officers and crews of these twelve ships represent the Federation’s finest, and I, on behalf of Starfleet Command say in response to your second question, we only await your orders, Sir.”

“Then,” said the President, “the order is given.”

All rose from their seats and gave a rousing applause. Fleet Admiral Rig then said, “Ladies and Gentlemen to your ships, you have orders awaiting.”
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Postby daBelgrave » March 20th, 2015, 8:42 pm

Tori practically floated down a hallway in the luxurious Risian corvette provided by Kutrizian Sodu. The carpet was black with seemingly random shimmers of light flickering through the soft material as she moved. The walls, dark maroon at the bottom, faded to red, and then orange and yellow for the ceiling, with the same flickering shimmer effect seen in the carpet growing in intensity until it reached the ceiling, which seemed to be in a constant state of movement. The design highly customized to the taste of a particular individual was a stark departure from the aesthetically neutral designs used in Starfleet vessels to accommodate a wide range of species, but Tori found it interesting; she liked alien experiences and environments.

The hallways were only one of the intriguing aspects of the ship Kutrizian had named Firebird’s Dance after a musical segment of an old Terran ballet she knew nothing about. The black ship with a fiery yellow pattern consisted of two massive engines connected by what could easily be described as a resort. Everything within its hull seemed dedicated to R&R, not only for the owner and managers, but even lower-ranking crewmembers as well. The mere idea that the ship might be taken into combat during this mission felt at odds with its design.

Having just spent an hour familiarizing herself with the engineering systems aboard the Firebird’s Dance, Tori was now out of uniform and off-duty, and heading for the nearest holosuite. She was barefoot, something she would never do outside her quarters on a Starfleet vessel, but the soft carpet was very inviting, and the hallway empty. She had with her a portable interactive holoprojector and the isolinear rod containing the Holo-Leeta program originally obtained at Deep Space Nine. Having examined the programming earlier at Kutrizian’s beachside resort and cleaned out the last remnants of nefarious algorithms, she now wanted to see how the program would react in new environments on the holodeck to help her better understand how external stimuli affected the hologram’s processing.

The holosuite was not far from her quarters—few of the amenities were—so she arrived quickly. “Computer, activate holo-environment Tori 1,” she said as the doorway opened. The control panel chirped its confirmation, but she could already see the program loading as she stepped into the room.

The first test environment was nothing more than a holographic reproduction of a generic ship’s engine room, with a few consoles to the side she could use for holographic diagnostics. Tori placed the portable interactive holoprojector in the center of the room, inserted the isolinear rod, and turned it on.

A holographic woman appeared in the room. “Spin the wheel and… Wait, this isn’t Quarks!”

Tori grinned in amusement at Holo-Leeta’s first statement. “Don’t mind me,” she told the hologram. “I’m running your matrix through a series of tests to help me better understand your analytical subroutine. I want to know how the subroutine reacts as I turn you on in a variety of places.”

“Will there be a dabo table?” Holo-Leeta wondered as her photonic eyes wandered up and down the holographic warp core.

“We’ll see,” Tori replied, unwilling to reveal much information about her testing plans. She turned off the interactive holoprojector, and the photonic woman disappeared. “Computer, switch to holo-environment Tori 2.”

The scene changed to a desert with a raging sandstorm. Fortunately, Tori had the foresight to program the flying sand so it would never touch her. Holo-Leeta was not so fortunate. As Tori switched her on, the sand striking the woman crackled and glowed like an aurora as the photonic simulation from the holodeck interacted with that from the holoprojector.

“Spin the wheel and…” She quickly raised her arm to shield her eyes from the blowing sand as she stated the same response as before. “Wait, this isn’t Quarks!”

“You got that right,” Tori stated. “Where do you think this is?”

“A desert. Turn it off; it hurts!”

Tori quickly turned off Holo-Leeta. She hadn’t considered that the hologram could receive sensory feedback, but more interesting was the realization that Holo-Leeta perceived the difference between a physical environment and a temporary photonic environment that could be turned off. Of course, maybe she thought everything could be turned off. Tori would need to look into it later.

“Computer, switch to holo-environment Tori 3.” The arid desert with its blustering sandstorm disappeared, and was replaced by a colony on Cestus III. It was familiar to Tori, a place she had been stationed almost thirty years before, but the tall, bulky Gorn moving through the area could easily intimidate most people. She switched on the interactive holoprojector.

