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Crimson Tide Pt. IV

Posted on Tue Feb 28th, 2023 @ 12:46am by Corporal Andrew Shy & Commodore Tyler Malbrooke & Lieutenant Commander Rowena McGowen & Lieutenant Paul Michael & Captain Edmund Merrick & Sergeant Major Lachlan Barr & Lieutenant JG Mira Jayna & Gunnery Sergeant Gaagii & Sergeant Miranda Schultz
Edited on on Tue Feb 28th, 2023 @ 6:15am

5,136 words; about a 26 minute read

Mission: Episode 13 - Crooked River
Location: Planet Igion
Timeline: MD004 2100 hrs

Last time On Crimson Tide Pt.III


"I'm not a superstitious man Gaagi, but I don't think this place likes us." Lachlan commented as he nodded for them to begin to move out of the area. As he did so he looked at a reflective panel on a nearby desk and a flash of a screaming face could be seen and he could almost swear he heard a screech of pain. "Jesus Christ!" he yelled.

"Jayna?" Miranda saw the Vulcan’s reflection scream as some sort of tentacle wrapped around her face and neck. She grabbed the warrant officer’s shoulder to pull her away, but as she did, she felt a sharp sting on her hand. Then she, too, was caught by the image of another tentacle dropping down and wrapping around the other Miranda’s hand and forearm, pulling her closer...

Then the ooze began to pry it's way into Andrews mouth and found openings in his nostrils and ears... The Corporal whipped his head back and forth, he dropped his phaser carbine and began scraping at his face. As the substance began forcing it's way into his eyes, he screamed and then gagged. The scream was cut off as the substance entered his mouth.
And Now The Conclusion

In engineering, Kavicus struggled. His mind felt like it was everywhere and no where. Part of him was sad that his friends and colleagues had been necessarily sacrificed. But he could hear their minds even now, screaming about the darkness and the pain of their deaths. That would pass…

And, to be honest with himself. His…their new self…the screams and mental memories of their deaths was delicious.

Just a little bit…

And now there were others. Strange, non-Jutari minds. They’d tasted their minds. Their fears and thoughts. Kavicus permitted himself a moment to stretch as the pain memories of his own transformation faded. Now he could reach out in his new form..the tentacles slowly telling them the story of the sea base. A stray thought from Minya, his former lover and one of the bases biochemists, wondering if what they were experiencing was similar to the hive mind of the Borg.

Scoffing, Kavicus mentally slapped at her thought and reopened her mind to the memories of her drowning. He. They. That was important. He was more than just Kavicus now. They were one, even if memories of their past selves lingered. Minya’s terror at drawing again and her thrashing in the web distracted him and he eased her pain slowly, blocking off the memories of her choking and violent spasms one by one until her mind floated in quiet nothingness. Then he directed her back to merging with the bases systems so they could fix what had been broken.

And deal with the new arrivals. Kavicus allowed himself to sample their fear and delight in the deliciousness of the small amount of anguish they’d experienced so far. It made him eager to kill these beings. Their deaths would be stimulating. Even now the anticipation was almost too distracting from their purpose. But, he’d worked hard and deserved to revel and bathe in their agony and death.

Just a little bit…

Andrew croaked slightly as he staggered his way back toward the central hub, spitting and gagging occasionally as he tried to get the viscous substance out of his windpipe and mouth. He rinsed his mouth out several times but he could still feel it in there. Andrew mind continued to loop through the event and he struggled slightly to keep his wits about him as he covered drag position behind Jayna and Miranda.

Jayna took the opportunity to collect a sample of the black ooze while she was helping Shy get free. A scan was one thing, but a physical sample might help science figure out what they were dealing with. She continued to scan, half expecting something to either drop down on them or ooze up from the floor.

Miranda kept glancing back at Shy to be sure he was okay. She and Jayna received a shock, but that ooze was something else. That the other Marine was still coughing concerned her. "I don't like this place," she stated. "Tentacles in the mirror, and now whatever that stuff was. What kind of experiments were they doing here, I wonder?"

Straightening up, Andrew tried to take a full breath and then his vision began to go black.

