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Cat and Mouse

Posted on Wed Jun 6th, 2018 @ 5:37pm by Commander Rita Paris & Lieutenant Commander T'Pral Jordan & Lieutenant Commander Thex sh'Zoarhi & Ensign Shavni & Chief Petty Officer R'Tor
Edited on on Wed Jun 6th, 2018 @ 11:02pm

Mission: Curing the Black Blood
Location: USS Hera, Deck 8, Officer Country
Timeline: 2395

Officer's country was pretty much deserted around this hour, and the lights were dimmed since the ship was on emergency power. But the odd couple pair of officers were still making their way through the mostly deserted corridors on the way home from an aborted meal in the officer's mess. Waxing sentimental, as they strode along, Paris regaled her new friend with tales of her old commander.

"The man was an engineer, y'see. He led a mutiny against a mad captain, limped the ship home and got himself a promotion which led to a command. So every time, EVERY time we had a countdown to launch, to get to the Starbase, to get to the mission, he says 'How long til we launch?' and I'd say, 'Well, 24 hours if we pull the plug on the countdown now, sir' and of course he says, every time mind you, 'Let's launch in eight hours!' Every. Damned. Time."

"He was an engineer, y'see? So to him, turning it in earlier than expected was how to impress your boss. So, so much protocol we had to rush and fudge. And all because he loved being fast-" Paris trailed off as she heard a deep, primal growl in the distance.

Quietly she held out a hand to catch Thex's attention and moved to a doorway to whisper to her shipmate. "Is that a sound we're supposed to be hearing, another exotic crewman who's also the CMO or something, and they're just out for a stroll?"

" No." Came Thex's answer as she went for her phaser. Switching it to heavy stun she began scanning the dark with her torch. =^= Thex to security where are you? =^= She whispered into her badge the panic rising in her voice. Nothing came back. The field was now messing with the comms.

" Rita. The nearest Jeffries tube is that way move towards it slowly. " Thex said jabbing her head down the corridor to the left.

T'Pral glanced at her pet as it let out a growl--it was a predatory growl, one that she sensed that the creature had caught sense of something else--a prey. T'Pral let a smile form. Inwardly, she seemed to lose more and more control against the blackness--her thoughts filling with dark, violent thoughts. Her vulcan hearing soon picked up rapid breathing. Prey indeed, and it was just around the corner. "What is it?" she asked the Sehlat who only growled again in response, keeping it's attention straight ahead and it lowered it's body, it's massive legs, bending slightly as it's muscles primed to pounce as soon as it caught sight of the prey it sensed.

A Jeffries tube. Some things never changed, and for good reason. Leave it to the engineer to remember the access ladders Stepping forward to the appropriate hatch- which pretty much looked like most of the doorways on the ship- Rita stepped up to it, watching it open by sensor. Another growl sounded down the corridor, and it might have been closer- it was hard to tell.

"Computer," Paris hissed out, "Seal this hatch behind myself and Lieutenant Thex."

=^=Acknowledged,=^= the computer replied at a normal level as Paris winced.

T'Pral stopped at hearing the computer respond to a command. She then picked up her steps, rounding the corner and not seeing anyone. The Sehlat paused as it sniffed the air and then down to the deck and let out a growl as it made it's way to a nearby corridor hatch.

"Good Kitty," T'Pral said as her hand petted the massive feline's head. Sehlats were excellent stalkers in the wild and this one seemed no different. She pressed the button to open the door but to no avail. "Computer, release lock on this hatch. Authorization T'Pral Zeta-Alpha-One."

The doors released and opened on command. She could hear climbing in the tube. "It is illogical to run. You will only die tired," T'Pral called with a grin as she entered.

"So I think you mentioned some black blood that causes shadow creatures to appear, and is slowly turning our fellow ship mates into things?" Paris asked as they climbed, making unsafe haste in her efforts to escape their pursuit. "Who's that chasing us?"

" Judging by the voice I think it's T'Pral, our chief of security. " Thex said as she looked over her shoulder as they crawled through the tubes.

"Oh great, a possessed Vulcan with a pet giant alien cat who's also the most dangerous person on board?" Rita muttered, trying to climb faster. Threx was already at the hatch three decks up while Rita was lagging behind.

" Hey, T'Pral. Don't listen to the voice in your head! You're sick and you need help. The away team will be back soon with the cure, " Thex yelled back, hoping something of the hybrid was still in her head.

