Posted March 14, 2023, 8:26 p.m. by Captain Kelly Bordeaux (Commanding Officer) (Kate O'Neill)
Posted by Civilian Jessa Novar (Child) in Tick Tick Boom The Promenade - Da Mu…when the past doesn’t match the future or the present
Posted by Commander Heathcliff Rinker (Chief of Psychiatry) in Tick Tick Boom The Promenade - Da Mu…when the past doesn’t match the future or the present
Posted by Lieutenant River Styxx (OIC Marine) in Tick Tick Boom The Promenade - Da Mu…when the past doesn’t match the future or the present
Posted by… suppressed (4) by the Post Ghost! 👻
Da Mu felt the slight sensation of falling as lights enveloped him. Raising his hands did nothing to stop it as he rematerialized in a new part of the ship. Gone was the silence of Marine Country. It was replaced with sounds of confusion and chaos. The klaxons and red lights were only adding tension and fear to the situation. Rage poured through the Elder at the almost casual way these aliens could pluck an individual from one spot and move them to another in an instance. Touching an Elder without being given permission was against the law. These people needed to be informed that such actions would no longer be permitted.
The battle drug fueled his rage causing Da Mu to immediately going on the offensive. Raising his fist to the ceiling, Da Mu dispelled his weapon. Bolts of energy riccoheted off the ceiling to burn themselves out on walls and deckplating. Those that encountered glass walls shattered them sending shards out like daggers. As if he controlled it, the klaxons suddenly silenced leaving only the screams and cries of the people around him. This gave him time to take in his surroundings. The area looked like a shopping area with clothes, shoes, and merchandise filling the space. Translate and scan Da Mu spoke within his armor. Numerous holodisplays began to process his request as data appeared indicating the probability of weapons, the make up of the humanoids in the space, and his surroundings.
Weapons - absent. Females 86% of the population. Males 14% of the population. Estimated age of the population sample is fourty one with 18% of the sample being juveniles. Environment - shopping complex. Threat assessment- minimal. Room appears to be shielded..
“Quad report,” Da Mu’s spoke into his helmet trying to ascertain where the rest of the group was. He was sure his weapons would punch through thier shielding however not knowing what was over him, stopped the use of more powerful armaments for now.
Communication systems currently disabled. Unable to translate written alien language at this time. Armor at 72 percent. Repairs in progress. The AI system of his armor responded.
Dropping a fist full of metal balls, they rolled from his feet spilling out into an oily river leading him towards the people instead of away from it. “I am not to be feared but embraced for I am your salvation.” Da Mu’s stepped into the inky pool. With each step it seemed to flow with him like a river invoking the image of one walking on water. Pausing next to a shirt that was hanging, he let the slippery silken material glide between his fingers. While the initial mission was to find the Prism, Da Mu now knew there was a more divine purpose for his and the other Elder’s arrival in the Milky Way. “Kneel down so that I may teach you the path to enlightenment and away from the shallow hedonistic life which has consumed you. I am here to free your mortal souls. Bend at the knee so I might release the yolk of darkness and ignorance that has suffocated you from birth.” Dropping the material, Da Mu raised his hands above his head and began to pray.
When River materialised she took stock of where she was. She was on the shopping level. She could hear Da’mu chanting some rubbish and tapped her com badge =^= River to Qrow, I’m on the shopping level. How are you guys? We’ve need to contain these aliens, but be careful there is an counter insurgence unit at work as well. =^= She whispered through her com as she moved over to the emergency cache she new was on this deck. River moved slowly had quietly until she could see Da’mu or at least his back. She set her phaser on heavy kill lined up her shot. Even if it didn’t do much hopefully it would at least shut him up.
However river was a facing a conundrum did she act now and potential save more or did she wait for reinforcements and hope the idiot in front of her didn’t do anything stupid. She decided that of he did more than spout his nonsense then she would act swiftly.
Lieut Styxx (Marine OIC)
As she waited River’s com chirped =^= Qrow to Styxx. We’ll get there as soon as we can. However where still sorting out our wounded and the systems are fired. You might be on your own.=^= Qrow’s voice said quietly.
=^= Roger. If you do get out, do me favour send a few marines to find Primrose, i have a feeling he has something to do with this. Use whatever force necessary.=^= She ordered as she steeled herself. She need to by time and sitting still doing nothing would not help anyone.
The mic in her ear transmitted a message only Styxx would hear. Normally open comm lines were not used but with all the security teams separated, McIntyre’s message and its response was played to Styxx.
=/\=Yep…this is Lt. O’Neill.=/\= A voice came through McIntryre’s comm badge. =/\=It seems our pint-sized Ironman got some kinda outside help. The Promenade is locked down. Security forces are working on trying to gain entry but what is stopping you from leaving is preventing us from entering. The nerds in engineering think we can use the Jefferies tube to get people out until we can get the forcefield down. ETA for reinforcements five minutes.=/\=. The information was meant to let Styxx know plans were in place and diversion was needed from the Jefferies tubes located in the walls.
Sighing she raised her phaser and moved slowly round the corner. she took note of the room and where everyone was, then aimed at Da’mu. Putting the Phaser ion the highest setting, she fired. Even If it didn’t do Much it might just shut him up.
As the bolts streaked towards Da Mu, the oily pool rose up like a wave absorbing the shots causing a ripple in the surface like that of a stone thrown into a pond. It was both mesmerizing and beautiful at the same time. As if from the old story of Moses, the black screen parted and melted back as Da Mu turned towards Styxx. The look on Da Mu’s face was almost benevolent like a patriarch waiting for the person before them to explain their actions.
Once she had fire she stood behind him “Excuse me do you have a evangelical permit, all religious members must file for a permit before commencement of preaching. Those found in violation of this are to be removed and detained.” she said her tone serious but laced with sarcasm. If Da’mu turned around he would see River standing there alone with her phaser raised and her eyes burning with vengeance, there was no fear, no admiration and no mercy only vengeance. She had the eyes of warrior.
