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The Devils' Den

Posted on Mon Apr 20th, 2009 @ 8:49am by Commander Lorran Vos & Lieutenant JG T'Arjia D'Ras

Mission: Echoes of the Damned: Pilot Episode.
Location: Tunnels Throne Room
Timeline: Present

As Vos and Ulonova took a few steps into the room, both anxious to learn the fate of their Captain, the hissing began to grow louder. As it reached a crescendo there was a mighty crack and a colossal slab of that black rock detached itself from the sealing to slide neatly into place over the door, sealing off the rest of the team. There was a ground-shaking, bone-rattling boom when it hit the floor. Vos spun around and smacked a fist vainly against the reflective, black surface, in which he could see the grinning faces of the creatures that surrounded them. His shoulders drooped slightly as his face turned into a sour scowl.

"Mason! Mason! If you can hear me, get our people out of here! That's an order, Lieutenant! We'll do what we have to do!" Vos yelled at the door, his voice holding a tone of grim resolution. He turned around, stepping in front of Leanne as if he could shield her from them if they chose to charge all at once. "Well, this is some first date, isn't it?" he said over his shoulder, the ghost of a smile crossing his features as he reached back to take her hand.

"You sure are a big spender..." Leanne gave a quick smile and then tried to tried to move the large stone door which obviously was not going to budge. She stood up against the back wall and pulled her phaser out. She had been depending on the rest of the crew up until now to protect her but now she obviously had to take matters into her own hands.

With slow deliberate steps, shrouded in shadow, the predator stalked its prey. They were trying to steal her daughter, take her from her new family, and she wasn't going to stand for that. The male standing in the middle was different, he stood tall, unafraid, and the unknown alien women was equally as calm but her thoughts were hidden to her, emotions like a wall. It worried her.
She continued to circle, hidden out of view, clinging to the shadows like a child in mothers arms, waiting for her time to strike.

T'arjia continued to help support the weight of the unconscious human called Beverly, assisted by Kathy, her steps not having slowed in their pace as the group had moved toward the relative safety of the outside world. She had wondered to herself just how far that safety was, when the source of the alien shrieks and phaser fire became clear. Starfleet officers! If they had managed to get to this point, then the exit can't be far away. T'Arjia didn't let her pace falter as they closed the distance with their rescuers, her steady eyes meeting those of the man who would seem to be in command. "It is fortuitous for us that you chose to undertake a rescue at this exact time. May I suggest a fast withdrawal?"

"Believe me, Ensign, I'd like nothing better...but it seems that our point of egress has been removed. I don't suppose there are any other exits from this room?" Vos said, surprised to see another officer he wasn't familiar with helping to support Beverly. Was she a Genesis crewmember or possibly one of Mr. O'Brien's colleagues? He'd sort it all out later. One thing on his mind was more pressing than any other concern as he looked at the gathering of "guard" aliens in front of them. "Why don't they attack us?" he asked the Vulcan woman, gesturing with his phaser rifle at them as he removed his sidearm with his free hand and handed it to her. They'd need all the phasers they could get if those things rushed them, especially considering the unconscious Beverly, the scared out of her mind Kathy who to this point hadn't even spoken yet, and the controlled, but inexperienced Doctor Ulonova. He didn't know about the Vulcan, but aside from her Vos was the only experienced combatant in the group. If things went to hell it wouldn't go very well for them.

T'Arjia took the offered phaser on he hand, quickly checking the setting before holding it at the ready "I am unaware of any other exits, sir, but to make an educated guess as to the aliens actions, I would surmise that it is me. They have always seemed to avoid me up until now. Well, unless they wanted something..."

Leanne grabbed her tricorder off of her belt and started to scan Beverly. She indeed was infected, though the form of the virus was different then the one that most of the crewmembers where presenting with. "Vos, Beverly is infected... though... it isn't like the others, where as the virus in the others was consuming the patients DNA, completely devouring it and changing it, hitting it with a sledge hammer, it looks like what Beverly has is more precise, like a scalpel.. selectively changing specific, amino acids in her DNA sequence." Leanne carefully opened up Beverly's eyes and they had begun to change, they had become more catlike with horizontal slits and a yellowish hue. "We need to get her out of here somehow... she hasn't fully changed... I might be able to do something.."

