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Squaring the Circle

Posted on Fri Apr 24th, 2020 @ 8:39pm by Lieutenant JG Ryland Dedeker & Commander Arianna Frost & Lieutenant Sophie Xiong & Lieutenant JG Kara Madavi & Ferrofax

Mission: S1E4: The Hills Have Eyes
Location: Aerial Platform 7 | Venus
Timeline: MD 1

After locking the Starfleet interlopers inside the atmogen engine room, Mailie McGill made her way to the upper floors of the aerial platform where the party continued to rage. Sticky hands reached out to bring her into the dance that moved to the deafening beat of the thumping bass. Her black coat shrugged off their half-hearted advances easily enough until she made it to the sound booth where the deejay plied his trade with slightly less intoxication in his system.

"Give me your mic," she said over the music.

"What?!" If the deejay hadn't heard her, then McGill wondered if he could see her through the ridiculous tinted goggles that covered half his face.

She raised a phaser to his forehead. "I said I need your mic."

Hands in the air, the deejay stumbled away from the booth. "Jeez, lady. It's all yours."

McGill cleared her throat and gave the communicator a tap. The music came to an abrupt halt. Most of the people turned to look at the sound booth and threw several complaints its direction. A good quarter of the group still kept dancing as if the rhythm never stopped.

"This is Foreman McGill. We are performing a test of the emergency evacuation response system," she enunciated into the mic to ensure her words would not be jumbled. "In a moment, you will hear an order to evacuate the platform. Disregard it. I repeat, disregard the imminent order to evacu--"

"Alert: RCS thruster fuel reserves are critically low. Resume replication or prepare platform evacuation."

Right on schedule. McGill absently brushed her ear as she grinned at the perfect timing. "This was only a test. Disregard all further evacuation notices. That is all."

At first the sullen crowd of dancers stared at the sound booth in confusion. One of the shirtless guys in the middle raised a fist and shouted, "Party on, Life Circle!"

Hoots and cheers followed after as the rest of the crowd began chanting, "Life Cir-cle! Life Cir-cle! Life Cir-cle!"

Turning back to the deejay, McGill gave him a frosty smile. "You may resume now."

Nodding with terror, the deejay started up the next musical track and dropped the bass with both hands.

Back in the atmogen's engine room, the last portion of McGill's announcement to the party level broadcast into the shared audio network within the hearing protection. All three Starfleet officers heard, ""This was only a test. Disregard all further evacuation notices. That is all."

"You have got to be kidding me!" exclaimed Sophie, busily pulling some cables out of place and tossing them aside. "Now she's going to kill everyone on this bloody platform! Can someone check those storage lockers for cables that look like this?" she added, holding up a black cable with red horizontal stripes.

Ari ignored the request, instead tapping her comm, muttering quietly, "Ferrofax, do you read?" She went over to the door and set about finding the panel that would reveal a manual release or unlock of the door once removed.

"I copy you, Commander," Ferrofax said, using the ultrasonic setting in the combadge to provide a private audio experience by turning her skull into an echo chamber. It made the murder bots voice sound like it was coming from nowhere, everywhere, and something just behind her. "You don't need to speak aloud, you can sub vocalise and your uniform's collar will pick up the intentions of speech. It'll just be us talking. I'm experiencing some minor data packet issues due to ongoing mission activities, but this partition of myself is fully focused on yourself. How might I be of assistance?"

"cks sake..." Ari winced and muttered as her head rang with the AI's voice. "Alright...we're locked in, Xiong, Madavi and I in the atmogen's engine room on Platform 7. Mailie McGill locked us in. I'm trying to get the door open, but I can't find the manual release mechanism. You wouldn't happen to have access to blueprints or the like? Or the ability to open the door?"

