Posted on Mon Sep 7th, 2020 @ 2:43pm by Captain Ken Jamison & Commander JJ Barnes & Lieutenant Commander Serena Rush & Lieutenant Commander Broka & Lieutenant Commander Kali nas-Kull M.D. & Lieutenant Commander Delphine Xandari PhD & Lieutenant Irissa Lang LT
Into the Dark Mirror
Location: McAllister C-5 Nebula
As the Valhalla entered the nebula, the helmsman was careful to keep his eyes peeled. The path in front of them wasn't clearly visible and if they went in too fast, they might not have time to avoid whatever it was that would appear out of the nebula and block their way. "There's not much I can see going in", he said.
"And if we use strong, active sensors, we might as well not hide at all", Kali remarked, sitting right next to the counsellor's seat and watching the goings-on.
"Exactly Doctor." Ken replied, "Lets do this nice and slow and not tip our hand. Proceed as you are helm."
Relying on vision and passive sensors, he steered the Valhalla deeper into the mist. "Two AUs from the edge", he reported. But he didn't know how far the Captain wanted the ship to go in.
"Keep going helm. Slow and easy. We're in no hurry, at least not yet." Ken replied as he glanced at Kali. "If this was good enough to hide Cardassian ships, it's good enough for us. I wonder if anyone else has this thought?" He mused.
"Probably, but how would we find them in here, if we don't know where to look?" Kali asked.
"Good point." Ken conceded. "I look at this way. We won't try to find them if they don't try to find us."
JJ had been using the ready room to have an additional conversation with the Dragon and Scorpian over a secured frequency
She finally returned to the bridge. "Our chat let the Dragon track us in. Scorpian has agreed to a visit. She will have to come by shuttle. We can't transport through this."
Ken nodded as JJ informed them of her chat. "Scorpian is coming here? That should prove interesting." He looked over at Kali, "Seems your going to get your wish Kali. and compare notes on medicine."
Delphine had had to fight the urge to answer the question of how would we find another ship in this nebula with a very truthful reply of 'By accident.' However, she knew that wouldn't help, so she simply closed her eyes and started looking for other people in the nebula with her paracortex. It was times like this when she missed her hair, having something to twist nervously would be great right now.
Out of the mist, a clearer section appeared, the haze of the nebula thinned out and slowly revealed a section dimly lit by the diffuse light from around them. A rocky body, not quite a planet for lack of a nearby star, had accumulated an atmosphere of the surrounding gases, and cleared away some of them.
JJ looked the instruments. "We're still in the gravitational pull of the C-5 pulsar. It's a neutron star here and in our universe, it won't give off any light, just some radiation. That's probably how there is a little light out here. It's the radiation hitting the gases in the nebula. We're safe as long as long as no one else is hiding in here."
"And so long as the radiation doesn't become to intense," the Ferengi Engineer chimed as he checked his readouts. "We should be safe for the time being using our defenses. They don't appear to be overwhelmed."
"Very good Mr. Broka." Ken replied to the CEO, "I'm thankful for any favors that go our way. No matter how big or small. Sing out at any change in the readings."
The Ferengi nodded, carefully keeping an eye on the ship's systems. "Trust me if I see something I will certainly let you know." He just hoped he found the way home...
Lang, Travis and Rush sat at a table, powering up the computer monitors in front of them. Irissa looked over at Travis and Rush. "Okay, where do we begin? Known associates of Commander Barnes grandparents?"
"Logically that's where you'd start," Rush began. "However those associates may not be unable to help directly. Our research indicates they would be advanced in years approximately eighty years old," she touched the screen. "They'll are still however potential avenues we can explore, their knowledge could lead us to other more active allies and contacts."
Irissa nodded. "Alright, moving onto allies and contacts." Irissa tapped away at the keys for a few minutes. She cocked her head to the side and paused. "We might be better off by looking for anyone else who wants to take out the Emperor too. It might save time if we backtrack to see if any of them are also allies or contacts of the Commander's grandparents."
