SIM:The Curse of Daris 2 Strikes Again! (Part 1)

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Back to Work

The crew has just finished their maiden voyage: a run to the nearby Hippocrene Nebula and back. With a ship full of dignitaries, the Phoenix began a rescue operation. Once the disaster was taken care of, the crew returns to StarBase 118 for shore leave.

::Sauntering along, the captain smiles at those who pass. He is not in uniform, but still most know his face. The Dome isn't one of Lysander's favorite places to relax, but it does provide for a unique experience every time he stops by. Looking upwards, he gazes at the inside of the hull, which lazily arches up from all direction to meet in the very center. Above is the residential area of the base, and below is the engineering section. A marvel of modern humanity to have created such a structure.::

::Lazily, Malcolm stops at a few booths in the bazaar, picking up trinkets, examining them and considering them, before thinking better and moving on to the next vendor. Before long he tires of the commercial area and finds a quieter street, where a small cafe sits wedged between the backs of two buildings. A green and white striped awning hangs over a sidewalk mess of chairs and tables. Three or four people are seated outside, while no more than ten sit inside. A waiter takes orders before non-hurriedly re-entering the cafe to place an order, or retrieve one::

::Lysander sits at an empty table, away from most of the rest of the people, and looks over the menu he has memorized. The waiter, knowing what Lysander usually orders, anticipates, and brings to the table a Menthe tea, cold::

WAITER: What would you like to eat today, Malcolm?

::Glancing upward at the Trill, the captain smiles a little and sets his menu down::

LYSANDER: I hope you know you are one of the few people who can call me by my first name, Keren.

KEREN: ::Smirking:: Of course, I am grateful for the priviledge every time you attend.

LYSANDER: ::Lysander chuckles quietly:: A Vulcan weger muffin, with jam, and an apple... what planet are they from today?

KEREN: Just days out of Earth, today.

LYSANDER: Ah, a rarity... Earth apples. One of those, yes.

KEREN: That be all?

LYSANDER: Yes, I believe so.

KEREN: I'll have it right out.

::Placing his fingers delicately on the leather spine of the book he'd brought with him, he slides it across the table and lifts the velvet place marker, opening to the three-hundreth and thirty-second page::

"Cowering beneath the rock, Natalia bunches together the tinder and flicks a match. 'Light damn you, light!' she cries, but to no avail. The wind, whipping through the cave extinguishes the second-to-last match in her pack. Whimpering and wiping away the tear, she shifts a little to block the wind before trying again. The last match dies quickly, as the merciless wind makes a path around her on both sides. She sobs to herself, thinking that the beast is not far now. She simply needs the fire to chase it away. Chase away the night that will put an end to her should she find no reprieve..."

::The waiter puts the food on the table, each piece on it's own little colored plate. Lysander thanks him and takes a sip of the tea before continuing. The climax is near, he can feel, and there seems to be only a dozen or two more pages left::

"With the back of her hand, the pale and slight woman roughly wipes away her tears. The cave ahead of her is dark, and she dare not enter. The large boulder to her back will offer no help in keeping away the beast, as it barely blocks three-quarters of the mouth of the cave. She has no choice but to dare, to push foward into the cavern in hopes of finding a better hiding place. Or perhaps a jagged formation of granite to thrust herself upon. Her weary knees pop as she stands and fumbles around in the dark down deeper into the cave. Steadying herself against the wall, she slides foward, all hope of living through this experience gone. She begins to cry quietly again to herself, futiley. Her salty tears give no guilt to death as it seems to creep beside her. Within just a few minutes, the cave's mouth is no longer visible, and all light is hidden. Natalyia's breath comes in quick gasps and sobs, but she continues. Then, before her rises up the most hideous thing any man has ever faced. Oblivous in the dark, she pushes forward. The monster lets a scream of pleasure burst from it's dripping lips as it prepares to pounce. Natalyia feels a warm wet liquid run down her leg, and then falls back, terrified of death..."

::Malcolm looks up again, takes another sip of his tea, and bites the muffin. Finally, the heroine faces her nemesis!::

"In her scramble, a sharp piece of rock comes under her fingers. She clutches it and waves it blindly, hoping to hit the killer. It is then that she realizes--"

::Lysander looks up as he hears his name::

ENS. BELUAH: Captain!! I'm glad I found you... ::the operations officer glances down at the Captain's dress, black pants, a black button-down shirt, and, most noticeably in this situation, no com badge::

::The captain sighs and replaces the marker, setting the book down on the table next to the half-finished snack::

LYSANDER: Leave it to the command center staff to find me even when I don't want to be found...

::Beluah smiles and shrugs::

ENS. BELUAH: Sorry Captain, but we're having a problem in the CC.

::Reaching into his pocket, Malcolm finds a ten-credit and leaves it at the table as he stands, and collects the book and the apple::

LYSANDER: Alright, brief me.

ENS. BELUAH: We've been receiving strange reading from the Daris 2 Colony.

LYSANDER: Daris 2 Colony? I thought it was abandoned...

::The two stride purposefully towards the core, a long vertical shaft which climbs from the bottom of the base, to the top. It is narrowest in the dome, so as to ruin as little as the atmosphere as possible, and it contains four turbolift shafts, as well as hundreds of cable bundles and more. Located directly in the center of the base, it is the only way go up from the dome floor::

ENS. BELUAH: It was abandoned, over a year ago due to geological instablity. This StarBase is required to keep a constant watch over the colony through the automatic archiving of data packets received from the computers still functioning there. SF Command wants us to go check it out.

LYSANDER: Of course...

