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Losing It Part 2

Posted on Sat Dec 19th, 2020 @ 10:47pm by Lieutenant JG Finnley Keating VII & Lieutenant Xavier Leiko & Lieutenant Savin

Mission: The Shadow of Arachne
Location: Saucer Section Engineering
2709 words - 5.4 OF Standard Post Measure

Finnley continued to push Savin along the jefferies tube corridor until they neared the saucer section engineering room. She squeezed past the counselor to investigate the situation. “Oh no…” Finnley let out an audible cry of disappointment as the illusion still held in full force. Somehow the breen had also taken over this engineering room as well. They must have found a way to beam over when the power was down, she thought. Fortunately, there weren’t any Starfleet personnel lying on the floor. She just hoped they had all gotten out unharmed before the breen invasion.

“Keating to security.” She tapped her combadge and hoped that communications were back online, but there was no response.

After watching the breen for a moment she crawled back into the jefferies tube, unseen, and started pondering her next course of action. It was apparent that they were trying to route control through engineering based on what she witnessed. Finnley knew she was no match for the number of breen crawling around in the section so she had to think of another plan. One that would render the ship useless to the invaders without getting anyone killed.

A lightbulb went off and she quickly crawled to the closest access panel where she knew she could interrupt power to the engineering room. If she could submerge engineering into darkness for a few minutes, it might be just enough time to get to the manual controls to eject the warp core. One had already been ejected due to the power fluctuation. A second would render the ship mostly dead in space and would at least buy them enough time to get to security for reinforcements to retake the ship.

Savin pressed himself against the wall of the Jeffries tube they were in, pulling his legs up and circling his arms around them. He had no idea whatsoever where they were, and why they were where they were. If he had to tell anyone where the were, he would have to admit to being utterly lost. They'd taken so many turns left right up and down, that he had lost track of what deck they were on. His main concern had been to long lose track of the person he was with, but now.... for some reason he felt very alone. Huddled in darkness and silence, left in his own private little world. Whoever had been with him hadn't given him a touch or indication that they were still there. It felt like a very long time until he'd been pushed or pulled in any kind of direction.

"Hello?" he called out, "where are you? Please do not leave me..."

Xavier was in the saucer section engineering room staring at the monitors. He was trying to work out what had happened in main engineering and why the warp core had been ejected. He tried to to reach the CEO and the bridge, but comms were down and for some reason he couldn't get them back online. He wasn't sure if this was a result of a saboteur or if more people were succumbing to these illusions, but whatever the situation he had to get things back under control, well at least until he could find the Lieutenant. The computer bleeped and Xavier went to check it out. "Someone is trying to disrupt power to the room," he said out loud. "In that jefferies tube," he said as he turned to the access junction.

After removing the access panel, Finnley worked to disrupt power to the room. Luckily, as an experienced engineer, she was able to make relatively quick work of it and a few moments later the room submerged into darkness. She turned around tapped Savin on the shoulder as some sort of notice that she would be right back, knowing that the counselor probably wouldn’t understand the message, but she hoped that somehow he might find it comforting anyways. Finnley then crawled to the exit. A few emergency lights allowed for one to see vague shadowy figures in the main engineering room. Finnley noticed one nearing the access hatch she was in and quickly slipped out, hoping to remain unseen.

The tap on his arm meant nothing, Savin had no idea what it was supposed to indicate. As he'd been shoved and proded and touched quite a number of times now in the past - what, minutes? hours? - he started to move forward again. It was a slow crawl, one hand outstretched to prevent himself from bashing into any hatches. What he didn't count on however, was a sudden drop and he ungracefully tumbled head over heels from the hatch, landing flat on his back. "Ow..." he grunted helplessly as he lay at the operations officer's feet.

Xavier had tried to override the access codes but with no luck, whomever was trying to disrupt power to the room knew the systems much better than he did. The room plunged into darkness and for a second Xavier froze, waiting for the inevitable attack, but it didn't come. He had just about to grab a flashlight from the toolbox when he sensed someone enter the room. He guessed they were trying to stay undetected, but it was hard to hide your thoughts from a Betazoid, and these thoughts were screaming in fear and worry. Before he could call out, someone else came tumbling out of the hatch and stopped at his feet. Xavier was so alarmed that he jumped backwards, tripped over the toolbox on the floor and landed on the deck with a loud thud.