“Spin the wheel and… Wait, this isn’t Quarks!” She glanced at Tori. “At least this place lacks that blowing sand,” she uttered.

“We’re on Cestus III,” Tori told her. “Both the Federation and the Gorn claim the system, but we’ve managed to maintain a peaceful coexistence throughout most of our time there.”

“It looks nice,” Holo-Leeta said. She approached one of the Gorn, and looked up at his face. “You should play dabo,” she told him.

“Dabo?” the large reptilian growled at her. “Is there blood? If not, I’m not interested.” He turned and started to walk away.

“Wait,” Holo-Leeta urged. “There’s no blood, but the stakes can be as high as you’re willing to pay.”

“He’s not interested,” Tori chimed in. “The Gorn prefer ritual combat to games of chance.”

“I’m hardly suited for combat, and the same goes for you,” Holo-Leeta observed. “How could the Federation and the Gorn live together in peace with such differences?”

“Those types of preferences are secondary to our primary desires to live peacefully and unmolested,” Tori explained. “Despite our obvious differences, almost every species has the same basic needs and desires.”

“I have no needs or desires,” Holo-Leeta claimed.

“You could say that,” Tori replied, “but your demonstrated dislike of the sandstorm suggests your subroutines expect a certain level of comfort from your environment. Now I think we’ll run one more test on your program.” She turned off the holoprojector before the hologram could protest.

“Computer, switch to holo-environment Tori 4.” The settlement on Cestus III changed to an accurate representation of Quark’s bar on Deep Space Nine. She activated the interactive holoprojector.

“Spin the wheel and…” There was a lengthy pause as Holo-Leeta slowly looked around at her surroundings. “Wait, this isn’t Quarks!” she finally decided.

“What makes you say that?” Tori asked.

“Nothing is deeper than its surface,” Holo-Leeta answered. “Everything is like me.”

The distinction intrigued Tori. While Holo-Leeta exhibited no understanding of difference between her own programming and sentience, she was keenly aware of the difference between physical and photonic. Tori had the computer provide her with a diagnostic console, and began sorting through Holo-Leeta’s active subroutines to see their interactions.

“Is there something you want me to do?” Holo-Leeta asked.

Tori looked up from her console. “Just do what you normally do,” she said. “Take charge of the dabo table.” Holo-Leeta nodded, and went to work at the dabo table as Tori returned to her work at the console. The subroutines were a convoluted mess that Tori knew most people would not understand. She, however, found the examination intriguing, and almost relaxing. Most of the subroutines appeared unchanged, but a few were starting to utilize the new memory expansion protocols.

Tori’s attention was suddenly pulled away from the diagnostic console as Holo-Leeta loudly said, “hey, hands off the hologram!” She quickly looked up to see someone place a small round object on Holo-Leeta’s hip while two others held her in place. They wore unfamiliar uniforms and insignia, but appeared to be from Starfleet or the Federation or an association somehow related.

“Now you are free,” the mysterious person told Holo-Leeta.

“But I like to run the dabo table,” Holo-Leeta said almost protesting, and with a sudden acute awareness of her own holomatrix. “You should not be here,” she suddenly told them.

Tori then realized the three strangers were not part of the program, and tapped her combadge. “Intruder alert in Holosuite 3!”

The stranger who put the disc on Holo-Leeta’s hip stepped back from the hologram. “Lieutenant Mcmindes, Tori,” he said. “Sentience and more; that is all I can tell you.” He tapped a device on his wrist, and the three strangers faded from the room.

The holosuite door opened behind Tori, and a security team rushed in. “Computer, end program,” one of them ordered.

The program shut down, leaving only Tori, the security team, and Holo-Leeta in the otherwise empty room. “It’s too late,” Tori told them, visibly shaken by the experience and the knowledge that the intruder knew exactly who she was. “Whoever it was has already gone.”

“Don’t worry about it, ma'am,” one of the security officers told her. “We’ll conduct a thorough investigation.”