Lieut Styxx (Marine OIC)
Da Mu let the words seep into his soul as he listened with a calm expression on his face. “You speak the truth although your tone denotes arrogance.” It was as if Da Mu could sense the truth behind Styxx’s words. He did not counter it as if it were a lie but merely a fact one accepted. “Do you know allow religious freedom here?”
“Religious freedom yes. Religious subjugation no” River said her tone firm “And lets face it we both know the only religion you want to see is your own. All others must be swept away” she added her tone flat.
“Because there is only one true faith,” Da Mu spoke in a paternal and condescending way to River. “You will see my child. Come to me and let the light of the divination flow through and over you. Let it bring peace and harmony to the chaos that fills your soul.” Taking a step towards Styxx, Da Mu wore a smile that felt bone chilling. It was as if the man could peer into Styxx’s soul and see all the horror and pain the woman carried within. “Shiv Anunna Mazda sees all and can heal your wounds.” After saying the name of their deity, Da Mu proceeded to mime a series of hand gestures towards Styxx. The gestures appeared to incorporate several familiar ones but all strung together as if in a dance. The first gesture seemed to be an adaption of the familiar Christian gesture of the Benediction only with the thumb touching the middle finger in a slightly cupped shape. This was imitated on both his right and left hand. This gesture was raised his fingertips to his forehead where Da Mu dragged his hands down his face slowly closing them into a flat palmed prayer pose until his hands cleared his face. The gesture ended with Da Mu opening his hands and spreading them out as if opening his body for a hug.
River scoffed “Good luck telling the Bajorans that” she said coldly.
Taking another step, Da Mu focused his hypnotic gaze on Styxx as he continued to speak. “We do not wish to subjugate you like those that have in your past. We will not sweep you away as if you are meaningless in this universe but embrace you as part of its energy.” Da Mu seemed to know far more general comments about Styxx than one should. It was nothing specific but the hints of subjugation touched on how some saw the Devil of Acheron. The campaign saved thousands of Federation live but did cause death to the thousands that were trying to defeat the Marines on the planet long ago in Styxx’s past. The mention of sweeping away as if meaningless touched on the court marshal and the black mark on Styxx’ career after this event. It was as if Da Mu was plucking out certain words Styxx spoke and finding the secret truth behind them.
“For someone who claims to be so enlightened, your perception of the galaxy is so simplistically naïve.” she said her tone flat and to the point “You claim not to want to subjugate us, yet you demand all kneel before you.” she added firmly.
As if on cue, all of the monitors lining the walls of the shopping complex switched from the warning sign staying calm to another message. Attention crew of the Atlantis. Four individuals have escaped the brig. They are armed and dangerous. Lethal force is authorized. Ian’s message was followed by frontal and profile images of each of the four aliens.***
Da Mu watched the message and slowly raised a hand to his neck. Instantly the armor snapped into place. The Mech’s would protect him but there was no need to take chances. Now he understood the purest reason for the mission. It was not the Prism but to guide the ignorant masses into the light. Raising his hands he let the oily liquid coalesce under his feet so that as it grew into a podium Da Mu was three feet higher. “Keeper of the light I humbly offer these lambs to you for judgment. Let me be the rod and the staff that will mete out your holy commands. Faith is the assurance that when one follows the path, one will find the truth at the end of the journey. When the devout find the truth, they will be rewarded with eternal enlightenment for your soul.”
He opened his eyes and looked at River. “Will you be the lamb or the servant of the light?”
River looked straight back at him unwavering and unflinching “Neither. For you are not a savior. You are just a man. A Ordinary ma who uses violence, indoctrination and advanced tech to force others to believe your own myth. Trampling on other in the process” she said coldly.
“That being said, I will give you a chance to prove me wrong.” she said pausing for a moment “Deactivate your mechs and get out of the suit. Face me with nothing but your skill. Prove to me, you are the saviour you claim to be.” She added, standing defiant. For River would stand alone against an army ,if it meant she could protect her crew.
Lieut Styxx (Marine OIC)
“Just as you were once a mere soldier before they elevated you to religious stature. Devil or Angel…they are just names the universe thrust upon one. You did not deactivate your weapons and lay down before the foe when they were slitting the throats of your men and the ground ran red with blood. You once asked your foe to lay down the scythe and join you. You won that battle and not the war. It cost you everything. Let Shiv Anunna Mazda guide you to the light so that you can be the savior you are.” Da Mu stood and waited for Styxx to reply.
River was not impressed or even remotely interested in what Da’mu was saying. The thing that did interest her though was what ever power he seemed to have. It was like he could read the room and detect the traces of the lives that where in it. A useful trait. However river was certain it would not have the effect that he hoped it would have. Dragging up her past was only going to make River revert more and more into the monster she once was.
“You’ll have to do more to impress me then recite a bunch of lines, you swiped from some fortune cookies.” She snapped coldly a low glow in her voice “Besides if you know me so well, then you would know that the safest place for you to be, would be kneeling at my feet.” she added.
Lieut Styxx (Marine OIC)
“Your pain radiates from you along with your strength. I can feel it,” Da Mu spoke in a fatherly tone. Dropping to his knees, he opened his arms as if he was greeting a small child. “If this is where you feel safe I will meet your need. Are you brave enough to meet see what bliss can be offered to your child or will you fight it tooth and nail like a spoiled petulant child?” The image was best defined as David and Goliath. While Styxx was not a petite woman, the armor and bulk made Da Mu appear to be a giant. Aside from the MECH’s hovering, it would appear that the man was defenseless and surrendering. The reality was less obvious.
