The Ties That Bind (Darwin-A)
|Season 3, Episode 3|
|"The Ties That Bind"||Renos meets nir contact from JAGR and passes a message along for delivery but are intercepted by Iy, who is eager to introduce them to a friend.|
Near the end of shore leave on Outpost Unity, the crew of the USS Darwin NCC-99312-A were wrapping up their personal affairs. These effort came to an abrupt end when FltCapt Renos failed to return from a personal excursion aboard an unknown vessel. A search for the missing captain and nir ship was being organized when an old nemesis, the Numiri, made a show of force by bringing a fleet into the sector to attack Outpost Unity. Unable to recall all of the Darwin’s senior crew in time, LtCmdr Maxwell Traenor ordered a standoff against the heavily armed aggressor fleet with just the Darwin and the outpost’s fledgling fighter squadron.
On Outpost Unity, the abandoned Darwin crewmembers found themselves aiding the outpost civilian contingent to emergency shelter once the battle started overhead. Their efforts took a disturbing turn as they discovered that sabotage had rendered the outpost without internal or external comms, and two familiar civilians were found with life-threatening injuries. Pinned under fire by a gunman, LtCmdr Didrik Stennes managed to get the civilians to safety while LtJG Kurt Logan and Lt Graeme Cook teamed up with an outpost Starfleet officer, Ensign Sindrana, to hunt down the suspected saboteur.
“He was stabbed! I was shot at. He was… he was a traitor. I mean Talax… Talax, um, Talaxan. I’m not going to stay here and get killed. Come on. We need to get out of here”, stammered the injured diplomatic aide Lyna Namid.
In the space above the outpost, the battle between the Numiri fleet and the Darwin started off with a literal bang as the Numiri employed an experimental metaphasic weapon to circumvent the Darwin’s shields and severely damage one of their nacelles. A battle of attrition commenced, with the Darwin barely able to hold her own. There were many casualties during the attack including LtCmdr Nicu Icavoc and Ensign Han Yamaki, both of whom required surgery by LtJG Isabel Pond and assisted by new counselor Ens Paul Scudder. Systems failures on the ship were finally found to be attributed by a leak of Borg nanites, and Traenor had Lt Merrick R’Ven, the Borg science specialist, detained under fear of being responsible for the breach. In addition, repair efforts were hampered by the untimely onset of pon farr in the Vulcan Chief Engineer LtCmdr Varaan.
Though the fighter squadron turned the course of battle against the Numiri, the heavily disabled Darwin was still outmatched against their lead vessel, who was ready to fire their metaphasic weapon again. In a desperate last measure, Traenor ordered a ramming of the lead ship, believing that the loss of the Darwin was a small measure compared to allowing the weapon to be used against the defenseless Outpost Unity. The Numiri blinked at the last moment and vacated the battle, but not before depositing a parting gift. They left behind a coffin, containing the remains of once-Darwin medic Janel Tarna, discovered by the Numiri deep within their space.
On Unity, the saboteur was subdued through unorthodox methods, basically outwitting him. Upon inspection of their vanquished foe, they are surprised to find that he was not the Talaxian he appeared to be, but a Numiri agent in disguise. He had been sabotaging aboard the outpost for months, setting up for the very attack that was occurring above them.
With the battle complete and the outpost secured, the Darwin undergoes hasty repairs with nearly three weeks of hectic activity!
The first week the Darwin swarmed with engineers, technicians and anyone with similar experience drawing both from the personnel of Unity Station and the Darwin herself, anyone that could be impressed into service, working around the clock to get the ship back to full functionality.
The next 10 days were spent chasing after the rogue ship, jump after jump the Darwin crew was somehow always a few steps behind the fleeing ship. The Endeavor rendezvoused with the Darwin dropping off much needed supplies and personnel, one of which was science officer: Ensign Lambert who was already known to Traenor as he had been one of the ensign’s instructors during the academy.
Their reunion would be short lived as Traenor called for all senior staff to report to the briefing room.
Uncharacteristically Traenor gets right down to business. After introducing Lambert to the rest of the crew he reveals that Renos and Iy were both missing. While the department heads had already known this information, for the rest of the crew it has been considered an internal security matter and on a need to know basis. Until now. In the meantime the science staff has been tracking the vessel, and that it is suspected that Renos and Iy are being taken back to J’anii. With the help of the Endeavor and a trader captain it is believed that they have a confirmed path of the vessel and they should be catching up within 24 hours.
