Suburban Timewaster

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Archive for the month “June, 2019”

Home (Star Trek Online)

A/N: I know, it’s been awhile since my last post and I’m sorry about this.  I recently started school, so I’ve had to juggle that, my job, my volunteering, my writing and my blog.  Trust me, it hasn’t been easy.  Anyway, Candy’s back and she’s here to talk about when she had to team up with Rush (hashakgig1106‘s character, who also provided some of the screenshots) to save the Dominion from the Hur’q!

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Fleet Admiral’s Log Stardate 96229.49

This is Candy Marino and I just got a call from Odo.  He said that Empersa, the homeworld of the Founders, is under attack by the Hur’q.  Odo told me that this is our darkest hour because, if Empersa falls, the Dominion will come to an end.  He asked me to join in the defense efforts as soon as I can. Then Odo told me that a task force will assemble at his fleet’s location in the Gamma Quadrant and warp to Empersa from there.  Odo reminded me that, if we fall, the AQ is next. So, it’s time to make a stand. He said that he hopes I join in the fight. I told Odo that, considering the circumstances, I don’t really have much of a choice.  So I went to Odo’s fleet and guess who else was there, Rush. Apparently, Odo needed all the help he could get, so he called the pirate. Great, this is the last thing I need. Not only is Rush part of a past that I would like to forget, but I’m about to fight man-eating bugs!  She’ll see me freeze up and never let me live it down! Just like that time her chef placed gagh on the table and I screamed loud enough to wake the dead! I suppose she found it amusing, Galaxy’s Greatest Detective afraid of small worms. I really hate Tanya right now. Unfortunately, the fate of the galaxy depends on us defeating the Hur’q, so I need to put my personal feelings aside and remind myself not to give Rush anymore fodder.  Besides, maybe she’ll bring Tike along and it’s always great to see him.

I got a call from Odo, who said that he arrived here ahead of us and he’s already engaged the Hur’q near the planet.  Then he told Garak that he’s made his point and to deactivate the Hur’q Lure device he placed on the homeworld before this gets out of hand. 

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I have to say, I’m on Odo’s side about this and I let that be known. Then Garak told us that he deactivated it several minutes ago! God damn it, I should’ve known it wouldn’t be this easy!  Odo asked why the Hur’q were still attacking and told Garak not to play games with him. Garak said that they might still be attacking due to a deep hatred of Odo’s people. Then claimed that it was The Founders who were directly responsible for their state of mind, body and soul.  Garak tried to finish by saying that he doesn’t blame them for—, but I told them to stop their male chest pumping and help us figure a way out of this mess. Kira called and said that I’m right, because we don’t have time for this. Then Kira told us that there’s a bigger problem to deal with here, starting with that swarm of Hur’q vessels nearby.  Rush phoned in her own comment about how, after that, Garak and Odo can wipe their dicks out and measure them. Why does that pirate always try to one-up me? Anyway, Odo agreed with us and said that his fleet is already engaged near the planet, but Hur’q reinforcements keep arriving. Odo told me and Rush to try to punch through the swarms so they can join up.  I ordered the helm to take us in and got a call from Garak. He told Bashir that we may be needing his solution to this problem soon. Bashir agreed, since Garak’s failed in a spectacular fashion. Garak asked if it really has, because some might argue that it succeeded beyond expectations. Great, more male chest thumping. Men are all the same, no matter what the species.  Rush and I both ignored this and continued shooting the Hur’q, dealing with the problem at hand. It wasn’t until we both got rid of some Hur’q that Nog showed up with the Chimera and a fleet ready to help! Then that Tzenkethi admiral, the real one, showed up and said that the C.S.S. Steadfast is ready to assist us as well! Maybe this will turn out like Avengers: Infinity Wars, when The Avengers, Dr. Strange, Spiderman and the Guardians of the Galaxy all teamed up to take down Thanos!  Hopefully, it won’t end the same way. Rush and I continued fighting off the Hur’q with the added assistance. Odo called in and said that his ship won’t last much longer, so we need to deal with the swarm attacking it immediately. Then another wave of Hur’q came in and, let me tell you, these guys are unstoppable! If there’s any time for the Klingons to make their Big Damn Heroes moment, it would be now. After defeating them, we had to deal with another swarm and the Klingons better get here quick.  Turned out we didn’t need the Klingons as we got rid of the Hur’q ourselves. I hailed Odo, who congratulated me and Rush and then told us that his ship’s taken heavy damage, but she’ll survive. What is it with guys calling their ships she? Kira said that we’ve bought ourselves some time, but let’s hope it’s enough. Then asked Bashir if his plan’s ready, because it may be our best hope to end things now. Bashir said that it’s as ready as possible because the challenge of “frontier medicine” is that there is never enough time.  Honestly, this sounds like an inside joke between the two of them. Then Bashir said that he created a program that will enable the Hur’q to synthesize the compound they need to come to their senses. After that, Bashir told us that he’s also put together a core sample of the compound for them to utilize in mass production, which is actually the easy part.

