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Waiting For the Other Shoe

Posted on Tue Oct 5th, 2021 @ 6:46pm by Captain Björn Kodak & Lieutenant Sharrina Blackstone & Lieutenant Kennedy Ryan Walsh & Maje Jaha Veeth & Lieutenant JG Irynya & Lieutenant Chaali

Mission: The Place of Skulls
Location: Bridge
Timeline: Mission Day 16 at 1240

[MD16: 1240 Hours]

They'd tried it T'Prynn's way. It'd been a good suggestion on paper; if the drones intended to disable the Sojo, then appearing disabled seemed a logical way to throw them off. Unfortunately, the drones were smart enough not to fall for that particular ruse. Having not tried to roll out of the way, the larger drones were now trying to slice their way into the Sojo's hull, using their sophisticated mining lasers -- made for lancing solid rock -- to cut into the ship.

Seven of the large drones had attached themselves to the Starfleet vessel like bulbous lamprey's biting skin. The situation inside the Sojo was even worse. The smaller drones -- having pierced the vessel's shields -- had beamed themselves all over the ship, attacking any and everyone they could find. While no lifesigns had gone dark, there was no doubt that many people on the Sojo had probably fallen prey to the drones' overwhelming numbers.

On the Bridge, Captain Kodak and his crew had to face the reality that the choice that'd been made was ineffective. It was time to change things up, lest the Sojo be entirely overrun and cut up into chunks of raw material for the drones to break down.

"Power up all systems. The ones that'll work, anyway," Kodak hid a sigh with the clearing of his throat. "Playing dead is just hastening the end result, I'm afraid," the Captain noted. He watched with approval as Chaali, Irynya, Blackstone, and the burned engineer all played their parts, bringing systems back online, including long-range communications. "Irynya, break orbit. Try to roll some of these drones off our hull. Blackstone," he swiveled to the half-Klingon, "Fire at whatever dislodges from the hull. Slag the damn things before they can reattach. Chaali," Kodak faced forward again, "Get me the Away Team. Hopefully, they can answer -- I'm willing to bet they've been facing their own version of this hell."

The Cerulean Ops Officer swiveled back into her seat from when she'd stood to start shooting drones. But the damage reports- and casualty reports, now frozen out, were sobering and scary. "Yes Captain," she said in her lyrical Bolioan accent.

T'Pyrnn was not phased by the theory not having panned out how everyone aboard had hoped. She did however avail of the larger drones' beams which now attempted to slice through the hull. She carefully beamed the drone she had pinned in the transporter pattern into the line of fire and it was immediately terminated. She looked down in the palm of her hand as her colleagues' commbadge materialized there, she had at least been able to salvage that. She remained quiet.

As the power came back online, and with it the systems necessary to move them out of orbit, Irynya wasted no time following the directives of the Captain. "Initiating roll in... 3...2..1..." she called out by way of warning. The mild shift of power that broke them out of orbit could be felt in the deck plates as Iry's fingers danced, sending the Sojo into a barrel roll. Two of the larger drones who hadn't been fully clamped onto the hull shook loose, bounced to the interior of the shields, but righting quickly. "Drop shields," she called, continuing the roll--internal systems working to keep the crew upright with artificial gravity while inertia worked against them. With only a second's hesitation between the command, the shield's dissipated and the two drones were released from their bubble, floating out to a more reasonable firing range.

Sharrina had acknowledged Kodak's command but had been waiting for just what had happened now. She grinned to herself as she activated the ship's phasers and used them to systematically cut the two large drones up into "bite-sized" pieces. Attack my crew, will you! Well, then feel my wrath! Okay, maybe her Klingon half was having far too much fun with this task, but why not.

The Bolian's features lit up, "I've got them! The signal is weak, but I've got them. You're on emergency channel, Captain," Chaali had been sweating through the banks, rolls and attempts to shake these drones.

Kodak nodded to the reports coming his way and then to the cerulean Ops chief herself, thankful to have established a link with the team down below. "Kodak to Away Team. Emni, we're currently under attack by drones throughout the ship. They've been systematically knocking our people unconscious and damaging some of our key systems. Some of the larger drones are trying to cut their way into the Sojo. We're working to take some of them out but I don't know how long it'll be until we're overrun up here. Tell me you're faring better than we are?"

"I wish I could, sir." Emni's disembodied voice echoed across the comm. "We're facing the same drones down here." Her voice sounded strained, tension thick in her words. "Mr. Balsam is pulling down the logs here, and we're holding them off, but we don't seem to have a way to stop them. Sir..."

Hesitation in the XO's voice was clear. "You can't come down here sir, it's too dangerous. But..." There was a pause and the sound of a phaser discharging before Emni's voice returned. "We still need your DNA and the puzzle sphere."

From the sounds coming over the comm, things were going just as poorly down on the surface, if not worse. t'Nai was right to stress that it was too dangerous for the Captain to beam into further fracas. But what about the puzzle sphere? And somehow providing his DNA? Kodak's thoughts swam, trying to discern how to tackle that particular issue. Insight suddenly struck.

