Bug Hunt – Stirring the hive.
by HoD Ro' Matlh & Beq Marcus Quexana & Sogh Germite Ephilom & Soghla' HIchop Matlh & Soghla' Terri (Tell) Hope & Soghla' Jared & Soghla' Marie St. Helene

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Post Details

Title   Stirring the hive.
Mission   Bug Hunt
Author(s)   HoD Ro' Matlh & Beq Marcus Quexana & Sogh Germite Ephilom & Soghla' HIchop Matlh & Soghla' Terri (Tell) Hope & Soghla' Jared & Soghla' Marie St. Helene
Posted   Mon May 13, 2013 @ 11:03am
Location   Bridge
Timeline   Hours after leaving Iapetus.
Ro' Walked onto the bridge, closely followed by Jared. He was beaming wildly, which was never a good sign if you had come to know him. The junior crew were negotiating their way through the final stages of an asteroid field. Ro' dropped into his chair to watch as Jared adjusted some settings on the sensors. The faint image of the vehicle they were tracking began to become a slightly darker purple blur, easier to identify and follow.

Ro' glanced back at him and Ro's grinned broadened. He pressed a chime on the side of is chair and announced over the ships intercom, "All Officers report to the Bridge."

Marcus stood at the helm station, keeping watch and making corrections as needed. He'd never been fond of flying, preferring the usually more relaxed post of Navigation which allowed more time for reflection and more opportunity to use the sensors to study nearby phenomena. And this Klingon vessel, built for stealth and durability rather than ease of handling, was more demanding than most ships he'd crewed on. With far fewer computer controlled systems, constant vigilance and ongoing minor adjustments were required.

Still, displaced as he was, he found he was most comfortable in the pilot's station on this new ship. It was where the Captain had placed him and he understood the job well enough to do it satisfactoraly, at least. For now, this was his place.

The Fhew's chief engineer walked onto the bridge and the door refused to close behind her. She kicked a small spot on the frame and it hissed closed. No matter how many times she had repaired it it still had moments when it refused to work. Damn door she thought It only does it to me.

Tell went to her engineering station and transferred engine room power to the bridge. She turned and saw the new Flyboy at the helm. Another lamb to the slaughter

"Engineering ready Cap'n" Tell said as she walked up to Ro's side "Think our new recruit at the helm will be able to fly the old bird?"

Ro' glanced over his shoulder at the human standing at the Helm control. He shrugged and looked past him at Tell, "If not you get his job. So make sure he doesn't die."

Marcus bristled at this exchange. He disliked being talked around, but mastered his initial desire to snap out a sharp retort. He needed to get to know this new enviornment better before asserting himself too strongly.

What he did not realise is that Ro' had done him a favour. By naming Tell as the next in line for the role, he had asserted that only she had the right to remove him for incompetance in his role. this saved him from a number of potentially lethal fights while he got established.

Tell muttered something as she made her way back to her station which Ro' was unable to decipher but it went something like, "I'm a bloody engineer not a flaming babysitter," with a few expletives thrown in for good measure. Ro' would have liked to think it was aimed more at Marcus than himself as he heard his name mentioned more than once.

Marie heard and felt a thud resonate down the passage. Ah, Tell’s on the Bridge she thought. Les plus de truc remplacer , les plus de ils tenir les mêmes. (The more things change, the more they stay the same.) She pulled up abruptly. “What is it with me?” First I speak fluent Latin, now French. I can understand the latter, sort of. I learnt it on Nouvelle Nouvelle Caladonie as part of 'cultural heritage' lessons. I remember hating them! Anyway, that was French unlike any I ever learnt. That was proper French, not the debased dialect that was forced out of my throat.

She hit the open button with enough force to give the door second thoughts about pulling any tricks on her. On seeing the newbie, her mouth started to open. She closed it with a snap. She wasn’t about to risk any more foreign languages emerging.

Tell was surprised to see Marie there. She didn't think that the Quartermaster would be up and about for ages. She was pleased to see her friend, though Marie did look a bit rough around the edges. She hadn't seen Marie look this bad before even after one of their drunken binges.

"So, Marie, back from the dead then?"

Death is the seed from which I grow,” Marie quoted in reply. This is getting scary, she thought. I don't even know where that came from. I'm damn sure I never read it anywhere. At that moment an answering voice sounded in her head. William S. Burroughs. Now she was really freaked out!

