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Sister, Where art thou?

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#1 LCdr Shi-mi M'Rour

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Posted Star Date 21811.30 @ 18:18 (06:18 PM)

== Corridor just outside the Ozaki end of mission party ==


Ducking out of the conference room party, Shi-mi double checked the ID on the message. It had surprised her because it was from her sister, N're.


Tapping the open tab, the screen was filled with the face of a Caitian female. Similar looking to Shi-mi, but with more predominant black and white markings.


“Hi Sis. How are you? You'll never guess where I am.” said the voice coming from the PADD.


“Hello, N're. I don't know. Where are you?” Shi-mi replied to her sister.


“Cargo bay 2. We were refuelling our transport and I saw you're ship was in dock. Can you come down here?


Shi-mi was stunned that her sister was on the station. She knew that she had signed up with the crew of a freighter after she'd failed to pass the Starfleet entrance exam, but had absolutely no idea where she's gone after that.


“I'm, kind of busy...” Shi-mi began...


“We're shipping out in two hours.”


Shi-mi shrugged, and looked over her shoulder at the door to the conference room.


“They won't miss me for a few minutes, I guess. I'll be there in five minutes.”


“I'll be waiting.” replied N're closing the channel.


Shi-mi shook her head and quickly headed off to the cargo bays.



== Cargo Bay 2 ==


At this hour, the bay areas were usually staffed by support personnel. Shi-mi walked into bay 2 and looked about for her sister who after a seconds delay, came bounding out of the dimly lit area at a run and wrapped her arms round her big sister.


By definition, they were both from the same litter. It was just that Shi-mi was a few minutes older than N're


“Hi... And, sorry.”


“Sorry? What for...”


And in that moment, N're had grabbed hold of Shi-mi's comm badge, and tossed it across the bay into a dark spot behind some crates.


“N're to Severin. Energise!”


Both Caitians vanished in the shimmer of a transporter beam.



== Transport Vessel. Hornets Nest. ==


Both Caitians coalesced in a small transporter bay aboard a small transports vessel. Shi-mi was not impressed.


WHAT THE ****, N'RE?” she exclaimed loudly. “Send me back. NOW!


“Can't do that, Sis.” replied N're backing up to an internal comm panel. “We're aboard. Let's go.”


[We're already clearing the markers, and... Warp speed. Boom!] came a male voice from the speaker.


“If you don't turn this piece of **** around and take me back this instant...”


“You'll what? Eh?”


“I'm going to tear you a new... OUCH!”


A forcefield snapped up between Shi-mi and her sister. Then before she could turn around, three more popped up trapping her in an energy box.


Shi-mi glowered at N're. “You better have a damn good explanation.” she spat at her sibling.


Just then, the door leading out of the room opened and a tall Andorian entered. “This your big sister?”




“She don't look too happy.”


Shi-mi regarded the Andorian. “Are you the arsehole who put N're up to this? If you don't turn this ship around and take me back to the station...”


“What? The whole of Starfleet is going to come looking for you? Good luck. It'll take them a while spot you're even missing, they then have to work out where you went, and even then, they'll have to track us down, and since we masked our trail with decoys and disruption pods, the chances of them finding you are way less than you believe.”


The Andorian turned. “If you promise to stay calm and allow us to explain why we brought you here, I might consider letting you out of that forcefield.”


“And if I refuse?”


The Andorian pulled out his phaser and instantly shot N're who fell to the deck unconscious.


“That was stun. Next time it won't be. The choice is yours, sweetheart.” he said tapping a few controls and extending the forcefield to encompass Shi-mi's little sister.



== TBC ==

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#2 LCdr Shi-mi M'Rour

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Posted Star Date 21812.01 @ 20:44 (08:44 PM)

“I'm going to give you ladies some time to catch up with each other.” said the Andorian. “She'll probably wake up in about half an hour. Have fun.” he added with a grin as he turned and left the two sisters in their improved cell.


Shi-mi glowered at the hatch as it closed before checking on N're's condition.


About half an hour later, N're slowly stirred. “What... Happened?” she asked gingerly sitting up and realising she was now inside the forcefield with a blatantly pissed off Shi-mi.


“Your boyfriend shot you to make a point.” she replied flatly. “So, oh little sister of mine. What the **** have you gotten us into?”


N're looked wide eyed at her big sister. “He never told me it would be like this.” she replied. “He said he needed an engineer to help with something he'd found. I said you were one, and he asked me to go get you.”


“N're. You just kidnapped me from a Starfleet station. Didn't you think of just asking me nicely?”