::Lysander and Beluah reach the core and stand inside the glass pavilion with more than a dozen other people, waiting for the next available turbolifts. Because of the limited number of shafts that run through the dome, there is a constant wait for turbolifts on the floor of the dome. Beluah continues to give the captain a rundown as the two step onto the next turbolift to arrive, and are crowded in. The lift shoots upward, dropping people off at a connection terminal just a few decks above the dome, where they will be loaded onto other turbolifts. Beluah and the captain, receiving priority, stay aboard as the lift moves upward again. Once in the command center, the Captain moves to his chair::

LYSANDER: Ops, I want a full scale scan of the last two months worth of datapackets from the colony. Tac, I want the Phoenix readied for departure in twelve hours, and someone notify the crew to be ready by then as well.

::The mentioned officers nod, and begin preparations. Lysander shines the Earth apple a little with his sleeve, before taking a bite::


Discrepancies in the automated computers of the now abandoned Daris 2 Colony call the crew to investigate.

::The captain, sitting in his office, places his head in his hands for a few moments, dragging them down his face and breathing deeply. His desktop computer sits open, the screen displaying an image of the LCARS interface. On the bottom of the screen scrolls relevant newsbriefs for the senior crew; most of it simply updates on the readiness of the Phoenix, the need for important maintence, or the status of critical systems. In the main section of the screen, the computer is ever so slowly scrolling down the intricate history of the Daris 2 Colony::

"... Captain Brad Paine ordered the colony evacuated after severe earthquakes threatened the lives of those living on the colony. Standard ground-to-space evac cubes were deployed, however the Captain and temporary first officer Valeris evacuated via a Danube class runabout. The shuttle apparently crash landed on the suface of the Daris 2's moon, and no surivors were found. Paine and Valeris' are assumed dead, though their bodies have not been recovered..."

::Lysander's thoughts drift from the upcoming mission as he thinks on Othello. Leaning again onto his hand, his arm rests on the desk::

.oO I should be ashamed of myself... before I took this job he and I he used to do stuff all the time. Running together, holodeck fencing, helping him with homework. Now I leave him weeks at a time with just a once-a-day check-in by a security officer and a few hours at school. Oo.

::Lysander sighs again, rubs his face, and lets his eyes tear up. Rarely does he cry, but thoughts of his son, and how unresponsible he's been force him to face emotions of sadness. Further complicating the mess, thoughts of the alternate-dimension beings and the horrifying ordeal that he went through drags his demeanor even further into a pit::

::Blinking away the small tears, Malcolm looks again at the computer screen, but cannot keep his concentration locked::

LYSANDER: Computer, initiate communique with Nell Lysander, location in memory banks.

COMPUTER: Connecting.

::The captain waits as Nell is paged. A few moments later, her face appears on screen::

NELL: What is it THIS time?

LYSANDER: Do you always have to be so hostile?

NELL: Malcolm, I don't have time for this. What DO you want?

LYSANDER: I want you to consider taking Othello.

::Her eyes widen in anger::

NELL: WHAT?! ::She looks around quickly, then lowers her voice:: What are you TALKING about? You fought for months to keep him with you on that damn space-coffin! You put us both through hell! ::She speaks in a hissed whisper and her eyes are fiery::

LYSANDER: I know, I know... but we rarely ever see each other, and he spends weeks alone while I'm on duty.

NELL: Well that's just FRICKIN' great Malcolm... you let our only son do whatever the hell he wants with whoever the hell he wants while you go galivanting around the stars with those scum you call officers. Do you know how dangerous that base is?!

LYSANDER: Not at all?

NELL: ::She places her hands on her hips and cocks her head to the side:: Not at all? He's FIF-TEEN!!

LYSANDER: This is all beside the point. I KNOW he's not getting the attention he needs, that's why I want you to take him.

NELL: So I see. You ignore him, then shove him off on me? As if I have nothing else to do here?

LYSANDER: ::Confused, he frowns a little:: But...

NELL: I don't have time for this. I have a class to teach, when I've made my decision, I'll send you a message. ::Waving her hand in front of the screen, she gives Lysander a disgusted look and cuts the link.

LYSANDER: ::Throwing his hands in the air:: AAAAAH!!! YOU BITCH!!!

::Malcolm breathes, frowns, and bangs his head against his desk gently. Rolling his chair backward, he then spins it and looks for a moment into space. From behind him, his computer beeps, indicating an incoming message. Growling to himself, Lysander spins his chair again and faces the screen::

LYSANDER: Open link.

::Fleet Admiral Moreau, long time friend of Admiral Wolf, is seated in front of the Federation seal::

MOREAU: Captain.

LYSANDER: Good afternoon Admrial, what can I do for you?

MOREAU: I need a run down on the Hipprocrene nebula problem. I've got quite a few complaints on record here from some important people.

LYSANDER: I believe my report covered--

MOREAU: ::Leaning into the screen:: Lysander, I don't want your attitude. Just tell me what I need to know.

LYSANDER: Alright Admiral... we encountered the Borg, ::Malcolm glances up at the screen, glaring at the Admiral:: as I wrote, who had created a small Borg colony on the USS Benevolent --

MOREAU: ::Interupting again:: Yes, tell me more about that ship.

LYSANDER: The Benevolent is inhabited by a holographic crew. The crew abandoned the ship and replaced themselves with the holographic crew, sending the ship to get help for them. The details of that are in my report.

MOREAU: ::Nodding to himself:: And you didn't bring that ship back to port?