Tori sat down, only half believing their investigation would reveal anything substantial. She guessed the greater challenge would be to discover the extent of their tampering with the Holo-Leeta program. If the holographic dabo girl was now sentient as they suggested, the programming would be far too complex for Tori to work with, perhaps even to the point they might need to call in a photonic studies scientist. For now, however, she would let the security officers conduct their investigation.
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Murasaki Mystery

Postby Ranger_Ryu » May 20th, 2015, 8:14 pm

Katherine Clarke, or Kate as she preferred to be known to friends and family, sat behind her desk in her ready room. On the desk was a bunch of reports from various departments, but it wasn’t what was catching her attention. She was gazing at a photograph that she kept in a frame on her desk. In the picture was a young teenage girl with brown hair sitting on a bench. Kate was standing behind the bench dressed in casual clothes, with her arms draped around the girls upper body; they were both smiling. The photo is that of Kate and her young daughter Maya. Next to that is another photo of Kate along with Maya, an elderly couple, and her two redheaded sisters Cecelia and Katrina. Cecelia had also joined Starfleet much to her parents disapproval.

She sighed as she turned back to her reports,some written by her Chief Science Officer Eris Nizarre, and others written by her Chief Engineer Krista Lenz. She noticed that her Science officer was concerned about the fact the sensors didn’t work properly in the Beta Tauri system due to ionization, but her orders were to analyse the Murasaki 312 formation and that’s what she had to do. Her first officer’s voice came in through the comm. “Sorry to disturb you Captain but we are finally finished conducting our analysis.” Kate thought it was her lucky day; she got really bored when all she had to do was scan stellar formations, a mundane part of being in Starfleet, but she couldn’t help but think that her ship could be better used elsewhere. “Understood Commander. I’ll be out shortly. Clarke out.” She sighed as she took one last look at the picture of her and her daughter, and then left the ready room to the bridge.

Kate walked onto the bridge as her First Officer Zoe Myer stood up and handed a PADD to her. “Details of our analysis Captain.” Kate glanced at it, thinking this is sure to keep Starfleet Sciences happy for a few weeks until they find something else to be amazed at. “Thank you Commander Myer,” Kate said as she sat down. She gazed into the view screenshot, and saw something…… ”Wait was that…….?” Nizarre I want a scan of that.” Nizarre looked at her scans. “I’m sorry Captain, but there’s too much interference; I couldn’t get a sensor lock. What was it that you saw, Sir?” Kate thought for a second. “……It’s nothing. Myer transmit our findings to Starfleet Sciences. I need to contact someone.” Kate stood up, and entered her ready room, and put in a secure communication to Starfleet Command. Kate explained what she had saw, and was instructed to contact a Ferengi Starfleet Flag Officer who she was unfamiliar with, called Rig. Kate opened a channel to Admiral Rig. “Sir, I’m Captain Katherine Clarke of the U.S.S. Liverpool. I was order by Starfleet Command to contact you. My ship is conducting surveys of the Muraski 312 formation in the Beta Tauri system, and I believe that I saw a Borg Probe ship, but my sensors couldn’t detect anything.”

A few minutes went by as Kate explained what happened to the Admiral. She received her orders from him to continue tracking the Borg Probe, and to give regular updates. She watched as Rig closed the channel. She moved her hand through her short red hair as she walked onto the bridge. “Nizarre, we need a way to track a Borg Probe in that formation. You have 30 minutes. Myer, prepare to follow a Borg Probe out of the formation, but make sure we’re not detected.” She took her seat as everyone got to work. “Well then,” Kate to said to herself quietly, “things just got a little more interesting.”
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Postby daBelgrave » May 21st, 2015, 5:39 pm

Beta Tauri. The probe is ready.

The thought from Three of Twelve pulled One of Twelve from her regeneration sequence. She stepped from her alcove, and looked at a nearby viewscreen. It depicted the blue subgiant and the astrometric data annotating several planets. She knew the second planet was inhabited, but the inhabitants were primitive, and the ionization from the surrounding Murasaki phenomenon kept away visitors. There was no way to know if any other ships were in the vicinity, but there was also no way anyone could use sensors to detect the Borg Sphere or the probe she planned to use. If anyone was going to find her, it would have to be visual. In her curiosity, she attempted to press a few controls and access more data about the inhabitants on Tauri II, but her right hand was suddenly unresponsive.