Valdivia and Lambert have been assigned to Astrometrics to watch for spacial phenomena and track down the rogue ship with R’Ven taking the bridge station to act as a liaison. Varaan and Brell are assigned to shore up key systems. Logan was assigned to bridge to ready the ship for a tactical engagement and Scudder would be on the bridge as well to assist with any diplomatic options. Cook and Pond are assigned to conduct an autopsy on the remains of an old friend of the crew: Janel Tarna that the Numiri have recently returned.
Logan stops Traenor after the meeting and discusses his fears and suppositions about the rogue ship: What was it? Why is was there? Who made it? Logan suggested that it may be a product of data stolen from the Raikenoff’s vessel? Traenor did not agree think that it was Raikenoff’s or consortium, but had no ideas as to who’s it was. Then the conversation shifted to what the rogue ship had been doing while it was on Outpost unity and whether Renos and Iy were taken or went voluntarily. Logan postulated that with the rogue ship’s inferior QSD that they have to have some sort of inside knowledge in order to stay ahead of the pursuing Darwin. Neither Logan nor Tranor could believe that Renos would have gone voluntarily or that he would divulge command codes. That left only Iy. Logan suggests attempting ping Renos’ combadge when they were in range to be sure that he was even on board the ship, then hitting the other ship with something that would alert Renos that they were there, and several other options that might help. Traenor told Logan to send the information to Ops so they could implement them. After giving Traenor a short pep talk based on his experience as a marine Logan left leaving Traenor to formulate his plans.
Meanwhile Doctor Cook checks in on Icavoc. It starts off awkward, with Cook knocking over a picture and making a few mistakes, but as Cook talks he redeems himself and actually impresses Icavoc. Cook also states that he wants to run a few tests on Icavoc’s arm and possibly check with the Captain or First Officer and Pond about growing him a new one, to which Icavoc responds he would take it one step at a time but he appreciated the support. Cook also suggests having Counselor Scudder check in on him as well to which Icavoc agrees. Finishing his check on Icavoc’s stump, Cook reminds Icavoc that his door is always open and takes his leave.
Sometime later Logan also arrives to check on Icavoc as well. They discuss the current mission and Logan says he would be happier if Icavoc was in charge claiming that he’s just a door kicker. Icavoc disagrees and expresses his confidence in the security officer’s abilities. Using Dokkran proverbs and mythological references as well as sound reasoning Logan encourages Icavoc to walk around and talk with different ones. He agrees and Logan thanks him.
For the next several hours Icavoc walked the ship, stopping in many of the critical areas of the ship and talked to those in his department. Although he called them by name and was charismatic he was unsettled by the way many stared at his stump of an arm. Eventually he made it back to his room and after spending some time restlessly pacing around his room he gave a call to counselor Scudder and scheduled an immediate appointment with him.
Meanwhile Logan arrives in engineering where Varaan and Brell were discussing the remaining repairs and how they were going and possible priorities when Logan entered to have a quick word with them. He asked Varaan about a way to boost a comm signal to something like a full pattern enhancer, or even stronger, but without the size or bulk and yet simple enough to work in a firefight. Varaan said he understood and began working on ideas. Meanwhile Logan asked Brell he asked about a tactical targeting adaption, to which Brell replied that they had already been set up and gave him the necessary codes to access it from the tactical station. Seemingly please Logan left.
Meanwhile in Astrometrics Valdivia and Lambert arrive and begin to prepare the Astrometrics lab for what was to come. It was during these preparations that Lambert reveals to Valdivia that his scientific specialty was inter-dimensional physics and that he was quite at home in the Astrometrics lab. And after Lambert shares a little bit of his history Valdivia suggests assigning him there, to which Lambert assents. After that R’Ven calls from the bridge and together they coordinate with the bridge to set up a more closely tied in interface as they keep up their pursuit of the rogue ship. After a brief hiccup in connecting the data stream, the connection is established and set in place. Next Lambert examines the location where there final QSD jump would take them. It was in the area of a binary neutron star system. Unfortunately the data about that system had not been updated in some time, so it was unknown if the stars had collapsed into each other or not creating a black hole.
