Stained Glass

This section of Smoke & Mirrors features the following NPCs:
Caterina-1.jpg- Catarina Costala
Thorne.jpg- Mikhail Thorne

USS Hawking
Jeffries Tube - Deck 8

Redrum Murral was having difficulty concentrating. Scott… his name had been Scott… the scientist again had to force his thoughts away from the surprised young man’s face as Finn had so deftly come up behind and…

… the hideous cracking sound of the Human’s neck wouldn’t stop echoing through the Bajoran’s memory.

“Focus,” the quiet abjuration came from his superior.

Dressed as one of the Hawking’s Security force, where he conveniently had a double, Malkat was casually looming over Murral as he made the final adjustments to his interface technology. He’d needed to jury rig the uplink from Harpo to the EPS trunk but, from the feedback he was reading on his tricorder, the USS Hawking was friendly to the IAS coding.

“This… it… I’m ready to take the program live, sir,” the ensign said, his hands shaking only a bit, now that the more delicate work had been accomplished. “But, there will be a blip in the USS sensors as the connection is made. They might not know what is happening, but they’ll know something is.”

“The rift’s odd behavior may be of assistance with that,” Zal said calmly. “However,” he closed his eyes a moment, mentally tallying his forces, both on and off the USS Hawking, “another diversion might be welcome.” He opened his eyes and began moving towards the tube’s exit. “Remain here. Wait for my signal.”

“What’s the…”

“You’ll know…” and with that, the image of Zal Govan was out of the tube and striding purposefully down the corridor. He offered a friendly nod to the young lady from Security… the intensely chatty one, as she passed by, humming something which, even to his soldierly ears, was of a romantic nature.

Featuring NPC's IAS Ensign Redrum Murral and Gul Zal Malkat (dressed as Zal Govan) and the fleeting presence of Darby Saunders
Originally Posted 11/12/08 by Harry Finn

-IAS Hawking-
-Main Engineering-

She didn't so much care that the security officers had been sticking to the other Javier and T'Shaini like flies on crap, that was their job of course; but Caterina was concerned with the fact that her sabotage of the IAS Hawking's systems would go much smoother if no one was around to cast suspicion on her. Shuffling the security officers back to the door had given her more space to begin what was considered an act of treason against the Alliance. If she was caught, all she could hope for was a quick death. Better that than being captured and tortured into insanity by the ship's doctor.

The engineer quickly entered the new algorithms she had calculated into the systems console beside the warp core. It was a small program that functioned much like a diagnostic search would except that it ran in a never-ending cycle. The program would cram information into the systems that monitored the magnetic force-fields that contained the plasma that was piped into the core. So much information was being dumped into the system that it would eventually collapse under the 'weight' and cause a cascade failure. Then the program would focus on the force-fields themselves, once again dumping information into the system until it also failed. There would be no alert until the lines ruptured and plasma heated to 3 million degrees Kelvin would burn its way through Engineering, literally disemboweling the ship.

In the ten minutes and with one final tap on the console, the program started to work. How long do I have? An hour, two at the most. What do I do..act like nothing's wrong and continue to work. I wonder what T'Shaini is dealing with on the other Hawking. Her thoughts returned to their conversation and the 'fight' that had pre-empted Cat's removal from the USS Hawking. The truth had been laid bare to her. Both women had looked at each other and spoken to one another as people. Neither had spoken with the idea that they were conversing with Javier's other woman.

Caterina glanced over at the copy of Javier. The need to speak to him was no longer as pressing as it had once been. I've accepted that my husband is dead. She turned her eyes to the other T'Shaini but found that nothing about this woman interested her.

"Assistant-Chief Costala," she froze at the voice, Kalar had quietly approached her from behind, "I need to speak with you in my office concerning your fitness evaluation." The male Cardassian placed his hands on her upper arms. "Don't keep me waiting," Kalar lowered his greasy tone to add before drawing away.

If I don't go he'll know something is wrong. Caterina told herself. She had dodged his invitations for almost a year and now Kalar had had enough of her refusals. He was ordering her to give in to him. I can elude him. I can..

You would do this? Why?

I would do it for..


Caterina followed the path that Kalar had set. She took small comfort in knowing that she would be able to see his face clearly when he was informed that his department was about to burn in the fires of Hell.

Featuring Catarina Costala
Originally Posted 11/12/08 by Javier Costala

IAS Hawking
Main Engineering

Mental head slap, "You have his survival instincts," Anderson informed the Starfleet officer, "and we all know what happened to our Costala. But… okay," meeting each gaze briefly, "the IAS is a threat to your Hawking… but it's not the only threat…."

"Okay so your Javier isn't around anymore," Lieutenant Costala stated, he was getting tired of being reminded of that fact. It was almost like he, or rather this other Javier, had failed to live up to his full potential and had become some sort of example for why the Alliance status quo existed. "Can we get past that detail and discuss why.."

As the unbidden phrase forced itself into her consciousness, T'Shaini suddenly swayed as if she had been knocked off-balance. 'Because of you…. 'How many have died, because of you…' The phrase opened up into a giant maw…falling…falling…she could see a temple, ringed with open caskets, shining orbs pulsating in the darkness lending an otherworldly light to the chamber. It felt as if a giant wave had crashed over her, the undertow dragging at her soul. Heat, sorrow and pain…so much pain. Harry Her hand reached out to steady herself on Javier's shoulder as her knees buckled with the intensity of it. "Harry…" She looked into Javier's puzzled face. "Harry is here…and something else…something indescribably evil…"

Before the Starfleet engineer could respond, a surge in the lighting caught the attentions of the staff, spurring a small flurry of activity around the trio.

"More rift activity," one engineer muttered as he reviewed the internal diagnostics.

Whatever the issue, Seth at least was grateful for the distraction. T'Shaini's sudden declaration, while not overly vocal, had been intense enough to draw more than one pair of eyes.

Javier had placed his hands on either side of T'Shaini's waist, steadying her and ready to hold up the counselor if necessary. The thing about Harry in pain..the dream, but she's not asleep..something is wrong. And now, a dream in broad daylight? Maybe it's stress or just exhaustion? the engineer told himself as he tried to reason why T'Shaini would have a hallucination, vision or whatever while awake. "Do you need to return to the ship?" he asked in a quiet, concerned voice. "Perhaps Jillian will know why this is happening to you?"

"No…well, yes.." Gathering herself, T'Shaini tried to sound like she was not losing her mind. "But I think I know." And this is the result of disregarding any exploration of the Vulcan mental capacity. "I believe what I saw."

"I'm not saying I don't, but I still think it would be wise to have a doctor.." the engineer started to reply.

"He was here," Seth said, "that's the thing I was trying to tell you… he was… last anyone knew, your Finn was in the labs… the guy on your Hawking…"

"Is your Harry…" The counselor's voice dropped to a harsh whisper.

"Is that bastard who tried to stab me!" Javier said, his statement half a second behind T'Shaini's. "Of course there are two Harry's.."

"But how?" Now that the truth had sunk in, it made little sense. "The differences began to surface…" T'Shaini remembered the odd look preceding his offer to step down on the bridge. "directly after Girjian."

Seth glanced about quickly, so far, so good, "Yes, then. We found… the High Priest found an Orb and he sent Harry down to the planet… I don't know what happened there but your Finn is the one who came back aboard. But, I doubt he's still alive… what Munro can do to a person…"

So your an evil doctor? Javier thought.

"He is." Her voice was low. "He is alive." T'Shaini grabbed Seth's shoulder. "Where is he?"

"Where's Harry now?" he asked, once more, half a second later.

"I don't know and you're both missing the point… the man on your Hawking is setting up an invasion.. that's the priority, not the probably dead guy…"

"I'll go get him, you go back to the ship and warn them?" Javier suggested to T'Shaini. It didn't take him long to realize that they had two very tough choices and very little time in which to decide how to overcome them.

"Again, missing the point," Anderson wondered what color the sky was on their respective planets, "you can't go get him… you're under guard… if he's even alive, he's under guard… go home, let me take this ship out of the equa…"

"Mister Anderson!" peremptory call interrupted, "if you're quite finished socializing… we have some issues, here."

"Damn," Seth swore then turned back, "Go home, take care of her… the people you know can be saved." With that, the morose Human crossed to the Cardassian lieutenant who'd called him.

As soon as the area had cleared, T'Shaini leaned in closer to Javier. "Yes, I can go back…" She cupped his face with her hand. "Are you sure?"

"The marines had a saying: 'Never leave anyone behind.' I'm not going to start now," the engineer said as he looked past her at their guards. "I can take one, maybe both of them, but one would be easier." Javier looked into T'Shaini's eyes again. "Good luck, I love you." He wanted to kiss her but that might bring more unwanted attention in their direction, so Javier covered her hand with his own instead. He waited a few moments, quietly sharing a meaningful look with T'Shaini.

JP Tee and Javi, featuring NPC Seth Anderson (written by Harry Finn)
Originally Posted 11/12/08 by T'Shaini

Emily recognized the name. Where had she heard it before…..Gorsky!. He's mentioned something about Anderson and her going a little wild and something about a full betazoid.

