Beauty and Danger Go Hand in Hand
Posted on Mon Jan 8th, 2018 @ 1:24pm by Captain Cassandra Quinn & Commander Sean "Shack" Byrnes & Commander L'Mina & Lieutenant Taavis & Vice Admiral Chris Barks & Commander Hafrap Graf & Lieutenant Junior Grade Kira Shiryankin & Lieutenant Junior Grade Cabhan "Kevan" Doolin
Mirror on the Wall
Location: USS Eclipse & ISS Eclipse
Timeline: Current - 0100 hours
Cassandra opened her eyes and looked at the time display on her nightstand. It had been three hours since she left the bridge. She turned her head and looked over at Shack, who was laying on his side facing away from her and snoring softly. She smiled, leaned over and softly kissed the back of his shoulder then slipped, soundlessly, out of bed, grabbed a fresh uniform from her closet and tiptoed into the bathroom to get dressed. A few minutes later she came out and looked over at Shack who was still sound asleep. She grabbed her boots and went into the living room and put them on then headed for the bridge to relieve L'Mina.
=====USS Eclipse Bridge=====
Cadet Rokiro Kirrishai was manning the science station. She had just received the information sent to the bridge by CDR Graf and was overlaying the team's star chart with the one from the UFoP database. She then accessed the navigation map and brought it up on the secondary screen on her console. She frowned. "I think we found it," she said aloud, to no one in particular. "There's a cluster of dwarf planets approximately 322 Kilometers ahead of us. According to the original star chart there are supposed to be 12 planets in this cluster approximately 3500 years old. According to our navigational sensors there are only 10 now and two are showing signs of....well....for the lack of a better word....youth. Their surface heat is much higher than their sister planets and their atmosphere is much lower. I would guess that they had declined in age by at least 1000 years."
Ltjg. Kira Shiryankin stood close to her station at the Engineering console, but listened in on the conversation between the "science types". If there were any parts of the conveersation that could benefit from input from an engineer, she could offer it.
"Full stop," L'Mina said. She had expected captain Quinn to come back sooner, but if she could believe the rumour mill, it might actually be logical for her to be away that long.
"Science," she said, noting that Taavis was there now, "check it out before we go any closer."
Taavis, returning from the science discussion, went directly to the SCI II console, which still had her console arrangement on it. Tapping keys she began to review the data supplied by Cadet Kirrishai. If the sensors were correct then they had found their way back to their own reality...possibly.
Waking, confused as to where he was for a few moments, Byrnes got up quickly and went to Cassie's shower. Fifteen minutes later he was clean and dressed in a fresh uniform, heading out of the cabin.
=====ISS Eclipse Bridge=====
"Captain....I think I found something," the ensign manning the science station announced. "I need to confirm with navigation."
Quinn turned and looked over her shoulder. "Are you waiting for a written invitation, Ensign?" she snapped. "Maybe in gold embossed calligraphy?" Her sarcasm brought several muffled chuckles from the other crew. Quinn snapped her fingers at the navigations officer and gestured behind her to the science console.
A few minutes later the nav officer returned to his station and the ensign said, "the other Eclipse just sent us their updated nav map and it seems the Erilia cluster has been affected by the anti-time anomaly. It could possibly still be in the area." The ensign transferred the map to the main viewer, highlighting the cluster of dwarf planets. "Originally the Erilia Cluster contained 12 dwarf planets."
Quinn sat forward in her chair and looked closer at the map in front of her. "I only see 10."
"Exactly. Two are completely gone. But not gone as in destroyed....there is no dark mater in their place. It's as if they were never there," the ensign said. "And two more closest to where the two missing planets should be are showing signs of reversion."
Quinn rubbed her chin thoughtfully. "If we are only 322 kilometers away from the cluster....and those two planets are still reverting...why can't we see the damn thing?" she asked and looked around at her silent staff. "Well dammit! Don't everyone answer at once," she growled. "Someone grow a brain and find me an answer!" She slumped back in her chair frustrated and fed up with the incompetence of the current bridge crew.
