Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
Hello and welcome to another edition of our writers' challenges!

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!
  • Each Challenge will run for two weeks. For 2 weeks we will sticky the challenge and let you make your entry.
  • There are no right or wrong entry.
  • The background story, questions I ask, and format requested are only to serve as a platform that you can start your writing from. Feel free to change up the back-story or the way you deliver, as long as the entry stays on topic of the original challenge.
  • Write as little or as much as you would like.
  • Please keep discussion about the entries in the appropriate Discussion Thread.
  • In the Discussion Thread, feel free to write what inspired you and what your thoughts on the topic are.
  • A few other important reminders:
    • Please heed the rest of the forum's rules when submitting your entry! All of them apply to these posts.
    • Each poster can have one entry per character. Feel free to edit your post to fix typos or add/ remove content as you see fit during the next two weeks.
    • After two weeks time, the thread will be locked and unstickied, as we move on to the next challenge.
    • We'll have two threads: One to post the entries in and one to discuss the entries. **Cross-linking between these two threads is acceptable for these challenges ONLY!!**
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 2 Identity Crisis
02-08-2012, 07:18 AM
Quote:
Captain's Log, USS Challenger, Stardate 86228.92

I have been held in the Brig here on Deep Space 7 for about a week, why I'm here is a long story. Originally my ship docked here to restock and give my crew some shore leave time, and I had had an appointment with the Station Commander in Operations. On my way there, however, an intruder alert sounded for the section I was in. When I turned around I was knocked out cold, and when I awoke I found a security team facing me. Feeling strange, I looked down and noticed that my body had been... altered, somehow, whatever had happened, I wasn't me. I then looked up and saw a very familliar face in the corner, it was a face I had seen before in my mirror, it was ME. There was only one thought in my head at this point in time.
The Undine.
Quote:
Captain's Log, USS Challenger, Stardate 86231.66

One day has passed, and the scientists onboard are taking bio-scan after bio-scan, for what benefit I'm not sure, but what I do know is that some Undine Infiltrator is out there commanding MY SHIP, and that makes me extremely angry. The other thing I know is that somehow, the Undine figured a way to "Swap" bodies with me, but at the moment I have no information on how.
Quote:
Captain's Log, USS Challenger, Stardate 86250.85

It has been one week since my captivity ended, and all is well in the end. Shortly after my last entry, the USS Challenger returned with the REAL Undine, the one who had been posing as me. They said they had been passing through a dangerous section of the Hromi Cluster when the "captain" started... changing forms, they had shortly afterward subdued the infiltrator, who revealed in an interrogation that the Undine had been trying a way to alter the DNA of other species, and that I had been a test subject. Turns out that the weapon worked pretty well, as it managed to turn me into an Undine, while he took my place at the command of a Starship. The Undine is now being held at the Penal Colony of {REDACTED BY STARFLEET INTELLIGENCE} until his trial, and I am back where I belong at the Comm of the Challenger.
Captain Ch'tara turns from his PADD and tugs his shirt down, then motions to the Helm.

"Plot a course for Deep Space 9, engage!"

The End.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 3
02-09-2012, 05:44 PM
Operation Chameleon
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.
Or anyone.

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.
Then blackness.

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.
Unbeatable. Untraceable.

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


Captain's Log:Suplemental

I'm going to kill Erics.
He knew.
He knew the whole time.
Actually, scratch that. Not a death threat.
Completely rhetorical.

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.
Hirogen Hunter.
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
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 4 The Proposition
02-10-2012, 01:33 PM
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."
"Who?"
"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."
"Sect- No."
"Why not?"
"Why me?"
"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?"
"That's cocky."
"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.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 5
02-10-2012, 01:45 PM
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.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 6
02-10-2012, 03:56 PM
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."

"Huh?"

"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."

"Hm?"

"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.

"Ravok."

"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.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 7 Intruder Alert - Part 1
02-16-2012, 01:51 PM
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.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 8 Intruder Alert - Part 2
02-16-2012, 01:53 PM
> - - <

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.”

I stopped.

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.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 9 Intruder Alert - Part 3
02-16-2012, 01:56 PM
Computer. Resume recording from last position.

I’ve just returned from visiting Soriedem in Sick Bay. The doctor reported that he had no idea how this happened to Sori; let alone how to reverse it. However, he did confirm that his brain patterns matched those of my lifemate, with the exception of those belonging to his t’O.