"You're rather famous around this ship," Emily said, pushing into unknown territory. Gorsky's reaction had been odd and had perked her curiosity. Although she hadn't asked during the moment she had thought of it afterwards and wished she had, " I haven't heard the full story but when I mentioned being half betazoid someone got a little nervous and mentioned an occurrence with you."

She wasn't sure the response she would get but she had to ask, "What happened." then realized she hadn't even introduced herself, "Jeesh, how rude of me. Emily Star, random fellow security officer of your day," she held out a hand, "Nice to meet you."

Jenny, hands conveniently full of the mug of cold hot cocoa, forewent the familiarity of a handshake. She wondered if the professed half-Betazoid could sense emotional black hole her question had opened. Famous? Because of Chuck's perverted mind games? Who's talking? What are they saying? Too much and yet not enough to spare this sort of humiliation, that was for sure. No one in Security would have talked; Jameson would sit on them if they did… right? "Chief, I'm sorry but, that's… it's a private matter and I doubt it's relevant to why you needed the First Officer." She heard the computer beep the completion of its task and shut down the link to the Romulan Empire's third dynasty, if only to give herself something to look at other than the curious woman's too-frank expression.

"I'm sorry," Emily got the vibe to back off, "Do you know when he will be back? I've just got a few questions for him. "

Relieved at Star's easy dismissal of the topic, Jenny managed a half smile before looking back to the computer, "No, he's been called away by issues with the IAS. If you'd like I can leave him a.. ahh,” she stuttered to a halt, finally seeing the words blazoned across the desktop unit's screen, “note…?”

And now the mug of cocoa fell to the desk, splattering across the cluttered surface in sticky remonstrance, fingers of the tainted liquid reaching out as if unwilling to give up the intended mark but Jen didn’t notice that; nor did she hear the other woman’s worried query. She couldn’t see anything beyond the coldly shining words which had lurked beneath the Machiavellian exploits of Romulas’ children.

I’m sorry for everything, for leaving this way but, beyond all the nightmare’s Chuck left me with, I can no longer deny that it was my mistakes which led to Ben’s death. And now, seeing a man who could be my father’s ghost… I find I want to be with him… Jenny Anderson.

This was one of those moments where Emily didn't have to be half betazoid to know something was wrong. The woman's face seemed to pale, her eyes tuned out as if attached to the screen. Even her breath seemed to pause as time continued. Emily had already crossed a line asking a question before thinking. She didn't want to cause more discomfort, but this time she had to say something, "I'm sorry this is a bad time…I think.." she paused, " Are you alright?"

"I don't… I…" but then, what do you say when you discover that, without your knowledge, you'd been about to commit suicide? "I don't know."

JP with Finn as Anderson and me!
Originally Posted 11/14/08 by Emily Star

:: USS Hawking ::
:: Deck 3 ::

The buzz Nils felt since asking Jillian to marry him still rattled inside his head. Certainly the circumstances threatened to edge his happiness away, but even Purcell’s dire warning about fluctuations in the spatial rift didn’t put a dent in his personal euphoria. Having just spoken with his friend, those thoughts, too, still spun in opposition to the good stuff. He fully intended returning to Lincoln in order to work through that mystery. But this moment had been foremost in his mind for hours…

The door to his quarters slid open and he stepped through. Instantly, the presence of someone else pinged his senses. His hopes that the CMO was already waiting for him faded when he caught site of the First Acolyte. But even though his visit was unexpected, Nils felt pleased to see the mirror of his younger brother.

“Welcome back,” the CO said smiling broadly. “I didn’t expect you to be back so soon!”

“Yes…well…” The acolyte seemed nervous. He even backed away cautiously when Nils closed the distance between them. The CO’s hands on the acolyte’s shoulder almost elicited a violent response, but the smile on Nils’ face kept the acolytes behavior in check. He can’t know… There is no way he knows…

“I want to thank you,” Nils said warmly. “Our conversation in the holodeck spurred me into action and…well… You’re the first person I’ve mentioned it to, but…” The Bajoran paused and his already broad smile beamed ever more brightly. He couldn’t believe the words he was about to say for the first time. “I’m going to marry Jillian Munro. You were right… If we feel this way about each other then we…” Suddenly Nils' expression fell. Something in the acolyte’s demeanor seemed…off. “What’s the matter.”

A deep cold permeated the First’s chest. An emotion he’d never experienced surfaced and left him reeling. Regret? Guilt? Unable to name the feeling, he remained silent. In fact, he tried to speak, but found no words. Something about this Nils’ happiness became remarkably important to him. And for the first time in his life, he looked on a this face that he’d always known and felt…affection.

“Jachin, what’s wrong?” Nils squeezed the younger man’s shoulder and examined his eyes. “Are you okay?”

“I… The Ascended have… High Priest Torrik said…” The world spun and truths he’d held as foundational began to crumble. The knowledge of good and evil birthed in his Pagh. “Wait,” he called loudly holding up his hand.

“Wait for what?” Nils asked before he felt the hypospray on his neck. The tell tale hiss of injection came a millisecond later then his body betrayed him. As he collapsed, unable to catch himself, he realized that Jachin’s word hadn’t been meant for him, but for whoever had just come up behind him. His head cracked against the floor and his eyes rolled in his head. Clinging to consciousness he caught site of Harry Finn standing over him. That’s when he finally accepted the fact that something was terribly awry.

Featuring Torrik Jachin
Originally Posted 11/14/08 by Torrik Nils

:: USS Hawking ::
:: Captain's Quarters ::

Finn prodded the inert Torrik with his boot. "How long is this crap supposed to keep him paralyzed?" he asked, noting that the Bajoran's eyes were open, the man fully aware of what was happening to him but, thanks to whatever drug the Nameless Numbnuts had supplied, completely unable to do anything about it.

"I'm not sure…" The First felt nauseated. His breath came in bouts and panic welled up on the periphery of his perception. Questioning his purpose and function as the First acolyte had never been a part of the equation. "We should have plenty of time." He looked down and locked eyes with the man who looked like his brother. Though the muscles in his face were paralyzed, the sentiment of betrayal was unmistakable. With his chin quivering he continued, "Its effects vary in relation to the dosage. And I'm unsure… We should have plenty of time," he repeated nervously.

Harry's fist bunched in the acolyte's robes as he hauled the kid up, "Be sure. I need five minutes to clear this area before you activate the transport," he jerked his chin at the youth's transporter recall. "Sensors are going to pick it up and I can't be anywhere nearby when that happens." Seeing the short, terrified nod, he sighed, put the kid down and slapped his backup Type 1 into the mini-Torrik's hand. "If he starts to wiggle, shoot him. I'm outta here," and so saying, Malkat's tool turned towards the door.

The double doors swished open before Jillian even had a chance to activate the door chime, forcing her out of the dreamy wedding fantasy she was enjoying while walking to the Captain's quarters. She stepped back with a slight startle and dropped the bottle of wine she was holding. Expecting to be greeted by her fiance, she was instead staring directly into the eyes of the ship's XO, "Ohhh…" She gasped as she smacked her hand across her chest, "…Harry, you scared me half to death." She smiled warmly while bending down to pick up her unbroken bottle of wine, "I didn't know you…" Her words slipped away as her eyes trailed upwards to the figure standing behind Harry, it was Torrik Jachin. She had never actually met the first acolyte, but recognized his faces from photos.

Though he'd never met this Jillian Munro, he knew her to be this Torrik Nils' love. And her presence at this time seized his heart in fear. He'd never known true fear. One can't fear when one doesn't care. Looking back and forth from Dr. Munro to Harry Finn, the young man silently wished for a peaceful resolution. His first reaction was to pray to the Ascended for intervention… Then he remembered peace rarely held sway where the Lonely Ones were involved.

"Thank the gods you're here," Finn exclaimed, placing an arm around Munro's shoulder, stifling a cold shudder as he did so. Steering the confused woman past the statue of the Nameless One, he directed her towards the fallen Torrik Nils and, as she jerked in response to seeing him, managed to pluck away the doctor's combadge before she dropped to her knees, eyes filled with worry, "He just… collapsed… we don't know what happened," he tossed the badge aside and stood behind the woman on the floor.

She cradled his head in her hands and examined both eyes, she could tell that he was focused on her, but something wasn't right, "Nils…" She slid her hand down to his neck and checked his pulse. Normal. She shook her head in confusion, "I…I don't understand…" Panic began to manifest. She looked back at Harry, "He's conscious. but…" She went to tap her COMM badge but felt nothing.

He'd have done it, anyway. The mission's parameters didn't allow for the continued existence of a witness but the fact that it was her and worse, that she and the lump of flesh she held were so clearly at one with each other… in a way he'd only ever dreamed… the very dream that Munro had used to twist Harry to the Alliance's purposes well… that only made his actions the sweeter, didn't it? So it was that, when Jillian Munro looked up at him, eyes filled with concern and love and innocence and all the things to which he'd been denied, it was the most natural thing in the world for Harry Finn to wrap his hands around that small, delicate throat and begin to squeeze…

"Finn," called the First, his voice straining with panic. "Finn! No!" Diving over the fallen form of this woman's love, the young man collided with the mass of humanity - one struggling for life - one struggling to snuff it out. "Let her go!" His fingers tore at Finn's trying to weaken his grasp, but to no avail.