Taavis watched the interplay between the Captain and the idiots she was forced to work with daily. She was glad she was Vulcanoid, able to maintain her calm even when confronted with a situation. Her Romulan half, on the other hand, loved to torture those around her. "Captain. If those worlds are reverting back to their primordial state, it is then safe to assume that this wormhole the weaklings claim as their transit to our universe is also being affected. They grow over time, so if time is being reversed, this one will cease to exist. At that point I say we take that Eclipse as a prize for the Emperor."
Commander Graf leaned into the Captain and said, "That is possible. I could create a gas that would kill the entire crew of the other Eclipse and I could take command of her and bring it to the Emperor in your honor. I have Colonel Griffin standing by to go over in force. Also the gas would kill our Barks!"
Quinn looked at her lover and grinned. "That would be glorious....wouldn't it?" she whispered, then licked her lips, seductively.
"Captain....look!" came a shout from behind Quinn. She looked back, saw the direction the ensign was pointing and looked back at the main viewer. In front of them was the other Eclipse and in front of them...far in the distance was a thin blueish green band of light writhing like a serpent in a clear stream.
"FULL STOP!" Quinn called out. "Analysis."
"That's it, Captain," the officer at the science console announced. "Or at least the outer perimeter of it." He transferred the image of the anomaly with the astrometrics map overlayed. "The center is approximately 250 kilometers north northeast."
"That's too far for our weapons to reach," said the secondary tactical officer.
"Even if we got within range the anomaly would effect the strength of them. They would degrade before they reached it," the science officer interjected.
"Hail the other Eclipse," Quinn said and sprawled in the command chair.
=====USS Eclipse Bridge=====
"Commander!" the navigator who had slipped into the helm seat when L'Mina had moved to the command chair called out, pointing to the main viewing screen.
From the right side of the screen to the left a thin blue and green band of light shimmered and waved....much like the rising heat from the street on a hot summer day.
"Back us up a bit," L'Mina said, standing up, "what is that thing?"
The doors of the turbolift opened and Cassandra stepped onto the bridge. Seeing the image on the screen and that they had come to a full stop, she said, "report," and walked over to stand next to L'Mina.
Byrnes came onto the bridge minutes after Quinn, taking his post at Tactical. "Weapons & Defense online and in the green." He announced.
"Engineering systems report green," Shiryankin reported. "We can use any amount of speed on your orders."
Billi had stepped out onto the bridge from the starboard lift, listening to all the reports and bridge banter. "Captain Quinn, my fighters have tractor beams. If need be we can launch a flight and play point for the Eclipse, using our tractors to keep her straight and true."
"Negative, Lieutenant," Cassandra said, shaking her head. "L'Mina can get us where we're going once we figure out where that is." She turned around and clapped her hands to get everyone's attention and looked at the faces of each person. "Ok....if you are not assigned to the bridge I need you to leave and go to your duty stations, please. I want only assigned bridge crew up here. Science....I need to know what that is and where it is coming from. I need to know as much information as you can give me." She smacked the red alert control on the arm of the command chair and the lights went from yellow to red and the klaxon sounded. She tapped her combadge and said, "Admiral to the Bridge." She looked at Shack and said, "none of those mirror people are to step foot on this bridge." Then she turned and looked at the screen. "It is beautiful," she said under her breath.
"So are the badlands," L'Mina said to the captain, her sensitive ears having picked up her last comment, "but they are still a devil to fly in. I'd be a lot more comfortable once we know what it is or that we are sure we don't have to go through it."
Billi gave a nod to Quinn, and hearing the non-essential Bridge crew order, she stepped back into the lift to clear the Bridge. They had their hands full and needed to focus and too many bodies up there would only distract.
"I'll get to Main Engineering and handle things down there," Kira said as she headed for the turbolift.
L'Mina took back her spot at the helm. With both the admiral and the captain on the bridge (or soon to be) she could go back to her own station.
Byrnes continued to monitor tactical, ready for whatever orders came his way.
Admiral Barks came out of the ready room with the new Sergeant Major of the boat who took his seat to the left of the Admiral.
Admiral Barks stood in front of the command chair and asked, "Report status, Captain."
"It appears we found the anomaly's trail," Cassandra reported, indicating the image on the screen. "I'm waiting on Lt. Taavis's analysis," she added, glancing over her shoulder at the science officer.
