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  Captain Zachary Taylor, SD
 
Sim Summary, SD 201812.21
 
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Darmok Sim Log, SD 201812.21

On the Bridge and in Delta Flight

.   Captain Zak Taylor paced across the Bridge of the Darmok. Ensign Evangeline Trappey stood tensely at the Tactical Console. Ensign Se'at Filler manned the Operations Console, monitoring the Condition Grey status while the ship was parked near a large asteroid. Lt. Cmdr. Relok sat at his usual place at the main Science Station, collating incoming data from the sensors. The other Bridge stations were dark under Condition Grey.

.   An open comm-link with the group of small Recon Craft deemed “Delta Flight” chirped as Hines reported, “Cerberus to Darmok, ETA 4 minutes until critical threshold. Delta Flight is weapons armed …€… standing by.” He was referring to the recently detected group of four small Kyrathian craft, believed to be fighter craft, that were escorting a larger Kyrathian ship, believed to be a cargo transport. The Kyrathians were quickly closing on the Station where an Away Team was attempting to covertly enter the station and discover any intelligence they could gather.

.   Taylor turned to Relok. “Relok, those flashes you get from Shadow, can it go both ways?” The Captain was referring to occasional telepathic communication from Dr. K'Trevala. He continued, “We need to make contact with the Away Team. They need a status update.”

.   Relok replied, “I don't know, sir. Vulcans ordinarily are touch telepaths, and I can't touch Shadow from here.” He still had an annoying Vulcan tendency to state the obvious.

.   The Captain scowled at his Science Officer. “I know you can't touch him, Relok. But try anyway.”

.   Relok's face took on a look of intense concentration. …‰ÂˆShadow, can you hear me? I don't know if I can do this.…‰Âˆ A moment later the Vulcan's face broke into a beaming smile, “He can hear me, sir!” Suddenly he realized he'd made an emotional display and wiped the smile from his face and said simply, “Success, Captain.”

.   Again, the Vulcan's face took on a far-away look as he made telepathic communication, …‰ÂˆShadow, before I lose you, you need to know, more Kyrathians are coming, straight for the airlock you docked with. You have only a few minutes.…‰Âˆ

.   The Captain studied his Vulcan Second Officer until finally he said, “And …€…?”

.   Before Relok could respond, Hines' voice came over the speakers, “Cerberus to Darmok. Visual confirmation coming to your screen now. Kyrathian freighter is entering weapons range.”

.   The Captain tapped his commbadge, “Cerberus, acknowledged. Prime weapons, ready to engage but wait for my order.”

.   Hines responded, “Darmok, acknowledged.” His voice could be heard addressing the rest of Delta Flight, “All Delta Flight, move into attack position and stand by weapons. Red Alert!”

.  Taylor turned back to Relok, “Relok, we need communications …€… now. Tell Patterson he's got …€…” he paused, thinking, “…€… give him three minutes, then return to the Zephyr and get the hell back here.”

.   Relok called, “I'm trying, Captain!” The look of intense concentration returned. …‰ÂˆShadow, you all need to be back in the Zephyr in just under three minutes!…‰Âˆ

 

.   Two tense minutes passed before Taylor stopped his pacing and turned to Trappey at the Tactical Console. “Ensign, signal Red Alert.” She nodded, pressed a button on her console, and the klaxon sounded as red lights flashed across the Bridge. The Captain sat in the Command Seat and tapped the comm button, “Cerberus, Hines, you have my order. Engage with the Kyrathians to draw them away from the station. We need to buy the AT time to get info and get out. Go!”

.   Hines' voice came back over the speakers, “Cerberus to Darmok, acknowledged. Godspeed!” He addressed the rest of Delta Flight, “Cerberus to all Delta Flight. Disengage cloak. Weapons free, attack pattern Alpha-Psi-Three, target their engines!”

.   The battle now engaged, the crew of the Darmok on the Bridge could only sit and watch the firefight on the main viewscreen and try not to jump out of their seats! A moment later Relok announced, “Captain, I think the Away Team has been detected. I'm sensing extreme tension from Shadow.”