When the tiny creature that binds all Tobarri together was mentioned, Sori crumbled emotionally. He wept openly at the loss of his lifelong companion. I couldn’t imagine being without my t’O; its familiar moods; its twinges of emotion; its connection with all Tobarri, past and present; our history and collective knowledge; our hope for the future. I tried to comfort him, but there wasn’t anything I could say or do to help him through this. I simply looked into those alien eyes of his, laid my hand tenderly on his arm, and nodded reassuringly. I needed to fix this. I left him in sick bay to rest.

Back in my quarters, I prompted my t’O to reestablish communication with Sori’s body. His t’O was still frightened and angry and fighting the alien consciousness that controlled the body it shared. However, once I shared with it the news that Soriedem was with me and we were coming to rescue it, it settled down a bit. Through flashes of memory, colors of emotion, and glimpses of metaphor; we communicated. I will try to explain our communication in terms that non-Tobarri will understand.

Our first question was whether the alien was aware of its presence. It replied that the thief suspected something was wrong, but didn’t know specifically what was happening. Next, we asked if it had access to the alien’s mind. It said that it could implant suggestions, but it had little success with anything more than basic responses. It could, however, monitor their experiences and report them back to us. As proof of its ability, Sori’s t’O shared with us its current orders and position. We had a starting point.

Then, we asked it, the most important question of all. Was the alien presence able to access the t’Os network? It didn’t respond. We repeated our question. Reluctantly, it replied that the bodysnatching bandit could indeed access the t’Os network, but it hasn’t realized that it’s even there yet. If it were to discover the t’O and our network, it’s conceivable that it could transfer itself from Sori to any Tobarri in the galaxy. This was a dangerously horrifying prospect. We needed to restore Sori to his body before that could happen.

Finally, we told it to hold out, to fight the consciousness for as long as it can, to provide it with misinformation if that fails, to do whatever it could to keep it isolated to Sori’s body until we can arrive. It agreed to fight, but it didn’t know for how long. We reassured it that we were on our way. The t’O disengaged its connection but promised to let us know if its status changed.

My next task was to inform the other Tobarri of this potential threat. Although they objected to the extreme measures we proposed, they eventually acquiesced and agreed to desist from using their t’Os for the foreseeable future. However, this was only a temporary solution. They could not be expected to resist using their t’Os connection for very long. We were given a few hours to solve the problem. It wasn’t enough time, but it would have to do. We disengaged our connection.

We’re due to arrive to Deep Space Seven shortly. I’ve got to get to the bridge with our new course and heading.

Computer. Pause Recording.

> - - <

Computer. Continue Recording.

Before heading back to the bridge, I stopped by sick bay to check on Sori. He was sitting up in the bio-bed. I asked him how he was doing. He was feeling better, more in control he replied through heavy breaths. Sori had a lot of bad habits, but the mouth breathing that was required by his new form was maddening. I doubted my ability to tolerate it for very long. If there wasn’t enough reason already to get my lifemate back into his former form, the mouth breathing was the most motivating reason of them all.

I informed him of our current course of action and asked if he wanted to join me on the bridge. Eager to get out of sickbay, he agreed and sprang from the bio-bed. He approached me and took my hand as he liked to do from time to time. I, once again, became aware of the differences in our heights. I’m ashamed to admit that I suddenly felt very conscious of everyone’s eyes on us. I ordered them back to work as Sori and I left sick bay.

Back on the bridge, I took the center chair, while my first officer gladly offered Soriedem the seat next to me. Sori jumped into the large chair; his feet dangled inches off the ground as he swung them back and forth as a child would. I got the distinct feeling that Sori was somehow enjoying the experience; making lemonade as the humans like to say.

“We’ve reached the coordinates you specified, Captain,” my helm officer announced, “but there’s nothing here.”

“Start scanning for the Tobarrus,” I ordered my science officer. “Try to boost the range of the sensors. We have to find that ship as soon as possible.”

She tapped a few controls and a moment later, she had an answer. “Captain, we’ve found the Tobarrus. Heading 315.2 by 89.1 by 144.”

The helmsman spoke up next. “Course entered, Captain.”

“Maximum warp,” I replied as I glanced over to Sori.

His gaze was transfixed on the viewer with an intense concentration that I recognized as patently his. He was searching the streaking star field for even the smallest sign of his ship. Suddenly, he stood up on his chair and pointed to the view screen. “There it is!” he cried out with glee.

My science officer announced, “The ship isn’t in visual range yet.”

“What do you mean?” he asked as he hopped down from the chair and approached the view screen. He pointed to a tiny spot of light. I can see it clear as day. It’s right there.”

I glanced over to my science officer as she tapped a few controls. “I’m checking … Confirmed. It’ll be within visible range in ten seconds.”