LYSANDER: ::Breathing slowly:: No Admiral, the ship was, as I said, inhabited by the Borg. The holographic crew had degraded to severe malfunction, and I felt that it would pose greater danger to us to attempt to bring the ship back to base.

MOREAU: Well, StarFleet feels differently...

LYSANDER: Admiral, the crew is currently preparing for a mission to the Daris 2 Colony.

MOREAU: ::Nodding:: Understood Captain... StarFleet will expect that ship to be salvaged in the future. NEAR future... ::eyeing Malcolm::

LYSANDER: I hate to cut this short Admiral...

MOREAU: As do I Captain, but I have work to do. Moreau out.

::Frowning, confused, the Captain stares at the screen::

LYSANDER: But, _I_...

::Lysander shakes his head before sighing to himself and slowly dropping his head onto the desk::

((In his quarters...))

::Changing into another uniform, the Captain takes a moment to look at himself in the mirror. He runs his fingers through his black hair, then down his goatee. His blood pulses quickly for a few moments and he smiles. The StarBase, and it's problems are behind them. As much as he enjoys commanding a base, the starship is his home. Trekking through the stars is the life he's always wanted...::

::The door chime rings, and Lysander turns, walking about of his bathroom area::


::Toullis, the quiet counselor enters. Malcolm hasn't had much time to greet the newer crew, like Toullis, but welcomes the opportunity. Smiling, he shakes the counselor's hand::

TOULLIS: Captain, I think we need to have a quick talk. You have been on several long missions lately, has this been effecting your relationship with your son, Othello?

::The smile quickly fades from Lysander's face as he turns away, eyes downcast::

LYSANDER: It has... deteriorated...

TOULLIS: Have you though about taking a vacation with him? It would give you a break from Star Fleet, and it would supply a good amount of bonding. I would suggest a trip back to Earth. There are many things to do there. Do you like mountain climbing?

LYSANDER: I don't have time for a vacation.

TOULLIS: Even if you can only go to the base's holodeck, it is still a vacation.

LYSANDER: I'm sorry counselor --

TOULLIS: As soon as this is over, you will take a vacation. I don't care where, but you're going.

::Lysander turns back to Toullis, who is standing firm his ground::

LYSANDER: I have work on the bridge. I suggest you make appointements with other members of the crew, counselor. There are many others who need evaluations.

::The Captain looks Toullis in the eye again before walking out of the room, and boarding a turbolift to the bridge::


::The Captain walks onto the bridge of the Phoenix, it's consoles shining and viewscreen bright. The ship is manned by a skeleton crew, as the shore leave deadline is still an hour or two away. Lysander approaches one of the officers and requests that he send out a reminder of the ship's departure to the crew, before turning towards the narrow staircase to his left::

::The bridge module of the Phoenix has three decks, the first being the command bridge itself. The second deck is reached by turbolift, or from either of the two staircases which curve to the arc of the hull from the first deck, to the second deck. Both are narrow and steep, but are quicker and obviously do not expend the energy used by a turbolift, thus being economical in times of war. The second deck is home to the ready rooms of the Captain and the first officer::

::Malcolm steps quickly down the stairs and moves down the cozy corridor into his office, the door sliding closed behind him. While small in comparison to his sprawling ready room on the StarBase, his office on the Phoenix is of good size when the size of the ship itself is taken into considering. The ready room of the Benevolent was barely a closet compared to the Phoenix's proportions::

::The captain approaches his replicator and conjures up some warm cider, which he takes to the low, deep couch by the wall. Sitting down into it, he sits quietly, sipping the drink::

.oO The colony… a strange history. Barely got off the ground with a rocky start, only to be evacuated. Why did Wolf decide to send my crew to investigate? Surely there are others… Oo.

::Lysander sighs to himself. Admiral Wolf's motives are dark and mysterious. For all anyone knows, Wolf could have set up the whole thing as a way to finish off this crew to make room for a new one. After all, the Admiral HAD tried to kill someone with his com badge…::

::Shaking his head ever so slightly, Malcolm places the drink on the low end-table next to the sofa and picks up the PADD he had been carrying::

oO Two days there are warp eight… Oo

::His thoughts wander in and out of his work as he reviews what he needs to know for the last time. An hour slips away and soon the captain finds himself on his feet again, out the door of his ready room and up the staircase::

::The bridge has already become more vibrant than it was before. Three quarters of the stations are manned by their designated officers. Everyone is talkative and cheerful about their rest time as they exchange stories::

LYSANDER: Welcome back everyone. ::He smiles as he walks forward to the middle of the bridge. Everyone turns and murmurs a return, greeting him as well:: ETA till departure?

::The officer in the operations seat touches a button, then turns to face the captain:: One hour captain.

LYSANDER: All right. I want all senior officers in the briefing room in five minutes.

::The captain walks to a turbolift and requests the briefing room just two floors below. Although the second deck is connected to the first, a turbolift is needed to get to the briefing room. The captain steps off the lift just a few moments later, into the largest room in the bridge module. At one end of the room, covering about a quarter of the wall, huge windows look out over the hull of the Phoenix. The main feature of the room, however, is the large donut shaped table in the center of the room. A gap at the side nearest the turbolift allows passage into the area in the center of the table, for lectures. Above the clearing in the center of the table, a dual purpose hanging fixture doubles as lighting, as well as a holographic projector, for tactical briefings. The room is unique in that it is uses its space very economically, like everything else on the ship. When two rooms are needed, instead of one large room, the briefing table can be split into two identical pieces, which then can either be quickly dismantled and stored in in-floor compartements, or moved to the sides of the room. A holographic wall, with a sound-barrier force-field can also be created. Most of the time, however, the room is kept in it's single-space configuration::

::The senior officers take places around the table as Lysander stands at the head::

LYSANDER: We're about to depart on a mission that is both potentially dangerous, or possibly harmless. We have very little information about the current status of the colony, besides the fact that data logs indicate activity in some of the colony's systems where there shouldn't be activity. We've been told to investigate the activity, and deal with it.