Without even sparing a glance, Harry let loose with one heaving swipe, backhanding the interference to the floor, atop his brother's prone image. His eyes, though, his eyes were all for Munro… not this Munro but the effigy of his hate and for him, for now, that was enough. As her lips began to blue and the frantic struggles ease, he lowered her, that her lover might be party to the woman's last, terrified moments. They'd made him nothing but a tool… a weapon powered on hate…

She could feel something cold trickle from her eye and down the side of her face and it was at the moment that she realized, she was going to die. She closed her eyes and couldn't help but think of what was happening to her body. The sustained pressure would cause congestion and blueness on her tongue, pharynx and larynx. There would be hemorrhaging under the skin of her neck and bruising of the strap muscles. She didn't want to die. She didn't want to go like this…not like this. As she struggled to hang on to her last bit of strength, she opened her eyes and looked at Nils, one last time.

Almost.. almost. Harry knew better than most the moment the body gave up the battle and let loose what, he'd once believed, was its soul. Leaning down now, he put his lips next to her ear, "Put out the light," he whispered as that last, infinitesimal bit of life faded from existence, "and put out the light," he dropped her, limp, empty, void of anything anyone would ever have called love.

A sudden blaring of klaxons pulled his eyes away from the dead woman and her stricken man, "It's started," he said to no one in particular, before glancing down at the wreck of the acolyte. "You can go, now."

Trapped inside his own body, Nils had watched it all. Unable to move… Unable to raise a finger… Helpless even to call for help, the Bajoran lay watching as Harry Finn killed the person who'd brought light back to his life. It was a nightmare made real, but the stark reality of it all made even a nightmare pale in comparison. Frozen in paralysis he looked at the lifeless body of Jillian. Jils… He wanted to cry, but even tears wouldn't come. Betrayed by his body, even the natural beginnings of grief were unavailable to him. Weak sobs of 'I'm sorry,' echoed somewhere about him, but he couldn't identify the source. It seemed unimportant. All he wanted to do was scoop Jillian up and squeeze her… To pull her life from the ether before it strayed too far and force it back into her body. Mere inches from him on the floor, her lifeless eyes gazed somewhere off, through the hull of the USS Hawking and out into the galaxy beyond. As he stared at her the first tear escaped from his eye in revolution against the chemical coursing through him. He felt a small surge of victory as the tear traced a line down the side of his face. But the victory was cold and without joy…

Some stirring and motion about his quarters preceeded the common sensation of transporter energy taking his atomic structure captive. He could not protest, no matter how badly he wanted to as he was ripped apart one molecule at a time and separated eternally from Jillian. The universe suddenly felt very lonely…again.

A Joint Post by Torrik Jachin, MU Harry Finn, Torrik Nils and Jillian Munro.
Originally Posted 11/14/08 by Jillian Munro

USS Hawking

“Right,” Usher Tenanji, satisfied that Atwood had the research into the tractor emitter’s failure well in hand, turned to Fehr, who’d been waiting with scarcely veiled impatience for the chance to speak with his Chief, “now, what brought you away from your post?”

Fehr wasted no time and no words, quietly laying out Dr. Schaeffer’s concerns regarding the Hawking’s First Officer… including the Pah Wraith theory, though he wasn’t sure that was the answer to the man’s highly uncharacteristic behavior.

Listening, Tenanji’s features went, if possible, even more stone-like, “That is completely unlike him,” he assured his lieutenant. “Finn is, if anything, overprotective of women.” And this, in concert with Star’s worries… and his own unease in Finn’s actions regarding the Girijan orb… “I believe it is time we had a conversation with…”

A sudden sounding of alarms from the Ops station drew both men's attention .

“What’s happ…”

“The aft work pod has been jettisoned,” T’Preen announced coolly.

“By whom…”

“Unknown… but the nearest life sign has a Cardassian bio signature.”

Fehr looked to his superior, “That narrows it down,” he said, “Only three full-blooded Cardassians are currently on board.” He was already moving towards the ‘lift, “and only one with any kind of motive for…”

But now a new series of alarms were blaring, and these from Tactical.

“Report,” Tenanji ordered, waving Fehr onwards. While the Elasian called for a team to report to deck eight and seek out Gul Malkat, Usher joined Rak’h at the tactical console.

“Sir,” the deep rumble responded, “someone is… taking control of our tactical systems…”

“Which systems?”

The Klingon, hands dancing with surprising grace over the controls, hissed, “All of them. Internal sensors, weapons, shields… the Hawking’s defenses have been compromised… I can’t even get a diagnostic started…”

“Red alert… phasers out and set to maximum stun…”

“Multiple transports are occurring, decks fourteen, eight, three…”

“We are being hailed by the IAS Hawking,” T’Preen’s announcement interrupted the dire report.

Usher, face utterly impassive, held up a hand “Locate the Captain,” he told T’Preen, then he glanced at Rak’h and back towards Fehr, at the turbolift, his sidearm drawn and waiting for orders, “order the team to go ghost, any who haven’t, yet.”

“I am sorry, Lieutenant, but the Captain is no longer aboard… it is possible he was transported off during the initial boarding… and the IAS has powered up their weapons.”

“Still no access to shields,” Rak’h answered the unasked question.

“Of course,” Tenanji turned to face the uncertainty of their future, “onscreen,” he ordered and, as the now-overly smug face of Captain Bayal Paven appeared, placed his faith firmly in the abilities of the Hawking’s Security force, who were with luck, even now, disappearing into the tunnels and crawlspaces of the vessel, preparing to fight a guerrilla war of the possession of their ship.

Featuring the bridge Alpha Shift, Usher Tenanji and Fehr
Originally Posted 11/14/08 by Harry Finn

USS Hawking

They moved silently in pairs, spreading throughout the ship, immobilizing targets as were their orders. T'Shaini, conveniently clumsy, had made enough noise to send warning to the pair of engineers ahead and had them sprinting from the unfamiliar Cardassian who had taken point. With a backhand hard enough to send her against the wall, he growled. "One more mistake like that and I will see you never make it back."

Does he think that is a threat? Much more than any fear of retribution, it was habit that had her falling in line at his words. Clearly word had spread because they met with empty corridor after empty corrider…where was the resistance? The less eventful their foray became the more rage she could feel eminating in waves from Bratyk, only the hope of surprising someone kept his dissatisfied grumbling at bay.

The more unremarkable the journey became, the more T'Shaini's body moved in rote and the more her mind began to wander. How had he done it? Was it betrayal, pure and simple? Of course. It is odd how memory can sometimes supply more detail than you were cognizant of at that time. Remembering the joy that Seth's news of Javier coming for them had brought to her, as she looked back, T'Shaini could see the darkness, then the calculation on Harry's face that had gone unnoticed in the elation of the moment. Stupid…if only…if only I had seen.

The sudden halt of Bratyk pulled her from her reverie.

"This will do."

It took a bare moment for T'Shaini to identify where they were. "I do not think it is necessary for us to target the young, they are of no threat."

"All of them, the ship must be cleansed."

The…contentment she had seen of this ship's T'Shaini, the solace that this Javier had tried to show her, the warmth of the ship and the hatred of Harry propelled her to halt in front of the door. "Surely we can find more worthy targets than children in a schoolroom."

He brushed her aside like so much trash and signaled the door to open, revealing a young pretty human surrounded by primarily human children, in the far corner a pregnant Bajoran woman and what looked to he her offspring…not that their race would deter the Cardassian. The universe around slowed to a halt as T'Shaini saw the woman react in fear, her fear setting a chain reaction of panic within the schoolroom. Slowly, so slowly Bartyk lifted his phaser and began to shoot…but before he could, T'Shaini saw her own hand lift, her finger depress, and the figure before her sink to his knees then crumple to the ground.

With a whoosh time sped back into focus, the young human began to sprint toward her crying her name. "T'Shaini!" Before she could reach her the Vulcan held out a hand. "I am not who you believe me to be." Awareness dawning in her eyes, the human backed away. "Hide, take them farther back, the ventilation system if possible. You are not safe here." With those words she drew the carcass of Bartyk out the door, shutting it behind her. With a glance to determine that yes, she was still alone, T'Shaini continued her progress through the ship with the realization that seen or no, she had likely signed her death warrant. With a slight smile she realized that somehow, somewhere she had begun to hope…to hope that she would return and, with the aid of Caterina, once again work toward the downfall of the Alliance.

If it be now, 'tis not to come; if it be not to come, it will be now; if it be not now, yet it will come: the readiness is all.

Originally Posted 11/14/08 by T'Shaini

-USS Hawking-
-Deck 14-

Beep. Beep Beep.