From his place at the table Travis looked at Serena and Irissa. "That's a good idea and from what we know of this universe there is no shortage of people who want the Emperor removed. The problem is that they don't have the means to do it at without not getting their entire race wiped out if they should fail."
Rush sighed. This was always going to be tough, they knew so little about the area they now found themselves in. Speak to the wrong people, hell even cross into someone's territory accidentally could result in utter devastation. They couldn't afford any mistakes: "Why don't we ask Commander Barnes to join us?"
"Excellent idea Rush!", Irissa said. She tapped her combadge, "Commander Barnes, are available to join us for a few minutes? We have some questions for you to help us narrow our search." Irissa looked back at Serena and nodded, smiling.
"I'll be right in." JJ replied as she watched Koa Pua cross the bridge to start her ship. "Koa, signal the ISS dragon on the piggyback frequency we're using. Tell them we're ready to receive Scorpian when they are. Signal me when her shuttle arrives and have a security officer shadow us."
Koa nodded as she sat down. "Aye Commander."
JJ looked at Ken. "I'm guessing they have lots of questions that I can't answer...I'll do my best."
"That's all any of us can do JJ. I'm sure they will appreciate any information you can give them even if you think it's trivial." Ken replied.
A moment later she answered the conference room and sat down. "What questions do you have for me?
"Thank you for coming to help us," Serena began. "We're hoping you have a better handle of the situation than we do. Assuming we're going to stuck here for a lengthy period of time we're need some allies and a safe harbour if necessary. Would your grandparents be able to help us with finding some reliable contacts?"
Irissa nodded. "If you or your grandparents could also list other potential threats to us, groups who support the Emperor and such, that would be very helpful too."
My grandmother will be coming on board shortly. I'm sure she can provide some of those answers. Keep in mind though, from what they have told me they have not been back to this Universe in 80 years. They claim to have discovered some sort of fountain of youth, which is why they look so young but any allies they had may not still be around. They did provide Intel to us that indicates the Emperor...aka her brother is still alive."
Travis tapped a PaDD he had been holding on the table top. "Yes, all well and good matter but as you said this information is 80 years old. Not the freshest of intel. However it is better than nothing and beggars can't be choosers. It gives a starting point. If you can gleam anymore intel from your grandmother it would be greatly appreciated."
Irissa tapped her chin thoughtfully. "Well, when your grandmother comes aboard we will request a list of anyone they think can help as well as harm, and then we will work from there. 80 year old intel is better than none at all." She looked up at Barnes and smiled. "Thank you Commander."
JJ stood up. '"I'll let you know when she's aboard. It should be shortly. She's coming by shuttle, transporters are unreliable here. We've transmitted our coordinates on a coded frequency to them."
"Thank you Commander. I hope that her visit isn't all work and no play. I imagine you have a lot of catching up to do", Irissa said with a smile.
Back on the ISS Dragon Scorpion paced. Things were going to hell. The Ion Storm generator was fried. Another would need to be obtained to send the Valhalla home. It wasn't news she was looking forward to delivering to the Valhalla or the Dragon for that matter. There was another way, one that on the surfaced was so incredibly easy, but digging deeper...the risk was astronomical for both the prime and mirror universe.
After taking a few deep breaths she stepped out onto the bridge and looked at the monitors and the view screen. The view was similar to what the Valhalla was currently seeing as they had been communicating with Valhalla on a piggybacked secured frequency which let them track Valhalla.
She sighed audibly and sat down next to the Dragon. "They have the best chance here."
Dragon gave her a sideways glance, "Blunt but to the point as always Zelda." He looked out through the viewscreen at the Valhalla, "Though I'm not sure they feel that way." He now turned to face her, "What news do you have on the Ion Storm generator? How long until it is repaired? I'm sure the Valhalla crew wish to return to their universe."
