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An Eerie Stilness

Posted on Sun Aug 1st, 2021 @ 11:47pm by Commander Vannon Dacour & Lieutenant Commander Odren Iladris & Ensign Cheyenne Willis & Lieutenant Commander Jess LaCroix & Ensign Kiyrra Iyvanna

Mission: [ARND] #1 The Signal
Location: The Planet
Summary: On the planet, the away team try and strategise how to get to their destination: the strange object that appears to be causing all their problems. And once there, how they would disable it.
Timeline: Mission Day 10 at 0930

= The Planet: Coordinates X243.Y097.Z012 =

Commander Vannon Dacour stood on the edge of a small outcropping surveying the view before him, cool moist air clinging to his skin without so much as a breath of wind to disturb it or a sound to pierce it. In the ravine below, mist clung to the verdant ground and the knee-length brush as the landscape extended farther into a large clearing dotted with crystal formations, at the center of which stood a massive crystalline spire, stretching for what seemed like miles into the grey, cloudy sky, vanishing beyond their view. He stared at the menacing, red-orange crystal structure and glanced down at his left arm where the word "PAHVO" was scribbled in black marker with a question mark after it.

Sighing, he turned his attention back to the structure, this time to the Borg tech snaking a quarter of a way up the spire. Judging from the littered Borg debris around the base of the giant crystal formation, it was safe to assume the Borg had tried to assimilate the structure, but seemingly failed in the process. At least, the way a horde of Borg drones wandered aimlessly to and fro between the mist in the ravine and base of the spire seemed to suggest some kind malfunction.

"Sir, I've woken Commander Xall," a voice said behind him and he turned to look at Doctor Cheyenne Willis who'd accompanied them on the away mission. Vannon had no memory of who she was or that she'd been assigned to Arendis. In fact, he had barely had any memory of the others except for Odren Xall who he'd known for several years.

"Thank you, Doctor," Vannon replied as he looked back at the shuttle they'd arrived in. Attached to the rear hatch was a tent-like structure that stretched out in the shape of a cross to form a temporary shelter where they had been camping the last two days while they formulated a plan to - somehow - stop the spire from interfering with their memories and their technology.

"How are you feeling, sir? Do you need another stim?" the blonde haired doctor asked.

"I think I'm good for now, thank you," Vannon replied. He was tired and could do with sleep, but there was a lot to be done and he could still push himself before needing another stim hypo which would just bring on inevitable exhaustion even quicker.

Movement caught his eye on the slope below him and he instinctively reached for his phaser with his free hand. Three figures emerged from the mist, and as soon as he saw who they were, he relaxed. Lieutenant Commander LaCroix and two of his security officers slowly ascended the outcropping and Vannon moved over to join them. Behind him, Ensign Iyvanna exited the tent and joined the group.

"Welcome back, Commander," Vannon greeted his security chief. "Glad to see you're all in one piece. Report?"

LaCroix stepped over to make his report to the captain, while LtJg Wilder and Ens Ke'px, stayed where they were.
"Captain." LaCroix nodded. "We maintained a distance from the drones. All we saw was them basically just wandering around, bumping into each other. I might say that none of them seemed to be aware of what was happening. I decided that we would take a closer look. For the most part, we were ignored, but I guess we got too close to one of them and it came towards us, so I shot it with my phaser rifle, and it dropped. We prepared to have to fight our way back, but none of the other drones made a move towards us, sir."

"What do you think, Ensign?" Vannon said, turning to the xB strategic operations officer.

Kiyrra had moved silently up beside the First Officer as he spoke with the Security Chief, listening to what was said carefully even as she studied the Borg milling about near the odd crystal spire below as well as the spire itself. The Borg technology she still had, as well as her StarSeeker implants, informed her that there were holes in her memory, but neither technology could fill them in. That was disturbing as she knew the StarSeeker implants recorded everything she experienced in order to share it with the Great Archive if and when she could return home. The fact that the Mynnatha technology was affected by whatever this was greatly disturbed her, but she buried that and focused on the moment and the situation before her. The rest was irrelevant for now.

Below them, the Borg drones were milling about without direction or pattern. Not only did they seem to be disconnected from the Collective, but they seemed disconnected from one another as well. This was further proven by the fact that when the Security Chief had felled the one, the others paid no mind. Normally, destroying one drone caused the others in the vicinity to see you as a threat and react. These were not acting like proper Borg. She frowned.

