USS VINDEX - NCC-2474-A
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Ghost in the Machine

Posted on Tue Mar 7th, 2017 @ 5:04am by Commander Tolan
Edited on on Tue Mar 7th, 2017 @ 5:09am

Mission: S1E4 - Remnants Of A Lost Cause
Location: The Facility; Various
Timeline: Mission Day 69; 09:00

Tolan had woken up in his hiding place and pondered his next move. It was a cold, damp and dark room in the very bowels of the facility which had clearly been vacant for a long time. It got him thinking why the Maquis before them had left the place in what appeared to be a great hurry - almost like they had to get out right away. The Suliban was amazed by how much they left behind but at the same time it began to make sense why the unhinged Vulcan had selected that particular place from which to launch his grand yet delusional plans.

He gave himself a moment and got off the mattress he had slept on and collected what equipment he would need - his d'k tahg and a Klingon disruptor he found on his way to that room. Tolan wondered about who had last slept on the mattress he used and how long ago it was - but bringing himself back to reality he knew it wasn't time for pondering - it was time to bring down Saalkan and his loyal followers once and for all. Tolan took one last look around the room and slowly made his way out of it and towards the access shaft that would take him to a higher level where he could try and locate Saalkan.




Saalkan sat in meditative solitude in the equidistant center of his private office. The floor to ceiling window was drawn closed. Only embers crackled in the stonework hearth. Near total darkness enveloped him like a shroud. He was primordial. He was everlasting. He was the first, and he would the last.

"Sha Ka Ree." The words slithered from his lips in a raspy gurgle. He repeated them, this time in a lilting tone.

His eyes shot open, focused upon the last burning light in the hearth that struggled against the smothering ashes. As a V'tosh ka'tur, he was not given to belief in ghosts. Nevertheless, the presence he felt should have long dissipated.

"Tolan."

Saalkan reflexively reached for the stone within his robe. Sulibans were not of Vulcanoid decent nor any other relation. Did they have an analogue to the katra? Could Tolan truly be haunting Saalkan? It would be something that damnable amphibian would do if at all possible. The Vulcan shivered, then forced such thoughts out of his mind. The edge of forever was upon him, and he had to be ready.




Tolan arrived at his desired destination and after checking around the area for any potential disturbances he removed the panel from the wall and reached for a lever inside which he slowly moved to the opposite direction before pressing a few other switches. That took care of the ancillary systems powering Saalkan's lab although there was much more damage that needed to be dealt before the real effects would set in. Nevertheless there would be a few noticeable but relatively negligible effects on the lab.

Delicately placing the panel back on the wall to conceal the controls inside Tolan moved to his next destination - thinking of nothing else but completing the task at hand. Distract Saalkan's guards and get the hostages out of their hiding place. There was also the case of the loose cannon that was Nealey Snowdon and what had become of Catalina after Tony released her from the holding cell to complete Tolan's request. Did she go back to the cell or was she on the loose in the facility? Tolan hoped it was neither and that she'd decided to lay low until the right time.




"Sha Ka Ree." Saalkan had his fingers crossed in an intricate web of digits, his brow furled under an equally intricate tangle of thoughts focused on a singular outcome. The temporal solution had to be resolved if he had any hope of overcoming the final parallax. The Vorl-tak would punish him otherwise. It was a powerful but unwieldy device, and his ancestors were right to withhold it from the uninitiated.

Vulcankind was superior, and Saalkan knew himself to be the greatest son of Vulcan. Who else could uplift themselves to omnipotence? He shall have another name upon entering his new life. A precedent that it would seem right to become tradition. Perhaps he would even assume the name of the origin itself. He could name himself--

"Sha Ka Ree!"

He did not merely speak the words, for that would be too vulgar of an understatement. The phrase erupted from his very katra in an apotheosis of identity. His tongue had no choice but to give utterance to the new reality. A spark lit within the embers, rekindling a lonely flame licking at the air. With renewed clarity and purpose, the Vulcan rose from his meditation and departed from the office. The time was at hand.




Tolan arrived at his next destination and after another precautionary check of the surrounding area he went into the power control room and locked the door behind him - preparing his escape route through a ventilation shaft in the far corner of the room before scanning the room for the console he needed to use. Removing the glass panel covering the terminal he started to visually scan the relays and what they powered - ensuring his memory was serving him correctly before starting his task.

Tolan disconnected two power relays from their housings and placed them back in the incorrect housing. Checking for the next pair he needed to swap over he mentally double checked to make sure before swapping the next pair. With that the circuits around the power relays started to lose power and the background lighting started to flicker before fading to nothing.

"Try and conduct your experiments now Saalkan" Tolan said.




When Saalkan arrived at his private lab, he wasted no time. He activated the array of satellites and the information network beyond. The stasis pod began calling to him. As seductive as any lover, he gave it a look of intimate desire. This world was his mother, and he was about to pass through her womb into eternal life.

Carefully and reverently, he lowered himself into the stasis pod. A deep tremor welled up within him as the pod enclosed overhead. The viewscreen before his face was connected to the same network as the larger ones outside the pod. When it came online, he controlled it with a mere thought due to the cerebral interface around his head.

~Network, come online~

"Greetings, Director." The computer remained audible, though it telegraphed his mental thoughts into a transcript in the corner of the viewscreen. "State command."

Saalkan grinned like a death's head. ~Take me to Sha Ka Ree.~




Tolan grinned and moved to the next terminal - which would further disrupt the power in the lab and the areas around it. The Suliban man removed the next glass panel and looked around it. It wasn't the same as the last one and it would take a few moments for Tolan to jog his memory and remember what needed doing.

Tolan thought aloud. "Move that one...there...and these two over here..."