And then he wasn't Andrew anymore.

Speeding up his pace, Kavicus looped his arms about Miranda and Jayna's shoulders saying. "Hello my dears. Welcome to Rift Base. Please excuse the mess."

Jayna was immediately on alert. Shy did not sound like himself, and now, with the physical contact, he felt...alien. She touched his hand with hers and shuddered. "Rift Base?" And why would he excuse the mess? She casually turned her tricorder to scan him.

"I don't know about excusing the mess," Miranda began, glancing over at Shy. She knew him casually, and this was not his normal behavior. At least not with her. She spotted Jayna's tricorder, not sure why the Vulcan was scanning Shy, but she decided to be a distraction. "Did you find anything of interest back there?" she asked the other Marine.

"Oh to be sure," Kavicus/Andrew said with a broad smile. Shy's voice seemed to change and distort like a weak comm's signal bouncing through interference. "Why I've found you. And your friends of course. We mustn't forget them. So nice of you to come visit." Then the Kavicus/Andrew's eyes grew wide as if things were occurring to them. "And you brought transport. And," he broke off for a minute as he gazed curiously at the suit encasing his body. "New, interesting toys. How very useful. Most kind of you lovelies."

Jayna was both alert and fascinated by Shy's altered demeanor. "No, we must not forget the others. How shall we introduce you to them?" She had no idea who was talking with them and she wasn't comfortable with him in the suit, but she would not let herself think about it or dwell on it and remained outwardly calm.

Miranda, on the other hand, tensed. Her fight or flight instincts warned her that whatever happened to Shy was seriously wrong. She hoped they'd run into the others, but wanted to warn them, if she could. Hearing his voice distort, she wondered if there was a way to block whoever--or whatever--was talking through Shy, if he was still in there.

"Oh, they'll meet us soon enough," Kavicus/Andrew stated distractedly as he mentally wrestled with the Corporal as he searched for how to use the suit's controls. They could feel the strain as he multi-tasked, but it was all SO interesting. He experimentally touched the phaser carbine slung over his chest and the grip responded by powering the weapon's pre-fire chamber and he let go to clap his hands. "How wonderful," he chortled. "He is me and the suit knows its master still."

Looking up at the women he said, "Once you all join with us you'll see how interesting and full-filling this is. The black eyes somehow caught the flickering light without reflecting it back. "You're not going to be difficult about things, are you?"

"Why do you think that?" Miranda asked, only half expecting an answer.

"Oh it wasn't an expectation. It was a question. You both are being challenging to read...the others are proving to be so much more fun. The fears and experiences. Especially..her..." Kavicus/Andrew replied with an almost dreamy tone to his voice as he gave a little shudder. "Who would have thought such emotions would be so delicious?"

Difficult and challenging? Jayna thought. Of course she was going to be as difficult as possible if it meant survival. She was putting a lot of pieces together, but she still needed to learn more about whoever or whatever this creature was. She used her training both as a Vulcan and as an intelligence officer to bury her reaction to what this entity had done here. In addition, they needed to get Shy out of his suit and separate him from whatever had possessed his body, but they would need help.

She noticed that they were being herded somewhere, possibly engineering. Whenever Jayna tried to steer them back to the shuttle, she found that they were still going the other way. She hoped they'd find the rest of their team there, as the entity indicated. Maybe then they could get answers and get out of here.

Glancing at Jayna he remarked, "The Vulcan attempt at denying emotions...why? I know they can be distracting. But feeling someone else's emotional trials. Something you should experience I think." Kavicus/Andrew's eyes fixed on the intelligence officer and casually removed one of the suit's gauntlets. Then he reached out, a dark viscus substance starting to leak out from under his fingernails.

"No!" Jayna spun away from him and pushed Shy as hard as she could against the wall, needing to get out of range of that ooze. Although she was physiologically Vulcan, she grew up on Bajor. She'd dealt with enough trauma in her life and had no wish to relive it--or anyone else's.

Miranda activated the suit's weapon and shot his exposed hand, mentally apologizing to the corporal. She knew the hand could be replaced once they got back to the ship, but they needed to stay alive first.