Tell took a long hard look at her. "This isn't like you, Marie. Come on, snap out of it."

Marie glared at the engineer. “You think I like it,” she snarled.

"Have it your own way then," the engineer replied.

Marie stood stock still, abashed. That was Tell she’d just snarled at: Tell whom she got drunk with; Tell she laughed with; Tell who was the stuff of her secret dreams. Tell who was her only friend on this rust-bucket. Her head dropped. “I’m sorry,” she mumbled.

She forced her head back up. “I’m sorry, Tell,” she repeated. “That was uncalled for.”

Tell turned round to face Marie, a small tight smile formed on the engineer's lips. "You see, the Marie I know would never apologise. She would have rather have picked a fight and laugh about it later while we got drunk. I don't know what's going on with you but sort it. OK?"

A short, sharp right jab caught Tell square on the jaw. “Satisfied?” Marie asked. Gods alive, you try to be nice to people....

Tell rubbed her jaw and grinned. "That's more like it, Marie, " she said and punched her in the shoulder in return. "Let's have a drink later."

Marie turned in a huff, greeting 'Ro with her customary grunt as she moved across to her station.

Germite stepped onto the bridge. He wasn't sure why Ro' wanted him on the bridge, but knew better than to argue with him.

Hichop made his way back to the bridge. On the way he was sure he heard another voice... or something familiar but not sounding the same. He didn't pay any attention to it. He was wondering about the injured ship.

Ro' saw that most of the officers were on the bridge now so he rose from his chair and turned to address them.

"It seems our insect wanderer has a name; Jared called them the Iky-thoids."

"Icthoids," Jared amended quietly. Ro' ignored him.

"I knew a band once called The Icthoids," they heard Tell say. "They were a one hit wonder. Took a tour round some god forsaken system; never heard from them again." No one answered her. "Probably doesn't help things."

"Apparently they see us as something of a minor threat, yet they are running home to mother even as we speak. Jared tells me he can find a frequency which will match the shield frequencies of this individual craft. I intend to make it aware that we are MORE than just a minor inconvenience. And I want that to happen at a point where their mother ship can observe and learn to fear the Klingon people."

"Jared, when you have the frequency, provide it to HoS. Tell, stand by to divert power to weapons on my command. Marie, take over helm, I don't want any slip ups from an untrialled crewman. Markus, take navigation and get us safely through that approaching asteroid field."

"Aye Cap'n," replied Tell.

One quick stride took Marie to Helm from where she was. Illic est alter asteroid agri, she whispered in Marcus’ ear. (There’s a second asteroid field.)

Marcus yielded the Helm with a nod to Marie.

" Gratias ago tibi, mi domina," he replied, (Thank you, my Lady) matching her low tones without quite understanding why such a message need be covert.

Moving down to the Navigation station, he pulled up the charts and plotting screen. Oddly, there was only one asteroid field in the navigational database, which they had just passed through.

"Great," he thought. "Nothing makes Navigation more fun than bad charts." So it was to be seat of the pants, was it? OK, he could do that. Minimizing the navigation database, he reconfigured that side of the console to a Sciences survey configuration and tapped in a request for access to the forward long range sensor array.

The advantage of Klingon bridge consoles is they are designed to by interchangable. If a station explodes any other station can be modified to its function. Calling up sciences, however...

The strange little furry man whom the Klingons referred to as Jared, and kept on the sensors, was some kind of savant. The sensors were performing at a ridiculous level, scanning for energy signals that the Federation haven't even heard of. However, sensor activity was a low priority at this point and already given to navigation. Making adjustments, he began to scan for a second field. Sure enough, he soon got an echo back of many tiny points. He was not sure he could understand Jared's displays though.

HIchop frowned and leaned in closer to Ro', "If we are dealing with an insect type life form then it may stand to reason that they work more like insects."

"Did someone say insects?" asked Tell. "I hate insects."

Tell had a sudden vision of when a spider bit her some time ago. Now the thought of them made her flesh crawl. The Klingons had used her then as some kind of aperitif. Goddamn nasty things, and so were the insects.

Ro' glanced at his first officer, "Go on."

"We only found one ship which would suggest a scout. Its job is it get back to the hive with directions to where it came from and what it found. We should be ready for many, many ships," Hichop said.

"A swarm?" Ro' considered. They would need something to mask their presence. Such as hidding in the asteroid belt ahead of us."

HIchop turned to Markus, "Navigation, The asteroid field we are coming up to; is it on any mapping of this area?"