.   Taylor spat, “Damn!” but nothing else. He watched as Delta Flight led a strafing maneuver against the Kyrathian freighter. The two lead fighter craft broke off to begin chasing after Delta Flight. The dreaded energy-siphoning pods were launched in dense clusters.

.   Hines voice continued over the open commlink, “Delta Three, break heard right! You've got a pod trailing you!” There was a pause, then “Delta Three!” Another pause then Hines said, “Cerberus to Darmok, we've lost Delta Three.”

.   Taylor's lips were in a grim line as he said, “Cerberus, understood. Hold the line, Sergeant.”

.   Hines could be heard barking orders over the comm, “Delta Two, Delta Four, evasive pattern Seven-Nine-Zulu! Delta One, suppress that fighter on my Six!”

.   Suddenly one of the Kyrathian fighter craft erupted in a brilliant fireball, the Cerberus pushing through the flames and out the other side. Hines announced, “They REALLY don't like the WAR drivers, sir.” A moment later he said, “One down! Delta One, break left! Two, Four, attack pattern November-Four! Divide and conquer, gentlemen! The WAR drivers are effective, bait them across my firing line!”

.   Suddenly Relok tensed, apparently receiving an urgent call from Dr. K'Trevala. The expression of concentration on his face reached an even higher intensity as he struggled to send any mental energy and focus he could to his wing-brother, his Shayana, Shadow K'Trevala.

.   On the main viewscreen they saw one of the three remaining Kyrathian fighter craft suddenly veer off from the Cerberus and the rest of Delta Flight and head directly towards the Darmok. Within seconds the other two had turned and all three were making a bee-line towards the larger ship. Hines' voice came over the comm, “Cerberus to Darmok, we're compromised!”

.   Taylor stood and tapped his commbadge, “Cerberus, Zephyr, OK folks, that's it, high-tail it back to the ship!” He addressed the Ensign at the combination Ops/Helm station, “Filler, cancel Condition Grey, ready to depart in three minutes, with or without our auxiliary craft!”

.   The Ensign turned and blinked at his Captain. “Sir? Without …€…?”

.   The Captain scowled at him, “You heard me, Ensign.”

.   TO BE CONTINUED!

 

On the Kyrathian Station and the Zephyr

.   An Away Team consisting of Lt. Col. Travis Patterson, Ambassador Adam Android, Lt. Aaron Riedinger, Dr. Shadow K'Trevala, Ensign T'Lin, Gunnery Sergeant George Price, Warrant Officer Gary Mouser, Petty Officer Third Class Sherif Nottingham, and Corporal Lord Longshanks were between two airlock doors on the Kyrathian Shipyard Station. Lt. Jason Carter and Lt. Dean Spearhorse were aboard the Zephyr just outside the airlock. They were attempting to covertly board the station and gain any intelligence they could regarding the Kyrathian operations in the area, and specifically how many ships were being built at this station and the process involved, and whether there were any more such stations in the sector.

.   Patterson was a few feet from the inner doorway as T'Lin prepared to interface with another of the plant nodes that seemed to operate the doors. “Careful, T'Lin.”

.   The Android was at his shoulder, experiencing all the classic symptoms of “Fluff, Freeze, Focus” of the fear reaction of his Emotion Emulating Routines. He also urged, “Yes, careful, Ensign.”

.   Riedinger was scanning T'Lin's biosuit, as well as his own and that of Dr. K'Trevala, as she readied herself to plug a cable into the plant node. The last time she did it there was a puff of the plant's corrosive spores, and he wanted to make sure he detected the slightest failure of the suits' seals.

.   Price was arming a breaching charge, an incendiary that would burn through the door if T'Lin's efforts were ineffective. He announced, “Ten seconds …€… stand clear.”

.   Patterson placed a hand on the Sergeant's shoulder, “Belay that, Price. If we can get the door open quietly, it's better we do that. Keep the charges prepped, but let's try not to use them unless we have to. Save them for our withdrawal.”

.   Price nodded and readied a flash-bang grenade as well, to use as a diversion if necessary. At nearly the same moment, K'Trevala got a far-away look in his eye, the expression he took when he was having a telepathic conversation. Patterson glanced at him but turned back to Price, “Stealth, Price, no noise at all, remember?” Price grimly nodded and disarmed the grenade and set it and a few others aside for delayed activation.

