Literary Challenge #12 : Intruder Alert
Hello and welcome to another edition of our writers' challenges! :cool:
Today we start the two-week run of the twelfth Literary Challenge: Intruder Alert
While docked at Deep Space Seven, a Federation space station near the Romulan Neutral Zone, sirens begin going off that an intruder has been detected in the exact section you are currently in. As you turn to look around, your vision goes blank and you pass out. When you awake several minutes later, you notice that you are surrounded by the station’s security team. As you attempt to get up, you look down at your clothing and body and realize you are not the same person you just were. What happened to you? Where does the security team take you? How do you prove you are who you are? How do you ultimately get back to the ‘old you’? Write a Captain's Log entry letting us know.
This is the writer's thread -- only entries should be made here.
The Discussion Thread can be found HERE.
We also have an Index of previous challenges HERE.
The rules may change from one challenge to another, but I'd like to remind everyone what the base rules are. These may grow as we move on, so also feel free to give feedback!
"Plot a course for Deep Space 9, engage!"
Security Clearance Delta Omega Amethyst
Stardate is appended in a text file per Starfleet Security Clearance regulations.
Captain's Log: USS Hypothesis. Stardate XXXXXX
Christopher Gurney, Captain.
There is every real possibility that we have been infiltrated, and that the assassin could strike at any moment.
We had just finished assessing the true nature of the disappearance of a group of scientists over 140 years ago in the Camus system when we received a Priority One message from the Admiralty's Office.
Rather than return to Memory Alpha to assist in the search for the intruder that had accessed and erased the classified Camus files, we were directed to make best speed to Deep Space 7 and report in person to Admiral Erics.
We arrived two days ago, and have been confined to the ship while Station Security performed a full scan of the Hypothesis and her crew. Apparently the communications officer on the station had picked up part of a conversation on a subspace frequency that inferred an undercover operative for the Undine would be arriving on the station within the next 72 hours. Purpose of the infiltration is unknown.
After being vetted, I met with Admrial Erics and gave him the rundown.
The report, in part, is as follows:
The public version of the Camus II story is a cover up.
The actual report was classified and kept in a secure database at Memory Alpha.
Unfortunately, there was a security breach and the file was accessed, then destroyed, along with information on Talos and several star systems in the Delta Quadrant.
The Hypothesis was dispatched to Camus 4 (not 2 as the public report states) and indeed found the remains of an ancient civilization. The Camusians were a race of empaths. They truly desired to know how another felt, deeply concerned with offending anyone. To that end, they had developed a technique for transferring life entities with one another to literally "walk in their shoes". However it was a technique like the Vulcan Mind Meld, rather than a machine as the public story shows.
In trying to communicate with the science team, they inadvertently caused their deaths. (Like changing bodies with a fish. It would drown the human body trying to breathe water).
Only when there were two survivors did they understand what they were doing wrong, and adapt the technique enough to change places with the humans.
Unfortunately, the result drove the humans mad, and once returned to her own body, Dr. Lester hallucinated that she had actually switched places with then Captain Kirk.
This is atributed to her strong emotions about him, and the “disconnect” associated with bodily transferrence.
Then First Officer Spock was able to communicate with them by combining their technique with the Vulcan Mind Meld. They were horrified at the deaths they had caused, and to avoid any such future occurance, asked that they be left alone. Permanently.
Starfleet respected their wishes with the quarantine, although they used the cover story of the radiation poisoning to discourage anyone who might try to take advantage of the Camusians somehow.
When we arrived, a plague had decimated the Camusian population, leaving only a handful of them left. They are long lived, 300 years on average, and at least two of them were present during the previous encounter.
This is how we learned of the story.
They say that they had been visited at least twice by the race we know as the Founders, and once by the Romulans.
However both of those contacts were nearly 100 years ago.
We thanked them, and promised to send assistance in finding a way to help them regrow their population.
While leaving, we were contacted and told that the infiltrator had been identified as an Undine.
Apparently his phasing disguise had dropped as he was boarding a trader, but a cloaked ship beamed him aboard before he could be apprehended.
Hearing this, my science officer reported signs of a possible battle on the outskirts of the system.
An examination of the area revealed the remnants of a battle that had occurred at least three days prior between a single Undine ship and three Hirogen vessels.
While two of the Hirogen vessels and the Undine ship were destoryed, it was impossible to tell if the Undine had infiltrated the Hirogen ship before theirs was vaporized.
At this point, Admiral Erics pulled up a report on a Federation starship that had been ambushed by a Hirogen vessel two days ago. While a distress signal was originally sent out, it was quieted after only five hours and the vessel disappeared.
It was possible the Undine had survived, and was now posing as a federation citizen.
It could be anywhere.
Then the Admiral reminded me of my oath as a cadet to be used in whatever capacity that Starfleet felt would be serve the Federation.
He said to remember that in the coming days.
Then I was dismissed.
I can only assume he was referring to the fact that our vessel, like all others docked here at DS7 currently, has been quarantined and her officers and security team temporarily assigned to serve as an auxillary security force for the station.
My shift starts in approximately six hours.
Have to get some rest before then.
End Log Entry.
Captain’s Log: Supplemental
Funny how things aren’t what they seem.
Three hours into my shift, station security sounded an Intruder Alert.
A quick check of the comm panel revealed that it was in the area I was covering.
I had checked two corridors, and was to meet up with Lt. Poneg at the next junction, when I was attacked from behind.
I felt someone come up from behind me, and suddenly a sharp pain in my shoulder.
When I awoke, I can only assume it was a few minutes later, Poneg and several members of the security team were surrounding me, phasers drawn.
I tried to ask what was going on, but my voice was strange and guttural, a dialect I was unfamiliar with, yet understood completely.
I was speaking Hirogen!
A quick look at my uniform confirmed my fears. Somehow, someway, I had traded bodies with a Hirogen.
With the level of alert the station was on, it is surprising they didn’t blast me right there.
I would have.
Instead, I was escorted to the brig, trying to explain they were making a mistake the entire way.
Denied access to all but the basic of necessities, I couldn’t make anyone understand what was happening.
Apparently the Undine had figured out how to use the Camusian technique to switch bodies with a Hirogen. Then, somehow, one of them had switched bodies with me.
But there was no way to prove it.
