Project Mystery Train

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'Project Mystery Train' is one of the dark projects once investigated by then-Captain Zachary Falthgood. It is best described as either a Gateway to Hell, or a Portable Event Horizon. It's generally used as a method of travel (Think Stargate Here), and has been made functional again by Admiral Doenitz. In responce, Falthgood has retrieved three of his own devices, see: The Falthgood Devices

All posts are credited to their writers. They were primarily written by J Trout & Melinda Martin

(More Coming)

Project Mystery Train

Discovering it Exists Again

Authors Note: These two posts are MEAN, be aware of that if you have a weak stomach or touchy sensibilities.

Stardate: 2406.10.23

(USS Mystique, CargoBay 3, CO Captain Vanyssa Winters & Ensign Jason Dema, Master Sergeant Oo'lish and the enemy MCO - 1915)

Vanyssa stood outside the cargoBay with Dema on one side, Oo'lish on the other and a security team at her back. She took a deep breath and motioned for the door to be unlocked. She looked around the CargoBay at the people inside it, most of them freezing, then realized that the place was still very cold. She frowned.

"Captain Winters to Ops. Please increase the temperature of CargoBay 3 to normal levels." The Ops officer nodded and the place lost it's chill. The doors clanged shut behind her team. "My name is Captain Vanyssa Winters, I am the CO of the Mystique and I want to know why you decided to attack my ship. Who is your leader?" She asked, her authoritative voice ringing around the cargo bay.

Jason stood by, waiting for a response, ready, just in case.

There were many sounds, but silence was among them. The Marine CO from The enemy group looked out, eyes narrowed. He didn't move to step forward, neither did his men single him out. Let the wench come to him, if she could find him, he had no intention of stepping forward. There was going to be hell to pay as it was.

Vanyssa frowned. She then turned to her bodyguard. "Master Sergeant, I need to find which of these men is the leader. I could just read them and be done with it. But I am trying to play by the rules I agreed to when I joined Starfleet. Can you help me find their leader?" And with that Vanyssa did smile. Blue eyed and red headed Betazoids were a rarity these days. And Vanyssa knew that she looked nothing like any of the stereotypes that most Betazoids fit.

Master Sergeant Oo'lish looked out impassively upon the crowd. They were well covered, but going into the middle of a group of enemy Marine's was not usually a good idea. Then again, she wasn’t the average Marine either. She stroked one of the tattoos on her face and nodded. "As you will, Captain." She said quietly.

She put one of her arms behind her back as she walked forward, and fingered the handle of her combat-knife. She stepped up to one Marine, then turned away and looked at another. She was looking for a very specific type of man, or woman, one that she could apply the appropriate amount of pressure on. She had plenty of motivation; half of her squad had been wiped out by another CE unit. Of course, that unit no longer existed, Blackops still did. Such as it was with Combat Engineers.

The MCO quirked an eyebrow as a heavily tattooed woman stepped into the throng of their ranks. She was either confident, stupid or both. Even courage didn’t apply. She kept pausing to look at people before moving on. He recognized the attitude, she was dangerous.

Oo'lish finally paused before one woman, her face was dirty and she looked somewhat haggard. She had obvious lines on her face, she wasn’t fresh, nor was she old. She was obviously exhausted.

"Tell me," Oo'lish said quietly. "Where's your Marine CO?"

The woman quirked an eyebrow, then spit on Oo'lish's face. The CE wiped the spittle away with one hand, never closing her eyes, then asked again in the same deceptively quiet tones "Where's your Marine CO?"

The woman said nothing, and without any warning at all Oo'lish pulled her knife and grabbed the woman by the hair. She shrieked, but before her (or anyone else) could react, Oo'lish was behind her with one hand still on her hair yanking back hard, and the combat knife against her throat.

"Alright," the CE said in a growly tone. "I'm sick to death of this. I'm not in a charitable mood, not after having comrades murdered by men and women I THOUGHT were my brothers! I have no patience for you, or your f*cukups any longer. You are going to tell me who your MCO is, and if that b*stard is still alive... you are going to walk em forward so we can have a little chat. Otherwise, this blonde is going to be short several pints of blood, and Ill start working over another of you!"

Lots of growls came from the Marines around her; she snapped her head to the side. "And if you take one more step bucko," she said to one of the Marines moving up behind her, "Ill have your eyeballs for a necklace."

The Marine CO sighed, it was a ploy, but he couldn’t take the rest. He pushed a couple of his men aside and stepped up next to the woman. He didn’t say a word, her gaze rested on him a few moments later. She quirked an eyebrow, "You would be the Commanding Officer, then?" Her smile seemed to say she had been waiting for him. "Good, follow me then." He nodded acquiescence as she started stepping backwards, and the whole time the knife remained steady over Sergeant Jolin's neck. The MCO had studied the Marine units on the Mystique before the invasion; there was only one painted-up woman on the whole ship... a woman in Blackops named Oo'lish.

Once they reached the edge of the crowd, he decided to put his memory to the test. "Let her go now, Sergeant Oo'lish."

The CE gestured to the back, "Step past me, Sir, and Ill do just that."

She had said 'sir', but she had meant 'cur'. The MCO sighed and walked up too this Captain Winters. He paused briefly to make sure the CE let go of his crewman, then turned back when he was sure she had. Again, he said nothing.

"Thank you, Master Sergeant. " Vanyssa said, looking the man over standing in front of her. In some ways he was a lot like David, and Rich, in others....

Vanyssa closed her eyes briefly at the thought of David. She missed him so very very much.

"Are any of your men hurt?" She asked courteously. Still he said nothing. She sighed. "I would return you to your Captain if I thought it would do any good. But it won't. You will be given over to Admiral LoDona and he will ransom you back to your people. But there are some things I need to know, Sir. I ask you again, is there anything that your men need? Do they need a physician or supplies? I will treat you in accordance with the Regulations concerning Prisoners in Wartime."

The officer quirked an eyebrow ever-so-slightly. "Janson, Ricard, H. Lieutenant Colonel, Starfleet Marines." The smile that cracked his lips was somewhat mocking. She was going to have to try far harder then this.

She sighed softly. Ask one question, get a totally different answer. And he was rude. She was still a superior officer, even if she was a traitor. She resisted to urge to backhand him for his rudeness.

She nodded to Dema and Oo'lish. "Escort him to the security center, please."

"Yes Ma'am" Jason turned to the MCO.

Before he could be escorted off, he turned on his heel. "Men, if the opportunity presents itself, Resist!!!"

He went -OOF- as Oo'lish punched him fully in the gut and grabbed his throat. He grabbed her wrist as she squeezed and pushed him towards the door, not giving him a chance to catch his breath or get his feet under him. All around, security and Marines slapped their phasers up as the enemy Marines began bellowing and moving forward.

