Rest For The Wicked

Nathan Benjamin
12-21-2007, 12:52:40 PM
.: In the desert :.

*Note, this takes place before the events depicted in L'mek's post.*

The wind tried in vain to blow the blood matted hair out of the teen's face as he flattened himself closer to the chrome and burgundy chassis of the motorcycle. He'd just come from Trann and Fields' position roughly a mile east of the bunker. When he'd left them they'd had no contact, but that was well over ten minutes ago now. More than enough time for the zombies to lock onto the nanite infused tricorder that Trann carried. More than enough time for the two security crewman to have been overcome by the swarm of rotting would be assassins. He cast such thoughts aside. They'd be fine, he told himself. They knew the plan, and they would execute. Barely audible over the wind and growl of the bike's engine were the familiar sounds of gunfire. Ahead, a mob of the undead were bearing down on his crew. No doubt disappointed by the false promises afforded to them by the Tricorder stowed in the truck that L'mek, Camenze, and a Master Chief Jackson had arrived in.

Soon though, they'd get a chance at the real thing. Nathan pressed harder on the gas, eliciting a roar from the machine and drowning out the gunfire as he picked up speed.

Nathan Benjamin, captain of the USS Hawking, applied the break hard and skidded his red, black and chrome motorcycle into a sideways-skidding stop. After rolling after the motorcycle a for a few seconds, and collecting some lovely abrasions on his forearms and knees, the young commander stood and took stock of the situation. Zombies to the left. Zombies to the right, and of course, zombies to the front.

The prognosis sucked.

"Regroup!" he shouted, not daring to activate his comm badge. "Don't let them surround you!" Nathan pulled a shotgun from the saddlebag on the side of the bike and pumped the mechanism, hearing the satisfying chuh-chucckk as the shot rounds were chambered. As if on cue, the zombies closest to him turned, zeroing in on the captain as if he were a homing beacon, which, in fact, he was.

Further before him, a score or more of mindless undead continued to lurch forward. In their path, Camenze Taray stood, clothes torn, sword in hand, a defiant expression on her dirt-smeared face. "Captain… I'm not sure how long we'll last here!" she yelled over the wind.

"We'll hold just fine Lieutenant." Master Chief Jackson added dryly, his southern drawl never more pronounced. "Just keep on cuttin' them heads off."

"Indeed," L'mek replied cooly, withdrawing his honor blade and adopting a crouched fighting position. "Doctor Munro informed me that seperating the brainstem has been successful." The Romulan doctor's eyes became slits as he considered his foes. It would be a difficult endeavor indeed to produce the required seperation with only his honor blade. But years of training under the watchful eye of his father's honor guard lent him the required skill. With calm focus that any Vulcan would be proud of, L'mek stood ready to do what his duty demanded of him.

Brushing the matted blonde hair from his eyes, Nathan scanned the area for some reprieve. Unfortunatley, there was none to be had. With the exception of a small cloud of dust coming up off the horizon, the dessert was bare. Except of course for the away team and the zombie hoards looking to rip them apart.

.: Fifteen minutes, several Zombies, and a whole new level of badass for Master Chief Jackson Later :.

Had he not witnessed it with his own eyes, he'd have scoffed at anyone relating to him the way the leather necked William Jackson went about his work. Nathan had a shotgun, and a backpack that was running low on ammunition. Camenze had swords which of course, ran out of ammunition when she got tired of swinging them. And L'mek had decided "to hell with it." and had broken out his honor blade. But the Master Chief? The white haired Senior Non-Com carried only a length of pipe, no doubt ripped from some long dead bit of plumbing at the bunker. He'd spent all the rounds in his sidearm some time ago, and had since been bludgeoning the reanimated citizens of Halcyon into the dusty desert floor.

Every now and again, when he got a small window in which to re-load and assess the situation, Nathan couldn't help but watch and marvel at the ferocity with which Jackson dispatched their would be killers. If he didn't know better, and at this point it was hard to determine, he'd say that the old man was actually enjoying himself.

"Look!" Camenze exclaimed, pointing toward the heavens with one hand as she deprived yet another one of Tennyson's minions of his head with another. "Is that the Hawking!?"

Popping up from behind the motorcycle that he'd begun to use as cover, Nathan cast his eyes skyward. There, rushing to meet the planet's desolate surface was definitley a starship. Her wide, round shape indicated that it wasn't the Hawking however, a fact that above any other feelings he may have had, relieved the teen. Seconds seemed to stretch on forever as he watched the vessel's terminal descent. As he watched it come down, an idea struck him.

"Hey!" He called out to Camenze, who'd been interrupted from her viewing the ship by an eager group of the undead. "If that ship lands partially intact… I might be able to get a signal to the Hawking."

Of course, that brought up some more questions. He'd never seen any of the Corpse filled rocket ships launch. So what had brought the starship down? Had Hawking engaged it? It was too large to be the Sentinel, and to wide to be the Hawking. So it was a safe bet that someone had found them.

"Looks like she's gonna put down bout five er six K's from here sar." Jackson offered, his pipe hand still hacking at the masses as he indicated the site witht he other. "If you c'n get over there on that motorcycle, we'll stay here a bit longer and then go to the second position."

His decision made, Nathan began the arduous task of getting his "steel horse" back into an upright position. Looking back one last time as the ship made it's final approach, the teen was oblivious to the zombie that had breached their perimeter and was closing in on him. Until he turned around and watched Jackson's pipe turn the already ghastly visage into a twenty fourth century Van Gogh.

"Erm… Thanks Mas…." the young CO began.

"You'd better get movin sar…" Jackson gruffy informed him. "You c'n buy me a drink when we get home."

As he began to turn away, a blur, which turned out to be an honor blade whizzed past the Master Chief's head, burying itself to the hilt in the right eye of another zombie, which immediately crumpled to the dry earth in a heap. Jackson wordlessly thanked his Romulan savior with a nod before re-taking his position on the perimeter.

"All right kids… Let's give the Captain some room t' get outta here." he boomed, caving in the rotting cranium of yet another putrified citizen of this Planet of the Damned.

Nathan meanwhile, fired up the motorcycle and stowed his shotgun. Though they were dwindling for the moment, their numbers would rise again. As he applied the gas and began to move away towards the now crashed starship, the young captain wondered if this was the last time he'd see the three of them.

.: Several Minutes later. Expedition crash site. :.

The distance between Camenze's team and the downed starship was traveled without incident. He hadn't even crossed any of the average plodding creatures, let alone the suit wearing variety that L'mek had informed him of when he'd arrived at their position. As he came closer to the vessel, Nathan began to make out the registry number on the hull, as well as the name of the vessel.

"Expedition." He said to himself reading the pock marked letters on the scorched Primary hull. Another thing he noticed as he came closer to his objective was that there were groups of zombies deliberately making their way toward the wreck. They however, weren't the ones that concerned him.

It was the one in the jet black combat suit with twin blades mounted to his arms. He was running toward what appeared to be a hull breach in the starboard side, near the front of the saucer. The hole was large enough that several people, perhaps even a shuttle might fit through. If what L'mek had said proved to be universally true, then it was a foolhary idea indeed. Nonetheless, Nathan pressed down on the gas a little harder. If there were still people on the Expedition, some might be wounded. Others still might be able to assist him with getting a signal out.

That is… if Javier's twin brother from a different mother didn't get to them first.
Rhian Gaius
12-21-2007, 06:13:01 PM
“You might want to find non-powered weaponry. Company is coming, and I think they’re hungry,” Pev said.

Of course. Alex had mentioned something about the planet and energy, but she’d forgotten about it after the bit about GO24. Funny thing, the mind—seemed to focus on surviving an onslaught of photon torpedoes, not pertinent scientific information. She and Jameson exchanged glances and groaned. They made their way back to the armory. Caius fell into step on the way.

She cut a sideways glance. “Our twenty minutes is up,” Tanis said. “How come we’re not charred outlines on the ground yet?” She doffed the phasers and self-replicating mines, replaced them with a machine gun, three belts of ammo, a mek’leth, and grenades.

“Alex doesn’t want to kill us. He’s delaying, hoping we come up with something,” Cay said, swinging a bat’leth over his shoulder.

“He isn’t the only one,” Tanis said. “If you want to leave a message for posterity, you’d better chisel it into the ablative and hope scientists from the 25th century come looking.”

“Have faith, lieutenant,” Cay said.

Jameson grunted. He led them past the bridge, outside, making sure to sidestep the exposed wires. They ran to starboard. And there they were. A silent mass converging on the ship—singleness of purpose, elegant in its simplicity—all led by the malicious dictates…of a madman. The odor of rancid flesh suffused the dust-laden air as the afflicted shuffled toward them in lockstep—one master, one belief, one sacrament.

How many people were there? “Tactical plans?” Tanis said. Surely Jameson and Cay had been in similar situations, she reasoned. As if.

“Throw down lines of grenades in front of them, then suppressive fire,” Cay said. “If you run out of ammo, let the others know so we can cover you ‘til you get back from the ship. Hopefully the cavalry will come before we empty the armory.”

“I thought we were the cavalry,” Tanis said.

“Things change,” Jameson said.

“Spread out!” Cay said.

Tanis broke right , hurling grenades as she went. She’d never been in a real ground fight before. Just the holodeck. Where severed limbs and spattered blood were merely pixilated images, not crippling pain that tore through your body—the kind that made you take a gun to your head to stanch the agony.

She dove. The sound of grenades exploding and body parts thumping the ground filled her ears. Boiled brains, grilled eyes, and seared torsos rained down. She cringed…forced down the nausea. The next wave of silent masses stepped up, like shoppers at a half-off sale. Tanis stood and fired the TS93. Necks split asunder, blood blossoming like spring roses. Bodies fell, tripped over others, but they kept coming.

