Bugging Out – In the Toy store
by HoD Ro' Matlh & Lieutenant JG Linx Moonshadow & Ensign Israna Haan & Sogh Germite Ephilom & Ne' Michelle "Mike" Young & Ne' Mariaa'n Si'van & Soghla' Marie St. Helene & Soghla' Jared & Soghla' Terri (Tell) Hope & Soghla' HIchop Matlh

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Title   In the Toy store
Mission   Bugging Out
Author(s)   HoD Ro' Matlh & Lieutenant JG Linx Moonshadow & Ensign Israna Haan & Sogh Germite Ephilom & Ne' Michelle "Mike" Young & Ne' Mariaa'n Si'van & Soghla' Marie St. Helene & Soghla' Jared & Soghla' Terri (Tell) Hope & Soghla' HIchop Matlh
Posted   Thu Jul 31, 2014 @ 5:22am
Location   Factory production
The figure led them out the second door and along various corridors till they reached the large, open, factory style work area. A number of figures similar to the one they were following were working on various projects on open tables.

As they progressed along among the devices various tags and labels grabbed at peoples attention.

Marie continued to turn the thought over in her mind. “Then how about we offer up the blindingly obvious? If we make it really obvious we might be able to sneak it past because V, or Jarvis, or whoever’s running this place won't register it’s purpose. In fact....” She took a few more paces before continuing. “Load some things into the program that look sophisticated but V will spot then hide the real threat in something innocuous, something so mundane that it will slide right past.”

"Works on people better than it works on sentient AI," Jared sighed. "Vetus Shell-Ghosts were made to crunch the numbers on technology which relied on mathematically impossible paradoxes. They're... really smart."

There was a slightly depressed edge to Jared's tone - as though it was getting him down somewhat to talk about how clever V and Jarvis seemed to be. He shrugged.

“A bit like an Infinite Improbability Drive?” Marie asked. “So if it’s built around mathematically impossible paradoxes – whatever they are, and please don’t try to explain it to me, Jared – anyway, if that’s what it’s built around then it won’t recognise something entirely feasible mathematically as being a threat. Surely....”

"Well it's..." Jared began. "...It doesn't make them LESS aware of simple tricks. It just means they can follow your brain through mental sommersaults and guess where and when you're going to come out. They're just... really, REALLY hard to trick."

"I mean, you're free to... I don't know... switch the labels or something. Or pull a few valuable looking bits out of some device or another. I'm just... I'm kinda out of my league here. This V-Tech stuff is... advanced! I know some of the technologies that this stuff is based on, but it's all been fused together here, and streamlined. I think I can probably make some of this stuff blow up, and given a few weeks to pick it apart maybe I could figure out how it all fits together and do what you're asking, but... in the time we've got? I really wouldn't know where to start!"

May'Bel was looking at the tables they were passing, "Jared. Is this what I think it is? This is looking like the Corporation's Special Issue armoury."

Jared nodded, "That does seem right. Not just an armoury - more like a showroom. There's tools and equipment here as well. Plus, everything's labelled. I'm not really sure why this thing is leading us through here, given that... oh right."

He gestured up ahead to where there was a large structure giving off a glow - where the unperson was walking.

"She's taking us to the DEMO model reactor. She thinks we're customers."

Marie was so absorbed in thinking about what Jared might be able to do that she was oblivious to all else around her. This level of concentration and mental stimulation was unusual for her and starting to make her head hurt. She therefore missed seeing Israna wringing her hands. Given that Israna was almost next to her, that was some miss.

“What’s wrong?” she asked solicitously, thinking that maybe Israna was also plotting some devious stratagem for Jared to employ.

“I saw her too. In fact, I know who she is, only...she can’t be.”

“I saw my kid sister. Only Félicité was killed when she was only five. A rival gang attacked, trying to steal our rations. Félicité was caught in the cross-fire. She’d been out playing and couldn’t run to cover quick enough.”

Hichop was concerned "I don't know what you saw but it is not your sister. Any action you take that jeopardises our mission will be..." Hichop was interrupted in thought by the sound of Jared.

Jared suddenly stopped dead, staring off to one side - the others finding themselves brushing past him. He took a few steps off through one of the aisles between the tables.