"Processing your request. I'm currently experiencing some data packet loss issues, so I'm partitioning another segment of myself to handle the door access panel. This partition will focus on you and the team," Ferrofax said or appeared to say. A low buzzing tone began to ping from a wall panel, a hinged little door that someone had duct-taped closed with the words '2 B FIXED' written on it. "Manual override found. Please follow the audio cues."

Ari stepped over to the little door and ripped the duct-tape away. "Alright, talk me through it," she said as she wrestled the hinge away and opened the door.

"Generally they're nearby, giant lever, designed without ergonomics in mind," Kara called over her shoulder checking cabinets as she circled the room, looking for another way out. The platform might have fallen into disrepair, but it was a good bet there was another way out. Or at least another door they could try.

"Generally. But this one already doesn't have it immediately next to the door," Ari replied as she followed the instructions from Ferrofax. "Okay, okay..." she reached a thickly gloved hand inside and up, trying to feel for a release valve. "Ferrofax, I can barely feel a thing in these gloves, is it a lever or a release combination or?"

The overhead light began flashing, indicating an incoming message on the engine room's frequency. Anyone still patched in to it heard McGill's voice.

"I am sorry it had to be this way, Madavi, but you are not Kin. You and your colleagues deserve an explanation, but I do not expect anyone to understand. You never would. Farewell.

"Ignore her, ladies. We have more pressing matters!" Arianna called as she finally managed to get the door open, albeit only a little.

Untangling herself from the tight space, she stomped over to the slightly open door. "Madavi, help me pull this open. Ferrofax, locate McGill please."

"When we get out of here I am SOOOOOO going to find that bitch." Kara grumbled as she moved opposite the Commander, trying to get a good grip on the edge of the door itself.

"Ferrofax, any time now!" Ari grunted as with combined efforts, Kara and she managed to pull the door open.

Frost then turned to Sophie, "Xiong, how are you doing?"

"It's trial and error," replied Sophie, now ripping out more cable, this kind yellow with a long green stripe running its length. "This place is cobbled together worse than Jupiter station!"

A red alert klaxon began to blare overhead. "Warning: critical failure imminent. Commence immediate evacuation. Repeat: critical failure imminent. Commence immediate evacuation."

Ari nodded, "keep at it. Madavi, with me!" Frost said as she ran through the door, as best as she could in the suit. "Ferrofax, I need a location, now!"

"Right behind you!" Kara called heading out of the now open hatch before coming to a quick stop and poking her head back around the corner. "Hey Miracle Worker, try to keep us from falling from the sky... we're all counting on you." The young woman said with a grin before running off after the Commander, grinning from ear to ear. This was the most fun she'd had in months!

"I don't think I can do that from here," Sophie replied, jumping from her place on the floor. "I'm going to go check the fuel tanks. Fuel pressure is dropping, which means there's a leak."

"Processing your request. I'm currently experiencing some data packet loss issues. I'm spinning off a dedicated facet of my core heuristics to aid you whilst I troubleshoot the problems. I am focusing my attention on a growing number of subprograms taking up local bandwidth," Ferrofax's voice had lost some of its sardonic tone. It had more of an electronic buzz to it.

Catching up to the Commander, Kara couldn't hear the conversation going on, but from the looks, she was able to sneak it wasn't good. She was obviously talking to someone who could track McGill, they either had high-res scans of the stations or blueprints. Turning back to see where they were Kara reached out to grab the woman's shoulder. "We need to go left here, that area of the station," Kara pointed toward the cargobay corridor ahead of them. "Was flooded with anti-lepton radiation when I was last here. It'll be another century before they can get into that corridor."

"Right, got it!" Ari nodded her thanks and darted off in the correct direction again.

A wordless set of Boolean coordinates passed through every screen of the station's infrastructure. Perhaps it was helpful to an artificial intelligence, but with no frame of reference it was positively unhelpful to the team. Every screen went blank and then showed a video feed for the shuttlebay where they had arrived.

"Shuttlebay, got it." Ari said aloud for Kara's benefit as the two ran over the catwalk towards the corridor that lead to the stairs as best as they could with their encumberance. "We tackle her to the ground if we have to!"

