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The Showdown

Posted on Mon Oct 26, 2020 @ 5:05pm by Commodore Michael Aravan & Ensign Autumn Rivers & Captain Madelina Weisz & Lieutenant Commander Arrda & Lieutenant Commander Kelani Tetanal & Lieutenant Commander Alex Rho & Lieutenant Jas Niecta & Lieutenant Martha Cusack & Lieutenant Kyra Silvan Daughter of House Kilrah & Lieutenant Zekori Dosan & Master Chief Petty Officer Thomas Barnes

Mission: The Nanjing
Location: Surface
Timeline: MD 4 || 0600 Hours

Previously

Spencer grit her teeth as she moved her fingers over the controls as the pain in her abdomen began to increase. "Yes, Commodore," she breathed out, fighting against the pain. They were coming in hot, fast and furious, and all she could do was hope no one was too injured after this.

Once a safe place was chosen, the former Commander brought the cloaked Aquarius class escort in for a not so perfect landing. The escort hit the ground with enough force not only to shake up the crew, but also the surrounding buildings of the capital.


Now

[===Victorious Crew===]


It was a hard landing and it was all Michael could do to hold his son who was screaming his head off and his older daughter who was screaming that she had lost Spooky, her stuffed Intel Weasel. "It's okay, it's okay. Status!" He called out to the crew.

Spencer sat where she was for what felt like an eternity gripping the edge of the console in front of her. The pain seemed to ease a bit, and the sounds of her children screaming pulled her out of whatever stupor she had been in. "I'll take them," their mother said as she rose to get to her feet. When she went to straighten up, another sharp pain hit her, causing her to double over and cry out.

Kyra finally let go of her seat after nearly being jolted loose when the escort hit the ground. "I have to disengage the cloak," she said, heading for the console that controls it. After a few minutes she finally got it disengaged. "Cloak is now disengaged. We are visable sir," she added.

Things happened in a swift succession, and Arrda responded to them as quickly as was possible. "Security reports the ship still secure. Only minor injuries reported," he reported as ordered. Then Spencer Aravan doubled over and cried out, and he moved quickly to support her. He could not be sure whether she was just in labor or whether she had suffered some damage, so he was helping as he could.

Kyra deactivating the cloak made him frown though and look up. Why the hell had she done that? Now they would be a visible target! But it was not his place to chastise her, so he kept his focus on Spencer, gently but firmly coaxing her -- he would never try to force her anywhere -- back to her chair. "They are fine," he said softly. "They're not hurt, just a bit scared. Michael has them."

Spencer leaned against Arrda and moved with him, albeit slowly. When she saw the chair come into view, she shook her head. "I can't sit down," she said with a frown. It was definitely the last thing she wanted to do.

Just prior to the crash landing Martha disarmed the active warheads in the Victorious' torpedo magazine. The last thing she wanted was those going off as a result of the crash - which would have undoubtedly destroyed the ship and more than likely taken out the nearby buildings as well.

"I've disarmed the warheads in our magazine in case there's any delayed explosions within the ship as a result of the crash" Martha reported.

“All departments report minimal damage, Commodore,” Kelani reported, then noticing Arrda helping Spencer, she hurried to them. The pain she had sensed increased as she neared her...

“I would strongly suggest getting her to Sickbay,” she said.

Arrda nodded silently to Kelani. That had been his intention as well. He was stopped by the commodore's voice speaking to Spencer. He paused in his movement.

"Honey? Spencer?" Michael got up with the kids as other status reports were coming in.

In the capital, many Bajorans began to 'melt' and swarm as their figures lost their humanoid shapes and they began to converge on the Victorious from every direction

"I'm fine," Spencer lied, trying to put on a brave face. "You don't need to worry about me."

Arrda smiled. "The last is true, sir," he confirmed as he began to lead her once more toward the Lift. "I will protect her. I will also get a couple of other guards to help in that regard, sir."