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Kira asked Bashir about the hard part and what he needs to make this happen. Bashir answered by saying that, from what we’ve learned about the Hur’q, the best way to make this happen will be to enter the data in one of their core computer systems.  Then Bashir said that it’ll need to be a command-level system with fleet-wide override authority. He told us that systems of that caliber are only found on Hur’q dreadnoughts. I voiced my displeasure at having to actually beam on one of the ships and face those things again. Rush teasingly asked me if this was going to be too difficult for me and mockingly offered to hold my hand. I told Rush that I’d rather have Tike do that. Then we disabled the giant Hur’q ship and got a call from Kira. She told us that the Dreadnought’s disabled, but that ship is still crawling with Hur’q. So, we’d better make sure our away teams are ready for a fight.  Odo said that he’ll send some of his best, meaning Rex and Loriss. The former will lead a Jem’Hadar away team while the latter will assist Bashir. Rush said that she’s taking Tike and Jinnie with her and I said that I’ll be taking Chris. Kira said that we need to get our away teams on that dreadnought before it calls for backup. Bashir called us and said that he and Loriss have all they need. Then he told us that they’re ready to beam over when we are. I took a deep breath and said that we might as well get this over with, which is also my attitude about gynecology exams.

I beamed down with Chris while Rush beamed down with Tike and Jinnie, the former being the only one happy to see me.  Bashir greeted us and said that we need to find their central computer core. He told us that, once we’re there, he’ll begin the override process that will allow him and Loriss to transmit their data on the cure.  Bashir then said when that’s done, he and Loriss can instruct each ship in the fleet to replicate the cure and distribute it to every Hur’q onboard. Of course, they’ll need to reach the command center in one piece to do so. 

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Rush arrogantly said that she and her team can clear the way, but I told her that Chris and I aren’t slouches either. Chris said that we can fight about it later. Right now, we need to get to the control room. So, we both went through the corridor with Rex warning us about enemy lifesigns ahead and that we need to get ready to fight.  Jinnie got her weapon ready and I heard her mumble “let’s get this over with.” Then Rex told us to proceed with caution, because he’s reading numerous hazards in the area. Apparently, this section of the ship has taken heavy damage. Jinnie immediately started shooting at the giant bugs that came lunging at us and I’m supposed to believe that these things were peaceful?  I channeled all of my fear into my phaser and started shooting, screaming at the roaches to die! After they were gone, I remembered that Black Mirror episode and said aloud that I should’ve used a different metaphor. Anyway, we fought through swarms and swarms of Hur’q until we got to the control room which, surprise, had more Hur’q we had to get rid of. Where’s a giant hypospray of bug repellent when you need it?

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We finally killed the Hur’q and checked in with Bashir.  He praised us for excellent work and then warned us to keep our weapons handy because we’re breaking into a secure computer system here and the Hur’q are bound to take offense.  Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in. He told us to keep them busy while he and Loriss do their work, or this’ll be a wasted trip. Next thing you know we have to deal with more Hur’q and then Loriss was screaming at Bashir like a stereo-typical shrew about how this one goes here and that one goes there.  Bashir explained that he was saving time by inverting the feed now instead of later. Then Loriss starts screaming at Bashir about how he’s supposed to be Starfleet’s best and brightest, which got my attention! I repeated, with tranquil fury, that he’s Starfleet’s best and brightest? Bashir said, medically speaking, he’s the best and brightest and he wouldn’t even be in Starfleet if it weren’t for this Hur’q nonsense.  Okay, I can accept that. Then Loriss screamed to Bashir about how we’re running out of time. Bashir asked Loriss sarcastically if she knows a faster way to translate Hur’q language and reverse-engineer their technology. Jinnie told them to hurry up because she doesn’t want to stay in bug city any longer than she has to. One of the Hur’q tried to attack me from behind while I was dealing with other Hur’q, but Tike pulled me out of the way before the explosion could do any damage and then I repaid him by yanking my arm away and stomping on his foot.  Tike only laughed it off and said that he sees that I still haven’t gotten over my touch phobia. I told Tike that it’s the golden rule, don’t touch me unless I allow it. Then I told him that I’ll make it up to him later and called him tiger. Rush told us that we can flirt after we try to prevent the end of the galaxy as we know it. Chris said that he hates to say this, but he agrees with Rush. Finally, we took care of the Hur’q and checked in with Dr. Bashir. He told us that the cure’s almost ready, but the system still needs the physical samples of the cure for final analysis and processing.  Then Bashir asked me if he should proceed! Hell yeah, he needs to proceed! The sooner we get this bug nightmare over with, the better.

Well, unfortunately, we don’t have that kind of luck.  Weyoun came in out of nowhere and shot the machine!  Bashir asked Weyoun if he was insane, because that was our last hope!  Loriss wanted to know how it’s possible, because Weyoun was in prison. Weyoun said that he was liberated by those who still serve the true Founders.  Then claimed that not everyone is a traitor to the Dominion, after all. I sarcastically remarked that the Founders treated them like shit and they’re still willing to destroy the galaxy for them.  Chris said that, psychologically speaking, it’s not that uncommon. I told Chris harshly that I’m well-aware of that. Loriss told Weyoun that there is only one traitor here, and it’s time he paid the price.  Loriss shot Weyoun in the shoulder, who called her pathetic because she can’t even kill someone properly. Then tried to order Rex to kill us all but, unlike Weyoun, he turned on his abuser and shot him in the head! 