Everything I tried failed.
Even trying to reason with my crew.
Anthi, Poneg, Zuzu. No memory I mentioned, no private conversation or detail, would sway them in their thinking.
To them, to everyone, I was Hirogen.
I was the enemy.
And by their reports, "Captain Gurney" was supposedly working the security detail.
The Undine had outdone themselves.
A holographic disguise could be compromised or fail.
But a physical change?
There wasn't even a need to "dispose" of the person to switch places with them.
Just lock away the previous occupant in a different body. Kill them or leave them alive.
It wouldn't matter.
Who would believe a Hirogen, Klingon, Romulan or anyone else for that matter who claimed such a thing?
No, this was the perfect disguise.
End Log Entry.
Captain's Log: Supplemental
Nearly 3 days now, and hope is growing thin.
Nothing I do or say has any effect.
At the trial this afternoon, I was found guilty of sabotage and attempted assassination of a ranking officer of the Federation.
Rather than recount what I was supposed to have done, the council merely responded with "you know what you did."
The sentence was death.
It is to be carried out tomorrow.
I am leaving this log in the hopes that someone, somehow, finds it and realizes the truth.
Even if it is too late for me, Starfleet must know what the Undine have accomplished and find a way to protect themselves.
I hold no ill feelings towards those involved.
The charade is too perfect to penetrate.
End Log Entry
I'm going to kill Erics.
He knew the whole time.
Actually, scratch that. Not a death threat.
So apparently there was no infiltrator.
Strapped to the gurney, the doctor administered what I believed to be a fatal chemical cocktail into my system.
Instead it was the "antidote".
I passed out and awoke several hours later, very much my "old self" and furious for an explanation.
Admiral Erics debriefed me.
Apparently Section 31 has been impressed with the holographic costume technology they have seen and were working on an advanced model.
However instead of an external harness or transmitter, this relied on a "light bee" but scaled to the size of nanobytes.
The nanobyte is self-replicating, and able to transmit a holographic image.
Once inserted into the bloodstream, it begins transmitting whatever image is programmed into it.
Klingon warrior, Ferengi Slave Trader.
The nanites work on the vocal cords and cerebral cortex to modify the language so it matches the programming, and they are self replicating so any that escape through the bloodstream (sweat, urine, etc.) are replaced.
The effect is permanent until a "cocktail" is introduced that counters their programming and flushes them out of the system.
All the lab tests showed it to be undetectable, infallible.
And I was the first "field test".
Admiral Erics knew what was happening, but no one else did.
And I have to admit that the effect was thorough enough to fool everyone around me. Even those who know me best.
The Intruder Alert was drill, but no one will know that.
The team testing the "chameleon serum" knocked me out from behind and injected me.
Apparently it only took about 2 minutes for the change to take effect.
As far as anyone is concerned, the Hirogen infiltrator "died" on that gurney.
I am under strict orders to tell no one of this new "weapon" in espionage.
Not sure who they had "playing" me, but they knew what was happening.
Scary to think they were able to also fool those who knew me.
In the wrong hands, this could have devestating consequences.
While the Intruder alert was false, though, the outcome of the Undine/Hirogen battle is still unknown.
And that Federation starship is still missing.
A tactical team is being dispatched to Camus 4 to make sure the Undine don't 'disturb' the Camusians.
The Admiral gave us a week of shore leave, then the Hypothesis will be heading to the Nuetral Zone to investigate reports of black market trading.
I suppose that I should be happy things turned out the way they did.
But they could at least have told me.
I guess that's what they Admiral meant when he told me to remember my oath.
End Log Entry
Behind me was the fast paced muted thumping of running down the corridor. I turned to see who it was.
The static crackling hum thump sound of the forcefield dropping woke me. I opened my eyes to blinding white lights and closed my eyes to phantom blue echoes of the lights on my retinas. I sat up. The pale pink glow of light through my eye lids dimmed. I opened one eye slowly, letting iris and eyelash filter out whatever came in. What I saw was a Bolian dressed in black sitting on a chair with a PADD and a phaser in her lap. Gazing towards both, she was eyeing one of them intently.
I opened my eyes and stood up. A dulcet toned "sit down please" fell from her lips but her gaze never lifted. Immediately I noticed something wrong with the room. The door was a brig door, but more importantly, it was a huge brig door. Way bigger than normal. The Bolian looked up at me. "Sit down now."
Searching for a place to sit I looked behind me to the bed. It was chest high to me. I threw my hands out in front of me and stared in horror at alien fingers. I grabbed at my face and felt my head. Sharp cheeks, smooth forhead, pointed ears: Vulcan. I looked at my hands again, they were young. Child. I looked up at the Bolian.
"What is-" the sound of this new child's voice stopped me for a moment. Years of listening to the tenor of a man expressing what I want to say suddenly moved back to the pitch of pre-pubescence jarred me. I continued and tried to sound as authoritative as a 7 year old can. "What's going on here? Who are y-"
The Bolian put down her PADD, picked up the phaser and shot me. I was thrown back into the bed which bounced me into the air before I fell onto the ground. Pain followed me the whole time. I tried to speak but the most I could manage was the groaning whimper of a child near tears.
"Vulcans are remarkably durable, their children especially." She cleared her throat and continued, "I would like to ask you some questions. Please, sit down on the bed or I can keep shooting. Both of us can do this all day, but the only part of me that will hurt when this is over is my trigger finger."
I sat down and called her a dirty word no child should say. It was loaded with all the inflection of an adult who knows exactly how to use it; it sounded equally ridiculous and poignant in this child's voice. She shot me again.
I looked at her through squinting eyes, like a cartoonish gauge of how full of hurt my body was. "What!" I screamed. I didn't mean to yell but every part of me burned with that pins and needles feeling of limbs waking up. I wanted to punch the guy who invented the stun setting.
The Bolian put the phaser back in her lap and picked up the PADD, only breaking eye contact with me for a moment before speaking.
"There was an incident earlier this evening on Deep Space Seven. What do you know about it?"
"An alarm went off, I was contacted by station security. There was an intruder, and I heard something. Then I wake up with the blinding lights and you shooting me and I have no idea what's going on. Would you please explain what's going on?"
"No. We are both here for very specific reasons."
"Why am I a Vulcan kid? Don't you want to know why a kid would have security contact him?"