She kept firing, wild. Heads, necks, chests escaped their previous form, free to scatter in the breeze. A salad of tossed putrefying skin and bone, dressed in mucus.

By the time Tanis looked up, she’d drifted far to the right. Out of grenades. Out of sight. The wordless horde had filled in the gap between her and Caius and had surrounded her in a semi-circle. In the back of her consciousness…a sound…motorcycle?

The ship’s hull to her back, she leveled the gun, aimed for the row of foreheads in front of her. Dead eyes faced her. No hint of malevolence, no malice…just hands trying to encircle your throat. She fingered the trigger, expecting the spray of bullets to stay the gathering mob. Expectations not met.

Her gun jammed.
Anthony Trann
12-21-2007, 10:07:09 PM
Run, and don't ever look back, I'll be gone by then…

Anthony held the trigger down, there seemed to be no end of the flood of zombies, as soon as one falls, another emerges from right behind it.

The sun now stood highest in the sky, its rays like hot branding irons against his skin. Anthony's "chain gun" ammo barrel felt light and lighter as the seconds passed, an obvious sign he was running out of ammo, and fast.
The sound from the weapon was deafening, at least he would rather be hearing the sound of the weapon then the moans of the creatures out to end what ever was left of his existence.

Click…

The barrel still spun, hot gas emitting from the opening of each barrel. Anthony discarded the weapon and the ammo barrel, he felt a lot lighter, but what to about his lack of a weapon. Anthony ran back, searching the weapons cache, desperate for anything, a gun, a sword.

Nothing, he kicked over one of the dead bodies and found an assault rifle, and a few clips, which he haphazardly took. Cocking the weapon he fired into the crowd, not bothering to aim as it was useless.

Anthony looked around for Bianca, and she was doing a lot of back peddling. The Peak sloped at the edge that the pair had hiked up earlier, and then a sharp fall on the left hand side, and thats where Bianca was back into.
Screaming, she did not know that she was about to fall to her doom.

"Bianca, behind you!" Yelled Anthony, to late, he ran over and grabbed her hand as she hung on the edge.
"Don't you let go dammit!" Yelled Anthony, angry at her ignorance in a situation as damming as this. He struggled to pull her up while maintaining the constant.

Click…

Anthony reached over another clip, then a sharp pain was felt on his shoulder. One of the zombies had a firm bite on his shoulder, the pain being unbearable Anthony screamed, slapped in another clip then blew the creatures head off. Another tackled him, and over the edge he fell,

screaming…

tumbling, rolling down the steep cliff, then nothing.
Tatiana Thorne
12-22-2007, 02:11:38 PM
"Your bra," the child said simply.

"Excuse me?" Jillian replied.

"I need the underwire from your bra," Nolan stated, before turning and looking over at Tatiana. "Yours too. Also, a hair pin."

"Anything else?" she cracked sarcastically. "My pants maybe?"

"No, but we do need something stretchy to apply tension to the diodes," Nolan mused absently.

Tatiana frowned at the boy. When she saw Jillian rushing to remove her bra, she sighed before beginning herself. She shrugged off her jacket before unclasping the item through the fabric of her undershirt. She pulled her left arm through her sleeve and the strap before doing the same with the right. The unmentionable was grabbed by her left hand before seeing the light of day after a long imprisonment.

She grasped the bra tightly before scrunching it to pushing the wire out of the fabric. The tip of the curved-shaped strip pushed its way through the noir cloth and Tatiana grabbed it out before tossing it at her feet. She repeated her actions with the other side and dropped the wire next to the other. She grinned painfully and turned around to put the item back on.

Once she was finished, she removed the pin from her hair and tossed that in the pile also. The curly mass fell around her face and she bent down to pick up her bounty to bring to the child officer. She was looking down at his work when something hit her. He had mentioned earlier needing something with stretching properties.

"What about the elastic from your underwear?" Tatiana suggested slowly and raised an eyebrow in shock when Nolan countered back with, “Underwear?”

“Okayyy,” she drawled out quietly to herself, “Nevermind.”

She looked to the others in the group, “Anyone want to donate?”
T'Shaini
12-22-2007, 05:22:45 PM
T'Shaini looked down over the area where the ship had crash landed. Whatever it was that Pev was doing inside was clearly acting as a beacon to the undead. "Vince, cover the captain, I will attempt to push back the group advancing toward the opening. Whatever relief she had felt in seeing that the young Captain was alive and in one piece had been dashed by the desperate circumstances in which the crew on the ground found themselves. Though were the zombies attracted by the technology of the ship, or by the Captain. Since Nathan's entrance had fallen hard on the heels of Pev entering the ship it was impossible to discern which was the cause. Not that it made a difference at the moment. As reinforcements spilled from the saucer, too few to make a real difference, but at least there was someone, T'Shaini glanced back to empty the last four rockets from the bag. Well, they will have to count.

Leveling her aim, she fired a rocket into the center of the tightening circle of ghouls surrounding the crew on foot. Limbs flew in a dozen directions as she reloaded and pushed back the wall of attackers closest to Nathan. Lifting the launcher to her shoulder once again she was interruped but static followed by a familiar voice coming from the radio.

She looked over to the structure he was referring to, its distance just at the edge of the launcher's capabilities and she only had two rockets left. She shrugged slightly as if he could see her then pressed down the button to reply.

Carefully sighting the target, T'Shaini took a deep breath, let it out then pulled the trigger…and almost swore aloud as an errant gust took the rocket to the south to explode harmlessly behind the tower. She looked down at her last rocket and closed her eyes to focus herself even further when a mad eyed Stryfe sprinted back with his arms full of random objects that he began to fling out the window..would the incurred velocity be enough to render that deadly… surpisingly enough she saw at least one zombie taken out by what appeared to be a life preserver. Irony.

"One last shot." Wondering if there were possiblity of igniting the zeppelin to explode next to the tower if she failed her glance fell down to the tether attaching them to the Argo. Faliure is not an option. For a final time she lifted the launcher to her shoulder, deepened her focus, stilled her breath while she waited for the optimal opportunity…and pulled the trigger. The seconds it took to traverse the distance between the zeppelin and the tower seemed like hours. Frozen in anticipation she watched it arc across the gulf then hit the tower and explode with a gratifying roar. Putting down the launcher she pressed the heel of her hands to her eyes and whispered. "Thank you." Then reached out and called to Pev. "Pev, T'Shaini…tower is destroyed, continue with contact."
Camenze Taray
12-23-2007, 11:39:19 AM
Camenze, butt in the sand, felt her lip curl up in a bit of a snarl. Well, isn't this a nasty beasty? She thought to herself. She heard Jackson shifting behind her, moving. She did not look at him but kept her eyes on the target in front of her. She could see it assessing it's next more, bating them.

"Doc, why don't you just move yourself back to the driver's seat?" she realized as he spoke that she was hearing Romulan. Jackson had obviously kicked off his translator…but she had no idea his linguistics skills were so good. She did know the Doctor was stuck, unable to move one way or the other. Her fighting skills seemed to be no match for this creature, she have to do something…. childish.

Reaching down she grabbed a handful of sand.

"NOW!" she yelled as she thew the sand into the creatures face. As she did so, L'mek dove for the driver's seat and she heard Jackson let out a whooping type noise. As she watch, in one fluid motion, he tossed a loop of rope though the air which caught around the thing's throat, ran forward, threw the creature to the ground and tied it's arms and lets together. It was so baffled by this action that it did not counter in time.

"And the new Stampede record for bringing down and hog tying a Zombie goes to…Jackson! 2 seconds, flat! Yeehaw!"

"It's getting lose!"

"Not for long, get on that truck!" She did as he tied the ropes to the truck. "Hit it, doc!"

The engine screeched, damaged beyond wanting to start. Tied, arms and legs bound, the creature was starting to try to free itself. Pulling and twisting, it was starting to succeed.

"Now, Doc!"

A grinding of gears, a straining of the mechanism to spark.

"DOC?"

A long, angry line of curse words in Romulan. A loop of rope loosened.

"NOW DOC!"

Another loop fell, a leg was free.

"J'KELL DOCTOR! NOW IS THE TIME!"

Suddenly they heard the front door open and a weapon warm up. "Doc, you can't shoot it again, it didn't work the first time!"

"I'm not shooting that, I'm shooting…" They heard the discharge and realized he shot the truck.

Camenze, watching the last bits of rope fall way from their captor, was just formulating new almost certainly-going-to-be-unsuccessful plan when she heard a cry of joy and felt the engine start. As the creature got to it's feet the truck leaped forward, the last loop, Jackson's first loop, pulled tight. Down it fell again, being dragged by it's neck behind the now moving truck.

"He shot the truck!" Whooped Jackson.

"Perfect! Ummm, should that have worked?" shouted Camenze over the horrible sounds of the engine.

"No way in Hell!"

"Well, I think we are in hell, so it seems to have worked!" She shouted back, looking at the thing still dragging, and struggling, behind them.

"Any ideas how to kill that?"

"Not a one."

"Damn."
Anthony Trann
12-24-2007, 07:36:53 PM
And then they will cry out a thousand voices, and amogst them a few shall rise, and flee from thier pressence.

Anthony rolled over, moaning. He touched his shoulder and on his hand now lay thousands of blood cells, although he had stoped bleeding, the pain was still unbearable.

The hot sun beated down on Anthony. Its rays only worsening his mood as he stared at his location, a small ditch on the side of the mountain.

The moans and grumblings of the zombies were unmistakable, he looked around for his weapon, and found it, along with his clips mostly intact. Anthony climbed from the small dirt wall, and woe millions still stood, and they noticed him..

