Canopus Station
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Silver For Monsters

Posted on Fri Oct 9th, 2020 @ 1:31am by Captain Benjamin Ingram Dr & Lieutenant Commander Mara Ricci & Lieutenant Commander Meilin Jiang & Lu'kat

Mission: S2:2: Best Laid Plans
Location: Canopus Station
Timeline: MD1: 20.15

With the plan in motion to arm the station security with weapons cable of neutralising, or at least slowing the Wire Wolves down, and then a way to ground them out in the earthy loam of the AgriDome, things could not have been simpler.

Enter their Cardassian Envoy.

"Envoy Lu'kat. Now really is not the best of times for a meeting regarding the joint treaty between the UFP and the Union," Ingram said. He stood to the side, watching as Meilin and Mara worked to get their plan in motion. "I'm sure you could arrange a meeting with my Yeoman Deluna?"

"I was sure I could, and I did.", Lu'kat said in a serious manner. "However, I came to offer my assistance in the fight against our new foe. The rude creatures vaporised my favourite chef and by doing so have forever deprived me of enjoying one of his signature dishes, I believe you would call it a pizza Margherita. That is simply unacceptable". He did not voice his other source of annoyance: the fact that they had yet another hostile alien to deal with on this station. The list kept growing, it seemed.

It had taken some convincing for the doctor to let Mara out of Sick Bay early and she had had to promise to wear the more complicated- and intrusive- biomonitor the whole time and to take a break if it beeped at her for any reason, but she had been allowed to help install the 'silver bullet' so to speak. And so, when the Cardassian spoke, Mara glanced up. Hm, good looking, as Cardassians go. And then, she grinned and glanced at Meilin. Wouldn't Spires love to hear that she found another man attractive?

Just then, the monitor beeped. She cursed and glanced at it. "Elevated blood pressure!" she complained. "Of course it's elevated! I'm working!" With a sigh, she handed Meilin the spanner she was using. "Doctor's orders," she said.

Meilin pocketed the spanner and continued using her own. "I believe preparations are nearly complete," she said. "Who's coordinating the final sequence?"

"At the moment we're just focusing on getting the network set up," Ingram said, brushing aside Lu'kat as he stepped over to his CSO. He took a data pad and from it threw a holographic display into the air. "As you can see the majority of the station is already affixed to the network we are making. This final junction, being the direct line down into the AgriDome, is the crux point. If there is going to be a point of failure, it will be here where all branches meet."

He turned his hand, and the map of Canopus Station changed from one showing the outline of the skeletal tree of silver being forged to the same map but with a myriad of red pips flicking on it.

"At current estimates, there are close to eighty of those Wire Wolves stalking the station. It seems that once fully animated they are self-sustaining. Security teams have only succeeded in downing two which they caught mid emergence," Ingram muttered. "Normally I'd have the prospect of studying such creatures to be worthy of my time, alas reality less often than not disallows me the simple pleasures of research."

Lu'kat took in the map and studied it intently for a moment. "These 'wire wolves', as you call them, do we know where they come from? Why they are here?" Knowing the enemy was half the battle. Knowing why and where they came from would help towards preventing another outbreak such as this.

Ingram was about to respond when his combadge chirped to life.

"=/\=Rhonin to Ingram! The wolves are coming out of the Main Fabricator. Bar'soon says they're the product of a Myriad infovore parasite.=/\=" The harried voice of the security chief called out. An electric buzz coloured the words, and the link died almost before it had settled.

"I think that neatly answers your question," Ingram said dryly to Lu'kat. "Commander Jiang, I want you to find the Myriad Haztor immediately. If these parasites were brought aboard by his personage I will find myself quite put upon to be reasonable."

He then looked to Lu'kat. "Now, we can discuss your involvement or you can help me aid Chief Mara in finishing her work. If we can ground them out into the soil of the Agri Dome, we might stand a chance."

Not much of one, if the Industrial Replicators in the Fabricator Hall were spitting out more and more of those things.

Lu'kat's mind was racing at all the implications of the Myriad being involved in this. Did this expose their wicked intentions? Rhonin's words had cracked the thin layer that had been keeping Lu'kat's fears and doubts about these supposed peace talks with the Myriad under wraps. Again Canopus's vulnerability was layed bare before them, and again the future of this station and Cardassia's interests, and safety, were hanging in the balance. In short, the whole thing was getting tiresome, like emptying an ocean with a thimble.