"That was very naughty," Oo'lish said as she pushed him away, once they had exited the cargo bay. "Very, VERY naughty."

Ricardo, known as "Rico", looked daggers as the CE as he rubbed his throat. He had set that scene up, anything to inflame the men under his command to rebel later. Every time he was mishandled, the more they would get angry. He coughed once, "You will never catch me like that again, Sergeant."

Oo'lish quirked an eyebrow, "I wouldn’t bet on that... Sir. Now, get a move-on." She nodded to the Security Chief.

Vanyssa winced as the scene got worse. She was thankful for Oo'lish, but still.... These marines were highly dangerous. Part of Vanyssa knew that, but part of her did not. As soon as her security detail and marines were out of the cargobay, she hit her comm badge. "Transporter Room, transport 6 directly to the security center. The humm of the transporter took them and she opened her eyes in the security center to Janson attempting to beat up her bodyguard.

"Enough." Vanyssa said as Oo'lish had the MCO on the ground at her feet. The red headed Betazoid moved back two steps. Her instincts were to get close to him, and help him up. That would only lead to him using her as bait. She and Rich had discussed that once.

"Secure him." She said, her voice oddly cold, watching almost detached from the whole procedure.

Jason stepped forward, taking over from Oo'lish and cuffing the marine, making sure he wouldn't try anything like that again. He picked him up and sat him in a chair.

"He's all yours Ma'am."

Vanyssa nodded to Dema. "There is some information that I need to know." She said quietly, dropping her shields. "I can do this one of two ways. I can rip the information out of your mind, or you can answer my questions." Vanyssa prayed that the first was only going to be a bluff. While she knew how to do it from her time spent co-habitating with the evil Kestra Troi, she also didn't quite think that she could do it. It was an act unlike the gentle Vanyssa.

~Easy Captain, only use it as a last resort~ Jason thought, telling her out loud would be a disgrace, and the MCO would laugh at her for being commanded by a mere Ensign

For many long moments he ignored the question, systematically testing the bonds. When he was sure he wasn't going to break loose, Rico looked up with a look of disdain on his face and spit again, this time on the Captain. "Janson, Ricardo, H. Lieutenant Colonel, Starfleet Marines."

Vanyssa backed off a few paces, and reached up to wipe the spit off her face. "I don't think that I deserved that, Mr. Janson." She said, blinking.

Vanyssa then leaned in towards the MCO and gripped his chin, forcing him to look up into her blue eyes. "I need to know why the Mystique was singled out for the search and destroy mission." She said, projecting the words into his head. It was a mild bending of the telepathic moral laws, and hopefully the first step to showing this man that she was most definitely not joking.

The MCO ground his teeth together, though the only indication of it was a slight flexing of his jaw. He knew the Captain was a telepath, there were few ways around that though. He had to put her off as long as he could, utterly as long as he could. There were ways to stall a powerful telepath, although nothing was fool-proof, and if they didn't much care, they could crush your mind on the spot. Although, the data-gathering from a crushed mind was limited at best.

"Janson, Ricardo, H. Lieutenant Colonel, Starfleet Marines." he said out-loud once, though he thought ~You deserve worse then that, traitor.~ He didn't follow up on that thought however, instead, he began singing to himself as *loud* mentally as he could. He concentrated on his song, he sang it for all he was worth. ~THIS IS THE SONG THAT NEVER ENDS, IT GOES ON AND ON MY FRIENDS, SOME PEOPLE STARTED SINGING IT NOT KNOWING WHAT IT WAS, THEY'LL CONTINUE SINGING IT FOREVER JUST BECAUSE IT IS THE SONG THAT NEVER ENDS...~

Jason had noticed the look on Vanyssa's face, he knew he read his thoughts by that, and he was glad, cause that means she'd knew he was watching her. The interrogation continued, but the marine kept saying the same thing, Name and rank. ~If he says that one more time, I'm going to pull the words out of his mouth~. A grin showed on Jason's face, cause he had a plan that would maybe work. But he let Vanyssa continued first.

Vanyssa recoiled at the venomous thought. she slammed up her shields against the song he was singing mentally very very loudly. He must be a latent telepath or empath to have that much volume behind it.

She turned to Oo'lish. "Suggestions?" She said, the one word poisonously sweet. She then turned back to Janson and pierced through his song. ::That will be enough of that.:: She said, stopping it.

Rico recoiled as his temples exploded in pain, and for several long seconds he remained prone, his eyes crossed behind closed eyelids. Then, slowly... as if it was his last dying wish, he started to mentally sing again. Nothing strong, and the voice was strained and broken, but it was still singing. He didn't spare a thought for anything, though the pain threatened his concentration. He just... kept... singing.

The CE, on the other hand, was looking at him thoughtfully. "There are some nasty ways to get information, but they are very dangerous and this one looks like he could be milked for a while. Leave him with me in a locked room for a while; I think I could get him to talk." She smiled sweetly herself; the tattoos on her face curved and made her looks monstrous. "Besides, we need to have a chat, about some of the Marines I knew that he and his killed."

Vanyssa nodded. She looked back down at Rico. "I thought I told you to stop that" She said and then proceeded to stop it again. She leaned down close to him. ::You don't want me to leave you alone with my Master Sergeant, do you ? She's scary to me. I would hate to be at her mercy. You see, I'm basically a good person, Rico. But there are things that I need to know, and one of them is why you've singled out my ship. It hurts me to have to do this to another person wearing the same uniform I did, and who swore the same oaths I've sworn.:: She then finished out loud. "So, what is your choice, Rico? Will you talk to me or will you talk to Oo'lish?"

Rico was doing all he could to hold onto consciousness, fighting the blackness tooth-and-nail. "Janson... Ricardo, H...............Lieutenant Colonel," he broke off, unable to continue speaking for the moment. He couldn't concentrate on a song either, his mind was too muddled. Instead, he began counting slowly. ~1...2....3...4........5...6...7.............8~

Jason knew at this point Vanyssa wasn't following the book anymore. He saw the marine sitting there, the pain could be read from his face, but that sentence did it.

"Captain, " He said, "allow me."

Vanyssa glared at Dema. "By all means, Ensign." She said, taking a step back and leaning against the wall. Vanyssa eased up on the hold on Rico's mind, before he fell unconscious. "You were telling me, Master Sergeant about the various techniques you could use to elicit the required information ?" Vanyssa asked with a smile.

Jason stepped forward with a big sarcastic smile on his face. "So, hard talker are we, well unlike many other officers," His face turned very serious. "I'm not a nice one. I'm your last chance, before the Captain will search your brain. But instead of working on you, I'll work on your colleagues." Jason tapped his badge. =/\= Ensign Dema to Ops. start lowering the temperature in cargobay 3 with 1 degree every minute, and put life-support on a minimum until me, or any higher officer says otherwise =/\=. "It's up to you, you're already missing in action... don't make it killed in action."

