Mischief and Mayhem
Curing the Black Blood
Daytona's leg had healed quickly enough, quicker likely, due to the black blood infection. His leg felt very strong and stable. His stomach, on the other hand, was doing somersaults. He'd felt like he was going to vomit for the last four hours, the worst nausea he'd ever experienced in the last 422 years. More than once he'd tried to call Sickbay, but something kept stopping him, something inside him, but not him. Daytona was lucid enough to know that this was the black blood infection's effect on him, and that it had only been through a tremendous feat of willpower that he hadn't already gone stalking through the ship leaving a trail of bodies in his wake. He had enough willpower to resist doing anything to harm his crewmates, but not enough to call for help. He was terrified that someone would come to check on him and he'd be unable to warn them to stay away, terrified that he would take that person's life, which would be the first of many if he lost control.
Then, it happened. After four hours of nausea, he felt his stomach start to heave in earnest. He hadn't eaten recently, but he'd been feeling more and more bloated, as though his GI system was filling with something. He could only imagine that what ever came up from his depths would be black blood related and bad for everyone, but he could take the pain and pressure anymore. He pulled himself up on to all fours and began to heave, his head over the side of his bed, face down. He vomited violently for almost half an hour, until there was a huge puddle of bubbling, viscous, black sludge on the deck. But it didn't stop there. He could feel himself filling up again, rapidly. When he was all full up, he began to vomit again...and again...and again.
Daytona was too busy spewing to see, but something was happening in the ever-growing puddle of demonic tar. Shapes were forming, feline shapes. much smaller than a traditional 'big cat' but a bit larger than a domesticated house cat. Before the first one was fully formed, others started to follow. If Daytona was in any position to notice, he would have noticed their resemblance to an Earth ocelot. Before long there were a dozen of them. When they were all completely formed, they began to play with each other. Dominance games. It was almost cute, in the way only small demonic felines can be. When they had sorted out who was in charge, they made noises at each other that sounded like a conversation. When that was settled, they began to explore Daytona's quarters, sniffing at things, knocking things over, batting things around the room. After a bit, they converged around the doors to Daytona's quarters. They were too small to trigger the door sensor individually, so another 'conversation' occurred. Finally, one of them got some distance, then took a running jump and managed to land paws first on the console that controlled the doors, which opened. As soon as they did, the cats ran out.
Once out in the corridor, they all stopped and raised their heads. Something was calling them...someone, even though the person didn't know it. It was a call that the demon ocelots couldn't refuse to answer. After a few seconds of 'conversation' between them as they searched Daytona's memories for a layout of the ship, they all began running in the same direction...towards Sickbay.
Within Sickbay, Nexi and her dogs raised their heads; something was coming, a lot of somethings, somethings that would help her to escape this wretched room so she could do what she did best: kill! With a grin, Nexi looked to the observation window of her room, and she waited...
Watching Nexi on a monitor, Marci noted a distinct change in behavior and made her way over to the containment unit. Nexi and her hellish hounds were staring right through the window, like they were waiting for something. A bit concerned, Marci checked the locks that were keeping the three of them contained. All of them were active, but that didn't make her feel any better. And then she smelled it. That scent that she'd come to associate with the black blood familiars. A wolf's growl escaped her throat, and she ran toward the control panel that could lock the sickbay doors.
Before Marci could get there, the doors opened and in ran the cutest, most innocent little demonic ocelot anyone had ever seen...followed by two more, then three more, and before anything could be done all twelve of them were in Sickbay, jumping on things, knocking things over, and generally causing chaos. Mostly, they ignored Marci, seeing her as a larger predator that could hurt them individually, but not in a group. It all seemed rather random and playful...until a trio of them made their way to the console that kept Nexi locked away. One of them stood on the console, looking for all the world like he was trying to hack it, while the other eleven moved in to defensive positions around the little cyber-terrorist.
"NO! BAD KITTY!" Marci grabbed the first object she could get her hands on - a tricorder - and threw it at the demon cat on the console. It was probably not a very smart move, but she wasn't about to touch one of those animals. She almost found herself wishing she could manifest her own familiars!
The demon felines were too fast for Marci. One of them took a running leap and intercepted the tricorder in mid-air. When it landed, it began to play with the device like it was a chew toy, while four of the others, as though they had one mind, turned towards Marci and began to make menacing noises. Another one, the leader, made an impatient sounding noise at the hacker, who hissed back at the leader, before getting back to work.