"Ouch," was all the young Lieutenant was able to say.

It was the vibration the thud generated, that told Savin someone was nearby. "Who is there?" he called out as he scrambled himself up into a crouching position, one hand partially outstretched as if fearful he might somehow bump into something. Not that he would hear it if someone did reply, but it was habit that made him call out for normally he would see it if someone did appear.

Dammit, Finnley thought as she recognized Savin’s voice and heard a thud from the general direction of the jefferies tube. She hated to see him captured, especially blind and deaf, having no idea what was going on. On the other hand, he had given her the distraction she needed so that she could get to the manual controls to eject the warp core and render the ship useless to the invaders.

Without wasting another moment, she made a break for the core in the center of the room. Hoping the cover of darkness would work to her advantage. Luckily she knew the engineering rooms like the back of her hands and was able to move swiftly without running into any equipment. Kneeling down next to the controls, Finnley quickly started the ejection sequence.

"Lieutenant Leiko," Xavier answered as he rubbed the back of his head. "Are you o..." Before he could finish his sentence he sensed the mystery figure, the first one who had entered the room and most likely cut the power to engineering, move towards the warp core. Xavier grabbed the torch and jumped to his feet, a little too quickly. His head was ringing. He aimed the torch in the direction of the core and saw a woman near the manual controls. "What are you doing?" He asked in a panicked voice. "DON'T DO THAT!" He yelled.

“The added light is helpful,” Finnley muttered sarcastically as the beam hit the area she was working in and she knew that she had been discovered. Her options were slim. Running wouldn’t help anyone and she was likely to get caught before long anyways now that, who she thought were the Breen, had discovered her presence. So she continued to work, faster than before, and just hoped that she’d finish the procedure in time.

Xavier moved towards the woman. He had no idea who she was or why she was trying to eject the core but she was in the process of releasing the magnetic interlocks and he couldn't allow that. He wondered if she was seeing things like everyone else, he had already seen the results of these 'nightmares' and he wasn't too sure how much more he could take. ~Listen to me,~ he pleaded telepathically. ~I'm not sure what is going on, but my name is Lieutenant Xavier Leiko, I'm the assistant Chief of Operations and you are going to cripple the ship if you continue what you're doing.~

She hesitated for a moment, having heard someone’s voice in her head. Lt.Leiko? She had heard the name, but hadn’t formally met the man yet. How was he communicating with her? She wished for a moment that she’d had that ability with Savin seemed to have lost all of his senses. Finnley looked up for a moment, but all she could see were shadowy figures of the Breen walking around.

~That’s sort of the point. Unless you want the Breen to take control of the ship, but I won’t let that happen.~ She responded. Had he been captured by them and that’s why he was reaching out? I’ve wasted enough time with this game, Finnley thought, returning her attention to the interlocks. The enemy would reach her soon. She was running out of time, but she wouldn’t give up.

Xavier saw flashes in the young woman's mind, the fear, the Breen, the deaf and blind Romulan counsellor. He just didn't know what to do, how do you fight something that was happening in someone's mind. He wanted to stun her with a phaser but he wasn't armed and the weapon's locker was on the other side of the room. He could charge at her, tackle her to the ground, maybe? Or perhaps he sound continue to reason with her?

~Can you hear me?~ Xavier asked turning his attention to Lieutenant Savin. ~I need your help.~

Xavier turned his attention back to the woman. ~Finnley, please stop. I'm a Betazoid and you're imaging the Breen being here. There's no one else but us three, please stop so we can figure this out.~ As he "spoke" he was moving closer and closer.

Finnley stopped as the voice came through, telling her that the Breen were an illusion. Her hand continued to hover, a few feet from the last remaining lever that would jettison the second core. She had imagined things before, since they had been in this region of space, so perhaps he was telling the truth. Then again, perhaps his voice was the illusion, she thought.