Vanyssa shivered, feeling that it was wrong to do this to a large group of prisoners. It was very very wrong. The other part of Vanyssa, the part that was growing larger and harder felt that the ends justified the means.... And they needed this information. It was then that Vanyssa picked up a hint of a name...Kat.... and her eyes narrowed. Vanyssa's youngest daughter was named Kat, and Vanyssa had left them on Betazed.

"Who is Kat?" Vanyssa asked softly. "Is she your sweetie? What will she think when she hears that you are missing?"

Rico said nothing, he couldn't count very well, his head felt like it was going to pop off. He had paid very little attention anyway to what was being said, the outside world simply didn't matter to him at the moment. He prioritized himself, as best he could, running through what he could and couldn't say if he had to talk at all. Kat, Plans, Ship, Corps... those four things were simply not to be mentioned, the Captain would surely kill everyone out of spite if he let loose what he knew.

With a shudder he went back to counting, doing his best to ignore all outside influences. ~1, 2, 3, 4... ~

Vanyssa frowned listening to the pain in the MCO's head. "Dema, he can't listen to you. His head hurts too much. I pushed him too far."

She sighed and turned to Oo'lish. "You mentioned techniques to make him talk." And she kept one part of her mind tuned in to make sure that Rico wasn't listening. "How long would it take for him to tell us everything he knows?" Vanyssa spun around catching an image of her daughter briefly from the marine. Part of her head began to throb, this MCO knew something about her daughter. She wanted to go and beat it out of him. She wanted to shred his brain for the information.

Instead she took a deep breath and turned to Oo'lish. "Your turn." She said cooly. "And find out what he knows about my daughter. I just caught a..flash... of her in his mind."

"Captain Winters to Ops. Stop drop in temperature of Cargo Bay 3, but leave it where it is." Vanyssa was not inclined to be charitable any longer.

(reply: Ops)

Oo'lish smiled gently, "Give me some time with him Captain, we'll see." She tapped her badge, "Sergeant Oo'lish to anyone in Blackops, bring me my -Special- black bag, if you would."

Her earpiece buzzed.

Jason decided to let Oo'lish go her way, and would try to get Vanyssa out for a while. He stepped towards her and laid his hand on her shoulder. "Captain, care to take a walk, so Oo'lish can go her way for a while.

Vanyssa frowned at Dema who dragged her out of there.

Jason let Vanyssa go first and they walked down the corridor, where damage could still be seen from phaser-fire and small blasts. Seeing Vanyssa so tense, he decided to take activate the holodeck for a more relaxing environment. "Computer, initiate program 'Dema's gift', but delete leisure facilities and structures." THey stepped inside and were walking on a satin-white beach, attacked by waves of a clear blue sea, in the distance, waves were splashing up against tall rocks, with a beautiful viewing-spot on top of the cliffs. Jason started to walk towards that high point, along small dirt-roads, just wide enough for 2 people to walk next to each other, while he started talking against Vanyssa.

"Captain, are you all right, cause you seem kind of tense."

Vanyssa gave Dema a strange look, pissed that he dragged her onto the holodeck when her ship needed every ounce of power it could get. "I suppose I am. I haven't been happy since the away team left. It's been a stressful couple of days. I miss Ketal. I miss David. I want to know if Rich Lee is going to survive. I hate having a bodyguard follow me everywhere. And I hate that this man knows something about my daughter. I need to know what."

(reply: Dema)

The Private that dropped off her bag looked at the officer tied to the chair with a snarl, Oo'lish gave his shoulder a pat. "Lay off, report outside." She put the bag down and opened three very specific containers in it. She tapped her badge briefly; "Ensign Dema, if you would be so kind, please disabled the security cameras and all warning devices in this room."

(reply: Dema)

Oo'lish had taken out three vials, one was a stimulant, of which she drew 50cc's into a hypospray and pushed against the MCO's neck. If the man wasn't aware, then she would have to change tracks. After several long moments, Colonel Rico's eyes focused on her face. She smiled, deceptively gentle. "Time for your mantra, Chief. Are you going to talk?"

The Marine's face crumpled, then he said: "Janson, Ricardo, H. Lie..."

Oo'lish interrupted him, "Right, you're here enough to work on then." She then went silent and pulled out two old-fashioned syringes. This technique was very quiet, very dark, and only used in the most dire of circumstances. Without saying a word she drew 50cc's of the first liquid into the syringe, then walked over to the enemy Marine and ejected it into his neck. The Marine didn't have much strength, but he tried to pull away. Oo'lish didn't much care, if the needle broke off; it was his pain and not hers.

Then, without saying another word, she pulled more liquid from another, and repeated the process. "Alright then," she said as she picked her bag up. She pulled out one more vial and syringe, this time with a bright-blue liquid. She slowly proceeded to draw every ounce of fluid from the vial. And then, with a perfectly straight face, she drug a chair in front of the MCO and sat down. "I'm not sure how much you know about Combat Engineers, Colonel." she said with levity, "But we are not nice people when angered."

She folded her hands together with the syringe and bright-blue fluid held between them. "If you know anything about them, you will know the drill. But just for kicks, how about I explain it, mmm?" She smiled. "The two drugs I injected you with are very powerful. One is a truth-agent, one that you might have a chance to resist, though I doubt it. The other is a neurotoxin. The truth-agent works with the neurotoxin to form an even more powerful truth agent. Good for us, bad for you however. If that chemical mix has a chance to take effect, it will already be far to late for you my friend."

Oo'lish sat back and quirked her head, then held up the syringe she was holding. "This is the anti-dote. For every time you fail to answer me, or every wrong answer you give, I will squirt out a portion. If, at the end of an hour, there isn't at least 20 CC's left here, then you will be a dead man inside the next two hours. There are no other vials of this antidote on the ship, and it can't be replicated." She smiled again, "So one way or the other, I will have my answers. Either you will be a willing participant, or it will be forced from you and you will be dead 3 hours from now. Your choice."

She stood up and squirted 10 of the 100cc's in the vial on his face. "So, let's begin, shall we?"

"Go to hell," he spat, weakly.

"Probably, but Ill have you for company, so it should be fun." She paused, and squirted another five CC's onto the man's face, leaving 85, another 654cc's to play with before the Chief was a dead-man. "Now, behave."

She tapped her badge again, "Sergeant Oo'lish to Captain Winters and Ensign Dema, please join me with the prisoner."

She sighed and heard Oo'lish summoning them back. "We'll be right there, Oo'lish." She said, exiting the holodeck and heading back towards security.

(reply: Dema)

Once they had walked in, she said "Feel free to ask your questions, Sirs, Ill be watching his behavior."

Vanyssa nodded and knelt down next to the MCO. "I need to know why you've singled out the Mystique as your target. What is so special about her?"