Nothing. Nothing. Nothing. the engineer told himself as the results of the scan logged negative for a malfunction. Jeremy looked at the tricorder then moved the sensor attachment to the next length of conduit. He groaned loudly as the tricorder registered nothing. The diagnostic said this was the problem where is the problem? the engineer thought as he re-set his tricorder. The new settings would help to pinpoint the faulty line, or so he hoped.

"Have you found anything yet?" Petty Officer Jeremy Eight asked the engineer to his left.

"Not a thing," he replied. Tarro Jolan frowned at his own tricorder as he raised it up in the air and turned around, taking a scan of the corridor. "But there's definitely a break in the conduit somewhere. Graviton field density is twenty percent above normal in this section." Frustrated, he closed his tricorder and slipped it back onto his belt as he turned his head towards the other engineer. "Jeremy, let's take a look in the junction room and check to make sure the EPS couplings are all intact."

"Sounds like a plan," Jeremy responded affably. "If I reactivated my nanoprobes I could send them inside the conduit to locate the problem." The engineer snapped his tricorder shut, his mood changing just as quickly as the closing of the instrument. "But we all know that isn't going to happen, not with the use of nanobots being restricted because of that incident over in Science. Thank you, Ensign Gorsky," Jeremy stated, making no effort to hide his sarcasm. He had requested the Hawking because the ship's captain had once been Borg also, unfortunately he had arrived as Captain Benjamin had resigned the post. Stuck on Gamma shift, with no one to relate to, Jeremy had been considering a transfer request.

"Just as well… we have enough problems without you assimilating me or the ship," quipped Jolan, trying to be funny. Damn, was that insensitive? I probably should have kept my mouth shut. "Anyways," he added, quickly trying to change the subject as he made his way to an access hatch along the corridor and opened it. "I have a hunch that our problem may be in here."

"Where you lead, I will follow," Jeremy said as he ducked into the maintenance passageway that Jolan entered ahead of him.

"Where are you two going?" an authoritative voice demanded.

Jeremy turned to find Bilara Wakeel standing just outside the passageway. He hated the way she always assumed she was in charge of any team to which she was assigned. A colorful remark formed on the tip of his tongue.

"Er, my tricorder indicated the leak may be coming from a damaged EPS coupling in the junction room," Jolan quickly answered as he noticed Jeremy open his mouth to speak. The Bajoran was more… diplomatic… when dealing with their Napean colleague, and he figured that an argument now would just prolong their assignment in the bowels of the Hawking.

"Mmhmm," she responded with a disapproving frown. "I just scanned the junction room myself and there wasn't any problem."

"Well, then this should only take a minute," he replied with a smile as he ducked under a bulkhead and entered the room. Wakeel had no authority over him or Jeremy; in fact, she held exactly the same rank, so Jolan wasn't exactly concerned with her opinion of him. "Come on, Jeremy, let's check out these couplings."

The look Bilara shot at Jolan's back was enough to make Jeremy snicker. She glared at him until he shrugged and turned to follow the Bajoran engineer.

"Keep me informed of any problems you find," the Napean called out.

"We will," Jeremy replied in a tone that clearly gave the impression they would not. He increased his pace so he could catch up to Jolan. "Cripes man, who does she think she is? Old Mother Shoe..that old lady that lived in a shoe..the one with all the kids.." He frowned as he tried to recall the person he meant. "The shoe woman..aww forget it. I don't remember." Jeremy could only remember fragments of his life before he had been added to the Collective, and so the reference to the old nursery rhyme was lost in the mists of the past. "Maybe we could.."

The whine of weapon's fire, originating from the room they had just left, caused Jeremy to halt his speech and progress down the passageway. "That was a disruptor," he told Jolan. Turning back, the engineer saw a flash of energy stream past the access hatch. A cry of shock and pain was heard, then the body of Bilara Wakeel slumped against the hatch.

Jolan's eyes widened as he realized what was happening. Jeremy had turned around instinctively to help, but Jolan grabbed him by the sleeve and pulled him back. "Jeremy, we don't have any weapons… if you go out there, you're as good as dead," he half-whispered as they crouched in the dim maintenance passage.

Out in the corridor, there was more disruptor fire and the sound of a couple of phaser shots coming from the other direction. There was a lot of shouting and confusion and several pairs of boots ran past the open hatch and Wakeel's lifeless form, though neither engineer could make out who they belonged to from this angle. Jolan jerked his head down the passageway and Jeremy nodded silently as they retreated further down the crawlway and crouched around a corner.

"Petty Officer Tarro to security," Jolan said, hushed, as he tapped his commbadge. He was answered by a burst of static and radio noise cut in with a few jumbled words. "Gah," he said, disgusted. "Either the comm system is overloaded or it's being jammed."

"We've got to get out of here and find help," Jeremy stated. "I wonder why they haven't called red alert."

The passageway rang with the deafening sound of a loud blast and a shower of sparks rained down from a smoking conduit as a disruptor beam hit the wall just outside the access hatch. Whoever was firing, there were a lot of them and they were definitely getting closer.

"I don't know, but I couldn't agree with you more on getting out of here. If they find us, we're dead." He thought back to Wakeel's agonizing cry and untimely demise momentarily, then pushed the thought out of his head. "Let's go this way… there are plenty of places for us to hide in the maintenance spaces."

"'re right," Jeremy answered half-heartedly. He wanted to do something but without a weapon it would be a lesson in futility. The final lesson from the look of it. he thought as the engineer looked into the dull, lifeless eyes of Wakeel. "Let's go..but when I find a phaser I'm coming back to look for the person that killed her." A few minutes before he had had enough of Wakeel's personality, he didn't like her but she was an engineer and his crewmate. And she didn't deserve to die like that..

Jolan nodded solemnly. "Yeah… yeah, OK. I know how you feel Jeremy, and whoever was responsible will pay later." He felt vaguely sick to his stomach just thinking about the whole situation. He wasn't violent by nature, but seeing one of his own crewmates murdered had unsettled him as much as it seemed to have affected Petty Officer Eight. Jolan contemplated the situation for a second, then the adrenaline surged back into his veins and the two engineers were racing off down the passageway. Away from their attackers, away from the open maintenance hatch, and away from the carnage that seemed to be enveloping the corridor on deck fourteen.

Joint post brought to you by your good friends in the Engineering department.

Featuring NPCs Petty Officer Jeremy Eight and Taro Jolan
Originally Posted 11/14/08 by Simba Wakesa

USS Hawking
Deck 2, Mess Hall

“Do this,” Mikhail instructed and rubbed at the corner of his mouth.

Tatiana looked confused, but mimicked the action. She brought her hand down and didn’t see anything.

“Your other left,” he suggested and went back to his own meal while his sister wiped the Alfredo sauce off of her face.

“Thanks,” she said, “It would have been embarrassing to walk around like that.”

He nodded, and the two quietly finished their respective meals. Once the younger was finished, he sat the tray to a free space at the end of the table, and tapped his fingers on the tabletop.

“Stop that,” she said sternly and stopped his hand, by pushing his down. Once she realized that she had spoken with a mouth full of food, she covered her mouth.

Mikhail’s face scrunched at the image of half-chewed pasta, covered in Alfredo Sauce and saliva and he sought to put it out of his mind. “So, how have you been?”

The doctor shrugged, “I’ve been okay, working and living. Pretty much business as usual.” She looked thoughtful, “Although it has gotten more interesting since I’ve met myself.”

“Yeah, you said she was different.”

Tatiana nodded, “She is. She’s a perfect example of why we should be happy with our lives because it could be much worse, much, much worse.” She looked serious before laughing, “Here’s something you’re going to think is funny, my mirror has a husband. He's Luke Getty, you know the Medic that’s in Sickbay sometimes.”

“Mazel Tov,” he said and raised his cup. At his sister’s expression he explained, “I probably won’t get to say it to you in this world.”

The woman shot him a tight smile, “It could happen, more than likely not, but it’s still possible.”

He raised his cup again, “Well Mazel Tov to that too if it happens.”

“Thanks,” she drawled and stood. “Hey, there’s something I want to show you in my quarters, you have a few more minutes to spare for your big sister?”

“Let’s go,” he said, stood, put his arm around her shoulders and hugged her closer. “Is it a gift for me?”

Tatiana scoffed, “You’re too old for random gifts. No, it’s something really cool. You’re gonna to love it.”


“Damn,” she whispered and halted her movement, “I need to go back to Sickbay…I left something there.”

“Then first we go to Sickbay,” he announced.

The Thorne siblings made it to Sickbay, and while Tatiana searched for the item she had left behind, Mikhail waited near the entrance. Once she had object snuggly held in her hand, she was stopped by a nurse to discuss the treatment of a random patient that had visited the day before. After she waved goodbye, there was a blur of movement near Mikhail as someone rushed into Sickbay.

He sped over to Tatiana, his face red from exertion. “Is everything okay?” she asked. She looked apologetically over at Mikhail at another hold-up, as she attempted to guide the male over to one of the free biobeds.

“No,” he snapped and shrugged off her hold, “The IAS crew is searching the corridor, and shooting the people that get in their way. I nearly got caught on my way here!”