"We know who you are."
"I could be anybody!"
"You are Jack Slade, Federation captain of the USS Acheron. Your ship is a heavily modified Defiant prototype. How you came about it is both heartwarming and hilarious. Your crew is an eclectic bunch who you have hand picked from some, frankly, shady places for dubious reasons. Our condolences on your recent personal loss. But, as you can clearly see, we know who you are."
All my frustration vaporized. Instantly that space within was filled with some volatile admixture of curiosity and anger. I was in this body for a reason. This wasn't a misunderstanding. She wasn't security. This was all a trap and she was in on this somehow. She was torturing me. My face betrayed the epiphany so she raised the phaser again. The threat kept me seated as my cooperation ended.
"Okay, so you know who I am. If you really know me, you know that this conversation is now over. You are going to have to set that thing to more than just stun."
"We can bring her back Jack."
"The only woman you ever loved. Feruse."
Again, my face gave away everything. The Bolian put the phaser down.
"We know about Camus, hence the body swap. We also know what happened to your crew last week. We can bring her back. But we need something from you first."
"Quid pro quo."
"That's the offer."
I mulled on it. Too soon. Too heavy for now. "Can I think it over?"
"No. We prefer sooner to later. We will give you what you want - we can bring her back, honest and genuine. But we need you to do something for us."
"Who is 'us'?"
"The hard working stage hands of a pan-galactic utopia. Almost no one gets to look behind the curtain but Section 31 needs you."
"Because of your record. Do you know how much actual business gets done by white hats and diplomats? A sliver. 31, Tal Shiar, Obsidians, KDI; covert movements and clandestine operations do more for maintaining the norm than peace treaties and fleet actions. Except you. Stopping the Undine was impressive enough but what you did with the Dominion and then the Borg... Some good work. It shows that if you had unlimited access and a promise of very lenient oversight, you could help the Federation go so much further."
"Oh I get it. I work for you and 31 takes the credit. You say that all the good I've done is part of your plan. Not going to happen. I hated working for you before and my opinion of you hasn't really improved after these last few minutes."
"You could grow to love us."
"No one could love Franklin Drake."
She giggled. "Yeah, his whole comet plan was pretty out there. But give the man credit, he can setup a situation better than anyone. If you don't love us, how about some respect for talent?"
"Just like you. We are a whole bunch of people exactly like you."
"Let me think it over."
"That isn't an option."
"What if I say no?"
"That doesn't mean we won't ask again."
"Then not right now."
She raised the phaser and pointed it at me again.
"Wait, I just need to know one thing."
"In the spirit of cooperation, ask away."
"Why change me into a Vulcan kid?"
"Easier to smuggle. A child is expected to be carried in public when they're asleep. And you have none of the coordination you are used to. New body, new limits. Vulcans are also easier to read. It's so uncommon to see emotion that it becomes unmistakeable and obvious. The idea was to help contain and intimidate the subject. It's still in the trial phase, but so far we are very impressed with the results."
"You know, if Section 31 was nice once in a while it would make more friends."
"If Section 31 was nice, you would never know. Tell me Jack, with cloaking devices now outlawed, how it is yours goes unregistered and unnoticed to Starfleet?"
"Isn't the point of a cloaking device to go unnoticed? Besides, I have clearance."
"Not high enough for the only non-weapon that can incur war crimes charges between nations. You are enjoying the benefit of our courtesy. Jack, listen, we are going to make this simple: make 31 your port of call and you can keep your ship, get the girl, and live happily ever after. Turn us down and we cut you loose. We let you explain the security lapses, the moral ambiguities. Quinn can't stand the grey areas. If I were a Dabo girl I would put odds on how long before you lose your commission."
"Are you threatening me?"
"I am saying that we have been sticking our neck out for you and we want you to be grateful."
"How about treating me like the captain I am."
"Fine, we can start treating you like an adult."
"So the torture is also psychological?"
She laughed and aimed the phaser at me.
"We will keep in touch Jack." She shot me again.
I woke up to the clock chime. I opened my eyes and looked around at my quarters. It was my bed. I was on my ship. I looked at my hands; calloused and hairy knuckled just as I left them.
Captains log: Stardate 88107.8 Standard Fractal Encryption Alpha
It had been two weeks since Camus II. Two weeks since I was forced to destroy half a planet and the surrounding systems subspace using a high yield Tricobalt device. I'm still having trouble sleeping, and after the last three days I doubt that will change any time soon. Our first stop on the was through Romulan Space to pick up two Ambassadors, one Romulan, one Reman. Surprisingly Both were quite cordial to each other. The Geist was assigned to deliver both men to Deep Space 7 since we were due there for repairs and supplies. They were needed for a conference, not to negotiate peace or a cease fire, but to talk about the possibility of. I hate politics. The practiced lies, the empty speeches, blowing smoke so far up each others .... never mind, let's just say I miss the days when Ambassadors Spock and Picard could walk into a war zone and walk out with peace in their shirt pocket like they had just found it on the ground. Even the Romulan and Remans respected them for what little good it did in the end.
Needless to say all had gone as well as to be expected until about 0900 hours three days ago. I'd authorized a little bit of leave for the away team of the Camus II mission. All were on board the station when there was an explosion. From the initial reports there was an overload in the power conduits leading to the industrial replicators. Somebody had been trying to replicate something complex and heavy duty when the Replicator decided it couldn't handle any more and popped. The feedback in turn shot through the plasma relays to the other replicators causing them to overload. The person responsible of all people was Ensign Guy "Ricky" Richards. Ricky had taken a pretty bad hit from the blast, in fact it threw him clear out of the room. From the security reports this had set off the intruder alert and security teams was dispatched. When they tried to help Ensign Ricky with what should have been life threatening injuries, they say he seemed to be acting erratically. Wild almost as he took off down the corridor running straight into Wraith. This is how you know Ricky had been out of his mind: because he tried attacking Wraith... who as a genetically engineered super soldier put Ricky down in one punch. A little excessive for a guy who had just been in an explosion, but I was more surprised in Wraith who just coldly said it was self defense. Very out of character for both men, but every one just brushed it off as stress from the intruder alert as well as the explosion.