River watched Da’mu as he knelt and said nothing. she was to busy deciding what the best course of action was. She needed to deal with yhe mechs and she knew where to hit them but she had to time it right. To Da’mu it would look like River was contemplating his offer. She pressed a few buttons on he phaser and holstered it.
“Perhaps you are right” she said simply as she began to walk closer to him.
“Love and light will shine on you child,” Da Mu spoke in a soft paternal tone with a benevolent smile. He waited and watched as the woman approached.
Although slowly she eventually reached him and stretched out her hands.
Taking her hands, Da Mu rose until he was standing before her. “This is the first step to your journey as a warrior of the light. Let it wash over you and,”
It looked like she was embracing him. As soon as her hands touched him however she grabbed each side of his head and brought her knee up to his exposed face. Putting as much force as she could into it.
Da Mu felt the impact on his nose and immediately reached for his nose. Blood poured from the broken appendage covering the front of his prison overalls. Stumbling back he shook his head pushing through the sting and blinking rapidly to remove the tears forming in his eyes out of reflex. The Nano’s in his body instantly began repairing the damage allowing for Styxx to attack the MECH’s.
She hoped it would take him out for a few moments, if it did River would draw her phaser, now set on the highest setting and fire it at one mechs weak spot then the others. If it all worked out the Mechs would be destroyed and Da’mu would be easier to manage.
Lieut Styxx (Marine OIC)
The accuracy of her shot exploded one of the MECH’s however the blue sensor light immediately switched to red as the MECH’s slipped from civil defense to attack. The MECH’s moved from a loose formation around Da Mu to a picket formation cutting Styxx and the marines she brought with her from the rest of the populace. They did not fire but lowered their level of hovering to cover the defenseless spot on the bottom. Every MECH seemed to be targeting a Marine but was not opening fire.
As River backed up a squad of four marines in full armour, formed behind her. While there faces where covered River knew who each one was. As she reached her marines one handed her something she had wanted since this started “Qrow said you might want this.” One marine said to River.
River smirked and took the weapon, it was a sheathed sword, tying to around her waist River nodded “Thanks Freya” she said simply.
“My child why are you trying to cause pain to yourself? Fighting your destiny will only prolong your suffering. The pain you felt being on Acheron will seem like a pleasurable experience if you continue to fight me.” Moving around to take up a defensive position, Da Mu slammed his wrists together. As he separated them a long blue saber appeared as if made from pure energy. The weapon bore the archaic lines of ones seen in ancient Japan wielded by the samurai. Slowly he began to slice through the air with the weapon as if getting his feel for it. “Tell me, child, do you not yet feel the welling up of fear like the men and woman felt you let to slaughter holding a pile of dirt no one cares about anymore? Your Federation tossed you to the wolves after letting those that did not support the effort try to tear the flesh and soul from your body.”
The information was not secret however Da Mu had not had access to any of the databases to know such details. The question would be where did he find such specific information?
River said nothing at first. Choosing instead to draw the sword form its sheath. Once it was freed the sword was as sight to behold, intricate carvings, in a language only a few knew adorned the green tinted blade, it razor sharp edge glinting in the light of the overhead lamps it was clearly a final crafted weapon, One that would be the stuff of legend d in some stories, “Peace is a lie. There is only Passion. Through Passion, I gain Strength. Through Strength, I gain Power. Through Power, I gain Victory. Through Victory my chains are Broken. My pain shall set me free” She said reading the inscription on her weapon as she demonstrated her mastery over it.
“Tell me was the loss of your Lily worth the price and scorn you paid?”
The very mention of that name caused River’s blood to boil. Her eyes burned with hatred and anger.
“Say the word boss, I’ll send him straight to hell” the marine who had handed River her sword growled, as a deep hiss built up in her throat. For Freya was a Ferasan, the sabertoothed offshoot of Caitians.
“You speak a name you know nothing of. A name you think you can use to control me, to make me submit, but all it does is grow my hatred and through my hatred I grow stronger.” River spat tears in he eyes, but whether they where tears of sadness or anger was anyone’s guess.
“I do not wish to control you or have you submit to me. I am not a God but simply a man.” Da Mu’s voice was calm but also on some level unsettling. It was as if Da Mu somehow knew her pain and struggles as if he was there but there was no way that could be true. “My only wish is to show you that the pain your suffered by the loss of your daughter is a wound that can never heal nor should it. It has scarred over sealing in all the pain and torment you carry as a burden on your soul. What you did…the price you paid…no one should ever have to carry that alone. ” If Styxx was religious or spiritual at all, she would sense that Da Mu was speaking as if trying to heal the pain she carried with words of comfort. The juxtaposition however was that nothing the four aliens had done since they arrived reflected the softness and gentleness Da Mu was exhibiting now. While the man’s words were gentle, his tone did not convey warmth but felt almost cold as if the room had suddenly dropped several degrees. The sensation might be similar to the pit in one’s stomach when a secret was revealed that should not be known.
“Do you think the brat you brought with you will appreciate the price of what you’ve done, when I throw your dismembered head at her feet? or your fellow cult members when they realise how much of a coward and a failure you truly were ” she asked after a short pause
Lieut Styxx (Marine OIC)
Da Mu ignored Styxx’s words and made a gesture that could reasonably be assumed to have some sort of prayer or praise-like meaning behind it. “Your anger is not with me child but the toxin that those wishing nothing but death and despair used to take the light from your life. Prejudice and hatred of those that follow the path result only in the cataclysmic destruction of civilization. It is a wildfire that scorches the landscape of society to a charred, blackened carcass. Nothing is more dangerous than the undevout to the preservation of culture, harmony, peace, and love. Do not shun the undevout but guide them into the light for they have only known chaos instead of clarity. Those you fought saw the power and strength inside them. The call you the Devil but in the end even through all your pain you showed the light withing you and guided them to the path without even knowing it existed.” The more Da Mu talked the more it was as if he was reading Styxx’s mind like a telepath or emotions like an empath.
