Feeling Helpless (Part 2)
Posted on Mon Sep 18th, 2017 @ 10:21am by Lieutenant Commander Lori Coffee & Vice Admiral Chris Barks & Commander Sean "Shack" Byrnes & Captain Cassandra Quinn & Lieutenant Taavis & Senior Chief Petty Officer Benjamin Lambeth & Commander L'Mina & Commander Nicole "Nikki" Beckett MD
Edited on on Mon Sep 18th, 2017 @ 10:22am
Creatures in the Corner
Location: Oskurn & USS Eclipse
L'Mina was still following Taavis and the Qirs. From her scans and the path the creatures were following, she noticed that they were going towards a cave a bit further.
"Runabout Rhein to Eclipse," she said, hoping the comms were working, "the Qirs are heading towards a cave with lieutenant Taavis. I'll probably lose the lock on her as soon as they enter. Do I transport now or do I wait?"
"Have you heard anything from her?" Cassandra asked. "Do we know if she is still alive?"
"I still have her life signs on my sensors, so I assume yes," L'Mina said, "I kept a transporter lock on her so I just have to push the button if needed."
Taavis noted it was dark now, had been keeping her eyes moving to notice terrain markers she could use to get back, if need be. Using her right arm Taavis tried to free it from the resin, and though it took a bit more of her strength, it gave. There was a crackling snap as her arm came up and out, waving above the creature's back momentarily. Grabbing a section of the resin, which she could now feel was not completely dry and solid, she tore a section away and then pushed off of the back of the one carrying her. Tumbling to the ground Taavis did a controlled roll and got to her feet. The Qir that had been carrying her dropped its cloak and turned on her, hissing at her while crouching a bit. To Taavis it sounded like a hiss of irritation, angry at her for being troublesome. That's when she realized they were standing at the entrance of the mining tunnel, a waterfall cascading down into a river some 70 feet below.
Hissing came from deep within the tunnel, getting louder as it got closer, with several more Qirs now out of cloak and appearing to pass on a message from within. "I shall come with you." Taavis kept her hand away from her phase pistol and equipment, not wanting it to be torn away now that these creatures knew what they were capable of. Walking around and passed the Qirs, heading for the mining tunnel, Taavis walked inside. She tapped her badge. "L'Mina, get a bone lock on me. I see natural deposits of topaline in here which will muck with scanners. Out." She tapped the badge off so as not to draw any negative attention to herself. The Qirs were around her, escorting her, and as Taavis went deeper into the tunnel she came to realize that the resin was everywhere and coated everything after the first 100 feet inside. Terrain advantage for the Qirs.
"Will do," L'Mina said. She put the shuttle in auto hover mode and put the necessary locks. This could go so wrong, she thought. With the shuttle in auto-hover, she quickly put up another console and started to program two of the micro probes she was carrying. She wasn't sure what those creatures would think about the probes, but she hoped she would be able to get them into the caves. As they didn't know what the caves looked like, the probes would have to go slow as they scanned ahead, but the systems should be able to handle it. The only thing she wasn't sure was the Qirs reaction to it and she was quite sure they could destroy the probes if they wanted to.
It took a couple of minutes to reprogram the probes for slow cave recon and also to work as relays to keep a lock on Taavis. When she was done, she launched the two probes and followed them into the caves.
As Taavis went along she noted everything, using all her senses to lock landmarks and such in her mind. Several tunnels broke off from the main one and when the Qirs wanted her to go a certain way they would huddle up in a passage, two or four at a time, hissing at her until she turned the proper direction and moved on. One thing she noted was that the deeper inside she went the hotter and more humid it became. As a Vulcan she was used to high temperatures but the planet Vulcan was a dry heat, whereas this was becoming a bit stifling. She had a sheen of sweat on her person, something not normally seen on Vulcans. The mining lights that had been strung along were still uncovered, for the most part, so Taavis had illumination to find her way, the resin covered walls looking to be a dark blackish color not unlike the Qirs carapace. The Qir following directly behind her kept its distance, and though she couldn't tell if it was the same one she was sure this had been her mount.
