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  Captain Zachary Taylor, SD
 
Sim Summary, SD 201812.14
 
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Darmok Sim Log, SD 201812.14

On the Bridge

.__On the Bridge of the Darmok remained Capt. Taylor, pacing across the space between the Command Chair and the Operations Console; Lt. Cmdr. Relok, sitting at the main Science Station; Ens. Trappey, standing tensely at the Tactical Station; and Ens. Filler, nervously manning the Ops Console. Most of the other stations were dark as the ship was under Condition Grey.

.__The comm system chirped as Mst. Sgt. Hines on the Cerberus called in with a priority message. “I'm getting another vessel on long-range scans. Looks larger than the signals we had just a few minutes ago. I'm thinking it might be a supply vessel for the station, based on the escorts. Should be in visual range in 10 minutes ... we're on a tight schedule now, sir.”

.__Taylor cursed, “Damn it!” as he tapped his commbadge. “Acknowledged. Give the Landing Party five minutes. If we haven't heard from them, we'll call an abort.”

.__Hines acknowledged his orders with the statement, “We're in position to intercept the incoming. We can buy you a few minutes to get the Darmok out of harm's way if necessary.”

.__Relok added, “Captain, I'm focusing MAX's sensors on the incoming vessels. It looks like the larger one is a cargo craft, more scavenged parts, apparently. The small ones may be escorts.”

 

.__The Bridge was eerily silent for a few moments before Relok reported, “Captain, MAX is detecting an elevated level of ... something ... from the station. He says it has to do with the plant and the electrical signals.”

.__The Captain turned to his Science Officer, “What? Is it an alarm or just getting ready to receive the cargo ship? I need better answers, Commander!”

.__Before Relok could respond, Hines cut in again. “Cerberus to Darmok. I've got 2 light vessels coming into short-range scans. The other two have dropped back to the rear of the freighter. ETA ... 5 minutes.”

 

.__About that time, Relok got a far-away look in his eye, then tapped his temple and said, “Another message from Shadow, sir. He says the suits work and wants Bevin to start mass production. They work sir!” He could not stop himself from letting a smile flicker across his face.

.__The Captain allowed himself a small smile. “Well, a little good news then.” He tapped his commbadge. “Bridge to Engineering. Bevin, your suits work. Shadow says start mass production!”

.__The strong brogue of the Chief Engineer came back, “Ailraight, sair, I'm an ait!”

 

.__Relok had returned to his sensors and a moment later reported, “Captain, the cargo vessel is in visual range, with two fighter-craft in forward escort. No indication they've detected any of our craft ... yet.”

.__Almost at the same instant Hines called in, “Cerberus to Darmok. Freighter in visual range. Time to contact ... 90 seconds. Permission to engage? We'll draw their attention away from the station.”

 

.__TO BE CONTINUED!


 

On the Zephyr

.__An Away Team consisting of Lt. Col. Patterson, Ambassador Android, Lt. Spearhorse, Lt. Carter, Lt. Riedinger, Lt. K'Trevala, Ens. T'Lin, Warrant Officer Mouser, Gunnery Sgt. Price, PO3 Nottingham, and Corporal Longshanks was on the USS Zephyr docked with a Kyrathian Shipyard Facility and attempting to open the outer hatch.

.__Lt. Carter was still sitting in the pilot's seat, behind a force field, keeping the tiny ship's systems as low as possible and still have them ready to beat a hasty retreat. Gny. Price was near the door with PO Nottingham and WO Mouser. Ambassador Android and Lt. Spearhorse were at the rear of the group near the force field. Col. Patterson, Lt. Riedinger, Lt. K'Trevala, and Ens. T'Lin were clustered in the center.

.__Riedinger had a tricorder in his hand and was scanning the outer access door. He looked up with a surprised look on his face. “Doctor, you definitely have to see this. And, what do you think, T'lin?”

.__His readings showed pulsing energy running along several lumpy lines that covered the outer edges of the hatch. The lumpy stuff was showing up as biological material, likely the secretions of the Builder Class of the Kyrathian insectoids. They apparently protected tendrils of the strange Plant the Kyrathians used as their technology in a semblance of fiber-optic cables.

