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Grave Matters

Posted on Sun May 29th, 2022 @ 8:40pm by Captain Mrazak & Lieutenant Commander BaoJun Qiao & Gunnery Sergeant Roderik Kos & Ferrofax & Lieutenant Calderon Jarsdel & Lieutenant Commander Leonora Wolf MD & Lieutenant Teejay
Edited on on Sun May 29th, 2022 @ 9:06pm

Mission: S1E5: Symphony of Horror
Location: Janner's World
Timeline: MD 3

The last flight of the Charming Delights ended in a suborbital descent and crash landing that wiped out half of the landing pads for what passed as a spaceport on the sparsely populated colony hub world. Most of the passengers who had assumed crash positions fared better than anyone who had been in the path of destruction caused by the disabled transport which had skipped along the ground like a stone through water.

Rodi's faceplate had a slight red haze to it. The repulsor field on it had removed 99% of the liquid that had erupted out of his broken nose, but the hard blow the system had gotten made it less-than perfect. The world slowly shifted back into focus as the marine pulled himself up and scanned around. His head was pounding, but his suit's medical dispenser was already injecting a pain killer.

Bao grunted as he pulled himself to his feet. Nothing was broken, but he certainly felt it, and would likely have some very lovely and extensive bruising. The motion of getting to his feet confirmed that. Reinforced bones might prevent breakage, but they did shit all for the other side of effects of blunt for trauma, or, as he was figuring out, actually made it worse by refusing to give way. From the twinge in his back and abdominal area, he was guessing he probably bruised his kidneys, at a minimum. Great, because bloody urine was always fun.

"Let's not do that again," Mrazak grumbled as he recovered from bouncing around inside his exosuit. Perhaps it was luck that he had got bitten and potentially infected back in the Theta-Corvus system, otherwise they may not have been suited up as they had been. Stuffing everyone into an escape pod would certainly have been uncomfortable. Speaking of escape pods, Mrazak asked, "Does anybody have eyes on the targets?" But the tricorder reading attached to his exosuit's forearm confirmed what he already suspected deep in his gut. All escape pods had been jettisoned.

"Fan-lekking-tastic," Mrazak groused sarcastically. "This was supposed to be a simple fetch, but it seems we're far from done here. The Plague Doctor and Patient Zero are nearby. We need to clear the wreckage and locate them. They can't have gone far, not with jammers from these Klingon interlopers. Since it seems too much to ask for the Phantom to send those Klingons straight to Fusion, it falls to us to capture Santra and keep that disease from spreading. There's no lockdown on this system, so if that contagion goes viral there will be no way to stop it from spreading to every world connected to this hub."

The maglocks on his suit deactivated, finally allowing Mrazak actual range of motion.

"Just another reason why I hate civilians!"

"Now..." Leah's voice filtered in from somewhere under the chairs and table that had flown in the tumble in her direction. The chairs then began moving as a suit emerged from underneath it, one emergency light flickering, while the other was out, "...imagine how a trained operative would play this." Wolf said with a frown, touching a gloved hand to the side of her helmet, a vain attempt to touch the gash on her temple. "There's no way they would have gotten out of this unscathed..."

That being said she pulled out her tricorder and began scanning for a Corvan and a Bajoran signal, doing her best to ignore her injury, grateful for the auto dispensed painkillers. She hated to think what other injuries she and the others hid underneath those suits. But that would have to wait.

"Luckily I put them into an escape pod," Mrazak said. "But seeing as how there wasn't room enough for everyone, I disabled the ejection protocol." His mouth ticked up with displeasure. "Inadequately, so it would seem."

Cal was nowhere to be seen.

Teejay however looked exactly as he had when they'd all initially descended into the controlled interior airspace of the private ship. His suit looked perfect, his expression personified alertness and he harboured a tiny bit of survivor guilt with regards the Bajoran cushions he'd utilised when it all hit the fan. Hadn't been entirely voluntary, but those fellas were probably okay, right? He rested a firm hand on Leah's shoulder and gently turned her helmet so that she to look at him. "You're hurt," he noted, with concern for the obvious cut on her forehead. "Nausea? Dizziness?" He was really hoping there wasn't a concussion, though it seemed likely.

Leah shook her head, though doing that made her feel even more queasy. "Don't worry about me, we have to get them first and not get vamped in the process." She said, though she appreciated the concern.