He turned around, a steep climb to the top was what greeted him. He had not the patience nor the firepower to face the sea of dead, so he ran, shashed his rifle and brandising a pistol, then he began climbing, and the energetic ones chased him up the mountain.

About 12 feet up one of them grabbed onto his leg, which anthony used his free one and smashed his boot into the creatures face, slowly trudging up the mountain, he looked down. About 40 feet up, almost 30-40 of them had followed him, like ants climbing up a sand mound. He continued climbing, hoping someone would come.

Ten minutes later he had almost reached the top, a ten minutes that felt like an age, for his dire situation mocked him, he looked down again, now thousands of them flooded the side of the mountain, climbing on the steep rocks, chasing after him.

He reached the top, there stood a few zombies and Bianca, Anthony fired severel shots, dispatching the creatures, then he approched Bianca.

"Bianca, you alright?' Asked Anthony, no reply. He grabbed Bianca by the shoulder.
"Hey Bianca?" Before Anthony could finish she spun around, and bit him on the hand, taken by suprised he emptied 3 rounds into her skull, and whatched her body flail to the ground.
"My god," Said Anthony, he now possed to bite marks on his body, and Bianca lay dead, not moving, a still as a stone edge between rocks.

Anthony raised his weapon, he felt fatigued and looked out at the zombies charging at him.

Unless someone came and saved him, this would be his last stand…
Nolan Marc
12-25-2007, 09:57:01 AM
- Halcyon Master Control -

Pulling elastic from out of the tops of his socks and the velcro from his tennis shoes, the now barefoot Nolan had managed to incorporate the assemblage of parts from the phaser and tricorder, plus the underwire from the two bras, into an odd sort of three dimensional puzzle using the hair clip as a make-shift tool for breaking, poking, and screwing things into place. It was a moment before he'd decided that it was complete, which in reality it wasn't… he'd just run out of parts. That made this as good as it was going to get.

"This should do it," the boy declared, taking the hair clip out from where it had been dangling in his teeth to jam the sliver of metal down into the center of the hodge-podge rigged device. Scooting back, he used one foot to kick it over toward the panel that Nils had latched onto before popping up to his feet and dusting himself off.

Looking up at the two doctors, the child lieutenant calmly declared, "And now… we duck and cover!"

Piling behind the concrete pillar that the boy had hidden behind during the earlier eruption, the trio cringed as the device went off. Expectations of grand explosions were unmatched, however, as there was little more than a spark and a small puff of blue smoke.

"That was it?" Jillian asked.

"Wait for it," Nolan assured the commander with a menacing grin, as the child clapped his hands over his ears. Which was when it began to rain. A hot shower of sparks streaming from out of the computers whose circuits were blowing apart from the magnetic interference. Light bulbs popped. Monitors blew outward in a shower of glass as the cathode ray tubes exploded. Finally, electrical fires began to smoke and smolder as the silicon components burned down onto their metal casings.

Tennyson's computers were nothing more than slag.

"That was it," Nolan remarked with a grin.
Javier Costala
12-25-2007, 08:44:01 PM
"In about..four minutes this place will be nothing but a memory," Javier remarked.

"Okay…"

"I found some thermonuclear weapons and activated them on a timed detonator." He sighed and looked at the ground. "In a way I'm glad..I think the virus has progressed too far for it to be cured. I'm sorry I couldn't keep my promise to you but I lost my commbadge..and you're not wearing one.."

"Promise?" Finn's mind was a morass of images… fire and rot and sharp shiny blades sliding into his flesh and masks which covered dead faces that never stopped coming at you… words couldn't compete with those visuals.

"I promised not to let you die.." the engineer answered. But I did punch his lights out. So that promise is void? No it just means now I have to save his life cause I have punched his lights out. Javier concluded. The engineer searched the immediate vicinity. There was nothing handy to make a commbadge from.

"'I do not set my life at a pins fee'," Harry quoted as he stared up at the strangely gray sky. Not the kind of thing he'd ever have said out loud, normally but here, going cold on a dead planet, what was normal?

"Maybe, but I would kill for a commlink about now," the engineer replied not really sure what Harry was talking about. In the back of his mind a voice seethed at him. It had been there the entire time Javier had fought, railing at him as its friends/servants died. Father will punish you. I have sent word to him. This entire world is bound to his purpose.

"This entire planet is bound to his purpose.." the engineer repeated. Yes. the voice whispered with a hint of madness in its tone. "The entire planet is connected..through signals like the suit..like a frequency. Maybe someone is listening," the petty officer stated. He concentrated on the suit's communications systems, opening all of them, sending out a signal on any band, channel or frequency he could find.

«»Mayday, mayday, mayday this is Javier Costala requesting immediate medical evac from the fleet yards on Halcyon for Harry Finn. We have initiated a thermonuclear explosion. The weapon will go critical in three minutes. Mayday mayday mayday This Javier Costala requesting immediate medical evac..«» he continued to broadcast over the waves of the NG field.

"Nice try Costala but," Harry struggled, hissing, to one elbow, "the mission's accomplished so we may as well be…"

<>Still you have not learned to listen!<> The voice of Father resounded throughout Javier's frame, <>And as before, my son, beloved though you be, there is a price for disobedience… always there is a price.<>

Something was happening - Finn dragged himself further up, "Costala?"

<>For this you have thrown aside your duty? Your Father? Your entry to paradise?<> Now the voice was confused, truly questioning, <>What, in this lower being, in any of them, could be worth so great a sacrifice? Abselem…<>

"I am not your son!" Javier roared back at his puppetmaster.

"I never said you were… oh…"

<>No, you are not. But have no fear… there will be another<> a single order sliced through the suit's grid and upon receipt, that worthy armor obeyed it's one true master. <>There will always be another<>

But it was doubtful Javier Costala heard that last as the suit which had sustained him through so many trials turned against the man within, releasing, at its maker's behest, needles so small they might seem insignificant, had they not entered the delicate area around the wearer's eyes, injecting the thin skin with toxins designed by Halcyon's greatest scientific mind. Exquisite poisons meant to bestow exquisite agony upon those who must be punished.

"Gnnaaaaaahhhhh," Javier cried out as his gloved hands wrenched at the helmet's visor. He closed his eyes involuntarily as pain stabbed at his face then thrust itself deeper under his skin. "Get it off! Get it off!" he screamed as his hand fumbled with the helmet's fasteners. The pain traveled beneath his skin, digging at the soft tissue, boring its way towards his eyes. The helmet was being twisted away but it was too late. The fluid pooled beneath his eyelids as the poisons set his eyes on fire. The whites of his eyes were dyed a deep purple as the liquid seeped into his tear ducts and ran from the corner of the engineer's eyes. Javier wasn't even saying anything remotely intelligible, just screaming as he tried to wipe the liquid from his eyes.

He'd gotten the helmet off but nowhere near soon enough… the damage was done by the time the engineer had started clawing at the device. Harry dropped it and tried to get past the manically swiping hands to assess the damage but every move the other man made had the side benefit of hitting Harry's already shredded torso. Finally he gave up and just wrapped himself around the kid until Javier finally stilled and all the while his amethyst eyes wept wine-hued tears which they would never see.

Harry figured it had to have been three minutes since the estimated four to doomsday. "It'll be okay, " and in a way it would, though his voice felt difficult, "It'll be over soon." He cradled the younger man like a child… like a son, had he a son… and fought off the deepening twilight, just a little longer. "You did the job… Javi… you did it…"

JP by 'the die is cast' duo
Pev
12-26-2007, 09:39:58 AM
The tower went down, the electromagnetic pulse went out, and Pev hit the control panel that would send the boosted signal from the wreck of the Expidition out into space and hopefully, salvation.

Across all channels, along every known spectrum and wavelength, Pev broadcast.

Stand by GO24, say again, stand by GO24. This is Lieutenant Commander Pev, say again, stand by, stand by.

On the bridge of the Hawking, Alexander Williams stood in front of the viewscreen, looking down at the surface of Halcyon. As the words came through over the channel, he whirled to look at Vanona Hawthorne. The half-Klingon met his gaze with eyes wide.

"Pev!" said Williams. "This is Williams. We are receiving. What's your status?"

"Precarious," replied the S'ti'ach. "Should you detect a launch from the surface, you are to fire at will and carry out Captain Benjamin's orders. We're attempting to control the situation from here. While the window of opportunity is open, I need you to attempt to get a lock first on any biological signs you pick up from the surface, and second on any comm badges still operational. They should all be within 5 kilometers of my signal. Lock on and energize as soon as you can, but beam me up last. Between my comm badge and the boosted signal of the Expidition, mine should be the easiest to pick up."

Mayday, mayday, mayday this is Javier Costala requesting immediate medical evac from the fleet yards on Halcyon for Harry Finn. We have initiated a thermonuclear explosion. The weapon will go critical in three minutes. Mayday mayday mayday This Javier Costala requesting immediate medical evac.

"Get started, Mr. Williams!" said Pev. "I'll see you soon!"
T'Shaini
12-26-2007, 01:51:39 PM
"Stand by GO24, *crackle* again, stand by, stand by."

"…ceiving. What's your status?"

T'Shaini could only hear bits and pieces of the communication between Pev and Xander…but she could hear it. The static interference that was breaking up the conversation seemed to be only on her end.

"you are to fire at will * lock first on any biological signs *beam me up last.***…iest to pick up."

Knowing that he planned to contact the Hawking to beam everyone out, T'Shaini breathed a sigh of relief for the hope of rescue. She reached out to clap Vince on the shoulder when the next words the radio emitted made her hand freeze midair.

Mayday*Costala requesting immediate medical evac*…ermonuclear explosion. The weapon will *minutes. Mayday*

Her hand dropped down and closed tightly on Vince's arm as the tingle of transport washed over her body.

