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And so it ends.

Posted on Tue Feb 23rd, 2021 @ 5:24pm by Captain Arianna Warren & Lieutenant Charles Tylor & Lieutenant JG Jeananne Sandberg & Lieutenant Marna Rhosyn

Mission: M5 - A Life for a Life
Timeline: 2389 153 at 1052

When they'd arrived in orbit of the planet, the science team had determined that it was a Class M planet. There were life signs similar to that of the Entity, though it seemed like there were thousands of them within one small area. Other life signs were found to belong to animals and insects. It was uncertain if any were hostile, but with this being the Entity's home planet, they had no choice but to hope the away team would be safe.

The away team had been beamed to a safe location about two kilometers away from where the gathered life signs were. They stood in a lush field, tall grasses and flowers around them. Along the edges were trees and bushes. None of it looked familiar, and yet did look familiar at the same time. In the distance, through the trees, a shimmering light could be seen. Perhaps a lake of some sort, reflecting the light of the sun?

It was a lot to take in, from both a science and intelligence standpoint. Marna knew this was where they were supposed to be, but she was uneasy about it. She pulled out her tricorder and did a simple scan of the area. "Crazy how many things here could mirror Earth." She looked to the others, "I know, not why we're here. I think we're safe though to keep going."

Jeannie chose her best and most trained security officers for the away team. She needed them - this mission was of utmost importance, the Captain's life was at stake. She beamed down herself, accompanied by Ensign Helena Janeckova, Ensign Mario Monicelli and the Bolian Ensign Bolex. They stood ready to protect their comrades from any danger lurking for them.

"It looks much like my home planet." the security chief claimed, looking at the lush vegatation surrounding them. "Except they don't have any dragons. Or at least, it seems. We can be up for a surprise."

Charlie checked on Ari then began to charge forward ahead of the group, "Enough lollygagging. I have a patient and need her to get well, so lets get a move on it."

"What the doctor said. Lets get this done before we lose the captain." Marna nodded to Charlie and looked ahead on their path.

Though no actual pathway was evident, there was a natural gap in the treeline not far ahead of them that would lead the team to an animal trail. It wasn't exactly easy going, but as long as they were careful and made sure to lift their feet high over the roots, it was a straightforward walk.

As the group neared the location of the lifesigns, the shimmering seemed to become brighter. And, just before they reached the outer edge of the treeline, a humanoid figure seemed to rise out of the lake. It was androgynous, with no facial features that the team could pick out. Yet, they were still too far away to see any fine details. What they could see was that this figure looked very similar to that of the Entity that had wreaked havoc on the Astraea.

"You come seeking our help," a thousand voices whispered in their minds, sounding almost like wind rustling through the leaves. "Tell us, why should we? For what reason do you seek to alter her destiny?"

Between the voices in his head and his personal feelings for Ari, Charlies self control and bedside manner all fell away and he busted out, "Are you kidding me!? You should fix this because it was one of your damned people that did this to her! Her destiny was not to be raped by your damned species and left with a thing in her that would drain her to death before she could give birth to it! So as this womans Doctor, I am ordering you to fix this!"

Jeannie and her team stood guard, ready to wield a phaser if necessary. The security chief felt the doctor's outburst might provoke the mysterious alien, and that can lead to bad consequences. She didn't comment, but raised the alert level inside her head. Helena and the rest of the team felt similarly.

Marna frowned, but then stepped over in front of Charlie, looking back at him. "Easy, doctor. If we want their help, that is not the way to ask for it." She looked out ahead of them. "We were led hear because our Captain needs help. We were told that you would help us...Please?"

If the entity had a discernible face, it would be smiling at them. Instead, the whispering voice, sounding very amused, spoke to them again. "Such passion. You all care for her in your own way," it said while moving to stand in front of Ari. A hand came forward and gently laid upon her head. "Much love for each of you resides within her heart."

The entity seemed to separate into two parts. One still resembled the humanoid shape, while the other enveloped Ari. "We shall do what we can," the voice said to all of them as the body of their Captain began floating toward the shimmering 'lake' that it had emerged from. The humanoid shape stayed near the crew, watching them carefully.

Watching carefully, Marna looked at the one that remained as a humanoid shape, and then looked to Charlie, who likely wanted to go after Ari. "Let them do what they need to do. We'll only get in the way."

Charlie was about to chase after when he herd Marna. He stopped and stared coldly at the woman, an almost Klingon like rage burned behind his eyes, "I'm a Doctor, damn it, not a member of the peanut gallery. I belong at her side making sure they dont screw up and do more harm to her!"

Jeannie and her team were still standing guard, ready if needed to interrupt. But the order was to let them do what they need to do, and don't stand in their way. That was nice, and probably the best option, but the security chief still felt they need to look out for the Captain and watch the creature... or rather pool of creatures whatever they were about to do. She nodded to her guards not to interfere, but stand ready.

The rest of the security detail were similarly worried, but knew their duties. "That voice... Weird as hell..." Ensign Moricelli said quietly under his nose. Ensign Janeckova looked at him with a 'don't be a jerk' face. Ensign Bolex were too much fascinated by these happenings to comment.

As Ari's body reached the edge of the 'lake', the shimmering liquid within its shores began to rise up to meet her. Soon she was enveloped in multicoloured swirls, though still mostly visible to the crew. The Entity stood near them turned as though to look at its compatriots who now held their Captain. "Hmm... it seems the reason this worked is because of the unique racial makeup of your Captain," it said softly. "However, the reason it's not worked properly is because her DNA is not stable enough to meld with ours."

The Entity went quiet again as it conversed with the larger pool. "The Elders shall discuss," it said finally and moved back to join the 'lake'. Leaving the crew to stand a few feet back from the shore, watching Ari being suspended in the swirling, shimmering pool of liquid that was actually made up of thousands of the Entities.