He was looking at a device with a transparent aluminum sample flask on top, staring at the faintly luminescent gray-green sludge inside. He looked down at the label on the desk with an utterly astounded look.

"You... you've got to be kidding me!"

"What Jared" Hichop called out as he walked over to him.

"It's... I... I never even thought. But he lived through it all! He must have been... it can't be REAL."

As Jared frantically looked through the bits and pieces on the table for release notes or specs, HIchop glanced at the label in front of the canister.

'Nihlus Counteragent'

Jared managed to grab a clipboard with what looked like notes and technical specifics. He seemed to have forgotten everything else that was going on around.

"It's... it must... it's a bacterial agent. No... that doesn't make sense. People have tried that before. Either it's too slow to be effective, or you end up destroying your own ships in the..."

"... Oh... oh that's brilliant. It replicates aneotically, so it can't replicate unless... that's just... I mean... he must have had people scouring the galaxy millenia for a suitable base bacteria strain."

"It's... the data's stored as discrete cohesive. That means Jeeves can't have it on file. I have to get the base sequencing and the quantum profile out of the database somehow! If we'd had this back in the day we could have... I mean... billions of lives. Trillions!"

HIchop got the feeling that with each passing moment, Jared was getting less comprehensible and less aware of where he was.

One of the Klingon Marines asked, "Are we taking that? Aren't we supposed to be blowing this all up?"

There was a sudden sound of metal that startled the group. On one side of the factory floor the benches had been cleared to leave room for a tiny, one man shuttle. As they watched one of the workers flicked a switch and the ship seemed to fold up into itself till all that was left was a suit of human sized armour.

HIchop looked over the armour, It was clearly lighter but what could it do. The figure to the left of the armour handed Hichop a spec sheet. Hichop couldn't make out the language but the images of weapons and defences were impressive. There was only one problem, it was not calling to him. It wasn't his suit. Hichop began looking around at the other crew. No one was focused on mission and there was always the issue of how we would pay for any of what seemed to be merchandise. The dead person at the control room told him this place had no problem killing people that were not compliant.

Tell noticed one of the 'people' at a work bench as they passed. She was realigning a Dual Radian Switching Pass used to regulate fuel flow in Warp Cores. It was an insanely delicate and fiddly job requiring hours of labourious calibrations and... and the figure waved a device over it and then moved it on and began working on another. Tell grabbed up the discarded unit and ran a critical eye over it. She couldn't be sure without a calibration but it looked pretty good. A second one was placed on the table in front of her as the figure began working on a third.

Tell looked at the device in the worker's hand. It appeared to have a simple set of thumb controls and a slider. How could such a simply to operate tool be so efficient? Imagine what she could do for the systems on the FHew with one of those.

"See that?" she said to those around her. "I can only imagine the things I could do with that in my hands. I have got to get myself one of those."

She reached out to pick one up and look at it more closely. The individual who had been using it did not react to her taking but simply waited no longer able to perform its function. The device itself felt warm and sat comfortably in the hand, despite being a lot heavier than she expected.

Germite had been thinking about the almost exhilaration that he felt when he had performed the battlefield surgery on Tell. The ability to operate without moral or ethical boundaries excited and scared him on several levels. It was the freedom that came with being able to act without regard to consequences. He almost bumped into a table that seemed to appear in front of him. A clocklike object was sitting on the table. He wondered what would happen if he could turn back time and change some of the life choices that had put him where he was now. Would he become someone important? Perhaps help people on a large scale? Would his life go in another direction, living a life of little meaning, but also a life of a normal person, like you see on the holovids, a wife, children, a normal schedule? Why was he even thinking about these possibilities? It was mere folly and would have no basis in reality? Or would it?

The item on the table toppled and rolled, knocking two other items to the floor with a loud crash. The Marine closest to Germite spun his weapon, then frowned at the mess.

"Watch it, Doc," he snarled.

Germite carefully picked up the time piece from amongst the broken fragments and placed it back on the table top. He blinked in surprise noticing the two items were back in place on the desk. He glanced down and saw the clean floor. As he did so he let go of the device which toppled and rolled, knocking two other items to the floor with a loud crash. The Marine closest to Germite spun his weapon, then frowned at the mess.