::Transporter room 1::

The thought that had begun before dematerialization coalesced along with her body. They are alive…but how severely injured that they were attempting an emergency evac. With that reflection the answer appeared before her. A blood soaked, weakened Harry cradled Javier in his arms, rivulets of violet coursing down his face as if tears from his eyes. Not the time for reflection.

"Lottz, beam these two to sickbay immediately" Prepped by Javier's mayday he was already initiating the sequence as T'Shaini made the request. She ran over to the Chief and tapped his commbadge. "Sickbay, T'Shaini. Two medical emergencies beaming into sickbay. Costala must be put into quarantine, Dr. Munro, when" not if "she arrives on board has information about his status. Extreme loss of blood for Finn, take him immediately to surgery."

"Sickbay, we have them."

A wave of dizziness accompanied the relief those words sent through her body, sitting heavily on the floor she could hear the next group being transported back from Halycon but could not manage to lift her head to see who it was. Behind her eyes burned the image of the men, eyes closed, bloodied and broken, before they were transported to sickbay. A moment, all I need is a moment. That moment passed, then another, and still she did not move. Then a pair of shoes entered her vision and a now familiar voice spoke.

"Can I give you a lift?" She looked up to Vince's outstretched hand, allowed him to help her up and limped back to her quarters where there awaited a much needed shower.
Javier Costala
12-27-2007, 12:39:24 PM
"..you did the job."

Pain. There was so much of it. His eyes bled molten lava as his world was consumed by agony. He was crying, weeping at the sheer torture of it but Javier's tears only exacerbated the feeling, as a cauldron of pain bubbled beneath his eyelids. His world was pain and darkness. Darkness. The final act of Tennyson, blinding Javier for his 'disobediance'.

Harry was trying to comfort him, in his own way, but there was no comfort for the engineer. From his own mouth Javier could hear the sounds. Sounds like a wounded animal would make, an animal or something less than human. He was changing again, evolving into a creature. The integrity of the suit was destroyed, there would be no cure, no last minute salvation.

You are going to die. It was inevitable and Javier was pleased that the pain would end soon. He wouldn't see the bright light that turned his body to dust but the agony would cease. It's been a good life. the engineer thought, using memories to buffet pain as he made his peace. I wonder what the 'other side' will be like…

He felt it. The tremor within the ground. Then the breaking down of his molecules. The pain became lost in the explosion.

Peace.

Then pain again, suffering the agony and confusion as frantic voices spoke words that brought no comfort. For a second Javier's body was squeezed from one destination to the other then there was pain immeasurable. He screamed as his eyes burned and his body was tormented by the virus breaking down his organs. Writhing on the smooth surface that he lay upon, alone in darkness and pain.

Javier lunged to his feet and ran straight into a wall. He was knocked back against the surface he had been laying on. The engineer's hands extended and he found the wall and 'followed' it with his hands. It led to a corner, and another corner, and another and a final corner. I'm in a cell. the engineer thought as he slid to the floor, his body wracked by a fierce spasm of pain.

Voices, muffled voices spoke to him, he couldn't understand them. One seemed demanding, almost threatening and he crawled away, feeling his way towards a corner. The corner seemed the furthest from the voices and it was here that Javier Costala drew his legs up and wrapped himself into a ball of hurt.
Harry Finn
12-27-2007, 01:00:08 PM
He woke to the sensation of a gentle stroking across his forehead, then down his temple and thence along the bruised cheekbone and instinctively he turned towards it… towards the comfort it offered. Hand. The word caressed his thoughts in synch with the soft fingers which now traced his aching jaw.

Hissing against the pain, he reached up, took hold of those fingers before his eyes had fully opened, before Kerrin Schaeffer, who’s hand it was, tried to pull away.

“I’m sorry… I didn’t mean to wake you…” she tugged more insistently but Harry didn’t let go. All around him the constant sounds of a full sickbay faded to insignificance as he held fast and, using the grip as leverage, brought himself to standing in one swift motion.

Now he could look down at her and wonder at the worry in those sea-green eyes and warm himself by the flush in her cheeks and see the pulse thrumming beneath that soft skin and know that she was real and she was here and she was alive and because she was all those things, there was a chance… a small chance but some was better than none… that he might just be alive, too and wouldn’t that be something? To be living and to want the way he wanted right now… the only kind of wanting that didn’t suffer from the having… and to know that he was more than a walking corpse measuring out its time in service to a murky cause…

“I should probably…” Kerrin made a feeble gesture towards the door and Harry countered that by catching her other hand. “Harry…” the protest died on her lips… trapped there and smothered to stillness by the sudden heat of his own desperate seeking and for a time out of time there was only the heat and his hands drawing her in close and in that closeness, through that frenzied twining embrace he heard, finally, finally after so many years, the sound of his own heart beating.

“Harry…”

He felt his own name sighing against his lips, breathed in the sound of the woman who spoke it… tried to find a language so he could answer but her fingers pressed cold over his mouth and stilled the thought.

“That is not what I meant, at all,” she whispered and with that one small phrase all the warmth was gone, “that is not it, at all.” As Eliot’s words fell from her chill blue lips, Harry felt as if all the blood had drained from his body and he really was no more than a walking corpse but then the knife appeared in her rotting hand and then it was buried in his gut and he was sure a corpse didn’t bleed as much as he was bleeding, now…

…………..

“He’s crashing!”

“Cardiostimulator and another two units…”

“What about the perforation? I think the ribs…”

“Just get me the damn stimulator! And another pair of hands would be good, too…”
T'Shaini
12-27-2007, 02:40:20 PM
Control is an illusion. That was the thought that ran on a loop in T'Shaini's head as the scalding water of the shower pounded against her. No matter what she had recently done to shut off and control her emotions it did not change the fact that everyone she knew had been through a horrific experience she could do nothing about. She could help reassemble the pieces but she could not alter the past. Or control the future, or even truly manipulate the present. She did all in her power to protect those close to her and result was that Harry was grievously wounded and both Jillian and Javier were infected with the virus…Javier perhaps beyond the reach of cure.

She scrubbed her body raw as if sloughing off the filth would cleanse the images inside as well. Once done, she leaned over and turned off the taps then pressed her face against the still cool tile wall contemplating the well of emptiness she felt within…was it simply exhaustion, or did it have to do with the shutting down of her emotions, or was it something else entirely.

Reaching for a towel she quickly dried herself off and dressed. Can it be more than an illusion. She knew full well the almost ritual cleansing was an attempt to grasp control of the one thing she could. Perhaps that was all she could do, small steps…dominion over herself first and foremost. Where did that leave her in the decision to place stopgaps on her emotions. Would they remain? Would she attempt to return to her previous philosophy…and would it be possible?

Logic would dictate that she rest, her ability to function at an optimal level was no doubt impaired by her experiences and in order to be of use the sensible thing would be to take time to recuperate…yet she could not sit. It is either wander aimlessly around my quarters or go and do something. Attaching a newly replicated commbadge to uniform she strode out of her quarters to sickbay.

::Sickbay::

"Status of Cadet Finn and Petty Officer Costala." T'Shaini had intercepted the nurse as soon as she had stepped through the door. Confused, the woman looked around for guidance, then at the officers pips on the womans uniform, and finally at the determined expression on the Vulcan's face.

"Finn is still in surgery, it is touch and go at the moment." She frowned and looked over her shoulder. "Costala is…"

"In quarantine."

"Yes, but…violent…unresponsive to outside stimuli…and his eyes…"

"Dr. Munro?"

"She is in her lab, running tests."

"Has Costala been put in a stasis unit?"

The nurse looked uncomfortable. "No, when he beamed in, quarantine was all that was requested. It will be impossible to move him without tranquilizers."

T'Shaini had a vivid recollection of the adverse reaction his body had to the inhibitor. "No, no tranqs. Get me a biosuit and get a unit by quarantine." While the nurse scurried off, T'Shaini checked in with Bramley, who was monitoring Javier from outside the quarantined area. She listened impassively to the dire projections as she gazed in at his body, curled in on itself, evocative of so much pain.

Donning the suit that Nurse Houlva had brought she nodded to Bramley to drop the containment field and allow her to enter. "Javier…" Shivering that had not been apparent from outside the room overtook his body. "Javier…" She saw his body jerk in response. With a quiet step she moved closer and spoke his name again in a low tone. She was unsure if she was imagining that the twitch she saw was one of recognition. Regulating her breathing, she willed a calm to wash over her body. Kneeling beside him she reached out her hand to where the tracks of violet tears had stained his cheeks and was rewarded by his face turning into her palm. "I want to bring you to a stasis unit so that Dr. Munro will have time to find the cure." T'Shaini had no idea if he could understand her, but he did not resist. Sliding one hand beneath his shoulders and the other beneath his legs, she gathered her strength, lifted him up and carried him out to the waiting stasis unit. Once he was safely secured and the stasis was engaged she stripped off the biosuit and headed towards Jillian's lab.

Control may be illusory but I will take what I can get.
Anthony Trann
12-28-2007, 09:17:46 AM
Anthony contemplated the situation, and it was nothing short of damming. The time was, it didn't matter, he was down to his last few bullets, and soon after that, nothing…

The children danced around the fireplace, deep in the woods of romulas. Sarjek whatched them, envious of how they were so care free.
"Human, Human dirty dirty human!" They sang, mocking him, Sarjek clenched his teeth, trying not to cry.