As Da Mu spoke River realized that the man in front of her was either an empath or a telepath and a very strong one at that, he had been able to pick up on things that barely touched the surface. But perhaps that was his weakness. As she thought a plan formed in her mind, it was a long shot and would suck to no end but if it paid off it could prove just the advantage she needed.
All Empaths and telepaths could be overcome by emotion, the stronger the emotion the harder it was to control. Even Vulcans could get overrun with emotions and they had hundreds of years to practice their craft. Maybe it was time to fight fire with fire.
“This is going to suck,” River said under her breath as she lowered her weapon and closed her eyes. Taking deep breaths and focusing on her breathing she dug deep into her memories. She tried to remember what Lily looked like, what meeting her from school was like she remembered her first kiss with Abi, and how it felt to lose both. She remembered the sight of the enemy coming from the clouds, the sound of the sirens, the explosion in the distance, She tried to remember the wrecks, the crew that were lost. She focused on these feelings of anger of hatred. As she did images flashed in her mind.
Da Mu could see the heavy weight crashing down on the young officer in front of him. The brush of his hand with her had allowed him to witness her pain. It was a sin to wish for things that one did not have but right now he did wish that the Quad was complete. It would have allowed him to amplify his divination not to know only if falsehoods were spoken but also the true depth of emotion the woman was feeling. He had tasted her pain through the touch. He had felt the pain and sorrow of her loss which would be how he turned this River to the path and away from the darkness she had encased herself.
Her friends falling to the creatures they once called friends. The twisted forms of those she had served with leering in violent bliss as they served their new masters. She remembered the section 31 agents trying to take lily’s body. She remembered the carnage, the blood shed. The day she saw her father figure die, the day her CO died in front of her. She remembered every kill, every fight, every face she had seen twisted in horror. She conjured up images of the green gate way darkening t sky. The bodies of the star fleet crews float around the husked of their ship. The screams of the wounded and the cries of the civilians who where cut down as they fled. The sight of the hospital ship hawthorn being destroyed after it was granted permission to leave.
Every thought she could think of every moment of pain of rage of sadness, everything she had that was negative, she dug up. The faces of her former friends that she killed, the wounds she suffered, the fathers weeping over there sons, the mothers burying their daughters, the children crying as their parents went off to fight never to return. She remembered the twisted wreck of the once pristine sky scraper. She relived things that no one should have lived through, horrors that would scare even the darkest of creatures.
As the memories came to the surface, unbridled uncontrolled tears fell down River’s face as she opened her eyes, focusing solely on Da Mu “You wish to know me, what I have gone through. Then look and drink your fill. Look at the people I have lost, the things I have sacrificed. Look on the faces of those that died and see the things I still live with. I have seen horrors you could not imagine, fought creatures you can no comprehend. I have fought enemies that wore the faces of allies and i have been cast aside.” River said her voice raising as every emotion every emotion every ounce of anger, sadness and rage was channelled towards Da’Mu if he wanted to see the truth then he could and River hoped he would choke on it, she hoped all she could muster would be enough to overwhelm him and give her the advantage, this fight was not only a physical one but also a psychological one. If she could just crush his abilities make him burn them out it might knock him enough to deal with him, a clouded mind cannot make rational decision, a mind overwhelmed with emotion cannot function as it should, and maybe just maybe that would mean far more for Da Mu.
Lieut Styxx (Marine OIC)
OOC: Oops I got carried away, I ca change it if its a bit much.
OOC: It was beautiful, perfect, and amazing to read. You are a brilliant writer. I just hope I am writing Da Mu arrogant enough for how perfect you set up the scene.~ Kate
Of all the Elders, Da Mu was the most devout, the most zealous in his beliefs. His divination to detect the lies of others allowed the Quad of Elders to pass judgment on those before them. He did not need the ability of being a filthy telepath. He did not need the skills of the vile Mind Seers to know what a person was feeling. Da Mu had been given the gift by God to deem what was in one’s heart and soul. This warrior before him was in pain. He could see by the hunch of her shoulders, the tears glistening in her eyes, the slight wavering her voice as she spoke the names of the loved ones who had fallen in her life: Lily, Abigail, the countless lives under her command than had looked to her and then fell.
Gazing around the space, only this River was offering herself to the path. The woman had opened up to him not with lies or falsehoods but the pain of a life devoted to a society that did not appreciate her. She had even spoken the phrase I have been cast aside which showed she needed the Union and its gifts more than she could know. Everyone in this space would die at the end of this attack except for her. Da Mu would ensure this woman found her way out of the darkness she had been dwelling in and into the light and grace of God. To him, her speech could only mean that she was begging for help. This is why he waved his hands down slightly settling the MECHs into a defensive line instead of an offensive one. The large metal bullet-shaped behemoths drifted closer to the ground and back from River Styxx allowing her to close the distance between her and Da Mu.
“Only when one is cast aside and defenseless can one realize how fragile one is.” This utterance could easily be applied to him or Styxx. The problem was the Marine was never defenseless. She was trained and honed to see her enemy’s weaknesses and use them to defeat them His arrogance and belief that River Styxx would soon be a faithful convert made Da Mu take off his suit of armor. The plates retracted one by one to reveal a man that seemed almost frail and elderly; however, River would know images could be deceiving. She would have to get close enough to take out this enemy because one mistake would ruin her advantage.
Beckoning her forward with a grandiose gesture, Da Mu raised his chin in a haughty manner as he began to speak, so certain his words were what Styxx needed to hear and help her accept what she already knew: That she was meant to be with them and not the Federation. “Faith is the assurance that when one follows the path, one will find the truth at the end of the journey. When the devout find the truth, they will be rewarded with eternal enlightenment for their soul.” Da Mu paused imparting the first truth that this warrior would come to accept. “Riax Ikos spoke these words, my child,” Da Mu’s voice was soft and almost paternal. “Come to me. Kneel before me so that you can take your first step to your true destiny.” Opening his arms, it would be an easy target but Styxx was a brilliant tactician. Getting closer would only assure her win.