His attention turned to her then, and his voice lowered. "You and I both know that you aren't fine, Ma'am," he said in a conspiratorial tone meant for only her ears and carrying the tone of someone who knew the signs of what was happening. "We can take the children with us if you want; they'll be safer deeper in the ship. Medical is one of the most protected parts of the ship. Also, by doing this, you'll free the part of his" he subtly indicated Michael "mind that would worry about you otherwise. Better for you. Better for the children. And better for him." Which equals better for the ship, he added silently to himself.

"What is it?" Michael asked, then saw the look on her face. "She's in labor...or about to be. Move quickly."

Spencer was trying very hard to be polite, but it was growing increasingly harder as her patience began to wear away with her contractions. She pulled in a deep breath through her mouth and let it out through her nose. "I don't want to go to sickbay. Any second, the Triumphant is going to be in orbit and will start firing on us. I don't want to be here when that happens," she said, looking up at Arrda, then to Michael. "Dying isn't on my list of things to do today."

“He is right ma’am,” Kelani said gently, “And Sickbay is much more protected, which means less chance if you being harmed...”

Kelani slowly straightened, her eyes losing focus. After a moment, her eyes cleared and she moved to Michael, saying softly, so that Spencer wouldn’t hear, “Triumphant is very close...possibly preparing an attack. I could sense Captain Weisz for a moment and she was quite pleased....”

"Everyone off the ship, now!" Michael boomed in a Command tone which would not accept anything less than personnel following his order.

Arrda frowned but restrained the growl that wanted to emerge. The decision had been made for both himself and Spencer Aravan. He started to help her toward the exit. It would be faster if he carried her, but he suspected that she would not allow him to do that. So he was sufficing with the leading and allowing her to lean on him. He did whisper just to her, though, 'If you need, I can carry you."

Spencer shook her head, grateful her husband ordered everyone to abandon ship. She didn't need to be carried even if the pain was excruciating, and maybe Arrda didn't realize it, but he was trying to make a decision for her. "I'm fine," she said, hoping like hell that was true as she reached out to take her son. "We all need to get off of here now, and we need someone to alert the others to do the same." With that, she made her way off of the bridge, and if she had possession of a combadge, she'd give the order for the others to abandon ship as well.

Had Arrda been reading her mind, he would have cringed at the idea that he had been making decisions for her. That was not who he was or even someone he wanted to be. He had only been attempting to give her the support and help that he had thought was needed. However, he was not reading her mind, and so he simply read her body language and tone, seeing that he needed to back off and concentrate on his job.

Releasing her carefully, he stepped away and moved back to his station. Touching a control on the Security console, he spoke in the tone of the command-level officer he was. "All hands, abandon ship. This is not a drill." His voice was calm but commanding as he issued the order, but he mentally winced as the words left his mouth.

Now, he needed to focus on getting everyone safely off the Victorious. His teams would help, spread out across the small vessel as they were. He began with the bridge crew.

At Michael’s order, Kelani grabbed her tricorder, made sure the phaser she’d had on the way to Victorious was still on her person, and hurried to the turbolift, following and watching over Spencer as much as possible.

~How can we stop them?~ she wondered, turning over possible scenarios in her mind even as she made her way off the ship.

With her phaser rifle slung over her shoulder Martha went to find her wife, Elsie and Tabitha. It didn't take long for her to find them - and Martha was pleased and relieved to see that they hadn't been hurt during the crash landing. Her pet two canaries were tweeting away in the carry cage which Elsie was holding whilst Lucia was carrying Tabitha who was clearly frightened about what was happening.

"What's going on?" Elsie asked.

Martha replied. "I'll tell you later - right now though we need to get the hell off this ship before it's blown to kingdom come. Follow me"

Once everyone was off the ship and away from it, Michael halted the small group of personnel that had came with him away from the Triumphant. A swarm of something came their way and began to form into First Minister Akorum Dant, the Nanjing identity that he had spoken to on the ship. It seemed like a lifetime ago and now he had abandoned that ship and was making a hasty Second Contact on a new level.

"Dant," he said before he glanced at his wife. "Do you have medical facilities here?" He asked as Medical Officer William Fontaine attended to Spencer and checked her vitals with a tricorder.