Anthony blinked, one of them pounced on him, which he quickly bat over the edge of the cliff with the butt of his rifle. Click screamed the gun, and he struggled to load in the next clip, without Bianca it was becoming alittle more tiresome…

"Come on now Sarjek" Said Tapein, he strechted out his hand to wipe away the tears from Sarjek's eyes while he tried to rid of himself an itch in his ears. "Don't listen to them, come on Tu'Tau wants to see you again" Continued Tapein, the romulan children had now retired to thier bed sides. Camp was always painful, but soon he would be dragged back into that place… a dark place…

Anthony kicked over the crate which once held the chaingun, he was out of ammo and desperate bargaining for time. Hopefully someone would just come, just at that last minute, and save him…

Sarjek wanted to be back outside with the children, although they mocked him, he could atleast be away from, pain… All he felt now was pain, circles they made him run, just that hour they had drugged him, then put him in a holodeck and forced him to engage in live hand-to-hand combat with klingons, had they not intervened… Sarjek was now sitting in some bathtub, feeling, his his conciousness comeing in and out, some men dived him under the water, killing him, then bringing him back. Above him stood Tapein, "Admit to nothing, they will give you great pain, admit to nothing!

Anthony knocked over a couple of the zombies over the edge, then tripped over the corspe of Bianca. he crawled over, but then changed his mind, he was dead either way. The lack of blood, the oncomming horde, he would pass away, and no one would mourn his loss…

Then, he felt the tingle of feathers against his skin, bright lights flooded his vision, heaven had now reached him.
"Crewman Trann, you alright?" Asked a voice, Anthony smiled, then closed his eyes…
Harry Finn
12-28-2007, 09:50:26 AM
::Transporter Room 1::

Lottz and his team had, in a matter of seconds, gathered most of the away team and the remaining Expedition crew by means of using every transporter pad on Hawking but there were a few more to go and one in particular was going to be problematic.

He didn’t have time to mess with storing the Ensign in the pattern buffer… too many still to beam out… “Just send him to the shuttle bay and hope he knows how to brake,” he ordered the operator who’d gotten the lock while he tagged the next series of biosigns to extract.

::Sickbay::

=^=Sickbay we need a medical team in Main Shuttle… Ensign Khev just flew into the wall.=^=

=^=Main Shuttle, this is Sickbay… his transport crashed?=^= Though Bramley hadn’t heard of any shuttles being engaged in the CF this mission had clearly become.

=^=Negative that, Sickbay. I mean he… Khev… flew into a wall.=^=

The crewman’s tone indicated further questions would not be welcome.

=^=Copy that, Main Shuttle. Keep him immobile and we will dispatch a team. Sickbay out=^=
L'mek
12-28-2007, 11:29:17 AM
As L’mek was going to lunge at the zombie menace he felt the familiar rush of his body traveling by transporter beam. And found himself in a room with mass commotion all around. Before he could figure out what was going on he was being striped of all his weapons and equipment, and being put on a bio bed to be examined. Upset that he was being wheeled to sick bay and not helping he fought against his staff for a footing on the ground just to be pushed back to his place.

When he was in sickbay he was being scanned for everything a task made more difficult by the fact he was struggling and constantly taking the tricorder. Then it hit him all at once. They could not understand him. Since the moment he removed his communicator no one could understand the words coming out of his mouth. He was speaking Romulan. He quickly took a communicator from one of the nurses shirts and pinned it to what was left of his blood soaked shirt. And spoke. Now more confused that they didn’t understand him before. They where wearing perfectly functional communicators. But that was beside the point. As soon as he could he spoke up. “ I’m fine, leave me alone there are more serious casualties to tend to. Then he stood up and got some gloves just in time to see T’Shaini carrying Costala out of quarantine.

“Consoler what do you think you are doing. We have a quarantine for a reason. Now put him back or I will have security do it for you. His condition is far to advanced to have him in public like that. I will help you though.”

L’mek then took a blood tube and needle and drew the blood from a vein. Once the tube was full he put it in a bag and handed it to the consoler.

“Now I need you to put him back. I know of your feelings for him but what your doing puts us all in danger. I’m asking you, No I’m telling you this because I as well as the entire medical staff have the lives of the entire crew on our shoulders. Not just the lives of one or two close friends.”

Then he looked at her and waited for a response.
T'Shaini
12-28-2007, 12:00:28 PM
“No I’m telling you this because I as well as the entire medical staff have the lives of the entire crew on our shoulders. Not just the lives of one or two close friends.”

T’Shaini looked at L’Mek, then looked at the stasis unit where she had placed Javier, then looked at L’Mek again and raised one eyebrow.

“I am uncertain of what you seem to be accusing me of Doctor. According to Starfleet regulations the unit I placed Petty Officer Costala in is as effective a quarantine as a separate chamber would be with the additional benefit of halting the progress of the virus to give Dr. Munro time to effect a cure. I was about suggest that Crewman Trann be placed in one as well as I heard him explain that he had been recently bitten.” She glanced over to see Bramley acknowledge the need and collect Trann. “If you would excuse me, I am on my way to Dr. Munro’s lab to see if I can be of any assistance.”
Nathan Benjamin
12-28-2007, 01:29:38 PM
.: Expedition Crash Site :.

“Lieutenant!” Caius screamed.

“Over here!” she said.

She hadn’t remembered unsheathing the d'k tahg, but found herself wielding the blade, swinging it wildly. Blood splattered the faces of the massing undead, her uniform, the ground. It misted, drifted in the air, which she inhaled and spat back out…red goo mixed with saliva. She had neither the energy nor the strength to fully sever the many heads, but found that a swift cut across the soft flesh under the chin caused the head to loll backward…which made it difficult to see straight ahead. Still, the press of the crowd overwhelmed her, fenced her in. Suffocating. She had to find a way out of the tight circle she'd gotten herself in.

Tanis pressed her back hard against the hull of the Expedition, grabbed ahold, and swung her legs up to the shoulders of a zombie. She arched her back, and rose to a standing position on the dead man’s shoulders. Below her, Caius and Jameson, drenched in ruby, had paused to reload. The space between them and the oncoming horde growing smaller. A wrenching noise suddenly sounded above the mass shuffling. The tower! It exploded, fell, almost slow motion, in a cloud of brown dust, ringed in orange and black. Dark smoke twisted up, toward the sky, as if glad to escape Tennyson’s embrace. Tanis jumped, somersaulted, and landed next to Caius.

“Tower’s down. Pev should be able to get out a signal,” she said. “I think we’ve given them enough time.”

Cay and Jameson nodded, then squeezed out a few more rounds for good measure as they retreated, charging over dead bodies littering the ground. Around the edge of the hull, and back to the large, gaping hole in the side.

There was a motorcycle. A man stood next to the bike, young…teenager?…blond, with an obvious Borg implant attached to the side of his face. Either he’d been assimilated at one point, or was making a fashion statement. His insignia read…captain.

Caius approached him, a wan half-smile on his face. “Captain Benjamin, Caius Echelon reporting for duty.”

“Pretty good time to report in dude, but better late than never I guess,” the captain said. He looked at Tanis. “Who’s this?”

“Lieutenant Tanis Lev. Pilot. She got us here,” Caius said. He thumbed in the direction of the Expedition. “In that.”

Tanis stood up straight, wiping the blood from her face. Impossible to appear shipshape for the captain under the circumstances, but she tried. “Sir!” she said.

"Did you guys bring more than one ship?" Nathan asked, glancing over his shoulder, fully expecting to see a rotting set of teeth wanting to sink themselves into his shoulder. After taking in the landscape for a brief moment, and seeing no such teeth, or a zombie for them to belong to, he gave his attention back to the new arrivals. If Cay were here, that would mean that someone had already located Sentinel, and that they'd gotten at least this far. Nils would be happy.

"Sorry, sir," Tanis said. "If we'd have known about the energy field, and if the Hawking hadn't received orders to execute General Order 24, let's just say things would have been done differently. Right now, though, a mass of zombies will soon be rounding the hull, looking for something to sink their teeth into. I suggest we head for the bridge. Commander Pev's in there now. I'm sure he's gotten out a signal now that the tower's down."

"Hopefully, they'll be able to beam out some of the team, but likely we'll be dodging photon torpedoes any second," Caius said.

"Pev is here?" This little revelation gave the teen commander a reason to smile. For if the little blue XO had gotten through to the Hawking, then maybe they could coordinate precision strikes until the away teams had all been accounted for. Of course, General Order 24 was still very much going to be a reality. Once again, Nathan let his eyes wander around the area, counting people. "We need some people to protect the perimeter of the ship. How many made it through the landing?"

"The Hawking beamed over the support crew, so it was just Lieutenant Lev and me and my crew of three," Caius said.

"Oh." Nathan replied simply, the news taking a bit of wind out of his sails. "Well… then I guess we can all go inside, and if the nasties get in too close, we can bottle them up in the corridor or something.. or a jeffries tube.

"We've got some more grenades in the armory, along with some old-fashioned plastic explosives, but not much. I can rig the perimeter, but the blast will also enter the hole in the side of the hull," Tanis said.

Shaking his head, Nathan indicated the ship with an outstretched arm. "Let's get inside, and then we'll blow the corridor once we're all in the Jeffries tubes. Can you set a timed explosion?"

Tanis looked to Jameson, who was the explosives expert. He nodded his head. "Yeah, but it'll take a bit longer, since we can't use the replicator mines."

"Ok.. then let's go. Once we're inside, I'm going to the bridge. You guys need to seal them off at the lowest deck that you can."

Nathan started for the gaping breach in the Expedition's port side. The way the duranium alloy was laid open, it looked as though they were walking into the mouth of a great silvery dragon. Before entering, the teen turned back and took a moment to ready the shotgun. He had all of three shells remaining, two of which were stowed in his pocket now. "Do you guys know if any of them got in there?" He asked, remembering the suit clad zombie he'd seen while riding over on the bike.