"I can overload the station last remaining antimatter pod. The megaton range explosion would eliminate the target," the scratchy buzz of Ferrofax's voice said. "I would need to spin off a dedicated copy of my core heuristics to focus on that task. I'm currently experiencing some data packet loss issues."

"No! I need her alive, we need answers!" Ari countered as she and Kara reached the hallway and dashed up towards the stairs.

"Yeah, for how long?" Kara quipped as she chased after the taller woman again.

When they caught up to the shuttlebay, they came upon a sight of Pilot Brodie lifting the shuttle into the air. McGill sat next to him in the cockpit, her grin turning to a fretful frown. A disagreement seemed to pass between them, which McGill ended by holding her phaser to his head.

"I can access the inertial compensator. A two-second thruster burst at full impulse will cause gross physical trauma to the targets and cease their escape," Ferrofax whispered in someone's ears.

"Yep, do it." Word's left Ari's mouth immediatly after said whisper trickled through her headset. She understood that gross trauma could also mean inability to answer immediate questions, but right now that was their ride and it was getting away. Priorities.

The roar of the two-second thruster burn blew through the shuttlebay, but it was only a herald for the cacophony of the shuttle's impact against the bulkhead. Blood splatter against the windshield obscured the cockpit.

Ari waited for a moment, before she pulled out a tricorder and took a reading. She was looking for movement inside the shuttle. While one may have been hurt, as evidenced by the blood, the other may still be armed and dangerous.

Two weak life signs blipped on the tricorder. A few loud thuds and a groan of metal signaled the forcible opening of the shuttle's far side hatch. Evidently its opening mechanism has been damaged on impact.

"I'm currently experiencing some data packet loss issues, so I'm partitioning another segment of myself to handle sensor records," Ferrofax's electronic bur continued. "I'm still detecting life signs. Priming thrusters for another 2 second burn."

"Prime but hold until my say." Ari acknowledged, then motioned for Kara to follow to the side hatch where the hatch had burst open.

Kara nodded, following closely behind the Commander with her tricorder in hand. She hadn't come armed, but if worst came to worst she could bludgeon pretty well with it. Not to mention her time on the Academy Baseball team.

The first one out of the hatch was Brodie. He stumbled onto his knees, bleeding out from an open wound on his head, and then wretched all over the deck. While he was on all fours, McGill came up behind him with her phaser drawn. "Hands in the air," she ordered.

Ari did as told, "Alright, alright!" She said loudly, "McGill, what the fuck mate? How'd you think this was going to work?"

"I doubt she thought about anything." Kara grumbled raising her hands, tricorder still folded in her palm. "Clearly she's lost her damn mind!"

"Spoken like a true bourgeois Fed," McGill sneered at Kara. "Anybody who doesn't fall in line and goosestep in salute to your chevron must be crazy. Only a fool would think for themselves, is that it? Anybody who second guesses a Starfleet operation hasn't thought things through?" Her lips curled back in a hateful, leering grin. "No, Madavi, you and your friends are the ones who are the fools. Do you really think you have the right to go from planet to planet doing as you will? What gives you the right, no, the nerve to assume the right to traipse through another's world and mutate it into your image?" She spat on the shuttlebay flight deck. "Freedom fighters from a more enlightened age would spit on you as I do now."

"Are you serious? Like, you actually believe all that!?" Kara was legitimately dumbstruck. "This is Venus, you fucking psycho! Earth has been terraforming here for two-HUNDRED years. There wasn't even a Federation when the project started." Did she really have to explain this?? Kara could have accepted eco-terrorism, or financial gain, or even sabotage by a hostile power. But this? Some kind of crusade against Starfleet, here? "Who's image of this dead world do you think you're preserving?"

"More likely, she's trying to get into some group or another with this act, proving she's the sheila." Ari countered calmly, quickly assessing where McGill and Brodie were, trying to make sure that Brodie wouldn't get caught in the next burn.