.   T'Lin inserted her cable and gave it a small twist, like she'd done on the outer door. Suddenly, the node and tendrils around the inner door flashed with a green light. The Android noticed it right away and said, “Green lights! That's a good thing, right?”

 

.   Riedinger seemed startled by the green lights. “I hope that is not some kind of alarm! Or worse, a green pass at a traffic light.”

.   T'Lin let out a small breath and said, “Hmm …€… I guess that is similar to …€… unlocking it? But, how do I …€…” she trailed off as she began to fiddle with her tricorder, hoping to find a way to actually open the door.

.   Patterson glanced at Riedinger. “I hope you're scanning everything, Aaron. Any data we can get is worth the mission.”

.   Riedinger caressed his moustache and answered, “I am, Colonel. But, as I said, the electrical signals are too small, I cannot conclude anything now without a more detailed study and with more time …€Â“ and less pressure!” he added.

.   K'Trevala's eyes returned to their normal focus and he said, “We've got company coming inside of a few minutes.”

.   T'Lin said, “Somehow, I doubt that is a welcoming party.”

.   K'Trevala shook his head. “They are coming straight for this airlock, T'Lin, and it's a bunch from a Kyrathian freighter.”

.   Patterson looked at K'Trevala, the holographic skull in the visor of his helmet a bit unsettling. “A few minutes?” He turned to T'Lin, “T'Lin, we've got ten seconds. Get it open or move out of the way.” He turned again, “Price, get a charge on that door.”

.   T'Lin renewed her efforts with her tricorder and said simply, “I am, sir.”

.   K'Trevala again got the far-away look, but it quickly cleared and he turned the Patterson again, “Colonel, the Captain says we need to be back at the Zephyr in three minutes and get the heck out of here!”

.   A mere second or two later there was a sudden hiss as the inner door opened. Beyond there are red lights flickering along the inside walls. T'Lin announced, “Success, Colonel,” she unplugged her cable and headed for the door, “Let us move.”

.   Riedinger noticed the red lights and speculated, “One thing we learned from this mission: they use the colors of the lights inverted.”

.   The Android replied, “I don't think they're inverted, Aaron. The green light was …€Â˜access open'. The red lights …€… …€Â˜intruder alert'?”

.   Riedinger gaped at him, “But …€… we only open a couple of doors!”

 

.   K'Trevala announced, “Relok and my communications have gotten noticed by the bugs. We'd better get out while we can. Sorry, y'all.”

.   T'Lin comforted him, “Not your fault, Shadow, they needed to be updated.”

.   K'Trevala shrugged. “I know, but still …€…” he trailed off.

.   Patterson nodded, raising his rifle and checking his sector. He tapped his commbadge, “Patterson to Darmok, we're in. Video feed from my helmet coming to your display with continuous audio. ETA, three minutes.”

.   T'Lin said, “Where can we find the nearest node, I have an idea!”

.   The Android shoved past the Marines and T'Lin to get a look down the corridors, his reflexes faster than human. “There!” he pointed, “that's an obvious node, look at all the plant tendrils! Watch for spores!”

.   Patterson turned to Price, “Price, get charges set on the internal and external airlock hatches, they might try to seal us in.” He tapped his commbadge, “Zephyr, Carter, keep the engines warm. If we're not back on board in three minutes, burn the hatch and run without us. That's an order.”

.   Carter's voice came back, “Aye, Colonel. Three minutes to departure, with or without you. Zephyr out.”

.   Patterson turned back to his team, “Mouser, Longshanks, take the left, weapons free. Nottingham, stay with the Ambassador. Go!”

 

.   T'Lin headed for the node the Android had indicated, treading carefully. She spoke to K'Trevala who moved with her, “Shadow, you made a smart decision. We could not have known they could feel your telepathy.”

.   K'Trevala answered, “I was hoping that we'd be lost in the background …€Â˜chatter', but, it was not to be.” As he said this, a tiny, moth-like creature fluttered around a corner from the direction the Android, T'Lin, and K'Trevala had gone, one of the Tender class of the Kyrathian insectoids.

