Cold Realisation – Icy Fingers
by HoD Ro' Matlh & Lieutenant JG Linx Moonshadow & Beq Marcus Quexana & Soghla' Jared & Sogh Germite Ephilom & Soghla' HIchop Matlh & Soghla' Terri (Tell) Hope & Soghla' Marie St. Helene

Previous EntryNext Entry
Post Details

Title   Icy Fingers
Mission   Cold Realisation
Author(s)   HoD Ro' Matlh & Lieutenant JG Linx Moonshadow & Beq Marcus Quexana & Soghla' Jared & Sogh Germite Ephilom & Soghla' HIchop Matlh & Soghla' Terri (Tell) Hope & Soghla' Marie St. Helene
Posted   Thu Aug 22, 2013 @ 12:40am
Location   Maego Engineering
The journey to Engineering was tense. With zero gravity, movements had to be slow and precise, and there was the danger of floating debris tearing at their suit, making a return journey to the FHew impossible. The darkness around them was split only by the limited chemical glow from Jared's flares. Each person felt as if they were in a thick black soup out of which floated the occasional floating circuit, or dead body.

On top of all that was the threat of a near invisible Nihlus. Even though Markus did not fully understand the threat he knew this crew already. They faced down Borg infestation, 6 metre tall beasts, and a fleet of alien warships with barely a murmur. Now they were all scared. What ever these things were, they were serious.

May'Bel told him a little as they moved.

"The Nihus are robots, but more than that," he said.

"The Science officer of our ship - his species doesn't grow old as we do. And he's old. Very old. He told me of them after we last met them. They're more like a plague of locusts, or a virus - one that doesn't need a carrier. Their only purpose is to destroy all life they encounter, starting with the most advanced. And to make more Nihus."

"He said they were once a defence mechanism. But whoever they defended is long gone, and they've been left to run rampant. He said that long ago there were millions of their ships roaming the galaxy in great, unstoppable fleets, and all life was under threat from them."

"So what happened?" asked Tell wondering if there was another way out of the hell hole they were in.

"He didn't say exactly. He... hinted there'd been some sort of... bargain, perhaps?? Then he seemed to think he'd said too much, and would not be drawn to say more."

"Either way... these things are like a plague of soulless slaughter. One ship-full could start the devastation all over again. We need to destroy this place, soon! Even if it takes us with it!"

As the team progressed the carnage became worse. Crewmen tearing at their own limbs or being fired on by colleagues. Then before the heavy bulkhead to engineering a crewman, half covered in the small black metal beetles, his flesh stripped to the bone in various places, still desperately trying to claw the beetles away with hands of bone and tendon.

Marie’s skin crawled. She would have sworn that Nihlus were inside her suit although she knew they were not. Not yet, anyway. That thought brought little comfort. She pushed at a piece of jagged metal floating towards her and was rewarded by being sent back away from Engineering. Seems Newtonian mechanics still works here, if nothing else, she thought caustically.

Damn it! thought Tell I just want to blow up the ship and get the hell out of here. This is the stuff that nightmares are made of. Normally nothing seemed to phase the hard edged engineer but this was not what she had signed up for, it was gross. She quickened her pace and kept her mind focused on what she was going to do next and hardened her soul.

"Marie, next time were on the Klingon home world. I'm going to drink my way into oblivion. I hope you'll join me and not stop me. What's going to be our first drink when we get there?"

“I’ll buy you a pint of Guinness,” Marie replied. “But I will stop you.” She waved her arms to drift closer to Hope. “I have plans for afterward; plans that involve you being sober. least not drop dead drunk anyway. Though I will settle for drop dead gorgeous.”

Tell looked at Marie. "You've been more touched in the head than I thought. We'll bypass the insanity test shall we and just go straight for insane and the white jacket? Besides... oh, hell, there is no other way to tell you this but I have met someone."

“Who? When?” Marie asked. “You haven’t had shore leave in ages. When did you get to do any romancing? Who is she?”

"As if I would tell YOU!" Tell shouted and pushed Marie up against a bulk head. A frozen arm sailed between Tell and Marie and the engineer pushed it aside with such a force that it hit and bounced off the other bulkhead. Because of the suit, Tell couldn't get a grip around Marie's throat. "I would kill you right here and now, OK, and it's not a she!"

“Alright, alright, already,” Marie said, trying to push Hope away. “And you think I’m crazed. Get a grip on yourself.” As a wrestling match this was more fumbling and groping than injury causing. No, don’t think about fumbling and groping, Marie thought. She’s made her position perfectly clear. “Alright, I’ll keep my feelings to myself. But when we get to have that drink, you’re to bring him along. A man who can steal your affections must be someone indeed!” A wicked thought flashed through Marie’s mind; one she could not resist. “I don’t suppose you’d consider sharing...?”

Tell gritted her teeth and tried to get a better grip on Marie. It was enough to send the quartermaster sailing through the air. In normal gravity Tell would have managed to hurt her, but in zero G? Marie just bounced off the wall. Other than cut off Marie's oxygen there was not much damage she could do until she got back to the FHew. But, on second thoughts, maybe cutting off her oxygen supply might be a good idea. At least it would be quiet. "You're the one who needs a man, Marie."

Something malicious was at work in Marie’s mind. Tell was her friend yet here she was baiting the woman unconscionably. And she could not stop. Maybe it was the tense atmosphere in this hell hole that made her do it; maybe it was whatever was floating around inside her that gave her visions; maybe it was rejection. She didn’t know and, right now, she didn’t care. All she could think of doing was plunging the verbal knife deeper and twisting.

“I’ll take that as a yes then, shall I?”