"Problem is, even terrorists have standards. She's a bloody nuttah!" Ari took a step forward.

"Get back!" The sneer that had been building across McGill's face exploded in a vicious snarl. "You don't know anything! This isn't about politics or power grabs or even Starfleet! Are you minds so small that--"

Brodie moaned from his prone position, struggling to get up but failing to do so. Another volley of vomit was his only achievement. For a moment, McGill was distracted.

"Ferrofax, now." Ari muttered quietly, trying not to move her lips, so as not to tip off the signal.

"I'm currently experiencing some data packet loss issues, so I'm partitioning another segment of myself to handle your request," Ferrofax's voice said. Or more importantly, his voices said. One atop another, atop another, layered just a second out of sync like a demented chorus. "Your request is being processed."

Continuing her manifesto, McGill turned more frantic. The phaser began to tremble in her feverish grip. "Federation narcissism can't imagine a universe where it doesn't exist, can it?" Her volume dropped, but only because her passion prevented her quivering voice from shouting. "There are things older than any of us, that predate us and our banal ideas of exploration and discovery. Can you imagine it, Fleeters? One day all of us and everything we've built will be dust, just like those who came before? No, I don't think you can. Even so, it will remain." The look on Ari's face particularly incensed McGill who was clearly losing touch. She pointed her phaser directly at Ari and prepared to fire.

Arianna smiled at McGill. "Tell me more about these older things? Are they here on Venus? What is this it you speak of?" She asked, taking another step closer, her arms still raised up at the elbows.

If Ferrofax didn't execute soon, she'd have to think of another alternative to subdue McGill.

"Are you asking because you really give a shit or because you're staring down a phaser?" McGill snidely asked. "Couldn't be bothered before platforms started dropping, could you? Well, this is only the beginning!"

"I'm asking because I'm curious and I tend to ask all the right questions." Ari replied easily. "The kind that gets me into a whole lot of shit. So, care to share before we all die?"

"I'm currently experiencing some data packet loss issues, so I'm partitioning another segment of myself to handle your request," Ferrofax's voice chorused out of every device with a speaker in ear shot, and at max volume. It echoed out of sync through open doors, through the bay, and through empty halls ways. "Your request is being processed."

It was starling to say the least.

McGill looked at the corners of the shuttlebay. "What the hell is that?!" she blurted. A rush of panic began to come over her. "Is it time? But it's early! I thought we had more time!"

"Time for what? Who's we?" Arianna stepped closer, ready to quickly disarm the clearly distracted McGill.

At that point, Sophie burst into the shuttle bay, hair pulling out of its neat bun, dirt on the knees of her uniform and in various other places, and a smear of grease on one cheek. "I don't think I can fix it in time!" she called to whomever cared. "We have to get all these people off this thing!"

Arianna used that moment to reach out and grab McGill's wrist shoving it out of the way and twisting to disarm her. "Kara, help Sophie!" She called as she struggled to subdue the errant Foreman. There were answers in that woman they needed. Someone else was behind this. They needed to know who.

"How exactly!? McDumbass told everyone to ignore evac orders!" Kara called as she ran past the two toward the closes intercom hub.

"Figure it out!" Arianna managed through the struggle with McGill.

Kara rolled her eyes as she reached the panel, looking over at the status display next to it. "How much time do we have?" She asked turning to look at Sophie.

"Half an hour at most," replied Sophie, eyeing Frost struggling with McGill. "Shouldn't someone help her?"

"Go!" Ari growled back to Sophie and Kara as she managed to disarm McGill and get her in an armlock, "McGill, you've proven your point and we're listening. You have our attention! Who were you referring to earlier? I have enough clout to make people listen, but I need to know what to tell people!"

"They'll never believe it," Sophie told Kara. "We're going to have to go down there."