Having been reading data and adding it to her equations, Taavis looked up. "It would appear that this time discrepancy is growing at an alarming rate. Our gateway home is within it, vanishing and moving around at will. However, after running some calculations I have discovered exactly where it will be each time it appears. It repeats its sequence of movement, exactly, each time. The issue; we have to go through the time dilation to get to the anomaly. The only option to offset the time dilation from affecting the crew is to polarize the hull."
Cassandra turned to face Taavis. "Inside?" she asked. Then looked back at the screen. "Does it ever appear near the outer perimeter?"
Taavis gave a nod. "It does, Captain. The closest it gets, however, is forty kilometers." Tapping keys and reading data, she looked up again. "At our current speed we will be almost directly on course for it at the moment it appears closest to the 'shell'. Our timing is going to be our bonus."
"We're being hailed by the other Eclipse," the comm officer announced.
"On screen, Ensign." Admiral Barks ordered as he took a more aggressive posture. He wondered what his XO's doppelganger had to say
"Good morning, Admiral," Quinn said, casually as she sprawled lazily in her chair. "I trust we didn't get you out of bed at this hour. I know how you Admiral types like your sleep." She smirked, sarcastically.
Cassandra stood next to the Admiral and clenched her fists, angrily.
"Ahh....and there's your beautiful Number One," Quinn teased. "Damn it's nice to know I am as beautiful in your universe as I am in mine," she quipped. "But I doubt as competent since I have my own ship and you," she locked a daring gaze on Cassandra, "...have not." Then she laughed, almost maniacally.
Cassandra started to take a step forward.
With where she was standing, near to Tactical, Shack reached out and grabbed the hem of her blouse, at the lumbar region. The Tactical console blocked this from view, but it did stop Cassie. "Don't get baited," he said, under his breath, and low enough the mic wouldn't pick it up.
Quinn let her laughter die down and sat up straight, swinging the leg she had draped over the arm of her chair off of the arm and planted her feet in front of her. "Yes...yes....all business aren't you. So sad. Alright. Here's what we know. That thing out there is the perimeter of the time anomaly. It has already consumed...or should I say, retrograded two planets and the third is about to disappear in a few hours, from what my science people have told me. The center of the anomaly is powered by tachyon energy...fueled by each ship that has used a tachyon pulse to try and scan it and collect data. A few even used tachyon weapons to try and destroy it only to continue to fuel it. The nucleus is 250 kilometers away and we have no weapon with that kind of range. If we go into the thing's perimeter and get close enough to fire at it our weapons will retrograde to nothing more than a firecracker by the time they get to their target. Our shields will also retrograde then our hull." Quinn stood up and stepped closer to the screen, another smirk on her face as she rested her wrists on the buckle of her belt. "I also have been informed that your gateway home is in that monster's perimeter. The only way to get to it is to destroy the anomaly or you will be stuck here with us, for the rest of your natural lives. And I assure you, Admiral...they will be short as your fancy ship will be mine," she said, with narrowed eyes. Then she smiled. "Looks like you have no choice but to help us."
Acting casual, letting go of Quinn's top, Shack tapped keys like any other bridge member was doing right now. He targeted the ISS Eclipse, manually, so no alarms would sound and the enemy sensors couldn't detect it. With weapons and defenses already charged that was covered. All he needed was the order, and he had their impulse control room locked in, and their central warp nacelle, and he would rake several shots across both sections before they could react.
Commander L'Mina was holding steady, but she had some manouvres pre-planned. One thing she liked about her counterpart being a bodyguard was that the pilot on the other Eclipse was most likely her inferior and she could work with that.
"We will help you here, Captain, but be warned we wont take to duplicity. Our science team has confirmed the same thing and we need to work together. I suggest that our two science officers establish a link to be able to communicate between the ships so we can get this thing down to non-threatening." What do you say Captain Quinn?" Admiral Barks asked.
Taavis, looking to her data feeds, used her Vulcan training to remain calm and collected to the outside observer. However, internally, she was taken aback by what the Admiral had said. Would she be sharing data with her counterpart? If so, how far had Vulcans fallen in the Mirror Universe, and could she possibly get through to her double with logic and reason?
Billi, down in the shuttlebay, just in case, heard her palm PADD bleep. Digging into her pocket she brought it out and brought the message up.
