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Lt Zola & LtJG Barnes - "Test the Limits and Break Through"

Posted on 2016-12-12 17:44 by Lieutenant JG Catalina Barnes & Lieutenant Zola

Mission: Goodnight Moon

"I can't do anything about the EPS grid, sensors, or anything else that's down from here," Zola grumbled and looked down at the drones that lay on the deck. "We should probably secure these guys, just in case they've got some system that can repair and bring them back online." She nudged one drone with the tip of her rifle. "Transporters are down though, but science labs would probably be ideal."

"Gisjacheh," Catalina muttered in Orion as she looked at the dead drones. "Why don't you go get an antigrav cart and we can get them to the science lab easier?" she suggested. "Or we could just vaporize them and be done with them once and for all."

"Vaporizing them means we don't have a chance to try and use their technology against them, or at least learn from it to improve future defenses." Zola knelt down next to the drone, and pulled out her tricorder. "I saw the grav cart by the door when we came in. Grab it, please. I'm going to scan for their cortical nodes, make sure they're both offline."

Ah, the benefits of rank Cat mused as she headed to get the cart. I suggest she gets it and she has me get it. At least she said please. Once she activated the cart and brought it back, she tilted her head. "Why haven't they vaporized like Borg normally do when they get taken out?" she wondered out loud as she headed for the feet of one of the drones.

"Maybe we disabled the system that does it when we took them down?" Zola closed her tricorder and moved to stand over the head of the drone Catalina stood at the feet of. "Cortical nodes are both offline for now, no indications of any systems trying to run repairs, but I'd need a medical tricorder or some bio-science equipment to ensure that the nano probes aren't still active. Ready when you are to lift?"

"Ready," Cat said as she grabbed the drones feet. On the count of three, she lifted it after she saw that her diminutive roommate was ready and moved the body to the cart. "Now for the next one. Did you already deploy your drones?"

"My probes? Not yet, but I've got a couple of the modified ones in my bag, we can send them ahead when we're ready to move?" Zola moved to grab the second drone, waiting for Catalina to be ready before lifting.

Cat grabbed the other drone and helped lift it onto the cart as well. "Nothing like bags of assimilated meat," she muttered. "I thought I already worked out today. Go ahead and launch at will and I'll push the cart."

Zola dug into her bag, pulling out two of the little big probes she'd replicated with Takeuchi's grenade design integrated, and she powered them on. The devices blinked their indicators a couple times as they synced up with her tricorder and slowly levitated to just eye level for Zola. A quick sequence of commands input sent them towards the door, where they waited. Zola tucked away the tricorder, then raised her phaser rifle.

"Let's move," she said.

Cat put her phaser rifle on top of the dead drones and began to push it out into the hall and towards the nearest turbolift. "I really, really hope that we don't run into any more Borg," she said. "We have our pants around our ankles without the computer right now."

"Which is exactly why they disabled everything," Zola observed. She lead the way down the corridor, the probes moving about a meter ahead of her as she went. They waited patiently at either side of the turbolift door when they reached it. "Cover me, I'll probably have to reroute power to get the turbolift going... Unless you want to take that through the service shafts." A teasing smile tugged at the corner of her lip as she waited for Catalina's indication of was okay for her to lower her rifle and gather her tools.

Cat halted the grav cart and picked up her rifle again. "We could shove them down it and then climb down ourselves," she pointed out. "I doubt they'd mind."

"Except the science labs are a deck above us." Zola directed an odd look at Catalina as she hung her rifle over her shoulder and reached into her bag for her hyperspanner. Her blue tipped fingers nimbly popped open the small panel next to the turbolift doors, and she set to work. It was only a long moment before the doors slid open and she snapped the door panel back in place. "Thankfully the system was still trying to route power to the transporters, even though they were down. I was able to get the whole turbolift network back up."

"Sorry," Cat said sheepishly. "I feel like I've been all over the ship lately. Let's get them loaded up and take them to see what secrets they're willing to divulge."