"I'll worry quietly," Teejay replied, his voice low. "While we search." He didn't like leaving it like that with a wounded person, but strong independent souls he understood well enough.

"Since everyone is alive, then I must insist on less talking and more walking!" Mrazak snapped. "We have a plague doctor to collect."

Outside the Charming Delights, there was a startling lack of relief personnel and emergency responders--at least as far as the eye could see, which was not much. Whatever the thick, rolling fog did not obscure was distorted by the flicker of smoldering wreckage and particulate ash in the air. Moans could be heard, though not all seemed to be cries for help. The rising chorus of intermittent voices had a quality which sounded distinctly... feral.

A quick tap to his combadge confirmed to Mrazak that communications were still out.

"Favdt," he cursed. There had been no indication comms were restored, but it cost nothing to try except--for a shred of hope. "Weapons," Mrazak hissed into the team's comm channel while his eyes scanned the nearly opaque fog bank. "If you have weapons, get them at the ready! Everyone else runs overlapping scans as we follow Santra." Mrazak held up the tricorder attached to his forearm which was synced to the bracelet on Santra's arm. "And for Fusion's sake, someone with a weapon come take point!"

Bao let out a string of words involving anatomically impossible profane acts involving planets and posterior regions as he double-checked himself. His sword was still in working order, but it seemed his phaser had been, less than successful at surviving the rapid deceleration caused by their unfortunate accidental impact with a planetary surface, having rather delicate internal electronic components and crystals, the latter of which were apparently quite shattered. He flicked the sword out. "It would seem Dr. Death was prepared with an aerosolised contagious form of his disease that has been able to cross the species barrier," he grunted, body protesting the motion of holding a sword in guard. "Anyone have a working phaser?" he asked as he synced his own scans and began to move cautiously.

Leah shook her head negative and immediately regretted it. Whilst the pain was subsiding, the vertigo did not go away, nor did a wobbly stomach and an unsteady sense of balance. "Concussion, check." Leah thought to herself bitterly.

"Negative, I found bits and pieces of mine." She said, looking down at the readouts and forcing back bile and acid rising from her stomach. "Also, don't hesitate to shoot anyone we find. Don't wait, just shoot. Also check your suits for punctures. The timeline has accelerated and this aerosolized version is much faster acting. Anyone infected is most likely beyond saving and we can't afford to stop and check."

"I had assumed our shoot-on-sight order was implied," Mrazak said, "seeing as how we're pursuing an interstellar terrorist in possession of a bioweapon of mass destruction. But, yes, we all do what we must."

Leah swallowed back more acid reflux, "I meant the passengers, not our quarry. They are likely infected and beyond saving. Innocents."

He spent a minute or so double checking his phaser still worked without any reason for it not to. Set to kill. Protect yourself. Protect your means of survival. Golden rules to not-die by. Not Teejay's first crash-landing, abandonment or doomed journey, though the bioweapon was a particularly unpleasant and macabre touch. Good skills, universe...

Rodi stepped next to Bao, looking at the blade. Then he looked up at the man, brown eyes finding the artificially black ones. Rodi couldn't help but crack a smile at the sight of a cyborg wielding a sword. With one hand Rodi reached to the small of his back, pulling his back up weapon and handing it to Bao. "Use this instead." And with the other Rodi released the magnetic clamp that held his rifle to his armour.

The Lagashi chuckled before handing it back and motioning towards Leah. "I think Dr. Wolf would be better served," he said. Or, at least, she'd have a weapon.

"My aim is so screwed right now I'd sooner shoot one of you than the target." Leah said with some shame coloring her voice. In truth it was taking all of her mental focus to not vomit and then pass out, or the other way around, she wasn't sure. Focusing on talking, walking and finding Santra and the girl were the things keeping her up and awake at the moment.

"Then unless your tricorder is broken, I suggest you keep it out with active scanning," Mrazak ordered. "We won't get another chance at this."

Leah opted out of nodding for fear of exacerbating her headache. "Yes, sir." She said instead and continued to look for their crafty prey.

As the group made their way through the fog and flaming debris, it became clear that looking for Corvan bio-signs might be easier and yet more complicated than first believed. An albino Klingon warrior lurched from the visceral remains of a hapless bystander and charged the group. Blood dripped from his fanged teeth and black-within-black eyes.