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Bashir scanned Weyoun and said that he’s gone. Loriss added that it’s not a moment too soon. I told Loriss that she’s preaching to choir. Bashir contacted command and said that we have a problem. Rush beamed back to the Jimeck with Tike and Jinnie while I beamed back to the Winchester with Chris.

Odo contacted us and said that the Hur’q fleet is about to attack our position.  Then he told us that we need to give the doctor the time he needs to transmit the data on the cure.  My grandpa once told me to never speak ill of the dead, which just makes me want to do it more. God Damn Weyoun and his fucking martyr complex!  If there’s a hell, I hope he’s rotting in it! So, we have to survive a swarm attack and, even with all of us working together, we still can’t beat these guys.  Dear God, this is going to end like Avengers: Infinity Wars. Then Quark showed up and took some time to brag about how Odo was in quite a fix. Odo sarcastically replied that it’s a brilliant observation and demanded to know what Quark wanted.  Rom asked Odo to forgive Quark and explained that they’re here to help. Odo scoffed at a Ferengi cavalry and said that now he’s seen everything. Quark bragged about how the best is yet to come and I know he’s talking about his Klingon friends. I’m fighting the urge to point that out because I know it will be much cooler when they arrive right next to Quark’s ship.  Then he told Odo to say hello to his dangerous friends. Sadly, the Klingons didn’t show up and Odo smugly said that we’re waiting. I told Quark that it looks like his Klingon friends are late. Quark sarcastically thanked me for ruining the moment, but Rush pointed out that the moment was ruined when they didn’t show up. Then Quark asked Rom where they were. Odo kept bragging about how Quark lost his nerve and then Rush told Odo that we’re all about to die, so this isn’t the time for he and Quark to get into a pissing contest.  I only rolled my eyes and said that it’s typical of men to measure their dicks even when their life is in danger. Then the Klingons finally showed up! 

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Martok even gave this great speech about how, long ago, T’Kuvma the Unforgettable lit the beacon of Kahless to restore glory to the Empire. Martok then explained that, today, a new Torchbearer, Worf, son of Mogh, does the same. Martok said that, united, we now go fight the enemy of our ancestors. He claimed that, today, we will fight the Hur’q. Then he proudly proclaimed about how he now holds the weapon they fear most, which was the Sword of Kahless.  I remarked that I bet a certain Ferengi helped him get that. Martok said that we should join him now, in honorable combat, and show the Hur’q what it truly means to be Klingon. Then he finished it up by shouting “For Kahless! For the Empire! Qapla’!” After that I was beaming and shouted that it’s time to kick Thanos’s ass! So, that’s what we did! Just replace Thanos with the Hur’q. After defeating them, Rush and I got a call from Odo. He told us that the arrival of the Klingons has given us more time in space, but the situation on the surface is dire. Odo said that Hur’q forces are breaking the Jem’Hadar defense lines and we need to do what we can to help.  Odo told us that he’s beaming directly to the Great Link to aid his people. Then Martok contacted us after and said that the time has come. He told us that the Hur’q mean to ravage everything in their path, but we will not allow it. Martok gave a speech about how we still stand against them, as Kahless once stood, defiant and proud! He told us to fight well and, if need be, die well!

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I said that this might be like Avengers: Infinity Wars, but there’s no way in hell it’s going to end the same way. Rush and I had to move our ships within range of the planet. As soon as we arrived, Chris asked me if I was ready to beam down, giving me a sympathetic glance, but I said that I’m as ready as I’ll ever be and beamed down to the Founder homeworld with Chris.

Rush already beamed down with Tike again but, this time, Turel joined us.  Guess Rush decided to bring in the big guns. We both saw Martok doing the Kahless ritual with his fellow Klingons.  Odo said that it’s worse than we thought because most of the Jem’Hadar lines have been broken, so even the Great Link is in danger.  He told us that he’s going to coordinate our defenses at the Link and said that we should meet him there. Kira responded by telling Odo that we’ll meet him there as soon as we can and to be careful.  Martok said that the Jem’Hadar have come to our aid, so now we return the favor. We walked through the pathway, found the bug people and did exactly that. This time, it was my turn to save Tike when one of the bug people tried to get the drop on him.  I only smirked and told him that now we’re even. After defeating that section of Hur’q, we went to talk to the Jem’Hadar, who congratulated us on fighting well. He told us that there are many Hur’q between us and the Great Link. Then talked about how we go there now to reclaim our lives for we are already dead.  Rush said that talk like that is what will get us killed. As much as I hated to admit it, Rush does have a point. So, I said to the Jem’Hadar “May the odds be ever in our favor.” When he asked what that meant, I translated it to victory is life.  