It was about that time that Ensign Richards had woke up, two security teams aiming phasers at him while a med team was trying to stabilize him. What a mess for so early in the day but at least the diplomats were safe and it wasn't an issue attack as far as we could tell. Ricky seemed a bit dazed as they carted him off, but completely docile.... Until he saw Wraith. They had to sedate him again as he started trying to get up, presumably to try for round two with an augment. He would spend the next 11 hours in intensive surgery to remove the shrapnel which ranged from mostly fragments to one large chunk set in between his shoulders. This gave my people plenty of time to investigate, but by the time they arrived in the cargo bay Richards blew up, Prichard's men were all over it. Commander Ellis Prichard, security head of DS7, and what my grandfather would refer to as a "crooked cop". He was a bully with power, strong arming his way around the station, roughing up the locals to "keep the peace" as he called it. The only reason a thug like him stayed where he was is location. This close to a neutral zone and you need a strong hand to keep things civil. Needless to say, his goons had made a right mess of the bay. One of the few perks of Section 31 is the black tape I get to use. Given the right situation, I can name at least 5 regulations and laws that would let me pull rank on some of the lower admirals. A trick I don't use often, but to be honest enjoyed using on Prichard. He was fuming profanities in several different languages as I walked out of his office with this investigation and his dignity in my hand. I may be no diplomat my self, but guys like him need to be tossed out of Starfleet faster than a tribble through an airlock on a Negh'Var.
T'Pal was heading the Physical investigation. She was head tactical officer, and even by Vulcan standards she had a keen analytical mind. If anyone could figure out what the ensign had done, and why, it would be her. As she sifted through what was left of the industrial replicators, I decided to pay the accused a visit. He seemed a little out of it as he lay confined in the medical force field but being as banged up as he was they couldn't move him to the brig just yet. The funny thing was though he had been claiming he was some one he's not. Donovan Wraith. Insisting on it he claimed no memory of what was happening but that during the attack he had blacked out and woke up as Ensign Ricky. Normally I'd assume that this was just some insanity plea, but there in the eyes I saw it. A look you would never expect from some one created to be a killing machine but a look I'd seen on Wraith's face all too often: innocence. I decided to check in on Wraith's activities that day. Ever since the incident, he'd been all over the ship. Engineering, the armory, several replicators on different levels, each time gathering components to some kind of device. A device we couldn't quite pin down, but way too technical for the kid to be building on his own. Our tech guy on the ship was Jon Edison, formerly 4 of 17, and still baring all the irreversible "enhancements" the Borg had given him, but he was a wiz at the computer business. I pulled him aside from the cargo bay investigation to ask him about the device when luckily he had seen it before. It was the very device which proved too complex for the replicators only it seemed that our wayward augment was replicating it piece by piece to avoid overload or suspicion. He would have told me more but there had been obvious tampering with the equipment which slowed the team. Prichard.... It seems he had been a little more aggravated by my pulling rank than I had thought. No matter; I had a bigger problem on my hands.
I stopped by the Medical office to check up on the ensign. He was being treated for wounds attained while "trying to escape". By the looks of it he had given one hell of a fight. It took 5 or Prichard's security team to finally put "Ricky" down, almost breaking him in the process, but each one in turn was also being treated for wounds. Guy, as far as, I knew was not the best at hand to hand, but Wraith would be able to do that no problem. As soon as I'd seen this my hand was already at my Com badge and the order had been given to find Wraith. I had Ricky brought to the Ships medical bay for treatment when security brought in both Wraith and the Romulan Ambassador. It seems "Wraith" had attacked the Ambassador with a smaller version of the device and in retaliation the Romulan had shot Wraith twice with the disruptor. This how ever was a stroke of pure luck it turns out. The disruptor, living up to it's name, managed to disrupt Wraith's entire nervous system as well as synapses. This, while almost killing him, revealed that there was indeed something wrong. There were traces of nanoparticles in his brain. The same nanoparticles that had been found on Camus II. It took Edison the entirety of day three to figure that the device Wraith used was similar to the neural inputs connected to the bodies on Camus which needed direct contact. The larger version would have released the spores through environmental systems station wide. It took even longer to find that the large chunk of shrapnel we assumed was replicator from Ensign Richards back had actually been a similar device built on board the Geist by Richards himself. It seems he hadn't been as unscathed as we had thought. After all was said and done, we used the 3 devices to switch Donovan Wraith back into his own body and restore Ensign Richards to his as well as a normal state of mind.
As for the Romulan he was fed a story about how the ensign was coerced by local smugglers to replicate some contraband when the replicators overloaded as part of a fail safe. Whether he bought it or not I really don't care. The ensign is still pretty banged up but recovering nicely, but for safety measures will be getting weekly check ups and Psych evaluations for a while. As for Wraith, well he's currently confined to Quarters. It seems he had some how managed to beam himself into Prichards office and assaulted the entire security force using MY authorization codes. Imagine that... Further more upon
examining the scene, investigators found evidence of everything from abuse of power, misconduct, bribery, smuggling, and even leaking information to the Tal Shiar. It looks like Prichard and his goons will finally be getting the nice long vacation they deserve at one of Starfleets penal Colonies. The devices have been recorded and destroyed, and the Geist is now on course to our next mission.
Captain James Donovan, end log.
Captain's Log, U.S.S. Twilight, Stardate 86358.5
Today has undoubtedly been one of the most interesting days in my recent memory: it's not everyday you find yourself desperately trying to prove your own identity. It began when the Twilight docked at Deep Space 7, an outpost near the Romulan border, for repairs and some minor upgrades to the deflector array.
I was walking down a corridor in the core section after checking in with DS7's Chief Engineer about the timescale for the upgrades. Suddenly the alarms started blaring, 'Intruder in Section 14 alpha'. I checked the computer readout: I was in 14 alpha. I hardly had a moment to think before I felt my consciousness slip away and my body crumple to the floor.
When I awoke, I was in a holding cell, staring out at a rather annoyed looking Bajoran Lieutenant Commander.
"So then, who are you?" he asked.
"Is this a joke?" I replied.
"There's nothing funny about espionage, I usually find."
"How did you get aboard the station?"
"Are you mad, Commander?"
"No. You might be though, I'm not sure how you expected not to get caught, wandering the corridors completely undisguised."
It was then that I caught a glimpse of what I was wearing. A Romulan uniform. I looked down at my hands. Romulan. "What."
