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Do you know how many times I've tried to kill you?

Posted on Sun Feb 16th, 2020 @ 11:47pm by Captain Charlotte Reynolds V1
Edited on on Tue Feb 18th, 2020 @ 2:08pm

Mission: Episode 2: Inevitable
Location: Typhon's Craft "Ladon"
Timeline: Immediately following "Transfer of Command"

The shuttlecraft rocked gently as Captain Charlotte Reynolds guided it through the atmosphere. The journey had been quiet, seeing as how it was just her on her journey. She'd been wrapped up in her own thoughts, silenced by the uncomfortable sight of the flickering and helpless USS Defiant. The cloaking field was locked active, but due to all the power disruptions, it was doing little cloaking. The effect was a Defiant fading in and out of view, exposed for all to see but without an ounce of defensive capabilities. But the destination was now looming ahead of her. The gargantuan frame of Typhon's spacecraft dominated the view ahead of her.

It toward ridiculously high above the surface of the planet, serving as something of an orbital tower, if a bit low for most vehicles' tastes. A massive landing bay had opened in the greyish-yellow structures frame, making it obvious where she was supposed to land.

As she turned the small craft in that direction, she decided it was time to get her contingency plan in place. "Computer, please establish a contingency command."

The computer voice replied a mere moment later. "Contingency orders require a directive, a use scenario, and command level authorization. Please provide."

Charlotte walked to the back and reached for a power conduit, which had been specifically connected by the shuttle crew. She took the connection end and began to rig it to the object stored on the rear bench. "Upon arrival at our destination, please activate the following order: If my lifesign disappears from this craft or our destination, I want you to overload your system settings, sending your entire power flow through this connection junction." She clipped the conduit into place on the outside of the photon torpedo casing. "Authorization code: Reynolds-Sigma-Delta-9-9-4-1."

The computer delayed for a moment, then replied. "Affirmative. Order in place."

Charlotte returned to her chair. If Typhon was planning to kill her, she could at least try to give him heartburn. The shuttle cruised a few moments longer, before settling down on the floor of the massive structure's docking bay. No reason to delay now. Rising to her feet, she released the airlock and walked outside the craft.

For a half of a moment, she could have sworn she was somewhere else. The yellow walls of the internal hanger weren't there. She was in a small room, roughly the size of many on Defiant. She couldn't tell exactly where she was but-

And then, as if in a blink, she was standing on the floor of the massive yellowish hued hanger. She began to wonder how much of this was one of Typhon's illusions.

As she walked forward, a ring of light appeared a few dozen feet away. She couldn't exactly explain how, but she knew that was where she needed to walk to. So she did. Upon standing on the structure, it shook ever so slightly, then rose into the air, suspended by a repulser of some kind. As she approached the ceiling, another circular opening spun open, allowing the small ring to rise up through the conduit.

It came to a rest in what appeared to be an advanced control center. The entire room had a strange buzzing sensation to it. Not a sound but a feeling. Objects seemed to waver slightly, as if heat was radiating off them. But it wasn't quite that. Charlotte's mind began to feel a bit fuzzy. Was it gas? No. This was different some how.

Holograms displayed the planet, the tower, and the numerous vessels in orbit around it. Defiant among them. Charlotte began to count the ships, trying to see if their Romulan companions were still around, but she was cut off by a voice from behind her.

"Ah, Captain Charlotte Reynolds. USS Defiant. I have waited a long time for this," came the familiar voice of Typhon, dripping with disdain.

Charlotte spun to phase him, to find him holding what appeared to be an advanced projectile weapon of some sort. It was already leveled at her. "You called me aboard. What do you-"

Her sentence was cut short. A blazing beam of harsh white-violet energy lanced out of the rifle's end. She hadn't a moment to react. It struck her, center chest with the force of a sun. For one intense moment, she thought she'd felt every particle in her being burst. And then....blackness.

It took her a moment to realize that she was, in fact, still standing on the floor of the control room. Her hand clutched at her chest to find that there wasn't a burn or hole. She was completely untouched. As her heart pounded like a thunderstorm in her ears, she vaguely was aware of Typhon's next words.

"Looks like they got to you already then," he said, with what may have been a sigh.

"W-what?" Charlotte managed, trying to catch her breathe. "Who...what...d-did....did you just try to kill me?"

"Try being the operative word there," Typhon replied with a groan, setting the weapon down. "Seems that's always the way it is. I try. And then I fail."

He walked more toward the center of the control room, the shadows around him seeing to thin, ever so slightly, though not enough for her to get a look at him underneath. "Do you know how many times I've tried to kill you?"

Charlotte got the distinct impression he expected some sort of answer. "Uh...no..."

