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Pyramid Scheme 2 - Rita and Sarika

Posted on Wed Jul 22nd, 2020 @ 10:03am by Baroness 3rd Class Sarika & Commander Rita Paris & Lieutenant Commander Mnhei'sahe Dox & Lieutenant Commander Thex sh'Zoarhi & Lieutenant Commander Sonak & Lieutenant JG Tovanna Mah & Ensign Tanaak Sado
Edited on on Wed Jul 22nd, 2020 @ 10:03am

Mission: Heart and Soul
Location: Beneath Andoria
Timeline: 2397
Tags: Pyramid Scheme 2

Commander's log, July 1, 2397- computer, translate that to stardate in the report, please. Inside the cloning facility, we've descended into a black pyramid. Above, they are harvesting the clones for llife-extending drugs. Below, we've been told there are seals holding back an eldritch horror that must be reinforced somehow. The landing party has been separated and I am here with the Baroness Sarika of the Artan fleet, a cyborg roboticist. We've seen our weapons disintegrated and I cannot sense Sonak through our bond, so there are powerful forces at work here. We have to figure out this archaic device, repair it , and try to save the clones in the facility upstairs.

For now, we have to get out of this room.

"So, Baroness... first time trapped in a mysterious temple of traps with an unspeakable horror?" Rita quipped as she rotated through her comm frequencies, verifying everything was a no go. She still suspected complex illusions. But after a certain point, illusory or not, it was real enough to you. At least in regards to consequences. "My sensors are bouncing.... this material is literally impenetrable."

Waving her hand in front of her cybernetic eyes for a moment to make sure they were functioning right, the silver-haired woman nodded. "Yeah, first time. First time my eyes have had such trouble seeing as well. When we get back, I might take your medical department up on their offer of bio replacements. So... Where are we? Everything looks like sensor shadows other than you and me."

"Somewhere in the complex below the complex... some kind of basalt stone that isn't native to Andoria, I believe. As for construction, who knows. Hell, at this point I am still betting on half of what we're seeing is illusory. You push the suspension of disbelief too far, I stop looking for scientific answers and start sniffing for bullshit. I passed that threshold upstairs, so now I couldn't say if this is the stonework reflecting our sensors, or if it's an illusion that we can't see our readings." Sighing to herself, Paris activated the high-intensity searchlight she had mounted on her right wrist, under her hand. Scanning about, she studied their predicament.

"There, that..." Sarika pointed towards what she saw as a flash in her optics, which happened to coincide with where Rita was pointing her light at and she took a few steps closer to the point, activating her own light. "I could see clearly for a moment and I picked up readings of astatine elements. It emits very low-level duonetic fields and this seems to be modified for a purpose. If these rocks are laced with it in this part of the complex it's a wonder our suits are still working."

Taking a deep breath and slowly letting it out, the Baroness turned back to her companion. "I feel like this is all meant to make us feel alone and separated from one another. Please tell me this isn't a common occurrence in Starfleet?"

"I don't know if I'm the one to ask about what constitutes 'common occurrences' in Starfleet," Paris replied with a self-deprecating smile. "So why don't we study this stoneworks. This has all the earmarks of a rat maze, so let's start figuring out the puzzle together, shall we?"

As Sarika nodded and started to reply, but then she heard a voice that she knew was impossible. As her eyes widened and a cold chill went down her cybernetically enhanced spine, she glanced around for the source of it and took a few tentative steps forward. "Did you hear that? I heard a voice... It sounded like..."

Without hesitating any further, the baroness started quickly walking deeper into the temple, spots of the walls flashing to life as if to guide her as she followed the sounds of the voice, her semi-blind cyber-eyes growing wild as she went. "I can hear the voice of my old second. The one that betrayed me during the Tribunal. He was executed for treason though..."

"Great. Nightmares brought to life. It figures that creatures that feed on fear would set up something like this. Which actually begs the question- who built this?" Paris pounded on the basalt wall, to no appreciable effect. "I mean, unknown material, unknown origin, and planted in the ice here in Andoria near the pole. Singe magnetic poles shift over time, that may have been an average of the readings, or just where it was when they planted it here, who knows. Which then begs the question how long has this been down here... which I'll bet we could determine from the glacier around it... make a note to get some scans of that."

"I hope Sonak's okay," While it might not have been clear to Sarika, the experienced explorer knew that fear fed on the unknown and the terrors one cannot percieve. Focusing on the questions the situation brought to mind as she stepped in with Sarika to move together down the passage, which began taking a confusing series of switchbacks.

"What I wouldn't give to have Malana down here right now," Paris muttered, then spoke up again. "You're a scientist, aren't you Baroness? I forget, what's your specialty?

With the more level headed line of talk, Sarika was starting to regain her composure as her mind settled down and worked through what she was and apparently wasn't really hearing. Her eyes were still a bit wild, however - that part was more due to not being able to fully see what was around her because of all the sensor scattering. "Ah, I got my start in geological studies as a mining slave and expanded out to primarily stellar physics under Enalia. That's why my eyes are tuned more for geology and spatial anomalies than combat or medical like Marelith or Schwein."

"I look at Malana and I automatically start analyzing her constituent elements," the silver haired pirate added with a slight giggle, the voices of her traitorous comrade fading from her head. "She's ninety percent granite, yet of a type that I've never seen before. That ten percent extra... I would love to lay my eyes on others of her kind just once."