It wasn't the question that she wanted to ask, but it needed answering.

Rico, who knew very well what was happening within his body right now, looked back up again. He tried to spit, but his mouth was incredibly dry. He was in poor shape, and he knew it. The truth serum would be kicking in within a few more minutes, he would have to make a concentrated effort to fight it. He took a breath, "Her waste reclamation system," He finally said with a false grin, "We wanna know how it keeps a crew of such s*it as yours clean."

The Combat Engineer squirted just a bit of the fluid onto his chest, Rico watched it with something approximating sadness. His life was going to end soon, Everything for the Corps.

Vanyssa looked back up at Oo'lish, her eyes widening. She had a good idea what Oo'lish was doing, she'd been briefed by Lee on the various techniques that might be used against her should she be captured.

She'd also heard about Falthgood doing something similar on the Nimitz. Sash hadn't given her any of the details, but she knew that she would have all the answers she needed soon enough. "Let's try that again. Why are you singling out the Mystique?"

Rico snorted in disdain and turned his head. This wench thought she was clever, that was fine.

Vanyssa looked at Oo'lish. "You know that we will find out eventually. I would rather not have you die. Please talk to me." Vanyssa pleaded.

She did not want to be responsible for his death. She had enough of those on her hands. "Would you rather die needlessly?"

Rico continued to count, being silent for long moments as he tossed numbers through his head. His concentration was stronger; whatever that Marine had used was fairly potent, he could feel his heart pounding in his ears... or was that because of the other drugs? No doubt creeped into his mind as he looked at her though, his words were perfectly clear and exceptionally loud as he bellowed: "Annihilation to traitors!"

Jason heard the answers from the CMO and thought of something. "Excuse me for a moment Captain."

(reply Vanyssa)

Jason stepped out and walked towards a technician that maintained the weapons. "could you provide me a rifle, that does heavy stun on the highest setting, meaning that lvl 14 is heavy stun."

"That can be arranged." The technician said

"Good, deliver it to me when ready."

He ignored the CE as she squirted more of his life away; rather he closed his eyes and continued counting to himself.

Vanyssa sighed, looking over at the CE. "How much is left?" She asked, sounding desperate to herself. She caught another glimpse of a farmhouse burning. "Whose farmhouse is that?" Her eyes narrowed as she saw herself staring at the fire, smelling the smoke, the acrid fumes burning her eyes and nose. She tried to breathe...found she couldn't.

Oo'lish's touch on her arm caused her to jerk back to the scene playing out in front of her. "How much do you have to have for him to live?" She said, her eyes narrowing again. If this man was going to die, Vanyssa was going to be the bringer of it.

The Master Sergeant looked at her for a moment, then down at the vial. "I need 20cc's Captain, 22 to be safe. I have... 50 left." She looked back over, the Captain obviously had something on her mind. The Captain, for her part, was still looking at the renegade MCO. Not for the first time, the American Indian was grateful that she wasn't telepathic. For his part, the Colonel was saying nothing, not since his pronouncement of death to traitors.

The door chimed, Jason opened, to see the technician with the adjusted rifle. "Thanks for the fast order." Jason said. He turned around, holding the rifle in his hands

Vanyssa nodded, sighing. He wasn't going to talk. At least, not willingly.

She took a deep breath and plunged deeper into the memory of the burning farmhouse, rewinding it, and seeing her grandmother's face, begging to live. The MCO's gun hit her grandmother in the face, causing her to collapse.

Vanyssa's eyes widened as she watched him place the explosives around the perimeter of the room. She easily recognized her daughter, almost eight months older and beginning to walk, being carried by a female in a BDU.

Again, Oo'lish's hand on her arm threw her out of the memory. "WHERE IS SHE." Vanyssa screamed, grabbing the MCO by the front of his clothing and pulling him up towards her. "Where is my daughter." She said, loosing the last vestige of calm that she had.

Jason saw the reaction from Vanyssa, he was surprised by it, and shocked. He was in doubt, either tell Vanyssa to calm down, or make this a security issue, in that case, he could command Vanyssa to leave the room, as she is an involved party. He decided to wait and see what would happen.

The MCO bubbled up from the little dream-world he was constructing at the Captain's obvious distress, and smiled nastily. It was the smile of an executioner, the smile of someone who was enjoying torment, even if that enjoyment would cost him his life. And then, as a deliberate insult, he closed his eyes again.

Vanyssa slapped the MCO hard twice, then dropped him and stalked out of the room. She turned to Oo'lish. "FInd out everything that he knows about my daughter. Find out everything he knows about why and how my ship is under attack. I have a call to make." Her eyes were hard as she left Dema and Oo'lish standing there. She walked down the hallway, crew moving out of her way, and into one of the other offices on the Deck. She walked over to the Desk, and sat down at it, heaving a small sigh. She hated what this war was doing to her, turning her into. She was becoming one of the people she hated.

"Winters to Bridge. I need a secure line to Admiral LoDona's ship. Captain's Priority." She said, taking a seat and sighing, waiting for the connection to be made.

Jason didn't knew what was going on, but Vanyssa seemed to be hurt badly. It was up to him and Oo'lish to find out more about her daughter and this war.

Jason looked at Oo'lish. "Allow me." He said.

The CE nodded to the Tactical Chief.

Jason took his rifle in hands. "It seems you don't care about your life, but how do you care about your grunts?" Jason immediately tapped his badge. =/\= Ensign Dema to security, secure a marine, and transport him to this room =/\=. Shortly after a marine was transported in the room, and Jason showed the rifle to the MCO, while he raised it to the highest level. "Like Oo'lish, I'm sick of waiting, but I have my own manners of dealing with people like you. Now tell me, where is Vanyssa's daughter, and why are you guys attacking us?" He pointed the rifle at the marine, and waited for an answer.

The MCO didn't bother answering; he was fighting the drug as it was. He still had most of an hour to wait; he wasn't sure just how long he would be able to hold out. He felt another small squirt, but ignored that as well, though his spine crawled to feel his life dripping down his chin.

Jason wasn't going to wait, and pulled the trigger, stunning the marine. He fell to the floor, behind the table where the MCO couldn't see him. =/\= Ensign Dema to security, beam him out, and beam the next one in. =/\= The marine on the floor disappeared, and another one appeared, waiting for his turn. "I repeat, where is Vanyssa's daughter, and why are we under attack?" The MCO still didn't answer, so Jason shot the marine. Half an hour passed, already 20 marines have passed, but still no answer from the MCO. Jason decided to stop for a while and turned to Oo'lish. He's all yours again.