After that, we went further down the path to the Great Link and Kira said that we won’t last long out in the open like this.  I told Kira that we definitely won’t with that attitude. Odo contacted us and said that they’re fortifying their position near the Great Link.  Kira responded to him by saying that we’re on our way. Then we ran into a Vorta commander, who told us that he had to confess his surprise at seeing us here on the homeworld of his gods.  He said that we really were living in strange times and I loudly admitted that I never thought I’d see the day when I’d be saving the Great Link. Then the Vorta asked us to forgive his boldness, but there are still Founders under attack nearby.  The Vorta then asked if he can count on us to aid them, and destroy the wretched creatures who would do them harm. I told him that we don’t exactly have a choice.

So, we go down the road, defeat a few Hur’q and rescue a few changelings, who were actually grateful for it. 

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Well, some of them were. Others accused us of invading but, after a Hur’q takeover, what would be left to rule?  It was Chris’s turn to get attacked by Hur’q, but Turel saved him. When Chris thanked Turel, he acted like a complete ass and said that he didn’t want to get in trouble for getting the golden boy of the Federation killed!  I made it clear to Turel that he doesn’t get to talk to Chris like that! Only I get to talk to Chris like that! It wasn’t long until we finally got to Odo and the Greak Link. Odo was happy that we made it in his usual stoic way and said that they’re going to need all the help they can get out here.  He told us that it looks like the Hur’q are focusing their attacks on the Link. Odo said that he called for reinforcements, but most of their lines have been overrun. He claimed that we’re going to make a stand here, and hope the doctor’s plan is successful. Then Odo finished it up by saying that, if we fail, this may be the day the Dominion dies.  I told Odo that Dr. Bashir is the smartest medical mind in Starfleet, so he’ll come through. Rush noted that I made sure to add medical. We didn’t have time to argue about it as more Hur’q came our way. While we were fighting, Kira asked Odo if he has more Jem’Hadar coming to help. Odo told her that the call’s been sent, but they may not arrive in time.  Kira just responded by saying that we’ll do what we can with what we have. Odo got a little morbid by adding “until the end,” which I pointed out. Kira agreed by saying that she’s not sure she liked the way he said that. Odo started his own goodbye to Kira by saying that, if they don’t make it, which Kira interrupted by saying now is not the time for this discussion.  Odo told Kira to look around, because there may not be a better time. Kira agreed and said that he’s right and she understands what he did. Odo then told her that he’s sorry… for everything. Kira said that she forgives Odo, but I’m not quite sure if I forgive him yet. Odo told Kira that he knows and that he feels the same.

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Chris was about to talk to me, but I told him that we’re not doing the whole sappy last words deal.  Rush said that she is and told Turel that he may be an ass, but it’s been great having him on the ship. Turel only responded to Rush by saying that she’s one of his better bosses. Tike said that the day he joined the Jimeck was the happiest day of his life, to which Rush joked that he’s getting a little too mushy. Then Tike was about to talk to me, but I told him that I’m not doing this. Tike asked me to humor him and then he asked me if I remembered when they first met and I was with Joey.  Chris asked who Joey was, so I told him that he’s my ex. Tike asked me what I saw in the guy and I told him that, when we make it out of this, I’ll tell him. 

The Hur’q overwhelmed us and took out Turel and Tike!  It was just me, Chris and Rush fighting the Hur’q and Kira got shot!  Odo wanted to know if she was all right, but she insisted that it’s just a scratch.  Chris started talking about how he sees me as more than just his friend, how I was his sister.  Then he said that abandoning me in high school was the worst mistake he ever made. I told Chris that we’re not dying right now!  Chris got angry with me and told me to look around, the Hur’q are surrounding us and we have virtually no chance of getting out of this alive and he can’t even tell Siket that he loves him!  I started crying and told Chris that at least Siket knows he loves him! I finally exploded and told Chris that Rose doesn’t even know I exist! Before Chris could even ask who Rose was, I started crying about how I can’t die knowing I missed the one chance to finally meet my daughter!

Thankfully, the fighting stopped and Bashir and Loriss pulled a big damn heroes moment.  One of the Hur’q showed up with Rex’s corpse and, against my instinct, I walked up to the giant bug. 

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The bug actually stood there, looking at me and then talking to me in clicks that I think meant thank you and transported away.  You know, these guys aren’t so scary. In fact, they’re actually quite cute, when they’re not trying to eat you alive. Odo said that it seems that the battle is over, but asked Bashir how and wanted to know what happened.  Bashir said that he believes Dukan’Rex realized that his own body contained the ketracel material he needed to finalize the cure. Then Bashir told us that Dukan’Rex extracted what we needed at the cost of his own life. Bashir explained that, once the Hur’q were able to synthesize the cure, they came to their senses and called for an immediate cease fire.  Bashir said that the Hur’q forces are withdrawing as we speak. Bashir finished up by telling Odo that it’s over, though he wouldn’t say we won. I got my flask out and toasted to Rex, taking a drink and then passing the flask to Chris, who took a drink even though he hates hard liquor. Chris passed it to Rush, who took a drink and passed it to Tike and then he took a drink and passed it to Turel.  Then I got a call from Elisa who told me that we’ve received orders from Alliance Command. We’re to report to Deep Space Nine as soon as possible for debriefing. Rush got the same call from her ship and we got asked if we’re ready to return to the Alpha Quadrant. I told Elisa after taking a deep breath that I’m ready to beam up. After that, Chris left to contact Siket and I went to my ready room and called Tike.  