So far, everything she had experienced was just a twisted version of reality. The illusion in her quarters, though terrifying, was just a horrible play on a nightmare she had experienced in the past. Then there was the alternate version of Reed, which was certainly nothing like the genuine article, but was still based on something she knew. Finnley couldn’t be sure, but based on what she had seen so far, she was more inclined to believe that Xavier’s voice was the illusion. Having made up her mind, she reached once more for the final lever that would render them dead in the water.

The counselor froze, hope flaring in his expression. "Yes yes! I hear you!" he exclaimed, "please, what is going on? Where am I, who was with me?" He had so many questions, but he was so relieved that someone else's telepathic skill could at least reach him, where he couldn't seem to reach anyone else. "Why am I suddenly blind?" he added, then paused. "Who are you?"

Xavier could sense the self doubt, it was the same doubt that he had felt before. Things were so muddled up in the Finnley's head he wasn't surprised that she didn't believe him, if he were in her shoes, would he believe her? Probably not. It didn't matter too much anyway, he was close enough now to lunge towards her and stop her from pulling the lever that would jettison the core. Just as he was about to do so, the Romulan's voice screamed in his head, a barrage of questions that caught Xavier off guard, and for a split second, he hesitated...

The shadowy figure that had inched closer to her stopped. Finnley didn’t know it, but Savin had unintentionally come to her rescue once again; buying her the additional second she needed. She grabbed the handle and pulled, ejecting the second core. Take that! Finn had a moment of internal celebration before moving her attention to escaping back to a jefferies tube. The enemy figure was close and she would need to move quickly. Perhaps she could get to the weapons locker on the other side of the room and save Savin too, she thought.

Savin had found his way back to his feet, and somehow managed to find a wall which he touched with one hand, afraid to lose contact. "Please.." he pleaded, "tell me what is happening."

DAMN! Xavier watched as the woman pulled the lever and the computer began the ejection sequence. "Why did you do that?!" He yelled as he dived in her direction, hoping to tackle her to the ground.

Finnley turned and moved to quickly get to the weapons locker. She stood and one leg moved forward, starting her sprint, only to be tackled crashing back into the floor. "GET THE HELL OFF OF ME!" She yelled and started to struggle against the grip, determined to break free.

Darkness was suddenly filled with brightness as Savin somehow got out of his nightmare and back to actual awareness. "Finnley no!" he called out, rushing forward as sight returned to normal. "Stop!" He looked to the new person. "You, whoever you are, hold her down. Finnley stop struggling or I will render you unconscious."

"Don't give her the option," Xavier said, blood trickling from his mouth. He must have bit his tongue during the tackle. "Take her out!"

Finnley continued to grapple with her captor, convinced that she was being taken prisoner by the Breen. She had accomplished her goal of getting at least two cores ejected, but there was no way she was just going to give up now without a fight. "GET OFF!" She yelled once more, bringing her free foot down onto Xavier in an attempt to break free.

"F***!" Xavier yelled as her foot connected with his rib. The shock made him loosen his grip on her, his only hope was that the Romulan would help him, she was like a wild beast and he couldn't contain her by himself any more.

Now that his senses were back, Savin felt the anger coming from the engineer, and a sense of fear from the chief engineer. He rushed forward, hand stretched out to deliver a nerve pinch and render her unconscious. He felt at this point it was his only choice. He deftly applied the Vulcan technique, then reached towards the possibly injured Xavier. "Are you alright?" he asked, casting only a brief look towards the now unconscious chief engineer, before refocusing on the other.

Xavier rolled off the young woman unto his back as he tried to catch his breath. "I think so," he said between gasps. He rubbed his ribs, nothing felt broken. "What the hell is going on here?" Xavier asked the Romulan as he got to his feet.

"I do not know," Savin answered, "people keep experiencing nightmares, and it seems to be getting worse." He paused, visibly uncomfortable. "I seemingly just experienced my first, so far. Have you experienced anything out of the ordinary?" Though he kept looking at Xavier, he knelt beside Finnley to check her vitals.

"Yes," Xavier said solemnly. "I think we should get her to sickbay and then sort out the mess down here. We've lost two warp cores and unless we retrieve them, nightmares will be the least of our worries."

Savin nodded, getting to his feet and lifting the unconscious woman up in his arms as he went. "That would be a wise course of action," he agreed.


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