"Doesn't look like we're needed up here anyway." Kara shrugged, smacking the hatch release. Who knew what it would take to get those people moving, frakkin hippies!"

Another explosion rocked the entire platform to and fro, knocking everyone to their feet. Getting up was not difficult due to the temporary feeling of weightlessness. Once gravity overcame acceleration, balance was restored with only a slight feeling of spatial disorientation.

"Fools! It's too late!" McGill shouted in mad triumph. "Now all of our lives shall be spent upon the pyre of aboriginal supremacy!"

And then the final announcement came.

"Alert: RCS fuel reserves are depleted. Platform is now in a free fall state. Proceed to the nearest evacuation platform in an orderly fashion."

Sophie cursed loudly. "Let's go!" she said, turning and running full tilt towards the 'club' they'd seen earlier.

Kara called after the woman trying to get her to wait, but the Engineer was already down the corridor. Rolling her eyes she cased after the other woman, trying to remember if they were heading the right way.

"Alright, enough of this," Ari grunted, attempting to disable McGill.

Fighting against Ari's grapple, McGill wrestled one hand free and slapped her across the face. "Don't you get it, Starfleet? We're all doomed. Doomed! Is this how you want to spend your final moments?"

Arianna slammed her helmet covered head into McGill's in response, "I'm prepared to kark it, ya pillock. Are you?" The expression on Ari's face was cold, ice cold. "Now I can knock you out or put you down, or you can stop being a plonk and help us get those people up here and if we manage to get out of this alive, I'll see what I can do to cut you a deal." With that said, she released McGill, tapping in an emergency signal into her suit's comm relay.

If anyone was out there, by some dumb luck, they would be able to pick up a broad band SOS signal. Luck was now their only ally, as Ferrofax was too partitioned to be useful at this point.

"I'll see you in hell!" McGill shrieked.

Arianna rolled her eyes and slammed her fist into McGill's face. The ginger malcontent fell to the deck unconscious.

"Evac... evac-amole," Brodie managed to say. The word sounded like a combination of "evacuation" and "guacamole," probably due to a severe concussion he'd suffered.

At the Party

"Left Sophie!" Kara had gotten her bearings and figured the way they needed to head to get to the rest of the crazies. It seemed ridiculous and she still had no idea how they were supposed to get these people to leave. But they had to try.

"Madavi!" shouted one of the ravers as the Starfleet officers approached the edges of the dance party. "Madavi's back everyone!"

Cheers went up from more than one party-goer. Either Kara had a reputation or the crowd of people were less than sober.

"Oh hai, ummm Rodriguez...good to see you..." Kara's cheeks went a little red as several of the partygoers recognized the Science officer. The locals certainly loved to party, seemed they were regularly just, doing whatever they wanted really. Kara being new and wanting to create a good rapport decided to join them; she also promptly decided not to return to the platform is she could help it mostly out of sheer embarrassment. "Listen we..." Before she could get another word out, she was shoved right into the man, hands landing on his pecs as Sophie barreled past them.

Without even stopping her momentum, Sophie pushed her way through the crowd, shoving people to one side or another without regard to whether or not they appeared ready to move. She finally found herself next to the DJ. She studied the board in front of her for exactly five seconds before punching a large button, which killed the lights and music in one. "Attention!" she called at the top of her voice- which was fairly loud. "This is not a drill! The platform is falling out of the sky as we speak. Everyone proceed to the nearest escape pods and get the hell out of here!"

"Party on, Life Circle!" shouted a shirtless raver.

Hoots and cheers went up from the entire crowd. Evidently they had taken McGill's earlier address to heart.

Throwing her arms up in the air in frustration, Kara tried to shout over the crowd, the music somehow restarting. "Yeah, how'd that work out for ya!?"

Sophie was done. She glared icy daggers at the shirtless raver for half a moment before crossing to him at the speed of light and taking hold of his ear. She tugged hard. "I said," she said evenly, but loudly enough for everyone to hear, "get the fuck to the goddamned escape pods before I drag each and every one of you bitches to them and stuff you in there kicking and screaming! DO I MAKE MYSELF CLEAR!"