“The doctor said, that all of my senses are far superior in this compact body, except for my sense of smell, of course” Sori explained taking another deep wheezing breath.

“Open a channel to the Tobarrus,” I interrupted. When my comm officer confirmed that the channel was open, I began, “USS Tobarrus, this is Captain Audria Leah Cim of the USS Oppenheimer. Come in Tobarrus.” I waited a moment for a response and began to repeat it, when the response came in.
“Audria … I mean Captain Leah Cim,” Fausto, the Tobarrus’ new first officer, said stepping into frame of the Tobarrus’ bridge. “It’s good to see you.”

I needed to know how much they knew of the current situation. “Where’s Soriedem?” I asked.

He became noticeably nervous before responding. “Uhh … He’s unavailable right now.”

“Why is that?” I asked.

“We had no choice but to relieve him of duty. He’s currently in the brig,” Fausto replied.

I didn’t want to tip my hand just yet. “The brig?” I asked.

“He’s been acting strangely ever since the attack on Deep Space Seven. He was sporadic, unfocused, completely unlike himself. We urged him to go to sick bay to get checked out, but he refused. Ultimately, Drem had to order him to sick bay. When he refused again, she had no choice but to relieve him of duty. He got angry and attacked her. We had to stun him in order to remove him from the bridge. Right now, he’s in the brig calming down before we let Drem check him out.”

“Is she alright?” I asked, concerned for Drem.

“Her pride was bruised, but she’s doing fine.”

“Good,” I replied. “I’m sorry to tell you this, but that’s not Sori. It’s some kind of body-snatching alien. I’ve got the real Sori onboard my ship. We request permission to beam aboard to question him. Hopefully, we can figure out how to return Soriedem to his original body.”

For the first time during our conversation, Fausto actually seemed relieved. He took his role of First Officer seriously, and wasn’t comfortable with the fact that he had led a mutiny against his Captain. He sighed with relief. I wasn’t sure if it was because he had made the right decision, or that his time as interim Captain of the Tobarrus was in its final moments.

Soriedem took a deep breath before he spoke up. “You’ve done well Fausto. Now, beam us aboard so that we can fix this little problem of ours.”

Fausto looked around the bridge, unsure about how to proceed.

“Fausto,” Sori said reassuringly. “Do you remember what I said to you when you came on board the Tobarrus for the first time?”

The comment caught Fausto’s attention. He nodded a response in the affirmative.

“I had explained that this may have been a Federation starship with a Starfleet crew. But, I wasn’t the standard cookie-cutter captain,” he exhaled heavily and quickly followed it with a massive inhale. “Then, I said that if you couldn’t handle it, I would be glad to order a transfer for you without a negative recommendation on your permanent record. However, if you stuck around, I’m sure you would not regret it.”
Fausto smiled. “And I have not regretted staying on board the Tobarrus for a single moment.”

Soriedem smiled widely. It sent shivers down my spine. “We’ve had some good adventures haven’t we? Remember the little excursion to Drozana Station last year?”

Fausto began to laugh. “At the time, I thought you were mad to help that Orion female escape her slave masters,” he said before turning to someone off screen, “Lower shields; permission to come aboard is granted.”
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 10 Intruder Alert - Part 4
02-16-2012, 01:58 PM
A few moments later, Sori and I were beamed aboard the bridge of the Tobarrus. We were greeted by Sori’s crew who were happy to see me, their former First Officer, but were apprehensive about Sori’s new form.

He inhaled loudly and ordered them back to work. “This is no time for socializing.”

“He’s right,” Fausto replied. “Resume course back to Deep Space Seven.” He led us to the turbo lift and accompanied us to the brig where the body snatcher in Soriedem’s body was being held.

When we reached security, I suggested that Sori remain behind for a moment, while we make the imposter sweat. Sori’s face contorted into another wicked grin. I had to turn away from him. I couldn’t wait to have the old Sori back. Living with this one wasn’t an option.

Fausto and I approached the cell.

The alien in Sori’s body approached the forcefield and demanded to be released. I stared at the imposter wearing my lifemate’s skin without saying a word. I knew it wasn’t really Sori in there, but I have to admit that my heart broke a little when he looked at me and said, “I see you’ve brought me a playmate. Who’s this?”

Fausto stepped towards the forcefield and said with utter disgust, “What is wrong with you? That is no way to speak to your wife.”

“Wife?” the body-snatcher replied with a laugh. “I should have known.”

“Who are you and what have you done to Soriedem,” Fausto demanded.

The alien imposter stuttered as he said, “I am Sor … I’m Sorie … I’m him!”