He might not have been alone in his instinctively immediate action, but phaser checked and in hand (again - bioweapon warning - thanks Starfleet), Teejay fired. Three times just to be sure.

"Cease fire!" Rodi called after several phaser blasts came from behind him, heading to the Klingon in front of him. "Using a weapon like that attracts unwanted attention."

"Standing order from the Captain's to shoot on sight," Teejay corrected the Marine, a hard edge to his usually casually offered tone. "And they'll smell us even if they don't hear us." He could hear them, Vulcan hearing turning every sound up to way past eleven out here. He could hear them breathe, the sound of their clothes soaking up the moisture-heavy air, the slip of hard boots in soft ground. There were more of them. Many more of them. In every direction at varying distances.

As if on cue, three more Klingons who had obviously succumbed to Dhampirism rushed the group, one on each flank while the third charged from straight through the clearing in the fog. Through the mists could be seen a dozen or more rabid bipedal humanoids, formerly sentient, who were fangs deep in an insatiable contest of who could devour whom first.

The Lagashi moved to intercept the charging Klingon, interposing a sharp, dicey impediment to its charging bloodlust, even as he mentally chastized Rodi for just HAVING to say it, and Teejay for being a dick making noise. Cursing himself for how slow his movement was, he didn't quite kill the Klingon, but instead separated an arm from its torso. He bit back a grunt of pain as his bruised muscles protested. At least the Klingons weren't using weapons themselves, thank the Jade Emperor for that small miracle.

Leah reached over and grabbed the phaser from Teejay's hand and shot at the Klingon, dropping the mass of crazed muscle to the ground before handing the phaser back to Teejay. "Come on, we need to be smart about this. Can we access atmospheric processors maybe, pass everyone out?" She said, blinking as the vertigo kicked back in.

"What the fuck!" Yelled the half-Vulcan as his weapon was stolen from his hand. Pulse quickened at that long moment of defencelessness and confusion. How had she even?! What? And why? He felt that unwanted internal stab of judgement - so Leah didn't think he was up to the aiming and firing? - that was an ego blow in amongst the rest of the emotions coursing with adrenaline. "Smart would be focusing on the scanning," Teejay chastised her, saving his ego a little as the phaser was returned. Mixing concussion and firearms? Yeah, that was real smart... Plus she'd scared the shit out of him for a moment then.

Rodi's rifle released two more nadion pulses. One killed the third Albino by turning its head into unincorporated atoms. The other was the one attacking Bao, shot in the back and disintegrating most of the internals of the chest cavity. As Rodi swiveled the muzzle back he picked off two more bellowing behemoths. "Let me worry about the attackers. You lot get us out of here." And as to punctuate the sentiment Rodi killed a mutated... was it a Vulcan?

Bao nodded to Rodi. "We have to find Santra to end this. Wolf, you have a scan profile from the girl. Can you try to locate her? She should stand out more against the other readings here."

Leah was already trying, "it's hard to make out her signal with all the mutated vector signals pupping up relentlessly. The tricorder is having an issue catching up. Compensating." She said as input new parameters, "two hundred meters ahead...I think. With the overlaps a Corvan lifesign keeps fading in and out."

"The subspace transmitter array for the colony is in that direction," Mrazak observed. "Santra must have a plan to use the transmitter to break through the jamming and boost a signal to an ally in orbit." A wolfish smirk cut diagonally across his face. "A plan I might co-opt for our own use. Let's move!" Mrazak said, though he waited for someone else to go in front of him.

"You can't worry about all the attackers at once," Teejay stoically pointed out to Rodi. "I can hear at least twelve in our immediate radius, so you'll need support." He wasn't arguing, just stating cold hard fact. "You take point and I'll cover Mrazak and Leah while they scan." He'd stay closer in, that way the Gunnery Sergeant got to own the death-dealing and keep his ego intact, but didn't have to focus on all points all at once. He'd just go ahead and assume that between them Bao and Leah could refine the signal and keep a side defence up against the mutants.

Leah was ready to give anything to take the suit off and have her hands free to tap away faster and to treat her injury but alas, if beggars were choosers. Instead she gave a quiet "huzzah!" When her refined search gave a result. "Last room down the hall on the right inside the array building. Signal is more or less stationary." she said quietly.

Up ahead, mind working overtime, Cal silently conducted his own search, and despatched any mutant Corvanised zombies as needed mostly by the simple (for him) virtue of driving their minds inward as a defence to their insane offence. They pretty much took care of each other with the right mental guidance.