"I'm not sure who will take this news worse, them or you... There's not enough of it left to fuse back together. It's a melted mass of metal alloy and over heated chemicals. Another will need to be obtained for their purposes and ours."
He took the news fairly well. His hands clenched the arms of his command chair and his eyes narrowed at the news Zelda told him. "Damn, damn, damn. That isn't good at all. Though they will have to be told. We'll wait until a more opportune time. To give them the bad news."
Zelda nodded. "They invited me over to meet our granddaughter Haley. No doubt they intend to pump me for information. I trust JJ. Hell...I think I trust Captain Jamison as well. I'm just not sure they could handle being asked to keep certain things from Starfleet."
Dragon nodded and gave her a wry smile. "I think Jamison is a good Captain, cares about his crew and you can see he loves JJ. I think he can be trusted but lets not rush into anything yet. Go see our granddaughter and see how everything goes. Give them a chance to prove us wrong."
Zelda nodded. "We need to concentrate on taking out the Emperor. If I can take the throne, we can easily provide another device to send them home. It will solve many other problems as well."
"Agreed Zelda but having the Valhalla and her crew would go a long way to securing your claim to the throne as well as sending them home." Dragon pointed out.
"Yes, they may prove useful. Hopefully we can get my brother out and take over without certain truths being reveled. There's certain things they would find unnecessarily alarming if they knew. I know they were to me." She kissed him. "I should get going ti the Valhalla."
He returned the kiss, "Remember we are better off with them than without them and as for certain truths being revealed, I agree. What they don't know won't hurt them. Lets keep it that way."
Zelda nodded. "Under other circumstances I would think they would find those truths fascinating, not frighting at all. I wish they could see the wonders I saw, when I was accepted into your family. But those truths must be protected, and we start by taking control of the Empire. "
One of the crewmen came up behind Zelda. "Scorpian, your shuttle is ready. Do you need a pilot?"
"No...it's best its just me for now."
"Perhaps our granddaughter and her daughter can someday for now we continue as we are doing. We need the Federation ship and it's crew in our quest to take control of the Empire. A little good will can go a long way in securing their help." Dragon replied. He nodded at Zelda, "I know you will be at your diplomatic best while visiting their ship."
Ken sat on the bridge, the mood was tense as the Valhalla slowly ever deeper into the nebula. So far they hadn't encountered any difficulties or any other ships for that matter. Still he was on edge. JJ had gone to meet Zelda, her grandmother and first officer of the starship Dragon that was currently with them inside the nebula. He hoped JJ would be successful in finding out more from Zelda other than reclaiming the throne. Still there was much more to know. He didn't want to get the ship involved in a family squabble. His priority was getting the ship and crew home to their universe as quickly as possible.
His fingers tapped on the arm of his chair. as he stared at the main viewscreen and the dazzling light show that was going on around the ship. He wanted answers and he wanted them yesterday. However he tempered his anxiousness by remembering if anyone could get answers it would be JJ, so he sat and waited for her to return.
Irissa leaned back from her console, with a sigh. She's been scrolling through files for what felt like ages. She rubbed her eyes and looked over at Rush and Travis. They looked as tired as she felt. Irissa pushed her chair back and stood up. "I say we take a break and get some dinner. I think we need to give our eyes a rest. Hopefully CMDR Barnes will have some new insight for us when she returns. Care to join me?"
Travis nodded and gave a tired smile, "I think that is an excellent idea and You aren't alone in hoping Cmdr Barnes has some new insight. Right now we're in the dark." He looked at Serena, "How about you Serena? Could you use something to eat along with some scintillating dinner company and conversation?" He said with a smile.
Irissa laughed and looked over at Rush. "I don't know about YOU Serena, but I could use some scintillating dinner company!"
"You mean can couldn't hear my stomach growling earlier?" Serena joked. "Come on, lets clear our heads for a while."
OOC: Moving Dragon and Zelda to a separate post.