The Home Stretch

:: USS Constitution ::
:: Turbolift ::

His hand seemed no worse for the wear, but the frustrated First Officer's pride was a little less well off. His childish reaction to things running afoul left him feeling foolish. And were his presence on the bridge not necessary, Nils knew this would be a perfect time for a personal retreat to his quarters. His "run in" with Jenny Anderson hadn't made matters any better.

He knew her condition was his responsibility. As the officer in charge he should have been more prompt in putting puzzle pieces together. Her accusing glance had told him she felt the same. In that brief moment when their eyes met in sickbay, he knew he should have offered a kind look or a sympathetic smile. That was the least she deserved. But his base nature took over and he fell to his lack of interpersonal skills. He could have made it right… Maybe if he would have stopped by before rushing out and granted her a kind word or even a solemn nod, he would have felt like he'd done the right thing. But he'd failed her…again.

The doors swooshed open and Nils emerged onto the bridge, committed to leaving that moment behind. He'd have time to stew over his failings if they all survived this damnable race.

"Report," he snapped sharply. Without hesitation Tenanji rose from the center seat and began running down their current situation.

"The cloaked ship has dropped their cloak, though they are maintaining speed and position. Our scans have identified fifty eight life forms on board…" he paused as if about to utter the punch line. "All Borg." The punchline didn't disappoint.

Nils froze a split second before he sat down. He turned slowly to face Tenanji, his brow low and his lips taught with apprehension. "All…Borg?"

"That much is confirmed, sir," Tenanji said with a cool nod.

"Is the Captain one of them?" It was the first question that came to mind, but not the only one. The possibility that the Borg Collective was somehow involved in this mixed up affair seemed remote. And the other alternative made Nils hair stand on end.

"I'm trying to isolate his biosignature now, sir," O'Keefe spat, her eyes illluminated by the blue haze of the science scanner. "Without a combadge, the task is more difficult. However, I believe I've narrowed the possibilities a great deal. There are three males on board who are candidates and I believe with further…"

"Fine fine," Nils said waving her off. For the first time in his memory he was disinterested in the minutia of the science. "We need to get on that ship…"

"I was thinking the same thing," Tenanji answered. "I've gone over the tricorder data and Chuck Berkowski, as we knew him, appears to be only one piece in a larger conspiracy… A conspiracy that seems to have been intent on initiating this Regatta."

The Bajoran First Officer finally dropped into the Captain's chair and silently wished they still had subspace communications. Although primary and local comms had been restored when the mystery device had been removed, the resulting damage still had the subspace arrays more than scrambled. "I assume you can equip a team with phasers that are up to current standards?"

Tenanji nodded. "I took the liberty of bringing a cache of some of Hawking's more refined equipment on board in the event of…something like this."

"Break it open and hand it out… As of right now I want all of our personnel wearing combadges and a sidearm. Start with your team and then from the top down till you run out…" Nils' mind raced. He didn't have time to spin the implications of what Tenanji only suggested he'd discovered in his review of the "off limits tricorder", but at the moment he had a more pressing concern. "Lt. Tenanji, you're mission is to get the Captain back. Any investigation into this race and the apparent conspiracy behind it is secondary as far as I'm concerned. The moment you have your hands on him, we're beaming you back. Understood?"

"Very much so," the cold man answered. He gave Torrik a run for his money on stocism.

"Good," Nils said. Then he tried to give the man a reassuring smile. He knew it looked wrong, but at least he attempted it. Then he awkwardly patted Tenanji on his thick shoulders. Though the gesture was forced, it was also sincere. Tenanji had been a solid rock thus far. His forethought in bringing up to date equipment alone was enough for a commendation in Nils' book. "Go get the Captain," he finished, bringing the strange moment to its conclusion. The sooner he's back in this chair, the better.

Featuring NPC Usher Tenanji
Originally Posted 7-9-2008 by Torrik Nils


-Security Office-
-USS Constitution-

"Lieutenant? Is something happening?"

Usher looked up from where he had been preparing gear for the boarding party. The Chief Engineer stood before him, holding a sheaf of notes. Usher could not help but notice that Costala was wearing a bathrobe and still had the remains of Dosi paint on his face. "The ship that has the captain has just decloaked. It is full of Borg. We are going over to bring back Captain Benjamin."

"The captain is okay?" Javier asked.

"We are uncertain. The Constitution's sensors cannot differentiate between he and the others," Tenanji explained. "So Hillman and myself are planning a rescue and sabotage mission."

"Oh, well good luck Lieutenant," the engineer told the security officer.

"Costala," Hillman approached him, "you were a marine, you're trained for this. We could use someone with your experience."

"I have bigger responsibilities now Lieutenant Hillman," Javier replied, even though part of him wanted to go on the incursion. But the Chief Engineer always stayed with the ship, even if he didn't particularly care for the class. "I'll be on the bridge though, listening, if I can help you I'll only be a comm away."

"That reminds me, new orders from Lt. Torrik, all senior officers get one of these," Usher handed him a phaser, "and one of these," he passed Javier a commbadge. The engineer stowed the phaser in his bathrobe pocket then clipped the commbadge to the robe's front. "Why don't you take Pierce? He was a marine. He's not an essential member of the engineering staff yet, as he's still in training. And you know from experience he's good at getting out of tough spots," Javier suggested.