"Watch it, Doc," he snarled.

He raised an eyebrow. That was interesting. It would bear further study. He might want to talk to Jared about it after they left this place. He picked up the clock and put it in his pocket.

Israna looked at Marie, her eyes blank and dead-like. Without warning, she placed her hand on Marie's shoulder, and whispered in her ear.

"I need to talk to you..... Quietly..... Away from everyone else....."

Israna pointed over to a joining corridor back the way that they came. With a nudge, they disappeared away from the rest of the group while they were busy and were not paying attention.

“If you’re thinking we need to have a close look at that girl,” Marie said,” then I’m all for it and damn what HIchop says. If it is Félicité, then I have to rescue her.”

"You can rescue the girl if you want, that's not what I am interested about.... There is... Another girl.... In this complex. I can sense it. Not sure where though..... Will you join me? This is very important.... Too me..."

“I’ll join you,” Marie assured her, “but I’m not leaving here until I find out about the girl in the bottle. If, against all odds, it is Félicité, then I have to rescue her. I’ll help you look for this other girl but, be warned: if you take to long I’ll leave.”

"Alright then. Thank you. Tell me when you want to leave then...." Israna walks toward the rest of the group and joins in, as like she never disappeared for a minute.

As they moved to rejoin the group Israna's eye were caught by a mesh suit with small glowing plates built into it. The figure standing next to it was stationary until she stopped to look. At that point it suddenly animated, mouth spreading into a wide grin but eyes not quite meeting hers. Its voice, when it spoke, had a strange quality as if it was a prerecorded script that was being edited on the fly depending on her reactions.

"Greetings," It began, "I see your eye has been caught by the Z-214! That marks you as a client of excellent judgement. The Z-214 uses integrated biofeedback plymesh screening to adjust to the users specific needs. It comes with a range of inbuilt augmentations, or 'Augers' as like to call them which may be modified to suit the operators needs. Along with the standard demonstration suite we can arrange personalized Augers for a consideration. If I can ask, What is your field of expertise?"

Israna narrows her eyes at the being. "I don't have to tell you anything, especially my rank."

The spokesman didn't even falter, "Naturally we can supply generic Augers for those who want a more diversified approach." It indicated to a set of cases under the table, "We have a variety of "Straight release models, specializing in Stealth, or construction, or security, or scientific research. If you have a preference I can help you with any personal modifications. And fear not, after a sale I, and any sensitive information used in the modification of this product, will be destroyed for your security."

Israna thinks about it for a moment. "What's the catch There MUST be a catch.... Some traders gimmick, I suppose... Can I program it myself? Without your help?" Israna then sighs and rolls her shoulders. "Besides, I don't have any sort of valuable item worth trading you for it...."

The replicant salesman waved this away, "We will place it on account to be settled prior to departure. "Thumb print here please."

"I do not have any sort of currency. I can't GIVE you anything back.... Oh but I want that suit....."

OOC[Jared]: Israna, I'm guessing the idea is that you give them a thumb print and you can just TAKE the suit. The idea is that you don't have to PAY for it until you leave the station. So if you wanted to put it on now and take a chance that when you leave, things are going to be too chaotic for someone to ask for a reciept - I think that's an option!

TAG: Thorin

Mike was still scanning the people/things around her with her tricorder. The readings were difficult to make sense of. Once again her lack of Xeno knowledge was a stumbling block. What she needed was...

She stopped suddenly. The individual in front of her was watching her. It didn't seem to be reacting overly, just it watched her, which was more than the others were doing. To be more accurate it seemed to be watching the device in her hand. When it had her full attention it led her to one side where a computer terminal was sitting. It quickly pulled up a menu selection. While the language was not familiar to her the information was in a form she readily recognized.

It was medical data, and mountains of it. It seems that the computer had an extensive database of xeno-biological information. But that meant... If it was on this computer, it was probably buried somewhere on the Jeeves system back on the ship. She began to scroll through the data at random.