T'Pral looked at the Sehlat as it looked up. Climbing ladders wasn't the Sehlat's greatest skill set. Yet, it was as if the feline could read T'Pral's thoughts as it clumbsily used it's claws to slowly make it's way up the ladder after T'Pral who moved at a faster pace. At hearing Thex's voice, she paused and grinned. "Sick? Actually, Thex, I've never felt better. Any wager as to how long it is before I catch up with you?" T'Pral began to climb again.

" I know these tubes better than anyone T'Pral. I could hide in here for years and you'd never catch me. Besides your cats, not the best climber isn't it. " the Andorian yelled back as she pulled a panel off the wall. She gestured for Rita to move forwards as she began messing with the controls. Her hands began messing with the controls hoping this would work.

We need a plan we need a plan we need a plan, the blonde bombardier thought as she scrambled to get clear of the sec ops chief and her- Sehlat. It was a beast, native to Vulcan. Sehlats had six-inch fangs and did not like to climb. Paris paused on the ladder as the information popped up in her mind, then she made haste to scramble through the access the ship's chief engineer had indicated.

"Do you still keep an armory on the Bridge in the future?"

" Nearest armoury is on deck 3- it should have opened up when the power went out. " The andorian yelled back as she wedged one of the hatches closed with a tool. It wouldn't hold for long, but every second was helping.

T'Pral raised an eyebrow at Thex's words. She may have knowledge of the the corridors, but she now knew their destination from the loud talking done by the two women which only echoed in the jeffries tube. "Let's see how smart the mice are in the maze," T'Pral said, continuing her climb. "Computer, erect security fields at jeffries tubes Sections 4-Beta, 3-Alpha and 4-Delta."

The sehlat below her continued to struggle as it climbed, letting out frustrated growls and sighs.

Thex groaned to herself as she heard the fields switch on. She was hoping the neutralizer fields would be preventing them from coming on, but no such luck. As they turned the corridor to the section of pipe, she paused, pulling a tool from her belt and handing it to Rita. " It's an emergency fire suppressant foam. Spray it to try and fill the tube- it should slow her down. I need to get a panel off, " the adorian said, already pulling the tool from her belt and beginning to pry the panel from the deck.

"Great, they have forcefields inside the ships now, that's new. So of course the comms are jammed, but the computer still listens to the security chief," Paris grumbled as she scanned the area for a resource, an edge. There was nothing of sufficient size and mass for her to use as a weapon to try to slow down the Vulcan climbing the tube- Rita knew firsthand just how much punishment a Vulcan could take and shrug off. Being merely an athletic human being, without something sufficiently large and heavy she really wasn't going to stand a chance in a hand-to-hand confrontation with a highly-trained unarmed combatant from a high gravity world.

At least, not in a fair fight.

Stepping between Thex and the access from the Jeffries tube, the well-traveled woman aimed the fire suppression foam dispenser at the access and waited to see the whites of someone's eyes. Someone with pointy ears and homicide on their mind. If it might slow her down as a barrier, it'd probably be even less welcome in her face and breathing parts.

In a feat that would make her tutors at the academy proud, Thex pulled the panel from the floor. Underneath the panel lay one of the auxiliary plasma tubes. It was too small for an escape through, being barely big enough for the smallest crew member. Still, they didn't have much choice. " Rita, I'm going to try something incredibly dangerous and stupid. If this works I can get out over on the other side of the forcefield and shut it down by cutting it's power. " the andorian yelled as she burned a hole through the tube using the plasma cutter.

The tubes covering fell with a clang as the blue girl stared at the small tube. This was going to hurt. She slid her legs into the cylinder her knees scraping across the surface. She could feel her uniform ripping and her skin peeling as she forced herself down the cylinder. She'd have screamed if she didn't have the plasma cutter held in her teeth. She could feel the vibrations of the forcefield as she squeezed her way down. Only when the vibrations stopped did she begin cutting her way out.

T'Pral grinned as she gained on the two. "Now, let's have some fun," she said as she reached their level.

"I haven't learned yet, is this fun in the future?" Paris asked as she depressed the button on the tool from Thex's belt and unleashed the hardening fire retardant foam at the head and shoulders of the security chief, hoping to freeze her to the hatch entry.