LYSANDER: When we finish here, com, I'd like you to notify space dock that we are almost prepared to depart. Helm, please review our flight info and check in with the StarBase. Tactical, I need a rundown of all systems readiness. Security, be sure all officers are accounted for and only those who are supposed to be here. Medical, be prepared to deal with some strange situations down there. For all we know, some of the planet natives could be playing phaser tag.

::For the next ten minutes, the Captain then focus' his attention on the holographic projection of the Daris system, which he creates in the area in the center of the table. Near the end, the tour closes in on the colony itself, giving a virtual tour of what it looked like just before most of the systems shut down. The scene is hellish. A huge crack runs down the center of the colony, where a fault line has opened it's mouth. Above the crack, the dome's glass is also webbed with cracks from the instability. Houses and buildings are visibly damaged::

LYSANDER: ::As the tour comes to a close:: All right everyone, you're dismissed to the bridge.

::Nodding Lysander strides out of the briefing room and onto the turbolift bound for his quarters, for a quick stop, before the ship heads out of port.::


As the crew prepares for the mission, science officer Dray Nis attempts to download information on Daris 2, but is rudely denied the information by an officer in charge of records regarding Colonization of Federation world. Tactical officer Locke looks into the matter, while preparing the crew for some emergency drills, before heading out to Daris 2.

((15 minutes later...))

LYSANDER: All stations, report status.

LOCKE: Tactical ready, sir. All systems in the green. Skipper, I'd like to run a few combat drills during the trip out. Make sure everything is working as it's supposed to.

LYSANDER: Sounds fine Locke, please collaborate with OPS to ensure that the drills are within limits.

::Taking his command chair, Lysander reviews some of the information about the current status of the colony, while waiting for Locke to perform some of the drills::

::Locke begins making preperations for the drills as Lysander watches the screen, feeling a little tired. Soon enough, his eyelids become heavy, then close involuntarily. He snores quietly in his chair, head dropped back against the rest behind him. Some of the bridge crew smirks, and looks his way, but no one dares wake him up::

::That is, save for Mathias. The tall man pounds a meaty finger on the Captain's shoulder, startling him out of the slumber::

LOCKE: Captain, I have a little... situation here.

LYSANDER: Go ahead...

::Locke explains the red-tape nonsense, along with the fix to the problem. Malcolm frowns::

LYSANDER: Why the hell would any low life subspace monitor be restricting information like that to us?

::Narrowing his eyes, he stands, glancing down at the small drool stain on his shirt and cringing::

LYSANDER: < m > I need sleep...

::The tactical officer chuckles and notifies Lysander that he is about to begin a simulation. The Captain nods and requests an engineering camera on the main viewscreen. The simulation begins, and the slightly amused bridge crew watches as the isolated red alert beacons wail and flash. The engineers, after a moment of being shocked, jump to action, running here and there to this console and that. Lysander taps his com badge, winking to the operations officer::


::His voice is worried and spastic, but only acted. The CEO stops quicklyand taps his badge, not realizing that he's being watched::

CEO: =/\= My God Captain... I think we're going to have to eject the warp core!! =/\=

::The chief engineer sounds more than worried, frantic in fact. Biting his lip, the timer clicks down to five seconds to breach. Making a decision that would normally might cost him a lot of yelling from the captain, he slams his finger down on a button on the console he is standing in front of. The timer stops at three seconds, and Lysander frowns::

::On screen, the CEO's eyes widen as, from his stand-point, the core will not eject and there is but a second before it breaches::

LYSANDER: Looks like we would have been dead in the water on that one Locke...

::Locke nods grimly::

LYSANDER: Well, at least he had the sense to eject it. ::The captain shrugs and takes his seat again:: ETA till arrival?

HELM: 30 hours Captain.

LYSANDER: Servik, you have the conn. Ops, send out a message to all senior staff: Dinner in the lounge at 1900. The crew passes the time during the trip to Daris 2. During a crew dinner, Lysander witnesses a Klingon initiating the mating rites with Locke. The two spar verbally over Klingon tradition.

::The captain stumbles wearily to his quarters and drops easily into bed, intending only to rest for a while, but instead falling into a deep comatose-like state. What seems like only moments later, he is woken by his own snoring::

::Shaking his head a little, Malcolm stands, checks the chronometer (finding himself behind schedule) and runs to the shower. By the time he is groomed, he is already minutes late to dinner. Cursing, he double-times it to the conference area::

::As the doors slide open Lysander just manages to watch Locke deck one of the very few Klingon's onboard. And a female, no less. The captain's teeth grind together so hard a small crack forms in one of the molars, though he does not notice. Breathing deeply, he remembers the mantra of the wise Malkusian; "It is he who sheaths the sword that pierces most easily." The tattoo'd tree on his back aches a little in memory of the homeworld, and it's tranquility as he walks gracefully forward into the room::

::Sliding into his chair, others turn to find him patiently awaiting the beginning of the meal. Most are mulling about talking with drinks in their hands, or seated and ordering food. Locke is the last to sit, at the same table as the captain, who eyes him heavily, with a sly grin on his face::

::Lysander and Locke peruse the menu, as a few others of their table chit-chat. Lysander choses a Vulcan meal, and the beginning course is delivered soon after. The piece is spongy is texture, pink in color, and very light, to save room for the rest of the meal. Thanking the waiter, Malcolm picks up his fork and takes a small piece. The taste is vaguely fruity, enjoyable though::

::The table is quiet, strangely. Lysander looks up at Locke, who obviously hasn't entertained a second thought about the attack he made. One that could cost him a court martial...::

::Looking up as he takes another bite of the spongy pink food, swallows, and addresses the small group::

LYSANDER: I'm interested to know Locke, about your Klingon upbringing...