Kavicus stumbled. His intent was fighting against the marine's muscle memory and instinct not to fight his own.

The scientist could understand that. But, experimentation was the curse of Science. His will over rode the Marine, instead he draped the images of Jayna and Miranda with images of the mostly dead.

It was like shaking a snow globe. Once the snow confused things, all Kavicus had to do was sit back and watch. Andrew/Kavicus's reactions took over and he grasped the phaser carbine with his hand and found it not able to grab the grip. Growling something intelligible the shoulder mounted phaser popped up and began tracking Miranda, a burst of fire splashing against the bulkhead just behind her as Andrew began to move.

Memories of her childhood on Bajor, of hiding from the Cardassians, flooded Jayna's mind, momentarily distracting her. She remembered walking through the woods with her sister and finding a girl their own age brutally beaten and left for dead, or smelling the pungent scent of burning wood and meat, only to learn later it had been the home of a couple in their parent's cell. They moved deeper into the woods, but Jayna never forgot the scent of death. She forced it back as she saw Shy stalking Miranda. "Corporal Shy, stand down," she barked into the comms. "That's an order!" She hoped she could reach beyond the entity to the trained soldier beneath. But if not, she was going to stop him.

Miranda set her weapon to heavy stun and fired, aiming her weapon for the opening in the suit. She could feel the tentatles from the mirror brushing against her skin. She wanted to strip off her suit to get rid of them, but not until she was safe from whatever had Andrew. She used whatever obstacles she could to keep out of the direct line of fire, dodging and shooting as she did so.

"Corporal Shy, drop and give me fifty!" If Jayna could get the Marine to react to orders, it might give her a brief opening to get him down. She couldn't leave him behind if there was a way to remove that entity. And right now, she wasn't sure she and Miranda could run away if they wanted to. At the same time, she continued to fight against the memories of her parents, her friends, and how they all died.

The half-Vulcan activated the suit's emergency transponder and looked for a way to stop Shy. She thought about the training she'd received and the guerilla tactics of the Maquis and how she could utilize that here. Then sheused her weapon to make a pit in front of him.

Miranda continued to try and stun Shy while avoiding being killed herself. As soon as she saw what Jayna was doing, she began to help with the pit between dodges.

Andrew/Kavicus stumbled into the molten metal as the women's fire burned through the decking. The suit protected him as he fell to his waist. The shoulder mounted phaser was tracking slow as the soldier. Marine. Whatever fought Kavicus for control.

He began to clamber out as the heavy stun shot caught him full in the face. For a moment he sagged, the marines bodily control faltering. Andrew lost what little control he'd been exerting. Kavicus wasn't dependent on the hosts neural network to process signals to the rest of the body and his lovely marionette began to move. As he worked up and out of the hole, it began to rapidly fill with water which began to overflow up onto the bases decking.

The weapons fire had burned through the bases thin decking and the sea was rolling in.

"Ahh ladies," Kavicus/Andrew chortled out. Most enjoyable. You're teaching me so much. Come, stop being coy..."

That had been a bad idea. Jayna quickly re-evaluated her course of action. The entity had not fallen unconscious with the corporal. "Playing coy is illogical." She silently called to the others for help, but the comms weren't responding. Maybe they could lock the corporal in a transporter buffer until they could get help? But that would require the shuttle to assist them. Was there a way to do an emergency override of the suit? Perhaps from the shuttle... They needed to get past the entity and run.

Where was backup? Miranda wondered. Surely someone would have called or come looking for them. She sent a message to Merrick, but he didn't respond. Could she and Jayna rush Shy and get past him and to the shuttle? She tried to make eye contact with the warrant. Just then, Corporal Shy's vital signs scrolled across her HUD, followed by a question from his suit. Did she want to take control? Did Klingons have cranial ridges? "Yes."

Things were definitely looking up. "Warrant, corporal, after me. Double time." If nothing else went wrong, they could get back to the shuttle...and help.

Kavicus felt his control over Shy begin to slip and realized he'd over played his hand.

