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Away Team Pt V

Posted on Thu Aug 4th, 2022 @ 10:19pm by Lieutenant Bonnie "Bon-Bon" Durnell & Captain Rhenora Kaylen & Commander Savar cha'Salik hei-Surak Talek-sen-deen & Lieutenant Ashlesha 4827/A & Lieutenant Chester "Duo" Maxwell & Lieutenant Thriss Kla'ren & Lieutenant Anna S. Thesia M.D. & Lieutenant JG Aurora Vali

Mission: New Harrington
Location: Weather Platform
Timeline: Current

Carefully watching the tricorder, Bonnie had lost her sense of surroundings for a moment as she watched the virus interact with the coded string of light energy she had created. It had moved away from the defense system enough now. "Go ahead, 10 percent. Not too fast. We don't want to startle it." She indicated into the comms as though she were treating it like a scared and starving puppy.

Ashlesha gave a nervous nod. She felt poorly about what she had said earlier to Bonnie. It had been meant as a joke, but jokes like that were for friends, for colleagues who had known one another for years. For people who knew when you were joking. After this she would take Bonnie out for drinks and assure her she had just been kidding.

Thinking about there being a time when they would be able to have drinks helped her to forget about the death cloud enveloping the planet...

Aurora looked towards Savar she was going to wait for him to move first before attempting to move herself.

Savar met Aurora's gaze. "On my mark Aurora. You heard Bonnie, ten percent."

Aurora nodded. “I’ll take it slow” she waited for Savar to say when to move.

"Very good Aurora on my mark. Three, two mark." Savar said as he and Aurora turned the respective dials on the EPS conduit dial in tandem to bring the energy to the desired ten percent.

The effect was immediate, the power output to the shield walls was dropping, and so far the virus thing hadn't noticed. It was still occupied with the light code. Bonnie pressed a few lines to add a looping effect into the code so that every few seconds it would replicate itself, perpetually feeding the thing. "That's good, Kla'ren, Maxwell, how are you coming on your end?"

=/\=Everything is proceeding as planned. The power levels have dropped and are holding, but I don't know how long it will last. I'm starting to read fluctuations in the EPS grid. It's now or never.=/\= Maxwell reported.

Ashlesha carefully monitored the power output, hoping that their efforts continued to 'spoof' the virus...

Output was now at 55%. Still too dangerous to attempt to pass through. Bonnie relayed the information, "55%, if we try now you're liable to fry all of your nerve endings at once. Seventy five percent is the rated tolerance for a normal humanoid according to Starfleet regulations." She too was concerned with the fluctuations in the EPS grid. Without a bypass, reducing the output as they were attempting was just causing a buildup in the flow regulator.

Her tricorder registered a fluctuation in the conduit just behind where Ashlesha was working. "Ashlesha, hold on yours. I think there's a blockage." She said moments before a shower of sparks erupted from the panel above where Ashlesha was working.

"Firkdingblast!" Ashlesha muttered as she reflexively ducked. She glanced over at Bonnie and asked, "You think that was deliberate?"

Savar heard Bonnie's statement in regard to the power output. "Stop Aurora, it appears there may be a problem." He looked at Bonnie through the forcefield as sparks erupted from a panel above Lt. Ashlesha's head. "Are you both uninjured?"

"I, I don't know." Bonnie started, responding to Ashlesha. "There was movement and then whatever this is just reacted. If I didn't know any better, I'd swear it was defending itself." Then she turned and responded to Commander Savar, "I think we're okay. You're okay, right Ash?" She asked, throwing a friendly nickname into the mix. It was something her father had always done, something she had inherited.

Aurora sighed. “Is it possible the AI is behind all the problems? That it’s somehow defending itself against anyone it considers a threat?”

"It's completely possible," Ashlesha replied, "Life comes in all forms, be it naturally or in a lab."

She grimaced as she returned her attention to her panel, "And life either becomes domesticated or it will try to break free from it's cage. We could be very much seeing the latter."

It had not been directed at her, but Bonnie answered anyway, "I mean, logically someone had to have unleashed the AI upon the weather station. It doesn't make sense for it to have come here on its own, does it?" There had been tales of artificial sentience throughout the known galaxy, but was this thing created or had it evolved from something else? It was a mystery they may or may not ever solve.

"More scientific errors happen than scientists would care to admit," Ashlesha noted, "We could be seeing a benign experiment gone wrong, or a military project that broke the leash."

She considered the efforts being made on board Sunfire, thought of her own personal experiences, "Bonnie, I just sent a jamming signal to disrupt the virus' hold on the stations. I...have no idea how it is going to respond to that here..."

Nodding, Bonnie scanned the station, its interior and the code the virus inhabited in order to get a bigger picture. Obviously growing. While a portion of it was still preoccupied with 'feeding' off her light energy coding, another portion appeared to be holding firm on the lower engineering section where they were originally heading. This thing was multitasking with yet a third piece of itself enveloped around the weather control systems.