The tunnel opened up into a large cavern and within this cavern was a power plant, a small one for air and power, and most of the machinery was covered in resin. Scattered all about, placed in even rows were large leathery looking sacks that were oval shaped and stood roughly two feet tall. There were hundreds of them. Taavis, pausing, was not thrilled about having to be in here. Her chaperone hissed at her from behind so she began to cautiously move forward. Her eyes caught Qirs curled up within the resin, small pockets built into the material like honeycombs in a bee hive, and like Borg they seemed to be in a kind of hibernation. There were thousands of them in here, none moving, but she was sure that at the first sign of danger from her they would awaken and destroy her without remorse.
Hearing the sounds of squishy fluid Taavis caught sight of movement toward the back of the chamber. Her eyes strained to see what was happening and after a dozen more steps she came to a halt, her own fear now gripping her heart. Hanging along the ceiling, in a protective coating of resin, was a large abdomen-like appendage not unlike that seen on Earth Termite queens. The sound had been another of the eggs being placed on the floor. Her eyes followed where the appendage went to, turning her head to her left and into a dark niche. The sweat was running down her face and Taavis could feel it trickling down her spine, along with a chill that temperature alone could not have solved. The dread was felt and Taavis used all her discipline to push it down and maintain control. She needed all her senses here. A low, long hiss came from the dark niche and Taavis turned to face it, while stepping back. A large head, four times larger than any other Qir, came forth from the pitch black and into the light. The teeth on this beast were not metallic, instead being like quartz crystal. The Queen, her mind told her.
Patton looked away from the Eclipse view screen, and then to the assembled group. " Has any form of communication with these beings been attempted?"
Cassandra looked at the diplomatic chief and smirked. "Communication with what? Those killing machines? Right, Commander. We'll just walk up to one and ask how its day is going," she said sarcastically then turned her attention to Byrnes. She was glad he had made it with minor injuries and so wanted to greet him with a consoling embrace but her job came first and she knew he understood that. "Commander Byrnes....please work with Lt. Coffee and try and get a fix on Lambeth."
"Aye, Sir." Shack stepped over to Tactical with Coffee. "Let's see if we can isolate his unique bio-signature. Science, we could use some fine tuning on our sensors."
Cassandra turned to the comm console and said, "I want the Eagles out there providing air support for L'Mina and the colonists in case those things come back for dessert."
"Aye, Commander" the ensign on comm replied and put through the order to the flight deck.
Cassandra walked over and stopped behind Shack. Leaning close she whispered, "I hope Taavis knows what she is doing," then she stepped away...her mind reeling with possible scenarios and options.
Shack turned his head in the direction Quinn was walking, after she said that. Under his breath he replied. "As do I. Not like she had a choice."
Billi, hearing her Eagles were to be used again, gave voice. "I'll see to it. I'm sure the new canopy is installed." She turned and left the bridge.
Commander Patton stood silent for an moment, then walked close to Commander Quinn and talked with her quietly. "Commander, suppose you were home, tending to your business, when these' creatures' suddenly appeared all around your domicile. What would 'your' reaction be?"
Standing in the doorway of the CO's Ready Room, Cassandra looked back at Patton and said, "if I were a simple farmer like the colonists? Run." With that she disappeared into the office.
Patton put his head in the room. " Your home, your way of life. And you'd run." George shook his head and then said. " If you need of Diplomacy, I'll be in my quarters." Then left the Bridge.
The cave system was a lot bigger than she had expected, so L'Mina had launched two more probes to get a relay system going on. So far the probes had gone in slowly and staying at the top of the caves and the Qirs hadn't interfered with them. So far.
"L'Mina to Eclipse," she said, "could I get some extra type VI microprobes. I've already send four into that cave system to act as relays in order to keep a lock on Taavis and to explore the cave and I'm not sure if I have enough."
Byrnes, standing in the center of the bridge. "Tactical, send Commander L'Mina the probes. If they can be sent by cargo transporter, make it happen." He tapped his combadge. "L'Mina , Byrnes here. Probes are on their way. We are looking at sending them to you via transporter."