This was all too much for Kathy to comprehend. A strange, stray Vulcan by the name of T'Ajia found walked straight through the alien den parting the creatures like the Red Sea. It sounded as if beyond that wall a war was being raged by her colleagues who had miraculously survived the night, then to her disbelief commander Lorran stood before them, bloody and battled wearily but alive.
Normally she would have greeted him with open arms but he Doctor's diagnoses stopped her dead sending horror chills down her spine.
Beverly was infected with something that was manipulating her DNA!
They needed to get to the Genesis, but the aliens has seal off their only escape route clearly these were far more intelligent creatures then she first thought.

"She's infected!" she squealed. "How, what I?!" her level of fear was rising rapidly making her mouth and brain communication break down temporarily. As all the eyes turned to fall upon her she tried again. "What the hell are we going to do?" she blurted out suddenly.

"Calm down, Kathy. We're going to help her." Vos assured the bartender, but the words felt hollow somehow. He had no idea how or if they were going to get through this one. He thought about what the Vulcan woman had said to him, how the aliens usually avoided her. Could it be because of her telepathic nature? Or maybe because she never showed any fear of them? He hadn't noticed it before with the rest of the crew and wondered just how many members of telepathic races had come out of the running battle earlier unscathed and uninfected. "Leanne, scan the room, try to find a hidden back door somewhere. There has to be one. They wouldn't trap themselves down here, even to make sure we didn't leave. They must have some angle we're not seeing." Vos said, kneeling down next to the Doctor and Beverly for a moment, but keeping his eyes on the aliens.

"Escape is impossible. The children will rise", softly spoken, but echoing around the chamber the guttural voice of the Mother could be heard. It seemed to come from everywhere and nowhere.
She watched the small group of invaders, looking around in surprise, trying to find the source of the voice. It brought a vindictive smile to her lips.

With a graceful fall, she released her grip on the jagged ceiling, twisting her body as she fell to orient her fall to the cavern floor below. With a light foot, and barely any sign of her landing she rose up to her full height, almost half a head taller than the unusual male.
She was standing nose to nose with him, and she could almost taste the fear rippling from him.

Vos swallowed past the sudden lump in his throat as he rose to his feet and tried to appear calm and in control. The creature was preternaturally graceful, death and danger wrapped up in a slender, alien package. "Lady, these are definitely children only a mother could love." he replied, not backing down an inch. "Now, I make it a policy not to shoot women, but if you don't back off and get out of my face I'm going to change it." Hopefully she wouldn't notice the cold sweat running down his spine.

A cold, humorless laugh, as she focused her eyes on Vos for the first true time. "Your threats mean nothing. My children have suffered for century's, and now the reckoning is upon us", with lightning speed she took Vos by the throat, lifting him clear from the ground, slowly squeezing the life from him. "Now you will pay for what you have done. A debt that only be paid in blood".
Her teeth bared, focused solely on Vos. Anticipation coursing through her at the temptation to taste his flesh.

Vos choked as he struggled to keep his neck muscles flexed so that he wouldn't pass out immediately. He would have grabbed her arms to relieve the pressure, but they had the important duty of turning his phaser rifle to press into the alien queen's stomach. He made a series of sounds that could have been "Let go" if she hadn't been bruising his vocal chords at that very moment. He thumbed the setting on the rifle to full power as a show of force, despite the fact that his legs were kicking rather futilely in the air.