.__K'Trevala, the doctor whom Riedinger had addressed, was busily checking over the augmented biosuits to ensure there were no leaks. He was also a strong telepath and had already determined the number of potential hostiles on the other side of this airlock were higher than had been estimated before their mission had begun, and was continuing to passively monitor the Kyrathians on the facility.

.__Patterson leaned over Price's shoulder, “Price, got that charge ready?”

.__Price was taking slow, deep breaths, trying to calm himself after losing his lunch at the wild ride Carter had given them in getting them there. He answered, “Just gotta get the primer set, sir.”

.__Riedinger pleaded with the anxious Marine, “Wait a little, Colonel.” He gestured at the conduits along the hatch's edge.

 

.__T'Lin had stepped closer to get a view of Riedinger's tricorder. She commented, “Hmm, that is quite strange.” She scanned the lumpy lines with her own tricorder and said, “Where do they connect? That could be our way in.”

.__Ambassador Android, at the rear of the group holding one of Patterson's WAR rifles and serving as an extra Security Officer on this mission, called, “I can't see! We can't just stand here ... they're bound to detect us soon.”

.__Patterson turned to the Android, “You've more right to know what we're up against than any of us, sir.” He addressed the Security Team, rearranging their disposition. “Spearhorse, stay with the shuttle. Cover Carter. Nottingham, pull rear security. Price, demolitions. Mouser and Longshanks, flanks.” The Marines and Starfleet Security dutifully rearranged themselves, allowing the Ambassador to move forward to get a better look.

.__T'Lin said, “Ambassador, I believe what we are seeing is part of the plant life that accompanies the Spores. Any idea where they could connect?”

.__The Android peered over Riedinger's shoulder. “We've never gotten close inspection of the Plant's tendrils before ...”

.__Riedinger lovingly caressed his moustache as he said, “I do not detect any electrical reading above the picoamperes ... if something electronic is in this, it is negligible.”

.__The Android muttered, “We know they use it for their version of technology ...” He paused a moment, then continued, “Which means all of the electronics would most likely be corrupted into their version of it.”

.__Riedinger nodded, “Si …€… …€Â˜technology'.” He gestured with his tricorder, still showing pulsing energy that was distinctly not very electricity like. “The most vivid technology I saw in my life.”

 

.__T'Lin nodded smartly, “Correct. Are we ready to move? Ambassador, any idea of where the plants could be heading?”

.__The Ambassador gestured, “There are several tendrils joined here ... and up there a few more. That has to be one of the …€Â˜nodes' there.”

.__Riedinger followed the Ambassador's gesture. “I would bet that it is going to some kind of main node ... so if we disable something abruptly, it could be easily noticed, right Ambassador?”

.__T'Lin studied the indicated …€Â˜node'. “Right. That looks …€… puffy? I do not like that.”

.__K'Trevala, listening telepathically for any signal of the Kyrathians being nearby, agreed with T'Lin, then added, “One of the Tenders is curious about the bump he heard and is talking to the plant about it. Those Soldiers seem bored and are scattered throughout, none close to us.”

.__Patterson was growing anxious. “Riedinger ... that …€Â˜skeleton key' of yours doing any good? We need to move!”

.__Riedinger glanced back over his shoulder at the Colonel. “La caja did not expect something so …€… viscous, Colonel!”

.__Price cut in. “Colonel, incendiary charge is ready.”

.__The Android commented, “If we hope to interface with any of their technology, we'll have to learn to use it. Accessing a node would seem the logical manner.”

.__Patterson's scowl deepened, but he turned to Price and said, “Not yet, Price ... give them a few more moments.”

.__T'Lin seemed to agree, “No explosions, not yet. If we break through the first layer without closing it behind us before we open the inner layer, the pressure will send us into space!”

 

.__Riedinger, still scanning the encrusted lines of the tendrils, said, “These links are what act as the optical fiber, Ambassador?”

.__The Android tilted his head a brief moment then answered, “Well, we can't know for certain. As I said, we've never gotten access to the Plant. But, we believe them to be. Captain Hardin's experience with the Kyrathians on their homeworld didn't include the Plant. The one on their planet had gone insane.”