The Combat Engineer took one look at the vial in her hand, and then squirted all but 30CC's onto the man's cheek. "You will answer the questions, one way or another." she finally said. "That has never been in doubt, whether or not you walk out with your life is your choice." She stood up and walked over to his side. "But, I have one more idea for you." she said sweetly into his ear. "If you die from this, if you force us to get the information from you by killing you, then I am going to smear your name from now until the end of time. I will make it widely known to everyone that you were a traitor to your cause, that you sold out your own Marine Company to the Mystique for your own personal gain. That we pulled you out of the cargo-bay so your deception wouldn't be noted and you could go live anonymously all your life. Your name will be dirt with Starfleet, before or after the resundering of the realm. You will forever be blacklisted; the glory you would have won by not breaking willingly will forever be lost."

The MCO's eyes snapped open, and his gaze was filled with hate. Still, though, he said nothing.

Vanyssa, somewhat flustered by her call with the Admiral, walked back in. She saw the body language of her crew, and decided to address her bodyguard first. "How much is left?"

"Just barely enough," the CE said.

"No success, huh ?" She said, leaning against the wall. "I can't say I'm surprised. How much time do we have left before it is irreversible?"

"Approximately fifteen minutes." Oo'lish growled.

Vanyssa knelt down beside him, tilting his face up so that she could see into his eyes. "You have information that I need." She said, an idea forming in the back of her mind. If he could get distracted enough, she could slip past his guard and get what she needed. She kissed him, fully and passionately upon the lips, pressing her body against his as he stiffened in shock. He tried to bite her lip, and so she backed off a bit, having gotten what she needed to know. A name.

"Well, that's one question answered anyways." She said, sitting back as he tried to spit at her again. He was angry. "I'll be sure to pay Admiral Grahams a visit." At the widening of his eyes, she nodded.

"Now" She said, smiling. "Why is my ship being attacked singularly by your forces?"

The MCO was starting to feel compelled to talk, his mind was beginning to float... a sure indication that the drugs were starting to interact and that he would be in deadly peril soon. He bit his lip hard enough to draw blood; it brought his mind back to the present enough to resist temptation. "JANSON, RICARDO H LIEUTENANT COLONEL STARFLEET MARINES!" he bellowed at the top of his lungs.

"THAT'S ENOUGH COLONEL." Jason yelled as he stepped forth and punched his rifle into his stomach, making him gasp for air, unable to yell for a short while

Vanyssa took one step forward and grabbed Jason by his ear. "That's enough." She said, somewhat sternly. "That, Ensign, was crossing a line." She picked up the tricorder she had brought with her and ran it over the enemy MCO's body. "He's going to have one hell of a bruise, but he'll be ok." She sighed, leaning back against the wall, the strain beginning to get to her again.

"Now, mr. Janson, why are you attacking my ship." She said, in a steady tone. He was going to force her to kill him. And she didn't want to do that.

Still the MCO did not talk, and Vanyssa kept one eye on the clock, and kept repeating her questions in the steady tone of voice. Twenty minutes passed, leaving only a hope that the informant might give them the information that was needed before his life was forfeit. She looked up at Oo'lish. "Only a few more minutes and we'll have all the information we need." SHe said, leaning back against the wall, waiting patiently.

Jason watched the scene, till a security officer called for him. =/\= Security to Ensign Dema, you presence is required. =/\= Jason stood up, looking at Vanyssa. "With your permission Captain." He said.

Vanyssa nodded and Dema left the room.

-/\- This is Ensign Dema, I'm on my way. -/\- Jason walked out and the officer stood right outside. "Report." Jason said.

"We have the total numbers of casualties Sir." The officer handed Jason a PADD, displaying catastrofic numbers, even non-combat personnel wasn't spared. Jason sighed. "Anything else?"

"Yes Sir. The marines in cargobay 3 are causing some trouble due to the low temperature."

"Tell them to shut up and be quiet, or we'll lower it even more, and if they don't believe you, drop it 10 degrees untill they're quiet, then set it back

to the previous temperature. Anything else?"

"No Sir."

"Dismissed." The officer turned away and left, while Jason looked over the numbers again. ~Vanyssa isn't going to like this, 24 security, 56 Marines and 22 non-combatants~ Jason walked back into the room. "Captain, you're not going to like this." jason handed over the PADD to Vanyssa.

The MCO rolled his head, his vision was going double and he was feeling no pain anymore. He chuckled out loud, uncaring. "Ya'll, are going to loose..." he said, slowly. And then, with great gusto, he began singing.

Vanyssa frowned at the MCO, beginning to really not like this man. "Ensign, I need you to go and make sure the marines are still safely confined. Stay there until I call you." Vanyssa needed him to go, so she and the marine could have a little chat. When Dema began to protest. "That, Ensign, is an order."

(USS Mystique,Security Center, CO Captain Vanyssa Winters & CCE Oo'lish & Enemy MCO, 2115)

Vanyssa frowned, and moved a little bit forward. "Tell me what you know of why the Mystique is being attacked."

Rico leaned his head back, and looked up with his eyeballs behind him. It was... amusing. He continued singing, though lighter then before now that his throat was streched to the time.

He heard, distantly, the Captain ask a question. He had a glimmer of thought that he should be refusing, but he was having such a good time... he couldnt really think of a reason that he shouldnt answer.

"You've got vital information to our war effort," he said with great cheer after straigtening his neck. "A probe that you should never have gotten. Good luck for the good guys, bad luck for you." He smiled largely, then burped. Unnoticed to him, the burp brought up a bit of blood. Someone else, whom he had a glimmer of a thought that he should dislike, said "That's it, he's toast once this is done. You have between one and two hours, Captain, to ask your questions.

The MCO laughed, for no reason at all, besides the fact that the world was spinning and music was playing in his head.

Vanyssa nodded, somehow she wasn't surprised. "What's in that probe." She said in a deadpan voice, activating a small recorder. Lee would want this part of the interrogation.

Rico lulled his head back and grinned, his attention was diverted by a large crack in his neck. He giggled, and his attention wandered from the question before he could answer it.

"Tell me about the probe." She said, quietly, insistently. "What is in it"

The MCO brought his head back up, then shrugged his shoulders. With the grin still plastard on his face, he shrugged again. Then, again... he began shrugged at random, simply because it amused him. In between shrugs he said "Not my buisness, I was just supposed to grab it."

Vanyssa nodded again. "Who told you to grab it ?"

The Marine chuckled, "My Commanding Officer, William T Jackton. Who told him, I dunno... the easter bunny, I think." His grin was large, he wasnt quite there.

Vanyssa tried not to smile, she was keeping a light touch on his thoughts. "And this probe is why the Mystique is on a search and destroy mission ?"

Rico out-right laughed at this, a bellyroll that ended up with a cough from deep in the lungs. More blood was coughed up, but the Marine didnt notice. "That was actually a secondary objective. The first was simply to kill you and retake the ship. You are considered weak, easy for taking, not able to stand up to a real offense."