The slight sound of the weapon pressed against her abdomen snapped her back. With a fluid movement she swiped at the weapon with her free hand, sending it across the room, sailing away as a shot escaped the maw of the weapon and impacted into one of her children. The child dissolved in a mass of charged energy. "What have you done?!", she spat at Vos before mirroring the image of the weapon by launching him into the air, sending him in the opposite direction to his weapon. The whole moment was effortless. She wheeled on the Vulcan, who had now pointed the phaser she was carrying directly at her.
The sound of flesh hitting stone could be heard behind her, as Vos completed his journey. "You are the emotionless one. I will be your death."

Before the Vulcan could pull off a shot, Mother had swung her huge arm, using the full blunt force to knock the Vulcan from her feet. "The reckoning is here, and my children will follow the sun."

T'Arjia wanted to move with the blow, to dodge the swinging arm, but her reflexes were just not good enough. Instead, the Mother's arm collided with her side, hurling the Vulcan from the group, her so recently acquired phaser scattering off in another direction. Impact. She hadn't hit jagged rock, and that was good, but there was a flaring pain in her side. She gritted her teeth and climbed back to her feet. Pain. Pain focuses the mind...

Without T'Arjia's aid Kathy crumbled under Beverly's dead weight and screamed as the Queen throw Vos across the chamber and struck her Vulcan counterpart.
Clutching her friend dearly she hid her head in her arms, cowering in terror.

Vos felt like his slide to the floor after hitting the stone wall with a fleshy thump was at a comically slow pace. Fortunately, he'd managed to twist in the air so only his back and shoulder had hit, but the force of the throw had snapped his head back and he'd bashed it against the rock as well with only a slightly less amount of force. He sat there, feeling like he was going to vomit as the world spun around him. A distant part of his mind registered that he might have just suffered a concussion and that further movement wouldn't be good for him. He wanted to lie down and sleep but that voice also said he shouldn't do that, either. So, with an annoyed grunt he propped himself against the wall he'd hit, holding onto it as if to anchor himself to the floor. Then, blinking a few times to clear his vision, Vos reached down for the mek'leth at his belt...only to find it had disappeared somewhere during his flight or upon impact. He steadied himself on his feet and started walking towards the queen again looking bleary-eyed and not all there.

"You know, you throw like a girl..." he grinned, spitting blood onto the floor from when he'd bitten his tongue upon landing. Vos reached to his belt for his tricorder and brandished it like a weapon. Either he'd hit his head harder than anyone realized, or he had a plan. "Now, either you let us leave peacefully, all of us, or we're all going to have a very bad day. I've set plasma charges throughout this entire complex. One push of this button and it'll come crashing down around our heads. You're pretty quick, but I don't think you could get this out of my hand before my thumb twitched. Do you?" he grinned, stumbling to the side and almost tripping before righting himself.

The scream she forced from her lungs was deafening, like a banshee calling for aid from its brethren.
"You cannot stop us, we are the force of years past. The living descendants of this once great empire. The T'Kon live on in us", her words were like the hissing of a viper. Angry and desperate.

"Bitch, bitch, bitch...that's all you ever do. Could you keep it to a dull roar, please? That being thrown across the room thing gave me one hell of a headache. I'm getting a sort of twitch in my hand, too. Whoa, almost pressed something important on my little detonator here. I'm so clumsy." Vos continued to taunt her. He seemed to be getting more out of his mind by the second, probably as a result of unconsciousness threatening him due to the bruise to the back of his brain. "Now, you want to let us out of here or am I going to have to redecorate?" He set his legs and blinked a few more times to get his balance back.

Leanne's eyes where as big as saucers, the doctor looked over at Vos and the Vulcan who had both gotten back to their feet, they both probably had sustained internal injuries. Leanne moved tried to put Kathy and Beverly behind her to protect them if the thing tried to come at them. She wanted to get a sample from the queen alien but didn't think that she would appreciate being stabbed with a sample needle. It was likely that whatever had changed the other creatures, as well as infecting Beverly had come from her. If there was any hope of figuring out what exactly was going on she needed a tissue sample. The doctor carefully leaned down and opened her med kit. Fortunately Vos was keeping it busy the entire time and gave her enough time to slip the sample vile into her hand.