I said that I told him that, when we survive, I would answer his question.  I explained that Joey was my dad’s guest in an attempt to boost his status on Earth, despite my mom’s objections.  Joey took an interest me when no one else would. Tike laughed and told me that he found that hard to believe. I explained to Tike that I was still in high school when it happened and, at that time, it was all about the pecking order.  Tanya was on top and I was at the bottom. Then dad left to captain a freighter and Joey moved to a nearby hotel room. My mom was too busy dealing with the shit dad left to notice that I was still seeing Joey. Then he abducted me and I was stuck under the radar with Joey as my only protector.  Tike said that he couldn’t imagine a worse fate. I told Tike that I could, have ended up with some Joe Carroll type sadist. Tike asked me who Joe Carroll was and I explained that he was a character from The Following, serial killer who targeted young women and removed their eyeballs, huge Edgar Allen Poe fanboy and he created his own cult with psychotic and devoted followers.  Tike pointed out that the guy had the same name as my ex-boyfriend, to which I jokingly pointed out that it could kill my interest in the program. Then I invited Tike to stay on my ship, but he turned me down. Tike said that I was too emotionally vulnerable right now and it wouldn’t be right. I only laughed and said that it seems like entities have better moral values than humanoid men.  Tike responded by saying it’s only the humanoid men I hang around who have such low values. Chris showed up and told me that we just arrived on Deep Space Nine, so I had to cut my conversation with Tike short. 

Rush and I went back to DS9 and found Bashir treating Rex in Sickbay, or trying to treat him.  Bashir said that there was nothing he could do for Rex on the Hur’q dreadnought. According to Bashir, the ketracel extraction process was too devastating.  Then Bashir talked to Odo about how he treated him like a son when they first found him on DS9 and Bashir told Odo that he’s truly sorry. Odo added that Rex didn’t even have a name when he left them, so he’ll make sure the name Rex found is never forgotten.  Odo reminisced about Rex’s first days on the station, when all he wanted to do was fight and it didn’t matter who. Odo then talked about how, when Rex left, Odo thought that he’d never see him again or, if he did, it’d be as enemies. Odo said that the man he met years later still knew how to fight, but his reasons for doing so had changed dramatically.  Odo then talked about how he’s proud to have known Rex and how he wish he could’ve done more in the end. I told Odo that he’s done more for Rex then a lot of fathers do for their kids, while adding in my head, mine included.  Rush agreed by saying that Odo did make a difference in Rex’s life.  Odo said that he supposed that we were right and then told us that Kira was looking for us.  Apparently, she’s at the temple or at least she was the last time Odo checked. Then Odo excused himself to pay his respects and said that we’d talk more later.

Rush and I went to the temple to see what Kira had to say only to be stopped by Loriss.  She said that it pleased her to see us and that she has interesting news. I admitted that I hope it doesn’t involve the Hur’q, which only intrigued Rush.  Loriss said that it doesn’t, but it does involve the Orb of Peace that I returned with Kai Opaka. Loriss talked about how the Orb spoke to her and that she’s been exploring the meaning of that experience with the Kai and Captain Kira.  After all, they are the experts in such matters. Loriss admitted that they all find it curious that an Orb of the Prophets would speak to a Vorta, they also agree that it would be foolish to ignore it. I asked Loriss if she’s a born again Prophet believer now.  Since Loriss didn’t know what that was a reference to, she didn’t get the joke. Rush got it and told me to retell the joke when she’s on blitz. Then Loriss told us that, with the blessings of Founder Odo, she has been transferred to this quadrant to continue her studies of the Orb and the Prophets.  Loriss claimed that she’ll serve as Founder Odo’s representative, since diplomacy is her specialty. Loriss told us that she’s sure we’ll be seeing one another again and said that may the blessings of the Founders and the Prophets be ours. Rush said that she didn’t need them, but I told Loriss that I’m going to repeat this to my grandpa because, being a strict Catholic, hearing this would really piss him off.  Loriss apologized for that, but I told her that it made my day. After that, Opaka wanted to talk to us and said that it was good to see me once more. Opaka told us that she was hoping to speak to us about an important matter before our duties take us back to the stars. She talked to us about how her thoughts often return to the Orb of Peace and that it was no coincidence that it was found in the Gamma Quadrant, in the midst of two warring tribes.  Opaka said that she believes it to be a message from the Prophets, one of guidance in troubled times. Then she went on about how the conflict with the Hur’q has ended and she feels that it’s time to explore this omen more thoroughly. Opaka talked about the recent vision Loriss experienced and how it’s truly remarkable that the Prophets would speak to a Vorta. According to Opaka, this can’t be a coincidence. Opaka believes that the Orb is meant to broker a lasting peace between the people of our quadrants and the Dominion.  I said that it would be the first time in history religion brought peace instead of war. Opaka only responded to that by saying that it’s not religion that causes war, it’s humanoids. Rush said that she’s got a point. Finally, we got to talk to Kira. She said that here we are again and it’s been quite a journey. I asked Kira what’s next for her and she told me that, after she got back, Starfleet Command offered her a number of postings—even the center chair on one of those shiny new cruisers. Kira admitted that it was tempting, but she chose to join the command staff on DS9.  She said that Bajor and the Celestial Temple mean a lot to her, and this station is a good place to keep them both safe, which Kira said also includes my daughter. Rush told Kira that it’s also close to our mutual friend in the Gamma Quadrant.