It has been 24 hours after Traenor’s briefing and many things are going on around the ship, including the preparations for the autopsy in sickbay
In sickbay, Cook walks into sickbay clutching his hand. Still grieving over the loss of Tarna he had punched the wall of the turbolift. After spending some time in his office he had a nurse look over his hand. Pond in the meantime had spent her time going over the paperwork and other things preparing herself for the autopsy. When Pond arrived in sickbay sometime later she finds Cook and his injured hand and they talk. First they discuss his hand and why he did what he did to hurt it, but quickly enough the turn to doing the very thing they came there to do. Perform the autopsy. When Cook asked Pond about any customs for the dead Pond explained about some of the lesser known Trill religions and customs. They were about to start the autopsy when Logan entered the room and asks for a stimulant for Captain Renos. One that he could use when they catch up to the ship that is holding Renos and one that could be administered by security personnel in the middle of a fight and no ability to monitor. Both doctors pointed out that it would irresponsible and dangerous and refuse to do it. Logan said that he understood and left after requesting a copy of the autopsy report, and asking that if they come with anything on the stimulant to send the information to security; to which the doctors agree. After a few question from Pond about Cook looking in on her patient, both doctors get to work on the autopsy itself.
Meanwhile the Darwin has final arrived in the region where the Rogue ship should be located, and much as Astrometrics had surmised, the region has centered on the two large stars orbiting each other but fortunately they had not collapsed. Unfortunately the entire region was being blanked with heavy radiation and gravimetric distortions making it the perfect place for a stealthed ship on the run to hide.
At the same time aboard the JDF Lotaris It had been more than two and a half weeks of intensive psychotectic treatments for Renos, and up until now the fleet captain was still finding ways to resist, but his hold on nir identity was becoming more and more tenuous.
Piloted by Iy the Lotaris was headed towards J’anii on a meandering course trying to stay ahead of the Darwin, trying to give Zorel time to work on Renos. But try as ne might and using all the knowledge that ne had picked up from nir time on the Darwin there was a creeping realization that a reckoning was soon to come!
Meanwhile Zorel continued to try one tactic after another against Renos, pain, deprivation, drugs, Zoral used several psychological strategems in a concerted effort to break Renos! Contacting Renos’ parents Zoral tried to push nim with peer pressure. Zorel also tried to reason with Renos, pointing out that Renos’ inability to identify with a single gender was Renos’ instinct telling nir that neither were correct for a J’anaii. There was even the offer of freedom from the deviant disease, freedom to return to nir old life. The last, and probably the most damaging tactic was informing Renos that the Darwin had been destroyed!
The pain of that loss overwhelmed nir a way that the others could not. As ne thought about the loss of the crew and especially Geordie, the fog and haze of the drugs and psychological attacks finally took their toll on the J’naii captain, and with that blow many of the last remaining walls that Renos had built up fell, as ne broke down in tears and hurled insults at Zorel.
Zoral only laughed, believing that victory was finally close at hand!
And the Lotaris came under attack from the Darwin, the impacts reaching into the core of the ship and gave the Captain a renewed sense of hope.
They had chased the Lotaris for days, popping in one place after another, but somehow always missing it. But FINALLY they had arrived at the same location of the other ship and it did not have the power to flee again. Unfortunately for the Darwin it had arrived in a region of space being flooded by the radiation and gravitic eddies given off from twin stars who were orbiting each other and they were dangerously close to collapsing into a black hole. The resultant instability camouflaging the ship they were chasing. However due to the dogged determination of Traenor, the sensor probes that were launched from the Darwin, and the observational prowess of Valdivia and Lambert in Astrometrics the Lotaris was located and with a shot from Iy off the Darwin’s port bow the battle to rescue Captain Renos had begun!
At first the battle was thought to be one sided as the Darwin greatly outmatched the abilities of the Lotaris. That is until Iy, accessed a bit of malware that had been left on the Darwin and the shields that were protecting it not only from the incoming fire power but also from the harsh energies of the region suddenly failed as they shut down and were locked into a level 4 diagnostic sequence.
And then the real acumen and skills of the Darwinians were showcased!