“Great,” she muttered to herself. “Is Munro here?” she asked.

The various members of the current shift shook their heads. “Okay then. Well people, it seems like we have unwelcome guests, I don’t know the specifics, but let’s get this place prepared like we we've practiced. We can handle this," she said more for herself than everyone else. Her heart began to pound as thoughts of her mirror harming the same people she (the doctor) worked with flashed vividly across her mind. Before she got too concerned with things that may or may not occur, she spotted her brother still standing near the doorway. She was immediately reminded of her mother's request to keep an eye on him during times like these.

"Mikhail," she called out. "Come on, you can help us with the preparations."

Featuring NPC Mikhail Thorne
Originally Posted 11/14/08 by Tatiana Thorne

USS Hawking
XO's Office

"Tricorder," Jenny said, looking around, still reeling from shock but needing to see, "I need a…" there, other side of the desk. Grabbing the device she set it to a chemical scan and ran it over the mess of her spilled beverage and in moments was rewarded with the chemical description for milk, cocoa, sugar and, flagged in red, veridium 6… making up the bulk of the liquid. "Holy f**king shit!" she looked up at Emily Star, who had joined her in the reading, "That's it, I'm switching to coffee."

"Good idea, but…" she gave her an odd look, "Where did you get that drink from?"

"The First Officer… but not." Jenny pointed to the screen and the pansy-assed suicide note that someone NOT her had set in place, "I don't know who the hell is running around in Harry's uniform but I can guarantee you, it's not Harry Finn… and I don't think it's a Pah Wraith, either…" which left.. what?

"He's different," Emily rubbed the back of her neck, "I've tried talking to others but I just get told that he's a complicated person. I passed him earlier while on duty and the vibe I got off him was so out of place. I may have never had a conversation with him but I have spent time on this ship long enough to get a feeling of the crew and what I felt was something …that didn't belong. It was as if he'd ..been.. " she stopped talking, "Is there another Finn on the IAS?"

"I don't think…" Jenny closed her eyes, trying to recall what Seth had told her when she asked if they had a Finn of their own. "I was told he'd been… lost." She opened her eyes and turned to Star, "Not dead, but lost. And my… Seth told me… he said he needed to tell me something but people kept interrupting us. And he was afraid," now that she was far from the distraction of the man, himself, from the mirror of her dead father, she could see it, "he was afraid of something. Maybe it was this Harry."

"Whoever this Harry is they've done a good job keeping people out of the loop. Or at least they think they have…or .."she groaned, "All this duo stuff is beginning to get to me. It's just, if that isn't Finn then where is Finn and how do we find out if it is or isn't him. Can we?"

"Right now, this one's just attempted a murder," Jenny pointed out, holding up the tricorder and starting to reach for her combadge, to contact Lt. Tenanji, "so first thing, we detain this asshole and then…"

"Didn't you say he was gone? and I doubt he'd let us detain him. If he's gotten this far he must have help..but then again you're supposed to technically be dead from cocoa overdose. Might be a surprise." Emily smirked.

Anderson rolled her eyes, "By 'we' I meant…"

The sentence went unfinished as a sudden blaring of klaxons indicating a red alert shot through the office, sounding General Quarters. In moments, this was followed by the dire pronouncement, via Star's combadge, that =/\=Hawking has been boarded by a hostile force… all tactical units proceed to ghost operations…=/\=

"That can't be good," Jen said as she and Emily, as one, made for the door, dumping their badges as they went. There was a maintenance hatch just thirty meters left of the office which would serve… and then the ladder-well by the turbolift…

"I..uh" Emily headed towards the door. She'd had a strange enough time wrapping her mind around the conversation while growing rather giddy that she'd been semi-right and could make Gorsky eat his pretty little words, "Nice to have met you." she said randomly, "Uhh…you first?"

Before Jen could reply to that, the door to the office swept open to reveal, "Uh oh…" one of the hostiles themselves… a burly Bajoran in an IAS uniform with a disruptor in hand and Anderson had no doubt he was ready to use it. Shoving Jenny roughly to the wall, he turned his eyes towards Emily who, no slouch, had her phaser half-drawn. But he was shifting his aim towards her too quickly… Star was the obvious threat. Jenny was, after all, only a Human… and she appeared unarmed.

But appearances could be deceiving, which the intruder soon discovered as he fell with Harry's purloined dagger buried in his throat. Jenny dove for the Bajoran's weapon, which she noted was a killing piece, no stun setting for the IAS, it appeared, and with a queasy sucking sound, retrieved the blade as well.

She'd never killed before… had no idea she'd be able to but everything had happened so quickly… the knife was in her palm and airborne before she'd had time to think. Note to self, schedule nervous breakdown for 1300 hours tomorrow…. if there is a tomorrow. "Time to go," she told her fellow Security officer, wiping the dagger clean on the dead man's uniform.

Emily nodded, staring at the dead Bajoran, "Yeah, thanks for the life saving. Where did you get the knife from..never mind…good thing you went first." she raised an eyebrow. Jenny was certainly not what she seemed.

JP between Finn as Jenny and me!
Originally Posted 11/15/08 by Emily Star

.:: IAS Hawking : Stryfe Quarters ::.

Vincent paced back and forth in his study, thinking to himself. He had put the pieces of his scheme together, placing what people he had, though small, where he felt would be the most key positions for his plan to be successful. His group of insiders was made up of about ten of the crew, including his wife and brother. Fain was positioned as close as possible to the Captain, and in a few moments, He himself would be leaving to deal with the High Priest himself. He smiled, picking up his phaser and heading towards the door of his study. As the doors hissed open, his son stood in his way.

“ Joseph, you need to move, NOW!” Vincent pointed to the side.

“ No!” The boy stared up at his father, staying where he was.

Vincent looked down at his son, raising his hand, ready to move the boy by force, but couldn’t do it. He knelt down, looking him in the eyes,” Son, I need to do this, and to do it, I need you to be a good son, and go to your room. When this is all over, I’ll come talk to you about everything that has happened, but don’t make me move you, I don’t want to have to make you comply like I do your mother.”

The boy looked back at his father, tears in his eyes,” I’m afraid that something bad will happen to you, that they know, and as soon as you attempt this, you’ll be hurt, or killed.”

Vincent smiled to his son, rubbing his head,” You care so much about me, and I’m glad, you’ll be a shining image of me one day, but these tears must go. You need to know that I will not fail in what I am attempting, and soon you will know what it is like to be the son of a captain, and what it is like to not have the filth of that horrid temple aboard this ship.” Vincent stood up pushing the boy to the side,” Now get to your room, and I won’t be nice about poor compliance again…..”

The boy walked to his room, his tears gone, watching as his father left the room. He reached into his pocket pulling out a communicator, then spoke to himself,” I warned you father, but you wouldn’t listen…. You will be sorry for your treachery to the Alliance….” He pressed the comm badge,” Tell his eminence that my father is moving on his plan now, and my Uncle is going to make his attempt on the Captain’s life……. And,” He thought to himself for a moment,” And the other nine names are in place as I told you they would be…….”

.:: IAS Hawking : Outside of the Temple ::.

Vincent stood outside of the temple, staring down the door that would lead to his ultimate destiny. He felt almost exuberant as he felt the end of Nils’ disgusting presence on the ship. Tapping his comm badge, he gave the preset signal to the group of ten waiting to move, giving them the go to complete their given tasks. He gripped his phaser in his hand, smiling, taking a step towards the door, then he felt a sharp pain in the back of his head, with everything going black as he fell to the deck…….

.:: IAS Hawking : Bridge ::.

Fain stood on the bridge, his face cold and stern, not trying to give away what he was thinking, what he was ready to do. For years his father had spoke of taking this ship for his own, and ruling the Alliance from the bridge of the vessel with his two sons at his side. For the most part the dream was faint, but Vincent took to the idea with great interest, and even with the small group they had assembled, he felt the job good be accomplished. At the moment everyone was in place, save for Vincent, who when he reached his designated spot, would give the signal, and the ship would be theirs. Even with security being suspicious of Vincent, and his own motives, this would be a move they would be expecting. Not a soul knew of the full plot, other than Vincent and himself, so there would be nothing to stand in their way.

Just as he started to get anxious for their scheme to begin, he heard his badge beep at him, twice, the signal to attack. He pulled his phaser out of his holster, stepping towards the Captain’s ready room. When the doors slid open, Paven looked up, and smiled. Fain returned the gesture and began to raise his phaser towards the cocky Bajoran, but his movement was cut short as the cold end of another phaser pressed against his temple. He dropped his head, along with the phaser, going to his knees, putting his hands on his head. He looked up at the Captain, who now stood behind his desk, clapping to mock the man before him…….

.:: IAS Hawking : XO’s Office ::.

The signal was given, and Charlotte hung her head as she stood outside of Malkat's office. She hadn’t wanted to do this, but she fear what Vincent would do if she defied him again. The phaser in her hand was gripped tightly, turning the skin around it white. She stared at the door shaking her head, tears starting to run down her cheeks as she thought about the consequences that her husband had spoke of, whether they caught onto the scheme, or if she failed in her part of the whole thing. She raised her head wiping the tears from her face, then charged into the office.