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Kira said that Rush was subtle, but she’s not wrong. Kira claimed that she and Odo have a lot to work out before they’re back to where they were, but they’ve taken a few good steps in that direction. However, Kira still thinks it will work out… eventually. Kira admitted that Odo’s a hard man to read sometimes. I said that I actually find Odo very easy to read.  Kira then told me that he’s a hard man for normal people to read. After that, Kira thanked us for coming to visit. She said that, after all we’ve been through, it means a lot to have friends, even if it reminds her of the ones we miss. Then Kira told us that General Martok is leading the charge against the bloodwine at Quark’s. Kira said that she’s sure that Martok would want to congratulate us on another glorious victory. I told Kira that I’d take any excuse to drink. Rush agreed with me, though I admitted that I’d also like to reserve a holosuite, even if I’m not sure what program I’m in the mood for.  Kira told me that I might not have time to reserve a holosuite, which really disappointed me.

Rush and I went to Quark’s to find not only Martok and Quark, but Leeta, Rom, Nog and Neth Parr.  It was the last one who wanted to talk to us first. Neth Parr told me that she’s forever indebted to me because, without my efforts, she would’ve walked the Path of Exile for the rest of her days.  Now, she will help make amends for all that has happened during Tzenketh’s terrible crusade. Then I talked to Nog who said that we need to stop running into each other when the fate of the galaxy is on the line.  He suggested drinks at Quark’s or some baseball on the holodeck. I told Nog that I’d meet him halfway and just have drinks, but I’ll send Chris to play baseball with him. Rush said that, unlike me, she’s not too lazy to do both.  Why is she always trying to one up me? Then Nog said that he can’t think of too many people he’d trust when everything’s on the line. Nog said that he was glad I was here for this. Then he told me that Starfleet’s assigned the Chimera to peacekeeping duty in Hur’q space and they’ll be working with a joint task force to help the Hur’q get back on their feet again.  Rush said that it sounds like he got assigned to Hur’q rehab. Nog said that she’s not wrong, but there’s a lot to be done. Nog claimed that he’s happy to help the Hur’q rejoin the galactic community. I wished Nog luck with that and told him that he’s going to need it. Nog laughed and said that I might be right about that, but his crew’s up for the challenge because they’re some of Starfleet’s best, like my crew.  He told me and Rush to take care of ourselves out there and not to be strangers. After that, we talked to Leeta who said that she’s glad to see this all come to an end, but not as glad as everyone on Ferenginar. She claimed that it’s a celebration of Rule 35 like no one’s ever seen before. Leeta said that peace may be good for business, but things are really getting out of hand. Leeta told us that, when word got out that the Gamma Quadrant was open for business, the “New Latinum Rush” was on.  Then she talked about how with open borders and free trade policies her husband was practically weeping with joy. However, she felt sympathy for Odo because, if he thought he had his hands full with Quark on DS9, he’s going to have an even tougher time now that he has an entire quadrant of Ferengi to deal with. Rush and I both laughed about this, with me admitting that I would pay to see how this plays out. Rush asked me how much I would pay. I ignored that and talked to Rom, who said that he’ll be here until his ship is repaired.  However, every cloud has a silver lining because he now has exclusive rights to the holosim of the battle. Rom claimed that the sales alone will cover the cost of repairs. He finished that up by saying that, some days, it’s good to be the Grand Nagus. I told Rom that it sounds like too much responsibility for me, to which he somewhat agreed. Then Rom talked about how he doesn’t like to think about how close to disaster we were and was fortunate that there were people like me and Rush out there to bring us all back to the brink. Rom claimed that we both have quite the stories to tell with all of our adventures.  Then he asked if either one of us considered making a holobiography, because our life stories would be quite popular and profitable. Rom said that he’d make me and Rush a very generous offer for the rights and cut us both a share of the profits, 25%.

