Lest we forget... – Ground Zero
by Soghla' Jared & HoD Ro' Matlh & Soghla' Terri (Tell) Hope

Previous EntryNext Entry
Post Details

Title   Ground Zero
Mission   Lest we forget...
Author(s)   Soghla' Jared & HoD Ro' Matlh & Soghla' Terri (Tell) Hope
Posted   Thu Oct 28, 2010 @ 10:54pm
Location   The Research Core
Timeline   Not long till sunset
Jared could hear the sounds of Ro's team outside the door. Their timing might work out just right, he thought.

He checked the displays again. Rings at 3750rpm. Interface-wall at -79% probability. Darkmass at 73i kg. No dynamic credit on this system, so no need to worry about that.

Yes. They'd be through the door in a minute or two, which would work out just about right...

... except something wasn't right. There was something niggling at Jared's mind. Something that he should be accounting for, but wasn't.

He thought for a moment.

It was Ro'. That was what was bugging him. It was Ro's team outside the door, and Ro' was too good to be predictable. Which meant if Jared was thinking he was outside the door about to burst in, he'd almost certainly be...

Jared dived to the side. A moment later a disrupter burst hit the panel he'd been working on, searing through the space he'd just vacated. The energy seemed to seeth over the panel, and then flow away somewhere.

Jared peeked out slightly from behind the panel he'd dived behind, and hazarded a wave at Ro', who stood with his disruptor leveled and smoking slightly.

The others got their first look at the room as they entered behind the captain - a room full of noise, light, and rushing air.

The chamber was large - probably thirty meters across - circular, and had a sort of "mission control" kind of feel to it. Desks and data terminals were arranged in concentric circles around the middle of the chamber. And in the center...

There was a ring of data terminals around the raised dais, and it was these that Jared had been on. On the dais, something was moving incredibly fast - so fast it was hard to make out exactly what. It seemed to be a series of massive, ornate concentric crystal rings of some sort - the largest perhaps five meters in diameter. Each ring seemed to have another spinning inside it on a different axis, so the inner rings were simply a translucent blur. And inside the innermost ring...

It looked for all the world like a sphere of water - crystal clear, transparent, and rippling gently. It didn't seem to glow exactly, but there was a brightness around it that was hard to explain. It hung in the middle of the rings like gravity had no meaning for it. As they watched, it pulsated - expanding outwards a few centimeters and then gently sinking back. It continued to do so every few seconds - not generating any sound, but putting out a sort of subsoninc throb that could be felt in the stomach. And inside the shimmering surface of the sphere...

...there was something black. Something indestinct, that... seethed. Something awful.

It was hard to explain exactly. It was like that moment in a dream where the dreamer simply knows that what they're seeing is utterly dreadful and malevolent. Something about the dark shape just gave each of them a lump in their stomachs. A feeling like someone was shreiking in horror, just on the very edge of hearing.

The room was filled with the hum of machinery, the sound of moving air, and an odd, many-toned keening sound from the crystal rings.

"Hello captain! Welcome." Jared called warily from his cover position behind a terminal.

"Jared," Ro' responded sending a greeting bolt of disruptor fire into the air where Jared's head had been.

"Incredible isn't it? The most advanced peice of technology the Miletians ever developed. Unfortunately also the last thing they ever developed because they were desperate enough to use it."

Another panel splintered as Jared leapt away.

"Inside that sphere is a completely different universe. Not just another dimension, or a parallel universe. Inside that sphere, Pi equals three, toast lands butter-side-up, and gravity works on a two thirds majority vote. Or something like that."

Ro' stopped firing for a moment. Science didn't interest him in the slightest, but something about the dark space in the centre gnawed at his warrior spirit.

"What is that thing, Jared?"

"That? That... is the angel of death. It's like ...congeiled mortality, with a sort of hazy sentience thrown in."

"I can't really explain it much beyond that. I don't exactly understand it myself, because according to the rules of our universe it can't possibly exist. That's why it's in there. But I can tell you that's what happened to this world. In one moment, every living thing in this solar system - everything from people to fifty foot trees right down to bacteria - it all got swallowed up by that thing. Or another one just like it - it's hard to say."

"The Miletians had built it as a deterrant. An ultimate solution frightening enough to keep anyone from trying to take their homeworld. Their attackers figured they didn't have the courage to use it, knowing it would kill them at the same time. The Miletians in the bunker here decided that nothing could possibly be worse than their enemies enslaving them and capturing this thing. So they turned it on, and both sides lost the war at the same moment."

He hazarded another glance over the terminal, to see if Ro was still aiming at him.

Ro's disruptor was still pointed at Jared's position, but he was facing the giant crystal rings.

"This is why you came here," he said quietly, "This is why you tried to kill us. This weapon. You wanted it for yourself. A weapon that kills everything. But Vetus are immortal, so you would go on living. With this you could conquer the universe."

Jared smiled. Just like Ro' to fill in the blanks - in his own special way.