"I think the number one on everyone's mind is... are they alone or did they bring friends we just haven't found yet?" Zola entered the turbolift and tucked herself against the wall near the door to make room for the grav cart to slide into the space. It would have been too tight a fit had Zola not been so tiny and Catalina so fit and sinewy.

Once she was inside, Cat requested deck two and sucked her stomach in as the cart pressed against her. "I hope they're alone," she said. "Because if they aren't, we're going to be ass deep in the swamp and surrounded by gators."

"I hope so too," Zola said quietly. The turbolift wooshed open, and Zola slipped out with her rifle on the ready. The two probes wooshed ahead of her, scanning down the ajoining corridors. "Clear, let's move." She started forward, listening to make sure she didn't get too far ahead of Catalina.

Cat pushed the grav cart out behind Zola and checked around before she moved to catch up with the Ferengi. "The sooner we get there, the better I'll feel," she said. "I don't think we're in a simulation any more, Z."

"There are some things that aren't quite adding up," Zola agreed in a whisper. "But how we need to respond doesn't really change if it isn't a simulation, does it?"

"No, it doesn't," she said as she looked around the corridor. "This is weird. We were getting conflicting reports, then the Borg get aboard the ship while we're at warp. It doesn't make sense."

"We dropped out of slipstream for a small window, I could tell by the way the ship sounds. Presumably, that's when they beamed aboard." Zola paused at the door to the science labs. "We'll send the probes in first. Ready?"

"That would imply that they knew exactly when we were doing to drop out," Catalina said as she grabbed her rifle and prepared to push the cart with one hand.

"We probably were in holocloak when we approached, and if we ran, we'd have to drop the holocloak. Go on three. One, two," and she displayed three fingers before tapping the access panel next to the door. The probes zipped inside and circled the lab, and when Zola's tricorder beeped once she followed them inside. All the panels were dark, just the emergency lighting to see by.

Catalina gave the grav cart a shove inside and put both hands on her rifle, sweeping it from side to side and listened intently with her advanced hearing for any other sounds of movement from inside the lab. "Either it's clear, or they're being really quiet," she said after a moment.

The door swept shut behind Catalina as she cleared its sensor range. Zola stood in the middle of the room a long moment, listening like Catalina had. "I think we can operate as if they're not here. I don't hear anything either." She pulled her tricorder out again, and with a couple taps at the controls, the two probes took up guard at either door. "Can you lock the doors so they'll only respond to inside commands and sensors? We don't need any other drones slipping in on us if these two weren't alone." Zola moved to the stasis units along one wall, and pulled open a panel.

"I'm on it," Catalina said as she went to the door and engaged the lock out. "You're a higher rank than me, Z. I need your voice authorization."

"I'm not sure if the computer's working, but let me try it. Computer, implement lock settings, authorization Zola beta eta alpha theta." Silence was the response to the command and Zola frowned. "I think if they've gotten access codes from anyone with higher access than you, we're only going to be marginally better off if we use my code anyways. It'll slow them down and give us warning if they try to unlock it even with your manually input code." Zola gave a hard yank at a connection that tapped into the ship's EPS grid, and took an involuntary step backwards as it gave. She quickly reached back in, moving a couple isolinear chips around before plugging another connection in where the EPS feed line had been removed. The display came to life.

"I don't like this at all," Catalina said as she looked around. "At least you have that going, though. What do you want me to do with these drones?"

"We're going to put them in these stasis units, which should also serve as a signal blocker should one of their systems reactivate and start repair before we catch on." Zola tapped the panel, and one drawer slid out of the unit to receive the first drone. "We can also have the unit take a detailed scan of the drones for our study."

"Then let's get it done," she said as she went to start pulling the first dead drone off of the cart. "Isn't there some chip in them that sends out a distress call or whatever?"

"I didn't detect any signal transmission when I scanned them, and that's part of the reason why we're putting them into the stasis chamber. It'll block that signal if the drone repairs itself enough to make the call." Zola moved to help Catalina with the drone she'd started to try and move on her own. "But the opportunity to learn from these drones is immense. I plan to have everything we gather be automatically packaged and encrypted for transmission to HQ as we work, so research teams there can also benefit. We'll focus on what'll help us out here and now, of course, but no reason not to send a care package to the Borg research team at the same time."