And had underestimated the Federation's technology. He tried to jump start Shy's body to regain control but the suit's medical system had detected abnormal brain wave patterns and added medical flags to the command lock out.

Even if Andrew had woken up, he still be imprisoned in the suit. Irritated but realizing it was time to move on, Kavicus began pulling his sense of self from the suit and back to the lab. Like pulling toffee, his self was drawn thinner and thinner until he snapped mostly away from the marine.


Gaagii had been searching for a way back to Serenity with Lachlan. Every time he thought they had been making headway they were confronted by another tendril. This caused them to double back on their path and seek a new one. It seemed to Gaagii that they were being herded somewhere. But the question was where. "You know Master Sarge if I did not know any better I would think we were being guided somewhere."

"Aye it would definitely seem we are being cattle herded towards Engineering." Lachlan pointed to a small display that showed the station layout and where they were in. "Smells like a trap to me... but the whole station smells like shit so its hard to tell the difference between what's the worst part." he shook his head. "Only way we can go is the way open to us... we cannae get past the tentacles so may as well follow the yellow brick road."

Gaagii nodded in agreement, and an idea occurred to him. The sniper tapped the comm channel on his wrist mount. "This is Gaagii to all units. I am with the Master Sergeant. Everyone please check in name and location." He closed the channel. "It may help us learn what is going on and where we are being herded."

"This is Sergeant Schultz. I'm with Warrant Mira and Corporal Shy." After reporting their location, she added, "Situation Foxtrot Uniform."

Gaagii heard the Sergeant in the comm and shot Barr a concerned look. "We better double time it." He said and picked up his pace to head for engineering.

"We are in agreement, Gaagi. Lets get a shift on!" Lachlan raised his voice and began to pick up the pace to match his partner.



After almost jumping at his own shadow or shadows coming towards his vision, Edmund arrived in Engineering. He stopped abruptly at the most ghastly sight he'd ever seen. To Merrick it seemed like that tentacled beast that he had come across in Tyler's tabletop game had come to life. Edmund thought he had a vivid imagination, but this twisted tentacled malformed jelly fish like creature was stuff that came out of nightmares. Edmund felt his breathing hitch, his heart rate rapidly rising. Then the bodies, the bodies wrapped in more of the gelatenous tendrils. Seeming to move about, or floating in that viscuous fluid. Pulses, bio electrical pulses, as if the tentacles were drawing strength from what they were touching. Oh if his wife were around here and actually saw this mess of Engineering, she'd be so pissed off that she'd set this thing on fire. His wife...

Merrick paused, as an image came to his mind, or was he seeing someone that looked like her floating about in that oozy jelly like creature. No... she wasn't here. Or was she?? Edmund blinked, feeling a rivulet of sweat trickle down his cheek.

A call from Gaagii and Edmund clicked in his communications. "We're in Engineering, its the heart of the beast, or the head or.. I don't know what it is." his voice hoarse with revulsion.

Merrick looked back at Rowena, "Are you still with me? Commander McGowan?" hoping that he'd not lost her.

Rowena could barely hear Merrick's voice coming in as they had entered Engineering. Somehow she could tell something was entering her mind. Or tried to, but something was wrong. She felt two forces collide and she fell to the ground after her mind went black. She could hear water dripping. She looked around. She only saw darkness.

She opened her eyes as she found herself in what she could only describe as dark nothingness. Standing in water up to her ankles. She looked around as she could feel a dark shiver go over her.

Then she heard a soft whisper, rapidly getting louder, "Commander....Commander....Commander....COMMANDER!"

Gaagii made sure to keep pace with Lachlan. They arrived into Engineering shoulder to shoulder. As he looked around all he good mutter was "By the Goddess..." After a moment of awe he raised his rifle and took a defensive stance next to the Intelligence Chief who lay on the ground. "What in the hell is going on?"

At the interlopers arrival in Engineering, Kavicus focused more of himself and began throwing images of his initial base takeover at them, plying the images taken from the original crew at their minds as his minions were released and began to birth wetly from the jellyfish like containments. The five dead Jutari fumbled at first to get their feet under them, then rushed at Pioneer's crew, wet snarls escaping their maws as skin began to slip away from their bodies.