“And you would have said no. You always do.”


“Yes. And there's a reason I always say no. Because we end up like this.” she waved her arms about to emphasise the issue. “He's good as said that as long as I go along with whatever you two had planned, he won't kill you.”


N're rubbed her aching head. “He won't really kill me. At least, I don't think he would.”


“N're. He just stunned you and didn't bat an eyelid.” Shi-mi took a breath. “Why did you come looking for me?”


“Severin has a map. He won it in a poker game.”


“Well that explains everything. And let me guess. It's a map to untold riches.”


“He told you?”


“Are you really this naïve? Yes. He told me his entire plan while you were unconscious.”


“Well, it is. It's not just a map though. It's a whole book. A proper paper book full of notes and stuff. And the map. It's an abandoned temple on a dead planet.”


“Really?” said Shi-mi rolling her eyes and doing everything she could not to laugh out loud at the preposterous story the N're was beginning to weave.


“And why does he need an engineer?”


“Because of all the traps.” replied N're.


Now Shi-mi did laugh out loud. “You have been watching too many of those holo-vids that Grandfather used to love watching.”


“They were all true... Well, some of them were, and this is too. I've read through the whole book. It was really hard. All that swirly hand writing.”


Shi-mi could feel her head starting to hurt. She loved her little sister, but this was too much.


“N're. I don't care if you found the greatest treasure in the galaxy hidden on some back water planet in the arse end of beyond. It still comes down to the fact that you kidnapped me.”


“Couldn't you tell your Captain I'm sorry when you go back.”


Shi-mi looked at N're blankly for a moment. “Yes. I'm sure he'll accept that. Maybe you should think about making him a cake too.”


“Would he like that?”


Before Shi-mi could say anything further, the door opened and Severin returned.


“I hope you've both caught up? I do love family reunions. I take it the delectable N're has told you all about my map?”


“She's an idiot, and you're an arsehole.”


“So that's a yes then.” he replied. “And are you willing to help me access the temple?”


“As long as you don't hurt my sister again. I don't really have much choice right now, do I?”


Severin rocked his head from side to side and pulled a face as if he was weighing up a decision. “Umm... No, you don't.” he then said.


“Now, I will allow you both out of this forcefield until we reach our destination. Which will be in about two days. And make no mistake little miss Starfleet. I will shoot your little sister for real if you cause me any problems. Do I make myself clear?”


“He's just pulling your tail.” smiled N're.


Shi-mi knew however, he wasn't.


“Two days. I get you past the traps, and then you let us both go.”


“Two days.” replied the Andorian. “Welcome the the crew of the Hornets Nest.”



== TBC ==

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#3 LCdr Shi-mi M'Rour

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Posted Star Date 21812.03 @ 20:33 (08:33 PM)

== Two days later ==


The Hornets Nest made its trip pretty much without event. The world it had been heading for hadn't been given a name outside of the unexciting designation of Tabraxi-3. Ban'Severin th'Halok, their Andorian Captain who preferred everyone to just call him Severin had indeed won the old document bundle in a card game, and had allowed Shi-mi to study it for the last two days.


It looked old. It was hand written, and it contained a plethora of notes, maps, sketches and more than a few organic residues that the Caitian Starfleet engineer wished she had never come into contact with.


Severin admitted that he didn't actually know where it had come from before the game, not trusting the kind of people who were in the game as such, all he was interested in was that it promised great wealth.


“So why didn't the people you got this from mount their own expedition if the prize is so big?” Shi-mi had asked.


“They never said.” Severin had given as his only reply as he sat at the helm cleaning his phaser and smoking what looked like a cigar.


The planet from orbit looked to be mostly densely forested. There were what looked like three large oceans. Shi-mi didn't want to go anywhere near them. That was for sure.


On the view screen, Severin showed the landing vector display and the location of the temple. Or at least the nearest they could discern the temple was from the crude hand drawn maps. The nearest landing site was about five kilometres out.


The upper atmosphere buffeted the transport as they began their landing. Shi-mi wasn't sure how the Hornets Nest was still flying from what she had discerned from their trip through space over the last two days. She was even more surprised that they had survived the landing once the craft put down and was powered off.


The ramp was lowered, and the three of them descended onto the ground. It was warm and muggy. The air smelt of peat and, to the two Caitians, other animals.


Severin was flicking through the book looking for the map, and taking a heading off of what looked like an old magnetic compass. “This way.” he said pointing into the dense foliage. “Ladies first. Obviously.” he fingered the phaser for emphasis.