::Locke was looking closely at the spongey pink goo on his fork, wondering if he should dare put it in his mouth, when the skipper spoke to him. Locke was a very private person and would normally tell the asker it was not something he wanted to talk about. However, this was his CO.::

LOCKE: Well, we...

LYSANDER: Especially the aggressive tendancies Klingons have.

::Locke kept his face expressionless as he put the food in his mouth and chewed, but he didn't really taste it. He had a feeling he knew where this was going.::

LOCKE: I'm not a Klingon, sir. Is there something specific you were wondering about?

::Sitting back in his chair, the captain's face becomes more serious and his voice hiss-like::

LYSANDER: I know you're not a Klingon, I can see my reflection in your forehead. You were brought up by a Klingon though, were you not? Or did your personnel file lie?

::Locke's struggle to keep his face was growing harder. He very carefully place the fork back on the table.::

LOCKE: My file is correct, sir. I was raised on the planet Rexan by Ti'kough of the House of M'uahb.

::E'lenaf's face perks for a moment at the next table. Apparently she hadn't known who his mentor was.::

LOCKE: I was formally adopted by him when we were rescued. I am familair with most of the Klingon culture pertaining to combat and the Warrior Code, but not much else.

LYSANDER: Interesting that you would verse yourself in Klingon animosity rituals, but not anything else. ::He pauses:: And what of your, Klingon codes of respect. They seem to be a hot topic among pacifists.

LOCKE: ::eyes locked with Lysander's:: If you have a question about my behavior, captain, ask me. Sir.

::Taking a moment, the captain squints, leans foward onto his elbows and smugly responds::

LYSANDER: What behavior might that be, Lieutenant.

::Locke took in the aggresive posture and attitude of his commanding officer and responded in kind. The two had locked gazes and neither seemed willing to back off. Excalation seemed to be the direction.::

LOCKE: Whatever it is that's... upset you so.

::Lysander dances around the issue, goading Locke to admit to his actions. The captain smiles::

LYSANDER: Just trying to have a friendly conversation over dinner Locke... find out about your past...

::Locke was not about to be shuffled into a corner. He took the conversational initiative, realizing as he did so he was walking a very fine line. Still, if he was to command respect he could not back down to so obvious a challenge. A smack in the head worked for Klingons (if it didn't result in a Death Challenge) but other races saw things differently, and as much as Locke wanted to smack the skippers head at this moment control, and not spending twenty years on a penal colony, seemed the better option.::

LOCKE: One of the things I learned in my past, from my Klingon mentor, was directness. Anyone without the courage to state what they are thinking is wasting other's time.

::The captain again pauses, seeing how precarious his own face is at the moment.::

LYSANDER: Mmm... that does to be a downfall of the Klingons. Perhaps why they have never succeeded in diplomatic proceedings. Terrans, as you well know, have a knack for tact...

Strange Arrival

Dinner is interrupted as one Lt. Valleri Jones is discovered in an escape pod. The doctor had been missing since she accompanied Tyron Hede to his home planet. The crew investigates before resuming course.


LOCKE: You would have to ask a Klingon about that, sir, but I know that what humans consider tact is usually over-officious babbling that wastes everyone's time, which is why you find so few officers that are able to command respect in the Diplomatic Corps. I think the main Klingon objection to human "tact" is that diplomats, when faced with a crisis and the need for an immediate decision call a meeting to discuss the matter, wheras in the Klingon forces and culture the ranking Klingon usually orders some action. Diplomats are notorious for getting everyone else in danger with their "tact" and then expecting the more... robust officers to get them out. If the problem is solved they take the credit, and if not they also pass out the blame. So in that aspect, sir, I am proud to claim the Klingon heritage.

LYSANDER: Mmm... action. "Action" as you call it, does not fix every problem Lieutenant. Sometimes, holding back and talking your way out can be more effective --

DELL: =/\= Ensign Dell to LT. Locke. =/\=

LOCKE: =/\= Locke here. =/\=

DELL: =/\= Sir, we've picked up an object on the long-range scanners. The computer's never seen anything like it and there is no transponder signal. =/\=

LOCKE: =/\= On my way, Dell. =/\=

::Locke gives Lysander a short nod. Lysander responds by scrunching his nose, and ponders for a moment what the next fiasco could be. Looking back down at his second course, he begins eating again, slowly. Within the next ten minutes, the obligatory "captain come to the bridge" call can be heard::

::Malcolm sighs a little, pushes his plate away and standing, he turns to the nearest table::

LYSANDER: Servik, Nis and Toullis report with me to the Bridge.

::The four stride out of the conference room and onto the turbolift for the short trip, two decks up. Stepping out onto the bridge, the four just get a chance to see the Phoenix drop out of warp and drop in next to the pod. Locke is scanning the pod, and looks a little suprised. There are no visual signs coming from the pod itself, just a small flashing beacon on the front end::

LOCKE: Captain, one life sign aboard. Also detecting a Federation Comm-badge. The transponder code matches the one issued to LT. Jones, sir.

