The Other Shoe
Posted on Fri Feb 14th, 2020 @ 4:08pm by Captain Charlotte Reynolds V1 & Lieutenant Commander Nathan Bishop & Lieutenant Commander Niamh O'Donoghue V1 & Lieutenant Elijah Locke V1 & Lieutenant Dante Rawlins V1 & Lieutenant Caroline Isley & Lieutenant JG Morgan Lindsay V1 & Ensign Thyra Sh'shraaqir V1
Episode 2: Inevitable
Location: USS Defiant, Star System 133-05B
Timeline: Immediately after "Arrival"
Captain Reynolds stared blankly out the front viewport, watching the last water as it continued to spread over the mainland. The tidal wave which had destroyed the native settlement hadn't stopped there, washing away everything for miles inland. It took every ounce of her studied self control to keep the ramifications of what they'd just seen from overwhelming her.
Her hand somewhat absently traced the Starfleet emblem on her chest, as she mentally pulled her focus back. They had a job to do. Her self control came back a moment later, like armor. When she spoke again, her voice was calm and even, as if iit were any normal day aboard Defiant. "Science Team, is our relocation site still free of the wave?"
"Yes, Captain, everything seems to be holding up well all things considered," Alexander said from behind Charlotte. The Lieutenant junior grade's eyes were raw from the tears he had fought back earlier. Operating the transporter in the circumstances they'd faced was likely to be crowned as the most stressful moment of his entire life. For a moment it had been hard for him to appreciate how many they had saved when he considered what had been lost. Hopefully, they would be able to resettle the survivors and hopefully, they would be enough to reestablish their civilisation.
Reynolds nodded. "We've done all we're going to be able to do at the moment then. Refocus our sensors on that object. I want to know everything there is to know about it."
Morgan had been monitoring the Defiant's guest strangers when the call came in and he'd grabbed a triage kit and ran for the lift. Emerging onto the bridge still clad in red medical scrubs, he quickly assessed the situation and focused on the downed Lieutenant. Moving next to the man, he knelt and began digging through his kit, pulling on a tricorder gauntlet, then passed the fingers a few centimeters above Ian's frame, scanning him. After a few seconds, he stated "Captain, Lt Acainus suffered stressors much akin to a concussion. He'll be alright after he's rested for a bit."
Looking around, the Doctor commented, "I think that's to be said about most of the crew."
"I couldn't disagree, Doctor," the captain replied as she looked over the crew.
Thyra only looked up once when the doctor came on the bridge, but she was quickly distracted by beeping on her console. She pressed a few buttons and then her ear piece. "Captain, we have an incoming hair from the object."
"So there is someone aboard," the Captain mused. "Well, I'm about to give them a piece of my mind. Put it on screen."
Thyra nodded and pushed a few buttons and the screen went on.
As the image was overlaid over the view outside, Charlotte felt her spine shoot immediately upright. The image resolved itself into an all too familiar visage, one she was hoping to never see again.
The vessel seemed to have a technologically advanced interior, though it was strangely blurry in portions. Not as if the image was being distorted but as if they were viewing portions of the other vessel through water. Her mind didn't have the faintest idea what could cause that. However, despite the plentiful light which existed on the view screen, the center of the screen was shrouded in shadow. Shadow that gave the impressions of a face, if not the details. His voice was the ultimate confirmation. "Hello, Captain Reynolds."
Reynolds's hands gripped the arms of her seat, knuckles white with the tension. "Typhon."
She paused, unsure what else to say. The being that had tormented her crew, and subjected them to so much recently, was now gazing upon her bridge again. She was thankful that they had installed so many countermeasures after the last contact, preventing a remote hacking like had occurred before. She wanted to ask how he had gotten aboard the object or if he had always been aboard or what he was planning or if he knew he'd just snuffed out thousands of lives. What she managed was, "What's the meaning of this?"
His overly smooth voice came through the bridge speakers like a toxic gas. "What, aren't you excited to see me? I imagine you'd never thought we'd be talking again so soon."
Dante felt his skin crawl and had to swallow a biting remark to keep from creating a scene. It wasn't his place, and the last time he'd addressed Typhon it had simply made things worse. He turned his attention back to the console before him and ensuring they remained in their stable orbit.
At the Tactical station, Bishop's posture stiffened as he heard the mocking voice he had hoped to never hear again. He placed his hands on the console and leaned forward as if that was somehow going to gain him information quicker or to help and find what their nemesis wanted and his purpose here.
Charlotte stood. She wasn't totally sure why, she just felt like it gave her some additional level of control. "We've had enough of your games, Typhon. Your last antics were just invasive. This time, you've destroyed countless lives. If you want this conversation to go on, then we need answers."
Typhon seemed to nod. Seeing the strange way that light avoided him on the screen was unsettling. When he had appeared as a virtual projection, the effect had been to frighten them. But here, it just seemed like a natural part of his appearance. That was somehow more unsettling. "Oh, there are no antics this time, Captain. I was testing you to see your reactions last time. This is the real deal. I make no play at having magical powers. I have no obstacle course that you need to complete. I am here for my real objective. I have put in a substantial amount of effort to arrange things, so now it is time to see it to fruition."