It took about four hours to cover the distance between the landing site and the first signs of the temple. The three of them were caked in sweat, and the biting insects were having a field day. Both Shi-mi and N're's fur were both limited protection from the insects, but quickly became matted. Severin however was swatting everything and anything that landed or crawled on him.


Then what appeared out of the forest seemed like something from a fantasy story. At first, they found some scattered stones that had been dressed and were maybe they thought part of a grand entrance that had been worn down over time. The map showed what looked like a gaping maw of a monstrous creature. When it appeared, they all stood in silent awe.


The picture on the map did no justice to what they found before them. A huge cave opening carved from the rock itself into the visage of some kind of demonic creature. Precious stones appeared to be set in the surface around the main opening, and intricate carvings spiralled and snaked across the surface.


“What does the book say this says?” asked Shi-mi admiring the detail.


“This way to the gold.” replied Severin, his eyes wide.


“No, really. I think I saw a translation in that book.”


“Here.” said the Andorian tossing the book to Shi-mi. “You find it, I'm having some of these.” he said as he began levering out some of what looked like rubies from the carving with his ushaan-tor.


Looking through the notes, she quickly found the passage she'd read detailing the entrance of the temple.


“Jobal bids welcome to all. Those who dare enter take heed.”



== TBC ==

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#4 LCdr Shi-mi M'Rour

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Posted Star Date 21812.06 @ 19:25 (07:25 PM)

At the entrance, there appeared to be a pair of massive stone doors. They had to stand about twenty feet high, and spanned about ten feet across. Above the lintel was the phrase Shi-mi had read in its original script. And in the centre of the door, a ring of eight glyphs which appeared to represent the eight 'children of Jobal' according to the book.


“This is one of the reasons you're here.” said Severin. “A puzzle lock. If we can crack it, good. If we can't. I'm sure an engineer of your stature can pick a lock.”


“We'll see.” replied Shi-mi as she placed a paw on the first face, and discovered that they rotated around the circle which had a small slot allowing the faces to be removed out of the ring to change their combination as necessary.


“Eight faces. That's about eighty million combinations. I hope you have some more hints in the book.” she said.


“Uskar despises Zanna, but adores Isna and Sough. Sough is older than Sanne. Zanna is allied to Arar and Orisa. Kint is the bridge between Arar and Isna.” said N're reading from the book.


Shi-mi looked at her sister and Severin. “I hope you have some more hints in the book.” she said repeating her previous statement allowing the sarcasm to filter through.


N're flicked back and forth through the book just in case she'd missed something. “Not by the look of it.”


Sh-mi shook her head. “Okay. Let's look at this logically. Which face is which?” The faces looked almost Caitian or Mirak.


The Tabraxi were indeed a feline species. Long extinct however. A living Tabraxi would be a useful person to have right now. After a while, between the three of them, they had identified which face belonged to which deity.


“Okay. Uskar despises Zanna. It makes sense to put them the furthest apart from each other.” said Shi-mi drawing a circle and marking Uskar at the top, and placing Zanna on the bottom.


“And Uskar adores Isna and Sough.” said N're.


So, Shi-mi marked them either side of Uskar.


“Zanna is allied with Arar and Orisa.” said Severin.


Shi-mi marked them on the circle either side of Zanna.


“That leaves... Sanne and Kint.”


“Sough is older than Sanne.” said Severin.


“So between Sough and Orisa?”


“Guess so.”


“So, Kint goes between Isna and Arar.”


They moved to the lock and arranged the faces sliding them round until they matched the order they decided on.


Uskar. Sough. Sanne. Orisa. Zanna. Arar Kint. Isna. In a circle clockwise.


For a few seconds, nothing happened, then the doors began to shake. The three took several steps back. Then the doors parted to reveal a tunnel. It had to be about fifty feel long and eight feet wide. From the far end, they could see a shining light. The only problem was, The floor all the way to the end appeared to be one giant razor sharp, rotating screw blade type contraption.


Severin looked at Shi-mi and N're. “Ladies first.”



== TBC ==

Edited by Lt Shi-mi M'Rour, Star Date 21812.06 @ 19:37 (07:37 PM).

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#5 LCdr Shi-mi M'Rour

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Posted Star Date 21812.08 @ 21:09 (09:09 PM)

“I got this.” said N're removing the coil of rope which she had tied to her pack. “If I throw this in, it'll tangle round that thing and jam it.”


The three of them watched as the rope came into contact with the spinning blades, and instantly was cut to very small pieces without slowing it down in the slightest.