"Of course, but we have not used them since we have been here as we have no use for them. Please, come," The being posing as Dant said. Another swarm of Nanjing formed a floating platform near Spencer. "Please help her and we shall transport her."

The Commodore moved to Spencer's side. "Ready, honey?" he asked.

Kelani moved to Fontaine, asking softly, “May I be of assistance?” even as she cast a dubious eye toward the being speaking to Michael. The being seemed similar to what their shipmates were becoming, but they were aiding them...puzzling...

Kyra was very confused at this point, but she followed the rest of her crew mates.

"Of course, I'm not ready," Spencer stated, through gritted teeth. Nothing about their situation screamed ideal when it came to delivering twins, and if she had any control (and, she knew she didn't), the babies would wait just a little while longer until they were safe somewhere else. "Would you be ready? Would any of you be ready?"

"I meant to get on the hover platform so we can get out of this area," Michael said gently.

Spencer shook her head again. "No, but I'm okay to walk."

Arrda watched the commodore and his wife, but his attention was divided as any good Security officer's should be. He was watching the other crew, the surroundings, and most importantly the First Minister. He was made of the same beings as had taken the Triumphant or at least a variation of them. He needed more information to be sure what to think, but it appeared that Michael trusted him, at least a bit. So Arrda watched but did not react. Maybe this was like that old vid series he had seen where there had been two factions within the one symbiotic/parasitic species. Time would tell.

Martha did not trust the politician who the Commodore had spoken to one iota but if Michael did then she'd go along with it. She paused briefly and turned to find some of the group were lagging behind - so the Tactical Officer instructed those bringing up the rear to pick up the pace as best as they could.

Kelani slowly straightened as her eyes lost focus. She paled.

Turning to Michael, she told him, "They are coming, Commodore--and some of them are--extremely confident----"

"Then let's go," Michael said as he put an arm around Spencer and looked at Gant. "Lead the way."

The being known as Gant gave a nod and upon seeing that the human woman rejected the platform, it dissolved and formed into a featureless humanoid and went towards others. Gant led them into a nearby building that had a Bajoran medical symbol on it and looked back at the human woman. "Do you require anything special? We can create anything needed to assist you."

"Just somewhere I'll feel safe enough delivering two babies," Spencer replied, leaning against her husband. She was still holding her son, and wasn't likely to let anyone take him from her. Not even her sister who happened to be pretty close by with her own husband and son.

With everyone off the ship and moving, Arrda signaled his Security people to take up a surrounding Guard Pattern as they moved to the building and inside. He was taking nothing for granted. Yes, this group of beings seemed to be friend rather than foe, or at least ally, but he did not know them well enough to trust them completely. He did take a second to let his eyes search the group to make eye contact with his wife, assuring himself that she was all right, then refocused outward on the surroundings.

As they entered the building, he scanned the area, evaluating it for defensibility. He counted ingress and egress points, areas of potential concealment, etc. Each thing he added to his strategy for defending his crew, or what remained of them. He sent instructions to each of his Security people indicating which points each was to watch while guarding. Each room they passed was likewise examined to give him a complete picture of the situation.

Martha too checked the building they'd taken shelter in for any potential weaknesses which needed to be addressed and also any tactical advantages which they could use. She expected the Nanjing aboard the Triumphant would go to the abandoned Victorious first - which would at least buy them some time to set up sufficient defenses. The Nanjing were more powerful and numerous - so every single shot had to count.

Kelani stayed close to Spencer, hoping her presence would be helpful in some way. While fully prepared to fight, she knew that there were others with them who were more experienced--she would follow their lead...

She watched as first Arrda, then Martha checked the building they were in, noting every move they made. After a few moments, her eyes lost focus...

After only a few minutes, Kelani's eyes regained focus and she told Michael, "They are preparing to transport...there is a sense of--impatience--in some of them...'

[===Triumphant Crew===]


With Maddy prevented from killing a crewman and the Triumphant's engineering hull headed for the planet, Tom had turned his attention to the sensors. So far, there hadn't been any help in finding the Victorious' ion trail, especially with the badlands as bad as they were.