Kavicus was a GOD and wanted to feast on their deaths like he had the others.

So delicious...

When the Jutrai came at them, Merrick could have sworn he heard Tyler's voice or even Major Tremble's voice say, Roll initiative. as this was shaping up to be even more of something like a live action roleplaying game but, if he got tagged by one of these beasties, there wasn't going to be any resurrection of any kind if he got killed or become one of the possessed puppets. And to his dismay the puppets were moving a little bit too quick to his liking. Then again you never know what the speed the puppet would go . All depended on the puppet master.

Merrick fired upon the undead, hoping that would stop it.

Gaagii stood glued to the spot for a moment that seemed like an eternity. When he was a boy he had been told about the Chindi, the bad spirits that left your body when you died. He just never thought he would ever see them in reality. If the legends were true he could not let them touch him or anyone. Gaagii opened fire without any further hesitation. Every hit that his rifle struck seemed to do little to no damage to the attackers. At the moment Gaagii was comforted by the fact that his phaser fire kept these things away from him.

Edmund lost count as to how many shots were fired until the thing exploded into a black ooze, which splattered like a balloon filled with some sort of substance. He watched in horror as the black substances seemed to be pulling itself together, once more. "I wish we had something to light this on fire..." Edmund voicing his thoughts. And the images that he was being pelted with. He didn't know how much longer they would be able to stay here in this area. HE turned his weapon towards the other area the jellyfish like creature, wondering if that would effect the monster, injuring it. then had to quickly shoot at another thing that was approaching him once more.

Gaagii pivoted and turned toward the enemy. He had never seen anything even remotely like this and planned on checking in with his spirit guides. However, now was not the time for that. He opened fire with abandon. "Sir, perhaps if we set our phaser rifles to overload it could blow whatever this thing is up." He said as response to the Marine XO. He had no other option.

Merrick finally noticed that Rowena was unconscious. It hit him in the gut to realize he had been so caught up in dealing with this mess that he hadn't noticed. A growl and he looked at Gaagil, "Its time to get out of here, and yes do it. Set the Rifles to overload and we need to retreat to the Serenity. Keep them off of us while I get her set. I'm going to carry MCGowen out of here. I'll be damned if anyone dies on this watch." He handed his rifle to Gaagli then maneuvered Rowena onto his back "Its time to get out of here, we need to get back to the Serenity." Merrick stated, sending out that message over the coms.

"Yes sir" Gaagi began by way of acknowledging the XO's order. Then he spoke to the rest of his team. "RECONN this is a full retreat. Return to the bird post haste. Drop your weapons with me. I have the line." He kept firing into the inky black as the rifles piled at his feet. As soon as McGowen was back behind the firing line and safely aboard the Serenity he would blow the beastie.

"You heard the Staff Sergeant, MOVE!" Lachlan yelled to the people that had became like statues at the sights of the creatures in front of them. Lachlan moved towards Gaagi, "Gaagi, you secure our retreat. I'll say with Edmund and make sure they get out of here." he gestured for Gaagi to hand him the Marine XO's rifle. "Make sure everyone gets back to the Serenity, we'll be right behind you." he said almost like making a promise to the Navajo man.

He could see Gaagi go to counter his order, Lachlan knew he would. "Gaagi..." he began quieter. "Go..." he looked the man in the eyes. A look that said he understood but that this wasn't an optional request.

A quick looked over and he noticed Merrick moving towards the fallen McGowan.

Merrick secured Rowena upon his back and headed back towards the Serenity, moving carefully so as to not lose her. This was what he had wanted to do for his wife so long ago, but he couldn't rescue her from engineering, in some small way though, Merrick felt that he could make up for that happening long ago by saving Rowena. And Merrick moved on, just concentrating on getting her to safety. "People don't stay behind this is an order, we need to get back to the Serenity."

There he saw it, the opening which led to the Serenity. "Paul open up we're coming in hot!" Merrick shouted. "Just hold on Rowena, just hold on." he uttered softly to the commander.

Michael opened the hatch, then quickly closed it after they entered. "Status!"