Severin looked from one to the other. “Well, that worked well. Do you have any thoughts?” he said looking at Sh-mi.


Taking out the book of notes again, Shi-mi looked at the tunnel. She remembered seeing something in it. “These are the stages of the ordeal.” she said finding the page. “The test of intelligence. The test of strength, and the final ordeal. Solving the lock was the test of intelligence, and I think this is the test of strength.”


“We have to be strong enough to stop that?” asked N're.


“Not stop it. The strength to face it and overcome it. Here...” she turned the book for the others to see.


The crude diagram showed what looked at first glance to be a bridge over a river, but on closer inspection it represented two people with their arms interlocked over the spinning blade.


“Look at these markings on the walls.” Shi-mi continued pointing at the tunnel. “They're like foot prints. What we have to do is, if we link arms, and walk up the walls, our bodies will form an arch over the span, and we can walk to the other end. Physical strength to keep us up there, and mental strength because knowing I we fail, we're dead.”


“Well, get on with it then.” said Severin. “And you're not allowed to die. Remember I want that gold. If you die, I'll kill you both myself.”


Shi-mi turned to the Andorian. “Thanks. Great motivational talk.” Then to her sister. “You okay with this?”


“Will it hurt?”


“We'll see.”


With that, the two Caitians moved into position. One each side of the door way.


“Okay, N're.” said Shi-mi. “We'll take this slow and steady, Okay.”




They tucked their heads down and butted their shoulders together and wrapped their arms around each others shoulders.


“Right, feel back with your left paw.” said Shi-mi. “Find the edge of the wall.”


“I got it.” replied N're.


“Push up... Now!” said Shi-mi as they both took the strain.


“I'm not sure I can do this.”


“We have to do this. I'm here. I got you.”


The pressure of supporting each other through their shoulders was hard. One slip, and there probably wouldn't be anything left to recover thought Shi-mi as they inched their way along the corridor.


N're has struggling as they made it to the half way point. She could feel her knees starting to tremble. But Shi-mi began to calmly sing to her sister, a song that the Grandmother used to sing to them when they were kittens, and before they knew it, they had almost made it to the end of the tunnel.


As they reached the end, they could see a platform, and a lever. Both had been obscured by the bright light which had been shining at the end of the tunnel.


Carefully, they managed to get down safely, and took a moment to recover their strength. Both of them were going to hurt tomorrow form the physical exertion.


“Pull the lever.” said Shi-mi to N're.


N're did so, and two things happened. One series of wooden slats shot out from the walls covering the spinning blade, and two. A stone door slid aside in the wall.


Severin came walking down the now safe tunnel. “Well that was easy.” he said eyeing the pair. “Come on. Let's go. There's gold in that there temple.”



== TBC ==

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#6 LCdr Shi-mi M'Rour

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Posted Star Date 21812.10 @ 19:16 (07:16 PM)

The three of them had barely stepped into the open door way, when a hooded figure appeared out of the darkness before them.


Severin instantly extended his arm and fired his phaser, the bright orange light illuminating the rest of the tunnel.


The beam struck the figure, but it seemed not to phase it. “You have been expected. Follow me.” it said turning away from them and vanishing back into the darkness.


“What the hell‽” Exclaimed the Andorian before looking at the two Caitians. “You two first.” he added nervously.


It didn't take long until the darkness gave way to a dimly lit chamber. Inside it sat eight figures in a circle around a ninth. Behind the figures was another large dark looking doorway.


Beyond this chamber is the ordeal.” The nine seemed to speak as one. The sound reverberating off the walls.


“Where's the gold?” asked Severin as he began circling the nine.


Beyond the ordeal.


Severin gestured to Shi-mi and N're. “Time to ordeal.” he said pointing his phaser.


“Each of you must face the ordeal.” said the nine.


“Oh no. You give me your gold, and I don't shoot you.”


Each of you must face the ordeal.” repeated the nine.


Severin fired his phaser at the nearest figure, and as with the one back in the tunnel, nothing happened.


“They're not real. They can't be.” Severin said firing at another. Still nothing happened. “You two get through this door, and...”


The nine figures rose and started toward Severin, herding him toward the doorway. He fired again. “Get away from me!” he shouted as they began pushing him nearer the darkness. Then he vanished into the dark.


There was silence, and the nine returned to their original positions.


Each of you must face the ordeal.


“What is the ordeal?” asked Shi-mi as she looked between the nine and the doorway.


It is what you must face.” replied the nine.


“What's in there?”