A pair of burly men grabbed Sophie, hoisted her overhead, and sent her crowdsurfing.

This didn't last long, though, as Sophie managed to flip herself over and bite the nearest hand as hard as she could while kicking whatever her feet came in contact with. Once she was on the floor again, she stomped on the nearest foot and angrily headed to the door. "Fuck them," she muttered. "They can all die."

=/\= "USS Phantom to Baby Girl, responding to emergency SOS signal on Aerial Platform 7. Pick up, Baby Girl."=/\=

Ari had walked over to Brodie and was trying to get him on his feet when the call came in. If the situation wasn't entirely dire and she wasn't busy trying to get this situation under control, Ari would have seriously rolled her eyes at the incoming call. Right now though, she was just happy to have someone answer it. Even if it was him. One did not look a gift horse in the mouth.

"Phantom, Baby Girl." Ari rolled her eyes regardless, "Need immediate evac. Be advised we have approx one hundred souls on board. Two at least injured. Betty Boop and and Olive Oil are attempting to rally the rest located below decks.""

=/\="Hot damn! A menage a--oh shit! Sensors say you're falling out of the sky. Stand by!"=/\=

The entire platform rocked again. Rather than the turbulence from before, this was more like being shaken by a giant fist.

=/\="Tractor beam engaged! Stopped your descent, but main power is draining though..."=/\= By the sound of Ryland's tone, he was obviously worried.

"Phantom, can we employ transporters?" Ari helped Brodie to his feet. " She was really trying not to dwell on the fact that she and a hundred others, including Sophie and Kara were on a falling slab of metal and machinery that could explode oh so easily.

=/\="Not for a hundred people! Hold onto your panties. I'm going to try something!"=/\=

The platform began to tremble, then pitch to one side under mass acceleration.

"Phantom, need transport directly to Sickbay for the two injured, they are with me."Arianna barely managed to maneuvre over to the unconscious McGill and grabbed whatever the closest part of the body was that she could reach, while still holding onto Brodie.

=/\="Transporters are locked onto your combadges. I hope everybody else is able to grab on to something!"=/\= Ryland shouted through the comm. =/\="Shit's about to get bumpy!"

That was an understatement. A distant observer would have merely witnessed a Defiant-class starship using a tractor beam to swing the aerial platform in a loop and slingshot it up into orbit. Inside Platform 7 was a much wilder tale. Not only did the centrifugal drag pull everything to one side of the station, but without the benefit of artificial gravity or inertial dampening, for a brief moment up was down, backward was forward, and everything was gently airborne--before crashing down onto whatever surface they happened to be near.

Having been beamed aboard just in time to see the platform flung towards orbit, Sophie’s first thought was that she hoped they all got concussions. But no; that would only mean that some poor Doctor, who never did anybody wrong, would be forced to deal with the unpleasant- and uncouth- lot of them. So instead, she settled for, “I hope they all shit their pants,” with a disgusted sneer.

"You're welcome, sweet thing," Ryland said with a wink.

"Ummm, hi, not to sound ungrateful... but where am I?" Kara said getting up from the deck. "And who are you?"

"Buff my duff, it's rainin' women!" Ryland let out a lurid cackle. "Wait," he said, realizing the breach of protocol. "She ain't one of ours, is she? Aw, hell!"

"Don't mind Dedeker," Sophie advised Kara. "He's kind of a pig." She shot Dedeker an annoyed look. "Even if he is cute," she added in an undertone.

"'Don't mind me'?" Ryland said. "If she ain't got clearance, she ain't supposed to even be here! We gotta' send her back. Or, better yet, hide her. My quarters are empty." He waggled his eyebrows.

Sophie rolled her eyes. "Grow up, Dedeker," she advised.


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