"Now, what were you doing in DS7's command core?"
"Commander, this is going to sound insane, but you have to believe me."
"What? You're not a spy? You were randomly beamed aboard by some transporter accident?"
"No. Even weirder. I have no idea how I ended up like this, but I am not a Romulan at all. I am... Admiral Yalesz Kalen, I command the U.S.S. Twilight. Somehow, whether by some kind of surgery, morphic field, I don't know, I ended up like this."
"Oh, right. And I'm really a reincarnation of Gul Dukat. I was right, you are mad."
"I know it sounds ridiculous... I have an idea. Check the internal sensors, see where I... where Admiral Kalen, is."
The Bajoran sighed and shook his head. "Computer, locate Admiral Kalen."
"Admiral Kalen is not aboard the station," the computer reported.
He turned to his deputy at the security station. "Where is the Twilight now?"
The young Ensign tapped a few buttons. "The Twilight undocked about ten minutes ago, with the Admiral on board."
I sighed. Telling him that the upgrades apparently wouldn't have been completed for another few days wouldn't have gotten me anywhere. I had to think of something concrete. "Please, just check one more thing. Check the logs for Section 14 alpha, see what happened to my... to Kalen's biosign and mine."
"Look, I have other things to do than chat with an insane Romulan." He turned and headed for the door.
I stood up. "Commander! When the Twilight docked at DS7, you were in the Operations Room. You commented to me that it was 'an honour to have one of the fancy new Odyssey class ships out here in the middle of nowhere'. Now, if I'm not who I say I am, how could I have known that."
"Because you were spying on station communications, of course."
"Not this one. The Odyssey class uses a fractal encryption algorithm for all standard transmissions. Try to intercept and you'd just get a load of nonsense."
"Is that right, Ensign?" he turned to his deputy at the security station.
She tapped a few buttons. "Seems so."
"Run the check," the Commander said after a few seconds pause.
"Sir, there's something weird about this."
"The Admiral's biosign was reported walking out of Engineering, down the corridor and into Section 14 alpha, as expected. Then, it just vanishes, at the same moment the intruder alarm was triggered due to the Romulan biosign."
The Commander rushed to the station to have a look for himself. "Well that is just plain odd. That doesn't mean I believe you," he added hastily, pointing blindly in my direction. "But there is something strange going on here."
Commander Naya, as I later learned his name was, told the entire strange tale to Captain Lines, the CO of Deep Space 7. She agreed to hail the Twilight to get this all resolved. I was brought to Ops by a security team. It truly is a surreal experience to see yourself on a viewscreen, and have someone... something, else, talk with your voice.
"Captain Lines, how can I help?" the version of Admiral Kalen who wasn't me said as the picture of him sitting in my ready room appeared on the screen.
"Sir, something... odd, has occurred here on the station, would it be possible for you to return to DS7 to help us resolve it?"
"I'd love to assist, Captain, but unfortunately we're currently heading to the Z-6 sector in response to a distress call from the U.S.S. Alessa. Command specifically asked for this ship as it's the most powerful one in the area. I'm sure you understand."
"Of course, sir," the Captain began, but then I had a thought. What he'd said was utter nonsense.
"You're lying!" I shouted.
"Who is that?" not-me said.
"A Romulan who we discovered aboard the station, he..."
I interrupted again. "What you said just now, about the Alessa. It's a lie."
"Oh, and just why is that?" the Admiral replied.
"Because the Alessa was destroyed by the Borg at a recent battle in the Cestus system."
Not-me looked scared for a brief moment. Not long, but enough.
"Check that, Tolak, would you?" Captain Lines said. Her Vulcan science officer began entering commands.
"It checks out, Captain," he replied. "The Alessa was indeed destroyed sixteen days ago."
Not-me stared Captain Lines down for several seconds before tapping in some commands on his computer.
Those commands locked down the entire command system of the Twilight, effectively giving him total, non-overridable control of the ship. It really was on a course for the Z-6 sector, but not to answer a distress call. This spy was quite happy to reveal his entire plan over the comm... not exactly the brightest tool in any Praetor's box. He told us that the plan was to turn over the ship to some Tal Shiar scientists, who would analyze all the advanced technology it contains for use in their own ships. As for the crew, they'd all have been beamed to some random M-class planet and left to get on with it.
Of course, knowing this was all well and good, the important thing was stopping it from happening. The only ships in the area were short-range science vessels, nothing with the power needed to go toe-to-toe with the Twilight.
It was Two of Five, my former-drone Number One who saved the day in the end. She injected Borg nanoprobes into the computer core which slowly unpicked the Romulan virus' hold over the systems (along with the nice side-effect of sealing not-me in the ready room until the doors could be physically forced open). By the time the Twilight arrived at its rendezvous point it was almost entirely back in the crew's control. Enough to send the two Mogai warbirds running with a few well-placed phaser shots at any rate.
Two of Five brought the Twilight back to DS7, and turned not-me over to Captain Lines and her security teams. That left only two questions: how did the spy switch bodies with me, and how were we going to switch them back. We all met in the station sickbay: myself (as a Romulan) under close guard; my real body with a Romulan mind; Doctor T'Pumne, the Twilight's CMO; and Doctor Elaeva, DS7's CMO. I underwent several neural analyses and scans before either doctor could come close to offering a solution.
"It appears that the Romulan interloper's memory engrams and neural pathways have been swapped with the Admiral's," Elaeva said after studying her PADD for several minutes.
"But the biosign changed on the sensors," T'Pumne replied. "That implies some kind of physical change."
"Yes. It does. I said that their minds had essentially been swapped, I did not say how. I believe that... what's your name?" she turned to not-me.
"Thank you. I believe that Ravok and Admiral Kalen's bodies were moved, with their minds staying in place."
"How is that possible?" T'Pumne said.
"Not impossible," I offered. "If you could preserve the quantum states somehow, you could theoretically do it. But that would require a whole lab worth of cutting-edge equipment, and I certainly don't remember seeing one on this station."
"So." I turned to Ravok. "How did you do it."
"Why would I tell you?"
"Two choices: you keep quiet, and you end up on trial for various serious crimes against the Federation. Or, you assist us and I will see to it that you are granted political asylum."
"I'd rather die than surrender to you."