Once Zola had ahold of the drone, Cat lifted her end and started to move it to the unit with a grunt. "These things must be half metal," she said. "We can send a care package once we determine exactly what is going on and take care of our own first."

"We can, and must do both," Zola insisted as they dropped the drone into the stasis drawer. When Catalina was clear, she touched the panel to close it and open a second. "Obviously we must see to the safety of the crew, and I'm not saying we do anything that'll prevent us from seeing to that, but we also have a duty to Starfleet and the Federation to warn and assist in fighting this threat, even if we don't survive this encounter now."

"Look," Cat said as she moved to grab the second drone. "I know what our responsibility is, but there comes a point where we have to look out for ourselves first. It's going to take time to analyze the drone, but we don't know what's going on with the rest of the ship, the computer is down, our sensors are picking up ghosts and we don't know what's around the next corner. We can only do so much at once."

"Which is why I'll tell the science lab computer to do it for us, automatically. A minute to set up while the computer is running the initial scan on the drones, and if/when it can reach out to the communications array, safely and with authorization from the bridge, it'll transmit without us having to do anything further." Zola shrugged before they picked up the second drone. "Two bats with one stove, right?"

Unable to help herself, Catalina started laughing. "Birds, Z," she said. "Two birds with one stone. Let's get this other greaser in the freezer and then we can see what kind of damage they managed while they were in the cargo bay. I hope the rest of the ship is doing as well as well did."

"What do you do with the bird and the stone? I can see bats or birds on a stove... Bats look delicious and I know hew-mons eat birds." She shook her head as they set the other drone in the drawer and it was closed away. She started the stasis chamber's analysis program and moved to the main terminal in the lab.

Still laughing, Catalina shook her head. "No, the saying is you can kill two birds with one stone, not bats. As for bats looking delicious, I wouldn't know. Many people refer to them as flying rodents and I've never had the urge or desire to eat one." She followed the little Ferengi over to the terminal. "What do you need me to do here?"

"Why would you...?" Zola shook her head, then looked over her shoulder at Catalina. "Which encryption method would be secure, but HQ would know how to decrypt? Don't want the borg to know what we have learned, or they'll likely change it again."

Catalina stopped and thought for a moment before she gave a nod. "The Harpocrates algorithm," she said. "I doubt the Borg have ever assimilated a Greek god before and Harpocrates was the god of silence, secrets and confidentiality."

"Sounds good," Zola answered as she pointed her data packet program at the algorithm. The stasis units chirped in unison, and data started to pull up on the lab's main computer terminal. "Okay, so let's see what we have here. Do you see any transmitters? If we can monitor their communications, we could verify if there are any others aboard."

The young human woman moved over to the display and studied it and made several adjustments based on what little she knew of the Borg that was taught in Starfleet Academy. "Here," she said and pointed at a spot on the screen. "The hard part is going to be getting into it. I'm good, but they've had a long time and the technology of many races to assimilate and strengthen their defenses."

"Okay, looks like only one of them has the hardware intact, the phaser rifle blast damaged the other. Let's scan, and then you can work on getting us in, passively, and I'll work on figuring out how to modify our communications systems to work with it." Zola flicked at the readouts, zooming in on the transmitter Catalina had identified.

"Anything else I can do for you?" Cat asked as she listened to what Zola wanted. "Maybe a nice bat sandwich with cheese while I'm not hacking into a Borg network...passively?"

"Do your best, and we can see if Commander Waterhouse can help if you wish," Zola returned. "Unless there's another approach you'd recommend?"

", but I'll give it my best shot," Cat said as she looked at the screen. "Contact Commander Waterhouse and see if she wants to get down with the madness."

=/\= End Log =/\=

Lieutenant Zola
R&D Specialist
USS Joshua Norton

Lieutenant JG Catalina Barnes
USS Joshua Norton


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