Mother was reading all of them, watching them all with her minds eye, all accept the Vulcan. She had to keep her eyes stuck to this one, but right now, her mind was caught between ripping the insignificant beings apart or saving her life. She hesitated and slowly began to circle the room. Moving in perfect unison with the male. Circling so he could get back to his group, and she could distance herself.
"Escape is meaningless. She will be magnificent". One thing held in her mind, "What is your name?"
The question was aimed only at Vos.

Vos quirked an eyebrow at the Queen at the question. "Now that's a strange thing to ask a lowly, insignificant creature such as myself, isn't it?" he asked, smirking. Still, he saw no reason not to answer at that moment. "Commander Lorran Vos, First Officer of the Federation starship Genesis, at your service." he gave a slight bow.

"We will not forget you Vos of Genesis", something dangerous in her voice and posture, as if she was ready for striking. She was now stood between the Starfleet people and the only other exit from the chamber.

It was at that moment, when Vos was feeling a little more confident, that one of the brutish, gorilla-like aliens snapped an arm out and smacked Vos' elbow. His tricorder went skittering off across the ground, coming to a stop several paces from Leanne, Kathy, and Beverly. Despite the screaming pain in his head, Vos tucked and rolled away from the follow-up blows as the throne room guard pursued him across the floor with sweeping archs of its long, clawed arms. "Someone!" he yelled between swipes. "Hit the detonator!"

Looking up from her folded arms Kathy saw the tricorder come to a halt a short distance away. Trembling all over she looked between her injured colleagues with Vos struggling to stand up right, Beverly still and immobile beside her and T'Arjia bleeding profusely. It made her see red, these were her friends, the closet thing she had to family. These were HER children and like every good mother she could not bear to see them become hurt.

He shot between the alien's legs, catching sight of his mek'leth on the floor, and grabbed it as he rolled to his knees. The alien was almost on him, being much faster and less injured, but Vos was at a breaking point and his decision-making skills were a little less than on par with his usual level. He gave a frantic yell, hiding the mek'leth behind his back, and charged, only to fall to his knees again at the last instant. He slid the last couple of feet underneath the alien's arms to stab the Klingon weapon deep into its abdomen. The creature gave a piercing squeal as he twisted the blade and then crabwalked as fast as he could away from the creature as it could still kill him with a glancing swipe. Apparently, he'd hit something vital, as the guard creature toppled over a moment later instead of coming after him. However, by then he had more problems.

The queen had moved in behind Vos. Silently, swiftly, and taken him once again by the throat, squeezing the remaining life from his battered body. She brought him down hard on the floor, crushing his larynx, and beating off another assault by the emotionless one. Swinging her clawed hand, catching nothing but a handful of uniform from her chest.
"I am judgment, I am salvation. I am the T'Kon", baring her fangs with peeled back lips. "You will feed my children".
With a savage move, she bit into his shoulder, ripping the flesh, spilling his life blood across the cavern floor.

Vos wrenched against her grip, unable to make more than a few small grunts due to the grip she had on his neck. He reached down toward his boot as he struggled against her grip with his other hand.

"Enough!" A shaking voice cried out, echoing around the space. Kathy stood with her knees shaking barley supporting her weight, fresh tears streaking down her face and held tightly in her trembling fingers was Vos' tricorder.

She hadn't seen this coming. All her senses had told her that Vos of Genesis would be the threat to her. Now it was the old one that was threatening her. "I misjudged you". She had cast her yellow cat like eyes in the direction of Kathy. "You will join my children".

"These are my children you are terrorizing, I won't stand of it any longer," Kathy said her voice sounding stronger now, and her eyes were cold. "This is for them, and all those who have come before them."
Her thumb jerked and with a determined stab she hit the button.

The response was instantaneous. Deep within the depths of the temple there came one, monumental, earth shaking explosion.
For a moment nothing seemed to happen making the away team look around cursorily.
Then like in the previous craven the ceiling began to rain down around them, but in the large, deadly shape of rock easily the size for each member of the team.