Over the next few hours, the three of us worked hard to figure out a way of reversing the process, but got nowhere. Then I had a thought. Ravok's body had to have been beamed in from off the station, otherwise the sensors would have picked it up (as did happen). There had to be a ship, a transporter relay beacon, or something of that order close by to facilitate the swap.
Even with DS7's powerful sensors, we didn't detect anything. However, Captain Xaryn of the U.S.S. Katsuragi, a Nebula class research vessel, had an idea: use her vessel's Tachyon Detection Grid emitter combined with the several vessels docked at the station to create a net surrounding the station. Move the net slowly outwards and it should light up any cloaked ships.
At around 13 km from the station, just as the grid was beginning to fall apart, we hit the jackpot. A heavily modified Romulan Bird of Prey was detected. They tried to make a run for it, but with that many Federation ships, they didn't have a chance.
Once the ship was captured, engineering crews went to work on figuring out its augmented transporter system. They weren't able to work out exactly how it works, but the did figure out how to actually work it. Reversing the process was a simple matter of locking on to my signal and Ravok's and performing an in-place site-to-site transport. Finally, I was myself again.
However, something worries me about this: that technology is far beyond the Romulans. The thought of someone providing that sort of technology to them is extremely disconcerting. The ship has been sent to Memory Alpha for analysis, and hopefully we'll be able to get something useful out of it. The two Romulans are being held on Starbase 39-Sierra for now, awaiting trial. They're not telling us anything, but I believe that's more because they don't know much about the technology as opposed to them not wanting to tell us.
The universe is getting stranger and stranger, and for once I'm not that sure whether I like that thought or not.
Encrypt log entry with fractal coding alpha-mu-forty-two, authorisation Kalen-zeta-two-nine.
Old man I bet youre woderin what a fie dressed young officer like myself is doing here
well looks ike we have alll the time i the world So i might as well tel you the short version
so i can fit in my beauty sleep <face-to-palm> Eyes up here buddy m Kay.
I was drafted ew war then pew pew a few medals later a promo and a ew ship the TEXAS a Big Crusier
Normal Duty Watch on AUX Bridge While Regular one was repaired After the Captain Angered Some Gorn
in Battle Crusiers. Noramal Day i PI Cantis out of SB 24. Sure your not a spy Funny loking uniform you have.
pass the sCotch dotbe stigy
When we last left our Intrepid Galaxy wandereres
They we EXCELing at a BACON and heart shaped
pancake eating contest Won by COnnie an Enterprising lass of 177 cm [wgt *Classified*] <yaythatme>
An REED intruder alert was issued by Kleiefälschungen and the Captain ordered us to seal all emergency forcefields and scan for SuluBons .The write a "How would we respond EssAY"
I'd have to be a poor ARcher to miss the lack of eagerness to stomp somthin as MAtasha let out a long
YARRR at her console , rolled her eyes , Streached and started doign her nails. our Liberated Ridgey brow
shook his head and put a empty prune juice container down on his red light
The EMH hit the Anzene gas button to play it safe.
Then as I athered more DATA on my workstation Soong build a friend kit
That Piker EXEC ordered me to join the patrol party with him to find his cat Jones
Beliave it or Not ..Mr SCott .thats how it started ad why im here i the NEXUS and not on the USS TEXAS
Second Breath Pt. 1
Personal Log: Stardate 89047.2:
It’s been nearly a week since the incident here on Deep Space Seven, and we are no closer to finding answers on how this happened. There is simply nothing in recorded history about a disruptor blast causing a mind meld from the past to take over someone’s body. Doctor Zoymu's investigation of the cause seems to be on hold for now while everyone figures out how to reverse the changes, or figure out whether Kim is truly dead and I have somehow taken her place.
In the meantime, crew of the space station and the Stellar Drift are slowly getting used to the person that looks and sounds like Vice Admiral Kim Sharp actually being me, Commander Y’nala t’Hvalli. They've even stopped looking at me funny when I start using medical terminology, and tell them I know next to nothing about weapons systems, or establishing a floating target lock on a small target flying at high impulse.
Internally, even I have tried to piece together how this might have happened. The last thing I remember was Kim leaving for deep space on special assignment with the IRW Fvien. According to the records I found in the library computer database, that was twenty five years ago. After that, I remember nothing. The Federation database tells me after Kim left in 2387, my pregnancy was successful and I gave birth to a little girl, who is now a beautiful grown woman and one of the leading scientific researchers in the Federation. She arrived here last night aboard the enormous USS Starlight. I also became the governor of Dentan II after the exodus from Romulus, and even became a senator before Sela had me assassinated in 2401.
I wouldn't remember anything about that since my current existence is owed to a telepathic connection that Kim and I formed when we were married. After Kim disappeared, and I died the connection could no longer be possible.
What is puzzling, however, is that I don't remember any time from being a part of Kim's consciousness since then, either. One would think I might have some recollection of that since I've been a part of her since 2381. I mentioned that to Lieutenant Malela, but we seem to be stumped as to dragging up any suppressed memories, and Zoymu can't find anything wrong physiologically other than the fact that Kim had been hiding a pinched nerve.
Kim seems to have had a productive life in my absence. Gone back to Starfleet, had a successful career commanding a fine ship, and even getting to the rank of Vice Admiral. I can’t imagine how Kim is enjoying that. She told me a long time ago she hated the idea of a desk job. Even after she moved to Romulus and tried to settle down, she couldn’t sit still for very long. She brought her little airplane from Earth, and annoyed the Lhrrhais by scaring their livestock with high speed flybys, and then she went right back into the military after Donatra approached her with some little special assignment. Perhaps in her old age, she’s finally mellowing. I did find some books on Vulcan philosophy in her quarters that she didn’t have when we were together.
She’s even found new love, and I am glad she chose Commander Sevak. She was a good friend to Kim for a long time, and brought the body of Colonel Dlhrael back to Romulus after he was killed trying to carry out an assassination of Legate Tumal during the Dominion War. Her name is one of very few Vulcan names spoken with reverence on the Romulan homeworld. Or at least it was when I had my own body.
This ordeal has been particularly hard on her. I can’t imagine what it would be like having your lover become possessed by their long dead spouse. Like most Vulcans, she remains composed around me, but I can see in her posture that she is very torn. Vaihuu seems to be providing her some comfort, but the pain is still there.