"Emni," the Captain began anew, "hang tight. We're working on that particular problem right now." It was then that Kodak looked to Blackstone. "Lieutenant, the sphere is in my Ready Room. It's just sitting there, atop my desk. I don't know if any of those drones are in there but I want you to cover me, alright?" He held a staying hand up then, facing Chaali and Irynya. "I'll be careful. Just uh...don't tell t'Nai," he smirked, his voice a warm rasp. "Let's go, Blackstone."

Reaching the door -- with Blackstone at his side -- Kodak checked his phaser and nodded to the woman before slipping into the room beyond. As the doors swished open, not one or two but four of the drones were waiting inside. They seemed to be floating in mid-air, their scanning beams flaring around the room. The Chameloid wasted no time in running three steps and jumping, landing behind his desk. An arm reached up over the surface and snagged the sphere.

It was then that the drones reacted, swiveling to spy both Kodak and Blackstone. Oddly enough, none of the drones appeared to fly for the Captain. Instead, they moved towards Blackstone, powering up their lasers and firing. Kodak, for his part, attempted to take one of them out from behind. His phaser blast -- set on the same setting that'd downed the previous drone -- was entirely ineffective. It seemed the drone's shield had adapted to the frequency and was able to shrug the energy off without a problem.

"Set your phaser higher! They're adapting!" Kodak shouted, furiously tapping the controls on his weapon and then firing again. This time the ruby-orange beam hit the drone's shield and collapsed it, causing the drone inside to falter and then fall, slagged into a chunk of useless metal.

Sharrina was not happy that the captain had vaulted across the room. She couldn't watch his back all the way over there! Fortunately for her sanity, however, they seemed to take no interest in him. She wondered what that was about but put that away for later. At this moment, she dropped and rolled toward the desk, coming up under them and firing -- coincidentally, that shot was at the same moment as Kodak's first shot and had the same effect. Nothing.

Growling, she adjusted her phaser quickly, dodging another beam as one of them managed to spin and fire again. The other two were powering to fire again. She fired on the one that had just fired at her, grinning as it thumped to the floor. Phaser fighting was not as satisfying to the Klingon half of her, but her blades had not really done enough damage last time to bother with them. Not to mention that she had no time to switch weapons at any rate.

The other two fired, and she used one of the chairs on this side of the desk as cover. It didn't stand up to that assault very well, and she knew she would have to replace it later. But for now, it had bought her a few seconds while the drones powered their lasers again. Moving quickly, she fired at one of them, then used the first one's -- the one downed by Kodak as that was near her feet and had cooled enough for her to handle it -- "corpse" to slam into the other one, sending it reeling. This bought a couple more seconds.

Sharrina took those seconds to shift the frequency on her phaser again. The drone fired before she did, but she twisted aside, its beam grazing her shoulder, but not hitting directly. Growling, she fired her phaser at it, making sure it never moved again. She then looked over to ensure that the captain was unharmed, pleased to see that he was. "Got what you need, sir?" she asked, eyes still flicking around them as if she expected another drone to pop out of somewhere or transport in.

"Lieutenant," Kodak's eyes gleamed in the low-light of red alert, "remind me never to bet against you in a Velocity match," the Chameloid smirked, feeling a glimmer of good humor. "That...was pretty damned impressive," he said, rising from behind his desk and frowning at the smoldering chair. The frown quickly shifted into bemusement, however, when Kodak said, "Never liked those anyway. An excuse to replicate something new, eh?" With a nod, he led the way back onto the Bridge.

Kodak stepped carefully, unsure if more of the drones had beamed into the command center. But for now at least, things seemed relatively calm -- save for Irynya's white-knuckled efforts at the read of the Bridge to keep the drones off the hull. "Blackstone, back to the phasers," Kodak jutted his chin towards the tactical station. "Try to keep our tail clear of any more drones if you can. Chaali," he said, walking towards the Bolian woman, "I need your brain. Yours too," Kodak looked over to T'Prynn. It was then that the man extended a hand out, the onyx puzzle sphere held in his palm.

"They need this. This," he gestured to the sphere, "and live Chameloid DNA. But I can't beam down there, not with a whole beehive of drones stirred up like this. Any thoughts on how to get past that particular hurdle?" Kodak asked, deep in thought while his eyes kept alert for additional drones appearing.

Chaali's gaze lingered on the strange, black object. It almost looked sinister to her. Her brows rose, "I'm assuming this is something that can't be fixed with that thing and a hypo of your blood?"

Kodak gave that some thought. "I...don't know?" he finally admitted, unsure. "I'd been thinking of slicing my hand open and coating the thing in my blood. But I guess a hypo might be a bit better," he chuckled lightly. "Do you think that would do it, though? The last obelisk had a place for the sphere to sit and a plinth to put my hand. It scanned both and then revealed the next coordinates. Could a hypo of blood sprayed on a similar reader work?"