::The captain blinks, before moving into action towards his chair::

LYSANDER: Nis, scan her, I want to know her condition. Toullis, be prepared for a problem.

::A new officer is standing at the security console. Lysander takes a moment to look him over::

LYSANDER: Who are you?

MUN: Ens. Keril Mun, sir, reporting for duty.

::Tongue in cheek, the captain smirks a little::

LYSANDER: Alright, well, collaborate with Locke on this one.

::Lysander changes his gaze to Locke::

LYSANDER: Bring the pod into one of the shuttle bays and take Mun with you, and another security officer as well as Toullis and Nis. I don't want any surprises. Get her to a sickbay immediately, and I want a full run-down on her status.

::Locke nods and makes preparations::

LYSANDER: Servik, once they've brought her in, get us back on course, and reengage at warp 8. Continue scanning on that front as well, hopefully as we get closer we'll learn more. You have the conn.

::The captain makes his exit, moving quickly to the curved staircase leading down to his ready room, his dinner already forgotten:: The captain visits Jones in sickbay, only to be deterred by a vigilant nurse. Soon after, strange readings are detected near Daris 2, and Lysander divulges some interesting information.

::Lysander leaves the bridge and heads to his quarters. Stopping only for a few minutes to use the facilities before heading to sickbay. He enters the small, but technologically advanced medical area to find it relatively quiet. The EMH has been activated, and is calmly working on Jones, as Yeran stands nearby, helping. The rest of the few bio beds are empty::

::The captain approaches the bed, and Yeran turns to face him. The terran's asian eyes look suspiciously on his captain, wondering what exactly he wants, though already having a good idea. He is short, like Lysander, but being a doctor, fears no intimidation::

YERAN: Can I help you Captain?

LYSANDER: I need to speak with Valleri...

YERAN: She's not in any condition to be interviewed.

LYSANDER: That's unfortunate... is she consious?

::Yeran pauses and again looks suspiciously at the captain. He answers hastily::


::Lysander stiffens, narrows his eyes and sniffs::

LYSANDER: Are you sure.

YERAN: Very.

::The captain takes a quick glance at the EMH, who seems oblivous to the situation before turning and stomping out of sickbay.::

LYSANDER: <m> Damn conceited medical staff...

::Moments later, as the captain walks down the hall, his com badge chirps::

SERVIK: =/\= Captain, we're getting some weird readings on the bridge... =/\=

LYSANDER: =/\= I'll be right up. =/\=

::The bridge is alive with alarms and flashing panels. Servik stands as the enters and points to the viewscreen::

SERVIK: Tachyon detection grid has picked up a cloaked vessel... 300 kilometers starboard. We've identified it as a Federation vessel.

::Lysander's stout figure stops, his brow furrowing as he thinks. How the hell would a Federation ship have a cloaking device? Was it possibly the Defiant? If so, why hadn't they identified yet?::

LYSANDER: Yellow alert, I don't want to be caught unprepared. Where's Locke?

::The huge tactical officer's absence was notable. Even if the captain wasn't exactly please with him, the man still knew his job::

OPS: On his way Captain, he was in the shuttle bay.

LYSANDER: Com, send to cloaked ship: This is the USS Phoenix - C, out of StarBase 118. Identify yourself immediately using encoded channels.


LYSANDER: Repeat the message com.

::Again, silence::

LYSANDER: Are you sure there's a ship there?

::The doors of the turbolift open and Locke strides into the room::

HELM: Positive, Captain. The tachyon grid definitely read a disturbance, and the warp signature proves there's been a Federation ship here.

::Tongue in cheek, the captain absently takes a seat in his chair. Locke gives a tactical readout.::

LOCKE: Sir, readings are fuzzy but from the signature and power output I would say the ship is not a shuttle or runabout but a warship, though a small one. Steamrunner class (like us) or a Saber class. Not bigger than that.

LYSANDER: Thoughts, Servik?

HELM: Sir, given that the Federation vessel is using a cloaking device and in the proximity of an abandoned Federation outpost, I am inclined to believe that they are involved in something covert and therefore, they will not be willing to be direct in answering any questions.

SERVIK: The helmsman has given voice to some of my own worries. I have been reading about the Daris Colony and how it seemed evacuated rather abruptly. Important mineral deposits had just been discovered prior to the increase in seismetic activity and orders were made that were rather ambigious.

::Lysander considers the information. He knows something Servik, and the others don't, but is unsure whether it is really of critical importance. Servik continues::

SERVIK: I have been discussing my feelings with Lt. Nis and I wanted you to know. I have no evidence at this time to confirm or deny any of my suspicions.

LYSANDER: I would be inclined to agree with your suspicions. ::The captain pauses:: Servik, Locke, ready room, now.

::The captain stands as Locke and Servik follow him down the stairs and into his ready room. Lysander rounds his desk and stands, the two of them waiting in front of him::

LYSANDER: Confidential files from StarFleet indicate that Captain Brad Paine had some dirty dealings in this whole situation. As you may or may not know, Admiral Wolf, Captain Paine, and the Borg officer Logan Paine are all of family relation, Wolf being an adopted member of that family. Paine and Wolf had some kind of communication before the evacuation of the colony, but so far we have not been able to ascertain exacly what was exchanged.