The result was not what River had expected but it had proven just as effective. Now all she needed to do was press on and Finnish the mission she had started on. As Da’mu Spoke River relaxed her sword hand and gestured to the marines to do the same.
Da Mu smiled a warm paternal grin; however, based on the crew’s experience with them so far, it carried the weight of not love and compassion but asperity and sternness. The young woman was going to have to learn a powerful lesson before she began her training down the path. Da Mu was going to teach Styxx the difference between humble and humility. Closing his eyes, Da Mu began a chant in a language unknown to any universal translator. The tone and cadence had the familiar rhythm and pattern of latin but the words sounded more occidental. The gestures Da Mu was moving through implied it was some sort of religious chant or prayer.
Freya was confused “Boss what are you doing?” she asked just as Da’mu finished talking.
“Relax. Sometimes you just have to have faith and everything will be A-OK” River said simply. As soon as she spoke Freya nodded and lowered her weapon. She had served with River long enough to pick up exactly what she meant. A code that no one else knew aside from those that had served with River on Acheron.
Once Her marines had followed her order River walked towards Da’mu “Perhaps you are right perhaps the path you walk is a pure one.” She said as sincerely as she could. Before dropping to her knees with her sword in front of her. All she needed was Da’mu to come closer. All she wanted was for him to come closer, She hoped her desire for him to come closer was enough for Da’mu to do just that.
Lieut Styxx (Marine OIC)
Da Mu moved closer and looked down at Styxx. “My child you have taken the first step but like all those learning to walk, they stumble. I believe you want a better life. I see in your heart and soul you only want to protect and save those weaker than you however to truly understand the good one possesses one must know the pure evil that lurks beneath their soul. Kill…” his voice trailed off as he surveyed Styxx’s men, “that one.” Extending a long finger he picked out a soul at random. “Cleanse them and then use the blood from the cleansing to clean your own sins from your body.” Da Mu was within three feet of Styxx. He also had not reactivated his armor or weapons. It was clear, he did not see Styxx as a threat and was taking no precautions exhibiting only hubris.
A small smile danced across River’s face as Da’mu got closer. In an instant River rose up and thrusted forward, the length of her sword, matched with her skill and her training made it easy for her sword to finds its mark. She thrust up and aimed for Da’mu stomach. the blade cleaved through flesh and bone alike and ended at his shoulder as it pierced his torso. At the same time the marines raised there weapons, now set to the highest settings and aimed for the mechs weak spot.
As River stood to her full height her mouth came close to Da’mu’s ear “Four alien lords have fallen to this blade, now you make five” she said her tone devoid of all emotions except for malice it dripped from every syllable and was tempered with a chilling cold that made each word cut deep “You’re dead now, as soon as I remove my blade you will bleed out. Can you feel it?” she asked moving her blade slightly out a low cold laugh resonating form he throat “Your life ebbing away into nothing? every memory, every thought vanishing? You will rot on this ship, you will never see your home again. You will have no funeral, no ceremony for your soul.” she said her voice nothing but a whisper “Your God has failed you, your faith has failed you. But then again this was never your realm. This is the realm of the devil, my realm and your blood will nourish it.” She added a cruel smile forming on her face.
“You spoke of knowing evil. Well if you have the strength look at me look at the face of that evil.” she added after a short pause. If Da’mu did manage to look at River he would see her cold eyes glinting with malice, her face devoid of remorse or mercy and a cruel smile painted on her lips.
Lieut Styxx (OIC Marines)
Da Mu looked down as the blade slid in one side of his body and out the other. He opened his mouth to speak but a small bubble of blood spilled over them marring his shirt. His hand moved to his torso as he dropped to his knees slipping off of Styxx’s blade as he fell back and onto the deck floor.
Rage boiled over in Da Mu’s mind. No one dared do what the skinny woman did. This error in judgment was going to be her ruin. It was no longer the question of who would die but how many of them would he take with him. Reaching up Da Mu touched his neck trying to push a dose of the battle drug into his system. Unfortunately, he had used it all savoring the rush and high during the escape from the Brig, then Marine Country, and finally with his interaction with the Marine Captian.
He held her gaze, lying back on the floor until a large explosion and billow of black smoke erupted into the room. The damage from the blast had been absorbed by the Atlantis force field and the MECH bubble behind Jessa. On the side of the promenade, Jessa entered with the Marines, they would only get the visual and auditory sensation of the explosion but none of the ill effects.
With practiced efficiency River’s marines set up a defensive line aimed at the newly created hole “Hold” River called as she began to survey the scene.
Da Mu let his head loll to the side and felt a smile cross his lips as one armored suit stumbled in followed by another. Closing his eyes, he began to silently whisper a prayer as the blood pooled out in a dark circle around him. The nanites were working furiously inside him but the blade had severed two arteries and nicked the heart. Da Mu only had minutes to live and he knew it. He was strangely at peace in these last few moments as his life ebbed away with each beat of his heart. As the most devout, the most pietistic of the quad, there was no doubt he would reach the existential plane of existence in this next step of his life.
Once Jessa had made an opening into the next section, Zala Tsu made a sweeping motion with her hand. The MECH’s, which had been protecting everyone on the one side of the forcefield, moved away so she could follow the child through the entrance she had just created. Just before leaving however she turned to Ian and Rinker, waving her blade at them, “We are not finished. You will die before I leave this place,” she promised stepping through and into the section with Styxx, Jessa, and Da Mu. She paused seeing Da Mu lying on the ground. It was not the view she had expected.