"I know what happened here, Jared" Tell told him "She" and Tell pointed to her head "Told me all about it, her history, her hopes and her fears. She was expecting a baby when all this happened, she knew their end would come. Don't repeat it."

"What can I say?" Jared called back. "I didn't even realise there were any of these things left in the Galaxy. I only found out this one was still here a few days ago on DS7. And... well let's just say the chap who told me won't be using it any time soon."

He very gently reached around the data panel he was hiding behind, tapping a few keys - watching carefully all the time that Ro's eyes stayed fixed on the shimmering shape at the centre of the room.

"It's not quite the galaxy's deadliest weapon. But it's out of the league of anything the empires at the moment have. Klingon, Romulan, Federation... one of these could bring them all to their knees!"

He finished fidding with the panel, and ducked back down behind it again.

"The power to instantly erase all life from an entire solar system, leaving all the weapons, technology and resources intact? And all that from something you could fit in a cloaked B'rel's hold? Yeah... you can't tell me that doesn't have a certain heady attraction to it."

A moment later there was the burbling sound of a speaker anouncing something in Miletian. To Ro's ears it was incomprehensible, but Tell's suit duly translated for her.

"Warning. Coolant Pressure Overload in Condute B17. Safety Overrides Offline."

Tell glanced over at Ro', the HUD on her suit translating the Miletian text on signs and walls. It was the creaking of the pipe behind Ro that drew her attention to it, but it only took a moment to notice her suit had overlayed the text "B17" on the pipe's label. The pipe began to flash read on her display, and show an explosive hazard warning.

"Jared, its not safe," Tell pleaded. "What ever it is you are trying to do here it won't work. Your endangering all of us including yourself. For God's sake switch it off and lets get out of here and forget about this."

Tell turned to Ro' sharply "RO' Get out of the way NOW!" she yelled at him "This pipes going to blow"

There was a screeching tear of metal and pipe B17 erupted in steam and flame engluffing everything near it. After a moment the deadly plume resolved itself into a thin stream of super heated steam. Ro' was nowhere to be seen.

Jared peered carefully around the panel, even now unwilling to expose himself, "You still with us, Captain?"

He was answered by a volley of disruptor fire from Ro' who was now pinned behind the steaming gas.

"Kill him!" He barked at Tell and the Beq.

Hearing her orders, Tell slipped the Klingon chuHwI' from her wrist and into the palm of her hand. It felt good in her fingers, she preferred her knifes to the disruptor for some reason they felt more real more personal. She took aim..... and let it fly.

The Klingon Warrior immediately holstered his disruptor and pulled a long Mek'leth blade from his belt. He ducked under the railing on the gantry, and dropped on to a data-terminal underneath - which cracked, sputtered and died as he landed on it. He moved to engage Jared in hand to hand while Tell tried to get a clean shot at him.

Damn it thought Tell. She almost killed the Beq when he suddenly moved. Her blade had only just narrowly missed him. It did succeed however in cutting his hair shorter by six inches and then ended up in the wall with the hair attached. He showed no outward signs of it bothering him, accept maybe a slight flinch, but she might stay out of his way for a while.

As the Beq slipped between two terminals and lunged towards Jared, the TiQ rolled deftly out of the way. As the warrior lunged again, he jumped back - leaping up onto a data terminal with effortless agility.

It wasn't about training for the Vetus. Jared had been trained to fight a hundred times, and had forgotten most of it. But there was muscle memory - his body still remembered how to move. And long years of watching fight after fight taught you how enemies moved. You could see them forecasting their blows by their stance, their footing, the flow of their muscles.

Jared kept moving, just one step ahead of the Beq's wide swings. The Klingon Marine was a good warrior, but new to the F'Hew and unprepared for Jared's deceptive speed and deftness. Each time he swung, Jared seemed to be just out of reach. He was moving back towards the centre of the room, keeping the big Klingon between himself and Tell so she could not get a clean shot.

Tell took another chuHwI' into her hand and took aim once more. More difficult this time the Beq was in and out of the way but she threw the blade cleanly and effortlessly through the air. This time it reached its target. If Jared hadn't turned his head at that precise moment in time he would have been dead as it was she had to make do with taking off half of his right ear.

It was better than nothing and if she had to take him a piece at a time, so be it.

Jared flinched as he felt the blade clip his ear. He didn't break stride, but ajusted his motion to account for the way Tell's knives could arc downwards through the air, over the Beq's head.

He skipped neatly on top of the panel closest to the concentric rings, each move was drawing the warrior closer to the spinning crystals. One final leap and Jared would be on the very lip. Then the Beq or Tell would have to risk hitting the device to get a blow at Jared.

Jared lept nimbly as the Beq's blade passed through empty air behind him. Then there was a stabbing flash of pain, and the world suddenly seemed to spin around him.

He landed heavily on his back, spraining his tail and winding himself. Ro' stood over him, Bat'leth in hand, face burned from leaping through the hot gas. Jared couldn't breathe, let alone move out of the way of Ro's killing blow. Already he could feel blood floowing from the open wound on his side. Probably not fatal yet, but...