She looked back to the First Officer. "Their behavior indicates that they are functioning independently of not only the Collective, but of one another," she began. "There is no pattern to their movements, which would indicate that there is no directing influence. This would seem to indicate that whatever the crystal spire is doing to them, it is not giving them direction of any kind. It seems to be more..." she paused to find the right description of the situation, her brows furrowing, finishing with a description that would suffice but was not optimal in her opinion, "disrupting their sense of order. Perhaps the device is some kind of defensive mechanism left over from a long-gone civilization." It was only a preliminary theory, an idea that had come from what she was observing. "An enemy cannot attack you in concert, after all, if they are confused and disoriented and/or cannot remember what their plan was."

Vannon nodded as he listened closely to Kiyrra's assessment. "This sounds like it could work in our favour. We have to take out that spire somehow in order to stop whatever damn signal it's broadcasting from affecting us. We can't target it from orbit or detonate charges remotely, so we're left with the option of going there ourselves. Judging by your report, Commander LaCroix, we might just be able to make it through that swarm of drones down there. I don't know how much damage we'd be able to do to the crystal itself. We can take the shuttle's micro torpedoes and use them as charges, but we'd need to find a way to set them off without blowing ourselves up in the process."

"If we make our way slowly past the drones, and if any of them approach us, my people will take them out, sir." LaCroix responded. "And I'll personally retrieve the torpedoes, sir."

Kiyrra had stood silently while LaCroix put forth his idea to the commander. She was processing something else, something different from the current discussion. "Commander," she said finally, her eyes fixed on the scene below them. "We may have another problem. The drones ignored LaCroix's team, but they may not ignore me. There are... two signals being broadcast, one by the crystal and one by the Borg." Her eyes then came to rest on those of commander Dacour as she waited for him to fully digest her words and tell her what to do next.

"You can clearly sense the two signals?" Vannon asked Kiyrra.

Kiyrra nodded, slightly distracted by them. "Yes, sir. They are somewhat overlapping, but very distinctly separate at the same time."

"There was a theory that might be the case," Lt Commander Odren Xall said as he exited the tent structure behind them and slowly walked over to the group. He held up a bunch of papers in his hand that had been scribbled on all over in his handwriting.

Vannon noticed the officer looked a little worse off than the rest of them. It seemed that while joined Trills had a bit more luck remembering things, the effect of the spire on the R&D officer's joined physiology was taking a more severe toll than the rest of them. Still, Odren put on a brave face and put one foot in front of the other like the rest of them.

"It seems now we have proof," Vannon replied, crossing his arms and looking at the spire in the distance, then back at Odren. "Thoughts?"

"If we can take out the Borg structure, then that should eliminate one of the signals," the tall Trill explained. "The tech signal. But... I think for that we'd need you," he said, looking at Kiyrra. "I know a lot about Borg technology, but we're going to need someone who knows it intimately."

Kiyrra's eyes shifted to the Trill as he spoke to her, and she nodded. "I will help all that I can," she said. "Though, as we draw nearer to the structure, its effect on me may become... difficult to ignore." From here, she could sense it, but she could ignore it by force of will.

"If the two of you are confident that you could deactivate the Borg tech on that spire," Vannon said, looking intently at Kiyrra and Odren. "Then we might not need to blow it up. This would be a last resort, but since we won't be needing the micro torpedoes for the spire, we could use them to take out most of these drones and clear ourselves a path to the spire."

Kiyrra moved to where she could look down at the drones and the Borg technology which had attempted to assimilate the spire. Using all of her assets, she 'zoomed in' on it and studied it, frowning in thought. After a moment, she turned back to the others. "I believe we can deactivate it," she stated with as much surety as she could. "Do you concur?" she asked the tall Trill.

Odren nodded, "I agree."

LaCroix looked at the XO. "Sir. My people can clear a path easy means us shooting the drones. Our observation is that the drones won't respond if some of them fall."

"Let's hope that remains the case, Commander," Vannon mused. "All right, that settles it. LaCroix, get all your equipment and the micro torpedoes removed from the shuttle and secured for travel. Xall, Iyvanna... take whatever engineering or science equipment you might need. Doctor Willis," he said, turning to the young doctor who'd been standing to one side listening. "Please make sure to sort through what medical and food supplies we might. We need to secure the shuttle before we can get on our way and I'd like to be on the move in an hour. Let's get to it!"

= End =

Cmdr Vannon Dacour
Executive Officer
USS Arendis NX-98760
LtCmdr Jess LaCroix
Chief Security Officer
USS Arendis NX-98760
LtCmdr Odren Xall
Chief R&D Officer
USS Arendis NX-98760
Ens Kiyrra Iyvanna
Strategic Ops Officer
USS Arendis NX-98760
Ens Cheyenne Willis
Medical Officer
USS Arendis NX-98760


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