Tenanji looked less than keen on the idea. Hillman shrugged then said, "I don't know Chief Costala, he seems to have taken a turn for the worse lately." It was at that moment Javier realized that handing over the report that Pierce had written about his activities on Sigma Iota may not be in the engineer's best interests. He trusted Tenanji to do what was best for the ship. He knew the man was methodical and took his duty seriously but Javier didn't know if Tenanji would do what was best for Pierce. Anderson would have because they were friends..but she's out of the picture for now. He needs an advocate..maybe a lawyer, to handle this situation.

"One of the people he cared about was taken away and now he can't even get close to her without her thinking Pierce, or some form of him, is going to hurt her," the Chief Engineer said, a little louder than he meant to. "Of course he was down and out over it. Who wouldn't? But he's Pierce, he'll bounce back, nothing gets in the way of duty."

"The captain's life may be at stake.." Usher started.

"And Pierce will do everything in his power to save him," Costala interrupted, "like he did with Jenny Anderson. Trust me on this, he'll be an asset." The ensign made sure his words had sunk in then turned, tucking the sheaf of papers under his arm.

"Are those documents for me?" Tenanji asked, wondering about the reason behind the engineer's visit.

"Not anymore lieutenant," Javier replied before heading towards the bridge. In the corridor he thought better of it and hurried back to he and T'Shaini's quarters to get a clean uniform. Bathrobe on the Bridge. Nils would die of a heart attack.

Originally Posted 7-10-2008 by Javier Costala


Unnamed Vessel

Three teams were transported to the foreign vessel which had been tailing the Constitution. One pair, Mellon and Koll, were responsible for the demolition which Tenanji expected to follow hard on the retrieval of Captain Benjamin. The lieutenant himself took the bridge, along with Jameson while Hillman and Pierce, both with Marine training, were placed in the cargo bay. They arrived, weapons at the ready, eyes searching for the captain, or a target.

"Sensors indicated a likely match for Benjamin nearby," Hillman said quietly, moving out towards the bay entrance, "but this looks…" he was about to say deserted when a borg which looked to have been Jem'Hadar at one time came into view. It was currently engaged in repeatedly opening and closing one of the crates, "… okay, that looks like OCD."

The temperature change gave it away. Even if they had transported onto the ship without knowing the occupants were Borg, the humid environment would have been an initial warning. Pierce was concentrating on all the intell Gunny had taught him about the Borg as he and Hillman 'moved and cleared' inside the cargobay. He almost wished his certification mission had been the Borg captured freighter scenario, instead his team had completed the Jem'Hadar standoff. That might have been useful if the war hadn't already been over. The lieutenant's voice sounded in his ear as the commlink quietly transmitted Hillman's words. I'm glad we have our normal commlinks.

He switched his weapon's setting to high and aimed at the borgified Jem'Hadar. "What do you think El-tee? Two for the price of one, a Borg and a Jem'Hadar? A kill can't get much sweeter." Pierce noticed he was falling into the actions and speech of the SFMC again. He waited for firing permission.

"Negative that," Hillman, though tempted, replied. "They don't care that we're here, yet. We start cutting the herd, someone's going to start looking at us." He gestured towards the entrance and moved out. The sooner they found Benjamin and blew this POS, the better. Fifty-eight Borg, one small ship… how long could this take?

In the corridor proper they passed another drone and this one had been humanoid, middle-aged but certainly could have been the one the sensor's picked up as a likely candidate. He, for a wonder, was busy picking at his auricular implant… as if there were something in his ear and he just couldn't dig it out. As Hillman closed in, he heard the creature… whistling? Did I miss the rabbit hole?

"Want me to scratch that for you?" BHP offered, pointing his weapon at the Borg's head. He wouldn't fire until ordered to do so but the joke seemed kind of funny in a non-funny kind of way. The Borg looked at the weapon then said, "I only take regeneration cycles once every twelve hours and it is not yet my bed-time. Naps do not count."

"I think we found one linked to the captain," Pierce said. He remembered Tehamia talking about repairing the alcove on the Hawking and how creepy it was to see Three of Seven inside the regeneration space. Movement from down the corridor caused him to look up in time to see a female Borg skipping down the corridor towards them. She passed them without pausing, their presence not even registering with the Borg. "Maybe this was a ship of crazies before they were assimilated?"

Fifty-five to go, "Maybe…" Darren came to a ladder alcove at the end of the corridor. They were on the bottom so, "No place to go but up," he murmured. "Cover me," he ordered, once he was sure the ladder was clear to the next level. Stepping off leaned over and waved Pierce up. He'd just turned to survey the territory when the words, "F**king Marine!" modulated by Borg vocal implants, came from his left. Not wasting time on thought, Hillman spun and fired, taking down a male, formerly Talaxian. "That was nothing like the Captain," he said as Pierce joined him on the deck.

"Right in the ocular implant," BHP commented as he looked down at the body. A quip about the Borg having something in his eye sprang to mind but Pierce let that one go. "I wonder if the captain knows we're here? They're all linked so if we could get one of them to contact him then it would help narrow our search." They continued to work their way down the next deck. At a T-junction they found a woman sitting in the middle of the corridor crying. "He won't go away, just make him go away," she sobbed.