Ro' swung the blade into a better grip, "You left yourself open, Jared."

He swung the weapon back behind him to bring a clean killing stroke..

...and then paused, as his eyes narrowing.

"You NEVER leave yourself open."

Jared looked up at him, aware that he was at Ro's mercy.

"Normally there's too much to lose."

Ro' glanced quickly from Jared to the device and back. With this weapon a single Klingon could fly cloaked to the Romulus and eliminate it forever. Another to Earth, or Ferenginar. The entire Cardasian system wiped clean by a lone warrior. And there would be thousands to volunteer. Imagine the honur you would bring to your house to be the one that eliminated the Romulans forever.

There would be fights. People would demand they be given the right to wield the weapon. The Empire would teeter and it would only be a question of time before one faction used this device on another within the Empire.

All this passed through Ro's mind in the briefest of flickers. He realised jared had watched whole civilisations rise and fall in his life and often wondered if there was a point that Jared could see as the begining of the end for those people.

Now Ro' stood at that point, and Jared had brought them here.

With a bellow of effort Ro' brought his blade around in a flat swipe with the full strength of his might behind it.

Straight into the rings.

There was a loud resonant "thwunk", and the end of both Bat'leth blades vanished, snapped off by the impact with the outermost crystal ring. The blade was wrenched out of Ro's hands, almost pulling his arms out of the sockets. It scythed across the room and buried itself in a metal pipe on the edge of the room.

For a pained moment, it seemed to have made no difference at all. Then there was a faint, tinkling splintering sound.

The shimmering outline of the spinning ring was changing slightly - laced now with spiderly lines of sparkling light. The bell-like ringing of the rotating crystal was also taking on a discordant note.

"Everyone down!" Jared shouted. Despite his wound, he managed to get to his feet and leap towards Ro. Normally he would have had little change of overbalancing the heavy warrior, but Ro could see what was coming, and allowed the TiQ's weight to knock him back, and both tumbled over the terminal behind him and landed on the ground behind it.

There was a sound like a grenade in a glass-shop, and the air was suddenly full of shimmering projectiles. Even ducked down on the gantry, Tell's vision briefly flooded with red as the armour registered several dozen projectile impacts, the rattle on her helmet almost deafening. Two meters away a chunk of inner ring twice her size tore a two-foot-wide gash through the gantry and then shattered into a storm of more crystal.

After a few seconds, the last of it had landed, leaving the bulk of the room showered with a glimmering snow of brilliant crystal shards.

Jared and Ro both raised their heads over the destroyed terminal that had sheltered them and looked.

The watery sphere still hovered there in space, pulsating. Inside, the indestinct black shape still lurked. But it was beginning to thrash.

As they watched, the screaming on the edge of hearing grew more intense - without growing any more audible. There seemed to be words in it now. Ideas.

Tell found her mind flooded with flashes of Gerrat in those final moments, as she stood there over his dying form with her fists clenched. Seeing the life drain out of his eyes. Knowing that he was going somewhere he could no longer reach her.

"You owe me!" the shriek seemed to cry.

Ro saw glimpses of his battle conquests - past and future. A thousand bloodstained seconds of blood-burning victory. Rising to glory in battle, this time without digrace waiting at the end.

"You need me!" it seemed to say.

What the screaming voice said to Jared, he never told. But as he stared at the black thing, there was a look of ancient hatred in his eyes.

"You're done here, you bastard. It's over. Just fade away."

The shape writhed and twisted, and suddenly reached out - half like a solar flare erupting, half like a hand grasping towards them - just brushing against the shimmering watery wall, and sending ripples across it's surface.

Then it folded back into itself and faded into blankness, leaving only the empty transparent sphere hanging in space.

Ro' breathed out slowly then looked at the small man on his chest, "You're bleeding on me."

Jared sighed a sigh of relief and stood, falling back against the destroyed terminal with a pained grunt. He grabbed a bundle of old Miletian uniform of a nearby chair, holding it against his wounded side to stanch the blood.

"That's done it now. The device is dead. There's nothing to be afraid of..."


Tell watched as the shimmering sphere pulsed outwards - growing larger than before. The sound of the pulse was louder too - just audible as a resonant throb. The wave of air jolted Jared forward a centimeter or two, stopping him mid sentance and giving him a surprised expression.


It HAD retreated a little before the second pulse, but not as far as it had expanded. The sphere was growing larger with each pulse.


"... uuh... unless the interface reached full strength just before the rings shattered."


This time the shimmering sphere touched the mechanism below it, causing a tortured shower of sparks. As it retreated back, it was clear that the machinery it had touched was simply... gone - leaving a white hot line of metal at the edge of where it had reached.


More of the machinery underneath the sphere was annihilated, bringing another shower of angry sparks from what was left behind. The sphere was one and a half times it's original size now.

"In which case," Jared went on, "it's most definitely time for us to run!"