I couldn’t help myself. I cried out, “We don’t believe you. You can’t even say his name. You may look and sound like him, but you’re definitely not my Sori.” I was angry. If that forcefield wasn’t between us, I would have pummeled him right then and there. I took a deep breath and regained a fraction of my composure. “I’m only going to ask you once and only once. Tell me the truth and I’ll show you leniency. Lie to me and I’ll make sure that it’s the last thing you do. Who are you? What have you done to my husband?”

Before the alien could answer, Soriedem stepped out from around the corner and eyed him with contempt. The poser gasped in surprise at the sight of his former body standing in front of him. He began to laugh. “I see it is pointless. You offered me leniency. Does that include giving me a shuttle and letting me go?”

Sori cursed at him. “And let you do this to somebody else? I don’t think so,” he cried out.

“I’m not talking to you,” the imposter replied to Sori. “You’d kill me if you had your way.” He turned towards me. “Well? How badly do you want him back?”

I looked down to Sori. I wanted to restore him to previous form, but Sori was right. Its freedom would mean that it could do this to countless others. It had to be stopped, but it also couldn’t remain within Sori’s body. It was up to me to find a way to resolve this issue as quickly and safely as possible. “You know we can’t do that,” I said plainly.

Frustrated with my answer, he reached out and placed Sori’s body in danger by coming in contact with the forcefield. He held his hands there. Sori’s face contorted in a grimace of agony. I couldn’t take it. I begged him to stop. With a laugh, he pulled back his hands. I breathed a sigh of relief. I turned to Fausto and asked if the alien in my husband’s skin had done anything to directly jeopardize the ship or any of its crew?
“You mean besides impersonating the Captain of the ship? Well … no.”

“Audria. You can’t seriously be considering this?” my Sori asked.

“Shut up short stuff. Can’t you see she’s trying to help you?” the other Sori replied.

“Restore Soriedem and we’ve got a deal,” I replied. Sori and Fausto both objected loudly to my decision, but I silenced them. “It’s the only way.”

“You may trust him, but I do not,” Fausto stated as he walked over to the weapons locker and removed a pair of phaser rifles. He handed one to me as he said, “If you’re going to do this, we’re going to do it safely.”

“How does this work?” I asked the strange being in the cell.

The body-snatcher smiled and said, “All you need to do is drop the shield. I’ll do the rest.”

I nodded to the on-duty security officer. He glanced at Fausto and Sori. When they both reluctantly agreed, he deactivated the forcefield. The other Sori stepped through the cell unmolested. He smiled and announced, “I need to lay hands on you.”

The Sori in the alien body immediately tensed up. I encouraged him to proceed. Reluctantly, he agreed. As the alien dressed in Sori’s skin stepped forward, we trained our weapons on him and followed him every step away from the cell. He raised a hand up with fingers splayed and laid it against the side of Sori’s grey head. Closing his eyes the imposter began to mumble something under his breath. As the transference ritual proceeded, the shell that housed Soriedem’s mind began to mumble along with it. The alien consciousness passed from one vessel to the other. The Soriedem I had known my entire life stopped mumbling as the little body snatcher continued on and completed the ritual.

Soriedem glanced down, checked his hands and the rest of his body. “I’m me again,” he replied joyously.
I needed to be sure. “After we were bonded together, what was the first thing we did once the ritual was complete?”

Soriedem laughed. “We went on separate vacations, of course.”

It worked. I had my Sori back. I pulled him away from the little creature and pushed him behind me.
The little grey alien smiled it’s disgusting grin and said as he headed out of the security office, “It’s been fun. I would normally say that we should do this again, but I don’t think we will. Now, if you don’t mind showing me to the shuttle bay, I’ve got places to go and people to see.”

“You’re not going anywhere,” I replied.

The body snatcher stopped, turned to face me, and said, “But we had an agreement.”

“We did,” I agreed. “You may not have hurt anyone on board this ship, but you most certainly committed a number of crimes back on Deep Space Seven. We’re taking you back there now to pay for your crimes.”

The little grey toad cried out and lunged at me. My rifle fired and the creature collapsed at my feet, stunned. Quickly, we hauled it back into the cell, raised the forcefield, and left the brig. With Sori returned to his body, we notified the rest of the Tobarri that disaster had been adverted and that we can now lift the moratorium on using our t’Os. A short while later, we reached Deep Space Seven and unloaded our prisoner using transporters to avoid a repeat of the day’s earlier excitement. Later, Sori met me in the transporter room. We communicated silently with one another over our t’Os, before I returned to my ship to resume our original mission.

Computer. End Recording and transmit log to Starfleet Command.
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