"Who won't go away?" Ben asked, even though he knew the answer. The engineer felt his gut tighten as the woman looked up at him with harried eyes. "He's always here. Always with me..we're perfection, no, no he's coming back," the woman cried as she withdrew into herself again. Pierce looked back at the lieutenant then pointed his phaser at the Borg woman. "Sir?" he asked. The ship exploding would kill the drone anyway but Ben wanted her to have peace before then.

Understanding, Hillman gave one short nod then, as Pierce ended the woman's too familiar sufferings, set a quicker pace for the search. "We've used up two phase modulations," he commented, sweeping the utilitarian rooms off the corridor, "and now they know we're here. Question is," he shot a look at Pierce, "who are they reporting to?"

It's a good thing I brought my .45 then. Ben thought as he took assurance in the added weight taped underneath the back of his uniform shirt. It was something from home, a keepsake, Iotian style. "Chuck and the captain?" he suggested. Pierce shifted left to check the opposite corridor and noticed a group of Borg moving towards them. The Borg had weapons. "Uh El-tee we need to move."

Featuring NPC's Darren Hillman and Benjamin Hyde Pierce
Originally Posted 7-10-2008 By Harry Finn


The hostiles were coming from the left-most corridor and the right looked like it dead-ended. Hillman was about to order a fall back to the ladder but a quick glance back, past the dead female, proved that avenue had been closed. Two more Borg, the original Jem'Hadar and Human from down below, had joined the party. And they weren't playing games, anymore. "Hillman," the Human's staticky voice sputtered out, "my least favorite person from the Constitution. I can see Lt. Torrik has a lot to learn about diplomacy."

Hillman fired on the speaker, who stumbled back, then continued on. Darren fell back. "Right," he muttered, then jerked his head at Pierce, "I mean, right… go right…" and pray we can find another exit. He adjusted the phase modulation on the phaser and fired again, taking down one of the oncoming horde before slamming a hand over the only door available, "In here!" he ordered.

"BHP…." a simpering voice crooned from the handful of Borg approaching the two men, "are you still pining over Jenny? I can tell you all about…"

Ben shot the Borg drone in the neck. The intense beam cut through its throat, silencing the voice of Chuck. Pierce followed Hillman through the doorway.

"Benjamin Hyde Pierce, we finally get to meet in person," a poisonous voice said as the doors shut behind he and Hillman. "I never properly thanked you. It was so much easier to break Jenny by appearing as you." Pierce turned to find a borg version of Chuck standing very close to a biobed, upon which lay Captain Benjamin who appeared to be comatose. Chuck held a disruptor and it was pointed at the captain. "I was always more intelligent than any of you now I have the physical strength and endurance to match my intelligence. And I still have the memories of Jenny.."

Pierce started to level his weapon.

"I'll kill Benjamin," Chuck threatened, causing Pierce's arm to lower. "The young captain fought as long as he could but even he knew that I was the superior tactician. Drop your weapons before I splatter Nate's brains all over sickbay."

"No." Hillman replied, firing.

Chuck's shields shrugged it off and the big man… Borg, laughed, "See? You can't touch me!" he chortled, still amazingly ebullient, "I'm nano-licious!" The smile dropped and his head tilted and something… changed, "Your uniqueness will be added to our own," the mantra of the hive mind threw in. Then Chuck shook his head, "I hate that," he commented, raising his weapon and pointing it at Hillman, "And I'll be damned if you get to join my party."

Darren threw himself sideways as Chuck fired and to his credit, he was fast. Not quite fast enough as the disruptor blast took him in the shoulder. "Shit," he swore, slumping back against the wall.

The window of opportunity opened for Ben as Borg Chuck concentrated on frying Hillman. It took seconds for him to procure the 'heater' from where he'd adhered it to the skin of his back. Now Mister Colt Forty-five, Iotian edition 1911, was pointing at Chuck when he became aware of the threat. "This is for the captain," Ben said as he shot Chuck in the right knee. Even a Borg could feel the pain as the heavy projectile tore through his cartilidge. Ignoring the yelp, Pierce stepped forward as he fired a second time. "This is for the El-tee." The round shattered Chuck's left knee so that the Borg slid to the floor. Ben stopped just out of reach of Chuck and levelled the pistol. "And this one's for Jenny," he stated before putting a round in Chuck's skull. The machine man slid backwards as his neural cortex was blown out the back of his head.

Ben walked over to Nathan Benjamin and fastened his commbadge to his CO. He tapped it and said =/\=Constitution, one to beam to sickbay. It's the captain, he's coming home. Pierce out.=/\= Once the captain had been transported out, Pierce went to check on Hillman.

"Eh, it's nothing," Darren brushed away the younger man's concern before getting back to business, =/\=Hillman to Tenanji, the captain is safe away… thanks to Crewman Pierce=/\=

=/\=Copy that=/\= Tenanji's voice came through =/\=We noticed some… aberrant behaviors in the Borg crew, which have quite suddenly ceased. Do you have any knowledge of this?=/\=

Hillman considered a moment, =/\=Aye to that, but it can wait for the debrief=/\=

=/\=Understood… hold your position and wait for transport, Tenanji out=/\=

The lieutenant then took a moment to look down at Chuck's remains, then his eyes returned to Pierce, "Well done, Crewman," was all he said.