As the doors opened and she stepped in, she quickly became cold, dropping to her knees. A sharp, burning pain resonated from her stomach, and any breath left her lungs. She moved her hands to her stomach, then looked down, seeing the phaser wound that had just been caused. She tried to scream, but the life was gone from her throat, her voice gone. She fell the rest of the way to the deck, seeing only her son in her mind, as she slipped away, cursing the name of her husband in her head……………..

Originally Posted 11/15/08 by Vince Stryfe

-IAS Hawking-
-Main Engineering-

It's go time.

Javier stood looking at T'Shaini for a second after he had this thought. He knew that there was a difficult task ahead for both of them, with a little luck he could aid T'Shaini's escape by taking out both of their guards. He knew he had to give the counselor enough time to activate her emergency transporter recall, then he would be alone in enemy territory, searching for Harry Finn. His hand clasped hers and gently removed it from his cheek, wisping past his mouth as Javier brushed his lips against her palm. The engineer's hand moved downward then gave her hand a quick squeeze before releasing it.

Get back to the Hawking, ascertain how far the invasion force has penetrated, find Nils to warn him of their advance, stop the false Harry Finn. It was odd, making a checklist at a time like this, but once a linear thinker, always a linear thinker. The stakes were so high that T'Shaini had trouble truly comprehending how she might be of any assistance whatsoever…but that did not mean she was not going to try, she just needed to get far enough away to trigger the recall without being seen. Her jaw set as she internally prepared herself for whatever may come.

He turned away from the counselor, a hint of a smile ghosting at his mouth, as Javier began to plan the attack he would open with once he reached their guards. It was almost as if time had slowed itself to allow for his approach. The movements of the others within the room faded into the background. Punch in the stomach. Let your fist bounce back not bury itself. Then chop the back of the neck. Make your hand a blade. Use the edge to stun and immobilize. And if you have time slug the other guy. Punch through him, not at him. He strolled across Main Engineering, trying to give the appearance that he was not intent on confronting the guards stationed near the main doors.

As Javier peeled off, T'Shaini began to make her way toward a darkened area that she hoped was a corridor or at least a place far enough away for her to disappear without notice. One eye toward the exit, yet one eye remained for Javier.

The IAS security officer leaned his head slightly to the left. Javier watched as the man's features registered concentration then gave a wolfish grin and his mouth said the words: "Aye sir, I'll take care of him myself."

He has a small communicator hidden in his ear. The thought was followed by the realization that the guards were on to them, which was reinforced as the officers simultaneously reached for their weapons. I have to give T'Shaini time to transport out of here. Javier increased his pace, but he was too far to dive at the men. He could only watch as the security officer nearest him levelled his weapon and depressed the 'trigger'.

The rapid movement behind her catching her attention T'Shaini turned to see the shot fired, Javier begin to fall to the ground. Without a thought she began to sprint back toward him, uncertain of what she intended to do but certain that she could not leave with out knowing if he survived. The counselor had barely taken one step when the familiar feeling of transport began to wash over her. "No…NO." It could not be happening, she had not pressed the emergency recall. The last thing she saw was his figure slump lifeless to the floor as IAS Hawking faded from view.

A bright green flash. A burning sensation in his chest, and then he slid into darkness. He had been at the peak of his existence, his prime years, but those were gone in a bright green flash of energy. It was a long way to fall. Javier plummeted towards the bottom of the chasm.

Originally Posted 11/15/08 by Javier Costala

USS Hawking
Ladder well between decks 5 and 6

There were no sounds of energy fire on five, so Jenny had continued her descent. Star had taken to the Jeffries tube back on two, the officers splitting up to cover more territory. Luckily for them both, the Bajoran had been the only opposition on the second, and largely unpopulated, deck, indicating a carefully dispersed attack force which translated to a possibly limited number of hostiles spread throughout the Hawking. Of course, if that were the case, the IAS must have another card up their sleeve. She couldn’t feature them risking even a small task force without some assurances of a solid win.

No way of knowing, though. Ghosting meant dumping her combadge, in case the enemy got hold of the internal sensors. Biosigns could belong to either side but a combadge was as good as a target.

She paused by the deck six hatch, steadying her breath and her grip on the dispruptor. Jenny really wanted to get her hands on a phaser, but until then, she had to aim to disable, if possible. Why didn’t you think of that before you corpsified the guy in Harry’s office?

Because, she reminded herself, forcefully, there’d been no time to think. She let out a long, slow breath then released the hatch…

… no fire but voices… approaching… and one was angry… and familiar. Drawing back, she pulled the hatch closed til it was a narrow slit. Watching, weapon at the ready, she waited to see who Jillian was arguing with.

Featuring Jenny Anderson
Originally Posted 11/16/08 by Harry Finn

-Chief Engineer's Office-
-IAS Hawking-

"Ah Caterina, do you know how long I've waited for this moment?" the Cardassian officer asked as his hands worked the last few clasps of her uniform blouse.

Caterina did not respond, she was trying to ignore him, ignore his hands and what they would soon be doing to her. Don't think about it. Go somewhere else in your mind. Don't let him in.. she told herself as Kalar pulled off her shirt. She couldn't help but shiver as he touched the bare skin of her shoulder. It was a chill of fear because she knew from the other human women in Engineering how Kalar worked. Starts gentle, then finishes rough, even brutal.

"I was hoping you would give yourself to me willingly," Kalar said playfully, savoring the moment, "and I was becoming impatient with your games, but to choose such a time as now for our coupling is most satisfying. Think of it! We will be in rapture while the crew of the USS Hawking is exterminated. It's the ultimate high my dear Cat." The Chief Engineer began to play rough, excited by his desire for Caterina and the victory at hand.

"What? What will happen to the crew..?" A startled Caterina asked as she winced in pain.

"A disruptor beam to the head most likely," Kalar answered. He was so intent on ripping off her pants he didn't notice the flash of anger on Cat's face. "No human or lesser lifeform is to be given any quarter," Kalar repeated the orders that were sent out, "and only essential personnel will be kept alive, for a time."

"No human? But we have crew there, and Vulcans, and..?" T'Shaini is there. She couldn't help but cry out in pain as he pushed her back against the table in his office. The move was so sudden she was caught off-guard and responded by slapping Kalar across the face. He back-handed her, knocking the woman over the desk and to the floor. Gul Kalar snarled and was on Caterina before she could move away.

"All of them, even the slaves, they'll be justly compensated..with disruptor fire. The Alliance no longer needs their services," Kalar growled as he held Caterina down.


The sound of disruptor fire could be heard in Main Engineering. Kalar smiled ruthlessly and said, "Our guests are learning what it means to resist the Alliance." His movements had been checked by the weapon's fire and Caterina had room to get one arm free.

"Now.." Gul Kalar started, giving the almost nude human woman his full attention.

"Go to hell!" Cat said as she scratched at the only soft flesh on Kalar's face, his eyes. Her fingernails dug into his face. The fury and hatred she felt fueling her desire to blind Kalar. She plunged her carefully manicured nails into his skull, intent on clawing out his treacherous, vile, sleazy eyes.

Kalar cried out in pain and stumbled backwards, trying to wipe the blood from his eyes. Caterina lifted her leg and kicked him right in the balls. Gul Kalar bleated and went to his knees. The engineer scrambled to her feet, clad only in her underwear and boots she kicked Kalar as hard as she could in the chest. Something in Kalar's chest cracked beneath the toe of her boot and with a pitiful cry he slumped over.

Caterina couldn't stop herself from kicking him in the face. There was so much pent-up rage coursing through her body the woman stood shaking as she looked down at the former Chief Engineer. A noise outside the door snapped her back to the situation at hand. She gathered up her clothing and dressed then dragged Kalar behind his desk, hoping he wouldn't be discovered until after she had left the Hawking. She fixed her hair as best she could then left the office.

A security officer was dragging Javier Costala's lifeless body away from the core. Cat's breath caught in her throat. There was a gaping hole in Javier's side and the cloth of his uniform was scorched.

"Sorry about the mess," the security officer said, his sarcasm unveiled. "He'll be transported to sickbay soon enough. They wanted to 'inspect' the bodies."

"I see," Caterina replied. I have to get off this ship..and find T'Shaini. She turned to leave then paused and with a coy tone said, "The Chief Engineer says not to disturb him. He's..spent." The engineer walked away at a casual pace, which belied how fast her mind was racing, trying to think of a plan to help her friend.

Featuring Catarina Costala
Originally Posted 11/16/08 by Javier Costala

USS Hawking
Deck 3, Corridor

“Are you sure we have to do this,” Tatiana asked one last time, she was feeling uneasy, antsy at the fact that whatever calmness that had befallen the Hawking was quickly shot to Hell.

Luke looked down at her, his expression unsure. But his common sense won out over his doubt. “Let’s go,” Luke responded and the two exited the quarters. With weapons posed, the couple stalked the corridor, looking to put any of the USS crew they came across out of commission.

