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The Descent

Posted on Friday, 9 October 2020 - 3:50pm by Captain Barret Stillwater & Commander Soral & Lieutenant Talarn Zilth & Lieutenant Ryan Rose MD & Lieutenant T'Lanna Vali & Lieutenant Alex Kingsley & Lieutenant JG Adrianna Eberhardt
Edited on on Friday, 9 October 2020 - 3:52pm

Mission: Operation: Dreamweaver
Location: USS Standing Bear - Subspace
Timeline: MD 10

The deflector dish had taken a bit of a beating, but it was still functional. Lieutenant Kingsley and the rest of the crew had done remarkably well, and the USS Standing Bear was able to tear open a spatial rift large enough to squeeze the Merian class starship through. Fortunately, it was not a one way trip, but their time in this layer of subspace was limited. If they remained too long their shielding would be compromised and all hands aboard would be 'lost' as they were not meant to be here, not meant to exist in subspace. It was science and engineering that had gotten them this far, but fly too close to the sun and those mechanized wings would burn off.

Commander Stillwater reached for the console built into the armrest of his Captain's Chair. "Doctor Rose, please report to the bridge," he said swiftly before rising to his feet.

Commander Stillwater was standing admiring the viewscreen when the doors to the turbolift opened. What was on the viewscreen was strange and alluring, but the beauty of subspace wilderness was quickly pushed into the background as the alien design of several vessels and a facility took up the viewscreen. Stillwater turned and saw the woman exiting the turbolift with Doctor Rose. His facial expression was one of relief and his eyes lit up. "Lieutenant Vali," he said "It's nice to see you back on your feet."

T’Lanna smiled warmly glad to receive such a welcome back. She was feeling uncomfortable about the fact that both her arms now sported a plethora of Borg implants along with her neck and some on the top of her chest, fortunately her new implants had been reprogrammed before her body ended up being covered. “Thank you Sir, it’s nice to be back.”

Stillwater gestured her to join him by his Captain's chair, gesturing to the viewscreen. "We've entered their layer of subspace, and I intend to make them pay dearly for Yolen's death."

T’Lanna nodded. “I understand Sir, what they did to us was ... horrible.” She looked at her armour covered arms where only a few patches of clear skin remained. “I’m just not sure revenge is the best course of action.”

Taking a deep breath, Stillwater turned sharply on his heels. "Doctor Rose, Lieutenant Kinglsey," he said to the officers clad in blue accented uniforms. "I understand any objections that you may have to my next orders. Please feel free to make note of them in your logs. I want you to formulate a biological toxin, deadly to solanogen-based lifeforms and work with Chief Eyelaya and Lieutenant Zilth to arm it into a Bio-molecular warhead that can be mounted to a quantum torpedo."

Lieutenant Kingsley paled at the instruction from their commanding officer. The task itself, hell, she had dozens of biological samples which would do the job with just a little modification - something she could do with her eyes closed. That didn’t mean she should. A biological weapon.

“Lieutenant Yolen was my friend. One of the first I had on this ship,” she said slowly. “But there has to be another way. We have to be better than them. Any such toxin would not discriminate - It won’t simply target those who took our people and stop there. It’s ...”

The Science Officer broke off and frowned, sure she was kissing her career goodbye as she added, “I can’t speak for anyone else. But what if I refuse?”

Ryan decided to pipe in, he didn't need to know the consequences. "Sir, with all due respect. I must refuse. It goes against the hypocratic oath."

Stillwater glanced over at his First Officer, trying to read his eyes, gauge his reaction, but Vulcanoids were not so easy to decipher. "Do you object to this, Commander Soral?"

"Indeed. I must agree with Lieutenant Kingsley. There has to be a better way. Perhaps to stop them from forming these rifts."

Adrianna shifted uncomfortably, listening in. She bit her tongue, holding back whatever emotion was building. It suddenly felt like she was bck in the board room with her father and brothers negotiation terms of fear mongering those that had 'done wrong'.

Stillwater took a deep breath. "Normally, I would not engage in such an act, but I have been restlessly trying to come up with options. We could deal the rift, but it would be a bandage, one they could tear off" noted Stillwater. "Ms. Baciami, options...recommendations?"