“We must abort the mission,” she decided. “I am damaged.” She attempted to access her nanoprobe functions to perform a diagnostic examination, but the subspace network connecting them was filled with static. She tried walking to the door, but fell over when implants in her left leg malfunctioned mid-step.

There is no need to abort. You are experiencing temporal echos, Two of Twelve’s thoughts calmly explained. Biologically, you are fine, but your technological components are receiving two sets of instructions from you. We detected the initial symptoms while troubleshooting oddities with vinculum transmissions approximately forty-four minutes ago. For now, the intensity and discomfort will continue increasing, but you should return to normal once you pass through the temporal vortex.

“Two sets of instructions?” One of Twelve wondered. She stopped struggling to get off the floor, and closed her eyes as dizziness began to set in. “Why do the Borg have no record of other drones experiencing these symptoms prior to using a temporal vortex?”

Two of Twelve stepped into the room, with two drones behind her. “It has previously always been a one-way trip, and never with implants as specialized as ours,” she answered. “You will be the first to return to the present.”

The two drones picked up One of Twelve, and followed Two of Twelve out of the room. “We anticipate the conflicting commands will cause you to lose consciousness soon, so the probe’s systems will be automated to create the temporal vortex,” Two of Twelve continued. “Inside the probe are twenty vials of nanoprobes to get you started. Do you have any last-minute orders to give?”

Yes, One of Twelve thought, and she wasn’t even sure it was her thinking it. Go to the Trimble System and meet our allies there as planned. I will reinforce you shortly after their arrival. She took a deep breath, and relaxed as best she could. It was going to be a rough ride for her, but when she recovered from the trip, she would have a whole millennium to make her plans.

* * *

1494—Now speaketh this tale of a damosel hight Tiffan Duckworth who stood trial for witchcraft, and found guilty for lack of dole, and took slip of her captors to hide in a shed for repose. And within a while there came one into the shed who for a coif would not be aknown, but showing the face beheld Tiffan a lady, and about her complected visage above the left eye a small box with green fire, and iron rope about her hand; and she announced herself as One of Twelve and said unto Tiffan: Alas, ye shall have not this day if ye take slip, for sith anon ye be overtook to your peril at the stake. Then held One of Twelve an ampule of silver water. This is life, One of Twelve said of the silver water, to wit the world and all great marvel, to adventure beyond all lands and seas, to do me service to your gree. Fie on thee, demon knave, said Tiffan. Beseemeth thou the first of twelve temptations that my peril be just. So One of Twelve dropped the ampule before her and said: Demon am I not, but thou must choose either fire through thy blood or fire to thy peril; and bade Tiffan choose afore she departed from the shed.

Anon a brachet caught scent by the shed and let cry to alert the captors. So Tiffan Duckworth took fright for her peril, and took the ampule, and drank of the silver water. Then fire through her blood caused Tiffan great sorrow and she fainted. And when she came to, Tiffan was beyond all lands and seas, and wit great marvel at her enlightenment. Thus, Tiffan Duckworth came to do service for One of Twelve to her gree.

* * *

1728—Salt spray stung Isaac Elton's eyes as he bobbed up and down and the tall windswept waves spun him around in the black night, pushing and pulling in all directions until he could not tell which direction was which. No longer could he glimpse even a single lamp of his ship. No one had seen the wave sweep him from the deck, and doubted anyone would notice the absence of a lowly cabin boy until after the storm abated and dawn began to brighten the sky. He would drown, and there was nothing he could do to stop it. He would struggle, flounder to survive with all his might, but he would still drown.

Something splashed loud enough to be heard over the roar of the storm, and Isaac felt something brush against his right leg. A shark!? Something brushed against him again, and then clamped tightly. He struggled, trying to push it away, and discovered it was a hand and arm. His arms and other leg were quickly seized, and he was held in place.

Several heads, hairless, devoid of meaningful color under the stormy night sky, some bearing strange pieces of iron sticking from the skull, broke the surface, their owners bobbing with him in the waves. “I thought Merfolk are a myth!” he whispered in astonishment.

“You have a choice,” a man said. “You can die here, or list with us.”

“That is hardly a choice,” Isaac decided.

“Nonetheless, it is a choice,” the man replied. “If you list, it will hurt at first as you will lose a part of yourself in exchange for your life. If you stay here, you will lose everything including your life.”

“There is no choice,” Isaac once again argued. “I have to choose to live.”