“This can’t be right,” Tatiana muttered. Luke looked down at her curiously, “All this time and we haven’t come across anyone? They should be running around, trying to figure out what’s going on, not eerily absent. Wasn’t this supposed to be a surprise?”

“It was, at least that's what I was told,” he confirmed, “but it seems like they’re aware of what’s going on or they’re occupied in another section of this deck.” He pointed the phaser to the length they still had left to cover, “Let’s keep moving. We don’t want to be caught out here by ourselves if they have planned to mount a defense.”

They walked on, when Luke help up a hand. He pointed to his ear, and brought the digit down to indicate that he could hear someone approaching from around the curved corridor. Luke leaned his head in the direction of the sound to quietly instruct Tatiana to step out and take the shot.

The engineer lifted the phaser in the correct position and boldly headed towards her target. A female in the teal indicative of the ship’s medical department was surprised at the other woman’s appearance. The officer’s expression quickly turned to pain as the phaser fire hit her dead center of her chest. At the sound of the body hitting the carpet, Luke walked over to his still-standing wife.

“Did you kill her?” he asked, and nudged the body with his toe.

“No,” she said and stepped over the woman. “She’s still breathing; this weapon is set on stun.”

“Good,” he said and walked on. “If this plan gets shot to hell, and these people manage to take back control, I want us to have the distinction of not killing anyone. It will make it easier for us to talk them. If they’re as principled as they let on, they’ll give us a chance to plead our case.”

“We are already in too deep,” she reminded him. “They won’t care that we didn’t kill anyone, the others have probably done so already. It won’t matter," she stated firmly. "I just have this feeling this isn’t going to end well for us whether we succeed or not.”

“Then we’ll do what we always do…find a way to get ourselves out of trouble. Stop worrying; if or when it comes to that point, we’ll deal with it. Let’s continue clearing this deck, we’ll probably run into the others, they may need our help. Stay alert.”

A brief look at the Getty’s doing their duty while plotting to save their own asses…
Originally Posted 11/16/08 by Tatiana Thorne

[USS Hawking | Deck 14 | Tractor Subsystem ]

“The analysis does seem to suggest that the surges in rift do seem to originate from the IAS Hawking.” Indi Corin explained as she watched Bosun Atwood open the entrance door and followed him into the last remaining Jeffries tube.

They were making their way back from deck 15 where the lower part of the transport subsystem was located, having left Gorsky and Surok to complete the analysis after Atwood had lost his patience at the scene that presented itself on Gorsky’s arrival.

“I could have been more helpful if I had remained-”

“Only help you were doing was giving that boy an ego boost.” Cam spat back.

“I have no idea what you are talkin- I am a good- no great… at what I do.” Indi had responded.

“The only thing you were doin’ was mooning at some boy who don’t know you exist girly.”

His assistant had managed to remain quiet after and followed him to the deck below, continuing her work in silence. Everyone knew Indi Corin was the quiet type, rather nervous and shy which demonstrated itself with her focussing more on her work the more nervous she got. Only Cam knew of course that she mooned over that Gorsky boy – not that she stood a chance. Cam thought with disgust. That kid had problems!

They had been on their way back when all hell had broken loose.

- - -

“We are under attack?” Indi cried out, “By who?”

“Who’d ya think you ninny!” Atwood growled as he pulled on Indi’s arm and yanked her back from getting it half blown off. “Didn’t I tell you this would happen? Stupid is-”

Cam Atwood’s proverbial phrase was cut off mid-sentence as more shots fired across their location. They were situated within a tight junction, one door leading back towards the rear entrance of the tractor beam subsystems, a Jeffries tube entrance and the final exit leading them right back out into the doomed corridor. The Jeffries tube lead outward and then down a level to deck 15 to the lower section of the tractor beam subsystem from which they had just returned.

Indi let out a cry of alarm as another volley of shots came their way, directly impacting Cam Atwood as he stepped in front of her. She watched in horror as he slumped towards the ground, she gasped taking all her energy to help him down slowly as she began to sob.

“Stop your nattering girl, I ain’t dead.” Cam struggled, pushing her away from him.

“I-I have to get help!”

“What you need to do is get armed and go kick some enemy ass…”

Originally Posted 11/16/08 by Matt Hudson

Transporter room
USS Hawking

As the outlines of the transporter room of her Hawking came into view, T’Shaini was already in motion, searching the room and the away team that had clearly been recalled, the invasion has already started. She halted at the feet of Darvin Brennek, by the pallor of his skin he had clearly been dead for quite some time. “Tiar Mira.” It was more and more obvious to the Vulcan that this entire situation had somehow been engineered by the Alliance, how, she was not yet sure, the orb? but the entire invasion had gone off too smoothly to have not been carefully orchestrated.

Striding over to the console, T’Shaini watched as Minn Lottz snapped to attention. “Get medical up here, Javier is still over there somehow, I do not know how that is possible, but you need to locate and recall him. There will need to be someone from Medical to attend him, he was shot as we were being pulled out.” She ignored the flash of pity she saw dawning in the transporter chief’s eyes. He is alive….I know he is.

“Lieutenant, we are on red alert, there is an invasion force from the IAS Hawking, we have been given orders….”

“Do what you can to keep these people safe.” T’Shaini intended to go straight to the source. “I need to be on the bridge.”

"Commander," Callan Vail's cold voice sliced through the Vulcan's awareness. "You should know that… a friend on the IAS will soon be disabling their shields… I don't know how much help that will be but," he offered a slight shrug, then glanced around at the rest of the crew present, "for now, who has a phaser?" The transporter chief offered up his own back-up, which Vail accepted before meeting T'Shaini's eyes one last time. "Good luck, Commander."

"Thank you, good luck." The T'Shaini sent an expectant look over to the console and with a sigh of resignation Lottz keyed in the coordinates and watched as the counselor disappeared.

“Someone cover that poor man up.” Lottz registered the dazed expressions of Jada O'Keefe and Delano Mills. “You are back now, take off the commbadges and we will get rid of them, if need be we will send you into the jeffries tubes to hide.” With a nod to Jenkins to collect the commbadges for disposal, Lottz went about the impossible task of trying to trace the remains of Lt Javier Costala. and never even noticed the quiet exit of Callan Vail.

Originally Posted 11/16/08 by T'Shaini

:: IAS Hawking ::
:: Outside the Temple ::

Nothing really mattered. Although his body hung limp, draped over the First Acolyte's shoulder, Nils couldn't find the will to care. Utterly resigned to his fate, he'd given up the struggle against the chemical paralysis that still hung on him like a heavy wool blanket. Fully aware, yet fully helpless, the Captain of the USS Hawking had given up hope.

Every so often the First Acolyte would utter his pitiful apology. Sometimes it sounded as if he were fighting back tears. Sometimes he sounded outright angry. Not until they entered the dark and smoke filled Temple did he regain his ability to be quiet.

The moment the two passed the threshold every thing changed. Nils felt feeling return to his body, but his body didn't move. A swirl of smoke and a wave of altered perception twisted the scene before him and instantly he left his body, yet still remained connected to it. The First was gone. The room, in fact, was gone. A pillar of flame danced and twisted in the center of the dark space. He stood at the point of a triangle feeling fully shocked at who stood on the other two points. One was him, and he couldn't accept the relevance of that fact quite yet. The other had just killed the woman he loved more than life.

"Harry?" He could hear his voice, but he knew there were no three dimensional sound waves bouncing about the not room.

He'd been momentarily lost in the utter lack of physical pain… it had been so long, really… but, even in the midst of the current weirdness Harry had raised his hands, run his eyes over his arms, felt how, for a change, everything was unbruised, uncut, unbroken, un… a telltale shimmer in the corner of his eye brought forth a new player… unreal. His eyes cut to the High Priest and the threat of the flame between them, "The cavalry's here… does that mean the hallucination is complete?"

High Priest Torrik Nils looked monumentally surprised at the addition of his mirror image to their ritual vision. "What is this?" He seemed to address the flame.

"Question not," the hissing sputter spoke from the heart of flame, "it is your place to obey and accept the presence of this, the final piece of the prophecy." Kosst Amojan, who spoke for the Lonely Ones in this plane, shifted focus to the Human, "A prophecy that could not be known until the hollow man walked the Path of…"

"Why'd you do it Harry?" Nils voice echoed the heartbreak he felt inside. "You've been through it before… You know how it feels… Why?" Phantom tears rolled down his phantom face.

"I don't… I'm sorry… I just, didn't want to kill the guy, I should have, I'm sorry… but I didn't and then…" Harry cut himself off as he realized he was revealing the very information the priest had been after. His eyes went hard, staring at the image of his Captain, "You're not even real, are you?"

"You killed Jillian…" Unable to fully process the situation, Nils clung to the only thing that mattered to him at the moment. And in a somber and cold tone he repeated the truth that stung to his core. "You killed Jillian."