"No. Pev had the entrance rigged so that any incoming zombies would get electrocuted, so watch out for the exposed wires," Tanis said. She headed inside, grabbed Jameson and Gran, left the captain, Caius, and Pev on the bridge.

After gathering supplies from the armory, she, Gran, and Jameson headed for the deck below that hadn't been sheared off. Exposed wires hung, sparking against bent metal and charred plastic. The acrid smell of burnt rubber hit her head on.

"How long before the explosives are ready?" she asked.

"Five minutes," Jameson replied. He unshouldered his pack and extracted his supplies. Several zombies approached the hole in the shielding. Tanis and Gran leveled their automatic weapons and fired. More blood and brains. Tanis considered having a long talk with a shrink when this was over. The sizzle of electricity sounded overhead, and Tanis knew the bridge crew were having troubles of their own.

"Make it snappy!" she shouted over the gunfire at Jameson. His hands flew faster over the timing devices and detonators. Tanis thought the sound of bullets hitting flesh would never end.

"Done!" Jameson said. He set the explosives around the opening and along the floor.

"Go set the ones upstairs and then tell the captain we're ready!" she told Jameson.

http://i83.photobucket.com/albums/j318/Dohlman9/rotatinglogo.gif

Meanwhile, on the bridge, Nathan stepped over several angry sparking ODN lines and various other cables to see his diminutive XO working furiously at the Communications console.

Wheeling on his heels, prepared to attack, Pev stopped himself and relaxed his four clawed hands as his CO crossed the threshold. "Captain!" he called with joy. "I am very glad to see you. You appear to be unharmed."

"Dude!" replied Nathan. "What's our status?"

"The Hawking is standing by to execute General Order 24. I've given Xander orders to begin beaming up crew as he can. I'm detecting a massive power surge underground, and believe that an invasion fleet is about to be launched. Also, the man known as Tennyson is searching for you with his minions. He seems to think that you are the key to his eventual dominion over the stars, owing, I believe, to the Borg technology you have incorporated." Pev turned back to the console briefly to check power levels.

"Oh. Is that it?" Nathan asked, glancing over Pev at the readouts flashing on the console. "And I thought he wanted me 'cause of like.. my superior leadership skills or… because I like old music.. like we were going to be friends or something." He moved to stand beside the little blue commander. "You know… staying up late… talking about girls… sports… computer games." He keyed in several commands as he spoke, soaking in the information and making further adjustments to the sensors, using the limited gain to gather what intel he could.

"Well, that sucks, Pev. He just wants to use me." Nathan deadpanned, glancing over at the St'ia'tch. "You know, I think we ought to kill him."

"I concur," replied the S'ti'ach happily. "Have you any ideas?"

"Yeah…." Nathan managed before every light on the bridge dimmed and died briefly before the auxilliary power activated, bathing the downed vessel's cramped command center in a dim yellow glow. Before he could voice his next question, which would have been to inquire about blown power conduits or perhaps exhausted main batteries, a smarmy disembodied voice began speaking in perfect standard. It wasn't the female computer voice, but a deeper baritone that chilled the teen as it droned on.

<> Can you hear me? <> The voice began a whisper, but gained volume as its owner seeped further into the Expedition's systems, becoming one with the computer, superimposing his consiousness onto the derelict ship's mainframe. <> You have run from me for a time, but I KNEW that you would come home to me eventually. <>

As Tennyson continued to gloat, Nathan observed a subsystem display flicker from red to yellow, meaning that the system in question was being repaired. <> We can create a perfect harmony, my son, <> Tennyson informed him. <> After the failure of the first, the others will gladly accept your leadership. <>

"Pev!" Nathan hissed. "It's the transporters… lock them out."

Pev's four hands danced across the broken face of the control panel. "Working on it. Sir, transporters are offline, but I'm reading fluctuations in the bio-neural gel-packs. He's interfacing!"

<> Do not fear. <> Tennyson cooed, attempting to sooth the worries of his would be minions as his virtual tentacles winding their way through the bio-neural matter that composed Expedition's main computing core. <> Soon we shall be as one. A family. <>

"The f8*&^#ing hell we will!" muttered Pev. "Pus-sucking, s#@!-swallowing, mother%$@&#@g B!%ch of a whore." Realizing he was speaking in front of a superior officer, the XO added, "Sir."

Working frantically alongside Nathan, Pev attempted to divert Tennyson's control to a non-essential part of the ship's systems, but the ghost in the machine was working with the speed of thought, and the two officers were, in the end, merely mortal.

  • A Joint post with Tanis Lev, and little BLue Pev! *

L'mek
12-28-2007, 05:34:10 PM
“I am uncertain of what you seem to be accusing me of Doctor. According to Starfleet regulations the unit I placed Petty Officer Costala in is as effective a quarantine as a separate chamber would be with the additional benefit of halting the progress of the virus to give Dr. Munro time to effect a cure. I was about suggest that Crewman Trann be placed in one as well as I heard him explain that he had been recently bitten.” She glanced over to see Bramley acknowledge the need and collect Trann. “If you would excuse me, I am on my way to Dr. Munro’s lab to see if I can be of any assistance.”

L’mek had to look again at where Costala was. She did not put him on the bio bed he thought she had. Maybe he should have taken the treatment the other doctors and nurses where offering. If he didn’t know better he was delusional. Then he looked back at the emotionless T’Shaini.

“Well it seams I owe you an apology.” L’mek said. No small task for him by any means. On one count he was Romulan and in his mind they weren’t allowed the luxury of mistakes. And on the other hand it was a Vulcan he was apologizing to. “I will do what I can to help the situation.” then he walked back to the table and sat down and looked at the nurse he took the communicator from. “Sorry, if you will continue your scans. Maybe I need some of your help after all.” then he took her hand and put her communicator in it.

As he was being scanned he heard them talking about blood loss and concussions. And in his head that explained the anxiety, the anger and the seeing things that never happened. And with that revelation came a wave of revulsion and disgust at the pure lack of medical help he had given his crew. What was wrong with him. He was sent to be medical and all he did was turn up as another casualty. And all he could do now was sit there get scanned and recall his eight years of school and training and think if he had been wasting his time.
Vince Stryfe
12-28-2007, 05:38:21 PM
.:: USS Hawking :: Atmospereic Orbit Above Halcyon :: Transporter Room 1 ::.

Vince looked on as everyone bustled to help the injured, that where in need of direct attention, get taken from the transporter room. As far as he could tell he wasn't in to bad of shape himself, and all he really needed was a shower and a quick look over, just to make sure he wasn't infected with the virus. He walked out of the transporter room, and breathed a sigh of satisfation. The surroundings of the Hawking's interior were a sight for sore eyes, and he was overjoyed to see somthing that was clean, and full of technology that he had missed so much. The dried blood and dirt that covered his body made scratching noises as he walked towards sickbay, but it wasn't bothering him at this point, he was still far to overtaken by the clean corridors of the ship.

As he entered sickbay, somthing else over took him. Everyone was in a frenzy, but Vince couldn't figure out why. There wasn't many of them down on the planet, but ofcourse there were a couple of pretty messed up guys that had come back, so that could explain it.

Vince strolled over to one of the beds that was away from the commotion, and layed down, putting his hand over his eyes. Eventually someone would come over to check him out, and until that time, he'd just take a small nap, just get a little energy, just incase. Just as he felt himself starting to drift off, his arm felt like it was getting ripped off. He jumped up, and away from the bed, then looked at who was there.

As Vince looked at the figure in front of him, he didn't know if he was glad to see the person, or terrified. Before he could come to a conclusion the doctor shot him in the neck with somthing, and he felt really good all of a sudden.

" Ok, just lie back down Vince, this won't take very long, and I'll let you go when we're finished, and I'll even give you another shot to counter the one I just gave you." The doctor guided back to the table, making him lay down.

" Why are you here …… Usha." Vince layed back down, covering his eyes again.

Usha stepped over to the control panel ofe the bed, sitting down," Well, I was at the station and had requested a transfer. I was just getting over you just up and disappearing and then I saw your name on the Hawking's manifest, and now here I am."

" Well I'm glad to……" Vince cut himself off as another injection was put into his neck," But I could do without those damn injections."

" I know, the first was just to kinda sedate you, so I could do these tests, and the next two were to counter the sedation, and an imune system amplifier. You're all clear of any foriegn substances, so you can go get all cleaned up, and rest. Mainly clean though cause you smell pretty bad."

"Well that's what happens when you're all covered in blood, but I'll be going now, cause my bed is calling me." Vince stood up, giving his sister a hug," I am glad to see you though, it's nice."

She half hugged him then stepped back," Maybe for you but god you smell horrible, get out of here….."

Vince just smiled back at her, and she returned the gesture. As he stepped outside of sickbay, he smiled again, thankful that another person he knew really well was on the same ship as him again.

It seemed like almost seconds and he was standing in front of his quarters, looking at the door, starting to day dream about his bed, and the shower awaiting him………..
Anthony Trann
12-28-2007, 09:48:22 PM
USS HAWKING SHUTTLE BAY: Inside the converted Shuttlecraft Rhinocrates:

Anthony Trann pounded on the forward viewscreen, the only method by which he could see the figures on the shuttle bay deck. All propulsion and drive technology had been stripped from the shuttle by Simon and his crew; the small craft was fit for nothing but quarrentine now. Even life support had been removed, for of what use was oxygen to those who did not breathe? Minimal air was being pumped in via a tube through the rear thruster. Yet Trann was alive still. Whatever contagion that he had contracted via zombie bite had yet to take his life entirely. There was still hope.

Trann pounded again on the viewscreen, distraught, and unstable he viewed his surroundings. Conciosness had not reached him, and he had only just consolidated his position.

He wasn't in heaven, no, hell was were he was kept now. Trann slumped against a corner, then bursted out screaming in pain.