T'Pyrnn cocked her head to the side, "Without knowing what device will be scanning your DNA, what the specifics of the interface are, we can certainly provide different samples to the away team. As you know most DNA is located in the cell nucleus, where it is called nuclear DNA, but a small amount of DNA can also be found in the mitochondria, mitochondrial DNA or mtDNA. This is true of most humanoids. In humans for example, DNA is present in white blood cells, but not red blood cells which lack nuclei. Chameloid's physiology is a mystery to me, maybe we should provide cell samples, hair, blood samples, and saliva?"

Chaali, even through the stress and awfulness of the moment, the Bolian found a touch of wry humor. Her blue nose crinkled about his facial ridge, and her eyes narrowed. "With all due respect Captain, you're not a Klingon. Leave the bloody handprints to them." Chaali, in all honesty, doubted it. Her cerulean lips twisted and again, she tugged at the sarcasm. "Cryptic puzzles, ancient ruins, killer drones, and Orion pirates. Chameloids could learn a lot from Bolarus. When we want to reconnect with lost relatives, we put out food. And make it nice." She said while she rose. "I don't think we're getting out of here intact until you stick your hand wherever you're supposed to."

"When this is all said and done, some 'nice' food sounds like a plan to me," Kodak smirked again. He loved Chaali's sass and found himself -- not for the first time -- very sad that she would be departing the Sojo soon. "You may well be right," he commented on the idea of beaming down, "but I promised t'Nai we'd try this her way first. T'Prynn," he looked up at the science officer, "I'm hopeful my blood will have enough DNA for them to work with. But if I have to spit on something, I will." Again with that smirk; it was as if the forced expression were somehow meant to fight the anxiety he was feeling.

Sphere in tow, the Chameloid returned to the rear of the Bridge, picking up the hypo he'd used on the young engineer a few minutes earlier. Rooting through the medkit, Kodak swapped out the ampule filled with medicine for an empty one. The Captain then reversed the function of the hypo and used it to extract a vial of his blood, watching the container slowly fill with redness from his vein..

"Alright, this is the best we can do for now," Kodak said, placing both the sphere and the hypospray together on the floor. "Irynya, given the sensor soup out there, we need to get close enough for transporters to function. Bring us back in," he ordered. "Chaali, once we're in range, get a lock on these," he gestured to the items at his feet, "and send them down to the Away team, please. Blackstone," he turned then to the tactical officer, "I want you to temporarily drop shields in conjunction with the beam down. They're not doing us much good anyway," he lamented. "Be ready, everyone. If this doesn't work, we'll need to make another pass to send me down."

Kodak returned to his chair and tapped the control necessary to resume the open communication line with the surface. "Emni, we're going to send the sphere and some of my blood down. See if they do the trick. If not, you may be seeing me sooner than you intended," he trailed off.

"Acknowledged, sir." The disembodied voice of the Romulan XO came across the comm. "Standing by."

Irynya shook out one of her hands. It had begun to cramp, the stinging where some of the glass from her console had embedded itself causing her to hold both hands more rigidly than normal in an attempt to minimize the feeling. A sharp pain shot through her hand as she shook it, but the cramp dispersed. Satisfied that the result of the motion was sufficient, her hands flew back into place, setting an appropriate course to turn the Sojo inward again. They hadn't gone terribly far in the time since they broke orbit, but the sensor soup and drone presence was far from helpful. The rounded nose of the Rhode Island class vessel turned as commanded, drawing them once again closer to the central asteroid.

As they reached the proper distance from the base, Sharrina glanced over to Chaali. Her board was ready, but she was waiting for the signal that the other was preparing to transport. And when the beam locked onto the items on the floor, she hit the key that would release the shields.

"We're in range," Chaali reported. She eyed the hypospray and the strange ball, and slapped her combadge on to it. She redirected the transporter pattern buffer by locking on to her own combadge. In a whirl of light and sprite, the sphere and hypospray disappeared. "Transport successful," Chaali confirmed.

Sharrina reinitialized the shields, but she began a cyclical pattern of shifting frequencies. Maybe that would make it more difficult for those damnable things to get through them. It had worked on the Borg, at one time, after all. "Shields are up and on a rotating frequency," she told the captain. He had not ordered the latter part, but she was trying to do her job even if these drones were disinclined to let her.

"Good work everyone," Kodak nodded. What would normally be a simple thing -- beaming items down -- was taking the coordinated efforts of multiple people. He valued not just their work but their dogged determination in the face of danger. "I suppose all we can do now is wait." Wait and hope another shoe didn't drop on them. There were, after all, more drones out there. They could launch a renewed attack on the Bridge at any moment: it was important that they be ready. And even more important that they try to come up with a proactive plan...

=/\= A joint post by... =/\=

Captain Björn Kodak
Commanding Officer


Lieutenant Emni t'Nai
Acting First Officer


Lieutenant JG Chaali
Chief Operations Officer


Lieutenant JG Irynya
Acting Chief Flight Control Officer


Lieutenant Sharrina Blackstone
Assistant Chief Tactical and Security


Lieutenant T'Prynn
Science Officer


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