As the crew started to wander, May'bel watched the humanoid empty-people carefully. They all seemed to be acting harmlessly, but he wanted to make sure that they didn't suddenly turn, while the rest of the crew were distracted. They were quite vulnerable at the moment, with each crewmember wandering off every which...

Something on one of the tables caught May'Bel's eye. He frowned at such an obvious nonsense.

It seemed to be a belt clipped unit of some kind - adjustable to fit a variety of belts and straps. It looked to have a fairly simple operation, with only a few keys on the display, and simple instructions etched on the back. And next to it was a label with the words "Universal Weapon" written on them.

May'Bel gave a scoffing laugh. But the brief paragraph of text on the information sheet beside the device made the same arrogant claim - a weapon for all situations.

He activated the device with the touch of a key, and watched as words on the display went from "Activating", through "Identifying synaptic pattern" and "Building synaptic matrix", and then finally showed the words "Ready".

He clipped the unit on to his belt and then looked around, chuckling.

The unit must have been mislabeled somehow. How could it even be classified as a weapon? If the empty-person nearby had suddenly picked up a wrench and attacked, it didn't seem like having a belt clip on would help much. The "universal weapon" would hardly be of more use than his two Tajtiqs...

May'Bel jolted slightly as there was a shimmer in the air around his hands, and two Klingon Tajtiqs materialized in them - one in each hand.

He looked in shock at the two weapons. They were sturdy looking, sharp, and seemed to be of excellent quality. He twirled one expertly round in his hand, and felt them to be superbly well weighted.

He placed one down on the desk beside him, and after a three or four seconds it shimmered out of existence.

He examined the second one closely, and could find no fault with it - the metal was superbly strong without being overly heavy, and the grip was brilliantly crafted - as though it were custom-built for May'Bel's hand. Grabbing it in a backhanded grip, he stabbed it down into the table, and sank the weapon's tip about five centimetres through it's metal surface. Then he yanked the blade back out, and ran his finger over the hole he'd left.

Well... not an illusion of any kind, May'Bel thought to himself. That would certainly kill someone!

He twirled it round so he was holding the blade, and then hurled it at a noticeboard a few meters away. It sank a finger's length into the surface and stuck there. Then, after a few seconds, it shimmered out of existence.

No sooner had May'Bel wondered how to get it back than there was another shimmer in the air around his hand, and another identical weapon appeared.

A hologramatic device? May'Bel wondered. Perhaps some kind of miniature replicator? But what happened if you were fighting something larger than a Tajtiq would answer for, and you needed something more like a...

The moment the though passed through his head, the Tajtiq vanished, and was replaced by a superbly crafted Bat'leth.

May'Bel swung a few passes with it, impressed by it's strength and balance.

But what about more advanced enemies? Could the unit...

Another shimmer, and each hand now held a Klingon disruptor pistol. He watched with growing awe as with a thought he changed the pistols into a disruptor rifle, a plasma grenade, something very like one of Jared's flashbombs, and then - to finish off - an Orion V anti-ship man-portable meson cannon.

The last weapon shimmered out of his hands. Leaving them empty. May'Bel drew a deep breath as he looked at his empty hands.

It really WAS a universal weapon. With this device he'd never need to take any other weapon with him. He could walk through security scanners, and be armed to the teeth moments later. He could have torn those insect creatures on Iapetus apart with anti-armour compressed plasma fire. He'd always have exactly the right weaponry to meet any challenge...

...he'd never again feel the exhilaration of having bitten off slightly more than he could chew in a fight. Never feel the rush of realising you were slightly outmatched, and now life and death were on the line. Never again know the May'Bel...

With a sudden movement he grabbed the device off his belt and tossed it forcefully away. It landed amongst a pile of merchandise on another table, and disappeared into them.

May'Bel found he was breathing heavily. He could still feel the device exerting a kind of pull on his mind. Still feel the longing to go over to the pile and hunt for it.

He glanced around at the rest of the crew. Each was amongst the items on the tables, fascinated with some item of their heart's desire. He couldn't even see Marie or Israna anymore. Somehow on this station - which Jared had seemed almost terrified of - they'd forgotten their mission and were wandering around like they were at a marketplace on Risa.