"Negative, my Captain." Marcus replied, "Looks like we'll be navigating it seat-of-the-pants."

Jared's voice came quavering, "Um... I... they're.... The sensor grid that is detecting them is not the mass spectrometer... Its the Bio-catalytic enhancer."

"English," Ro' growled. "I have had quite enough alien languages."

Jared tried again, "Those are not rocks. They are life forms. Thousands of them, ranging from a few meters to maybe a kelicam across."

'Life forms...' Marcus thought, looking at the scans again. He had been focused on the data points needed for his task: positions, directiona and speed of movement. It hadn't even occurred to him to wonder about how the data was coming in.

'Thousands...' he thought, then his thoughts found voice.

"By the Gods..."

Hichop yells, "HELM, REVERSE COURSE!"

Marie heard someone yelling but someone – something – far more imperative was singing to her. She heard all those lovely, soothing voices again. She saw an intricate dance being played out in front of her; a dance that spoke of directions and distances and what lay out there beyond the stars. It spoke of worlds by their thousands, all ripe for the plucking. It spoke of resources with which to gestate new Queens and build new hives.

It spoke not of conquest or glory, just of a single minded concern that the hive grow and renew and grow again that their species might thrive in all the vastness of the galaxy.

Most importantly it spoke to her. It called to her; called her to join them, to be part of them. Now she realised she had known all along that it was not a second field. She'd known they waited for her. They had revealed their presence to her and to her alone. She swelled with pride at the thought.

And all the while they sang. It was alluring; she knew what Odysseus heard when bound to the mast while the sirens sang.


Marcus wasn't sure who had called out. For all he knew, it might have been him. All he knew was that the Helm wasn't answering as they hurtled toward that huge swarm of...whatever. Turning, he left the Nav station and rushed back toward the Helm.

Hichop moved forward and grabbed Marie with one hand on her shoulder and threw her to the back of the Bridge, "You are relieved. Marcus, GET US OUT OF HERE".

Tell raced over to Marie and pulled her to her feet. The Quartermasters eyes were totally vacant as if the occupier of her body had stepped out for a short while.

"Marie," Tell whispered suddenly so very worried about her friend. She shook her gently but there was no response. Tell let her slide to the floor and leaned her against the bulkhead for support then returned to her station.

Reaching the now vacated helm console, Marcus pulled up manual thruster control as he cut main engine power to one percent. He reallly wished B'rel helms had chairs.

"Hang on!" he called out, then fired the forward thrusters full power. Fingers dancing on the manual control display, he rotated the ship representation, triggering thrusters in sequenct to pitch up the nose sharply. Then, cutting the forward thrusters he 'walked' back along the ventral ones, keeping maximum thrust forward as the ship rotated. He felt his stomach roll and his balance waver as the artificial gravity strained to compensate for the sudden shift in orientation.

When the nose was near vertical relative to thier original course, he rotated the ship on it's centerline, still keeping thrusters facing toward the swarm at maximum power, then dropped the nose again. When he had completed a near 180 degree rotation, he switched from manual thruster control to an engine and power performance display as he brought the main engines back up to full, watching for any spikes or glitches during the rapid acceleration.

Between being thrown against the bulkhead and being tossed around by the pitch and roll of the ship, something snapped in Marie’s brain. She couldn’t hear the voices any more but she felt no loss; rather, she felt a clarity she had not experienced in a long time.

She took in the scene on the bridge in an instant: Tell displaying her usual persona of calm but Marie could see the tension in her muscles; ‘Ro standing firm like a rock in the churning waters of a river in flood; Hichop rising to the occasion as he always did in a crisis; Jared reading, analysing and assessing reams of information as if it was a single page on a book. Then there was Germite looking lost in an environment where he had no role to play.

At Helm.... At Helm was someone she did not know but someone who struck a chord in her. She remembered gallantry; she remembered a nobility of spirit. She remembered conversations in another language; one which was long dead. She thrust that all aside. Her ship needed her and here she was, lying on her back.

She pushed herself up then checked herself. For all the sense of confusion, the crew was coping. They didn’t need her. That came like a blow to her guts; they didn’t need her!

"Marie," Tell called to her. "Stay there."

She surveyed the bridge again. Something was wrong. ‘Ro’s back was slightly hunched where it was normally ramrod straight; Hichop was not only yelling, spittle was being sprayed, such was the force of his words; there was a very slight hesitation as Jared’s fingers flew between the sensor readouts; Tell was wiping sweat from her brow where normally she would ignore it.