.   T'Lin grabbed the rod she carried at her hip. With a quick press of a release and a twist, it extended into a full-sized spear which she swung at the Tender. In nearly the same instant, the Android with his inhuman reflexes had leveled his WAR rifle, taken aim, and fired. The moth sizzled to ash in an instant. The Android announced, “We've been seen!”

.   T'Lin nodded, “Nice shot, Ambassador! We must move much more quickly.”

.   Riedinger checked his tricorder readings. “I'm reading a higher current flow, how much closer to the node tendrils I scan.”

.   The Android pointed, “The node, T'Lin, quickly! By the way, nice spear. Where the heck did it come from?”

.   Patterson shoved the Ambassador forward, “Move, move! Get to that node and get a scan, quickly!” He turned and called over his shoulder, “Price! Get those charges rigged up! Longshanks, cover Price! Mouser, with me!”

.   Price announced, “Charges at the airlock are in place!” He moved with the other Marines in the other direction to secure the hallway.

.   T'Lin reached the node, immediately pulling the cable from the bottom of her tricorder and plugged it into the node, desperately trying to find a way to download any data from the node she could. Blue and purple splotches of light pulsed and flickered across her tricorder, seemingly at random. K'Trevala peered nervously over her shoulder and Patterson kneeled behind her, tapping the small of her back to let her know he was there. He kept his rifle aimed down the hallway as he said, “Nottingham, cover three formation, take three o'clock, Mouser, take nine.”

.   T'Lin said, “Aaron, come here and see what I'm seeing. Colonel, step away, if only for a moment. I'm not risking the possibility of spores killing you.”

.   Riedinger reached the node and glanced at the hanging plant tendrils. “Colonel, I think it would be good to cut a couple of these tendrils to analyze in the Darmok.”

.   Patterson reached with his left hand and grabbed his combat knife, handing it over to Riedinger. “Do it quickly, Aaron. T'Lin, do what you gotta do, I'm a Marine first, being a …€… shit!” He cursed, “Supressive fire!”

.   A huge Kyrathian beetle-like insectoid rounded the corner from where the moth had come. It was a Gatherer. K'Trevala instinctively fired his phaser at the monster, but it's thick armored shell absorbed the heavy stun setting with no apparent affect. T'Lin called out, “We've got company!”

 

.   Price was a dozen or more feet away down the hallway in the other direction. He turned to look just in time to see K'Trevala's ineffective shot. “Use a heavier setting!” He adjusted the settings on his own phaser up to “Kill” accordingly.

.   Riedinger turned to look at T'Lin's call, “Oh! What is that!”

.   T'Lin continued to work, nearly frantic. She spoke as she did, “Colors, patterns, information we need. And THAT,” she gestured towards the Gatherer without turning her head, “would most likely be a Gatherer.”

.   Riedinger cursed in his native Spanish, “Merde!” He tried throwing some pesticidal Sevin dust at the thing in desperation.

.   Adam reported, “That IS a Gatherer! They can rip open metal walls with their bare hands …€… or claws …€… or whatever!”

.   Patterson raised his WAR rifle, dropping his combat knife next to Aaron. He fired several rapid burst into the Gatherer's chest. The thing lurched slightly, as if the warp-accelerated projectiles had merely caused flesh wounds. Patterson shouted, “Price! Blow it!”

.   The Gatherer suddenly rushed towards the cluster of the Android, T'Lin, K'Trevala, Riedinger, Patterson, and Nottingham just as Riedinger cut a few tendrils, stowed them in a sample case, and lifted his phaser towards the Gatherer. T'Lin dropped her scanner. “Aaron, finish that download!” She grabbed her spear and stabbed at the Gatherer as hard as she could.

.   T'Lin's spear punctured the beast's hard shell, and lodged there. It twisted, lifting T'Lin from the floor and flinging her into the wall, dislodging the spear in the process, and likely giving the Vulcan a concussion as well. She muttered, “Stab it with my spear, then fire where the shell is pierced.” She turned her head. “Oh, hello, wall, how are you?”

.   K'Trevala followed Riedinger's lead, setting off a “bug bomb” right in front of the Gatherer, releasing an insecticidal gas. Riedinger dropped his phaser and grabbed T'Lin's scanner, still plugged into the node, muttering, “Rapido, rapido!”