>As an Orion I hedge my bets. Save me, I save you. Your Starfleet gains knowledge about our Universe and I get to live.
Billi took off at a sprint toward the lifts, yelling for crew to get out of her way as she went. The smart little wench had the same codes in her Universe that Billi had in hers, and obviously, her counterpart was Intel still. Arriving on the Bridge Billi went straight to Quinn, passing by Byrnes and tapping the mute button for the mic. Taking Quinn by the elbow and turning their backs to the screen she then explained herself while getting the evil eye from Quinn about being pulled around. "Admiral, keep facing the screen please, while they make a decision. Everyone keep nodding as though the Captain is giving orders. Admiral, Captain, I have received a message from my counterpart. She wants to live and says if we save her, she will save us." With their bodies blocking their movements Billi showed Cassie the message.
"Lieutenant, I need to know what exactly the ISS Eclipse plans to do. Get me more details, please. Admiral Barks ordered. He wondered what the other ship was planning and what they already knew and who from there universe is already onboard.
Cassandra looked at the message. "This could be a trap," she said, motioning for Shack to come over. "Verify the authenticity," she said.
Waving Taavis in, Shack and the Intel Chief stepped up, using their tricorders to cross-reference and confirm. Byrnes looked to Quinn. "Cass, it says it's legit."
Taavis nodded. "I concur. Those codes are the same ones our Billi uses, and unless verified by myself and others, no one else has them."
Over on the Mirror Eclipse, Taavis watched the screen. "Captain, they are plotting something. They are huddled together, backs to the screen. Be wary."
Quinn looked at her counterpart and the group with her.
Cassandra glanced over her shoulder at the main screen and turned back to Billi. "Don't reply back just yet. We'll deal with it as soon as they answer the Admiral's question. Look disappointed and wait in the conference room," she whispered then pointed to door that led off of the bridge. "Can't you see we are in the middle of a red alert? I don't have time to deal with your love letter right now. Get back to your station," she said, sternly and loud enough for the mic to pick it up.
Billi, taking the cue, gave a look of anger and disappointment as she spun and stomped off toward the conference room. Once inside she straightened up, almost smiling except for the fact the other Billi needed help.
Admiral Barks turned to his XO and asked, "If you were over there, would you be doing right now?"
Cassandra pursed her lips, thoughtfully, and looked at the main screen. "If I were her I would use this Eclipse to go into the perimeter and fire on the anomaly's nucleus. Even if this ship retrograded it would damage the anomaly enough that its perimeter would be weakened then I would take my ship in to finish it off making me the hero of the Empire," she said, then looked at the Admiral. "Of course that would mean an end to the USS Eclipse and everyone on board. Including her Commodore."
Chris then went over to Lieutenant Taavis and asked, "Do we need the ISS Eclipse to fix this? Can we do it alone?" He gave a look at Commander Byrns of "Get ready to fire."
Taavis looked into the Admiral's eyes. "Sir. Despite the millions of lives lost not helping the Mirror side, I can assure you that we can, and will, breach the anomaly and go home. Nothing over there is exactly opposite, So I hope my calculations are incorrect. Federation, and personal, doctrine aside I want to go home, Admiral Barks."
"We will go home, Lieutenant, but do we absolutely need the ISS Eclipse to do it? I have a feeling that thier Captain Quinn is being duplicitous with us and I won't stand for it at all."
He then asked Commander Byrnes to resume audio and asked, "Captain Quinn, I would prefer a joint venture and all of the resources on my ship are available to you and your crew."
Hearing that Shack almost popped off, but tightened his jaw and remained quiet.
On the ISS ship, Quinn smirked, victoriously. "Then we have an accord, Admiral," she said. "All of our data on the anomaly...including the information I already informed you of...is currently being sent to your science people. And since your Dreadnought is better equipped to withstand the perimeter of this thing...We will let you lead the way. The Luna will stay behind and monitor the wormhole so when this is finished you can go back to your own Universe. Please convey our accord to the Commodore and allow him to accompany you to assure you of our good will. Quinn out," she said, turning to her comm officer who, immediately cut the communication. "Send him the information he needs," she said then turned to Byrnes. "Inform the Luna to hang back. They don't need to do anything except wait for our signal to beam the Commodore off of that ship." With a sneer she added, "if, we give the order. I'll be in my Ready Room. Lamberth you have the con." With that she strutted off of the Bridge.