“We gotta stop them. Be can barely handle one at a time,” he said to Rinker. Ian moved with a speed that he did not know he possessed. It could be the suit, the battle drug, or pure adrenaline. It didn’t matter. They were barely able to handle one Elder. Now there were going to have three of them at least in one space. He had to do something to level the playing field. As much as he wanted to follow Jessa, Ian was intelligent enough to know where he was needed most. Diving through the space Jessa created, he dove head first through the space catching Zala Tsu at the waist. The impact drove Zala to the floor.
Zala Tsu felt the impact of both Ian and the floor; however, the suit protected her from the crushing force. Putting a hand to the floor, she did a push-up, aided by the suit’s enhanced strength. This afforded her precious inches to aim one hand backward and unload a salvo of energy pulses into Ian’s chest. The force of the energy pushed him back and off her.
Being far more experienced in battle, it did not take Zala Tsu long to ascertain it was not going to be a battle the Elder’s would win. She could not unleash the force necessary to turn the tide of the battle due to Jessa setting all the MECH’s to civil defense mode. It was the one flaw stopping the Quad from snuffing out everyone in the space. Silently she cursed Adar Vyce and the politicians for this check and balance placed on the religious sect. Her only chance for survival was controlling Jessa and convincing the girl that God needed her to be a warrior for his cause and not a prophet. Springing to the feet, she unloaded a round of energy pulses at Ian and Rinker for good measure. The result forced both men who had usurped the battle suits to fall back a few more steps before the MECH’s poured through the space surrounding them in a protective flank.
The blunt trauma Jessa absorbed this time going through the field was lessened only due to the second dose of the battle drug now coursing through her system. It dulled the effects of the second concussion she received stopping the dizziness and confusion she experienced with the first. It also amplified her emotional state. Her paranoia and anxiety were redlining in her mind with only one thought focusing her panic into action: getting the Elders together so they could get off the ship.
Surveying the surrounding area, the view was a kaleidoscope of images. Due to the shape of the space, and the transparency of the force field dividing the promenade into its pie-like sections, Jessa could see not only Da Mu on the ground but also Rogan and Mardusk in the distance. Everything in her field of vision narrowed to a laser-like focus on the scene in the background. She froze seeing the MECH Pods holding whoever was in them attached to the walls and ceiling by almost unbreakable magnetic bonds. Jessa watched as Rogan’s body was drug over the tiled floor leaving a long smear of blood as the path of his journey to his destination. Raising her fists, Jessa unleashed wave after wave of energy pulses into the force field between her and Rogan’s body. The MECH’s that had at first been facing the Marines moved with a blink of an eye to create a tunnel for Jessa’s onslaught on the forcefield protecting everyone in the space from the ricocheting energy beams. She only made it a few steps before her foot slipped in the pool of Da Mu’s blood.
Crashing to the ground, it only took a half heartbeat for Jessa’s focus on what was under her nose. “Da Mu? No, no no no no,” she began to repeat his name over and over as Jessa skidded to his side. Jerking her neck to the side she retracted her armor but not before switching her guns out for a blade. Slicing her hand open, she placed her hands over the gash in Da Mu’s body. “I need help,” she called out not taking her eyes off of Da Mu’s face. The copious amount of blood now seeping into her clothes and through her fingers should have been quelled by the nanites. Instead, it just continued to pulse out from his body. “I need help. Please help me,” her words began to tumble out of her lips in a frenzy. “Someone help me.”
Rinker wasn’t surprised that this was the end of the battles each one of the four had forced upon the crew. Someone was bound to get hurt and to be blunt the number of casualties caused by three of the four aliens were 100 times more than anything they could do to them. But the Federation was to be better.
The sounds of a child crying for the lost was something, River never got used to. It had been her actions that had caused this child such sorrow, but she had to remind her self that from what she had seen of Da’mu, the galaxy was better off without him. “Deactivate your suit and your mechs and we will help you” she said calmly
“Why,” Jessa looked at Styxx with a terrified expression as she blurted out the laconic response. The simple question was loaded with a dozen others and no one of them dealt with why the Marine asked Jessa to deactivate the MECH shield. On the surface, there was no reason to think Jessa could trust Styxx based on the actions of the Elders and the Marines forced response to them. The Elders had attacked the crew every chance they had been given. It was only natural for Jessa to assume the Marines would want revenge; and yet something in Jessa clung to the fact that while she and her kind were despised by the crew, they had not taken revenge that she could see up to now. All she had was the heresay by the Elders until this moment where Da Mu lie bleeding out between her fingers and Rogan’s body was ejected into space.
“Why?” River asked “Why what? Why did I hurt him? Look behind you” River said gesturing to the civilians cowering in fear. Amongst them were children, their eyes filled with tears. “Because I swore an oath to protect them no matter the cost., no matter what I had to do to protect them,” she said her tone truthfully.
“Why should you trust me? Well, so far I’m the only person who hasn’t lied to you or tried to manipulate you one way or the other. I have no desire to hurt you I have no ulterior motive all I want to do, is help you and let my colleagues deal with your friend. If that is not enough then I would ask you to trust me warrior to warrior, soldier to solider, servant to servant. We both serve a higher power and we both have sacrificed much for it.” She said her tone calm, she was talking to Jessa as an adult as River guessed she had been treated as a an adult all her life and never as a child.
“So have I. I claimed you…all of you. I am your Protectorate. They are set to raksha karana.” Jessa’s mental skills were sliding from the clear-headed to being muddled with emotions by the battle drug which tended to amplify what a person was feeling. In a trained soldier like Styxx the drug would have tripled her ability to think tactically and react in any situation. With Jessa, it was allowing her fear, paranoia, and emotional instability to percolate over replacing logical thought and reason. The sights and sounds in the room were beginning to culminate into a blurred picture of blank faces and defeating white noise. “There once was a ship that put to sea,” she began trying to mumble out the song that helped to quell the panic attack simmering just under the surface. Rinker’s drug worked better but how could she trust him not to sedate her like others on the ship had done?