Ben just nodded in acknowledgement of the praise and stared down at Chuck, or what was left of Chuck. Maybe now Jenny can have a small amount of peace.

Featuring NPC's Darren Hillman, Benjamin Hyde Pierce and Chuck
Originally posted 7-10-2008 by Javier Costala


:: USS Constitution ::
:: Bridge ::

An actual bead of sweat made its way from Nils' forehead to his brow ridges and began a swift journey down his nose. He patted it dry with the back of his hand before it could launch itself free of his face. His perspiration was not due to the heat of the air, but the heat of the moment.

Before him, the modified Breen cruiser, fully manned by Borglets spawned by none other than their illustrious Captain, hung in dark space seemingly dead in the water. The First Officer waited any news from the away team who were also aboard the strange ship. It took a great amount of self control not to check in with them every sixty seconds, but each of them knew their job.

The comm crackled… =/\=Constitution, one to beam to sickbay. It's the captain, he's coming home. Pierce out.=/\=

A sigh escaped from Nils' pursed lips and he turned to Jezeera, flashing her a nod.

=/\= Bridge this is sickbay, =/\= came the comms once more a brief moment later. =/\= We have the Captain. =/\=

“Activity, Lt,” O’Keefe cried out suddenly. “That ship’s power just spiked. Looks like the Captain’s removal has had some kind of effect. Their warp engine is powering up and…”

Nils cut her off and stood from his seat as he issued the next order frantically, “Bridge to Transporter Room, get our people back now… Beam them back immediately!”

Seconds eeked by. The ship on the screen spun around and streaked off into the distance. It was gone…

The order for pursuit was on Nils’ tongue as the transporter operator finally responded. =/\= We got them all back, sir. All crew accounted for. =/\=

The relief that flooded the Bajoran’s chest exhausted him. He slipped uneasily back into the Captain’s chair and put his head in his hands. Pursuing that ship was probably still the best option, but there was still some things to consider. “O’Keefe track them for now… We have to finish up with the Dosi before we pursue.

“Torrik to Dahrk,” Nils continued, tapping his recently returned combadge. Having it back made him feel that much more at ease. “Is the package ready for delivery?”

=/\= It is, Mister Torrik, =/\= replied the gilded tongued Ferengi. =/\= I’ve prepped the shuttle for transport and its ready and waiting for your order. =/\=

“Make it happen, Dahrk. And make sure to send our finest regards and farewell to the Dosi.” The slagged shuttlecraft from Constitution’s bay had been the final price for information from the Dosi. Nils was sure he’d hear not only from Minerva Cutsforth on the bargain, but perhaps even the brass at Command. Handing over Federation property to alien cultures couldn’t be part of the accepted forms of diplomatic negotiations. But Nils didn’t care. He just wanted all of this to be over with. Besides, who in the hell wanted an old beat up shuttle anyway. Thanks to Javi, it couldn’t be of any use to Star Fleet anymore.

“Alright, helm… Set a pursuit course for that ship and…”

=/\= Sickbay to Bridge, =/\= Jillian’s voice cut through his heart like a hot knife through soft butter. It would have done so no matter what, but her frantic tone made the effect more pronounced.

“Acknow…”

=/\= The Captain just assimilated Bramley …=/\= A crashing sound in the background seemed to cut her off. =/\= I’ve isolated Bramley and we’re getting… Anetrizine damnit… Use Anetrizine! We’re getting the Captain’s assimilation tubules under control… =/\=

“Jillian,” Nils said, completely at a loss for what to do. “What do you need? What do you need us to do?”

=/\= I can’t restore Bramley or treat the Captain on this tub, Nils. We’ve only got a short time before my drugs start to become ineffective… I need to get them to a real sickbay. =/\=

“Helm, best speed to Outpost Jericho Samaria, engage.” He spat the order out quietly but with great intensity.

=/\= Initiating Emergency Medical Quarantine of this deck just in case. Get us there in a hurry, Nils. =/\= And with that Jillian’s comm went dead. With a quarantine issued on Deck 6, sending a security team would be pointless. The CMO’s order locked them out completely.

“Bridge to Engineering… Give us everything you have. We need maximum warp now!”

This dramatic moment brought to you by teh NPC of the Bridge crew and the spirit of Jillian Munro, saving lives and taking names…

Originally Posted 7-11-2008 by Torrik Nils


Sickbay
USS Constitution

T'Shaini laid the heavily sedated woman down on the bed in the chamber before heading back to the chaos. And I thought this was just a visit. An emergency having pulled Javier away, the counselor had been left to her own devices. Under normal circumstances rest would have been the optimal choice, but after one rather unsuccessful attempt T'Shaini had put on her uniform and headed down to sickbay to ascertain if Jenny had awoken…and it seemed the moment the Vulcan had reached her side all hell had broken loose. Cradling Jenny in her arms T'Shaini quickly carried her to an empty corner of the room far from the 'assimilation zone'.