With a howl of anger, the Queen lunged at Kathy, talons ready to tear her to ribbons. Before she could reach Kathy, the cavern prevented her from proceeding any further. A shard of the ceiling the size of three of her children tumbled down, landing not a foot in front of her, preventing her attack for a short moment. That moment was all that Vos needed.

"Hey, your highness!" Vos choked out from where he was on his knees behind the queen. His voice was scratchy and ragged, and he held one hand to his bruised throat while blood ran freely from the wound on his shoulder. In his other hand, he held out the palm phaser he'd tucked into his boot for emergencies what seemed like so long ago on the West Ridge before they'd come out on this crazy rescue mission. "I'm the judgment today." he growled. A lance of energy reached out across the intervening space in the next microsecond, touching the Queen dead-center on the chest. She began to scream just as the full-power phaser blast finished vaporizing her.

"Witch..." Vos groaned as the phaser tumbled out of his hand and he pitched forward hard onto the ground. He could see forms moving around as the cavern began to break apart and fall, but everything had a dreamlike quality to it, shapes swimming in front of his eyes that he couldn't quite tell were real. He didn't think he would die like this. He didn't really want to. Then again, he couldn't quite get his body to move. He was so tired...

Discipline over chaos. Logic over emotion. Action over inaction. T'Arjia kept on repeating the three lines to herself as she scrambled to her feet for the third time. Her side throbbed with a dull pain, and it was starting to hurt to take anything more than shallow breaths. Her uniform was shredded across the chest, thankfully no wound, however. Unfortunately, there was a stinging pain above her left eye. Probably a gash. Still, she wouldn't let her injuries stop her from helping. Commander Vos. His injuries looked more severe. He had priority.

Loping forward, she caught him as he pitched forward, his weight suddenly being supported by only her remaining strength, and it hurt like hell. Exerting herself was putting extra pressure on her side. Still, discipline over chaos. Logic over emotion. Action over inaction.

"Lets get out of here" Leanne helped T'Arija carry Vos, she hoped that they would make it out before the place crashed down around them.

"Get Kathy and the Commander, Ensign. I'll be fine." Vos said, leaning on Leanne for support, his eyes closed while he tried to regain his stability and rein in the nausea. Even with the world spinning he could realize that Kathy would need T'Arija's superior Vulcan strength to carry the Commander. Vos could get his legs underneath him, which made him less in need than the unconscious Beverly. After giving the order, he let Leanne lead him toward where that other exit the Queen had been blocking them from reaching had been. Rocks and dirt and dust fell in showers to the floor as the ceiling cracked, interspersed with huge boulders and pieces of said ceiling that buried themselves in the ground with tremendous crashes.

Kathy had already heaved Beverly upright and was resuming her grip on the unconscious woman by the time T'Ajia moved towards them. Still clutched in a death grip in Kathy's hand was Vos' tricorder. From the peppering of experience she had received from Starfleet all those years ago the readings she saw were making sense, and twirling through the curtain of dust she saw little but had learned over the years to trust those small, smart devices. She followed the shape of Leanne and Vos staggering out together with the little hand held device beeping as they go, if they should find their route blocked this little gadget should point them in a new direction. Or at least that is what Kathy was hoping.

Vos tried to keep his feet underneath him, but he felt himself sagging, both from blood-loss and from his concussion threatening to suck him down into the black void of dreamless unconsciousness. He staggered both himself and Leanne into the nearest wall with a sudden shift of his weight and a mumbled apology. A stinging sensation in his hand as he scraped it on a sharp piece of rock brought him a little further into wakefulness and he used the moment of clarity to stand upright, taking his weight off of the Doctor. Then, Commander Lorran felt a pulling, falling sensation and everything went bright. He thought he'd finally passed out until he found himself in the Genesis' transporter room. He looked around dumbly just before collapsing on the transporter pad.


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