He did, however, fix the sensors on the planet they were heading to. Based upon what he knew of the inhabitants, Tom suspected that Aravan would head for one of the cities. His gut instinct, now ordered by the mathematical Nanjing who had calculated the possibilities, was correct. "My Queen, we've found them. Aravan's taken the ship into the atmosphere." Unfortunately, the Triumphant still had several minutes' worth of distance before they could arrive at the planet.

"Then, that gives us time to find their exact location. Scan the surface. See if the Victorious can be located," Maddy ordered.

"That will take some time," Tom cautioned. "The badlands are still interfering with sensors. We will need to get into orbit to conduct proper scans."

"I'm checking with Stellar Cartography for any alternative routes to get us into orbit faster," Zekori responded as he put in the request to stellar cartography if that was what Tom wanted him to dispatch.

I have the codes Autumn sent over the link and transmitted them. The weapons are ours!

Excellent. "Weapons are back online. Get us within orbit and scan for the Victorious again," Maddy ordered.

As the stardrive section headed towards the planet Booz started to scan for the Victorious - and it didn't take him long to find the downed Aquarius-class starship at all. He reported his findings and prepared for further instructions.

"It would appear someone on the Victorious has very kindly deactivated its cloaking device upon landing. Relaying the coordinates to the conn now" Booz reported.

Tom glanced up from his console. He was a bit surprised the Victorious had been spotted so soon through all of the interference. He would not let his surprise, however, cloud his resolve. He turned back to his console and refocused his attention on the ship's performance. "If the Victorious have landed, then they have undoubtedly already made contact with the colonists. No doubt that sect of Nanjing will contaminate the Commodore and his crew."

Maddy smiled. "Then, let's watch, shall we? Bring us into orbit with the known coordinates."

Jas nodded, his commands bringing the Triumphant into a geosynchronous orbit above the Victorious. "Geosynchronous orbit established. Commands to break orbit are already established and ready to go." Their former shipmates were making this game easier than expected.

"I have spotted the Victorious down below," Tom reported, looking at his scanners. "And..." his voice trailed off as he double checked the sensor readouts. "I'm not picking up many lifesigns on the Victorious. In fact... I can't read anything at all. The ionization in the atmosphere is confusing sensors."

"Then, what say a select few of us head down to the planet and greet them in person? Armed, of course," Maddy suggested.

Tom smiled. "Excellent idea, my Queen." Instantly, he selected several candidates for the landing party, including Alex, Zekori, Jas, and a few others, including the modified Marines. "Supercharge your power cores," he cautioned everyone as he led the way to the turbolift, "we'll need every ounce of power."

Lieutenant Zekori followed Tom to the Turbolift.

Alex left his station to join the team heading for the lift. "A fine idea indeed. With all of this new firepower, they won't stand a chance. And neither will our...'brothers,'" he added.

Maddy followed the others after making a quick stop at the weapons locker nearby and stepped onto the turbolift behind the others. She hoped that Michael would be as surprised as she wanted him to be. "Are we ready?"

Tom simply gave a nod. "Let's get this done," he told Maddy. The sooner it was done, the sooner they could resume their upgrades.

The redhead requested the deck they needed and kept quiet during the short trip, allowing her mind the chance to roam. Once the doors opened again, Maddy escorted the others to the transporter room. The room was empty, which had her turning her attention to one of the Marines that accompanied them. "You... enter the coordinates we were given and beam us down on Master Chief Barnes' order," she said, looking to the others. "The rest of you, get into position." With that, she stepped onto the pad.

Alex followed the others onto the transporter pad. Finally, they'd be able to get done what was needed.

Zekori stepped onto the transporter pad in a Bajoran-type ready position.

Tom was the last person to step onto the transporter pad. Prior to doing so, he had picked up a hand phaser. The Nanjing in his bloodstream went to work immediately as Tom placed the phaser on top of his left forearm. Metal strips extruded from under Tom's skin and wrapped themselves around the simple weapon. The phaser's external case began to melt as its components were repurposed and adapted. Seconds later, the conversion was complete, and Tom was now outfitted with a wrist phaser that was set at a low disrupt setting.