.__Riedinger nodded then said, “I know something about fiber optic cables. Hydrogen molecules can diffuse into the silicon fibers and produce changes in their attenuation. So, Doctor, do you think that if we find a molecule that deteriorates the fibers of the plant in the same way, and we achieve a way to induce it in it, we can affect its attenuation to a point that extinguishes the connection?”

.__T'Lin said suddenly, “We need to follow it, the plant tendrils. Do not ask me how I know, but I do. I want to get to that node.”

.__K'Trevala, in an obvious effort to reduce the tension, said, “OK, T'Lin, it's …€Â˜noded'.”

.__T'Lin glanced back at the doctor, “That was what you call a …€Â˜pun' correct?” There was not a trace of amusement on her face, except for the gleam in her eyes.

.__K'Trevala sighed slightly, “Yes, T'Lin, it was a weak attempt at humor.”

.__Patterson apparently didn't appreciate the humor. He let out a huff through his visor. “We're sitting ducks here. Get the door open so we can get in and find whatever it is we're looking for!”

 

.__The Android glanced at the impatient Marine whose reconnaissance mission couldn't seem to get past the front door. “Colonel, an explosion will almost certainly get the attention of the Kyrathians. Stealth is paramount, is it not?”

.__Patterson glanced at Price. “You said incendiary, right?”

.__Price nodded, “Yes, sir. We'll burn our way in, rather than blast it. Same effect, just takes a couple seconds rather than instant door.”

.__Patterson nodded. “Alright. Price, get the charge set on the wall there.” He pointed to a spot just left of the door, then turned to Riedinger, “Riedinger, T'Lin, you've got 30 seconds to figure out how to open that door, or we're making one. We're out of time.”

.__Price nodded and stepped to the left and began preparing the chaff charge, pressing it onto the wall, careful of his footing and his movements.

.__Riedinger mumbled, “I would recommend that we take some samples for further study, and that we explode the door, Colonel. There does not seem to be a faster entrance!”

.__The Android commented, “I feel it important to point out that if we punch or burn a hole in the outer door, we'll need to be able to open and quickly close the inner one or we'll be in serious trouble with explosive decompression of the station!”

.__Suddenly, T'Lin reached for the node, “Let's go now, open the door, it's now or never. Give me a little more time, sir!” She pulled a cable from a socket on her tricorder. “Give me time! I have a theory!” Suddenly, she poked the cable into the node.

 

.__A puff of Plant Spores spewed from the node directly into the faceplate of T'Lin's biosuit! And a light began to pulse on the node, and a hissing sound emerged from the door as it began to open.

.__Reflexively, Patterson grabbed Price and pulled him, and his incendiary charge, back away from the Spores, knowing that Price and the other Marines (including himself) and the Starfleet Security Officers, wore only standard Combat Armor that might be vulnerable to the Kyrathian Plant Spores' ability to dissolve organic compounds in seconds. The Colonel shouted as he did so, “Shadow!” Price was nearly thrown off his feet back into the shuttle, banging into a bulkhead with a loud thunk.

.__The Android's reflexes were as quick as the Colonel's, as he shoved people away from T'Lin and shouted, “Don't let those spores touch anything! Price, Colonel, we don't know if your suits will resist them. Stay back. I've seen what those things can do, you wouldn't like it.”

.__Patterson shrugged, “'Tis the risks we take as Marines, Ambassador. We have a mission to do, and I trust my armor to do its job long enough.”

.__But, the new biosuit worked as intended. It's ionization repelled the dry, powdery spores. T'Lin calmly waved a hand in front of her faceplate as the spores floated to the floor and settled on the metal there. K'Trevala grabbed T'Lin, spraying a vial of distilled water on her biosuit to wash off any spores, only to find there weren't any. T'Lin stepped back, saying, “I'm fine, they did not get through.” The she turned to Patterson and said, “See what happens when you give me a little time? Let us move quickly.”

 

.__Riedinger let out a sigh and stepped back from T'Lin, a shocked expression on his face. “Fine? The suit works?! The suit works!!!”