::Lysander sits, settling in for a long story, he motions for the other two to do the same::

LYSANDER: Logan Paine made was last seen at the Daris Colony, There, he used a personal holographic system to fool the crew into thinking that he was Admiral Wolf, who was commanding the colony personally at the time. Paine imprisoned Wolf in a cargo bay, and made an attempt on highly classified StarFleet files. Whether he actually was able to retreive some of those files is unclear. Admiral Wolf managed to escape to the surface of the colony, and exposed Paine. Luckily for Wolf, Captain Maela Jolon was onhand. ::Lysander smirked:: Wolf and Jolon had a very rocky relationship, and Jolon was more than willing to put the fake Wolf into the brig. When the real Wolf surfaced, as I said, he exposed Paine and then put him into stasis on the colony. We have no records as to what exactly happened to Paine after that. For all we know, he may be there now. He is an extremely dangerous person, and one of our first priorities will be making sure that he is still unable to cause any problems. We will be bringing him back to the StarBase with us, where they will deal with him properly.

LYSANDER: As for the colony itself... we have some knowledge of what happened in those last hours. StarBase 118 was contact by Captain Brad Paine, who was then in command of the base, as well as Commander Valeris, the acting first officer. They requested immediate support from any available ships, and notified the base that they were initiating escape procedure Beta 1. For the colony, that included evacuating all inhabitants through life pods, and sending up the available shuttles to protect the life boats. At the time, the Colony was dangerously close to a Dominion hot spot, and there was ample threat of an attack from Dominion Cruisers.

LOCKE: Wasn't there a ship they could have used... the... Mantis?

LYSANDER: The Mantis left the colony only three days before the earthquakes began. During a routine scan of the ship, severe problems were detected in the inertial dampening systems. The colony did not have the resources to fix the problem. ::Lysander pauses again, thinking on the information that needs to be imparted:: A cargo ship brought the Mantis ship back to the StarBase for repairs. That cargo ship, though, brought a huge load of weapons and machinery to the colony, which was also not evacuated.

SERVIK: Weapons? What for?

LYSANDER: The StarBase was planning to create a faux trade-route which would pass through the Daris system, in an effort to lure Dominion ships into the open. The colony would then use ground-based experimental weapons to destroy the ships.

LYSANDER: As for the rest of the evacuation... the computer left a detailed record of the events. We know that Valeris went back to her quarters after retreiving her child, Lily, and ordered a site-to-site transport of some very bulky equipment to a vacant life-craft. We don't know what that was, however. Paine ordered the shuttles to lift-off three minutes before the automatic jettison. All crew were reported aboard. The captain used the command-shuttle, and was alone.

LYSANDER: About five minutes after the last pod was jettisoned from the colony the computer automatically began the shutdown procedures. All the information we have was sent as part of the final mega-burst of data from the colony which included all remaining information which had not been uploaded as well as the detailed computer logs of the events which lead up to the shutdown. The computer then locked down all computers using level-1 encryption, terminated all main power systems, and went offline.

LYSANDER: The remainder of our information comes from the sparce computer logs from the life-pods, as well as the USS Kodiak logs, which was the ship sent to rescue the colony inhabitants. ::Biting his lip, the captain leans back in his chair:: This is where things get interesting.

LOCKE: ::Raising an eyebrow:: Interesting, Captain?

LYSANDER: Well, as protocol suggests, the lifepods assembled in formation for resource-sharing, and basically waited for the Kodiak uneventfully. The two life-pods which Valeris and Paine used, however, never reported in and the Kodiak was not able to find them using any level of scans once they arrived. Three months later, the nebula class ship, USS Hera, was the first Federation ship to pass through that sector, on a medical mission to Solais 9, detected some unusal metal objects on the surface of the Daris moon. The ship noted the objects, and on their return trip, stopped to investigate. They found two life-pods, in pretty bad condition, partially imbedded in the moon's surface. We presume that these were the pods of Valeris and Paine, although no bodies were found.

SERVIK: So can we not presume that their shuttles were sabotaged, or perhaps that it was a freak accident?

LYSANDER: ::smiling just a little:: It is only a little odd that the two highest commanding officers would be in the only two faulty escape pods on the colony. And it is only a little more odd that the Kodiak would not find the shuttles during a high-level scan of the area, but a ship travelling at warp speed through the sector would happen to pick up the objects. What is really odd is that the execute shuttle craft for the colony, which was never recorded as leaving the base by the colony computers, was not found anywhere on the colony during a sensor sweep done just a few days ago. I checked into the logs and found out that, in fact, the shuttle has not been present on the colony since twenty minutes after the shut-down of the colony computers.

::The captain nods slowly, waiting for their responses::

Servik suggests that perhaps Captain Paine and Valeris are part of a movement to liberate Cardassia. Science officer Dray Nis is called upon to make further insights. He suggests the the USS Quetzacoatl is the ship currently cloaked nearby the Phoenix, and is carrying a topaline ore which may be part of an underground conspiracy, with Daris 2 Colony at the core.

::Lysander nods slowly::

LYSANDER: Well, so far, we have a few different theories. First, there's the possibility that we've been drawn away from the StarBase in an effort to allow an attack to occur. I'm not really partial to this one, considering the kind of protection the base has at the moment, meaning I don't think anyone would be stupid enough to launch an attack on the base.

LYSANDER: Second, is that the USS Quetzacoatl is currently the ship in hiding,c arrying TP36 infused with iridium... What exactly would force all this secrecy, I'm not really sure. I guess that's what we're here to find out. Perhaps the StarBase was never meant to uncover the discrepencies in the computer logs from Daris. ::Lysander shrugs::

::The computer chirps::

HELM: =/\= Captain, we are less than ten minutes from Daris II. =/\=

LYSANDER: Alright, let's go to the bridge and see what we can't uncover.