At the transmitter array's perimeter, there was no guard or patrol to prevent their entry. All such personnel were locked in mortal combat for their lives against the Corvan Virus or had succumbed to dhampirism themselves. There was merely a locked door.

"Allow me," Mrazak said as he approached the sealed door. As a Federation hub colony, Janner's World would utilize standard Federation encryption regardless of the local area network security protocols. The Skeleton Key, or universal challenge-handshake authentication protocol unique to Memory Theta, was a complex code that he entered directly into the door panel. Upon acceptance, the maglocks clicked in release and the door slid open. "If only people were as compliant," he muttered. "Go on, now. Everyone into the dimly lit control center."

Phaser in both hands (thanks Leah for that mild paranoia), Teejay stepped inside and listened. There were definitely living entities in here, how sane they all still were was another matter. He filtered by crazy pulse rate versus manic motion and took a few seconds to get the lie of the land while the Marine and Lagashi made their own judgement calls.

"I think there's still some uninfected in here," the half-Vulcan noted as he advanced into the internal space. "If we still care about that..."

"It's a distraction," Leah said remorsefully, a pang in her heart at what she was about to add. "We can't stop to think about them. I'm sorry."

Disruptor bolts rained down upon their position. Holes sizzled into the sides of the building while one shot clipped Mrazak's left flank. "AH!" shouted the Vulcan Without Logic as he fell inside the darkened hallway. "Someone return fire!" he added while crawling into darkness.

Forming up on their position was more than a score of armored warriors wielding bat'leths and disruptor rifles. Full spartan-esque battle helmets covered their heads, but the telltale Klingon ridges signaled their obvious identity.

Bao slid sideways to use the door frame as cover while he fiddled with the panel. "Rodi, Teejay, suppressive fire. I need a few seconds to hotwire the door."

Leah ducked to the side to provide a clear line of sight to Rodi and Teejay, keeping her eyes on the still relatively unmoving signatures of Santra and the kid from the horror movie. "What are you waiting for?" She thought to herself.

From behind minimal cover Rodi popped up. He had taken a knee. His suit aided in the aiming of his weapon. The squeeze of the trigger was smooth. A pulse of highly charged particles exited the rifle's emitter. A Klingon head disappeared cleanly, the body it had previously commanded slumping to the ground. Rodi had a few more seconds, as he moved his rifle his finger switched the selector from highly charged bolt to a high fire rate with lower individual power. The emitter glowed a dark orange as he the marine aimed at their would-be firing line.

There was a less professional, though only marginally less accurate, stance and rate of fire from Teejay. He aimed low - knees, ankles - at first, creating a least a temporary obstacle for those behind the front line of attackers. He laid down aggressively suppressive fire from partial cover alongside Leah's position and hoped Bao was as good as advertised. The enemy was brutal and heavily armoured with more than enough firepower to destroy them if the Klingons stayed upright. But if between them, he and Rodi could make them somewhat less so, their little band of castaways might just survive to fight the next fight.

Neither of them had to wait too long to find the answer to that unspoken hope of a question.

With a hiss, the doors to the compound slid shut, cutting off the hail of disruptor fire. With a strained grunt, the Lagashi slammed his blade through the control panel. "The door is shut and locked, and the controls are now inoperative, but I still doubt that will hold them for long. Let's make this quick. " As if to accentuate his point a loud noise reverberated through the door as a small dent appeared.

"They are still in the room down the hall. Last room on the right. I think they are waiting for the extraction or at trying to signal it." Leah said.

"I am still hit!" Mrazak shouted. "Somebody scan me now!"

Bao spared a glance at the Vulcan as he began marching down the corridor. "You can still talk and move, and you haven't become a raving vampiric lunatic yet, though I imagine that is only a matter of time. If you need more than that, I'm not that kind of doctor," he said gripping his weapon, time becoming pressing.

Leah re-adjusted her scans from tracking Santra and quickly gave Mrazak a scan. "Considering everything I think we are in the clear. It's been longer than what we've observed for the mutations to take hold with you so either you are immune or what we did back on the Demeter managed to stymie the advance or even kill it."

It took a moment for Mrazak to process that, but by the time Leah had finished her scan, Mrazak pumped his fist into the air. "I am invincible! My stars have seen to it!" Looking back toward the corridor, he began marching to meet their object with a fatalist's confidence. "Hold the line. Stay on me. I don't care. The day is mine!"