T'Shaini ran back to serve as an extra pair of hands as the the med staff fought to restrain Nathan and…oh no, Bramley. A nod from Jillian had T'Shaini shifting to replace her hold on the writhing body of the poor nurse so the CMO could contact the bridge to update Nils. Not quiet ready for the violence of his reactions a bucking motion threw her sideways and knocked over a tray filled with supplies. The crash somewhat lost in the general malay T'Shaini still threw out a hasty 'sorry, sorry' as she regained her grip. "Come on Joseph, you know Jillian, she will get you help." Whether he heard her or the sedative had taken affect his body began to relax.

Initiating Emergency Medical Quarantine of this deck just in case. Get us there in a hurry, Nils.

An exchanged glance had the counselor relinquishing her place once again to Jillian, no longer needed she returned to the still sleeping Jenny. Thank the gods for small favors. Taking one of Jenny's hands in hers, T'Shaini leaned against the bed and sighed.

Just another day with the crew of the USS Hawking.

Originally Posted 7-11-2008 by T'Shaini


USS Hawking
Bridge

“I am reading a transport into main cargo,” Lt. Fehr announced from his post at Tactical. He looked up, “I thought we were fully supplied.”

Master Chief Jackson joined the Elasian at the console, “We are,” he said, jerking his chin at the signal. “Send in a team.”

=/\=Fehr to Ellison, please take B’Naath and Rodriguez to Main cargo, we have an unauthorized transport. I would like to know who, or what has come aboard. =/\=

=/\=Ellison, copy that. =/\=

Jackson nodded then turned to Ops, “T’Preen, contact the Outpost and see if they had any…”

“Sir,” she held up a hand, ignoring the mutttered, ‘Don’t call me, sir’ which inevitably followed her faux pas, “we have an incoming, priority one.”

“Put it through…”

Quote:
"All inbound and outbound vessels, on the orders of the United Federation of Planets, you are ordered to power down your vessels, and await further orders. If you fail to obey, you will be forced to do so, Lieutenant Auric Telar, out.

Jackson ran a hand over his face, “So, who've we got incoming at this time?” he asked.

T’Preen looked up, “Sagittarius and the Constitution… but, the Constitution is not stopping, nor is she changing course.”

“Riiiight,” the Chief of the Boat glanced over to Fehr, “Lieutenant, shields to maximum. Drelen, put us on an intercept course, let’s see if we c'n get Captain Benjamin’s attentions before Mr. Telar starts puttin' holes in 'er,” he jerked his chin towards T’Preen once again, “Ensign, broadcast our intentions to all and sundry… let’s not wind up on the wrong end a' this turkey shoot.”

A chorus of ‘ayes’ and ‘confirmed’s’ filled the bridge, along with that random, uncensored, ‘sir.’

“And don’t call me sir!”

Starring the NPC's who stayed on the Hawking
Originally Posted 7-11-2008 by Harry Finn


The first sign was the slight tightening on the grip of her hand. Looking down, T'Shaini smiled at the sleepy-eyed Jenny, she was still so young…the Vulcan's heart clenched as she thought of all that she had been forced to go through. "I am glad to see that you finally slept."

Jenny squinted up at the very welcome sight of T'Shaini… her last recollected memory prior to waking had been of Nate and it had been… disconcerting in the extreme. "Where's Bramley?" she asked, "because I need to thwack him.. that totally sucked…" though she did, in fact, feel a bit more herself. Then she realized that T'Shaini had gone quite still. "What?"

As gently and quickly as possible the counselor recounted the recent events. "We are on our way back to the Hawking, Jillian is confident that with the resources of her sickbay that all will be well." T'Shaini shook her head. "It never seems to settle down, does it?"

Resistance is futile… Jenny looked around the counselor, as if she could see through the walls of the isolation rooms, "I think that might be an understa…."

And then the world tipped sideways, throwing the two women to the floor as a massive thundering tore through the air.

We're taking fire… "We're taking fire… we… I have to…" Jenny started to stand…

"Stay here in sickbay." She understood the need to do, she was fighting it herself. "We are under quarantine, the entire deck is locked down, so there nothing we can do." Even in the flickering lights Jenny could see the worry on the counselor's face despite her calm tone. "All we can do is wait." T'Shaini grimaced. "I hate waiting."

Jenny, listening to T'Shaini and, beyond that, the rumblings of a seriously disabled vessel, shoved her hands in her pockets, "Oh, shit… sorry," she withdrew, from the robe, the two Dosi transmitters which T'Shaini had originally used to… to bring her back. "I found these… I, ah, thought you'd want them." She looked into the Vulcan's kind eyes, "I never got to thank you." And if they were about to go boom, this may be her last chance.

Taking the devices from her, T'Shaini looked at them a moment before answering. "I am grateful that I was able to aid in some way…" Shaking her head the Vulcan tucked the transmitters away. "I wish I had done more, no matter what we can do, it never quite feels like it was enough."

That seemed to be the way it worked, Jen thought, when things went bad. It was so hard for the ones who had to watch, powerless… like now. Like then…

Seeing Jenny retreat into herself T'Shaini reached out, and without a better thought waved her hand vaguely in front of her face. When the young woman's eyes snapped back into focus, the counselor smiled. "Old Vulcan distraction technique."

