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When Trouble Comes

Posted on Mon Nov 8, 2021 @ 4:34pm by Staff Warrant Officer Jax Grenhorn & Lieutenant Commander Ethan Brash & Lieutenant Commander Dr. Elisabet Intarrah Ph.D MD & Ensign Goban Quinn

Mission: Episode 5: Escalation
Location: Inside the Nanite Tower
Timeline: MD 08 - 1215 HRS
1569 words - 3.1 OF Standard Post Measure

“You know,” The Lieutenant commented as he took the right side of the door, planting his back to the frame, “When I signed up for Starfleet, I always imagined security were the ones running around shooting things.”

The Andorian took the left side. She checked her weapon’s power source as her superior continued to banter. “What?” She mocked him, “Is the living embodiment of a multi-tool complaining about being useful?”

“Jack of all trades is the human term for it, I believe,” Ethan looked to the Chief Engineer for confirmation, since he was the closest human around.

In a dull tone, the blue-skinned Master Chief uttered quietly in exasperation, “I never should’ve left the Commandos.”

Ethan let out a small gasp, a blood-red hand over his heart, “Perish the thought!”

Etzel rolled her eyes, “Just... stay alert and follow my lead,” she raised her blue fist into the air to signal everyone to get ready before lowering her hand down over the control panel. After a silent countdown, she hit the release and the door opened.

Master Chief Etzel Hannis moved in first, followed by Ethan, then the others. “Clear,” She declared as her weapon passed over her portion of the room.

“Clear,” Ethan echoed.

"Empty," Goban muttered under his breath, looking down and unnecessarily checking the latches on his engineering kit to make sure they weren't stuck.

There was a pause as everyone waited for something to happen. When nothing did, Ethan moved slowly towards the center console as Etzel continued to sweep the room, checking small corners and likely hiding spots.

As the Operations Chief looked over the controls, his head tilted, brow furrowing, “Not exactly Starfleet standard, now is it?” He mused to no one in particular, pulling out his tricorder.

From outside of the tower, there was a deep boom. The people in the room shared uneasy glances at the sound of the Illiran mines starting to go off.

"I'll take this corner," Goban threw his equipment on a shelf and started looking for interfaces to plug things into. He scanned the screens displaying barely decipherable text, "I'm just seeing lines of Borg code folded into Illiran code like butter in the layers of a croissant. How do you de-butter a croissant? Is anyone else hungry?" Goban jabbered.

The sound of phaser and gun fire started filtering through the empty halls of the tower from the battlefield outside. Definitely getting slowly louder, meaning closer.

"Nevermind," Goban hunched forward at his station to focus on trying to pull apart the code. The team was working against the clock and the clock sounded particularly dangerous to them. He lifted his shoulder and swiped it across his face to wipe away sweat.

The cacophony outside started to isolate into distinguishable shouts above the firefight. Definitely getting too close for comfort.

"Has anyone made any progress? Every time I think I'm getting somewhere it's like the whole structure of the code shifts to adapt. I guess this is what the grunts are always complaining about when fighting drones," Goban grumbled into his work. Everyone else seemed to be working in silence.

Medical personnel were starting to pull casualties into the tower to triage the wounded out of the line of fire. The new XO ducked her head in and shouted, "Any time now, guys!" while continuing to fire out of the tower.

One of the scientists shouted, "Digital lysis!" Everyone looked at him, but it seemed he didn't realize he'd shouted out loud.

"Share with the class?" Goban prompted.

"The code basically works like Borg DNA, right?"


"Well, why don't we treat it like DNA?"


"We have to separate the code from the system."

"Right. Any ideas how to do that?"

"Well, with DNA we don't subtract when we need to extract it, we add a chemical agent and the DNA clusters up on its own."

"But we can't go throwing chemicals on the systems," Goban paused and looked at an Illiran scientist who had accompanied them, who looked horrified at the suggestion, "Yeah, we can't do that."