He looked to the Marine that had synced herself to the transporter console and joined them on the pad. "Energize."

The Nanjing were instantly surrounded by the familiar blue swirls belonging to the transport beams. In less than two seconds, their forms were broken down to the atomic level, converted into energy, and then reconstructed themselves at the Victorious' landing site.

The air was thick around the Victorious, but not with pollution. The Borg Nanjing in the away team instantly recognized it. "Traitors!" they bellowed from within their hosts. "They betray us!"

Never had Tom's mind played host to many voices. What was transpiring now was an untimely reminder that he was no longer his own person, but a vessel for millions of others. This did not sway his actions; however, he was not allowed to speak for himself as his vocal chords were channeled into a singular voice for the Nanjing inside his body. "You deny yourself evolution!" he shouted to the swarm. "Organics thrive on adventure, advancement, and conquest. Joining with them permits our survival and evolution!" Tom raised his weaponized arm and prepared to fire if he did not like the swarm's response.

Zekori raised his weapon in unison with Tom, "Ready when you are."

Release the ones you have enslaved and we will cleanse you of the infection you acquired during your encounter with the Borg. came the hive voice from the Nanjing around them.

Tom frowned, as the Nanjing controlling him did not like that option at all. Without hesitation, he fired blast into the swarm. He knew the swarm was not dense enough for a high level setting to be effective, but his body tapped into the micro-fusion generators and fired a wide-beam disruptive blast.

Maddy raised her phaser and spoke to Tom through their mental connection. "Do you think that you and the others might be able to distract them while I go after Aravan and the others?"

"We will try," Tom replied, as he shifted his stance and fired again into the swarm.

Alex had expected no less of an answer. So he followed Tom's example and answered in kind.

With shots fired, the swarm of Nanjing around them swirled and seemed to rise up in the air until it crested, then rained down on the away team. Each Nanjing sought to infiltrate the host to take the battle to the Borg Nanjing and with various types of armor and different skin grafts as well as the Borg Nanjing working to protect their hosts, the real battle was on.

Tom screamed in agony as he fell to his knees. The pain he experienced was nothing compared to the first few rounds of his conversion. He felt the Borg Nanjing try to reinforce his skin with thickened dermal layers, and then he felt the local Nanjing force their way through those barriers. Tom heard their voices, their battle cries, and even the overclocking of his cybernetic components. A war raged within, and his body served as a battlefield. In one brief instant, he tried to use the phaser to change the tide of the battle, but it fell off his wrist, falling as disassembled components to the ground.

Maddy, who was on her way after Michael and the others, wasn't quick enough. The Nanjing swarm, or rather a some of them, met their mark and began to infiltrate her body to wage war. It was unlike anything she'd ever felt before. Painful. Disorienting. She had to keep pushing forward. Getting to Michael was priority.

Alex felt the pain...heard the pain. There was the penetrating agony he felt in every nerve. But there was also the screams. The screams of the Nanjing in his body, the commanding screams of the invading force, and finally his screams. Finally, he could hear his own voice again. Alex fell to his knees, then rolled to his back and screamed aloud. The war in his body felt as if it would tear him apart. Part of him wanted it over with as quickly as possible. And another part...there was another part that liked the upgrades. And at the moment, it was that part that mentally started screaming at the invaders to leave.

"Go, go, go," Michael urged everyone into the building once the giant Security Chief and the Chief of Tactical cleared it. Whatever was going on outside, it wasn't something he could fight with what he had available. He hoped his talk with Dant would help.

The redhead pushed forward. She could see Michael ushering everyone into the building. Maddy was almost there. Their objective was within their reach now. Her vision blurred. Her body burned. Nothing she was currently experiencing was normal. So close. She was so close. A few more steps and she'd be able to reach out to grab him.

"Mi... Michael!" Maddy shouted as the world around her began to fade. She fought to urge her body forward. One step. Two steps. Three steps. A hand extended out in front of her, unsure who she was reaching for as there were still others around the Commodore, but it didn't seem to matter, because the redhead Captain collapsed in an unconscious heap at their feet.