Nexi rose to her feet and stood at the window, her eyes empty voids of blackness as she grinned at the mayhem in Sickbay. Then she caught sight of the critters trying to free her! Yes, just a little more, and she would be free!!!
"Get off my console," Marci growled at the hacker-cat, moving swiftly toward it and ignoring the menacing sounds the other cats made. She did, however, continue watching them in her peripheral vision. They were much smaller than Aewia's panther, but there were more of them. Even if they didn't manage to get Nexi out, she was in trouble if they went from merely threatening to actually attacking. Once she was close enough, she calmly reached out and grabbed the offending ocelot by its scruff, trying not to think about how slimy and tar-like it felt.
The hacker-kitty made the most horrifying feline noise that anyone had ever heard since the first cat said 'meow' and began hissing and trying to scratch at Marci. The other cats grabbed at Marci's legs to trip her while the one she was holding dissolved into a puddle on the console, before reforming and going to work on the console again. Daytona was skilled at hacking locks, and his 'pets' had all of his skills. It was only a matter of time before the demon feline cyber hacktivist released her, and then everyone would be in trouble.
Kicking at a cat to knock it away, Marci again grabbed the hacktivist cat with one hand and reached under the console with the other, prying a panel open and yanking the connections loose. The console abruptly went dark, causing the weird little hacker to lose its progress. She still wasn't certain who these familiars belonged to, but she had a couple of guesses. "That's enough of that. Where's your master, you little lunatics?"
The containment room was presently being powered by the separate power source provided by Hermes, including the console, since main power was out all over the ship. The wires Marci had yanked out cut power to the console. That made the demonic ocelot's very angry and soon Marci was covered in Ocelots...except for two that were now bipedal and possessed of opposable thumbs. They looked a bit like what Santa's elves might look like if they were Caitian. They began to reconnect the console to Hermes power source.
Just as quickly, Marci was suddenly quadripedal, bursting free from the ten demon ocelots that had swarmed her to charge at the two trying to reconnect power to the containment unit's control console. Snarling, she pinned the remaining cables under her paw. It wouldn't stop them for long, but it gave her a moment to think.
Yes, yes, keep fighting! Nexi grinned broadly as she watched wolf-Marci attack the demonic ocelots, a thrill running through her just at the sight of violence. Oh, she was going to have so much fun when she finally got out of here...
One of the bipedal demon ocelots suddenly took up a boxer's stance and began bouncing from rear foot to rear foot. Before Marci could react to this, the little flyweight pugilist began punching Marci in the nose, floating like a butterfly and stinging like...well...a bipedal demonic ocelot, while the other one began tugging at the cables until they came free, and began reattaching them. Meanwhile, three of the little demonic predators got some distance, then body checked Marci in the side, hard, knocking her over.
Stunned by the swats to her sensitive lupine nose, Marci was not prepared for the triple-cat tackle. Squalling like a kicked puppy, she sprawled on the deck and slid several feet, growling and gnashing her teeth... but careful not to actually bite the little fiends. Scrambling her paws against the deck, she found some purchase and painfully got up, trying to shake the three ocelots off.
With Marci suitably distracted, Muhammad "the Ocelot" Ali left the ring and changed careers back to cyber-terrorism. Together, the two now bipedal demon ocelots finished the hack. The containment field collapsed and the doors opened. The bipedal ocelots changed back into quadrupeds and ran into the containment room making happy noises at Nexi, encouraging her to leave the room and go forth to cause mayhem.
As the containment unit opened, Marci finally shook free of her attackers and bolted for the sickbay door. An alarm was sounding, but help wouldn't come fast enough to save her. Luckily, the doors recognized her in her lupine form and slid open, letting her bound out into the corridor and away from the black-blood demons.
The leader of the ocelots made a commanding noise and four of the group set off after Marci. The rest waited patiently for Nexi appear.
As the door slid open, the room went conspicuously dark as Nexi's shadow shroud filled the room, and as she stepped forth a maniacal laugh spilled forth that would make even the greatest of super-villains proud. But then she abruptly went silent as she felt the tell-tale static of a transporter matter stream.