Teejay didn't bother to suppress the chuckle this time. 'Invincible?' Yeah, that was like dropping the Q-word on a late night sentry shift.

Fortunately, luck seemed to be on their side, as they were able to move down the corridor without further incident, or at least seemingly so. Then again, the Lagashi supposed it made a twisted sort of sense that the plague Doctor would try to manipulate things in such a way so as to not have the ravenous horde breathing down his own neck if at all possible. Coming up on the door, he motioned for Rodi to take charge of actually going in. He hoped to avoid a fight, but considering the, what was the Terran vulgarity, ah yes...FUBAR nature of things already, it seemed foolish to take such a risk. He held up his hand in a countdown, trusting, perhaps naively that all would get the message.

Leah ducked aside again, her scans back on Santra and the girl again. She nodded at Bao to show understanding.

And then Mrazak just walked in. "Oh, Doctor Santra!" he called out almost maniacally. "I believe we have business to conclude!"

"Do we?" Santra asked, standing up from behind the cover he'd taken. "I was rather hoping you'd have caught a phaser blast or some such. But the Prophets damn the sinners and saints alike, as I recall from my lessons as a child."

He over turned a crate that had come loose from the deck, setting it back on its side and sat on it, patting down his pant legs to get the soot out.

"Now, our bargain was a cure for you..." Santra said, counting off with a finger pointed at Mrazak, and then back at himself. "...and a head start for me correct?"

Shaking his head, Mrazak said, "No." His voice no longer filtered by his exo-suit, he had something of his characteristic smugness back to his tone. "Our deal was for you to give me everything--your project files, your live sample, which I can only presume is the little girl." He lips curled as he enunciated each syllable. "Everything." A smirk tugged at the left side of his mouth. "Only then will we give you safe passage." Coarse shouting and distinctly Klingon grunting came from back the way the field team had just come. "If you think you can get a better deal from the Klingons, then by all means I invite you to ask them. I have it on good authority, however, that their little Secret Inquisition means to erase you and everything pertaining to Alucard. What's it to be, Doctor?"

"Oh I choose life, always," Santra said with a clap of his hands. "Pandora, precious, our time together comes to a close. These people, whilst lacking in my refinement will be your new guardians. As for the files, you understand I don't keep them with me. Do you have a padd? Some transcription device? I'd not want to trust what I'm about to tell you to memory. Mistakes can be messy in the biological arts."

But Pandora did not show herself.

In Mrazak's head, and only his, a recognised if not familiar voice sounded with a confident thump. I have the girl. She's safe. Jarsdel had apparently been busy, though the partly Lethean hybrid was non-specific as to where exactly geographically he was communicating from. He certainly wasn't in visual range of any of them in this room, and neither was Pandora.

"The girl is already in my grasp," Mrazak boasted. "One of my specialists has acquired her. That leaves only the project files. Deliver them now. Elsewise the deal is off."

A secondary effect would be noted when Santra next checked his own fingernails, which were now very definitely an overt shade of ebony against the unlikely milky-white purity of his paling skin.

Teejay, meanwhile, oblivious to either of these events, kept his own attention and his weapon trained on the corridor behind them and the sound of inbound trouble.

"Finish the work by reinitializing biological hemostasis in the cell cultures, and you have a self-propelling curative for the ills I have dispensed. I admit its not the most elegant of tools, but the Klingons built their gene-splicing techniques for their effectiveness, not their artistry." Santra chuckled. "Now the Breen, they have I measure of respect for. Even if they do stumble into the more interesting things by accident than design. But that's a tale for another day."

Leah took notes, "that's...actually surprisingly simple." She said as she read back on the lengthy paragraph of medical jargon. "This takes into account the Klingon genetic redundancy switch? No hidden, dormant sleepers left for us to worry about?"

"Oh those are still there, but the added protein sequence generated by the partial necrosis of the cultures blocks the connector nodes on the virus shells. Like wrapping a key in layer upon layer of tape until it can never fit into the lock it was designed for," Santra gave a little shrug. "The key's still there, but it'll never work again. And as the protein chain involved is biologically inert being a byproduct of the process rather than an active agent, the virus can't mutate to bypass it because it never knows it's not working. Not my own work, you understand, but the Tal Shiar let me look over their shoulders from time to time. Professional courtesy, you understand."