“Band karana,” Zala Tsu snapped out still waving her weapon around at Rinker, Ian and now Styxx. Staring at the woman who had somehow taken down Da Mu, she fired point-blank at Styxx’s chest. She had little faith in the outcome but there was a chance and it would instill fear and panic in the room regardless.
Faster than an eye could ever register, long liquid-like shields materialized as if by a transporter covering Styxx.
“She’s been helping us, if she takes off that armor, the white-haired one is going to snuff us out.”
“You deserve cleansing for your blasphemy Mind Seer,” Zala Tsu snarled at Rinker, “and I will be the one to deliver it.” The longer she was in the man’s presence the more she wanted to kill him.
Da Mu might have seemed as passive and benevolent as a Buddhist monk but River Styxx’s instincts were correct about the man. There was nothing peaceful or humane about the man. As if rising from the dead, a gasp escaped his lips and his eyes shot open grabbing Jessa’s forearm in an iron grip.
“Oh, what the fuquk,” Rinker cursed himself for his stupidity and naivete. “It’s like a Friday the thirteenth movie.”
“It’s okay. It’s okay. It’s okay,” Jessa immediately focused all her attention on Da Mu repeating the same phrase over and over as she pressed her hands to his stomach wound. This was going to do nothing to help or stop the man dying but it was the natural instinct. Jessa felt her chest tightening and was losing the ability to control her breathing.
Holding her weapon still on Rinker and Ian, Zala Tsu began to look at the situation tactically. Nothing was going to save Da Mu or Rogan but there was still a chance for her. Walking slowly back towards Jessa she had only one exit strategy. Without speaking, Zala knelt next to Jessa, reached out one hand and severed the strap from the satchel. Jessa’s gaze snapped off Da Mu and immediately to Zala Tsu’s with a look of pure panic. “Life is full of tough choices. If you take your hands off him you will kill him. How bad do you want this,” she held up the satchel. “Is it worth a life?” As the words left her lips, Zala Tsu was engulfed in a transporter beam and evaporated from view.
“Zala…Zala,” she yelled out with a stunned expression. “Don’t leave us. You promised. Jenn you promised.” Jessa no longer cared about the XO’s secrecy or desire for anonymity. He and his female assistant had promised to help Jessa and her friends get free. Why he only took Zala was sending Jessa into panic mode.
“Help us,” Jessa pleaded looking around as if expecting to see someone. “I held up my end of the bargain. Help me,” she begged looking up at the ceiling as if waiting for a beam of light to take her away like it had Zala Tsu.
Lowering his helmet, the armor retracted now showing Ian’s face even though he was still clad in the battle suit. “Jessa, honey you need to call your robots back. Rinker is a doctor. He can help but we can’t get in. Listen to Styxx. You can trust her. I give you my word that we will do everything we can but Da Mu needs medical attention now.” Ian had seen how fast the MECH’s could move. Styxx was tactically brilliant. Not rushing Jessa’s position had prevented her from doing something drastic.
“Can you promise to save him,” Jessa’s voice hitched as her eyes darted between Styxx, Rinker, and Ian. “Rinker can you promise you can save him.” Even without the standoff, the blood was taking on a thick dark red quality and not spurting but oozing indicating a venous bleed. Since the impaling occurred in the abdominal cavity it was only a logical guess that several organs were injured any of which could be the cause for the obviously fatal injury. A team of surgeons probably could not save the man but Jessa was not asking a team of surgeons. She was asking only one man.
Rinker was cautious, but not overly so. Da Mu was well and truly critically injured. He slid over not waiting for the group to finish their negotiations. He was going to be the stupid medical officer and get himself killed trying to triage a critical injury on the battlefield. “I don’t have my medical equipment. Marine, bring me a trauma kit.” He ordered.
Freya looked at River who nodded. Freya took off her backpack and detached a metal box from the bottom of it. “Catch” she said as she threw the kit at Rinker
Rinker actually caught the heavy bag, but it swung about his arm and then struck his back with a thud. It would have been annoying and a painful if not for the Mecha armour about him.
“Well, to state the obvious he’s still alive.” What he wasn’t, was in good condition. “But he isn’t going to make it here.” In fact part of him wondered how he was still alive. The fortunate part was if you were alive when you got to a Star-Fleet sick bay, you tended to stay alive.
Seeing only the legions of security forces around her and not the officers that had promised her help, Jessa reacted in panic. “Raksha karana,” Jessa yelled out causing the MECH’s to instantly moved around Jessa and Da Mu forming an impenetrable dome. They melded together forming a shield just like the one the aliens had erected in Marine Country. It was semi-transparent so Styxx, Ian, and Rinker could see what was happening but for the moment only plan a course of action instead of acting on it.
As the shield formed River stood her marines down and they formed around her, already River was coming up with a plan “Freya, you’ll stay here with me. The rest of you begin to evacuate noncombatants and nonessentials from the area. Make sure they get whatever help they need it up until security reinforcements get here. Remember they’re going to be terrified. Understood” River asked as she returned her sword to its sheath, she then flick a small switch and the sheath hummed as it cleaned the blade
“What about them” one marine asked as he indicated to Rinker and Ian
“They’re star fleet officers so there essentials. they stay.” River said simply
“You sure about that, I haven’t seen much proof of that.” One of the other marines snapped
“Stow it Corporal.” River replied sternly the marine simply nodded. Once she was happy that her marines where doing as they were told she turned her attention to the shield in the middle of the room. During her spout of giving orders, she hadn’t acknowledged either Ian or Rinker. It was only as she neared the shield did she even nod to them.