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Rush said that writing her life story would do more harm than good. I told Rom that, if anyone’s writing my life story, it’s Chris because he’s my Watson. Rom said that the offer still stands if either of us change our minds, which is not happening anytime soon. After that, we talked to Quark who welcomed us and offered both of us a VIP discount on our drinks because it’s a private party and he’s in a generous mood.  Rush asked him if he really means that our drinks are not on the house. Quark asked Rush if she took a hit in the head in that fight, because he’s in a generous mood but he’s not insane. Quark told us that we get half off, so we either take it or leave it. I told Quark that I’ll take it and the same goes to Rush. Quark made a comment about how, with two alcoholics, he’s not surprised in the least. However, he was still happy we agreed and told us not to take it personally, since we could be Odo and he gets a 50% markup on his drinks. Rush pointed out that it’s rather useless because Odo doesn’t drink. I asked Quark about the Sword of Kahless and he said that there wasn’t much to tell because Lek saw the error of his ways and gave it back.  Then he let Grilka, Martok and Worf know they’d recovered their precious relic. Quark said that, a quick handoff later, and the Klingons were off to war. He claimed that he and Rom tagged along, mainly to see the look on Odo’s face when Quark rode in with the cavalry. Quark said that it was priceless and, if he dies tomorrow, he’ll go to the Exchequer with a smile on his face. Rush asked Quark sarcastically if he made a profit on that job. Quark responded by asking if he looks like Nog to us because, unlike the Federation, the Klingons know the value of latinum. Rush agreed with that, saying dealing with the Federation doesn’t do much in the way of profit. I said that the Federation has a different system from the rest of the galaxy, what you get is based off of how much you contribute, which is why my dad agreed to let Joey stay with us when his ship crashed on Earth, against my mom’s wishes.  However, I didn’t mention that part out loud. I did say that, If you contribute a great deal, or your status is high enough, you can extend your privileges to friends or relatives, like how Chris’s dad is a high-up Federation official.  It’s why he’s the golden boy of the Federation. Quark said that it sounds interesting, but he’s thinking about spending his cut on a smaller moon to orbit the one he already has, then speculated that he might even name it Odo. I told Quark that he’s taking a huge risk with that one. Finally, it was time to talk to Martok and he bragged about how it was a hard-fought battle and a well-earned victory, but was disappointed that the Klingons almost missed it. Martok admitted that their fleet would’ve never left the Empire if it weren’t for the Sword’s return. He claimed that Grilka told him that her former mate, Quark, had something to do with that. Martok said that the sacred blade of Kahless being returned to the Empire by a Ferengi was madness. I pointed out that it’s not that hard to believe and Worf also played a part in all of this.  Martok admitted that it was Worf’s idea to ignite the Beacon of Kahless. He claimed it was a bold move, but it paid off because only a coward could refuse such a call to arms. Martok bragged about how the legend of Kahless was stronger than ever, and it would not surprise him if the High Council moved to create a new clone of the Emperor. After all, there is great power in legend. Rush was still confused about Grilka and Quark being an item, but she wasn’t schooled in the adventures of Deep Space Nine like I was. I told Rush that it’s a long story and then Quark interjected by telling us that there’s a message from Garak on his monitor, text only. Quark said that Garak wants us to meet him at his old tailor shop. Then Quark speculated that maybe Garak’s had enough of politics and wants to get back in the fashion game. Quark claimed that it would be more profitable in the long run and easier on the nerves. Rush and I both doubted that. Then Quark warned us not to keep Garak waiting because he looks for secrets when he gets bored, and he’s not the person anyone wants poking around in their business.  I told Quark that my life’s an open book, even if I won’t always read it to people. Still, I was happy that I would get to see Garak one last time. Unfortunately, so was Rush.

So, we made our way to Garak’s Tailor Shop, where Rush decided to sit on the table, near Garak I might add.  Kuumaarke talked to us before I could say anything about it, claiming that the conflict may be over, but there’s still plenty of work to be done.  She told us that the Lukari have offered to help the Hur’q restore their homeworld’s ecosystem, and they’ve accepted. Then Kuumaarke said that Doctor Bashir will be working with them on this and it’s their goal to ensure that no Hur’q will ever go hungry again.  Actually, she said that no Hur’q will go without nourishment again but I couldn’t resist quoting Scar. Kuumaarke told us that, some time ago, she hoped for a path to peaceful resolution to their troubles with the Hur’q. Now she’s happy to be part of such a solution, at last.  Then she thanked both me and Rush for our efforts in getting us all to this point… to peace. At that point, Rush took a seat on the table, so I told her that she shouldn’t be sitting there, because she’ll break it. She asked me if this was supposed to be a crack about her weight.  I told Rush that I was just saying that the table’s very fragile and I wouldn’t want Garak’s former shop ruined. Garak told me that I didn’t have to worry about that, and then he turned to me and thanked me for agreeing to meet him here. That’s right, the great exile and former spy that I read about in the Academy thanked me!  This is so cool! He also thanked Rush, but he did ask for the both of us. Garak said that, strangely, he finds it easy to center himself in this shop, even relax. I asked Garak if it was because of memories of a simpler time in his life. He told me I was right (my three favorite words), and that Cardassia is about to begin a new journey, as it were, and he’ll be going along for the ride.  Rush told Garak and it sounds exciting to her, to which he admitted that it is. Apparently, Cardassia has been offered membership in the Alliance, and they’ve accepted. Garak said that their seat at the table was hard-earned, but they’re ready — and grateful — to join the ongoing efforts. Then Garak told us that officer-exchange programs have already begun, in fact. Garak suspected that I’ll be seeing more Cardassian faces in the future, and he hopes that I show them the same courtesy as I’ve shown him in their shared adventures.  I detected quite a bit of sarcasm from him, because we both know that I don’t do courtesy. I asked Garak where he falls into in all this.