But even as those words struck Harry, hard enough to bring him to his knees, before he could try to deny… and, really, how could he deny… anything…

"He did not end your love," the Lonely One proclaimed, "though by his actions, her life was forfeit," the flame shuddered and grew, "and by your pain are we nourished…"

"This is my ritual," the dark Priest howled. "What path did the hollow man walk? What must I do to release you from our universe?" He turned and sharply scolded the two visitors in his vision. "And the two of you shut it up!"

"It is Our ritual," a twining tendril of flame shot out and slapped the raging priest across his cheek. "Your service to us is valued, Dear One," the words softened the blow, "but always remember it is service." That said, the 'face' of the Pah Wraith turned again towards Harry, "But our Priest, though brash, is correct. Too long have we waited to cleanse this plane of the unrighteous and their false Prophets… too long have we waited for the words, long lost in the Path of Origins. You, Harry Michael Finn, have walked the Path… you have heard the words and you will now offer up those same words to serve our purpose."

Despite everything, he was still Harry, "Yeahhhh, good luck with that."

A sliver of suspicion charged the base of Nils' consciousness when he clued in to the talking flame. The reality of the moment pulled him briefly from his grief as two and two added together and his nature took over. He quickly found four. Evidence lay before him and he couldn't help but put it together. It had been the utterance of the name of the Prophets that had drawn him from the darkest place he'd yet experienced. And despite the pain that still burned him like a white-hot ember of molten metal in his chest, his intellect saved him. "Harry didn't do it… Not my Harry," he said quietly as he took in his surroundings for the first time. Pieces fell into place. "What is this?" His eyes fell finally on his mirror image and his brow slowly settled in its traditional resting place. "What…are you doing?"

The other Torrik Nils smiled. His wicked grin chilled Nils to the core. "What I am doing, is what must be done. The Pah Wraiths will finally have their place in this world. And your usurping Prophets will be locked away at last." He turned back to Kosst Amojan. "The ritual is complete and perfectly executed. Harry Finn must give us the answers we need…"

Anger had him rising to face the madman, "I don't have what you need," waving vaguely at the Pah Wraith, "I don't remember anything from that…" Finn's words were cut off, violently, as now the flame turned its attentions to him, an explosion of sparks bursting from the heart of the Lonely One to land, scattershot, over Harry's body. The embers embedded themselves and spread, burning through the image of the man and as they did so, he again saw, Light and dark exploding from the cask, bifurcating tendrils of each laying distinct claim to either man, coiling Harry in a burning luminescence and leaving his Devanagari counterpart for the shadows…

And what Harry saw, as he burned, came to life before them all and then, and then, in his memory, he was gone, taken, traveling through the impossible rift, his every molecule had taken the trip separately, each and every parcel shredded through the sieve of a thousand, thousand voices, berating him in words he couldn’t understand…

Kosst Amojan loomed over the dissolving barriers of the mortal's spirit, reaching for the answers so long awaited, "You don't know what you remember," he corrected, as new sparks shot up from the smoking ruins of Harry's essence, becoming words of flame blazoned across the black.

"And let it be written: Fire must consume the two who are one as they walk on the Path of Origins. One who carries the Light bound to one who carries the Dark. Thus, burning, their Pagh will be entwined by the Orb, which is the key and so shall they open the door and holy flame burn through. The Light shall bring Darkness and the Celestial Temple will be lost in the pyre. This shall be the day of the Pah Wraith and two universes shall be united in their reign of fire."

In the temple, Harry shuddered to waking, burning from an unnatural fever and wracked by the abuse laden down by the acolytes during his enforced madness. Eyes open he saw now that it hadn't been, as he'd hoped, a hallucination. Not entirely because, there, out of reach of where Harry lay chained to the floor, was Torrik Nils, the one he knew, his friend. Which meant it hadn't been a dream. Which meant that…

The High Priest, shaking in ecstasy, snapped his neck up from the ground and found his prize. The presence of the light version of himself brought glee uncontainable and he shuddered in laughter. "This just gets better and better…" He pushed himself up off the ground and wiped rivers of sweat from his face. Closing the short distance between him and himself he kicked at Nils inert form. "Do the Klingons in your universe ever say that today is a good day to die? Because I find that phrase particularly applicable for the two of us on this day." He dropped to his knee and pressed his face into Nils' cheek, pulling his mirror image close. With a kiss to the side of the Captain's head he exuberantly hissed, "Today we burn…"

A Joint Effort with Harry Finn and High Priest Torrik Nils AND, Captain Torrik Nils
Originally Posted 11/18/08 by Torrik Nils

USS Hawking

"… we both know you have no control of your Tactical systems, Lieutenant," Captain Bayal was saying, "while we have full control of ours… would you care for a demonstration…" but the threat was cut off as…

T'Shaini hit the ground running, so to speak, the moment she coalesced onto the bridge. The complete lack of surprise at her arrival that Lt. Tenanji registered signaled that he did indeed call the away team back. "Lieutenant." She nodded as she moved to stand next to the Security officer. "You were saying?" The Vulcan directed toward the smug Bajoran on screen.

The face of the Captain went a bit hard, "Commander," he greeted her, coolly, "I didn't realize you'd returned to your own vessel. Perhaps it's for the best, however. I was informing Mister Tenanji that the IAS has the upper hand in any firefight, at this time. If there is any hope for the survival of your crew, it is in laying down arms and offering unconditional surrender to my forces, already on board. You should already be aware," he leaned forward in his chair, "that my troops will respond to any resistance with extreme prejudice."

Time…we need time. With a glance to Tenanji, T'Shaini frowned consideringly, then nodded her agreement. "The ship is in disarray, the arrival of your boarding party has meant many of our crew have been injured or have fled the common areas. We would need time, time to locate everyone and issue the stand down orders."

Bayal considered the Vulcan, "I would think a simple shipwide aler…"

"Alas, whatever mechanism you engaged to disrupt Tactical has also nullified internal communications," Usher slid in seamlessly, "as well as our internal sensors."

Handy that. The counselor had had no reason to expect her excuse would be considered valid, thank goodness for small favors, if you could call an invasive device 'a favor.'

"My apologies… it appears the adaptive interface is… still not quite adapted. You may have some… time… fifteen minutes should suffice," the Bajoran conceded, "but be warned that anyone not offering full and clear surrender will be terminated on the spot."

"Understood." Yes, yes…you will kill us all, we get it. A clear case of overcompensation.

"One last thing, if I may," Tenanji held the Captain's eyes, "You clearly have the upper hand, strategically. Why did you find it necessary to take Captain Torrik hostage?"

Something flashed across Bayal's face, almost too quickly to note before he looked to one side and gave a short jerk of a nod to someone out of view. Turning back to the screen, he smiled but this time the smile had an edge of anger to it, "Simply a matter of gathering more intelligence," he said, then, "Fifteen minutes… we'll be in touch." And with a rough gesture, the image of Captain Bayal cut out.

The moment the screen went blank, Usher looked to his superior.

The was a split second of silence before T'Shaini registered that she ranked Tenanji, then gave him a quick nod. Hostage?

Tenanji turned quickly to Koll, "Send a shipwide alert that anyone found should surrender immediately," he ordered, "but open and close with the audio tonal code to seek any computer terminal," he turned to T'Preen, "Please send out a shipwide memo, destination all computers, using Base Delta coding, that the Tactical systems are being overridden by an adaptive interface… all able hands are to seek out and nullify said device. It will likely be near an EPS trunk but of that I can't be certain." Once he knew the orders were being seen to, he returned his attention to Commander T'Shaini, "Forgive me, I should never have allowed this to occur…"

"This had been planned too carefully for you to lay any blame on yourself." T'Shaini began to rest a reassuring hand on his shoulder, then froze. "I am praying that your assertion of Nils being taken hostage was as false as your lack of internal communications clearly was."

"I can't confirm but, either Captain Torrik has been taken, or he is dead. I hope it is the former." His face impassive, he accepted his own failures, "But, as to these careful plans… were you able to learn anything we can use while aboard the IAS?"

A frisson of hope tried to thrust up through the depth of sorrow that one more loss caused. "Yes, Commander Vail informed me that," She closed her eyes to see the exact words that had been spoken. "'a friend on the IAS will soon be disabling their shields'." The Vulcan's eyes popped back open. "I suggest we try to see if we can track down Nils, Javier and Harry so that we may retrieve them once the shields are lowered before availing ourselves of that tactical advantage."

"Of course, we … Harry?" But even as he spoke, so much became clear.

Watching the pieces of the puzzle fit together that was written so clearly on his face, T'Shaini almost smiled. "Yes, Harry."

Spinning back to T'Preen, "Add to that memo… Lieutenant Harry Finn is to be placed in custody on sight… if he offers the slightest resistance, force is fully authorized." He felt his jaw go tight with impotent fury…

Now she did reach out and lay her hand gently on his shoulder. "There was no way to anticipate this, therefore no way to combat it. We have done what we can, now we wait…and hope." And pray.

JP with Usher Tenanji (as voiced by Harry Finn)
Originally Posted 11/18/08 by T'Shaini

Smoke & Mirrors

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