"Okay, standing by," L'Mina said, going back to monitoring the feeds from the probes she had already send out and also sending that feed to the ship, as they might pick up things she missed.
With the steam sounding Taavis took a chance. "Tank." That was all she said, hoping it was loud enough that his own advanced hearing would pick it up. If not, she would die right here by setting off her own phaser on overload. Tapping the comm panel she spoke. "Commander L'Mina, Taavis here. Lambeth is with me and we're setting demolitions in the mine at a coolant tank. When I say energize, please do not hesitate." She left the channel open. Once that had been accomplished Taavis took out her phaser pistol and began to set it for overload, shutting off the alarm the weapon would normally sound to warn people for safety.
Ben moved to the coolant tank quickly, no longer worried about stealth. He used the slime to attach the I.E.D. to the tank then readied his naginata." Say the word, Boss.."
Once the tank ruptured apart the angle of the mining tunnels would send its volatile contents spilling across the floor, towards her and the egg sacks. The Queen herself would also be affected, but to what extent Taavis could not say. All that was Romulan within her hoped it would be a painful death for every Qirs in these caverns. Her Vulcan side was disappointed at the loss of life for an intelligent creature, but logic told her that the Queen had made her choice. It was a war for survival. Checking her own phaser again, Taavis saw it was fairly close to overload and like a grenade she was going to use it.
Turning from the console to face the Queen after stopping the steam, Taavis unbuckled her equipment belt and raised her voice. The vehemence behind her words was not missed on the Queen. "Do as you will, you bitch!" She tossed her belt at the Queen, it landing just before her where Taavis had stood for the meld. Running as fast as her legs could carry her Taavis ran up to Lambeth and wrapped her arms around him from behind. "L'Mina, now!" She shouted.
Ben took one more parting shot, throwing the naginata end over end. It lodged firmly in the queen's side." Hell Yeah!" He roared as the shimmer engulfed them...
Luckily the Qirs seemed to leave the probes alone, including the extra ones she had send down. She probably would have been able to keep a lock without those, but it was a lot easier with and she wasn't a transporter specialist.
As soon as the word came down, she simply pushed the button and soon enough she saw the blue haze of the transporter.
"Runabout Rhein to Eclipse," she said, "I have them both."
"Thank you, L'Mina," answered Byrnes. "Keep your probes going, we need to know what their disappearance will cause to the Qirs, or if they got wiped out."
She took a medkit and headed to Taavis and Lambeth. Her sensitive nose picked up on the Qir slime that Taavis was still covered in.
"That looks quite yucky," she commented, "are you okay?"
Ben's own nose was telling him that the mix of slime, vinegar, and sweat that covered his body was in a work.. nasty. " I need a shower. And a drink." He looked at Taavis." How about you, Boss. That bitch leave anything behind?" What he now knew was his real personality was coming through in full force." Intelligent or not, they got what they deserved. Wish we could have seen it..."
"It will be a day long remembered," answered Taavis, her voice kind of far away, her eyes burning with satisfaction at the deaths of so many creatures. "Thank you, L'Mina, I am fine. Just a bit...funky. However, I cannot shower yet as we need samples of this viscous, clear saliva." She took the medkit. "I can at least clean my face." Looking in a reflective surface Taavis could see her hair was matted as well as sticking out in places, the saliva drying it in a serious bed-head. She looked at her AIC. "We do not know if we were effective."
Ben gave a snort as he removed what was left of his shirt." The explosive force of an overloaded pistol is enough to put a five meter hole, three meters deep in bedrock." He said, grabbing an emergency blanket to use as a towel." We lit off two. That combined with the coolant and the gennie when it over heated.. well, not many could have survived. Those that did would still be pretty fecked up."
Cassandra stepped onto the Bridge and walked over to Shack. Leaning closer she said, "go ahead and meet the runabout. I'll take over here."
Shack grabbed her hand and squeezed it quickly, lovingly, then lip-synced 'thank you'. He didn't care who witnessed the next grateful action, kissing Quinn on the cheek. Releasing the hand he then made his way to the turbolift and disappeared within.