And before they knew it they had arrived. They were in a circular room with a domed ceiling formed of the same basalt stone that surrounded them the whole way down. In the center of the floor, the blood grooves seemed to converge in a pattern of some kind that neither seemed to recognize. Leaking out from the seal in the middle of the floor were speckles of an eerie, sickly yellow light that streamed out like a noxious vapor.

This was one of the three aforementioned doors that kept the crawling chaos contained, it was visibly leaking, and they were standing on it.

"This I can see clearly..." Sarika began in a whisper. "So how do we reseal it? Mugatu Glue?"

Looking around to scan, visually and with her armor, Rita rolled her eyes. "Hooray, my sensors are basically reporting hash. Okay, so... these things were sealed in the first place, so somebody probably left us a clue here. See anything?" Paris asked, as in the background she heard the twang of a transporter in the distance, and the hairs on the back of her neck stood up.

"Nightmares... made manifest, trying to get through to this side by breaking the seals, and we have to reseal them and cut them offf from the fear..." That scraping sound that happened when the sliders came down on the control panel and the annular confinement beam was established. When the transport really took hold. In the corner of her armor's display O'Dell pipped up, a word balloon commenting 'Heartrate 122 BP 153/90'.

"Sarika, I think we might be in trouble... I'm really very afraid of transporters..." Rita said as a shimmer of particles began and she leapt to the side, eyes wide with terror.

The pirate Baroness was already close to a panic when she heard the word transporters and now, in a small underground room, already with her vision limited? The fear in her latched onto it and started tormenting her all over again. This time skipping the more recent and fresh memories of betrayal and heartbreak and instead going back to her very origins as she just barely heard the grainy Orion slaver transporters over the sound of an ore processing machine.

"Rita..." Sarika whimpered as she jumped backwards into one wall as her arms, eyes, and front felt like they were on fire from the memory of the molten magnesite that had been transported almost directly on top of her. "I really don't like this place..."

"Hera preserve us. Watch the air above us! We can see the particles... my sensors, here's my AGH!" Rita flinched away from a forming beam and bolted, coming up short as another started to form ahead of her.

"It's just a game of keep away, Sarika, that's all..." That firm grasp on the situation and reality wasn't quite there in Rita Paris' voice as she started playing hopscotch with transporter beams, her fear mounting even as she tried to master the situation.

As the sound of another beam in echoed in her mind, Sarika rolled across the wall in an attempt to avoid the splash of pain she knew would follow even as she worked within her own cybernetics interfaces to try and disprove what her own mind was telling her. As the searing memory hit her once more, she whimpered in pain and turned towards the wall as she reached up to her helmet, trying to get it off. It took her now numb cybernetics a few tries, but she was able to pop her helmet off and open it up wide, her hair streaming out and all over the place as her ever present hat went flying across the room.

And then she proceeded to beat her head against the wall.

After several strikes blood was flowing freely down her face from deep gashes in her forehead and a now dented silver plate could be seen under the skin. That was when she stopped and turned back to Rita, her eyes far more calm. "Realignment successful. What say we reseal this bitch and send these nightmares back to the abyss?" Clenching a fist in the air, it was obvious that Sarika had gone off the deep end and had stopped trusting her own biological senses and was relying on her cybernetic ones completely now.

"Sure... okay... AGH!" As she dodged transporter beams Rita repeated a human litany she'd memorized, which Sonak had recommended as a mantra to calm her panicked mind "Fear, fear is the mind killer... oh no... I must not fear. Fear is the little-death OH NO YOU DON'T! that brings total obliteration. I will..." Pausing, Paris centered herself, sidestepping one of the beans rather than flinching away from it.

"I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me." Brows furrowed, eyes set with resolve, Rita stood and looked skyward, letting the beam overtake her. "And when it has gone past, I will turn the inner eye to see its path." Every instinct she had told her to run from the transporter beam that would be her undoing, but Rita held firm finishing the mantra with open eyes, unafraid.

"Where the fear has gone there will be nothing." She wasn't vanishing... the light was not taking her to pieces. She was whole, and afraid of nothing. "Only I will remain."

"Yeah... let's seal this bitch," Paris grinned. "You feed on fear, do ya? Well, we faced our fear, and we know who we are. I've another bit of classical literature from Earth for you, crawling chaos. Try this one on for size. Through dangers untold and hardships unnumbered I have fought my way here to the castle beyond the Goblin City to take back the child you have stolen, for my will is as strong as yours and my kingdom as great. You have no power over me!"

Looking around in the still darkness, Paris shrugged. "I think that did the trick? At least for our contribution. What do you say we climb out of here and I buy you a beer, Baroness?""

"I would agree with that assessment - the seal appears to have ceased leaking stray radiation," Sarika replied, reaching up to inspect her forehead. "I may need to spend some time in sickbay before taking you up on your offer. I've done considerable damage to my bio-netic interface and it may be a few days before the doctors clear me for alcohol consumption." With that, she retrieved her hat, placed it back on her head, and resealed her helmet with a sigh.

"But I agree - after this I think we both need a good drink," the silver haired woman added with a lopsided and slightly stiff grin.

"Now let's find a way out of-" Paris got out before the bottom dropped out, and they began falling into darkness. Raising her right arm and firing the back-mounted climbing piton at the same time, Rita Paris grabbed the hand of the Artan baroness. Reeling them up, Paris swung the cyberpirate onto the walkway before swinging herself over, reeling out line to give her room, then retracting both of them. "After all that, not really in the mood to a fall into the depths of Andoria today. What do you say we backtrack and see if there's something we missed..."

To Be Continued…


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