"It's been quite a few. Tried at least a few dozen different ways. But after that first time, they always seem to beat me to you. Apparently, I'm not allowed to kill you," Typhon said, drawing out his words. "And that is growing very frustrating. Every time I think I'm near the completion of my plan, you show up and ruin it. I honestly thought I had you this time. Played the long game and waited 700 years while we crossed the galactic void and prepared our vessel. And yet here you are again, aboard the Ladon, with your pesky protection in place."

Charlotte gazed at the being. Her mind was reeling, trying to comprehend what he was saying. Time travel definitely seemed to be involved, but what exactly all of it amounted to, she could not tell. The room itself seemed to ripple. Parts of it seemed to exist faster than others, though her brain had no idea what that meant. The fuzzy feeling from before felt even stronger now."What are you saying? This is the first time I've ever seen you in person."

"This is the first time this version of you has been here," Typhon corrected. "This exact instance of you hasn't been here before. But many a Charlotte Reynolds has arrived on my vessel. The exact circumstances aren't always the same of course. Sometimes your rank changes. I've met everything from Lieutenant Reynolds to Fleet Admiral Reynolds. Age varies with it. Sometimes, you show up young and green, fresh from the academy. Usually, you look like you do now. Sometimes I get a wizened older version. Uniform changes too. You usually show up in that gold, but I've seen those blue number with the gold piping, a red one with that fancy double breasting, and even a red and black version one very strange time."

He gestured to the hologram, clearly uninterested in her confusion. "Defiant tends to come with you. I'd say 9 out of 10 times, you show up with a Defiant of some sort, suffixes and refit varying. But not always. The one time I ever did manage to kill you, you had a different ship. Zheng He. Older little thing, and much easier to bring down. Yet somehow, despite that, you managed to be a thorn in my side and bring my plan down with you."

The being walked a little closer. "But I think I've got a real good shot at it this time. There's something different here. Your timeline is a bit more porous than most. And I've been able to play around in it more than I usually can. I was able to sneak those cloaking devices into the Klingon war as if it had always been there. Both you and the Klingons fell for it, and immediately integrated them into your plans. I guided a very angry Starfleet Marine to find a tool to try and bring you down on your own ship. But those pesky parasites went nearly ruined it all for me. So I had to fall back on my other plan. Thankfully, I have an advantage I've never had before." He smiled. This time she saw it. The effect was unnerving, as if a tiny portion of the darkness thinned just enough to reveal a wide grin of jagged teeth, stark white against the utter darkness. It was like something out of her childhood nightmares. "I found your weakness."

Charlotte pulled herself up to her full height, her mind still trying to deal with the fact that some outside force had prevented her obliteration a few seconds ago. "If you think you have some sort of leverage over me, think again. My crew and I won't bow to your demands."

He waved a hand, shooing aside her assurances. "Save it, Captain. I know you're desperately worried about your crew. Rest assured, your guardian angels have already protected them too if they got to you. Your crew are beyond my reach, at least for the moment. No, I'm not looking to destroy your ship. I'm looking to destroy you. Or rather, destroy your resolve. I'm looking to break you, so that this time you stay out of my way. And after cycles of searching, I finally found out how. And unlike every previous version of you, she's out of your reach."

A chill ran down Charlotte's spine. He knew about Alina. Somehow, he knew, not just who she was, but how Charlotte still felt. Typhon saw her reaction. "Yes, a surprise last cycle made me aware of that angle. And imagine my surprise when I learned of her location, not at your side aboard Defiant, but in a low security Federation Penal Colony. One of those nice ones where everyone mills about as they please, they just can't leave." His smile returned. "Yet your coddled Federation prisoners still view it as a horrible sentence. Do you know how easy it is to find someone in one of those willing to do someone on the outside a favor?"

Charlotte felt ice grip around her heart. Weeks ago, she'd gotten a tip that Alina had been in danger. She'd put in a request for heightened security but... "What have you done?" Her voice tried to convey power, but it was a cheap facade.

"Pulled a few strings," Typhon replied. "Had a friend pay your old flame a visit."

Charlotte's hand moved faster than she'd ever moved before. It made it to her phaser before she realized what she was even doing. The weapon was before her eyes, leveled at the shadow creature between heartbeats. She was going to fire and end him, and stop whatever plan he had. And she was going to do it now, before anyone she cared about could be harmed. Her finger pulled the trigger.

Before she could fully engage the mechanism, it flew from her hand, several feet away. And Charlotte Reynolds found herself floating a good foot off the ground, completely frozen. Typhon's hand seemed to be holding her in place, after having flicked her weapon away. "Are you crazy? Setting off a phaser in here? You'd have instantly killed yourself. This entire room is bathed in highly charged chronotons. Your weapon may have hurt me, but it would have fried you in an instant."

He walked toward her. "Now, be a good girl and listen for a second. You may find you're ignoring something.

She opened her mouth to reply, but something else cut her off. She felt Typhon enter her mind. But it was different than his attempts to read her. Instead, she heard something. Voices, vague shuffling. The clatter of silverware. An announcement over an intercom. And Alina Soyka.

 

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