=/\=Attention, USS Constitution!=/\= the booming tones of Master Chief Jackson rang through the sputtering coms =/\=This is the Hawking, we are now parked ten kilometers off your port… anyone care for lift?=/\=

Featuring NPC Jenny Anderson
Originally Posted 7-11-2008 by T'Shaini


-Main Engineering-
-USS Constitution-

The ship fishtailed like a Corvette on a dirt road, being driven be a drunken redneck who was trying to get some action from his girlfriend, but being denied as REO Speedwagon failed to melt her trailer-park trash hardened heart. A deafening roar filled Main Engineering and the engineers were thrown to the deck. All the alarms went off. The computer console didn't light up like a christmas tree, instead it put christmas trees everywhere to shame with its light display. There were so many warning lights flashing the console could have been considered the bastard child of a christmas tree and a fireworks display..while on fire!

The engineering staff manned their positions and dutifully called out the death of the Constitution. A nacelle had exploded and the fires from it crept down the lines through the pylon. When the flames reached them they would be incinerated, then just to cap it all off, the warpcore would breach.

"Chief, the emergency systems jettisoned the damaged nacelle and sealed off the pylon!" Fenton Boyce cried out.

"Sounds good," Javier replied, even as he rubbed the rising bump on his head where it had collided with the intermix chamber. He stood up from the deck and walked over to the console, in awe of the lights display.

=/\=Bridge to Engineering, what's our status?=/\=

=/\=Uhhh,=/\= the Chief Engineer replied, =/\=These lights are all blinking on this console..?=/\= Was that what they wanted to hear?

"There's a fire in the pylon line," Wakeel informed him.

=/\=So they say there's a fire down here,=/\= Javier answered hesitantly, looking from Boyce to Wakeel. =/\=I guess that's bad news?=/\= He looked at the people around him, taking a general consensus of how bad 'a fire in the pylon line' was. =/\=The people down here don't seem too happy about the fire,=/\= he told the person called Bridge.

=/\=Attention, USS Constitution! This is the Hawking, we are now parked ten kilometers off your port… anyone care for lift?=/\=

"Anybody need a lift?" Costala asked the others.

"YES!!!"

=/\=Yeah we'll take a lift.=/\= the Chief Engineer replied, =/\=There's a fire here and no one likes it, so if you could hurry..=/\= People began disappearing as Javier watched them caught up in rays of light. "Cool." Then the engineer was caught up in the transporter beam and lifted out of Engineering.

Thank god and Jimmy Carter for the Hawking. They transported everyone off the Constitution before the ship exploded in a burst of plasma flames.

Originally Posted 7-11-2008 by Javier Costala


:: USS Hawking ::
:: Bridge ::

Torrik Nils emerged back on the bridge he called home. Had he not been in a vital fury, the familiar sounds of the Intrepid class vessel may have soothed him…if only mildly. There was no soothing, however, for the Bajoran lost in a blind rage.

“…the entire damned fleet’s gone mad,” he mumbled as he exited the turbolift. His quiet tirade continued only briefly before he came to grips with what was next. “…blowing a nacelle to win a Prophet’s forsaken race…perhaps they’ve the whole damned quadrant’s been assimilated… Someone get me a count of every being that made it here from Constitution. Prepare a standard…” He fell silent as the scene on the screen before him overtook him.

“Status of the Constitution,” he muttered, completely at a loss.

“She’s a burning wreck, sir,” Jackson answered quickly. “Hull breaches on multiple decks… Plasma fires are consuming the superstructure… Looks like a cascade failure of the primary EPS grid ignited at the primary warp core… The Sagittarius dealt you a hell of a blow.”

“Rescue operation,” he spat, his brow low. It came out like a statement but everyone on the bridge knew what he meant.

“Fortunately we were very near when the nacelle went… We began beaming off crew and passengers almost immediately. We’ll have a more accurate count shortly, but I think we did well…sir.”

“I pray you did better than well, Jackson,” Nils said seriously. “Open a channel to the Prophet forsaken Sagittarius.”

"Sir," said Jackson again. "Where is the Captain?"

"Not now," Nils spat back. It was a verbal warning shot fired across the bridge and it was the best answer he could give. He silently wished the Sag had given them the same courtesy…a silent curse followed the wish.

“Multiple fighter craft incoming, sir,” said an unfamiliar voice from tactical. “Looks like the squadron from Megiddo station.”

“Lock on phasers and get our shields up… If even one of those pea shooters opens fire I want you to waste them,” the furious Bajoran said angrily. “Weapons free…”

“I have the Sag,” came a leery voice.

“Hawking to Sagittarius… What in the hell do you think you’re doing firing on our ship? Have you lost your damned minds? Has the entire Fleet lost their damned minds?” The strain of the ordeal threatened to burst the First Officer’s restraint. “What in the hell is going on around here?”

Originally Posted 7-12-2008 by Torrik Nils


USS Hawking
Bridge

Hearing Commander Pev’s assessment of Constitution’s heading, Usher Tenanji, who had just joined his XO on the bridge, considered. There had been no indications from Quincy or Stryfe that they were on a collision course. Then again, if Berkowski could destroy their subspace communications, was it too much of a stretch to believe that he’d sabotaged the navigational systems, as well?