He strode purposefully through the isles and found his way to HIchop.

Hichop could read the look on May'Bel's face and agreed, "NuqhneH?"

"We need to get out of here, Soghla'," he warned HIchop. "I'm not sure if this place is really real, or some kind of holodeck fantasy that scans people's desires and panders to them. But have a look at the team. Does it look like anyone even remembers we're on a mission?"

"Agreed". Hichop raises his voice "We have a mission hear. We do not need to mention it in this place but unless we are free to take some of what you all clearly want then I suggest we get back on task". With that he continued towards the next corridor.

That's when Mike uncovered some uncomfortable information. Some data came with video feeds of creatures in containment rooms. It wasn't until she came across the image of the little girl again that she realized these were live feeds. As she watched some dark shapes appeared on the outside. At first the girl seemed not to notice the shapes, then they began to beat on the walls of the container. When a crack appeared the girl looked up.

"Ahhh, guys? You may want to come and look at this before we all run off....." Mike said, her voice sounded urgent.

Hichop paused, grimaced and the began to walk over "Really? What junk have you found now"

Mike froze at that comment, then mentally shook herself before responding. "Fine. If you think everything I am going to find is 'junk', you can deal with this god damned station yourself. I didn't want to come to begin with. I'll just go back to the so called 'junk' I found that actually interests me and you can sort this out yourself."

Mike's rant was cut short as the others took in the scene on the monitor. The girl was standing with the toy in her hand looking at the... things clawing at the glass outside. There was no sound but the group could see the cracks expanding as the creatures clawed to get in to her.

Suddenly there was a break and the transparent material came apart in shards. Dozens of hideous black bodies, half serpent, half insect, swarmed through the hole, all teeth and claws. The lead creatures lunged for the girl...

There was a moment of static from the monitors.

The scene reasserted itself exactly as it had been with the girl standing in the centre of her room, but the creatures were gone. Actually. Not quite gone. There were bits of them plastered on all of the walls, but none remained alive.

The girl trotted over the the broken glass and climbed down, disappearing from view. Somewhere a klaxon started to sound.

"Who started that?" asked Tell twirling the sonic wrench in her hand as if she were a professional gunslinger. "Do we all have to start running now like we normally do?"

"Normally?" Mike sounded a little stunned. "Normally? Are you saying this sort of thing is a regular occurrence for you guys?"

Hichop grinned a little "Yes". He could see their confusion at the one word answer as he ran past them. "Yes, it happens every day and we should start running. Do you need an invite". Hichop thought about how he would tell Ro' about the little girl. The words had barely left his mind when he realised there was no way of telling Ro that a little girl scared them. Hichop ran to the next Corridor not yet explored in hope it might lead to somewhere that if sabotaged would destroy the base.

Action was better than inaction. Hichop seemed to know what he was doing. Germite decided to follow his lead. Germite ran towards the corridor.

Without thinking Tell grabbed Mike by the shoulder and followed Germite. "This is the running bit ok?"

May'Bel appeared by Jared's side, "TiQ, we have to go. This place is a trap. I don't know if it's designed that way, but it is. It all seems too good to be true, because it IS."

Jared was working furiously on one of the terminals, "No... you don't understand. This is way more important than any of us. V's come up with a workable weapon to effectively defeat the Nihlus. If there's still even one of those Nihlus Scarabs out there, this data might save all life in the Galaxy."

May'Bel put a hand on Jared's shoulder, "Something's very wrong here, Elder. This is Tev quenHey Breen'e'. By the time you get that data out, it'll be too late!"

Jared shook him off angrily and continued working, "You don't understand, May'Bel. This isn't negotiable!"

May'Bel nodded, "I had a feeling it might not be. I'm sorry."

"You didn't realise how important this was," Jared responded in a distracted way. "No need to appologise."

"That's not what I'm appologising for," May'Bal replied.

Jared had quick reflexes, but he was far too distracted at the moment to see it coming. In one smooth motion, May'Bel placed his hand behind Jared's head, and slammed him headfirst into the data-screen - breaking it in the process. As Jared slumped back unconscious, May'Bel smoothly hoisted him up over one shoulder.

He ran to catch up with HIchop.