"So far it hasn't seemed to notice the disruption..." She started to say before the station suddenly convulsed. It was a jarring bit consisting of metallic shaking and groaning. "Correction, I believe it has taken control of the gravity and inertial dampening systems. There also appears to be another piece of code trying to break in from outside?" Bonnie looked to Ashlesha, "Do you know if there is another virus out there trying to get in?" She asked as the tendril had reached the station.

Ashlesha's head whipped around, "Wait, you think we're dealing with potentially two different viruses? I'll have to let the others know about your idea."

Through the forcefield, Savar spoke to Bonnie as the station convulsed and groaned ."Lt. Durnell, what is the nature of this newest development?"

Bonnie was about to answer when the shockwave from the quantum torpedo rolled over the station. She looked at her scanner then to Ashlesha, before announcing aloud, "Looks like the Sunfire fired off a torpedo." She was watching the tricorder and the Virus patterns which began to vibrate and coil up. "The station virus looks to be hurt but..." Suddenly the station rocked violently throwing sparks from the power grid.

EPS conduits and consoles everywhere erupted in flames. Bonnie was thrown sideways onto her hip. As she rolled back onto her butt, she eyed her tricorder once more. "Commander! We appear to have lost altitude adjustment and positional thrusters. Our new orbit has us colliding with the atmosphere in less than 20 minutes. Gravity is pulling us down." As she said it, the sheild barrier dropped, they were no longer trapped.

She stood, "the good news, if you can call it that, is that the virus on the station has been disrupted and looks like, well like it's afraid." Bonnie finished by looking at Commander Savar. "It has coiled itself into a small space and is no longer controlling anything, more like just waiting."

“Just waiting for what though?” Aurora looked at Savar and Bonnie. “Waiting to die? There’s nothing more dangerous than a trapped animal. That could also apply to this program.”

"Aptly said Aurora. A wounded animal is the most dangerous and this could indeed apply to the virus. Let us work on regaining altitude control as well as the positional thrusters. Perhaps the virus will allow us that, see that we are trying to save the station."

Ashlesha felt like someone had driven a white-hot spike through her skull, and then...she felt...

She blinked and looked about, realized she had sunk to her knees and was looking up at Bonnie...and only at Bonnie. She wasn't on Sunfire's bridge, just here! But that was impossible, she-

"Ah...crap..." she muttered as she used the wall to leverage herself up to her feet, "I...damn...Okay...I think the quantum connection between my brains just got dis...rupt...ed-"

She fell forward and was violently sick all over the floor...

Bonnie cringed as Ashlesha vomited, but remained close out of concern. She was looking back and forth between the Commander and her fallen compatriot, unsure of what to do next.

She wasn't in command, but she was already formulating a plan as to how things would pan out. The Commander, Counselor, Doctor and Security officer would find and get the station repair teams to safety, while Th'riss and Duo went to engineering to restore power. She was confident Ashlesha and herself would head back to ops in order to restore control. As the station began a mild but constant shaking around them, she waited on baited breath for orders.

With the forcefields down, the away team was once again together. Savar looked at each member as he spoke. "Lt. Durnell, you and Lt Ashlesha will go back to operation and attempt to restore altitude control. Mr, Maxwell, you and Th'riss will go to engineering and attempt to bring power back online. Aurora, The Doctor , Lt. Holland, and I will find the repair teams and get them to safety. Are there any questions?"

Ashlesha shook her head. Wiping at her mouth with the back of her sleeve, she struggled back onto her feet and gave a mildly trembling thumbs up.

Bonnie and Ashlesha turned to head back towards OPs or what passed as operations for the small satellite station. On the way Bonnie couldn't help but ask, "are you going to be okay? You, uh, need to rest or anything?" She was overall genuinely concerned for the fact Ashlesha had been separated from her counterparts, like a limb being removed from her body. It couldn't have been pleasant.

"If I stop to even think about what is going on I am going to start crying and not stop," Ashlesha Violet replied. She felt sick all over, everything felt disjointed, wrong. She was getting input from one set of senses and strangely enough she was feeling hyper-focused and hyper-vulnerable.

"Work," she said to Bonnie, "I need work, focus, something to get my mind off of..."

She waved her right hand about, and was suddenly fascinated by the fact it was a singular set of five digits before her. She shook her head.

"Work," she muttered...

Savar saw Ashlesha mutter and shake her right hand about. "Lt Ashlesha, Are you injured?"

“No...” Aurora looked toward Ashlesha. “She’s...alone! The other Ashlesha’s they’re gone.” She looked at Savar. “I normally sense a duality about Ashlesha due to her connection to her other selves. I’m not sensing that duality at the moment.”

As they split apart, each team had a duty, and each were aware they were on a time crunch to get things righted once more.

TBC

 

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