He said as much to Lieutenant Torrik, under cover of the flurry of communications from the Outpost and Sagittarius.

Torrik covered another curse, eyes remaining on the screen, indicating what he’d like to do to Chuck, if he ever saw the bastard again, Borg or not.

“That’s been seen to, sir,” Usher, who’d gotten the sitrep from Hillman upon their retrieval, told his superior, before dropping back to join Fehr at the Tactical station while the Command staff debated the merits of finishing the race.

Featuring NPC Usher Tenanji
Originally Posted 7-12-2008 by Harry Finn


Auric grinned as the order came through to stand down, up until he noticed another light lit up on his sensor board, punching in a few commands, he quickly found the reason…the Hawking had him locked on.

Punching in the commands to open the hailing frequencies with the Intrepid-class ship, he said, =/\=Telar to Hawking, we may be a fighter wing, but we still have functioning sensors and you've got about thirty seconds to explain to me why in the Nine Hells you have my fighters locked on, OVER.=/\=

Auric sent a private message on the ship-to-ship comm to the Lieutenant in charge of Ghost squadron, detailing him to be prepared to peel off in an explosive maneuver, which would send the ships all rocketing away from the Hawking in random directions, as if an explosion had thrown them all away.

Originally Posted 7-12-2008 by Auric Telar


:: USS Hawking ::
:: Bridge ::

"Because it is not finished, Mr. Nils. Because someone has gone to great lengths to keep it from being finished, and because I would deny that person the satisfaction just because I erred. Now would you like to win this regatta?"

The Bajoran First Officer still wasn't sure how to read facial expressions of his former crewmate, but he sensed that the Sagittarius' Commander was sincere. Nils sighed.

"I see no reason why we shouldn't oblige Captain Pev," Tenanji said quietly from tactical. "It would seem the current threat has been dealt with. And he makes a point."

"Captain Pev, on behalf of what's left of the Constitution, we accept your generous offer…" Though riddled with exhaustion, Nils too was sincere. He supposed someone ought to cross that damned finish line. "However, we have a ship board crisis of our own to avert," he followed up, refering to the haywire Borg he assumed had been successfully beamed to Hawking's sickbay. "See you at the after party," Nils quipped sarcastically. "Hawking out."

Pev's smiling face (at least Nils thought he was smiling but those teeth made it hard to tell) vanished and was replaced by the wreck of Constitution once again.

"Bridge to sick…"

"Incoming transmission from the tactical wing," Operations called. Would this day never end?

=/\=Telar to Hawking, we may be a fighter wing, but we still have functioning sensors and you've got about thirty seconds to explain to me why in the Nine Hells you have my fighters locked on, OVER.=/\=

Tenanji and Nils exchanged a look. As different as the two men appeared, the sentiment was a precise relfection. "Well, we do still have them in a lock," Tenanji offered dryly. Nils wasn't sure, but it was the closest he'd ever come to suspecting the man had made a joke. Surely that was not the case.

Nils rose and began walking toward the turbolift. He'd survey sickbay himself. "In thirty three seconds drop the lock and respond to the hail, Tenanji. Explain the…misunderstanding and cut them loose. You have the bridge," he finished, just as the lift doors closed. Irritation and exhaustion clouded his judgment. But what was one more bad call after such a disasterous first command.

As the turbo lift descended, he leaned against the wall and rubbed his face in his hands. Reviewing their mission mentally, he grimaced and shook his head sadly. Thank goodness he didn't desire a command of his own. After this debacle, he would be lucky to retain his commision at all.

The lift doors opened and the Bajoran's ears were assaulted by a wild shrieking. The words were unintelligible, but their owner was unmistakable.

"Lady Cutsforth…" It was another curse. She was being tended to by a few medical personnel in the corridor, but she didn't miss the doors opening.

"Lt. Torrik," she cried as if in agony.

Nils didn't exit the lift. He just let the doors slide shut. Where to go…where to go…

"Torrik to Munro," he said, pressing his badge.

=/\= Munro! =/\= Her tone was short… Taught even.

"Is the Captain alright?"

=/\= We're getting things under control, =/\= she replied offering nothing more. He could tell things were not quite yet under control. But if they were going that way, who was he to intervene.

"Understood… Torrik out."

Now what… Standing in the lift and feeling like a child he could think of only one thing he really wanted to do. Unfortunately it would have to wait… But he could at least get the ball rolling.

"Nils to Javi," he started, stabbing his communicator one more time. "Drinks… On me…"

Originally Posted 7-12-2008 by Torrik Nils


T'Shaini tucked her hair back behind her ears and grabbed another cot to set up in the cargobay/triage unit on the Hawking. Jillian busy enough with Nathan and Joseph, the counselor offered to organize while the CMO dealt with emergencies. Jenny was unloading crates of supplies and blankets not far away, the Vulcan sent her a grateful smile when their eyes met. Easier to deal with things we do not want to see when we keep busy, or the monotony of the labor might help something process. And I can move while wondering why I have not heard from Javier and rather frantically check the face of every new arrival.