Marie, focused on Tell, was caught offguard as she found herself picked up by the front of the suit and slammed against a wall. Winded, it took her a moment to realize it was May'Bel holding her. Tell allowed herself a momentary feeling of satisfaction at the scene, but it was cut short as she found May'Bel's speargun leveled directly at her face.

"Perhaps we can leave this DOMESTIC" - May'Bel almost spat the word - "until other lives aren't hanging in the balence. IF we get out of this I'll happily watch you two fight it out in the mess. But for right now, drop it. No last words, no parting shots, just DROP IT!"

He glanced between the two of them, waiting for a nod from each. There was a lethal look in his eyes.

Something snapped inside Marie; the thing driving her on released its hold. She looked at Tell and tears came to her eyes. “I’m sorry, Tell, truly sorry. I take back all those hurtful words.”

Tell heard the words and the cry behind the plea and her shoulders sagged. She couldn't speak, she couldn't find the words so instead she reached out and tapped Marie on the shoulder a few times and walked away.

The bulkhead door was heavy, designed to resist forced entry, but it was riddled with holes from the Nhilus. May'bel explained to Markus that each drone had a tiny beam that allowed them to disintegrate any material and recombine it into new Nhilus, or more complicated constructs. HIchop, Markus and Maybel were able, with a little kicking and pushing, to force open what was left of the door dislodging a number of tiny drones to float away into the darkness.

Inside the light played over a confusing scene, backlit by the glowing object in the centre of the room. Much of the ship was untouched, but other areas were covered in dark shiny shapes of black Nhilus forms. There was evidence of the original crew in places, but nothing one would call a body. Larger shapes were scattered among the Nhilus, and it was obvious that they had been building larger, warrior style drones like the ones the crew had faced on the Nhilus Capital ship. Fortunately none of them seemed to be fully completed yet.

In the middle was an object that had to be the engine; a giant crystal suspended by unseen forces. As they watched the faint glow it cast over the room ebbed and grew. This was one of the giant, energy absorbing crystals that powered all Maegeo Technology.

"They did it to themselves," HIchop breathed. "The Borg tech, the Nhilus... it all makes sense. These people were conscripted by the Borg, their ship altered to fight the Nhilus Cube, just as the FHew was. During the fight they must have taken on some of the drones. They found they couldn't stop them so sent their engine critical, drawing all energy out of the ship; electricity, heat, biochemical."

May'Bel nodded.

"Of course. The core is just like all their technology. It draws energy and stores it. So when it overloads, it drains everything in the blast radius of all energy."

Marie watched as a Nhilus drifted towards her. She thought about batting it aside but, at the last moment, decided to dodge it. Just in case, she thought. I don’t want it getting its claws into me.

She felt clammy inside her suit, in a way that was different to the itchiness of imagined Nhilus crawling over her skin. “Is it just me, or is the temperature rising?” she asked of no-one in particular.

Germite looked at her, "No, but our body temperatures are causing the temperature around us to rise just a little bit."

Tiny beads of sweat formed on Tells fore head as she drifted over to the engineering controls. She had already guessed what was happening and the glow just confirmed it.

"There's a power leak that's why its so warm in here." Tell informed them "Sooner or later the engine will loose its containment and energy will just pour itself back out into the ship. We don't want to be around when that happens do we?"

"We need to destroy this place," May'Bel said grimly. "Our coming seems to have stirred things a little, but this ship was a ticking bomb. We need a blast capable of taking out this entire asteroid, alien fleet or no alien fleet. The stakes are too high to worry about our own fates."

“Our coming!” Marie said. She pushed at another floating body part. “Looks to me like it was pretty stirred up long before we got here.”

"A well placed photon might do the job, if we hadn't used them all in the pursuit. We need some of Jared's technical witchcraft. That or..."

He looked slowly up at the glowing core.

"Tell... if that thing is holding all the energy from everything on this entire ship... what kind of blast do you think it would make if it was released all at once?"

"Pfft... a flaming big one," she replied, matter of factly "Probably destroy the whole asteroid if that's what you're thinking."

“Fine,” Marie observed. “Just how I’d always envisaged myself going out; blown to pieces surrounded by gung-ho Klingons, a pyromaniac of an Engineer and crazy little mechanical beetles which are planning to destroy the universe piece by piece. Oh, and throw in brokenhearted for good measure!”

"Piece of cake then." replied Tell

"These things can sense and disable time-bombs, so a timer's no good," May'Bel said. "We're going to need two groups. One stays here with me, rigging this thing to blow with whatever we've got. The other team heads back to the F'Hew and lets them know what's going on. First team gives the second team as much time as we can. Hopefully the F'Hew can power up, teleport extract us, and detonate this core with disruptor-fire. But we'll blow the core ourselves if the Nihlus wake up and are about to overrun us. We've got no comms, and we can't risk the second team not making it at all."


"I'll stay," said Tell.

Marie was about to volunteer just to be beside Tell. She owed her that much at least. Then she reconsidered. “I’ll go back. I won’t be much use here but I can get the transporters up and running quicker than anyone else around. And I’m the best at locking them on target and keeping them locked on.”

There was a sudden spark and flash. One of the damaged circuit boards had warmed enough to short. Decisions would need to be made FAST!

"Better do it soon" warned Tell

Germite shook his head, "There's nothing else I can do here. I will be able to help better from the FHew."

“Then we’d better get going,” Marie said. She took two steps then turned. “Now!

"I have considerable experience with field-expedient explosives." Marcus said, "I could likely be of greater use here."

The truth was, his upbringing and the code of honor his family had upheld for thousands of years gave him no other possible answer. He could not possibly withdraw to the ship while others faced danger he had the skills to aid them against. He did not yet fully understand what was going on here, but he could feel it's pathos and knew that this...whatever this was, was a cause worthy of his life if need be.