"Time and place, and this is neither," cut in the Lagashi. "You can upload your data to me. There should be sufficient storage space in my implants. In the meantime, exit plan."

Leah nodded, "uploading now." To Santra she said, "you'll have to forgive him, doesn't appreciate the fine art of viral manipulation." Truth be told she agreed with Bao, they needed an exit plan ASAP, but also the longer they kept Santra, the more chance there was for him to be picked up by their dear, mutual friend, Arkady.

"Seems to me that we need to break through the signal interference," Mrazak said. "Everybody get to the roof and fortify the broadcast transmitter up there. I will overclock this comms station's power relays in a surge that will either provide a transport window for the Phantom or overload the jammers if they're small enough, but neither can happen if those zealots sabotage the transmitter. If they can't find us, that will be their only move short of an orbital bombardment." That statement gave him pause for a moment before lighting a fire in his step. "So let's not wait for them to get impatient!"

Next to Teejay, Rodi rose again from behind his cover. He fired a half dozen blasts before dropping his rifle to its sling. From the small of his back the marine retrieved several small explosives. With an eye-blink he authorised the activation and tossed them in the direction from where the fire came. "Inside, el-tee, now." The marine instructed as he retrieved his rifle and destroyed the next head that came into sight.

He'd held his own, picked up a few hits on those incoming chancers, but when the Marine alongside him chucked a handful of incendiaries out into the confined space beyond them, Teejay didn't need to be told twice. He ducked back inside the room as the door closed and listened to the very satisfying explosion behind them both.

Leah readjusted her readings yet again, looking for a way to get to said roof without running into the zombie siege out there. "Okay! Okay! Okay! Got it! Maintenance shaft..." she said as she stepped over to the back of the room. "Leads up to the roof. Should give us access to the transmitter. We need a gun up first!"

"Understood Commander." Rodi said. He dropped the power pack out of his rifle, nearly depleted. He slotted a fresh pack in, checked it was functional. Rodi conquered the ladder, his hand-phaser held ready as soon as he reached the top before signalling it was safe to come up.

"You're next, Leah," Teejay suggested, wanting her to have some cover in between them as they travelled from A to B. Leah had the tech skills job right now, she needed protecting the most. He looked to Bao, raised an eyebrow and then asked rather than assumed. "Then me, I reckon. Unless you don't want rear guard, Commander?"

Leah shook her head, "Commander Qiao is going to be more help with the transmitter, I suggest he follows after me, so if you don't mind thaking the rear, Lieutenant?" She didn't wait for a reply and dove into the shaft, doing her best to focus on climbing up and not on the increased queasy feeling that was bubbling in her head and gut.

Bao shrugged. "Come along then, Lieutenant," he said as he began ascending the shaft, albeit with some difficulty considering it would have been cramped for him even without the extra bulk of the suit he was wearing.

After the others made their way up the maintenance shaft, Mrazak ripped the underside panel of the nearest power junction for the greater communication relay. The panel cover struck the floor with a clang. "You can come out now!" he called out. While he had not received any telepathic communique from Calderon Jarsdel since the first message, he knew the man must be close by now.

With a stern expression on his face, Cal slid a maintenance panel carefully to the side and lowered himself down into the room below. He was alone, though clearly Pandora would be close behind him, right? Jarsdel regarded Mrazak with an unreadable expression that masked whatever he was really thinking well enough. "We need to get out of here," Cal pointed out the obvious. "This location is about to be compromised."

"If you have enough psilosynine within that Betazoid brain of yours to probe as well as you transmit, then you will not only know that I am aware of our compromised location but that I am also three degrees from successfully opening the doors of salvation." Mrazak shouted as he zapped his finger on an exposed isolinear circuit. "Blasted antique!" He sucked his fingertip for a moment. "Where's the girl?"

Patience was something that hadn't been so much learned as forced upon him, so Cal braced into that moody volume coming from the captain and adopted tolerance. No sense in them both yelling right now, that gained them nothing but a faster end. A small smirk presented itself though as Mrazak caught a shock, and that coloured his words as Cal answered the question and ignored the man's complaining. "Above us," Cal answered vaguely. "She can get out from up there, but neither of us will fit through the vent we located. You planning a solo attack on the impending horde?" He countered, raising one eyebrow.

