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The Enemy Inside

Posted on Mon Feb 26th, 2018 @ 11:08am by Lieutenant JG Cey'aaren
Edited on on Tue Mar 6th, 2018 @ 12:40pm

Mission: Earth
Location: U.S.S. Greenbrier
Timeline: Backpost

Cey'aaren stuffed the last of his things into a duffel bag and looked down the corridor where the other passengers were doing the same thing. The crew from the U.S.S. Flying Dutchman hadn't exactly been orderly in their search of the passengers' belongings. Silaa had left security personnel stationed at the runabout's entrance and the access hatch to the small craft's bridge. The door to the lounge, now unguarded, opened and the young Trill ensign Cey'aaren had passed on his way out of the head earlier that afternoon ran full force down the corridor.

"Ensign, remain where you are," said one of the security officers as the passengers in the hall dived into their cabin's to get out of the Trill's path.

The ensign didn't stop even as a phaser rifle was levelled in his direction. Cey sidestepped into his cabin and dropped his duffel on the deck. He watched as a phaser blast dissolved harmlessly against a bulkhead. He wasn't sure if it works intended to be a warning shot or if the security officer had missed. Either way, the Trill didn't stop and tackled the yellow-collared ensign sending his phaser rifle clattering down the hallway, where it settled just a few feet past Cey's door.

While the two ensigns wrestled on the deck, the other guard, an enlisted crewman, reacted quickly. Not willing to risk hitting his fellow guard with a blast from his phaser, the Andorian instead turned his rifle around and struck the butt of the weapon's stock against the back of the Trill's skull. The attacker collapsed into unconsciousness atop the officer from the Dutchman.

Distracted by the first attack, neither Cey'aaren or the Andorian was prepared when Sharaf, the slightly chubby Bolian charged down the corridor. He grabbed the Andorian's rifle and the two began to struggle, vying for control of the weapon.

Cey stepped quickly out into he corridorand bent to retrieve the first security officer's rifle. Back on his feet he began to take aim at Sharaf's back. Before Cey'aaren could get his shot off, however, he felt the dizzying impact of a sucker punch from his right side. As he recoiled from the attack, Cey'aaren registered surprise to see that his assailant was Edor, the Deltan whom he thought he had bedfriended during this crisis. His surprise was also his disadvantage. Edor slammed his fist into Cey'aaren's face again, and the Risian diplomat dropped the phaser.

The security from the Greenbrier's access hatch on the bridge had arrived, though Cey'aaren hadn't seen them yet. He did hear one of them calling for backup in a femenine voice just before a phaser blast whizzed past Cey'aaren and Edor and sent a human, one of the runabout's crew, to the floor, stunned. It took another two shots to bring down a Brikkar lieutenant Cey had seen in the lounge but hadn't met.

While he'd never been particularly interested in martial arts, some training was required to graduate from the Academy. Cey engaged Edor and managed to tag the Deltan a couple of times. Edor was quicker, and judging from his rage- filled eyes and lack of reasonability, operating only on instict. He'd pounded Cey twice as hard by the time a phaser blast brought him down.

"Tell me lieutenant," Cey'aaren turned at the sound of Silaa's voice, "how it is you seem to be the only one unaffected among the Greenbrier's passengers and crew?"

Cey panted heavily and wiped a trickle of blood from his lip. He surveyed the carnage around him before deciding on a response. After the initial surprise attack, the crew from the Dutchman had put a quick stop to the assault from the others. Everyone who'd arrived aboard the runabout, aside from Cey'aaren himself, was laying unconscious on the floor of the corridor.

"You're one short," he said finally, indicating the lounge at ship's aft end.

The Andorian crewman spoke up. "He's right, commander. I am one short on the count."

Silaa strode forward and joined Cey'aaren. "You know who?"

He nodded. "Said her name was Mia Jiminez," Cey replied.

"It still doesn't explain why you didn't go rabid like the others," Silaa said as as she bent and retrieved the dropped rifle from the floor.

As if in response, the doors to the lounge parted. Mia stood in the opening, hands behind her back. "He missed my gestational phase," she said, like that should have been some sort of explanation. From the disgusted and confused looks on their faces, she could tell they did t understand. "Mr. Cey'aaren slept in, til well after midday. By the time he woke up, my gestational cyle had ended and I wasn't able to implant him with one of my larvae."