"Fuck," Nexi blurted out, then promptly blinked out of the forming matter stream, reappearing crouched atop the broken console. It would take a moment for the transporter chief keeping tabs on her to re-establish the lock, especially with her shroud filling the room, but only a moment which was not be very long at all, so she would have to pace her fun carefully so as not to get caught by the transporter. Her hounds padded out of the room and approached their master.
"Find her," Nexi said simply, grinning wide. Responding to her orders, Sunny and Mr Pickles exited Sickbay to chase down Marci so that their master could finally have some fun. With her hounds on the hunt, Nexi blinked away, her shroud following her into the void, but to where she was headed was unknown.
The rest of the ocelots, at a noise from their leader, set off after the hellhounds.
Shit, they were chasing her! Marci ran faster, maxing out her speed... but it wouldn't be enough. They were going to catch her. And probably chew on her too. Hearing some voices nearby, Marci tried to change directions to spare them, but it was too late. Instead, she went streaking past them in a white blur, though it would be difficult to miss that fluffy tail.
Shavni, along with R'Tor who walked with a slight limp from their earlier ordeal with T'Pral, watched as the Marci in her wolf fprm went past them. "Was that Nurse Marci?" Shavni asked.
They then heard the pounding of several feet on the deck coming towards them. "Not again," R'Tor said with an exasperated sigh, as he and Shavni drew their phasers, raised them, and began to quickly back pedal, splitting to opposite sides of the corridor. "Set for wide beam. It'll slow whatever is headed our way at least," R'Tor said. Wide beam was less effective than a standard beam but covered a larger area and with Shavni, they could cover the entire corridor.
Somehow the ocelots had gotten ahead of the hellhounds. The whole dozen exploded around the bend and right into Security's line of fire. Twelve adorable little demonic fuzz balls.
Marci ran until the hallway dead-ended against a turbolift door, which would not open with main power offline. Growling, she whirled to face the direction from which she came, lowering her body almost to the deck in preparation to leap and run... if she could manage to do that without getting mauled.
The two officers fired their weapons as the Ocelots rounded the corner. However cute they were, they were still chasing a crew member of the crew and made of Black blood.
The ocelots ran right through the phaser fire. At the wide angle setting, the beams were too dispersed to cause permanent harm to the demons. It did some damage, however, and most of the ocelots looked for a moment like they were melting to varying degrees. Then they re-solidified. Their leader shook his little head to clear it then looked Shavni directly in the eyes and held her gaze for a moment. Then the little beast made a noise and all of the ocelots began slowly moving towards Shavni and R'Tor in a menacing manner.
"Shit," R'Tor cursed as he reset his phaser setting. "Set to regular beam, kill setting."
Shavni nodded as she did what she was told, as the two officers back stepped and fired again.
The ocelots scattered as two of their number were hit and dissolved into a puddle of black bubbling goo. The remaining ten ocelots snarled and charged the two security officers, slamming into them. For some reason, they didn't use their claws, and they only used their teeth to grab, which was lucky for Shavni and R'Tor because they weren't being scratched or bitten. It was as though something or someone was holding them back.
R'Tor snarled, letting out a growl as he managed to grab one and toss it, rolling to his feet and fired at the ocelot on Shavni.
The ocelot R'Tor shot at managed to dodge away, which was a good thing because if it splattered all over Shavni, they'd have another infected officer to deal with. Before R'Tor could celebrate, or shoot anything else, two ocelots hit him behind the knees while two more hit in in the chest, knocking him over.
"That is quite enough!" said a familiar voice. "Bad felines! Bad!"
Daytona Ral was standing in the corridor, bare-chested, looking a little shaky, propping himself up with a hand on the wall.
"I believe you've caused enough trouble," he said. "I believe it is time for you to return to me."
Daytona sat down on the deck, legs crossed, and struck a meditative pose, closing his eyes and controlling his breathing. The ocelots transferred their attentions from R'Tor and Shavni to their host. They approached Daytona and circled him, rubbing up against him and nuzzling him here and there. The two ocelots who had been supposedly killed reformed and joined their comrades. Then they all began to climb on Daytona and, one by one, were absorbed through the bare skin of his chest and back. When they were all gone, Daytona seemed to be trembling.
"Ensign...Shavni," Daytona said. His voice was shaky and there was a slight echo to it. "I don't know...how long...I can contain them...please...lock me up somewhere secure. I was able to keep them from...biting or...clawing anyone this...time...but I don't think...I'll be able to...do it...again."
And then, Daytona was gone.