Only what you take with you.


“Can we just go back the way we came?”


You can never go back.


“We have no choice.”




Walking round the circle of nine, Shi-mi and N're looked at the darkness beyond the doorway. Took each others paws, and entered.



== The Swimming Pool at Starfleet Academy Campus ==


Shi-mi was stood on the high board. She'd entered the darkness with N're, but now her sister was nowhere to be seen.


“N're? Where are you?” she called out, not wanting to look down at the pool below.


Are you going to jump, or are you going to be up there all day?” shouted a voice from far below.


Shi-mi carefully moved to the edge of the platform and looked down. Heights weren't a problem, just the water. She looked down to see... “Ronnie? You... You, died.”


I'm not Ronnie.” called back the person who looked like Ronnie Pearson. “I'm you. Talking to yourself.


“What? I don't understand.”


You're standing up there, asking yourself if you're going to jump, and quite frankly, you're just making yourself look stupid. Look around you.


The whole auditorium was suddenly full of people sitting in the stands, watching Shi-mi. Waiting for her to jump.


Look at all these people. Waiting for you to jump off that board. Waiting to watch you crash into the pool.


Shi-mi looked around. The place was packed. On the big screen opposite she could see herself looking panicked.


“I.. I can't do that, I...”


Doesn't bother me what you do. You can either jump, or you can stay up there until your legs give out and you fall.


“Or I could... I could climb down.”


“You can't do that either.” said another voice belonging to a small Vulcan woman who was now blocking the ladder.


“Sirra.” said Shi-mi, “I thought you were...”


“Dead? Im not Sirra. I'm still you. You have no choice. Look.” The Vulcan pointed over the edge.


Shi-mi looked over the edge again and saw N're. At the bottom of the pool. Heavy chains keeping her weighed down.


“What do you want, Lieutenant Shi-mi M'Rour?” asked Sirra. “What do you need? What is holding you back? Fear? Fear of loss? Fear of failure? Fear of... Water?”


Shi-mi looked over the edge again. She could see N're struggling. She had to save her.


The crowd were chanting now. “Jump! Jump! Jump!


The big screen now split in two. One half showing N're drowning, the air bubbling from her lungs, and the other, Shi-mi. Wracked with fear and indecisive.


Jump! Jump! Jump!


Shi-mi closed her eyes. Took a deep breath, and let out a primal scream as she leapt off the high board and into the pool below.


The crowd erupted into a massive raw.


She felt the sudden heat all over her body as she pierced the surface of the water and began her dive down.


N're was motionless at the bottom now. Her lungs were long emptied of air. Shi-mi's were burning. The pain in her lungs and arms was she tried to move the chains burned. But somehow, she found the strength to free her sisters inert body and bring her back to the surface.


The auditorium was empty now as she dragged N're's unconscious form onto the poolside. She tried to revive her, but it was too late.


Then nine robed figures entered.


You have faced the ordeal.” they said as one.


Shi-mi looked up at them. “But I lost N're.” she said.


“No you didn't.” said N're stepping out from behind the nine.


Shi-mi looked down were her sister had been. There was nothing there. Not even the pool. They were back in the dimly lit room.


You have faced the ordeal.” said the nine. “Your reward is beyond the ordeal.


All nine pointed toward the dark doorway.


Shi-mi and N're walked in.



== Cargo Bay 2 ==


At this hour, the bay areas were usually staffed by support personnel. Shi-mi walked into bay 2 and looked about for her sister who after a seconds delay, came bounding out of the dimly lit area at a run and wrapped her arms round her big sister.


By definition, they were both from the same litter. It was just that Shi-mi was a few minutes older than N're


“Hi... And, sorry.”


“Sorry? What for...”


“For keeping my secret from you. I graduated the Academy.”


Shi-mi was dumbfounded. “When? How?” she began as she realised that her little sister was wearing support purple and a midshipman's pip.


“I made everyone keep in a secret till I could tell you myself.”


“This is great news.” Said Shi-mi wrapping her arms around her little sister. “We need to celebrate. Do you really only have two hours before you ship out?”


“Yeah.” said N're looking sheepish


“Well, I'm sure I know someone who knows someone and we can get your ship delayed a little. Come on. I already left a party to come find you. Let's go back, and I'll introduce you. Now just don't make me look bad in front of my Captain.”


“You can do that on your own.”


And as the pair headed up to the Ozaki's post mission celebration, Shi-mi had a strange feeling that somehow, the next mission was going to better than their last.



== Continued in Ozaki Post Mission Party. ==

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