Cey'aaren shuddered and under his breath muttered, "Gross."

Silaa stepped forward. "What are you?"

Mia reached up and took a hairpin from her mane of dark hair. The keen-eyed Starfleet personnel watched as the fair fell past her shoulder and seemed to writhe with a life of it's own. A half dozen insectoid creatures, each about five inches long, and vaguely shaped like bloated black centipedes, launched themselves into the air around Mia's head. Their mandibles clicked together as they hovered there, waiting for some silent command.

"I am a Vector of the Direlli Swarm," Mia stated flately and took a step forward. The bugs flew with her. "It is my sworn duty to go forth among stars, to discover new life and new civilizations. To go boldly and bring them under the serene command of the Direlli, for the betterment of those civilizations and the swarm. Together in harmony."

Cey'aaren chimed in from behind the Kelpian security chief. "What exactly do you mean by 'the serene command of the Direlli?'" he asked.

The air buzzed with the wing-beats of Mia's escorts. "It is hard to put into your concepts," she said after a moments pause. "Our swarm is controlled by the Matriarch, who resides on our Hiveworld, Direllia. She uses vectors, such as myself, to spread the influence of the swarm to other worlds. Those to whom we spread the gift of our serenity," Mia bent down and caressed one of the stunned crew's chin, "become drones. The larvae with which I have implanted are biologically encoded to serve the swarm's imperitive to grow. Over time, each one would grow to become a Vector, like me and would out in search of new worlds to conquer for the glory of her Serentiy, the Martriarch."

"And if they don't want your serene command?" Silaa asked, her tone turning cold. She handed the extra rifle to Cey'aaren.

There was a wicked grin on Mia's face as she regained her full height. "Choice is not part of my mandate, commander."

Cey stepped forward and stood shoulder to shoulder with the Kelpian. "Mia, try and fight this. We need to know, can the larva be removed from the others?"

She laughed at him. "There is no more Mia," the Vector said once the laughter had subsided. "I have spread throughout her nervous system. The larvae have not yet grown so large as to do more than induce an instinctual desire to protect me, their Vector."

"I think that's a yes," Cey said looking up at Silaa.

The Vector waved ha hand in the air. "It doesn't matter," she said through Mia's mouth, with Mia's voice. "Tell me pink-skin," she looked as Silaa, "how did you know I was aboard this vessel?"

The security chief aimed her rifle at the Vector's chest. "We didn't," she said. "Starfleet security received a tip that a biologically hazardous lifeform had been smuggled through Risa. We've been stopping every ship leaving the planet for two days."

"The Ferengi," the Vector spat. "Their brains resist our incursion. He must have rejected the larva after delivering me to your pleasure world." The clicking from the flying bugs mandible increased as if in response to the Vector's agitation.

"You need to transport these people to Sickbay," Cey said to Silaa. Like her, Cey levelled his phaser are the Vector's chest. "We don't know how long until those larvae are a permanent addition to their nervous system."

Long, pink fingers tapped the delta shield on Silaa's chest and she said, "Medical emergency. Transport the eleven unconscious personnel directly to Sickbay. Erect a level six quarantine forefield and activate the EMH. Doctor Fostersmith, please remain outside until you can briefed further."

The Flying Dutchman's chief medical officer acknowledged the instructions and activated the Emergency Medical Hologram before closing the channel. Seconds later the crew and passengers of the Greenbrier were whisked away in a flurry of glimmering atoms.

Behind Silaa and Cey'aaren the security team took aim at the flying bugs hovering around the Vector. "This was my first gestation," she said sounding defeated. "It has not gone well."

Wing beats intensified and mandibles clicked faster.

"Your Federation would have made a great prize for our Serene Majesty," the Vector stated. "Perhaps it still can." At that the bugs launched themselves forward toward Cey and the security team.

Shots rang out from behind them as Cey and his Kelpian companion maintained their lock on the Vector. The six flying bugs exploded in a shower of orange goop. "I doubt that," Cey'aaren said.


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