A long time passed uneventfully. Jeannie and the security detail stood guard relentlessly, ready to take action if needed. But it seemed everything was fine. What are they waiting for? the security chief wondered. Monicelli began quietly humming a tune from a Verdi opera, while Helena remembered a ballet she danced back in high school. Bolex felt a bit uneasy, he wondered how'd his wife react if he'd unexpectedly die in the line of duty on this strange alien world.

Marna watched Jeannie as well as the pool. Her mind was still in Intel mode, and she wanted to investigate everything. But, she was here as science. She let out a soft sigh and just wished she knew exactly what was going on.

Charlie watched on in the direction Ari had been taken. His knees were like jelly and his stomach was moving at warp 9. His head was stuck in some kind of Mutara nebula and his heart was pounding faster than a Galaxy class warp core. He felt like he was going to explode as he stood watching helplessly.

After what seemed like an hour, a shape began to rise out of the center of the 'lake'. It slowly rose up, then walked across the surface of the 'water' toward them. Any who knew of Earth's ancient mythology noted that it looked very similar to a 'Lady of the Lake' reference. And true to that reference, this Entity looked very feminine, though it had no defined facial features. It did have long hair that seemed to float around it as though it was still under water.

"The Elders have spoken," a different sounding voice said within their minds. "To save your Captain's child one of you must give your DNA to the child. If none are willing, we must take the child to save your Captain. What shall it be?"

"Me." Jeannie stepped ahead with a firm look on her face. "I volunteer." she said with absolute certainty. "My duty is to guarantee the safety of the crew even if that means risking my own." She sounded like if she wants to earn a medal of commendation or something, but she in fact, without any egoism, believed it's her job to volunteer in a situation like this.

Listening to the voice, Marna looked to Jeannie when she spoke, and then looked to Charlie. "This...isn't a job I want. But you two? Up to you. I don't know if it'd work with both or not. Because, Doctor, I'm sure you want to be part of this."

Charlie stood in awe of Jeannie. He did want to step forward, but before he could move his years of training and experience slapped him hard in the face. Words came from his lips out of pure instinct, "Of course I want to... but I can't. I am the Chief Medical Officer for a Federation Starship, not just the Captains personal doctor. So I have to consider that I may need to provide medical care for some one on the ship besides her. So this is your moment Lieutenant."

A feeling of dread and uselessness washed upon Charlie like a rain storm in an Vietnamize jungle. Not being 'that guy' was already eating him up, but he had to do the right thing and the right thing was not offering himself up. Especially if these crazy aliens screwed up and didn't do this right.

Noticing Charlie's face, Marna frowned. She then spoke to the voice, hoping it'd listen. "Can you do this, safely, with both of them?"

A soft hum filled their heads, as though a thousand voices were talking in low tones at the same time. No specific words could be deciphered, but it appeared that the entities were discussing this idea. After a few minutes of this, one distinct voice could be heard above the din. "Yes, it would be better with more DNA," it said. "It is not dangerous or invasive. We merely need some skin cells, which can be obtained by touching you. If you consent to this, please step forward," the shape before them gestured to a spot just in front of it.

"Alright. Let's do it." the security chief said firmly, took a deep breath and stepped ahead, also nodding to her team to stand by, but do not interfere. She was more curious than afraid, but somewhat concerned about the doctor's involvement. But the alien said it's not dangerous or invasive... "I always wanted to become a mother." Jeannie grinned as she stepped closer.

The entity reached an arm forward. One finger elongated into a tendril that gently caressed Jeannie's cheek. It felt cold and jelly like, though not slimy at all. As quickly as it reached forward, it retreated.

In Charlie's mind alone, the voice spoke softly. "We understand your reservations, you are a doctor, you want what is best for your patient. Please know that we will not hurt your Captain, no matter what is done, she will survive. The only thing we cannot promise right now is the life of the child. The additional DNA may not create a viable life; but we will do what we can to help save him."

"Do what you must", Charlie began. He shook his head realizing this was a level of medicine far above any thing the Federation or any alpha quadrant species has.

The entity repeated its earlier gesture with Jeannie and reached out to take some skin cells from Charlie's cheek.

In the distance, Ari's form could be seen just below the surface of the lake. There was a bubble like quality to the area around her, which showed they had created an air pocket around her within which she was suspended on thin threads. Once the DNA was obtained, the shape before them walked back to the 'lake' and walked across its surface until it reached the area where Ari was held.

Sinking down, it seemed to pierce through the air bubble and move to surround her body. It seemed like hours passed as the officers watched the floating form of their Captain, when finally, her eyes opened and she seemed to be in pain. At first, it wasn't apparent what was going on, but then as she sat up slightly, it was made clear. Ari was in active labour. Slowly, for privacy, the milky liquid around Ari darkened and soon, her shoulders and head were the only things visible to the crew.

It didn't take long before Ari seemed to relax back and seem to go unconscious again. The 'lake' around her stayed dark to hide her body from view, but she seemed at peace, happy even. At least for a few moments before her eyes opened again and she seemed annoyed by something.

Another ten minutes passed before movement could be seen. Ari was being brought back to the shore. The fluid entities lifted her up above the surface and carried her forth. She looked the same as she had when they'd taken her into the center of their colony, but this time she had a full-term newborn baby upon her chest. Quickly, she was returned to the hover-bed she had been taken from.

"Congratulations," the strange voice said within their heads. "It is a boy. They are both stable. However, we cannot promise that he will live a long life. Your DNA lives on in him, he is as much part of you as he is part of his mother and the Plasarum who erroneously created this life."

With a soft smile on her face seeing the child, Marna let out a sigh of relief. "We'll do everything we can to take care of him."

 

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