Going over it in his head again to try and remind himself of the image he viewed when working out how to sabotage the lab's power grid the Suliban gave himself a reassuring nod and proceeded to swap the next power relays into the incorrect housing. Once that was done he removed all of the microchips from their slots and left them on the floor below him.

"Come on..." Tolan muttered.

Moments later the Suliban man smiled as his memory had indeed served him correctly - the background light of the terminal he was working on faded to nothing.

"My work here is done...now to cause some havoc and draw the bastard's attention" Tolan said out loud.

The Suliban man then checked he'd covered his tracks and headed for his escape route - climbing onto the table and then into the ventilation shaft - ensuring the hatch was closed behind him.




A hum ran through the stasis pod. The power it drew was enough to light up a primitive city.

"Initiating connection," the computer said.

Saalkan could feel his mind being stretched near the point of breaking. The viewscreen before him became infinitesimally small, just one point of contact among many. Before long, a myriad of connections began broadcasting to his brain with the interface bottlenecking the torrent of data.

~Activate the Vorl-tak~ Saalkan doubted he could speak even if he had the desire. His mind was surpassing even that banal mode of expression.

~Keyh sahla!~ The ground began to quake, and the pod wobbled with it. Saalkan's face practically glowed in ecstasy.

"Alert!" The computer's voice seemed to blare in his ears. His transcendental thoughts began to implode.

Pain. Excruciating pain.

"Warning: power overload. Deactivating Vorl-tak." The data feed cut back to its original display. A pop-hiss signaled the sealed door coming open on the stasis pod.

Saalkan screamed furiously. His face contorted with vitriol. "No! No, no, no!!!!" He manually reset the sequence. "Reinitiate! Do you hear me, you ponfo mirann computer?! Reinitiate now!"

"Warning: power feedback detected within the pod distribution relay. Reinitiation is not advised."

"Do not think to advise me, you mindless drone." Saalkan reaffixed the cerebral interface around his forehead and clutched the stone in his robe with desperation. "I will bridge the gap myself. Now--reinitiate, damn you!"

"Initiating connection."

"Yes..." With the stone in hand, he did not even require the cerebral interface to mentally interact with the computer. He operated it with a thought as surely as he would his hand. "Take me to the eternal shore!"

The power relay in the pod burst. Searing pain returned to Saalkan, but this time he felt more like an impartial observer. Perhaps it was somebody else who had been electrified by an overload of plasmic fire. That one was weak. Too weak to arise. Saalkan stood up on his own, wondering how long he would be burdened by the weak Vulcan now following him around. And he held that sacred stone! Saalkan would wrest it from him soon enough, but for now, he would suffer the impudent Vulcan to keep it. For now. If that Suliban's ghost was still haunting him, he would be in need of it.




Tolan climbed through the shaft and occasionally paused to get his bearings and ensure he was headed in the right direction. It appeared for now that he was - so he proceeded along the next shaft until he reached a point he recognised and after opening the hatch very slightly to check he wasn't going to be seen Tolan opened it all the way and jumped out into the room below. It was the security control room and the Suliban ensured the room was properly secured before he took a seat at the main control panel before activating the communications system and inputting Saalkan's lab as the sole recipient of Tolan's words.

"I can see you. Can you see me?" Tolan whispered.




"Who said that?!"

Saalkan saw the annoying Vulcan spin around in confused wrath. "It wasn't me, I assure you," Saalkan said to the Vulcan.

"Shut up!"

The insolence of the Vulcan tested Saalkan's already tired patience. "Dare not speak to me like that again!"

"Who are you to order me about?"

How foolish could this Vulcan be? "I am the director of this facility, and you are in my private lab!" Saalkan became incensed.

"No, I am director of this facility!"

Tolan grinned and decided to up his game. He looked around the console and found the buttons that opened the sole door into the laboratory and pressed the button to open them.

"Knock knock" Tolan whispered.

Tolan then closed the doors again for a few moments and decided to repeat what he'd just done. If he was honest with himself Tolan was enjoying driving Saalkan closer and closer to the edge.

Tolan spoke. "Can you see me now? Do you want me to come back later?"

"Are you a ghost?" Saalkan asked both the Vulcan and the voice that he swore was Tolan's.

"No, I am not a ghost," the Vulcan sneered. "I am Saalkan, and my will cannot be denied!"

Saalkan grinned. It really was a ghost--his ghost from another life, returned to aid him in combat against that lingering Suliban interloper haunting him from beyond the grave.

"Do you hear that, Tolan?" Saalkan cried out. "I know it is you! No one lives forever but me, do you hear?! My ghost will drag yours back to perdition, and that will be the end of you!" Saalkan howled with pleasure, and then fell to his knees in maniacal laughter. "I am forever! I am eternal! I am... SHA KA REE!!!" He collapsed into a fit of breathless sniggering.

Trying to resist the temptation to laugh at the deranged man's claims Tolan managed to keep himself composed to carry out his task for long enough to get Saalkan to send his guards away from the holding cell so he could gather the troops and take down Saalkan once and for all.

"Oh but I'm coming for you Saalkan. And you shall join me in death...your cronies won't get to me before I get to you and by the time they realise what's happening...it'll be too late for them to save you. Just you wait...I'm coming to get you..." Tolan said.

"Never!" Saalkan's lips peeled back in a violent snarl. He gripped the stone in his robe and sent out a blast of telepathic fury.
~DOQQU! KAZYAH! TO ME!~

Tolan grinned and looked at the crazed man through the camera before turning the console off and making his way out of the room out of the hatch he came from. Saalkan still thought he was dead and clearly that was going to be to their advantage. Now all Tolan had to do was wait for the guards to disperse around the facility and they could begin.

 

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