.   Patterson, kneeling on the floor, raised his rifle and took careful aim at the large compound eyes on the thing's head. As the thing is at least partially blinded, the Android ducks, moving blindingly fast, to grab T'Lin and drag her away from the enormous monster. She gazed at the Android, her eyes still somewhat glazed, “Hello, sir! Are you injured?” But eventually, as her head cleared she called to Riedinger, “Aaron, turn the knob on the top left and punch in the numbers 2296073!”

.   Riedinger entered the combination then called back, “Nothing happened! Only the download was paused!”

.   T'Lin called back, “Alright, now type in G7Q0LP6U!”

.   Patterson shouted at the Android, “Adam! Simultaneous shot on that puncture where T'Lin's spear hit, it's all we've got left!”

.   But they didn't get the chance. Nottingham jumped to his feet and leaped onto the monstrous beast, stabbing at it with his combat knife into what might be called its shoulders. He shouted, “Go! Run!”

 

.   The Gatherer bucked as Nottingham clung to his knife on its back. It reached up with one of its massive claws and grabbed Nottingham, and suddenly crushed the man's skull like a rotten grapefruit! Patterson cried out, “Nottingham!” and cursed loudly. He grabbed Aaron, jerking him to his feet, “Get to the shuttle! Time's up!” He called to the others, “Fire in the hole!”

.   K'Trevala decided on a different tactic. He called to his Shayana, his wing-brother, the Vulcan, Relok, on the bridge of the Darmok, …‰ÂˆRel, back me up!…‰Âˆ and with the support of his friend summoned a mental blast and aimed it at the Gatherer, hoping to disrupt their telepathic link …€… or something! The monster began to convulse violently, flinging Nottingham's lifeless body down the corridor in the process.

.   The Android noticed that the team had not yet moved. “Go! Get out! Aaron, T'Lin, get out, that's an order!”

.   Riedinger disconnected the scanner, noting he had a 47% download. “Ok, sir! Good luck!” He turned and sprinted for the door, saying, “Sorry, T'Lin, no time!” K'Trevala grabbed T'Lin and carried her towards the shuttle. T'Lin had just enough time to grab her spear when she saw the other one.

.   As Riedinger, K'Trevala, and T'Lin reached the airlock door, beyond them, where Price, Mouser, and Longshanks were holding the other end of the hallway, a Kyrathian Soldier appeared. T'Lin shouted, “Price, Mouser, DROP!”

.   Her aim was true, the spear hit the Soldier, but bounced off its armor. Mouser turned just in time, and lunged at it with his combat knife, plunging it into the softer part of its belly. As he did, he grabbed a grenade from his belt, calling out, “Sergeant! Tell my wife I love her!” He pulled the pin and shoved the grenade into the hole he'd made with his knife.

.   Price fired at the Soldier, shouting, “You bastards! You killed Nottingham!” His phaser on kill settings was punching burning holes in the Soldier's armor but not much else. He started towards it when Patterson caught his shoulder, “No, Sergeant! Get to the shuttle, that's an order! Make sure everyone gets on board!” They could hear the faint ticking of Mouser's grenade.

.   T'Lin very uncharacteristically swore as she scooped up her spear from the floor and along with K'Trevala and Riedinger ducked through the airlock, followed by the Android. Patterson dragged Price through as Longshanks leaped through himself. The grenade exploded, along with the several he'd had on his combat armor, sending shrapnel and flying Kyrathian …€Â“ and human …€Â“ body parts.

.   Patterson shouted over the din, “Price! Blow the charges! Everyone brace for rapid depressurization!” He tapped his commbadge, “Carter! Engines to full! This is gonna hurt!”

.   Riedinger protested, “But …€… there are still men out there!”

.   It was the Doctor, K'Trevala, who said softly, “Get in there, Aaron. Sometimes some will sacrifice themselves for the rest of the party.”

.   Prices charges fired, blasting open the outer airlock. The pressure in the station bled out into the Zephyr, carrying the Away Team, along with pieces of airlock and wall covering. People bounced off of walls, panels, and each other. The emergency door hissed shut behind them as Carter punched the tiny ship immediately to full impulse, and mere seconds later, jumped to warp speed.

.   TO BE CONTINUED!


   
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