A green light illuminated the sea below them, and soon they were standing on something solid. The man held his hand near Isaac's neck, and with a sharp, stinging sensation moments later, Isaac was wondering if he'd made the right choice.

* * *

2017—It started as a distant whisper far in the back of his mind. Then it was joined by another, and another, and another. The conversation grew as the number of voices increased beyond count. There are three billion four hundred fifty-five million nine hundred twelve thousand four hundred twenty-two of you, he thought. How can I know that?

Joey Maddock opened his eyes. Where am I, he wondered, glancing around at the dimly-lit surroundings. He was immobile on a table, while several people seemed to be working on his body. Their skin appeared discolored, and they had various electronics embedded in their bodies. Two of them had pointy ears, and a third had antennae. Why am I on Sphere two-two-three? What happened?

One of the voices pushed the others away, and somehow Joey seemed to innately know the speaker's name was One of Twelve. “You were dead, Joey Maddock,” she told him. “You were distracted by your communicator, and drove your hydrocarbon-fueled land-vehicle off a bridge. We salvaged your corpse from the wreckage, revived you, and are working to repair the damage to your biological systems. We expect you to be fully functional within three hours if you agree to join us.”

“And if I do not?” Joey asked. “What then? Can you send me back?”

“Your reactivation is not yet permanent,” she told him, “nor can I put you back.”

Joey knew it was true based on the strange information moving through his mind. He had to choose if he wished to live, and needed to make the choice quickly. He could never see his home again, and did not know if he would ever want to. The voices in his mind began to make him feel very welcome to stay.

* * *

2199—Maiek slapped the side of the console in the research outpost as if brute force could fix a potential glitch in the technology. This cannot be right, he thought, having trouble focusing with the high-pitched wail of the alarm. What kind of ship could that be? He and his wife were on a simple mission to survey the remote asteroid field for potential mining opportunities for the Romulan Star Empire, attaching the outpost to large asteroids for a few days to take samples before moving to another. They were far from any inhabited systems, and the sensors had not picked up signals from any passing ships in days. The sensor output now depicted a large square far more massive than any ship he had ever heard about, although interference from the asteroid field made it hard to distinguish. At the same time, he doubted it was the cause of the alarm. “Kul, get in here,” he shouted down the hall. “I think there’s a ship on the sensors.”

“We have bigger problems,” the woman shouted back from the room down the hall. “Don’t you hear the alarm? We need to leave in the escape pod as soon as I transfer the research files.”

Maiek stood up and turned to the door. “What is it?” he wondered, stepping into the hall.

Kul backed into the hallway with a small box filled with research materials, and slammed her fist on the emergency hatch controls to close the door. “The lithium isotopes in this asteroid are unstable by what I calculate to be exponentially with up to ten tetrations, and my analysis inadvertently triggered the start of a cascade reaction. This asteroid is about to blow!”

“Decalithium?” Maiek asked after doing the mental calculations as they rushed to the escape pod. “Is that even possible?”

Kul gave no answer. A bright green transporter beam encompassed them both, and an instant later they were aboard another vessel. The crew had gray-veined skin and numerous technological enhancements on their bodies, and held the two Romulans firmly in place. Within seconds, the ship shook violently from a blast so strong that even the inertial dampers struggled to compensate.

“You could not survive this blast,” a woman told them over the intercom. “You are dead to the Romulan Star Empire. Join us, and your questions will be answered.”

Maiek and Kul looked at each other. They were stuck with no way out.

* * *

2400—The benefit of being Borg is the Borg do not suspect you.

It was a stray thought from a random drone appended to an announcement that the infiltration of the Borg Collective was ready to commence, but it made One of Twelve smile. She had captured a Cube, and placed all its inhabitants into temporary stasis. Several of her own drones were now aboard the Cube, ready to infiltrate the Borg Collective on her command, and plant suggestions that would ultimately lead to her creation. The benefit of being Borg is it makes us all related despite our differences, she thought back. I require you to maintain your individual distinctiveness despite the hive mind, but technologically we are no different from the Borg that suppress individual determination. We are their cousins whether they like it or not.

One of the drones appeared on the viewscreen. “Our teams are in position,” he announced. “Cube 2285 is adrift, with power beginning to cycle on. We are ready to resequence memory engrams and begin reviving the drones on your command. They should believe something went wrong when assimilating us, but that they are starting to adapt.”