Mirror Byrnes did as he was instructed. As he finished his task he noted that Taavis was no longer on the Bridge.
Over on ISS Eclipse Taavis met Billi in the transporter room, signaling the operator to leave the room. "What is it you want, Billi?"
"I am leaving the Eclipse, and this Universe. You can either help me or I can kill you," stated Billi, pulling her pistol and aiming it from the hip at her Vulcan lover.
Taavis arched an eyebrow, finding this most interesting. "With all the variables to be considered, and that we, you and I, are second hand citizens due to our non-human lineage, I don't blame you for wanting to leave."
Billi gave a nod and a grin, holstering her weapon. "I love you. When they signal to beam the Commodore back I will be going the other way at the same time. Your aid would be helpful."
"Of course," said Taavis. "Stab me and slash open my left arm above the elbow. That way it looks as if a fight ensued and you escaped, trying to kill me in the process."
Billi drew forth her Orion stiletto and stepped forward, ready to stab someplace non-vital, but her hand would not budge.
Taavis grabbed her arm at the wrist and thrust the blade forward into her lower left abdominal region, pulled it free, and then just stood there wincing slightly until her antibodies began to catch up with the wound and she got her pain receptors under control. "The arm."
This time Billi did not hesitate, slashing down the upper right arm on her friend and lover. Taavis pulled her own blade and held it at her side for a moment, and when the hilt was slaked with blood she dropped it on the floor. "Now, we wait for the signal." She stepped to the controls.
Billi went and stood on a pad, in position for immediate beaming.
The transporter room door slid open and as Taavis looked back over her left shoulder a bolt of energy hit that shoulder. The particle energy forced her forward, slamming the side of her head into the panel before she slid to the floor, her shoulder blackened and smoldering. Shack stepped into the chamber, sidearm at the ready, seeing Billi on the PADD. "Step down from the transporter, Lieutenant." Billi remained where she was so Byrnes lowered his pistol toward Taavis and shot her in the thigh, which caused the Vulcan to cry out in pain and clutch the wound. "Step-down-now." He leveled the phaser at Taavis's head.
"Okay! Okay," said Billi, raising her hands up in a pleading gesture, stepping down from the pads as she did so.
Byrnes watched her get closer. "Aht! That's far enough. Treason is punishable by death, or had you forgotten?"
"I'm not a traitor, I'm a deserter," stated Billi. "I was going to leave this universe and go to the other, live in peace where my kind are accepted as equals."
Shack squeezed the trigger and ended Taavis's life with a shot to the side of the head. Billi roared in anger and ran in. With the skill of an experienced combatant Shack brought the pistol up from the hip and fired, hitting Billi in the right upper chest. Her feet went out from under her and she slammed onto her back on the deck as she held the wound. Shack holstered his weapon and then brought out his knife, straddling her midsection as he gripped her wrists in his left hand. "Goodbye, Billi. I could say it's been a pleasure knowing you, but I would be lying." He thrust the knife into her chest where her heart should be, wiggling it a bit to cause maximum damage to that very important organ. She struggled for about a minute, her green life's blood soaking her torso quickly as Shack watched the light go from her eyes while they stared up at the ceiling.
Searching the body Shack found Billi's coded PADD. Interfacing with his own he had the computer do a Security breach and disrupt the coding. He read for a few minutes while standing over the two dead bodies. Putting the coding back in place he then set it to send the data to the other Billi, an honorable gesture in his mind, as a sort of last request from the Orion wench. Once it was done he broke the coding back down and then tapped his combadge. "Captain Quinn, Taavis and Billi are dead. They were trying to desert over to the other Eclipse. I have recovered Billi's personal PADD which had detailed files on our Empire and this universe. She wasn't able to deliver."
Admiral Barks saw the screen go blank and motioned for his senior bridge staff to follow him into the conference room off of the Bridge.
Cassandra nodded and, silently followed the Admiral with L'Mina, Shack and Taavis on her heels.
OFF (To be coninued)