The Mask of Sanity (Starbase 118 )
|StarBase 118 Ops|
Though the day starts out calmly enough, things are not destined to remain that way for Commander Nicholotti and her crew. In fact, shortly after she gets a quick call from Captain Andrus Jaxx, an urgent message from the USS Avicenna regarding a ship they have found in the Epsilon Gamma XIII nebula. The ship, the USS Calgary, had been missing for over four years. Now, as it is being towed back to Starbase 118, the crew must prepare for the mystery that the only two remaining crew members brings with them to the station.
As the Calgary was being towed back to the station, the mystery deepened. The crew reviewed the damage to the ship, internal and external, which didn't match up to the description of the ship being attacked and overrun. However, seeing no immediate threats, several teams entered the Calgary to investigate first hand. As Lt. Cmdrs Walker and Breeman transported to engineering with Ensign Marks, they discovered that no one else was on the ship with them, despite communications with the security team lead by Lt. Orman currently at the same location. From that point, more and more personnel noticed flashes where people or items disappeared, only to reappear moments later. This culminated in a series of mysterious messages from Lt. Cmdr Walker, who said he'd been trapped on the ship alone for a year.
At the same time,Dr. Deron working with Dr. Maclaren and Lieutenant Valyn, were examining the survivors of the Calgary. During this evaluation, Dr. Deron was knocked unconscious for unknown reasons. And prior to further review, the away team to the Calgary came back with a general lack of responsiveness.
Meanwhile, within the rapidly aging subspace bubble, the alternate Ben Walker was joined by an ensign from SB118, and encountered a time travelled version, apparently of Lt. Orman, who gave them a way back.
The crew now is pulling together to understand what has happened, and what to do next.
With the away team still suffering from the after effects from the Calgary, more effort was put into discovering what was happening and why. A number of methods to fight off the lethargy felt were suggested, but the only prescription that appeared to help was rest. Something of which the crew was in extremely short supply. Commander Walker insisted on being given, or allowed to take, something to fight off the lethargy before falling down screaming about Shadows before Dr. MacLaren sedated him and sent him to bed.
After, Dr. MacLaren determined the existence of a hostile mental entity within Dr. Deron's mindscape. This entity confused the afflicted Deron, and together drove out the good doctor, as Deron slipped further into depression due to the creatures efforts. A supposition was formed that the creatures "ate" the negative emotions from people, until those people committed suicide or faded away. As this understanding was discovered, the First Officer whispered "I'm done" and his EKG flatlined. This upset a great many people, and was widely thought of as a bad idea.
Meanwhile, Ensign Livingston and Lt. Orman managed to capture one of the signal traces they suspected was a shadow. Only to reveal the future Orman that had saved Commander Walker and Ensign Voi. This Orman apparently panicked, and requested the increasingly lethargic Captain follow to the Calgary. Getting closer, she revealed that from her knowledge the shadow's did drain energy and to go into the Calgary would be a risk.
On the Calgary itself, the alternate Ben Walker used a signal to determine a great number of Shadows were being drawn by some devices found there, while leaving the engineering room safe. Acting on impulse, he sent Voi with the devices to SB118 as he generated a device to destroy the creatures. He was successful, but at the cost of his life. Leaving the crew to deal with the shadows already on SB118, but no new threats.
In sickbay, the crew was given some stimulants to help resist the shadows. At the same time, the devices sent from the Calgary were used to connect to station sensors and reveal a larger number of shadows than previously known. And all of them heading toward sickbay.
The crew now faces a horde of the shadow creatures heading toward sickbay. The hope is that they can be brought back to normal, or dissipate harmlessly.
With the horde of shadow creatures bearing down on sickbay, things became more interesting. Lt. Commander Cody joined the chaos, fresh from parts unknown and places without fresh clothes. While accepting that transfer, Commander Nicholotti denied Lt. Commander Walker's request for transfer to eternity. Meanwhile, Lt. Commander Breeman and Ensign Livingston determined from the scans that while many of the shadows were the creatures, some were the remnants of the crew from the USS Calgary. Further, the scans revealed that all of the shadows were beginning to fade, and that the scanning process was increasing their dissipation. Realizing that the shadows were a threat to SB118, Commander Nicholotti gave the order to increase the scanning rate, reducing the remaining time of the shadows to one hour.
Feeling themselves fading away, the creatures made an offer. If they were allowed to leave through a strange device provided by the future Orman, they would restore the crew of the Calgary. Even realizing that sending them back to the nebula they had came from would likely lead to the creatures deaths, it was decided that the risk was too great to allow them to stay. Opening the portal, the shadows fled back to their home, and the crew began the process of recovering.