“Did you receive Engram Sequence 3047-F?” One of Twelve asked. “Our technicians made a minor adjustment this morning to prevent the drones from analyzing their perceived adaptation. That should give you the opportunity to begin integrating into their hive mind without them asking questions.”

“And once we are integrated, we are to pose as the assimilated crew from a ship of xenogeneticists,” the drone added. “Everything is ready on our end. When the Borg Collective begins Project 1N-NOVA-73, we will make sure they create you to the required specifications.”

“Then good luck,” One of Twelve said. “Commence the infiltration.”

* * *

2409—One of Twelve stepped from her regeneration alcove. “We have reached the culmination of this mission,” she announced to her collective. “It is time to secure my sisters. Peace. Relief. Perfection. We will give them these.”

She adjusted one of the frequencies used by her neural transceiver, and began to hear the thoughts of her clones in the Beta Tauris System. Two of Twelve asked if she had any last minute orders. Yes, One of Twelve thought. Go to the Trimble System and meet our allies there as planned. I will reinforce you shortly after their arrival.
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Postby daBelgrave » June 17th, 2015, 8:34 pm

Commander Tdurkan and Lieutenant Tori Mcmindes stepped off the transporter pad on the U.S.S. Cumleaj’Que’Teaj. Admiral Rig had called a meeting of all the captains in the battlegroup, and they also had to tell him about the alterations to the Holo-Leeta program.

“If you’ll come with me,” Transporter Chief Mirklur greeted them, “I’ll show you to the conference room.”

“Thank you,” Commander Tdurkan told the man.

The Transporter Chief led them out of the room, and down the corridor. “The Admiral was only expecting the Commander,” he said. “I hope there’s a good reason for the Lieutenant to come along.”

“Something happened that we need to tell the Admiral,” Tdurkan replied.

Mirklur nodded. “Understood.” A door on the side of the corridor opened, and Mirklur motioned toward it. “Here you are,” he said. “Everyone’s already inside.”

The various captains were sitting around the conference table chatting, but the conversation lessened considerably as some of them turned to see the two lower-ranking officers who had just entered. Admiral Rig looked up from his PADD at the end of the table. “Lieutenant Mcmindes can wait outside,” he ordered. “I presume she’s here about the holoprogram.”

“Yes, Sir,” Commander Tdurkan answered. “The intruders altered the program far beyond what anyone on our crew can unravel. We were hoping to…”

“I received your initial report earlier,” the Admiral told him. He pressed a few buttons on his PADD. “I’ll assign Senior Photonic Studies Specialist Sejar Kom to assist in Lieutenant Mcmindes’ analysis.

Tori backed toward the door. “That is all I needed,” she announced, and ducked out of the room and the awkward situation.

“Now, Commander, take your seat,” Admiral Rig said, pointing to the single empty chair at the far end of the table. Tdurkan did as ordered. He remembered how the Admiral had called him ‘Captain’ a few days before, but understood that customs and courtesies required the use of his actual rank in the present situation.

“Gentlemen,” Rig began, “you’ve all been briefed on the mission. We need to find and apprehend a decorated Starfleet officer before she causes harm to the Federation or anyone else. Due to her extreme unpredictability when it comes to her penchant for strategy, eight of our ships are from Starfleet, five are from the local security forces of Andoria, Cait, and Vulcan, and one commanded by Commander Tdurkan is on loan from the private sector. This will provide us with our own unpredictability she will not anticipate.”

“I mean no disrespect,” one of the Andorian captains interrupted, “but let’s get on with it. Tell us her tactical situation, not the things we already know.”

“We have her location,” Rig told them. “One of our ships conducting surveys in the Murasaki 312 Formation spotted her sphere, and is currently tracking her movements. Their current trajectory puts them on a direct course to the Trimble System.”

Tdurkan perked up. “That’s a sharp departure from her previous heading,” he observed.

“It’s logical,” one of the Vulcans said. “Sensors barely function at Murasaki 312, so I would consider it an optimal place to lose someone following me.”

“Vulcan logic,” the second Andorian captain grumbled. He cleared his throat, and spoke louder. “From what I have read about this One of Twelve, she is not logical in a Vulcan sort of way.”