T'Pral nearly fell back down the shaft at the foam being sprayed at her. The foam was sticky and expanded rapidly and in mere seconds, it had encompassed her head and shoulders. Breathing was more difficult but not impossible. Her sight was blurred as she began to pull bits of the foam off of her. "That...wasn't...nice," she said as her voice filled with rage through labored breathing.

"I know, I'm not doing my reputation any good at all," the anachronistic astronaut quipped, adding a good strong placekick upside the possessed security chief's head, which didn't seem to phase her in the least. "Say Thex, no hurry but how's that plan coming...?"

Sweat was pouring down the andorian's face as she cut her way out of the tube. She could feel blood was on her legs due to scraping the skin from her knees, but she was too busy concentrating to notice. The plasma cutter wasn't supposed to be used in closed confinement, and she was having trouble breathing as it ate all the local oxygen. As the torch neared a complete circle, she smashed upward, causing the tube and the panel to buckle upwards. Despite the pain now flooding her hands, she kept hitting the metal that bit by bit, and it began to move. Adrenaline flooded her veins as with one final blast of strength the panel and tube burst upwards just enough to allow her to crawl out.

Gasping for air, Thex pulled herself out of the tube, looking like a creature out of an old earth horror movie. Despite the pain across her body she still focused pulling the panel of the nearest power conductor and began messing with the electronics. " Rita, prepare to move faster than you've ever moved. " She yelled as her bloody, sweat covered fingers worked as fast as they could.

Glancing back and forth between the angry Vulcan who was going to spend forever getting that foam out of her hair and her friend who was now bloodied and ragged from trying to help her escape, Rita Paris balanced her vigilance with preparedness. She could take care of Thex once they got through this, but the little engineer had gotten herself bloodied and bruised trying to save them both, and damned if she was going to let that sacrifice be in vain. Watching the alarmingly strong Vulcan tear her way free of the foam she suspected could seal a hull breach Rita looked for another opening to give a good kick in an effort to slow the woman down a little.

"Do your thing, just say the word, Thex..." Rita called over her shoulder as she landed another blow that would stun a human, but only seemed to be serving to irritate the sec/ops chief.

"When I get free, I am going to teach you the meaning of pain," T'Pral replied bitterly. "As I slowly break every bone in your pathetic body!" She was now able to breathe better, allowing her to work faster at pulling the foam away. Her anger seemed to only fuel the black blood in her. Inwardly, all T'Pral could do was watch, similar to a movie as the black blood took hold.

Thex grinned as the familiar noise filled her ears as an alarm sounded in the tube. The forcefield began to crackle as it's power began to fade. With a flash, it crackled and faded as the alarm blared even louder. " Run. " the andorian yelled through her croaky voice as she began to move to the tube that would allow them to move up a level.

While many things had changed in the century Rita Paris had missed, running away from trouble that you didn’t have the tools or resources to deal with in the moment was still a constant of the universe. Bolting for the opening indicated, the curvaceous commander ducked her arm under the arm of her brave little friend, wrapping her arm around the Andorian’s back to support her and hustling them both up the tube. “No engineer left behind, Thex,” Paris grunted as she supported her shipmate.

Thex grinned as the two limped towards the way to safety. She could hear the sehlat round the corner as it hurled towards them. Just as they reached the entrance a large blast shield rose behind them. " Emergency blast shield. I fooled the sensors into believing a plasma breach was going to flood the tube. It will take a while for the computer to figure out it's sensors are wrong and correct it so lets keep moving. " Thex explained weakly as she indicated for them to climb.

“You make the spirit of the Starfleet engineers who preceded you proud, Lieutenant,” The blonde bombardier reassured her injured friend as she half-carried, half dragged the Andorian up the tube toward the bridge, which she had determined as their ultimate destination. “Can the security chief override the lock or does she have to go around?”

" It will open eventually when the computer realises there's no breach, but it will take so long she'll have to go the long way around. " Thex said weakly as her bright blue blood dripped from her skined knees. " As soon as we get to the bridge we need to let security know. We have to try and trap her in the Jeffries tubes. "

“After we stop you from bleeding out, sure,” the pretty pilot grunted as she hauled her fortunately lightweight companion up the Jeffries tube. “And I might just have to put in for a commendation for original thinking for you.”

Bracing the smaller engineer between herself and the ladder, Rita Paris strained to open the bridge hatch. As electronics failed, the hatches could still be opened manually. That didn’t mean it was easy nor was she in the best position to do so. But the security chief might just be already changing course to continue her pursuit of the fleeing pair of officers, so this wasn’t going to be the day the determined dame decided to admit defeat. Pulling and straining, slowly the hatch wheel turned and unlocked.