Vanyssa's eyebrows went up at that one and she tried not to laugh. "I guess we proved otherwise."

The MCO's grin became preditory. "Maybe," he finally said between giggles. "The game aint over yet. One never knows what a group of highly motivated and trained killers will do!"

Vanyssa looked up at Oo'lish. "Why did you kill my family ?"

"to see if the probe or it's knowledge had passed beyond you. And, for hostages..." He grinned again, "And for fun. The house burnt nicely, and your grandmother begged for her life most enjoyably."

Vanyssa's blood ran cold. "Why didn't the Betazed authorities come to stop you ?" She asked the one question that was most on her mind. Her grandmother was enough of a telepath that she could send for help.

"They were predisposed," he said after coughing up a bit more blood. "We were in and out in no-time. No Self-Defence force could possibly stand against us."

"And my daughter?" Vanyssa froze, asking the one thing she really needed to know.

Rico chuckled with great gusto. "I dunno, she was alive last time I saw her. I figured, as young as she was, we could breed the rebel spirit of her mother out of her. That, or she could disappear most quietly if that was what the higher ups decided. Me, I didnt much care, I did my duty and did it well."

Vanyssa realized that she was shaking by now. Her daughter was still alive. Her only link with David wasn't dead.

"Tell me how you got through our shields." Vanyssa demanded.

The MCO shrugged multiple times, he really hadnt stopped since he started. "I dunno, ask a scientist..." his words were becoming somewhat slurred, such detereoration would continue until the moment he drowned in his own blood and his heart stopped. "Something about inverse carrier waves."

"What are the command codes for the Dian Chang." Vanyssa stated in a deadpan voice.

Rico grinned, "For all I know, his jocky-shorts size." He began whistling, out o tune, then he started hopping up and down in the chair... having a high old time.

"I've gotten what I need out of him." Vanyssa siad, getting up. "Any questions of your own, Oo'lish ?"

The CE had a musing expression on her face, then she said. "What are the long-term invasion plans for Doenitz?"

The MCO gurgled in his throat, on purpse... though he didnt seem to realize it was blood he was gurgling. Finally, in a deadly low voice, one that spoke of great relish... he said "Mystery Train."

Oo'lish's eyebrow quirked, "Explain." she barked.

"Operation Mystery Train." he said, slightly clearer. "The Massive and total destruction of the 52nd Fleet." He grinned larger, "All I know, is it's soon. Ask for anything more and you will simply be asking me to talk, so you can hear my voice. Im not high enough to know perfect details." His grin was evil.

"Is the Dian Chang a standard Akira ?" Vanyssa asked, beginning to think around the pain in her head. "How many ships does Doenitz have currently to bring against the 52?"

"Standard, smandard. ships are upgraded all the time. Ask an operations officer." he said with a highly exaggurated English accent... and a very definable sneer. "And they have enough, Ive seen hundreds. Dunno about any more, but I hear most of Starfleet is with us!" He bounced in his chair a few more times, though he didnt manage to do much. He began a mantra, saying "Mystery Train, Mystery Train, Mystery Train, Mystery Train, Mystery Train, Mystery Train..."

Vanyssa nodded, realizing that she wasn't going to get anything more out of him. "Put him out of his misery, Oo'lish." She said, with an exagerated sigh. She couldn't wait for Lee to get here. She was way out of her depth.

The CE nodded and stepped forward. She leaned close to his ear and grabbed his head so he couldnt move, "Enjoy the trip, I insist."

As she pulled back, she pulled her combat knife from its inverted sheath and swiped it effortlessly across his neck. Without blinking an eye she wiped the blade on his skin, then returned it to its sheath. "As you wish, Captain." she said tonelessly.

Vanyssa shuddered at the death she had just ordered, turning to face the wall, shaking. "Please see to the disposal of his body." She ran for the water closet heaving what little food she had gotten into her up into the sink.

Oo'lish nodded and tapped her badge, "I need two Marines for body duty." She turned her head back. Once she was done ordering, she decided to make good her promice. She walked out of the room, ordering two of the Marines to stay with the Captain in her temporary absence.

She walked to the bay where the enemy Marines were being kept and walked inside. It was cold inside, and the enemy was restless. She came to a stop just inside the door and let it close, then assumed a traditional 'at ease' stance.

"Marines!" she bellowed. "Your Commanding Officer, one of our spies, has successfully completed his debriefing. He has made friends amung you, we know who you are. In order to keep your identities secret and preserve your safety, we will be pulling you out a random handful at a time for reassignment to different quarters. Remember now, everyone, behave!"

She turned her back, just as the Marines were starting to look amung their own. She herad a lot of grumbling, cursing and the like. She smiled to herself as she walked the door. Now, the enemy Marines would be paying as much attention to themselves as to the Mystique's crew... she had given them something new to think about, even if every word she had said was a lie.

She rereported to the Captain a few minutes later. "Captain," she siad in her typical tone. "Ive instilled doubt into the minds of the enemy, they shouldnt give as much trouble now. I would, however, recommend pulling out 10 Marines every 20 minutes at random, then letting them back in. Ive planted the thought that Rico was a turn-coat, and that he had recruited other MArines into his fold. With a bit of proper playacting, we can make them all paraonid."

Vanyssa nodded again, still hugging the wall and shaking. "Thank you. Please see to it."

The CE stepped back several feet and put her hands behind her back, once again assuming her body-guard role. Vanyssa eventually managed to make it out of the security center and to her ready room, where she weeped for the death that she was responsible for.

(reply any, none) (posted by melinda and trout :-)

Zach Remembers Mystery Train

Zach Finds Out it Still Exists

Stardate: 2406.10.27

(USS Nimitz - Science Lab - Lt(jg) 'Shades' Falthgood - 0800)

"Sir?" Zach said, running the Captain's words through his mind that he had just heard, and not quite believing it. He had talked to the head of Strategic Operations for the fleet many times about the darker side of Starfleet, there were few things that were taboo with them.

The face on the screen didn't so much as twitch. "We ran into evidence of something called 'Project Mystery Train', there was quite a big hullabaloo about it, in fact. It's nothing I've ever run into; I was wondering if you had."

Zach sat back in his chair, his eyes wide open and his jaw hinged as far as it would go. It was a rarity, but he was in shock.

"Oh Lord," he muttered after several moments that lasted an eternity. "No oh no... this isn't good, it's got to be a coincidence, nothing more."

Yet, he knew it wasn't. The Captain on the screen frowned at him, but Zach wasn't paying attention anymore.

"Mystery Train," he muttered. "D*mned Project Mystery Train."

The Scientist rubbed at his mustache, no longer paying any attention to what went on around him. He hadn't heard the term 'Mystery Train' in more then a dozen years, not since he had coined the Project Name himself. His eyes closed and he considered...