"Having been in conversations like this before, I must say that unless you plan a full blown genocide, it won't work. Hope is a spark that ignights retaliation stemming from revenge. All you need is one person left behind and you risk that," the Italian had darkness in her eyes, one that seemed to punctuate and add a cold tone to what she said. She cleared her throat and continued," we attract more flies with honey. In the, what, twentieth century on earth they sent out 'Voyager'. It was like a time capsule. It had everything in there that represented the human race at the time. Biology drawings, music, photos of the planet. These people are capturing ours, a few at a time. We don't know for what purpose, but it could be curiosity. I don't think curiosity should kill the cat. We should create our own version of voyager with information in it like biology. If it is curiosity, then we would appease it. "

“We could add a warning of sorts,” Kingsley suggested. “They now know we can enter their space. Our message can warn that any further abductions or experiments on Federation citizens or our allies will result in a proportional response. And if we neglect to say who our allies are... maybe that will make them think twice about taking anyone.”

"That would be an empty threat and I don't think Starfleet is quite in the business of mass genocide to prove a point if it turns out they do decide to test boundaries which we cannot guarantee they won't do. If they do then we have won by scare mongering, which again, I don't think Starfleet are in the business of doing. We're supposed to entice exploration, peace even. You want to go down the route of that then take a leaf from Earth's history. This is not a game of poker, this is life," Adrianna replied rather coldly. She almost felt like that would be how her father would have sounded if he had been a 'good guy' in this situation: somewhat scary and psychopathic but wise.

“I didn’t say threaten mass genocide,” Alex told the woman. “And never would. And Starfleet does defend against threats.”

"A warning needs to have a consequence if it happens again, ergo, a threat," Adrianna replied. "You aren't threatening mass genocide, but a consequence needs to be sought if a warning is to be given. Cap-ee-tan, please, consider the Voyager option before 'warning' or letting things get messy. That kind of blood doesn't wash off hands. Trust me." That was honesty. She knew she couldn't change a captain's mind, but she'd damn well try or hand in her notice.

Biting down on a retort, Kingsley returned to monitoring the region of subspace around them. Stillwater would make his own decision. Just handing these people information seemed wrong... as if they were announcing that it was okay to do what they did. Sooner or later a line needed drawn in the sand, surely?

T’Lanna had kept quiet up until now but she thought she’d add her own comments. “Perhaps... we could prevent them from using their technology?” She looked at Stillwater. “With Eyelaya’s help I could create a program using nanites that could shut them down. We could make it temporary to start, with the threat of making it more permanent if they continue abducting people.”

"My ancestors would not be too fond of committing mass genocide," Stillwater replied. "If they are simply curious, that curiosity has done more than simply kill the cat; it killed Yolen and it damn well near killed Lieutenant Vali" added Stillwater looking at the woman.

He weighed options, took everything into consideration. "The 'Voyager' option is more aligned with the Federation and Starfleet that I was raised to respect and admire, but I want the message to be firm. I want there to be no mistake, this is not a white flag" stated Stillwater. "If we go the route of nanites, how do we ensure these will not weaponized and assimilate?"

Adrianna seemed relieved, "how about a minute self destruct? If that's possible."

“Whatever is decided, we need to work quickly, shields are holding but they are not going to hold out for long,” Lieutenant Kingsley warned. “Not to add pressure or anything...”

"Make it a five minute delayed self-destruct. That should give the nanites enough time to do some damage, but ensure they are contained and do not go too out of control. The last thing I want is to resurrect the damn collective."

“You won’t” T’Lanna gave Stillwater a rather unemotional look. “I can program the nanites so that any attempt to tamper with the results in immediate self destruct. If not they’ll destruct in five minutes and do plenty of damage along the way.”

Commander Stillwater nodded. "Alright, ladies, you have all made fine points and we will proceed with caution and act quickly, as Lieutenant Kingsley has noted time is of the essence. If we are quick about this, we will be crushed when the shields buckle," added Stillwater. "Eyelaya, Kingsley, Baciami, and Vali" said Stillwater. "You have forty-five minutes...tops. Get to work and return to the Bridge when you have the nanites ready."

"Aye sir," Kingsley nodded, heading towards the turbolift as the other women followed suit.

Stillwater grunted. "Soral, Dr. Rose, my Ready Room. Talarn, you have the Bridge."


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