The small whine of the door has T'Shaini's head snapping around, rather like a puppy…ah well. Only it was not Javier they were bringing in, but an unconscious Lady Cutsforth. Oh no. Even with their differences, T'Shaini did not wish her ill, running over to the medics she asked hurriedly. "What happened?"

"She collapsed." He shrugged. "Shock…we have others to retrieve, can you take her?"

"Yes of course."

Transferring her over to a bed was remarkably easy, T'Shaini was somewhat surprised at how small she was. The righteous indignation makes her appear so much larger. Her sympathy aroused in spite of everything that had transpired the Vulcan took one of the older woman's hands in hers and quietly began to talk. Aware or no, T'Shaini believed that reassurance was reassurance. "…and I promise you that Torrik Nils and the Race Commission will do all in their power to have the Constitution restored to its former glory."

"Hussy…lying…"

T'Shaini froze, torn between annoyance and laughter. Well at least she is responding. "I am being honest with you Lady Cutsforth, as to your former accusation…well, in all honesty I cannot refute it." If she was not mistake the corner of the sour old woman's mouth turned up just the slightest bit. Raising one eyebrow, T'Shaini continued. "If enjoying the company of a certain gentleman," The Vulcan saw a gleam appear under lowered lids. "makes me a hussy…"

Minerva's eyes opened all the way. Even weak, her voice retained that haughty edge. "It was not that you enjoyed his company, but where you chose to enjoy it…the lift of the Consti…the Constitu…" All the hauteur drained out as she lost control and began to weep. Instinctively reaching out to comfort, T'Shaini let the feeble hands bat her away while she sat and watched helplessly.

After what seemed like an eternity, the counselor held out a cloth for the devastated woman to wipe her face with and was surprised and gratified by the muffled 'thank you' from beneath the napkin. Tentatively T'Shaini reached out again to lay her hand on the woman's shoulder and was rewarded with a sigh of relaxation. I am finally getting somewhere.

"I just wanted to say that I am sorrier than I can possibly express for your loss."

The stiffening under her hand should have been a warning.

"And I will do my best to ensure that every opportunity to restore…"

"If you do not cease jabbering immediately," Lady Cutsforth was back in full force, her icy tone was enough to have T'Shaini rear back in alarm. "I shall shear that lying trollop hand off at the wrist."

The Vulcan rose to her feet and nodded sanguinely before moving away to see if anyone who actually could stand her needed help.

Oh yes, I am 'getting somewhere'…

Featuring NPC Minerva Cutsforth
Originally Posted 7-12-2008 by T'Shaini


-USS Hawking-

"Over here Chief," Kowalski stated as he gently manuevered the man over to one of the makeshift aid stations in the triage. Javi followed him obediantly, still wondering about the tall African man in the corridor who had all but hugged him upon seeing Costala. The man acted like he knew Javi but Javi had no particular memory of the man's name.

I didn't know my name was Javi until that guy Nils called me about going drinking. Javi thought as he took a seat on a biobed. While Kal-El explained his condition to a nurse, Javi studied the people around him. Most were injured, some had smoke-blackened faces and a couple he remembered from the other ship.

"Sir?"

He turned to find a nurse addressing him.

"Can you tell me if you remember your name?" the nurse replied as she waved her tricorder sensor around his head.

"It's Javi, isn't it?" he replied.

"Javi..what? Can you tell me your entire name?"

Javi thought hard for a moment then shook his head. "No, it's just Javi." He looked from the nurse to the man that had introduced himself as Kowalski. They both looked concerned. "Sometimes they call me Chief," Javi said, "Is it Javi Chief?" His attention was drawn to a Vulcan woman walking towards them, she was smiling and looked almost happy to see them.

Who is this stone cold fox? I bet she's Kowalski's girlfriend. Lucky fellow.

Originally Posted 7-12-2008 by Javier Costala


USS Hawking
Bridge

Lieutenant Darren Hillman entered the bridge of the Hawking in the ubiquitous company of his old friend, Bill Jameson. Upon their arrival, Lieutenant Tenanji rose from the command chair and nodded a welcome.

“Thank you for coming,” the Security officer said calmly, “the line is before us but it seemed… improper… to cross it without the sanction of the,” his face almost quirked into a smile, “official race observer.”

Darren didn’t manage even that much, “Carry on,” he said simply.

Tenanji turned to Drelen, “Take us home, Mr. Drelen.”

“Sir, all ahead, slow,” the Ferengi replied.

Twenty seconds later, the Hawking had crossed the arbitrary line… in the viewscreen, they could see the broken outlines of SS Taylor-Kane and beyond that, Kendrassi Prime.

“Well,” Usher said to the resounding silence, “that’s done, at least. Ensign,” he addressed T’Preen, “broadcast to all vessels, Outpost command and SS Taylor-Kane… this race is over.”

As he spoke, Tenanji’s eyes locked with Hillman’s, then slid to Jameson. Both men, he knew, were thinking the same dark thoughts as himself. The race may be over, but whomever was responsible for the multitude of disasters was still out there. The Boss Lady Chuck had referred to in his records would be watching, waiting.

Featuring NPC's Usher Tenanji and Darren Hillman
Originally Posted 7-13-2008 by Harry Finn


The Megiddo Regatta - Yesteryear

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