"Attack?" Mrazak let out a scoff. "That is precisely why I am the team leader. Why attack when you can simply vanish?" The persistent whine from the power grid told another tale however. "I just need--"

But time was up. Multiple Klingon clerics rushed through the doorway with weapons raised.

"Halt!" shouted Mrazak with his hand outstretched. "Do not take another step! We have the girl secured overhead next to an EPS tap rigged to explode." His hand slid over his head and pointed upwards with a flourish. "If you don't cease and desist immediately, we will blow her back to stardust from which all worlds were formed!"

The Klingons considered his ultimatum for a count of three. For a brief instant, the entire conflict pivoted on a blade's edge. And then they charged.

"Betazoid, I hope you have some Lethean left in that skull of yours!" Mrazak shouted after letting out a squeal. "I need more time if we want the array to break through the interference and get us a transporter lock!"

Some might have protested, some would have cursed or reacted with a quick wit or verbal insult. Not Cal. That Lethean whom the Captain referred to was already working a couple of steps ahead, having heard the Klingons' approach within the landscape of his altered brain. Time, the Vulcan said. Time, the Vulcan needed. Fine. It had been a while since he'd stretched those particular muscles and in this case, it appeared to be an order. Couldn't get in prison for those, right? (Well, yes, anything was possible, but it seemed unlikely given the circumstances.)

Multi-tasking with the different levels of his mental capacity was akin to a physical stretch and warm-up before a fight, and Cal neither smiled nor grimaced as the enemy broke through and charged. His features were serene as fuck as he snuck like a velvet hooley bar into the first two Klingon's minds. They were armed with the traditional curved handled blades, tight leather hand-grips and angry dual can-openers at each end. Long daggers for back-up. Not how Jarsdel planned on exiting this life.

The first stared briefly at the bat'leth protruding from his chest, surprise on his face as his beleagured violent mind tried to understand how that had happened. Truth was, it hadn't yet, but Cal only needed a few seconds in which to take the weapon from the paused individual and do the honours. After that first strike, and the fact he couldn't get the damn thing back out of its owner's ribcage, things were going to get interesting.

After the initial attack, the Klingons fanned out to encircle Cal in hopes of flanking him. One of them broke away and came straight at Mrazak. With bat'leth raised overhead for a fatal strike, the Klingon chanted something in his ancient battle tongue that was known only to him and his ilk. Mrazak shrieked in return and held up the cover panel to the power relay as a shield. The bat'leth thundered against it, threatening to break Mrazak's grip.

"Mister Jarsdel!" shouted Mrazak as he narrowly parried another slice. "Help!"

He didn't understand the words themselves, but the meaning was clear enough - and Cal didn't waste any time entertaining a resolution of conflict via conversation. Mrazak was dead unless actions were taken to prevent it, and words weren't about to make a difference. It occured to him, for a split second, the thought running parallel to the physical stretch of his mind, that there were probably way more than these few Klingons who wanted the Vulcan dead. Jumik entertained that for a moment, but Cal grabbed every fibre of focus and channeled it elsewhere.

Making someone's blood literally boil in their arteries and veins was a complicated mix of biology, chemistry and concentration. An invasion and masterpiece of mind over matter on multiple levels. It took time and a skillset that Cal didn't have.

Making someone think that their blood was boiling? That was a Lethean ABC. Attaching the reason for said vivid and vastly unpleasant discomfort as Mrazak? Icing on a well-crafted mind-fuck of a cake. Before the Betazoid-human-lethean, that hostage-taking Klingon stubbornly held on as the temperature seemed to rise unbearably within his veins.

It wasn't pretty, coordinated or choreographed (though that was probably a Good Thing). It was a brutal dance of hot hatred and loathing, a massacre-ballet of swiftly offered mutilation and carnage accompanied by arterial bleeds, imaginative (both literally and figuratively) dismemberment and bladed symphony. Well... more like jazz than a symphonic creation. Improvisation. Warfare between warrior minds. Brothers in arms driven limbless and impotent, howling in pieces and a literally disjointed lack of rhythm. Yet somehow, as Cal emerged unharmed from this mess of biology-deconstructed, Mrazak was unarmed, blood-splattered, but all in one piece, and a limb-strewn, chunky mess of a Klingon jigsaw puzzle was laid out all around them.