It was all her fault. Marie didn’t know why but she knew this was true. Not knowing why, she didn’t know how to recify...whatever she’d done wrong. Yet she could not just lie there. If nothing else, if they survived this ‘Ro’s payback would be far worse than being blown up.

Marie ignored Tell. After all, she told herself, isn’t that what you always do? She scrambled up and moved over to Helm.

No rectus procul lemma. Nihil est ipsi expectant., she said. (Fly straight towards them. It’s the last thing they’ll expect.) She hadn’t meant to use those words but somehow it seemed the right thing to do.

Fides mihi, she added. (Trust me.) Yes, using this language was right for the man at the Helm but where before it had been someone else putting words in her head, now the words came to her of themselves.

Marcus glanced at the woman. She seemed sincere enough, but he was hardly in a position to comply.

"Coeptus, domina mea, ut non elit (Apologies, my Lady, but that is not my decision)." he said, " Non hic imperare.(I do not command here)."

Verto vox nonaginta quinque inhonestus, (Turn right ninety five degrees.) she said, struggling with a language which did not encompass the concepts she needed.

The FHew was not going where it had to. Iacta in naso per decem inhonestus! (Drop the nose by ten degrees.) she yelled. Ut est qua Regina est. (That is where the Queen is.)

Ro' glanced over his shoulder and growled, "Get the shields up, Marie, if you are able."

Hichop didn't understand why Ro' would give any orders to her, however this time if she failed to respond it would not be a gentile throw putting her down. Hichop was giving to the count of 5 before he would pull his disrupter. "One" he said to himself.

From Ro's point of view, however, Marie had not disobeyed his order, so there was no issue to be had. HIchop would sort out his own chain of command issues in time.

Marie was busy trying to make the new boy do as she said. She heard ‘Ro but it did not register. She was still trying to formulate a new command when she heard a muttered word: “Four”. Only one voice sounded like that and it could mean only one thing. With time against her, she struggled to remember what had been said.

“Bringing up shields,” she confirmed. Thank the gods for tiny Klingon bridges, she thought as she ducked across to Tactical. “Shields up. Now get that nose down. The only way to defeat these creatures is to take out their Queen. She controls everything.”

"Have you completely lost your mind, Marie," Hichop growled. "Even normal insects release pheromones when they die. Each one of those bugs out there will try to kill us well before we could get to the queen and even if we did succeed in killing the queen I imagine she is going to put out one big 'Get Em Boys' type signal. We would be bringing down all manner of hell on ourselves". Hichop turned to Ro', "Sir, we should find somewhere to", Hichop paused, "hide".

“Once maybe, millenia ago,” Marie replied, “when they were still primitive and lived in nests underground. Even then, they detected enemies when they cleaned workers with their feet before allowing them into the nest. Nowadays.... Now they’re sealed inside a tin can breathing filtered, recycled air. They have as much chance of smelling our pheromones as we have of smelling theirs and, believe me, that’s a good thing as far as our sense of smell is concerned.

“Anyway, in case you hadn’t noticed, they’ve already decided we’re enemies."

“As for the Queen, when she dies the hive falls apart. She can put out as many signs as she likes: until the hive gets a new Queen they’ll be no better than an unco-ordinated rabble. They’ll be flying blind with not a clue what to do next.”

"Enough!" Ro' bellowed cutting the two short. "Primary objective is retrieve the dead bodies. They are in the Hold. Secondary objective is to identify the attacker. This we have done. Tertiary objective is to remain alive. While I commend your spirit in wishing to attack, Marie, if we fail, we would instantly fail all objectives, and that is unacceptable."

"Marie, get the cloak up. Markus, Mkae for the Asteroid belt we just came through. HIchop find us somewhere to hide while the fleet pass us. Tell, get ready to cut all power to everything. We will breath shallow if we have to. I don't want a light bub to register as they pass us. We are to become one with the rocks. Jared, find a way to cut teh signal from Marie. I don't want them detecting her. Germite, break out the heavy EVA armour. We may need to breath bottled air for a while."

He looked around at the group, who were having trouble accepting that this was Ro' choosing to run and hide, "Any questions? Go!"


OOC: Feel free to add things into Marie's latest contribution. It's written as if she's allowed to intervene as she wants but I doubt that would be the case.