Having secured the building, Arrda had returned to the outside of the building to make sure everyone got in safely. They were his responsibility. Briefly, he was reminded of the end of the Earth Mission, how he had been trying to see that most of the Mission got off the planet before Mazha's side blew them to the Abyss. But this was different, in a way. Those people had chosen to follow Mazha for their own reasons. These crew that were trying to harm or kill them had not chosen this. They were being used, commandeered by some alien being for its own reasons. But his responsibility was the same: protect those he could.

He saw Captain Weisz make for the Commodore, and he moved quickly. He interposed himself between them and pushed the Commodore toward the entrance to the building, out of the reach of the 'possessed' First Officer. His fate was whatever the universe declared it, but his duty was to protect the Commodore and the others with his life if necessary. He didn't want it to be necessary, but he was willing to do it. His wife had been Security; she would understand his action, he was sure. Oh, she'd likely be pissed at him, but she would understand it.

"Maddy?" Michael asked when she fell near him. When his Security Chief pushed him, the Commodore got mad. "Get out of my way!" he ordered Arrda. "Now!" He looked at the swarm of Nanjing and the away team that seemed to be in pain. "Dant, what are you doing to them?!"

"Making all right." Came the swarm voice.

Tom screamed yet again, releasing the most primal sound his compromised lungs could muster. The defeated Borg Nanjing began to escape from his body from nearly every orifice, almost as if his blood as turned metallic silver. Duranium. Tritanium. Half a dozen compounds that Tom's memory was now unable to remember. Tom, already on his knees, lost consciousness and fell to his right. Portions of his uniform disintegrated as his chest sliced itself open from the inside and entire metallic structures were cast outside, disassembling as they went. The holes then began to seal as the Nanjing did the best they could to affect repairs. When the Nanjing would finish, Tom would be Tom again, but it would take a skilled surgeon and practitioner to make him physically whole once again.

When Michael ordered him to move aside, Arrda hesitated only a fraction of a second. It was his job to protect the man, but he also had to obey the orders given by said individual. What unfolded in the next second made the decision easier. It seemed that the beings on the planet had begun to win, to evict their errant fellows from his crew. So only a second or two after the order, Arrda stepped aside as ordered.

He wondered if he would be called on the carpet for his actions, but that was a problem for later. He had only been doing his duty to protect Aravan, but the Commodore might not see it that way. How was he to know that the movement made by Weisz had been her and not the beings that had been controlling her up till now. He'd had no way to know that, so he had done what he believed he should. He had been wrong.

Maddy was unconscious, and perhaps that was a good thing as the Nanjing began to vacate her body through her mouth once the Borg Nanjing were defeated. The redhead was pale, perhaps a little grey in color, but she still had a pulse.

Kelani had followed Arrda, beginning to sense a difference in their pursuers. She had to be sure....

Once outside, Tom's pain hit her with tremendous force and she staggered. Maddy she could sense clearly...

"Commodore, I can sense their minds clearly again," she told Michael. "Whatever the inhabitants have done has restored them to themselves--but injured..." and she dropped to her knees....

The swarm of Nanjing versus the Borg Nanjing raged both in the bodies of the Upgraded and around the others. Code snippets, firewalls, trojans, and more fought within and without but ultimately, the Nanjing on the planet conquered the Corrupted Nanjing.

The members of the crew that had been badly hurt by their upgrades removed forcefully were given top notch medical care by the Nanjing using the Bajoran medical equipment left behind. The ones that were too badly hurt were put on the Victorious to be taken to Deep Space 10.

The battle for the saucer section and stardrive was also fought and won after much damage was done and the massive Odyssey class was ruled unfit to sail the celestial skies on her own and the Triumphant was towed to repair yards a well.

Michael spent the available time he had between his wife and children and checking on his crew, but knew things would never be the same for him or anyone else. New relations with the Nanjing would begin with the Federation and his crew would most likely be reassigned.

He stood at the top of a hill looking down on the city and the swarm of activity and sighed. "I doubt I'll ever command a starship again," he mused. "But was it worth it?" He didn't know and only knew the future was uncertain.

 

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