T'Pem stepped forward, her crimson robes swishing as she moved, and a cold, calculating fire in her eyes. "Please, elaborate? You say you have invested effort, and that is obvious, you say you were testing this vessel during her previous encounter with you, that is evident as well. However, you still continue to engage in games as if you are an amused child who knows a secret. You have destroyed countless lives. You are a clear and present danger to the entire galaxy, possibly the universe. Please, explain why we should even wish to engage you in conversation instead of leaving and returning with enough firepower to destroy you," she said, her voice calm, but filled with a resolve many would not have expected.
"Oh how right you are..." Typhon said, his voice curling at the end. "I have been attempting to set things in motion for a long, long time. Far longer than this tool of mine has been making its way toward your galaxy. You see...my appearance to you. It is not what I always looked like, nor is it what I intend to look like forever. I wonder, can your laser sharp Starfleet minds figure out why I look the way I do?"
"You look the way you do for the same reason our sensors go haywire whenever we direct them at you" Alexander commented from behind Charlotte. He'd spent a great deal of time going over the data they had collected from their last encounter with the being and he proved to be the only dead spot within any of the datasets he'd analyse. "The only thing that is clear is that there is always an unusual concentration of the chroniton particle indicating a relationship with time at the universes most fundamental level. You don't belong here, and our universe is trying to rectify that mistake. Your technology is likely the only thing preventing you from being torn apart at the atomic level," the young scientist suggested defiantly.
The being laughed heartily. When he spoke, the voice came with a heavy dose of condescension. "Very good! Your explanation, while a bit simplistic, is correct. I am and my people are out of sync with your time. Light itself fails to interact with me, even with my technologies assistance. My people were once much like your Federation. Benevolent overlords, shaping the fate of the galaxy. But we attempted to influence time itself, and something went wrong. It should have been a simple fix. Go back to the moment of the incident and stop us from making that attempt."
Typhon's voice grew grave. "But your Federation got decided we weren't allowed to do that. Apparently, no one gets to be the masters of their own fate with your people around. We were forced from fixing the mistake, and as a result, my people were lost to time, drifting without a home." The anger grew a bit more palpable. "And I have spent every moment since clawing my way back."
The Captain shook her head. "What you're saying doesn't make sense. Prior to our encounter with you a few weeks ago, the Federation had never encountered you or your people, let alone intervene in some sort of time travel experiment. Compared to your intergalactic voyage, we're little more than a minor regional power."
Typhon scoffed. "Now, perhaps. Give yourselves a thousand years and suddenly you're in everyone's business."
"What you're describing hasn't happened yet?" Charlotte asked again, her head trying to wrap itself around the situation. And then suddenly a piece clicked into place. The people in their sickbay. If you're here when he arrives then-... Charlotte had a feeling she now knew who the he was. But things still didn't add up. The people in sickbay were clearly from a future point in time, but certainly not a 1000 years.
"Not for you," Typhon replied. "But for me, it has happened countless times. And somehow, you are always in my way. Speaking of which..." He looked away from the screen then back. "Captain Reynolds, you will come aboard my ship via shuttle. Alone."
Charlotte stiffened at that. "And if I refuse?"
Typhon shook his head. "Ah, Captain. Did you think I didn't have a contingency? I'll see you soon." With that, the signal cut off.
"What the hell was he-" Charlotte didn't get a chance to finish her sentence. A sudden power surge raced through the bridge, sending sparks flying and causing one of the unmanned library stations to send an explosion of glass flying. Thankfully, none of the bridge crew were particularly close. The lights began to rapidly flash, before dropping out. As smoke began to emit from one of the blown stations, and power audibly faded through various systems, the red emergency lights began to kick in. Every readout on the bridge was sent into utter chaos. Abandoning her previous sentence, Charlotte wheeled toward her officers. "Status report!"
Hearing a distinct pop from inside the helm control console Dante jerked his hands back, and watched as a flood of smoke came pouring out from beneath it, making him stand suddenly to escape the acrid smell. "Well, helm control is out..." he said, turning to the captain. "Before it blew I saw that it was already interrupted, anyway. He's stranded us here."
Isley struggled to focus on her station before punching a few keys. "There are power fluctuations all over the ship," she called out. "No major system seems to be operating at all." She shook her head. "I can't tell what the problem is."
Bishop was bent over his tactical board after several seconds he straightened and looked at Charlotte, "Shields and tactical systems are offline. I could probably get a few shots for the phasers from the batteries but not enough to do any real damage."
Elijah had visited the Bridge in his capacity as Chief Intel Officer, only to find himself holding on to one of the aft stations. “Is anyone injured?” He asked as he helped one of the Crewman up off the deck. His gaze at the station. “We also don’t have use of the internal sensors.”
Charlotte's frustration grew with every system they reported to be offline. "I need somebody to tell me know he's doing this. Is it an EMP, were we hit by some sort of weapon? I need answers."