Why was he kept in here, he asked himself. Trann walked to and from across the small chamber, wavering in and out of conciousness, at moments he blacked out, and then found himself awake banging on the viewscreen.

Trann questioned himself, dragging his feet back and forth. He found himself laughing, rushing around, leaping for joy, and moments after screaming in agony.

Why have they no done anything, no visitors, calm, Trann was anything but calm. He slowed his breathing, then lost conciousness, and then once again found himself leaping around in joy, them being pulled back…

Any hope for sanity, was lost for him now…
Harry Finn
12-29-2007, 11:29:33 PM
::Sickbay::

Another unfortunate from the away team was lying, mostly still, on a biobed where he’d been sent directly from the transporter in Main Cargo. It had been a tough extraction, according to the tech, due to the suit’s masking of the wearer’s life signs, a fact which the biobed’s sensors supported.

The suit, they quickly learned from his fellow team members, contained Torrik Nils, and the limited readings from the medical scanners indicated that it was delivering random electric shocks to the body within, which could conceivably wreak havoc on his heart or scramble his neurons but it was impossible to assess the scope of the damage through the sepulchral armor.

A clearly conflicted Dr. Munro ordered her staff to ‘get the suit off’ even as she raced to her lab where she could download and translate the information she’d saved on the virus. Every part of her wanted to be with Nils, to do what she could to save him but a cure to the virus had to take precedence… no one knew for certain how many of the away team had been infected… and what if the virus mutated?

No, her duty was to find a cure, and quickly.

Unfortunately for Nils, the suit’s removal hadn’t been so simple, since touching the shorting-out armor had managed to shock Miller into complete insensibility, as well.

Finally Joseph Bramley came over, hefting a fire extinguisher, “Stand back,” he ordered, before spraying the CO2 over the twitching form of the Hawking’s Chief Science Officer. The sparking suit froze, as he’d hoped, and donning a pair of surgical gloves, he quickly released the helmet and then the rest of the killer armor.

“We could use a doctor over here,” Houlva called out as the biobed began delivering a precise reading of the damage done by both the suit and the sudden cold. In moments, what few hands were left available in the overrun sickbay joined in this latest front-line battle against death.

Originally posted on 2 January 2008 by T'Shaini


L'mek had been transported out first. That had been a problem, he was driving.

Jackson and Camenze were still hanging onto the back of the truck as it hurtled though the desert, driverless. Jackson had been the first to realize as the truck slowed down and he yelled forward, getting no response. "TARAY!" he shouted, and signaled her to look in the mirror to where she could see the driver. Or, where he was supposed to be. She looked back at Jackson, her face confirming what he thought he saw… but didn't want to.

"Oh Shi….." At that moment, as panic set in, they both felt the pull of the transporter, lifting them off into a thousand million pieces.

"…T!" They both stood on the pad in the main cargo bay, half blind from having come in from the desert sun, looking around the room and then at each other.

Then they burst out laughing. Jackson took one step toward Camenze and swooped her up in a huge hug, swinging her around. "Damn, girl! We got out!" He placed her back down on her feet, gave her a moment to steady herself, then let go.

At that moment they were descended upon by medical staff. Camenze was separated from Jackson and quickly barraged with questions which mainly centered around asking if she had been bitten. Suddenly her cloths were being stripped from her, her sword thrown to the ground, her head inspected for bites, her blood drawn, her….she could no longer keep track. She went limp, letting the staff do what they must. She though for a moment about where L'mek could be, then realize he must have been transported to SickBay to help the more injured. After what seemed like forever she found herself sitting on the floor, alone, with a jump suit wrapped around her and an "all clear" mark on her arm. She thought abut putting the suit on but at the moment that seemed like a lot of work. It was covering all the parts humans blushed over, she would worry about it in a bit. For now, she just sat. She let the thought wash over her of how she had started this adventure naked at a dinner and now she was naked in a cargo bay.

Jackson face suddenly appeared in her vision. "Hay, Kid. Good job. Saved my butt down there a few times."

"And you saved mine. We make an good team."

"Yeah, we do, ever thought about engineering? I could use a partner."

She laughed, "No, but I do love fixing and building things."

"Well, speaking of that, I'm off, they must be needing a hand down there." He put his hand on the side of her face, "Hang in there, kid, you are OK…uh, J'Kell." And with that he walked off.

Camenze looked down at the floor decking, closed her eyes and listen around the bay. They must have been the last team up, the space had cleared out of almost everyone. She opened her eyes and looked over to where her sword had fallen. There were nicks in the blade, sand in the hilt, blood stains and bits of gore still attached to it. Her mother would kill her for such bad treatment of a weapon. She signed, realizing that once she had ground out the nicks it would no longer be a fit fighting weapon. She could not replicate a new one, a sword must be given or it was bad luck.

She's have to wait to see if a new one came to her as a gift.

She leaned against the wall, knowing she should see where she could be of help. But, just for a moment, she simply sat in the quite dark of the cargo bay, adrenaline draining from her, the back of her head leaning against the wall, trying not to let her mind go to the horrible things that she had just survived.

She did not even notice the tears sliding down her cheeks.

Originally posted on2 January 2008 by Camenze Taray.


The doors to the turbolift opened and Caius bounded out. Relief flooded Tanis. They were running out of ammo, but certainly not out of zombies. "Captain said to let her blow," Cay said.

"About time! How long, Jameson?" Tanis said.

"One minute."

"Detonate!" she said. Jameson pressed a button he'd attached to his ammo straps and it blinked red. She and Jameson mowed down another row to give them time to get to a Jeffries tube without being overrun. "Let's move!" she said.

Cay had opened the entrance to the Jeffries tube on their level and motioned everyone inside. Tanis led the way and scrambled up the narrow ladder. She trusted Caius to lock the door on his way in, and wished the tube sported the same ablative as the hull. The bulbous backside of Gran loomed up as they met the bridge crew coming down the ladder.

"Stop where you are, Gran!"

He replied with a grunt. She looked down to make sure everyone was in the tube. Looked past Jameson below her, to Caius. He was inside, but half his body was outside, both arms pulling on the door to the tube.

"It's stuck!" he said. He pulled harder. "Unnhh!"

"Sh**!" Tanis said.

"Hold on!" Jameson said. He slid down the ladder, holding onto the railing, and landed in a tight fit next to Cay. They both pulled, and Tanis calculated they had exactly 7.3 seconds.

"I'll take the blow! I'm half Vulcan," Tanis said, sliding down the ladder to practically land on Jameson. "You two get up the ladder."

"Don't even think about it!" Caius said. He and Jameson strained against the door, pressing their bodies against the wall of the tube. Tanis thought the veins in their necks would burst open.

KABLOW!

The explosion ripped. Black smoke roiled toward the door just Cay and Jameson closed it. The tube shook, a boom sounded, and Tanis hoped against all else that Gran's grip on the ladder would hold.

It didn't.

Gran's backside landed on her head, and they tumbled down in a heap at the feet of Caius and Jameson, who were pinned against the wall. She lifted Gran up, to give herself space to breathe, but the shaking loosened her hold, and he fell back down on her face. Tanis decided to hold her breath. The jarring finally stopped, and Jameson and Cay lifted Gran off of her and pushed him up the ladder. Cay bent over her.

"Tanis! Are you all right?" Caius said.

"I'm good, sir. Just relieved that Gran doesn't have irritable bowel syndrome."

The lights flickered, black-and-white staccato across Tanis' field of vision. A voice, deep and resonant, said, <You may block my children, but I am omnipresent.>

"Who the hell is that?" Caius said.

Tanis got to her feet. "Tennyson, and he gives me the creeps. Let's get upstairs."

::. Meanwhile, On the Bridge .::

"Pev!" Nathan called out, his hands gliding over his console as he worked to access Expedition's auto-destruct. "How's it going with the Transporters?"

"Well, sir, here's the problem," replied Pev, staring intently at the control panel. "I've had to sever all connection with the Hawking, including our transporter lock, so that Tennyson cannot gain access to the ship. At the rate he has infected the systems, I believe any contact with another vessel will allow him the opportunity to transmit himself. We need to find a way to trap him here. There is a bright spot, however."

"Yeah?"

Pev smiled at his CO. "If we explode, he explodes."

The S'ti'ach stared at the panel for a moment, contemplating. Suddenly, he pulled his comm badge from his uniform and popped it open, then began fiddling with the insides.

"Dude, we're running out of options here," said Nathan, still working furiously to bypass the displaced Zombie King's encryptions. "He's blocking everything I do almost before I do it." the teen gave a fleeting thought to simply reaching into the computer with his assimilation tubules and working through the interference with his Borg appendage, but quickly dismissed it as too risky. He wasn't even sure if it were possible, but he shuddered to think of what could happen should Tennyson use the little robots to further his own design, or worse, infiltrate HIM. He'd have to figure something else out.

Pev nodded, but kept working, his tongue jutting out slightly from his lips. At last, "I have a plan," Pev said with certainty. Closing up the back of the comm badge again, he ran across the bridge and over to the ready room doors, which opened with a tortured hiss. Moments later, the S'ti'ach came running back in.

"Open a hailing frequency to the Hawking," said Pev as he made a series of adjustments on his workstation.

"But you said…"

"Aye sir," replied the XO with a wink.

Nathan went to tap his com badge, but stopped short, realizing what Pev was trying to do. Instead, the young captain manipulated the controls, attempting to link with the Hawking. At first, because the only thing he'd attempted thus far was to derail the deposed despot, Tennyson attempted to block him. < I am in everything here. > He had chastised. < Why do you resist me? It is Futile. > At that, Nathan stopped working and simply stared at the screen in disbelief. He frowned, shaking his head before returning to his work.