Zach Remembers the Past

(Milthra IV - Project Headquarters, 'Artifact Room' - Commander Falthgood - 1500)

-^-It's been two months Zach,-^- the figure on his screen said. -^-I want results, not more analysis, Commander.-^-

"Admiral, if we operate it now, we will be operating half blind and..."

-^-And I don't care, do it, use the data you accumulate to further your experiments. Doenitz out.-^-

The Commander closed his eyes and sighed. He was already missing the days when he had just been a lowly scientist, this was his first project in command and it was already giving him an ulcer. He sat back as a hand wrapped itself around his neck. "Zach," the voice said, "You don't have much of a choice here."

"I know love," the Scientist said. He stood and turned, looking down at his five and a half foot wife. He bent down briefly and touch foreheads with her, then strode out of the door of his office and onto the main floor of the research facility. It was an old temple, as best as the archaeologists could determine. It wasn't the facility that had interested Doenitz, nor Zach... but the wonderful things it held.

Standing in the middle of the room was a giant portal. As best as they could determine, it was the gateway to a stable wormhole, a wormhole that could be directed. That was the theory anyway, they hadn't been able to prove it one way or the other. They had been at it for two months, ever since the sucker had been found to be active even after nearly 40,000 years.

Zach crossed his arms and looked at it, there were so many possibilities. There were a couple people, Zach included, who thought the technology could be evolved into a portable unit. There were even a few theoretical equations that stated it might even be possible to load the thing onto a station and make a gate large enough for a ship to transfer through.

Assuming, of course, that this thing proved to be a gate of some sort and not an over-sized nightlight.

"Alright, boys and girls!" he bellowed into the room. "Warm up the machinery, prep the teams, it's time to ride this Mystery Train!" His grin was infectious, even if it wasn't entirely heart-felt. He wanted to send people through that Artifact, but there were too many unknown variables, it would be decidedly dangerous for whoever went through.

None of the probes they had sent through had done any good, the one thing they had noticed about the gate was it required some sort of biological entity to pass through. They had sent animals through, but none had ever come back... it was hard to make any lower life form walk back through a giant red gate. That meant human testing, unless they could come up with a convincing enough Android to fool the makers of technology so advanced that hardly any of the underlying theory was understood.

Zach found that possibility... unlikely.

Project Mystery Train was a perfect example of why he dealt with the paranoid security and blacklisting of this particular Reverse Engineering department, the technology was absolutely stunning. It's implications rocked Zach to the core.

After several minutes, three men in full gear walked up to the gate. Zach took a seat at one of the terminals, "Activate the artifact."

That was one of the things that he insisted upon until they knew exactly what the thing did, calling it 'The Artifact'. That was the only official name it had ever had. He put on a headset and closed his eyes for a couple seconds to steady his nerves. "Team one, begin when ready." he finally said. He smiled wanly, "Send a postcard if you find Atlantis."

He didn't bother looking up; rather he watched a sensor reading of the Artifact. The team members wasted no time, and with phasers up, they all stepped through after a very short hesitation at the Event Horizon. Zach folded his hands together as data scrolled on his screen. They had immediately lost track of the members.

Zach was about to stand up when everything around him began shaking. He grabbed the console by instinct as the temple literally rolled around him, stones fell from the ceiling and consoles began sparking. "What the hell?!" he bellowed.

His hands flew over the console as people began yelling data out.

"There is a subspace power surge coming from the gate!" someone with a feminine voice yelled from behind him. Zach confirmed that, there were waves of energy coming off the portal, and they were getting stronger. He thought quickly, "Hit it with tetryons, counteract the waves!" he yelled, "Before the da*n thing brings the temple down on our heads!"

It was all controlled chaos, men and women ran back and forth. Several more blocks fell from the temple, and many of the supports his men had placed groaned ominously. Zach kept a good hold of the console as the earth under him did another jump. Without any warning, the visible Event Horizon of the gate flared a malignant red, and something was spit out.

Slowly, ever so slowly, the gate calmed and the subspace waves subsided. Well before they had finished, however, Zach was out of his seat and running to the gate. What had been spit out was a single body, from the clothing, one of the three people that had walked in not more then a couple minutes ago.

The officer was lying on his stomach, there was much visible blood and his uniform was shredded. The weapon was still strapped across his neck, it laid to the side of him. His arms were sprawled, and his skin had a very strange hue to it.

Zach flipped the officer over, intend on giving aid. What he saw caused his eyes to widen in horror however; he fell back and scrambled away as quickly as he could on nothing more then instinct.

The man's face was a ruin; he looked like he had aged a hundred years, on top of the ruin it had received. Not only did he look old, but he looked like someone had taken a bat to his head. And that wasn't the worst of it.

Worms, or wormlike creatures, began slithering out of every hole in the mans head. His eyes, his nostrils, his mouth and ears. As if that were a cue, his whole body began wiggling, as if there were hundreds of alien worms under his skin, just itching to get out. Zach continued backpedaling, getting away from the body and portal as he bellowed, "Security, decontamination measures, destroy that body!"

He finally managed to get to his feet and get away just as a Security team came up and vaporized the body. He turned and leaned against one of the walls to catch his breath, and his aplomb. He shuddered several times, the ruined face and the mental image of worms pushing the dead-mans eyelids open to crawl out filled his mind and wouldn't leave.

"Sir, do you still want to hit the thing with tetryons?"

"Hell yes!" he said without hesitation. "There are still two other men in there, we can't risk them coming back. Shut that wench down!"

It was only a theory, but it was generally thought that overloading the gate would shut it down. Whatever hell it lead too, Zach didn't want to know, and at this point he didn't care how spitting mad Doenitz would be if it suddenly stopped working.

Zach Briefs Richard Ian Lee

(USS Nimitz - Science Lab - Lt(jg) Zach 'Shades' Falthgood - 0804)

"The b*stard continued the project," Zach finally said. Thoughts that hadn't filled his mind in years came filtering back, some of the more optimistic of the possibilities for the gate. If Doenitz had finally figured out what had gone wrong, and what it would take to get it working, then they could all be in a lot of trouble.

He closed his eyes for several seconds, and then looked at the screen again. "Get that probe over here immediately, if you would. I need to run some tests on it... and quickly."

The Captain nodded, "I will want a full report on what you remember Lieutenant. I'll make sure that probe comes within your reach sometime within the next month."

"No," Zach barked, as if he was still a Captain himself. "Rearrange the entire fleet if you have to, I need to look at it far sooner then that."

Rich quirked his head and said nothing. "Ill do what I can, Night's Watch out."

Zach reached out and cut the channel, then leaned back in his chair again and held his head in one of his massive hands. "Oh God, let not everything unravel before our very eyes." he all but whispered.