::The four men stand, Lysander the shortest with Nis just barely an inch over. Servik and Locke tower over the other two at an imposing 6'4", though Locke's frame is easily more bulky than Servik's. Malcolm leads the way from the ready room through the small corridor and up the staircase to the bridge, where the crew is excitedly manning their stations. The viewscreen shows an image of the most likely area of the cloaked ship in relation to the Phoenix's current position, as well as in relation to Daris II. The planet is only a few minutes away at warp five, which the ship has slowed to::

::The captain moves to his seat, and orders a full scan of the system, to rule out any other unseen anomolies. The computer begins it's search as Servik, Locke and Nis take their positions::

LYSANDER: Take us into orbit of Daris II. If the other ship will not come out of cloak, we'll have to draw them out. It's obvious that they won't want us to reach the colony, so I'm sure they're going to do what it takes to keep us from getting there.

::As the helm officer nods, the ship moves into a standard orbit::

LYSANDER: First thing's first, I want the readout of the colony's current status. After we get that, we'll assess the situation and decide on whether or not to take an away team down right away. Servik, prepare a team. You'll be going down.

The crew closer investigates the strange readings they are receiving from the planet.

LOCKE: Sir, permission to bring the weapons grid online.

::Lysander considers for a moment, then shakes his head::

LYSANDER: Not yet Locke. Be sure our shields are at maximum, and keep an eye on that ship. But don't bring the weapons online yet.

::The captain continues to watch the screen intently, wondering just what the hell is going on here. A StarFleet ship, smuggling minerals. Why keep it a secret?::

COM: Captain, I have another ship approaching at bearing 229 mark 342.

LYSANDER: Identify.

COM: It's the USS Exeter, Ambassador class ship, coming to drop off new officers.

::Malcolm frowns a little::

LYSANDER: This is a bad frickin' time to be dropping off new officers. Advise of our current position and tell them to hold position.

COM: Aye captain, sending message.

LYSANDER: Helm, I'd like you to bring us close enough to the Exeter so that we can share a shield bubble. I don't want to take chances here.

::The Phoenix slowly dips to the right and swings around to move into the Exeter's shield bubble. The Ambassador class ship is large enough to cover the Phoenix, which is more than 200 meters shorter in length.::

LYSANDER: Beam over the officers at will Exeter. Toullis, please meet the new ensigns in the transporter room.

::Toullis nods and heads out::

SERVIK: I haven't encountered such an intense level of seismic activity before. This is even greater than the science logs led me to believe. There is a danger in taking an Away Team to the surface. From the data, I ascertain that tremors on a Richter scale magnitude of 3 or 4 occur approximately every 16.2 minutes. With the proper equipment, we should be okay. I am recommending that Lt. Nis go with me. I am also recommending Ensign Sakuri, an expert on seismic activity, and Ensign Broon, a Narcarson whose planet is similar in both atmosphere and geothermal activity to Daris 2. Beyond that, I am willing to accept additional team members at your discretion Captain.

LYSANDER: ::Standing and moving to the science panel:: I find it strange that the colony could have remained standing under such strong earthquakes for the past few months. Especially at the intervals they are coming at. I have to wonder if what we're seeing is really what's going on down there. ::Thinking for a moment:: We're going down, without a doubt. Servik, you'll lead the team. Take Locke and Jones, as well as those officers you already mentioned. The rest of us will remain aboard the ship and monitor your situation. I may decide to bring others down later.

LYSANDER: Helm, thank the Exeter for the deliver and move us into standard orbit again with the planet. Servik, prepare your team and report to the shuttle bay.

SERVIK: Shuttle bay, captain?

LYSANDER: Yes, I want you to go down in a shuttle, that way you can pick and chose where you land. We can bring you up with the transporters if need be.

::Servik nods at the captain and takes his team for prep. Lysander waits for the new officers to report to the bridge, as he continues to stare at the screen, and the invisible ship darting around outside the shields:: Servik prepares his team, and leaves the ship.

::As usual, the now vacant bridge spots are easily and quickly filled by alternate crew members. Servik, and his away team march off the bridge to the shuttle bay just as one of the new officer strides up to Captain Lysander. Hurriedly, he hands the captain his transfer orders and moves to the helm, eyes eager and the proverbial slobber almost hanging off his lips. The Captain smirks at the officer and takes a look at the PADD::

.oO Mmm, new helm officer... days out of the academy. How quaint. Obviously hasn't been at the helm of a real ship yet. I can see why he's so eager... Oo.

TOLQU: Captain, may I suggest keeping an open comms line with the away crew it could get bumpy for them down there.

::Slightly bemused, Lysander tosses the PADD to the deck officer who catches it easily and discards it in a storage bin in the perimeter wall::

LYSANDER: You may, officer Tolqu. Com, please make the necessary connections. I want constant voice between us and them. I also want continued readings on that cloaked vessel. Whatever we can get. I know it's like a shot in the fog, but we need to know if they're making any moves towards the shuttle.

::The com officer nods and taps his console. A few moments later he turns back to the captain::

TOLQU: Captain, I have discovered the cloaked ship sent a low band fequency message to the planet surface. It was encoded the likes of which, I have never seen before. Permission to transfer what I have of the encoded message to science for anaylsis.

LYSANDER: Agreed, send to science and tell them I want it ASAP.

::Lysander looks to his arm-rest console, which is beeping::

.oO Priority one message? From the StarBase... What's next... Oo.

LYSANDER: I'll be in my ready room.

::With a concerned look on his face, the captain stands and walks off the bridge, down the stairs and into his ready room, his desk-console already open and awaiting his order::