"F**k you." He muttered, keying in another attempt at communication with the Hawking. Finally, after another try, Tennyson realized what the teen was doing. He then made it all too easy for the captain to carry out his task.

<Thank you,> said Tennyson. <I now have access to your ship. Soon we will be united, you and I, and together rule the stars as master and servant.>

Pev hit the manual override and turned as the doors to the ready room opened once again. In the background, a low humming sound was heard.

<YES,> said Tennyson. <I have you now.>

"Indeed," said Pev, crossing the bridge and motioning for the captain to follow him. In the doorway to the ready room, Pev pointed a clawed finger at the far wall. A bright green liquid was pouring forth from the replicator.

"Uh, Pev," said Nathan, "What is that?"

"That's Tennyson," replied the S'ti'ach. "Well, technically it is my comm badge with Tennyson inside of it attached to the replicator on a repeating loop to create a vanilla mint milkshake. I surmised that he would take the first opportunity to upload himself into our communications array, so I created a self-replicating subroutine that would send him here instead."

"So… He's uh… " Nathan trailed off.

"Yes." a bemused Pev grinned. "He's a tasty stain."

The two of them stood in amusement as the replicator spilled the icy green confection onto the deck. A few moments later, Nathan spoke up. "So. I guess that's that, huh?"

Keeping an eye on the replicator, Pev nodded. "Sir, I believe the radio wave frequency I used to contact the Hawking earlier should still be usable, but I still would not trust standard comm badge frequencies against Tennyson." He glanced at his captain. "We should depart with some haste, before things begin to explode."

"Yeah." Nathan offered in agreement. "Cay and his people ought to be showing up pretty soon. We ought to make sure everyone is off the ship before we beam out."

As if on cue, Tanis spilled out of the Jeffries tube, Jameson and Caius close on her heels. "What'd we miss?" she said, straightening her uniform.

"Tennyson," Pev said, pointing to a foamy bubble.

Tanis and Cay exchanged glances. "Okay, we'll let that be a story told over drinks in Ten Forward," Tanis said. "Here's the important question—did you get a signal to the Hawking?"

"I opened a radio wave frequency, and should be able to use it again to contact them," Pev replied.

Tanis clapped her hands once. "Pardon my boldness, but I would suggest with alacrity."

"We're right with you, Tanis," Nathan said, turning on his heel to walk back out onto the bridge. "Is everyone on your team accounted for?"

"Aye, captain," Caius said. "We're all here."

"Cay and I have the command codes for the ship's destruction," Tanis said. She never thought she'd actually have to use the command, and a pang of loss stabbed her heart. "Computer, engage autodestruction, authorization code Lev Omega 2489. Set it for one minute."

"Computer, confirm auto-destruct sequence, authorization Echelon 39 Psi Upsilon," Cay said.

"Autodestruct sequence initiated," the computer replied.

Nathan tapped the control panel once more. "Get us out of here," said the captain to the Hawking.

Pev continued to stare at the spreading stain that spilled from the replicator to the carpet. One by one, the figures around him shimmered and vanished, claimed once more by the living, until Pev was the only one left. Before he too was claimed, he opened the doomed ship's communication to broadcast shipwide and returned to the doorway.

"Can you hear me?" Pev asked. "I do hope so. Because this is your end. This is the culmination of your grand scheme for domination. You are not the future. You are a puddle on the carpet. An anti-climax. That is your legacy. Nothing more than a joke that will be told in passing over a late-night drink." The S'ti'ach smiled once more, but it was a vengeful and frightening look.

"Let that be your final thought, forever."

Pev shimmered and faded, never taking his eyes off of the ever-expanding pool of liquid, and if there was a reply to his words, they were drowned out in the shimmering embrace of the transport home.

Originally posted on 2 February 2008 by Pev and Nathan Benjamin.


.: Transporter Room :.

No matter how many time he had his molecules ripped from one another, hurtled across the void and reassembled safely on the other side, Nathan always entertained the notion that this could have been the last time. Transporter accidents, while extremely rare - more rare in fact than Shuttle accidents, did happen. His diminutive chief of security could attest to that. This time however, he'd barely had time to check to see if everything was in the right place, much less reflect on the experience before hands of all shapes, colors, sizes and genders grabbed for him. He felt like he was at a rock concert.

"Captain, are you injured?" A voice demanded.

"Have you been bitten sir?" another, more shrill voice wanted to know.

"Permission to carry out General Order twenty Four?"

The last voice, the deepest of the three that had made any sense to him was owned by Cole Enneking, his hand ready to activate the small com badge that would send the affirmative signal to the bridge, and thus set in motion the complete destruction of the nightmare from whence the young captain had just emerged.

"Yes!" He called out to Enneking. The Lieutenant set off and Nathan could see him speaking as he exited the room. The hands however, still demanded his attention and the first voice had also heard him answer in the affirmative. Obviously a medic, his hands soon leapt in front of the others, attempting to thrust the teen onto a waiting gourney.

"No…" Nathan began, but was silenced by an oxygen mask.

"We've got you sir. We're taking you to sickbay"

The teen mumbled his objections through the device, but to no avail. He couldn't be understood and the medic, who'd turned out to be Doctor Chanh was paying less attention to what her captain was saying, and more attention on cutting through his tattered undershirt. He decided that he may as well let the doctor do as she wished with him because on the one hand, she was an almost seven foot tall dinosaur and on the other, he'd end up in sickbay regardless. He'd already given the order to blow the planet. He didn't need to be there to push the button. Figuring that everything was pretty chill at the moment, Nathan simply closed his eyes and relaxed, allowing himself to be pushed along on the gourney.

Perhaps they liked it better when he struggled.

"He's going into Arrest!" the shrill voice returned, ready to save a life. "I'll get the Cordical Stimulator."

Instantly, or at least as soon as the words clear the tympanic membrane and were understood, Nathan's eyes shot open and his hand went for the mask again.

"I'm fine!" He shouted, though it came out muffled, garbled, and he soon had Chanh's clawed hand in his hair, holding his head down as she administered a hypospray. Soon thereafter, mist began working it's way into his vision. Voices trailed off, as though they were walking away form him, and even without his shirt he felt warm. Seconds later the mist overtook him.

…………………

From a stable orbit, a satellite beacon recorded the loosing of ten photon torpedoes, each carrying a double payload and spread across the two main continents of the planet beneath. For the first time in the history of the Federation, a Starfleet vessel had unleashed the final solution. Obedient to programming, the small buoy chronicled the manufactured death of a planet. Each torpedo hit its mark and, from the silence of space, softly bloomed in overlapping circles of white-hot annihilation. In a series of understated minutes, what had been a blue-green gem hanging serenely in the firmament, was nothing more than shifting patterns of dead-hued gray.

Originally posted on 1 February 2008 by Nathan Benjamin and Harry Finn.


Satellite buoy Hawking Epsilon 004619

Lay down your head and sleep, sleep
I'll be your pillow soft and deep
Leave me your troubles, I will keep
Your days gone by
Your days gone by

Lulled by the remembered voice of his beloved Shiel, taken by the first war, Lerad nestled into his new sanctuary. The recollection of his wife singing to the infant Abselem, who had been lost in the final conflict, soothed the disruption he'd experienced in his flight to this haven.

The transition had been… painful was a word with which he no longer had familiarity - pure neural energy was not privy to such a sensation… but there had been a laceration of thought which would not soon be forgotten. It had been earned when he'd sacrificed a portion of his being to the alien vessel. The Benjamin had thought to entrap him with his many decoys - it seemed only right, only fair, only just - to ape his tactics, the better to further his own.

For while that slathering scintilla of his personality had occupied the blatant imperfections in their grounded ship, the better part of Lerad Tennyson had fled the field. Coursing from the fallen tower through the neurogenic network which were his children, he zeroed in on the readiest route to survival. A small device, fallen in the desert but possessed of just enough of the Benjamin's unique makeup to enable his search for a new base.

Fortune again smiled upon him as he had found, quite quickly, a satellite. Created by the murderers, it was nonetheless a well-made repository for his essence and so, enhanced by the nanites (truly these devices bore more than a touch of the Divine), it had been the work of a moment to upload himself, arriving in time to witness to the wanton destruction of Halcyon itself. Mindless, chaotic and brutal, these creatures who had invaded his world had now taken it upon themselves to end it, as casually as one might snuff out a candle.

A cataract of rage and grief slid through the circuitry of dead Halcyon's newest satellite, along with the devastating realization that his children had not been perfect.

A portion of energy was given over to this thought. After all, it was a poor scientist, and a worse parent, who could not admit to mistakes. His experiment had been flawed: his children, though obedient, had been unable to adapt to the random nature of the invaders' attacks. Even the eldest, beloved and honored, had fallen beneath the internal assaults of the Costala consciousness… aided by the Finn imperfection's endless hammering from without. Even Lerad, himself had fallen prey to his own overconfidence in dealing with the thief, the child of the Prophets who had disrupted his hold on the children.

The now-dead children.

The vessel was departing. He could 'see' through the satellite's sensors and, having briefly been one with the nanites, he could now read the ship's designation. Hawking.

There will be time, he thought, time to make revisions of his visions. Time to rest and grow and learn and, perhaps, someday, there would come time for a reckoning, as well.

Lay down your head and sleep, sleep
I will be pleased your soul to keep
Give yourself over to the deep
Of days gone by
Of days gone by

Hawking.

Written thanks to a brainstorming collaboration containing T'Shaini, Nate, Nils and Tennys… I mean, Harry… right, Harry

Lyrics from "Lay Down Your Head" as sung by Audra McDonald
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CtjTt_ORxJA

Originally posted on 1February 2008 by Nathan Benjamin, T'Shaini, and Harry Finn.


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