Taking the tricorder from her belt she began to scan the shield to look for any weakness. As she scanned she looked at the kid “You’ve been abandoned kid. Your elders have left you, through one way or another. And the cowards in section 31 won’t risk there necks to save you. But you don’t have to be left abandoned. I can help you. I know what it’s like to lose a lot in one go.” River said her tone warm and calm, well warm for River anyway. “All you have to do is drop this shield and I can help you. I’ll make sure those you don’t want to come near you, won’t” she added checking her tri-corder scans. All the while Freya was standing close by watching the room in a ready stance, but not an aggressive one.
Lieut Styxx (Marine OIC)
The scans would show the same almost impenetrable energy field that seemed to protect the Elders who were wearing the armor. Aside from targeting them with the photon batteries of the Atlantis’ defense systems, the only way the Marines were getting in was through diplomacy with the one who erected it.
“Really that is what you are going for. Abadone ye all hope,” Ian quoted the line from Dante’s Inferno.
River looked at Ian “While hope is good. Blind hope can be very dangerous. It makes people do stupid and terrible things. As well as making them sacrifice far more then they should” she said simply her tone knowing.
While the shield prevented anyone from entering it, it perfectly allowed the conversation between Jessa and Da Mu to be heard with crystal clarity. “Jessa,” Da Mu’s gurgled speech pulled the girl’s attention directly to him as his grip dug into the soft skin of her arm. Blood splattered from his lips along with some pink foam that began to leak to the corners of his mouth indicating his lungs had also sustained an injury in the fight with Styxx.
Ian glanced at Rinker and then Styxx. He had only had basic Academy medical training. Rinker was a doctor and Styxx had better than fair medical training being in combat. “What are we looking at and how long do we have?”
Adjusting in the ever-expanding pool of blood, Jessa slid around a bit trying to kneel next to the Elder. “We do not need the unbelievers. You have the power of life in your own body. Use the battle drug, infuse your blood, and cut yourself.”
“Its bad, I’m guessing 2 minutes before he bleeds out. After that he’s got another 1 minute before I can’t resuscitate the body.” Of course, the little magic trick with the nanites probably worked better than his regenerator in sickbay.
“I can save him in sick bay. If we can get him there.”
Jessa knew exactly what Da Mu was asking her to do. The problem was Jessa wasn’t sure she could do it. Reaching to his neck, Jessa rapidly pressed the disc lodged in Da Mu’s neck desperate for a does of the battle drug to infuse his system with nanites. When nothing happened, her face took on an ashen color. The grip Da Mu had on her arm made Jessa bend slightly trying to release some of the pressure. It felt like he was going to break her arm.
“You know I only speak the truth. You know my divination can tell when someone is lying. By your own words you admit are a traitor begging for thier help. You have fallen from the path and killed us all. You have forfeited your life but there is a way to save your soul. Cleanse yourself. Give your life to save mine. Everyone here knows what you wont accept. You’ve been abandoned. No one will risk their necks to save you. I’ll make sure those you don’t want to come near you, won’t,” Da Mu parroted back everything Styxx had adding only, “she speaks the truth and is offering you the chance to save your soul.”
“I can heal him in sickbay, if you let us out of this force field.”
“You are a messenger of God. We don’t need him. You…heal…me.” Da Mu’s only chance was to drain Jessa of her nanites. His vision was narrowing and his ability to speak was becoming labored. Coughing up a large glob of sputum mixed with blood, Da Mu took a ragged breath. They had the Prism. They no longer needed her. He did not have the strength to activate his own weapons. He needed Jessa to slit her own wrist and give him an infusion.
“If I speak the truth then let me talk some more,” Styxx said.
Jessa did not look directly at Styxx as the woman talked but she was no longer talking to Da Mu. Her head was spinning at what to do and who to listen to. Without Zala or Rogan, Jessa had to make her own choices and find the best way to save Da MU. Casting a quick glance at Styxx, Jessa gave a quick nod as if to continue.
“Listen to what he is asking you to do, give up your life for his. Although he has branded you a heretic already. Your people believe in spreading light. So why would you snuff yours out. The life of child with an amazing gift, a gift that could spread your light further then anyone could imagine. Think of all you could achieve if your light continues. Don’t snuff it out in vein for a man who would just be locked up for the rest of his life. There is nothing sadder then a child who’s light never got to shine, never got to grow up and see the galaxy.” As she spoke River’s voice broke ever so slightly.
“Ask yourself what have you elders done for you since you got on this ship. Forced you to fight, to kill, to attack, told you god knows what to keep you in line. They left you. Even now the one remaining is trying to manipulate you for his own self-interests, his own selfish goals. Ask yourself what has Ian done for you, how much has he helped you and welcomed you despite everything, he is still trying to help you, as is Rinker and so am I. Compare us three to your three elders, and think for love of all that is holy think, Who should you trust” River was pleading with Jessa she wanted her to stop to let them do what they do best. She didn’t know everything as she had been on her own mission. But by the way Ian and addressed her, it was clear their bond was far closer then one could see at first. She knew that the kid had been given fairly open access to the ship, a decision that would have to be discussed along with the actually nature of Ian relationship with the kid at a later date. But right now all River cared about was resolving the currant situation.
Lieut Styxx (Marine OIC)
OOC: Sorry I got carried away again. Nathan
Rinker shrugged, what she said was accurate enough so he didn’t need to add or subtract.
“I don’t know,” she replied, “but I know what feels right.”
The situation was going on far longer than necessary and Ian wasn’t going to take the chance Jessa was going to juice up the alien in an attempt to save him. “Which is letting Rinker help him,” Ian replied reaching down and taking Jessa’s arm removing her from the alien.
No sooner did Rinker get the chance to treat him, Da Mu’s head listed to the side and his eyes took on a glass expression of death.
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