"Parallel asymmetric encryption," a member of the operations crew that Goban only knew as 'the big red one' shouted out. Everyone turned to look at her and she continued, "If we each insert additional encryption at our stations, all working differently but at the same time, the Borg code is going to have to break through each level, which will slow it down."

"And we can detect the clumps of code," the scientist maintained their metaphor.

"A filter so we can detect and purge it! Let's do it!"

Everyone turned back to their stations and started inputting any level of security they could. They didn't need to coordinate, because they specifically wanted everyone to do something different and unexpected, which meant they could work faster without worrying about stepping on each other's work.

"Done!" Came the first shout.


"All set here!"

"Up and running!"


"Filter is set!"

There was a pause, and everyone looked askance at the central terminal, to see what happened. After a moment, the blur of code started to slow down.

"Starting the purge!" Goban shouted, and smashed the key at his station. Black lines started cutting through lines of code, and he imperceptibly held his breath to see if it would work. It looked like the system seized up, but whether that was good news or bad was hard to tell.

Until they heard a shift in the tone of the battle outside. It was like a brief pause where the sound of fire became one-sided, and then it sounded like a completely different kind of chaos broke out. It no longer sounded like incoming and outgoing fire, it sounded like just all around-fire. Like the difference between a fireworks display and someone dropping a lit match into a box of fireworks.

"I hope that's good news," Goban muttered, then looked at the Illiran scientist, "So, now that we've set back the Borg, we need to start running a comparison to make sure only the right code, and all of the right code, is in the system. Do you have what we need for that?

Jax was, yet again under a console trying to redo some of the Borg components, there hadn't been many but she had managed to remove all but this one. It was tied into the towers primary systems using hundreds of tiny connections. But she had been listening to the others as they chatted. "i think" she started "If I can get this component out then you should be ready to plug in our codes and reverse what they are doing."

“What component?” Ethan ducked down to look.

Metal chunks scattered from errant fire. Etzel’s blue antennae tensed as she shielded her face from the blast. Her off hand returned to her rifle as she planted her boots and reseated herself against the door frame. “Less theory,” she bit out to the group, “more practice!”

“Yes, dear!” Ethan intended the answer to be cheerful, but his reply fell mostly on deaf ears. Frowning to himself, he put his weapon aside onto the dusty floor and laid down on his back, crawling up under the console beside Jax.

Jax tuned out the chatter as she focused on the last of the connections, she had to almost persuade the connections to work themselves back out of the computer before she could snag em and burn it out to stop it from reconnecting again. It was a little tedious and she had long since passed on from frustration annoyance. Borg technology was very parasitical in nature, always leaving something behind that could regrow and reinfect the host, be that organic or technological!

The red-skinned Lieutenant wiped his forehead with a uniform sleeve, continuing to watch Grenhorn at work. He’d been verbally jabbing her with quips and jokes, but several moments had passed as he said nothing. He’d been staring at the black and green device, transfixed on it. His eyes were glazed over, as if lost in thought. Slowly, one of his hands reached for the Borg device. As his fingers uncurled, the green lights began flashing irregularly, drawn towards his direction like a magnet. A strange low warbling sound emitted as the fingers of the borg device let go their grip the console’s innards, reaching out towards him.

“Ow!” Ethan yelped as a collection of needle-pricks assaulted his fingers. The sudden pain caused him to jump up into a sitting position, only to bang his head against the underside of the console and end up laying right back down. “Black bones!" He grunted.

Lise moved to Etha and began to scan him. She then looked at him. "Hold on Ethan. This is going to hurt, but you do not want to be assimilated." She prepared one of the Omicron Particle infusers to neutralize any borg tech in his body.

Jax pulled herself out from under whatever console she was under and presented her price. "Got ya" she said turning the device over and around looked it over in the better light. "Ain't you just a pretty little thing" she muttered

Lise pullsed a device and placed it on Ethan. Activating an Omicron Particle purge. It was not pleasant, but it was burning out any borg nanotechnology in his system.


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