In a fantastic show of skill and grace Shayne turned a ship that resembled a huge multi-ton saltshaker into a thing of elegance and beauty as it spun and twisted through space, somehow dodging weapons fire. Yet at the same time Logan, as the ship’s tactical officer landed devastating blows onto the Lotaris even firing something he called a ‘baseline’, which was a series of melodic impacts, fired in the hopes of inspiring their captured captain.
Meanwhile the R’Ven, Varaan and Brell raced against the clock in a desperate effort to regain the shields! Finally R’Ven managed to neutralize the malware and Varaan and Brell were able to bring the shielding out of its diagnostic sequence and back online.
And now under the direction of Shayne and Logan the Darwin was able to lay in to the other ship like a hawk swooping on a defenseless rabbit!
Meanwhile on the Lotaris, Zorel was desperate to break and reform Renos!
Blaming the impacts on an asteroid and Iy’s poor piloting skills Zorel tried to keep Renos under nir control, properly cowed and confused. However even in nir wounded state Renos was still proving that ne had a little resistance left. Then Zorel injected Renos with more of the drugs causing nim to cry out in agony, Renos longer caring who heard nim. When the screaming died down again then Zorel’s relentless questions began again. However this time Zorel added another subtle level to the questioning: subliminal lighting. By altering the frequency of the lights in the cell, and strobe them at a speed so quickly that it would not be observable to the naked eye, Renos, being under the right influence of the drug was becoming susceptible to its affects.
And then the moment came . . .
Zorel: I think it's you who are hiding, Renos. Hiding from the truth. The truth about your illness. But admitting you need help is the first step on the road to recovery. ::pause:: Say it.
Renos: ::reluctantly:: Deviancy is...its...its...its...
Zorel: ::calmly, slowly, but firmly:: Say it, Renos. Once you admit it, everything will get better.
Renos: Stop it Zorel! I don't wanna...make it go away!
Renos: ::almost babbling:: Its...its...its a disease!
. . . With that admission Renos finally broke!
Trying to press the advantage Zorel offered Renos freedom from the disease. Renos admitted to being tired of looking over nir shoulder, that there was no family to return to anymore and all ne wanted was the truth of what was to happen to nim, that ne was a counselor and all ne did was help people. Trying to allay Renos’ fears Zorel countered that nir family, and the government is interested in nim and that the underground that Renos was trying to protect didn’t want equality, but wanted to destroy their way of life.
At that moment Lotaris was hit with more firepower, and strangely the sounded like music, which caused Renos to laugh, temporarily derailing Zorel’s attempts at finishing Renos’ readjustments. At a loss for words, Zorel left to help Iy on the bridge leaving Renos to the delusions brought on by the powerful drugs flooding nir system.
On Lotaris’ bridge Iy had underestimated the Darwin. Underestimated the level of repairs and the resolve that the crew led by Traenor would have in recovering their captain, even doing so with no shields! Madly trying to maneuver the Lotaris into position to finish the job, and every time the Darwin would slip away. Again and again, over and over the Darwin was elusive prey with sharp teeth!
At the same time the background radiation from the stars was making the battle far more difficult than Iy had planned and now ne was tired, stressed and at nir wits end when Zorel came on the bridge blaming nir for allowing the treatments of Renos to be interrupted at a crucial moment. At Zorel’s goading, the seething resentment of the way that Zorel had mistreated and discounted Iy rose to the surface. Iy finally realized the folly of these plans and there would be no going back.
In that moment Iy finally also revealed nir real feeling and refused to be any part of this operation.
As Zorel walked off of the bridge, threatening Iy with punishment from the J’anii government it was at that point that Iy realized what Zorel was about to do: Kill Renos!
And now it was not just Renos who was broken!
Disregarding the sirens, the impacts and the heat of combat all around them Iy attacked Zorel! The battle of the two J’anii spilling from the bridge, down into the area of the cells and even into the cell itself. When the battle ended Zorel lay dead on the floor and Iy, like a broken soldier looked at Zorel and then over at Renos:
Iy: I should never have let it get this far with you. I never wanted to see you hurt. I was so stupid, Renos!
Renos: It's a bit late for regrets don't you think?
Freeing Renos and sitting nim comfortably, Iy disappeared back up towards the bridge!