“I can’t do this alone Thex. I can’t hold onto the gangway and you and push the hatch, so one more push, Lieutenant. We can.. do... it...!” Paris strained to do it herself, because even if Thex had lost too much blood to help, they were getting through this hatch.

T'Pral, fueled by hate and anger sprinted down the corridor with the Sehlat just ahead of her. "Track and kill the andorian, but leave the human for me," she commanded. Being a part of her, the Sehlat understood and took off in a full sprint, letting out a growl as it's eyes seemed to glow more yellow in anticipation of a kill.

Thex was feeling incredibly weak. Due to her andorian biology, her blood was refusing to clot as she did her best to look at the human. Nodding, she reached up feeling the human boost her up as her fingers gripped the edge. Using every bit of her adrenaline-boosted strength, she grabbed the edge and pushed with all her might. She felt her the hatch move, then her body rose to follow it and with a thud, her body felt something solid beneath her. " I need a drink," Thex said meekly as she felt the cold floor on her face. Even still she did her best to pull herself up.

Below her, Rita got under the petite Andorian's armpits, then boosted her up onto her shoulder, bracing herself so that Thex could have leverage to move the heavy hatch. Andorian strength won out where human strength failed, and with the hatch open Rita climbed a bit to get the bloody Andorian spilled out onto the deck. Pausing to pant a bit, Paris patted the leg of the Andorian engineer. "C'mon Thex, you can't die on me yet. You're the only friend I've got on this ship, and you just saved my life back there. Hang on a little longer and we'll get you patched up."

Rising, Thex leaned against the wall as she slowly moved along the corridor of the ship. She knew the nearest armory wasn't far off and within it was a first aid kit. "S&$T" She yelled as she stumbled causing pain to flood through her legs. Why had her species been cursed with a low blood clotting levels? " If we bump into the andorian gods in this adventure, remind me to kick them all very hard in bits that they will remember." She hissed weakly at Rita tears in her face due to the pain.

Sealing the hatch behind them, Rita hustled to get under the smaller woman to support her. The time-tossed temptress was reasonably certain that she could just carry the engineer if need be, but Thex was still stubbornly locomoting, and Paris respected that. So support it was for now. "You just give directions, blue, and I'll get us there. I actually thought we'd made it to deck one, but guess not. Hopefully we'll beat the pointy-eared devil on our tails to that armory assuming she didn't double back and take another route that was faster and beat us here. "

T'Pral rounded the corner with the Sehlat. "Did you summon me?" T'Pral said with a wicked grin. "Now, do I make you watch as my friend here eats Thex here alive?"

Maybe it was Thex's brain suffering from a lack of oxygen due to blood loss, but without even thinking the Hera's chief of engineering did something that would go down in Starfleet history as an incredibly stupid idea. Both of her hands shot up both middle fingers aimed at the shadow cat as she flipped it the bird. " Bring it on pussie, I've seen and killed bigger plasma lice." She hissed out definitely, though who she was talking to the security chief or the cat is an answer lost to history.

"Wait wait wait waitaminnit now," Paris stalled as she shifted the load of the defiant Andorian onto her back so that the ace airman could stand between the engineer and mortal peril while still keeping her bleeding friend standing. The bright gold uniform was smeared with blue blood. Rita gulped back at the sight, then held her hands out toward the security chief.

"Okay, look, if your big shaggy wow those are big teeth- yeah, your sehlat there is going to eat my friend then it's going to happen over my dead body. Which you do look pretty mad about that chemical foam... sorry not sorry," Paris stalled as she edged forward, hands out before her in near surrender as the soundtrack took on a tense tone. You're a Vulcan, even as a sec ops chief, I'll bet you're still a contact telepath, which means if I can make contact you and I can have a little chit-chat and we can team up against this thing possessing you. Or it'll get me too and I'm dooming us all.

"I think I can help you get some of that out of your hair if you want, before you kill me...?"

"There is nothing possessing me. I am as powerful and free than I have ever felt," T'Pral said. "Now, stop stalling and let my kitty feast before I have fun causing you alot of pain before your own death," she sneered.

"Commander! Stop!" came a familiar voice from behind in the tall feline figure of R'Tor and an Orion female, Shavni next to him.