.__Patterson gave Riedinger's shoulder a pat and squeeze. “Excellent work, Aaron.” He turned to T'Lin, “You owe that man a drink, y'know ... his suit just saved your skin.”

.__The Android grinned at T'Lin, “Quite literally, saved your skin!” He turned his still grinning face to Riedinger. “Mr. Riedinger, we'll need to mass produce those suits when we get back! Good job!”

.__Riedinger grinned back. “Do not give me the credit, Ambassador, Colonel, I just replied to them!”

.__K'Trevala turned and used his pressurized water to wash the spores away from the rest of the team. He sent a telepathic message to his Shayana, Relok, back on the Darmok, …‰ÂˆThe biosuits work, Relok, get Bevin to start mass producing them ASAP.…‰Âˆ

.__Patterson pushed his way past the now open door, his weapon at the ready, and checked the small airlock chamber on the other side. In a second he called, “Clear front,” and gave the hand gesture to bring the team forward. Mouser and Longshanks advanced past the Colonel to the interior door. Price regained his footing and moved up beside the Ambassador. Nottingham joined him at the rear.

 

.__Patterson turned back to T'Lin, then gestured, “T'Lin? Don't know what you did, but we've got a second door to open.”

.__The Ambassador asked, “T'Lin, can you do it to the inner door? Cycle the airlock?”

.__T'Lin disconnected from the first node and confidently strode past the men, “Yes, I can.” Riedinger followed her and the stood a moment studying the inner door and finding it much like the outer one. T'Lin asked, “Aaron, what are you thinking?”

.__Riedinger stroked his mustache, “Well ... if you found a method that worked once, why not try again?”

.__T'Lin nodded and said, “I could try that.” She glanced back, waving, “Colonel, Price, get back.” She paused then added, “That is not a request.”

.__Riedinger glanced at the Android. “With someone a little more resistant …€…” he trailed off.

.__Patterson saw Riedinger's expression and looked at the Android. “You've a better chance than all of us combined, sir.” He grabbed T'Lin's shoulder, “Give it to the Ambassador.”

.__The Android raised an eyebrow and said, “I know we are working under the assumption that my artificial epidermis is immune, but ... there are organic materials in it. I may suffer corrosion of my outer layers, which might trigger my damage detection routines. In other words, it might hurt.” He paused then said, “But, it is a logical decision, less risk of instant death and all.” He reached for T'Lin's device.

 

.__K'Trevala patted his medkit and said, “I have a few more sprayers, in case we need to wash off anyone.”

.__Riedinger chimed in, “I would not recommend exposing the suit to so many ... splashes. I'm not a doctor, but I would not recommend it for what's inside the suit.”

.__The Marines, Longshanks and Mouser, fell back to just inside the outer door. Price took a full step back himself.

.__T'Lin resisted when the Android reached for her tricorder. She said, “Sir, I do not know how to describe it other than I have a feeling that will not work. I will be alright. I know this.”

.__K'Trevala studied her a moment then said, “Possibly the copper component in your blood is less attractive to them than the iron in ours.”

.__The Android acquiesced. With a nod at T'Lin he said, “You're better equipped than I, then. You know what you did outside, do it again.”

.__T'Lin headed for the node over the inner door, glancing at Riedinger as she did. “Aaron, I appreciate your concern, but I know I will be ok. You should be proud of your suits.”

.__Patterson stepped in front of her. “T'Lin, I don't need to ask if you understand the risks. You're a Vulcan.” He gave a nod as he stepped back, “Get it open.”

.__She pulled the cable from her tricorder again and approached the node. Riedinger was heard muttering, “Oh, God …€…”

.__The outer door closed and air began to hiss into the airlock chamber. This time, no spores were sprayed on T'Lin or anyone else in the chamber. Only the Android seemed to notice that now they were cut off from the safety of the Zephyr and escape to the Darmok, trapped between two sealed doors on a Kyrathian station.

.__K'Trevala cheered, “Way to go, T'Lin!”

.__Unseen to anyone else, T'Lin's Vulcan brows pursed as she muttered, “Now, the inner door.”

 

.__TO BE CONTINUED!

   
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