"You okay?" Cal asked Mrazak, not yet dropping either bladed weapon from either hand as he triple-checked the casualties. His face blood, his arms aching, and his boots slippy with brain matter, he looked for signs of life. He'd killed everyone he could see, some directly, but most via the gift that was Jumik's telepathic nightmare. Neither method made him feel particularly good about himself, but needs must, right? And the balance was on him and the Vulcan being the 'good guys' in this scenario, all things considered. "Captain?" He tried again. "You okay?"

"I'm alive," Mrazak groaned as he brushed Klingon gore away from his gloved hands, "for now. Now that we have a moment to spare, let me return to the overloading this power junction..."

Up on the roof, the primary emitter for the subspace communication array was already surrounded by Klingons. Evidently their transporter technology was not blocked by their jammers. Two of them spotted Starfleet exosuits and pointed, leading others to take defensive positions.

"I don't suppose it would be beyond the pale to ask for a sidearm?" Santra asked dryly.

Bao looked at him, "No one here has a spare, even if we were inclined to arm you," he said as he took cover while pulling out his blade again.

"What he said," noted Teejay. He didn't entertain for a second the thought that Santra might be defenceless though. "What else you got?"

Transporter energies began materializing even more Klingon warriors.

Santra reached to his throat and took off the last of the faux-rank pips. He mashed them together and tossed them towards the materialising Klingons. The moment the chalky pellet hit the still transmitting energy beam, the high pitched whine went decidedly off-key. Purple motes of light began to intermingle with the usual red coloured hue of Klingon transporter technology. Then came a sound that was less of a scream and more of an agonised realisation that things had gone a little wrong.

Two of the materialising Klingon warriors, whose transporter beams had been in the path of the pellet, rematerialised in pieces. Not even or regular pieces, looking like a modern artist's reductionist interpretation of the Klingon body. Santra grinned as he ducked back down behind cover, the two Klingons joining him on the floor in a still twitching pile of meat and offal.

"Ion phages. The bane of transporter beams, and when introduced to a matter stream had a tendency of devouring the energy they come into contact with," he grinned wolfishly. "Well don't thank me all at once."

"Thanks," stated Teejay with a wry half-smile. Dead was dead, after all.

Bao resisted the urge to roll his eyes as he considered options. They needed access to the transmitter. He was startled as a message displayed on his screen, duplicating itself on Leah's display. "This is Sunny, Lieutenant Commander Qiao's AI assistant. I believe if given access to your tricorder, Commander Wolf, along with Commander Qiao's implants and suit, I can nullify the jamming field sufficiently to patch you into the communications array wirelessly, preventing the need to attempt to advance past the Klingons by force, so long as Sergeant Kos and Lieutenant Teejay can prevent them from advancing on us."

Leah was caught off-guard by the sudden message, blinking in surprise as she processed the message. "Uh, yes, sure. Go for it!" The Norwegian stumbled with her reply but her fingers had caught up and she allowed access to the incoming ping that was the Lagashi AI. "Alright Sunny, Qiao, all yours!" Wolf said as she approved access to her tricorder.

The Lagashi paused for a moment before unlocking his suit controls. Muses were not supposed to have that level of initiative. Then again, their situation was hardly normal either and was neither the time nor the place to question. Within a few moments the displays on his suit and Leah's tricorder dimmed off and back on as the AI took control and began rewriting code to repurpose systems. Instead he spoke to the others. "I imagine it will not take the Klingons long to realize we are not advancing and they comfortably outnumber us. Dr. Santra, you have, so far, been quite effective at terrorizing Klingons. If you have any other tricks, or have any ideas for at least appearing to, it would be appreciated. In the mean time, I guess we must hold the line."

Keeping a look out for more trouble, Teejay still raised an eyebrow at the interaction between Leah and something that had clearly surprised her in message form. He didn't ask, not yet, but maintained his vigil alongside Rodi, weapons tracking for targets as they held their position.

A few moments later and Sunny's clear accent spoke in both Bao and Leah's helmets, "Success. I have managed to secure a connection. Please keep it brief. The Klingons are unexpectedly sophisticated and I am engaging in cryptological warfare to keep this open."

For his part, Bao wasted no time. =/\=Away team to Phantom. This is Qiao. We have the package but are being overrun. Request immediate extraction. =/\=

"This is Phantom," she replied to the away team. "Stand by to energize!"

One by one in quick succession, everyone who was not a Klingon, feral infected abomination, or both was beamed away from certain death.


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