(reply: none, yet) (posted by Trout)

Winters Speaks with Falthgood

Stardate: 2406.10.28

(USS Mystique- Bridge- CO- Captain Vanyssa Winters, Lt(jg) Zach Falthgood - 1120)

After a nice, relaxing couple of hours with Sash, and some indulgence of his alfredo, which he still wouldn't give her the recipe to, Vanyssa headed down to Falthgood's research lab. She poked her head in, and smiled to see him working. Shades and all. "Zach?" She said, smiling as he turned around. "I need some...advice." And the smile dropped away and the worry replaced it. "And I need something that you might have." She finished. "Can we talk...privately?"

Zach raised his head, and mused at the voice for a few moments. He Looked back down again and almost mourned at the loss of his cover, the crazy-scientist had given him pleasure for so many years. But it was so hard to do anything of the sort when people came to him with such a serious tone, well... He tapped a button on his console which shut and locked the doors, very useful to a scientist in the middle of delicate experiments.

He touched a small device on his desk and picked it up. And the, slowly, he pulled the shades off his face and placed them on the deck. As he turned in his chair, he flicked the trigger on the sphere-oid device and gently placed it back on the desk. "I expected you," he finally said.

"I can't say I'm surprised." She said, taking the offered seat. "First I need one of those thingy's. You wouldn't happen to have one laying around that was in need of a good home? The Myste has... unwanted ears it seems. The other I'm sure you've heard about. He's going to come after me again and if I don't know why I can't fight him. I've lost too many people last time to continue blindly. Has Lee passed along the probe?"

"Yes," Zach said as he sat back in the chair, "He has. And from the look I've had at it..." He broke off. Finally, after long seconds, he crossed his arms and shook his head, "I closed Mystery Train, not long after I coined the phrase. The b*stard reopened it."

"He is certainly that." Vanyssa said, thinking about Lee and not Doenitz. The words she would use to describe Doenitz were much harsher, meaner. "I take it you have not gleaned any information from it?"

Zach smiled lopsidedly, "You're going to wish you hadn't asked that question. Lee certainly disliked me once I was done explaining." He picked up a PADD and tapped a couple buttons on it, followed by a couple more. "It was old, refurbished, pressed into service. It was a targeting device. A gateway..." He looked up and handed the PADD over, "Straight from hell."

"The probe was a gateway?" Vanyssa asked, eyes wide.

"Nope, just a point in space." He leaned back again, "A target point for a gateway, something like a subspace relay station used for long-range transports. At least, that's what I'm thinking... I have quite got it worked out yet. They took the project well beyond what I ever took it." He sighed, "It could end up having a lot of uses, Ill find out soon enough."

He quirked his head to the side, "If... if, this is what I think it is. Then we have problems. Even my most limited equations held awesome potential."

"Somehow I don't like the sound of that. What exactly is a Mystery Train?"

Falthgood sat forward, haunted. "A Dream. A piece of Inchon technology, functional after forty-thousand years. What we supposed was a stable wormhole, something that could move massive amounts of men and material from one place to another nearly instantaneously." He cracked his neck. "No, it was a nightmare."

He sat back again and narrowed his eyes, knowing Vanyssa was a telepath. "Tell you what," he said lightly. "I have something better then words." He leaned forward again, eyes closed, actively thinking of the final moments of Project Mystery Train, letting the telepath soak up the horror in a way that words would never be able to express.

Her eyes widened as she let herself become an observer in Falthgood's memories. After several minutes, she sat there shocked. "And he wants to use this. He killed my family over this, this, horrible thing." She shook herself out of the fugue she was in. "Do you think he has it working? Do you think he's done a test of it yet?"

Falthgood shook his head and didn't answer for long moments, letting his mind clear. "I don't know yet, it's become my top priority. Pray they don't, or we're in the deepest s*it you've ever seen. And not just because our fleet will be decimated. If even half my calculations come true, then he will hold ultimate power, and the only way to even the odds will be to pull out some of the darkest secrets I had locked away, too terrible for me to turn over to anyone according to my conscience."

He crossed his fingers together, "I put away that life, Captain, for the sake of my soul when it became obvious that the Good of the Federation was not the reason I was digging. It looks like I might loose it anyway."

Vanyssa didn't know what to say. The careful formality that Falthgood had put up prevented her from giving him a hug. "What did your calculations show it doing? What would be the side effects of using this? Ultimate power doesn't come without a horrible price, in my experience. And why did the Inchon leave the Mystery Train portal there? What happened to them?"

He shook his head, "This PADD has some select information on my equations and the information I've acquired on the probe." He picked it up from his lap and handed it over. "As for the Inchon, that's one of the questions we've never been able to answer. Much like the Iconians, and a half dozen other races, they simply up and disappeared. Unlike the Iconians, these guys had no known enemies that could destroy them."

Zach leaned forward and quirked one of his fingers, to bring Vanyssa in closer. Once she was close, he spoke quietly. "Power, Captain, is not all that it seems. Power is very real, tangible in many cases. It has been said that power corrupts, and from a philosophical standpoint that might be correct. But if history has shown anything, it's that a mad-man can push the price off on others long enough to destroy all we hold dear. And in the end, Captain, in the end... when the leader is finally called to account..." he sat back again. "Then the price has already been paid with the blood of the innocent."

She wanted very much to just grab Zach by the arm and take him with her to the Mystique. She needed him much more than Devan did. Much more.

"Zach, come to the Mystique with me, please." She said quietly, his words in her head.

Falthgood steepled his fingers, "If I go anywhere, it will be alone. And if this is true," he waved in the direction of the labs, "Then it won't matter were we are, where we run. There will be no-where left to hide."

She sighed softly. "I don't want to hide, Zach. My intuition says I'm going to be facing the results of this. And it scares, me, Zach. He scares me badly." She stood up to leave. "I hope I see you again." Her eyes were sad as she said it. She hoped that she would still be alive in a couple of months to even have the opportunity to see him. "Thanks for the toy...and your advice." She tucked the small PADD into the top of her uniform jacket, into the small pouch she had modified it to have. There were some things that had to be kept close.

Zach unlocked the door and watched her leave, sitting silent for many long minutes after she had finally disappeared. "Not as scared as I am, dear lady, not with as much as I've seen." He finally said to thin air.

The research and locations of some counter-pieces of technology he had hidden for various reasons came to mind, the results of their use would be catastrophic, and the implications of their very existence filled him with dread. Falthgood had been content to let his life end in the quiet manner he had lived it for the last several years, a quiet and crazy Lieutenant who would be forgotten once retirement came. If he was right though, his name would not only be remembered after this little rebellion, but whispered to children for generations to come as the boogey-man who would come to take them away in the darkest of night.

"This is only one toy, there are so many others; an entire career filled with mistakes... my legacy will only be that of darkness."

(reply: none) (posted by Melinda Martin & Trout)