"Now, things are interesting!" T'Pral said with a grin as the Sehlat leapt at R'Tor, who fired a phaser which seemed to not phase the shadow creature. R'Tor rolled to the deck, struggling with the creature. Shavni recalled T'Pral's security report that the shadow creatures were the possessed person's protector and had to be defeated first before you could harm the possessed person. She aimed her phaser but without warning felt the breath leave her as her body was slammed against the bulkhead by T'Pral with her hand around Shavni's throat as if she was a rag doll.

The logical plan was to retreat to the armory, render first aid then return armed to affect the situation. But the green-skinned security officer was a shipmate who had come to their aid, and you didn't abandon a shipmate to a mad Vulcan.

So much for the contact telepathy plan, Paris admitted as she stepped into the commander, slamming her fist between the second and third rib as her left hand held Threx in place on her back. It wasn't the most powerful of blows, but there was a very tender organ in that location in Vulcan physiology.

Thex was weak and groggy, but she could still tell what was going on. Her hands slowly undid the clasp of a pointed one used for sealing microfractures on the warp core which she grasped in her weak hands. As Rita's grip off her failed the anodrian mostly fell onto the shadow cat which became suddenly confused as to what had fallen onto to it as it turned it attention away from the Caitian. Before it knew anything it let out a demonic cry of pain as the tool slammed with the last of the andorians strength stabbed behind its eye. It bucked hard sending the andorian flying and slamming across the room from which she went limp and was silent on the floor as the shadow beast screamed as it tried to remove the tool buried deep behind it's eye.

T'Pral's head snapped in the direction of her screaming pet as she dropped Shavni due to Rita's blow, who fell to the deck, coughing. R'Tor managed to get up--other than some scratches, he was alright as he drew his phaser.

T'Pral stepped to her pet to try remove the tool but was knocked back by R'Tor's phaser that caused the beast to vanish. "I'll make you into a rug!" She leapt at R'Tor, who side stepped the attack but was dropped to the deck nearly instantly as T'Pral's leg snapped out to the side of R'Tor's knee, causing him to cry out in pain. She delivered another fierce blow to the side of his head, causing him to fall unconscious just as Shavni jumped T'Pral from behind, instantly getting her into a choke hold.

"Well, if everybody's kung-fu fighting," Paris snarled as she whipped her booted leg around in a broad roundhouse kick, the long-legged lieutenant using what mother nature gave her. The black boot spun the Vulcan's head about, then T'Pral snarled back at the curvy cosmonaut. Seeing that the possessed security chief was not only still awake but still quite willing to fight, Paris stepped in to drive a knee into the grappled Vulcan's midsection, only to be blocked by the chief, who was still fighting despite the shade of green her face was turning from that choke hold. A few quick punches to the face proved fruitless, though it did bring Paris in close enough to get punched in the face herself even as Shavni stubbornly held that choke hold.

"I'm an idiot," Paris muttered as she took three steps, picked up R'Tol's dropped phaser, pointed it at the security chief and... nothing happened. "It's gotta be one of these buttons," Paris muttered as she tapped the phaser. Then a beam lanced out, hitting no one in particular. As the enraged security chief came at her, Rita Paris pointed the phaser with some degree of authority and fired.

Face pulled away, eyes shut, Paris slowly opened first one eye then the other, finding the security chief on the ground, the brave Ensign Shavni lying atop her trying to catch her breath. Checking her, Paris was relieved that the emerald officer was battered and bruised, but she would live.

"Thex!" Rita remembered, and she rushed to her friend's side. For a skinny Andorian girl there was a lot of blood on the deck. Feeling for a pulse, it was still there- thready and weak, but the stubborn little woman was still clinging to life.

"Ensign! Get the nearest first aid kit and let's get these two stabilized. Then we can see about getting them to sickbay. That's an order!" Paris barked in her voice of command. They might not recognize the uniform, but an officer was an officer in any time period, and so was an order. As Shavni double-timed it to find the medkit, Paris took her friend's calloused hand in her own, slick with cerulean blood.

"C'mon Thex, you gotta hang in there a little longer. We're a team, you and me- the blue and the gold, the brave and the bold. You're the only friend I've got here... please don't die," Paris fairly choked out as Shavni returned with the medkit.

As they worked to stabilize their mortally injured shipmates, Shavni opined quietly, "She's not the only friend you've got on this boat, ma'am."


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