She seems to think there might be a way to restore Kim’s consciousness through a mind meld. While Sevak has a good degree of mental discipline, the risk is that the last time Sevak melded with Kim was almost two years ago. If it works and Kim’s consciousness is restored, she might not remember the past two years. What is left of me in this body may also cease to exist. The other risk is that since this body is human and not Vulcan or Romulan, it might reject the infusion, or become too confused causing dementia, or even death.
It’s rather bittersweet, especially knowing that I am dead. If Kim were here she would tell me to go on living this way, I think. Even despite Sevak’s emotions. The selfish side of me wants to keep going, but I couldn’t knowing that I killed the person that I loved the most. Also, this body is much more difficult to find a dress for than my old one.
No, my time has come and gone. If Doctor Zoymu or Vai can't find a solution without killing either one of us, then I have no other option.
Intruder Alert - Part 1
Computer. Start Recording.
I must begin by saying that I find this method of record keeping to be inaccurate and clumsy. Relying on words to describe a t’O experience is woefully inefficient. How does the Federation expect me to translate experience, memory, and feeling into a report? I hope the Binars are able to figure out how to integrate Tobarri t’O-interfacing technology with Federation computer systems soon. But, you don’t want to hear about that again.
I don’t know how Sori does it, but he always manages to get into trouble without me. Case in point, it’s only been a week since I took command of my own starship, and what happens to my lifemate? That’s right. He’s gotten himself into quite a bit of trouble.
Something odd happened to Soriedem just a few hours ago. I’ve reviewed the memories over and over again to determine what had occurred, but I don’t fully understand what our t’Os are sharing with one another. As a result, I’ve postponed our current mission and set a course for Deep Space Seven to investigate this for myself.
He was on Deep Space Seven taking on supplies and crewmen for the next leg of his mission to explore the Eridani Belt. He was in the station’s cargo bay explaining to the Bolian quartermaster the proper way to load supplies onto his ship. Sori was rambling again, oblivious to the quartermaster’s body language that his interest had waned. When the Bolian quartermaster finally got a word in edge wise and excused himself, Soriedem was left alone to supervise the crew as they operated the various transporters and loaders.
Sometime later, he heard the shuffle of footsteps from somewhere behind him. When he glanced over his shoulder, he did not notice the humanoid shadow hiding behind one of the cargo containers. He dismissed the sound and turned his attention back towards the activity in the cargo bay.
As the remaining crewmen followed the final cargo loaders into the Tobarrus, Soriedem felt something large and heavy strike him in the back of the head. He blacked out as he fell to the deck plating. However, it wasn’t until his t’O became extremely agitated that I grew concerned. His t’O began to scream flashes of color, noise, and glimpses of pain. I tried to settle it down, but whatever it was experiencing was ongoing. Temporarily, I’ve discouraged my t’O from communicating with his until it had settled down.
I contacted Deep Space Seven demanding to know what had occurred. They reported that Soriedem had been accosted while in the cargo bay. After rendering the attacker unconscious, he hurriedly departed the station. Sori had insisted that their mission could not wait and promised to be checked out by his doctor once they were on their way. The attacker was being taken to sickbay under guard, when he attacked the security officers and stole a shuttle –
The comm channel beeped, interrupting Audria’s concentration. “Yes?”
“We’ve detected a Federation shuttle craft. It’s the same shuttle reportedly stolen from Deep Space Seven,” Commander Mendleton reported.
“Set an intercept course,” I replied. “I’m on my way.”
> - - <
Computer. Resume recording to the previous file.
I’ve read Starfleet reports of this phenomena occurring before, but I never expected to encounter it for myself. It appears that Soriedem had …
Wait a minute. I’m getting ahead of myself. I suppose I should start with the stolen shuttle.
I was on the bridge. We were traveling at high warp when the shuttle came into view. I ordered the helm to drop out of warp within tractor beam range, while my science officer stood ready to latch on to the small craft, and security teams stood ready outside the shuttle bay.
Mendleton spoke up. “Captain, the shuttle diverted its course and is heading straight for us. Their weapons and shields are offline.”
We snagged the shuttle with little effort and pulled it into the shuttle bay. From the bridge, I monitored the situation as the security teams took positions around the shuttle with weapons drawn. Lieutenant Commander Anaar was at the rear hatch with two MACO guards at either side. With a tap, he cracked open the shuttle. Their weapons took aim as the security teams rushed in. Moments later, they exited the craft with a small grey skinned alien with its arms raised over its head in tow.
Anaar turned towards the monitor from which I watched the situation and with a few quick hand gestures indicated that the situation was under control, but the prisoner was asking for me by name. I opened a comm channel and told him that I would meet him in the brig. Before leaving the bridge, I ordered the helm to resume course for Deep Space Seven.
Intruder Alert - Part 2
> - - <
When I entered the brig, the first thing I noticed was the on-duty security officer, the pair of MACO guards that had accompanied the prisoner from the shuttle bay, and Lieutenant Anaar standing outside one of the forcefield protected cells. Approaching Anaar, the tall Andorian squad leader, stooped down to whisper into my ear, “Careful Captain. He’s talking crazy.”
That’s when I turned towards the prisoner and got my first good look at the tiny alien in the cell. It was about a meter tall, thin as a rail with smooth grey skin. Although it was naked from the waste up with a brightly colored kilt that covered its lower half, patches of white hair sprouted from various locations except on its head. Its large, reflective, deep-set eyes peered out from a ridged brow that rippled up its forehead to a point. Its vestigial nostrils had never experienced the sweet scent of an orchid in bloom or any flower for that matter. However, its massive mouth more than compensated as the miniscule alien took a deep breath and began to speak, “Audria, I need your help.”
“Do we know each other?” was my only response.
“It’s me,” it replied desparately. It took another big gasping breath before it continued, “Don’t you recognize your lifemate? I’m Soriedem.”
“You’re not Soriedem. You’re not even Tobarri. I don’t know what you are,” I spat out at the ludicrous notion that this person could somehow convince me that it was my husband.
I turned to walk away, when he took another labored gasp before speaking quickly. “Audriaris fibriatum. That was the name we gave the orchid we discovered on that planet in the Pelia Sector Block.”