Edmund managed to get Rowena onto the Serenity, shifting the seating once she was no longer on his back. About the best thing Merrick could do was to hang onto Rowena with an arm around her to keep her upright.

"What's everyone's status? Let me know please." Merrick once more called out on the Communications.

"I lost comms after everyone left. I've kept the Serenity on standby mode, but it seems that the power is slowly draining away. If we don't lift off soon, we wouldn't be able to leave here." Paul replied as he tried to get the Serenity back to full operation.

"You lost comms?" Merrick was getting worried. "That maybe the reason why I am not getting any answers. I'm going to have to go step back inside to get hold of them, see if I can raise the others." he looked at Rowena, mulling over something for a moment. He moved and strapped her in the seat, "I'll go see how they are. I'll be back shortly." Merrick climbing out of the shuttle. He went to where he could hopefully connect with Gaagii. "Gaagii, anything to report?"

Gaagii had set the phasers to overload. However, he did not know that Kavicus had already been one step ahead of them and took measures to make sure he was not destroyed. The Navajo Marine ran his way toward Merrick and the waiting shuttle. "Everything is set sir. We need to dust off." He shouted as he ran into the shuttle.

Communications with the Serenity had been suddenly cut off or so Tyler was informed. He sat on the bridge and watched the planet below as perhaps his staring could help the situation. This was one of those moments when Captains felt helpless. He turned to his Chief of Operations. "Lieutenant assemble a team and get down there. Bring our people home." Tyler had no idea what went on down there but he was about to find out. He pressed a button on the small console between his chair and the XO's. It opened a channel to the Marines. "To anyone who can hear the sound of my voice. This is the Captain we are sending help."

Merrick got back in the Serenity, and strapped himself back in the seat next to Rowena. They had to get out of here.

Since Miranda was taking care of the corporal, Jayna used her tricorder to guide them back to the Serenity. As they got close, she noticed it was preparing to launch. Once again, she tried to use her comms to contact them and ask them to wait. The last thing they needed was to be trapped here with the place flooding and Shy out of commission. Even with the comms down, someone on the team should be able to pick up the emergency beacon. At least, she hoped so.

"Are we going to make it?" Miranda asked quietly.

"We're going to try."

Andrew kept fading in and out of consciousness, his mind fighting with his memories. Finally, his suit's medical administered enough anesthesia to put him out completely.

Miranda checked Shy's vitals to make sure he was physically okay, then settled in for the journey back.

Michael tried to start the shuttles systems, but nothing happened. So he rerouted main power through the backups, tried again, and the engines started. "Strap in people, it might be a bumpy ride." The shuttle lifted off and began an ascent to the surface.

Two large tentacles lashed out and wrapped the Serenity. Kavicus would not let their prize get away so easy. The upward momentum of the Serenity halted and it was held in place despite the best efforts of the crew inside. Gaagii sent a message via his suit to Major Tremble still on the Pioneer. Whatever he said did not get through in its entirety. Only two words managed to be received by the Pioneer, and those two words prompted Captain Malbrooke to launch a rescue shuttle. The Bridge speakers broadcasted Gaagii's voice. "Help... Drowning..."
To Be Concluded In Washed Out Part II

A Joint Post By

Staff Sergeant Gaagii
RECONN, Team 2, The Cure
USS Pioneer

Commodore Tyler Malbrooke
Commanding Officer, USS Pioneer

Captain Edmund Merrick
The Cure Executive Officer, USS Pioneer

Staff Warrant Officer Mira Jayna
Assistant Chief Intelligence Officer, USS Pioneer
Intelligence Liaison, The Cure

Sergeant Miranda Schultz
Communications Specialist, USS Pioneer

Lieutenant Paul Michael
Chief Flight Control Officer, USS Pioneer

Lieutenant Commander Rowena McGowen
Chief Intelligence Officer/Second Officer, USS Pioneer

Master Sergeant Lachlan Barr
Chief of The Boat, USS Pioneer
First Sergeant, The Cure

Corporal Andrew Shy
Tactical Systems Operator, Team 2, The Cure
USS Pioneer


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