"My research into the Traveller's mission logs with the Myriad lead me to suspect they utilize some sort of subspace interface with their advanced technology," Meilin said. "If the wire wolves are merely an advanced cascade virus, then perhaps they function according to similar parameters as Myriad tech." This was potentially dangerous, but it was even more dangerous not to try. Meilin took a soothing breath to maintain her emotional equilibrium. "Assuming we can regain control of the Industrial Replicators, we could fashion a trionic initiator. It was an essential component to a scrapped warp engine design that created unstable subspace phenomena, and even sent the USS Hera 300 lightyears off course. If we activated one, it could initiate an unstable warp field around the station. If I'm correct, it will temporily neutralize all local Myriad technology, including Haztor's avatar and even potentially cut off the wire-wolves from their broadcast point. Of course, I recommend going through with the operation here in the Dome in case it doesn't work."

"Could we construct a trionic initiator? Or use the replicators aboard the Resolute if they've not become infected?" Ingram asked. "Also, it strikes me that we might want Haztor what we're doing. If he knows we have a means of cutting him off from his avatar, he might be more reasonable. Rather than we cut him off and sour any sort of long-lasting peace."

Meilin canted her head in thought. "I imagine it would take significantly longer to fabricate on the Resolute, but if deterrence were your aim, then that would play in our favor."

“I think using the replicators here is preferable,” Mara agreed from where she sat pointlessly on the floor, awaiting her blood pressure to return to normal. “And I also like the idea of letting Haztor in on the knowledge. Don’t go out of our way to tell him, but don’t try to hide it either. Just sort of...” She flicked her wrist dismissively. “As if we don’t really care what he knows,” she finished.

"I agree," Lu'kat said. "Stall the Myriad Haztor as much as possible. But don't let him in on anything, who knows what else he has in his bag of tricks." Speaking of stalling gave Lu'kat an idea: "While we are working on ways to eradicate this problem, we can try to stall or redirect the Wire Wolves towards certain areas where they would cause the least damaged. Since they are infovores they would be drawn to wherever they find the most information to consume. I can reprogram a beacon to send out waves of digital info-pheromones if you will, to start luring them to the Agri-Dome."

Ingram restrained the look of abject horror and disgust that was mere microns under the surface of his face. 'Info-pheromones'. As a scientist, if some worth, with multiple contributions to the net worth of knowledge to all sentient life in the Federation, that phrase was akin to biting into an apple and finding half a worm.

But it would keep them busy.

"Fine. Mara, Lu'kat work on getting the...'lure' working. Draw them to the conductive lines and we can begin to ground them out. Meilin, whichever way is fastest to get what we need," Ingram said with a controlled tone to his voice. "'ll be sure to note than as you contribution to Station Security Lu'kat."

Translation: no way in hell is my reputation as a worlds renowned intellectual getting hamstrung by this nonsense.

Lu'kat inclined his head modestly. "Surviving this ordeal will be reward enough, I'm sure." He noted Ingram's discomfort with the nomenclature the Cardassian had employed, which Lu'kat found odd. No matter its name, its function and effectiveness were what counted. Lu'kat looked at Mara to see if she was ready to commence the work right away.

Meilin slightly arched her brow. "As electrical-based entities, they will still be drawn along the path of least resistance. Unless we see them actually attracted to data-clusters, we cannot assume that their 'info-vore' trait is a cause or an effect of their behavior. As such, standard firewalls ought to be erected while we redouble our efforts to divert them toward grounding circuits."

"That and our already significant data air gapping should be proof against such attacks," Ingram mused.

“It had better be or I’m gonna be pissed,” replied Mara; she had not spent the better part of three days segregating then ship’s systems for their plan to have failed. To Lukot, she said, “ready when you are. That is, if Commander Jiang has this well in hand,” she added, raising her eyebrows in question at Meilin.

Meilin gave a demure nod with an almost childlike facial expression. Was she even worried?

"There we are. Lu'kat, Mara, get to work. Meilin, find Haztor," Ingram intoned.

"It is safe to say that Haztor is aboard his vessel," Meilin said as she activated the station's sensors, "though if you meant to ask if he has an avatar present on the station, that will require a moment for the internal sensor scan to finish."

"I did not know that pedanticism was a tenant of Taoist philosophy," Ingram said dryly. "If that is the case, then I shall go with you to ensure a full and proper accounting of events."

"'Heaven’s net is very vast. It is sparsely meshed, yet nothing slips through,'" Meilin quoted. "By your leave, Captain Ingram."


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