“If it was a weapon that hit us directly then we’d detect the weapons fire, same for an EMP blast you’d see it on sensors first and to my knowledge no known weapon system in the universe can fire without detection.” Elijah pondered for a second. “Unless........My god that’s a possibility.....”
"Unless what, Lieutenant?" Charlotte asked, walking toward his station. "We're dealing with all kinds of unknown technology. I'll take outside theories."
“We didn’t detect because it’s a prototype and it’s internal. How do you stop a Starship without firing a shot that same ship can detect? You disable her from the inside with something experimental that they aren’t likely to recognise on a first glance....” Elijah had heard about such things in theory but never came across a working prototype device or weapon that could do it.
"To be honest, I'm not entirely sure I follow. Keep looking," the Captain replied. She wasn't read up on the latest theoretical attack vectors, and now was unfortunately too late to do so. She instead turning to the Communications Officer who had been forced to now also cover operations. "Thyra, any leads? I'm still confused why our back up batteries haven't kicked in."
Thyra was tapping on her console that just went dead. Of course communications was down too. And now the captain wanted her to come up with an answer. "Well, I could muster a a few, but first..." She pushed her chair back and ducked under her console removing a panel. She looked inside and then pulled out a couple of wires and attached them to her tricorder. She started to punch on it really quick. She had extensive computer training, so she could've been on operations as well, she just liked communication more as she would be more in contact with people.
"Sometimes extracurriculars are good for something," She said more to herself than anyone really and then she looked up from her work and noticed the entire bridge was staring at her. "Ehm...right yes, Captain, we got something in the system." She dropped the tricorder that appeared dead now. "It attacked immediately when I tried get back into the system from this device, usually a wired connection works better to get in to a system, which is why I thought... well anyways I am not sure. But it could be a virus. We probably need to go to the core to be sure. I can go with Lieutenant Burton."
The Captain looked at the dead tricorder incredulously. Thyra was clearly right, but...how? "A virus? How could it have gotten into our systems? After our encounter with Typhon's probe we put all kinds of new security measures on our Comms. And even if it did get in the system, Starfleet Computers are supposed to be pretty resistant to these things. How did he get it aboard?"
"I'm no scientist." Bishop spoke from the dead tactical station. "However from a tactical point of view. "What if this virus was already aboard, lying dormant until the appropriate time to come active?"
The strobing effect of the non-emergency lights was having a strangely dizzying effect on the captain. "You thinking he got it aboard when we encountered the probe? I thought we'd checked our systems," she said, though she couldn't be certain they'd actually find a virus that was sufficiently advanced. It could have hidden itself in a subsystem, perhaps.
Morgan started to speak.
Then stopped. Thinking through his words and idea for a few beats before shrugging. It couldn't hurt....
"Captain, I might be out of line here but it's possible we could run the problem through Medical's computer. Medical it typically a stand alone system for both power and systems, save for linkages to the library and sciences data. We could, theoretically, instruct it to look at Defiant as a patient and have it look for the virus. All we have to do is have it look at, say Defiant's system log the day she came out of the yard. Then look at the last over-haul, dry-dock systems scan and finally where the ship is today. By looking at the three, taking out known quantities it might narrow down the problem child..."
"That's actually not a bad idea, Doctor," Alexander said clearly impressed with Morgan's the out of the box approach. He'd have never in a million years come to a similar conclusion.
"Best damn idea I've heard," Charlotte said, almost shooing them into action with her hands. "Permission granted. I'll get you whatever resources you need."
"Er. Yes, Captain," looking around, Morgan gave it some thought and, with eyes on him, walked over to one of the bridge repeater stations and began accessing the medical computer. Once it was on-line, he began feeding instructions to the computer and after about ten minutes, he stated. "Um, well. The computer has the basic idea, but it'll take a bit of time to explain how it should look at various systems. If, Operations or Engineering wants to chip in this might get done faster." Looking over his shoulder, he caught Charlotte's eyes and said, "Captain."
"Sh'shraaqir, Burton, you're at the doctor's disposal," Charlotte said, calling both officers in red over to assist.
Thyra looked over to Connor. She thought the doctor had a great, and without any other thing, they didn't have any other options. "We could write a diagnostic algorithm to the medical computer, gives the computer a new function and it would understand better what it should do."
After a few cycles and his bouncing back and forth between bridge work stations, the Doctor frowned and fine tuned the work station he'd commandeered to run the medical diagnostics through. "Captain, we were able to convince the lab computer that Defiant was a patient and we compared dedicated scans. From her yard build until now there's one area that was identified as being a viral source zero for Defiant's current problem." Morgan looked around and then stated, "The Cloaking Device?"
Charlotte turned on him suddenly, her eyes wide open as her eyebrows seemed to creep higher than they'd ever been. The realization hit her like a wave. A suspiciously advanced cloaking device, too advanced for the Klingons to have build with present tech, which conveniently fell right into Federation hands. A cloaking device that they'd kept so secret that it was currently housed in a room only accessible through the use of the transporter, which were currently offline. And they'd tied the damn thing into their systems. She nearly deflated as she let out a sigh and replied in a very un-Captain-like manner.