Another labored gasp from the tiny alien. “I wanted to name that flower after you. But, you wouldn’t have it unless we named every single plant species we discovered after a member of the crew.” I turned to face the creature as it took another deep breath. “We had to name 314 species of plants and had to spend hours getting that report ready for Starfleet.”
“Anyone that’s seen that report would know that,” I replied. “That’s not much of a secret.”
The alien took another massive inhalation. “After we sent out the report, I took you into my arms. We bowed our heads, and allowed our t’Os to intermingle. Then, I whispered that I would gladly do it again to make you smile.” Sighing heavily, the mouth-breather took another deep breath and finally said, “That’s when I began calling you my beautiful orchid.”
It was something Sori called me whenever we were alone in our quarters. I glanced at the other officers in the room, hoping they didn’t hear his last few words. The last thing that I needed was for my crew to start calling me an orchid behind my back, or even worse yet while in my presence. “Sori?” I replied as I stepped towards him.
“Audria, it’s me,” he reassured with a large toothy grin that ran shivers down my spine.
Without taking my eyes off the strange little creature that possessed something that had been my husband, I ordered the on-duty security officer to lower the forcefield.
“Captain?” Anaar interrupted. “Surely you’re not—“
I repeated my order and explained, “I know you’re doing your due diligence. But, I know my lifemate, and believe it or not, that is Soriedem.”
Unhappy with the order, Anaar nodded to the officer at the controls as his hand instinctively reached for the phaser strapped to his hip. The forcefield dropped and we rushed towards each other. Because of the difference in our heights, he wrapped his arms around my waist, while I embraced him as a mother would her child. It was a surreal experience.
After a few moments, I asked Sori what had happened. He recited the events as he remembered them, starting with his mission, the supply stop at DS7, the Bolian Quartermaster, the unexpected attack, his ultimate escape from the station, and our little reunion onboard my ship. Sori is in sickbay right now getting checked out. He will provide his own report once everything has settled down, but in the mean time I will include what I know in this log.
> - - <
Sori had been explaining to the Bolian Quartermaster the intricacies of stowing cargo onboard his ship. Although Starfleet regulations allowed for cargo containers to be stacked three crates high, onboard the highly maneuverable Tobarrus, anything loaded higher than two presented a safety hazard. Sori was demanding that the cargo be removed from the ship and arranged as per his orders. Finally, getting a moment to respond, the Quartermaster had said that he will consult with the Quartermaster General’s Office for confirmation to his request. Soriedem had no idea that it was only an excuse to get away from the demanding captain trying to tell him how to do his job.
One moment he was watching the station’s crew load the final crate onto his ship; the next, he was on the ground looking up at a pair of angry security officers with rifles in their hands. He ordered them to stand down, but instead of following his orders, they brought their rifles closer to him. He brought up his hands to ward off their advances. They weren’t his hands. When he asked what happened, he noticed that his voice wasn’t his own. Finally, he realized that there was an eerie silence from his t’O. Something was seriously wrong.
The guards grabbed him and lifted him to his feet. Sori looked down and saw grey padded bare feet under a bright multi-colored kilt that ended at his waist. A guard jabbed a phaser rifle barrel into his back. He stumbled forward and landed hard on the ground. He wasn’t used to his new body. They asked if something was wrong as they pulled him to his feet. “My legs don’t seem to want to work,” he said as he leaned heavily against a guard. The security officer put his weapon away and used his free hand to help steady Sori.
Walking slowly, they made their way out of the cargo bay towards the turbo lift at the far end of the hall. As they walked, Sori tested his body with short quick movements that resembled a series of petite mal seizures to their untrained eye. “He’s having a seizure,” the guard that steadied Sori announced. “We need to take him to Sick Bay.” The other guard nodded and relaxed his grip on his rifle.
Just before reaching the turbo lift, Sori had a better idea of what this new body can do. He took advantage of the opportunity. Using the guard that steadied him as a pivot point, he kicked the rifle out the hands of his companion. With the security team caught off guard, he turned on his aid and knocked him against the wall with a mighty push. The guard must have hit his head, because he slumped into a heap, unconscious. Sori turned his attention to the other guard.
Within moments both guards were unconscious. Sori took their combadges, a tricorder, and one of their phaser rifles. He turned and ran back down the hallway to the cargo bay. After entering the massive warehouse, he clung to the wall and followed it around toward the cargo bay’s transporter control station. It was being manned by an ensign that was filing his report regarding the Tobarrus’ recent visit.
Sori found sneaking up behind the ensign to be easy with his diminutive size. With the rifle butt, he knocked the ensign out and dropped the weapon beside him. Grabbing the ensign’s combadge, he approached the transporter station. From the terminal, he accessed the combadges and set up a simultaneous transport to beam them to three different shuttle bays. After picking up one of the combadges, he initiated the transport. It would take the security teams some time to search each shuttle bay. It would buy him time to escape.
Once in the cargo bay, he climbed to the top of some crates for a better view of the area. As he struggled to reach the top, he longed for his old body and its ability to hover silently. Finally, at the top, he saw a Lieutenant at the flight control station. He seemed bored. It was time to unleash a little excitement. With the combadge still in hand, he tossed it hard against a nearby shuttle. It banged off of it and bounced to the ground with a clatter. The lieutenant heard the sound and left his station to investigate. Sori waited for the lieutenant to pass by his position and leaped at him.
With the flight controller unconscious, Sori realized that this must be the same manner his attacker had used on him only a short while ago. He scanned the nearby shuttle with the tricorder before dragging the unconscious human back to the console. Sori struggled with the sleeping man’s weight as he used the lieutenant’s hand to bypass the terminal’s biometric sensor. He interfaced the tricorder with the flight control station and used his command protocols to access the station’s sensor telemetry. He uploaded the shuttle’s id to the flight control station. Working the console fervently, he recalled the little trick his science officer once showed him. A moment later, every ship within sensor range displayed the same shuttle identifier. It was time to go.
After boarding the shuttle, he set a course away from the station at a casual pace until he was out of sensor range; after that it was full speed ahead. If he was going to have any chance of returning to his body, he needed to find me. He set a course to my last known location at maximum warp. A few hours later, when my ship appeared on sensors, he adjusted his flight plan and came about with weapons and shields offline. He wanted us to know that he was no threat.
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