Back on the Darwin sensors were showing that The Lotaris’ shields were failing, its engines and sensors were nearly offline and the war was finally over. All that was left was for the crew was to recover their captain! However sensors were also showing the dance that the stars were doing was becoming more and more erratic and the formation of the black hole was imminent. If they were going to save their captain it would have to done now and quickly!
And for that they were sending the shuttle called Cristobal, crewed by Varaan, Logan and Pond they were the best that the Darwin had to offer!
On the Darwin under the direction of Traenor, Shayne and Logan were still hammering the Lotaris while Valdivia, Lambert tried to keep one eye on the binary stars which were threatening to collapse into a black hole at any moment, while R’Ven and Brell worked to create a type of tractor beam that would be able to capture the Lotaris through all the stellar turbulence. However with the increasing instability of the area there was even the recommendation to abandon the Lotaris once Renos was recovered. At the same time Cook worked on preparing for Renos’ return, and discovered that Renos and Iy’s medical records have been deleted.
Then a most unexpected thing happened, Iy contacted the Darwin.
Meanwhile Varaan, Pond and Logan had quickly traversed the distance between the Darwin and the Lotaris and slipped on board undetected. The only resistance on the Lotaris beyond a locked door or two was the dead form of Zorel laying on the floor of Renos’ cell. Renos neself, still under the influence of the drugs and psychological treatments, did not readily recognize the reality of nir crewmates as they came to free nir, instead ne tried to bat away attempts to help nir. Pond gave Renos something to relax nim and then with LogVaraan carried their commander back to the shuttle where they were able to make their escape.
Back on the bridge Iy and Traenor began their conversation.
Traenor was in a rage as Iy admitted the truth of being one of the perpetrators of the kinapping of Renos. Iy , admitted both nir part in that abduction and that it was nir desire to keep Renos alive. To that end Iy asked that Traenor stop firing and allow nim to get away. Then Shayne whispered that Renos had been extracted from the Lotaris and was now safely back aboard the Darwin. News that brightened Traenor’s mood!
Traenor: =/\= Well, it appears I'll be able to grant part of your wish, Mr Iy. Renos will live, Renos will endure no further treatments. In fact, I'll pass nem your regards when I see nem in my sickbay in just a couple minutes. =/\=
Iy was confused at first until Traenor revealed that Renos was already back on board, and as he commanded for the Darwin to be moved out of harm’s way he warned Iy of the impending spike of gamma radiation. Traenor watched with smug stasfaction as Iy stuggled futily with controls that no longer appeared to function, and realized that there was no escape.
And that is when Traenor realized that there was no way to bring Iy to justice. Because ot Lotaris’ hull There was no way to transport nim, no time for a shuttle and the tractor beams could not cut through the stellar interferance.
Traenor gave him time for any last words.
When Brell asked how long how long Iy had been on nir mission, Iy revealed that it had been since the beginning, since deep space 6. That nir flight from the deviant hunters was designed to endear him to Renos. And it was then that Traenor realized that how deeply and completely that he and Renos, and most of the crew of the Darwin had been fooled.
When Brell told him that his legacy would be lost, the memory of him would be forever destroyed, he asked him if he ever thought of turning against his order. Iy became contrite but said that ne was always steadfast in nir orders, but that ne never wanted renos to suffer and that ne had learned to value the collegues that ne had made on the Darwin. Ne wished that Renos could have become a true J’enii, and perhaps ne could have been released back to Starfleet, and ne wished that the essence of Renos had not been lost in the ordeal.
When the warning came about the escalating turbulance in the area Traenor asked for options, and unfortunately there were none. R’Ven said that they could increase the shields for a few more minutes of time, but that the Lotaris would not be able to whether the next attack. Shayne paointed out the precarious nature of the Darwin.
With his next words Traenor had the Darwin head back to Unity Outpost leaving Iy’s ship to her fate.
The last visual of the Lotaris was the ship highlighted by the intense light of the binary suns that would soon snuff it out of existence. As if saluting nir end, Iy's ship slowly turned to face the suns head on. Just before the Darwin entered its slipstream jump, the Lotaris winked out of being in a spectacular fashion. And thus was the end of Iy, to the conflicted feelings of all who saw it happen.
This episode is still airing. Stay tuned for periodic updates!
|REV SD 239306.28|