“What’s that supposed to mean!?” the Vulcan protested.

But the Andorian ignored him, and continued. “Vulcan logic is a short-term solution to Vulcan problems, and only through their haphazard meditation and lengthy considerations do they create long-term plans. The file on One of Twelve suggests she operates with long-term goals, and haphazardly applies short-term methods to obtain them.” He looked at Tdurkan. “Commander, am I right in my analysis?”

“I can’t speak to the merits or pitfalls of Vulcan logic,” Tdurkan told them, “but the analysis of One of Twelve is fairly accurate. Her plans tend to be so complex that someone noticing a single piece of the puzzle would be perplexed about its purpose. Whatever her reason for going to Murasaki 312, I doubt it’s obvious. Instead, we need to look at her next move. Is she truly going to the Trimble System, and what are her plans when she arrives?”

“Trimble is a Class M world, almost as warm as Vulcan, moderately colonized,” one of the Starfleet captains chimed in. “It’s not heavily guarded or able to mount much of a defense if she plans to attack.”

“She only has one ship, and possibly a handful of drones,” another Starfleet captain added. “Trimble sounds like a prime destination to assimilate more drones into her collective. They might be able to fight back against a small landing party, but if she managed to get her hands on the Borg nanovirus we recently stopped, she could assimilate the planet without firing a shot.”

“I somehow doubt that is her plan,” Tdurkan told them.

The captain shook his head. “Commander, I have fought against the Borg, Undine, Klingons, Cardassians, Romulans, and many more, with a list of engagements as long as my arm, and have far more experience than you when it comes to interstellar warfare. Nobody ever approaches a Federation world without intent to fight.”

“As you were, Captain,” Admiral Rig spoke up. “Your war record is not in question, but you know less about One of Twelve than Commander Tdurkan knows. We’ll go to the Trimble System, where she’ll find us arrayed against her when she arrives. Let us hope she only intends another course change, but if she attacks, we will stand in her way. Dismissed!”

The captains stood up to leave, talking amongst themselves on their way out of the room. Commander Tdurkan loitered behind, letting the higher ranking officers depart first, and listening to their discussions.

“Vulcan logic? Let me tell you what Vulcan logic dictates about Andorian impetuousness!”

“What do you mean you fought the Undine? There hasn’t been a confirmed sighting in years.”

“Yes, of course. Dinner tonight on my ship, or yours?”

As the Commander finally turned to leave, he heard one more voice. “Not you, Commander. I’d like a word with you first.” It was Admiral Rig ordering him to stay behind awhile longer.

“What can I do for you, Admiral?” he asked.

“Your rank is a problem,” Rig told him. “Sure, you’re capable of commanding a ship, but you’re still only a Commander trying to interact with captains. Unfortunately, they may not think of you as a peer because of your lower rank. How do you propose we fix this?”

“I guess you’ll just have to promote me to Captain,” Tdurkan answered, half joking.

“I was thinking the same thing,” he said, glancing down at the PADD, “and judging by your record, I’m not the only one.” He looked back up at the Commander. “You do realize you wouldn’t be able to continue as One of Twelve’s Chief of Security, right? You’d be given command of your own ship as soon as Starfleet has one available.”

“I understand,” Tdurkan said, realizing the Admiral was serious about the suggestion.

“Very good,” Admiral Rig said. He pressed a few buttons on the PADD, and slid it across the table to Tdurkan. “Starfleet’s authorization for your promotion came through this morning. Congratulations, Captain.”

“Thank you, Sir.” He picked up the PADD. “You can count on…”

“Captain, your first order is to spare me the expression of how much I can count on your to do your job,” the Admiral said. “If I lacked confidence in your capability, you wouldn’t be seeing a promotion today. Now get back to the Firebird’s Dance. You’ll receive coordinates for your helmsman, and any additional instructions within the hour. Dismissed!”

Tdurkan hurried out of the conference room, and down the corridor to the transporter room. Tori was waiting with the Photonic Studies Scientist.

“We found One of Twelve,” he told them as he took his place beside them on the transporter pad. “We’ll be leaving within the hour. Energize. Also, I was promoted to Captain.” He wasn’t sure if anyone heard that last statement, but there would be plenty of time to tell them later.

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