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He told me that he’ll be spending time on Earth, Qo’noS, and New Romulus… the life of an ambassador is never dull after all. I snorted and told Garak that I beg to differ on that one. Garak sarcastically asked why no one offered to make me a diplomat. Rush said that, if I were a diplomat, I’d cause an intergalactic war. I told Rush that she actually makes a good point. Hey, I wouldn’t be dishing if I couldn’t take.  Garak then said that someone needs to make sure the Alliance doesn’t forget about Cardassia, and he supposed that someone is him. He said that he’ll be sure to follow both of our exploits, of course. Since either one of us will be far more entertaining than economic forecasts and state functions, to be sure. I said that The Last Jedi would be more entertaining than that, something Rush begged to differ on. Garak told me that he looked up my daughter, Rose, and she’s doing rather well, unscathed in the Hur’q attack. I hesitated and then asked Garak what she was like.  He told me that she’s very happy, energetic and very polite. Then added that, if it weren’t for her striking resemblance to me, he’d have a hard time believing she’s my daughter. I stayed silent for a minute until Garak told me and Rush that our fearless leaders want to have a word with us next. Neither one of us even asked him how he knew that.

We left Garak’s Tailor Shop and found the Alliance leaders waiting right outside for us. 

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Rush caught D’Tan’s attention, who told her that he’s initiated a dialogue between the Dominion and the Karemma.  He claimed that, in light of recent events, he felt that it was imperative that their conflict be resolved peacefully.  D’Tan said that whether that results in an independent Karemma or not remains to be seen, but he shall endeavor to help them reach a result that is beneficial for both parties.  Rush told D’Tan that he’s got himself a real challenge. After that, Admiral Quinn talked to me and said that there have been some significant diplomatic events since our return from the Gamma Quadrant.  Quinn told me that, first, the Dominion is joining the Alliance and having them as allies will take some getting used to, but the opportunity was too great to ignore. I told Quinn that I always thought Quark would become a Bajoran Vedek and take a vow of celibacy before that ever happened.  Quinn then said that, as a condition to joining the Alliance, they requested that the Founders take steps to free the Jem’Hadar from their addiction to ketracel while. Quinn was happy to say that Ambassador Odo was inclined to comply with that request. Quinn said that it will make things… interesting in the Gamma Quadrant, to be sure.  Still, it’s been a long time coming and the Jem’Hadar should be able to live their lives freely. I told Quinn that, now that Thanos isn’t a threat, the Avengers, Spider-Man, Dr. Strange and the Guardians of the Galaxy can all go back to their normal lives. This time, it’s for the better. Quinn told me that I really need to stop comparing reality to fiction.  I told Quinn that he’d have to erase all my knowledge of fiction from my brain to make that happen. Finally, it was J’MPok’s turn to speak. He told both me and Rush that the Havas-kul sector has been designated as independent from the Dominion, and a “Hur’q Neutral Zone” has been established around it. Then he said that the Empire will join the Federation and the Republic in keeping the peace with the Dominion and the Hur’q.  J’mpok finished it up by saying that they have experience in enforcing a neutral zone after all. Then J’mpok proudly proclaimed that Martok’s use of the Beacon, and the return of the Blade, has led to a renewed interest in Kahless throughout the Empire. J’mpok said that some say Martok stands with honor next to great heroes like T’Kuvma, Voq, L’Rell, and Kang. J’mpok joked that getting along with Martok is difficult enough, now his ego’s going to be larger than Mount Hamar.  However, J’mpok’s grateful that Martok has very little in the way of political aspirations, otherwise he’d have to kill him again. J’mpok laughed at his own stupid joke, something that made me and Rush roll our eyes. Rush told J’mpok to watch out, because Martok might want revenge for his previous death, and she said this with a smile. J’mpok said that he’ll keep an eye on Martok so that it doesn’t happen. I told J’mpok not to abuse his power, because that was Gowron’s mistake. 

After that, I got a call from Chris who told me that Odo and Bashir would like a word with me and Rush in Sickbay when we have a moment.  Well, we’ve got nothing but time so we went to Sickbay and talked with Bashir. He told us that things are finally settling down around here…  well, as much as it ever settles down, that is. I asked Bashir why he’s still in uniform if that’s the case. Bashir explained that there’s a lot to be done with the Hur’q and being a part of Starfleet will help him make things happen in that regard.  Bashir said that, when he’s not on DS9, he’ll be working with the Lukari and the crew of the U.S.S. Aventine to help the Hur’q get back on their feet. Rush told Bashir that Havas-kul is a long way from home for him. Bashir explained that he’s married to the captain of the Aventine, so it won’t be too bad.  Then Bashir said that the kids won’t be joining them until Kuumaarke and her team restore Havas-kul to a more habitable state. Just the mention of kids sent a pang through my heart as I thought of my own. Bashir told us that he’s sure we’ll be seeing each other soon but, until then, stay safe and said it was an order from our Doctor.  Finally, we talked to Odo who told us that the Dominion is about to go through a number of changes. They’re liberating the Jem’Hadar from the White, phasing out the Founders’ “benevolent dictatorship,” establishing a safe haven for the Hur’q. Needless to say, Odo’s going to be busy for a very long time. I told Odo that won’t be easy, because if there’s one thing no one likes it’s change. 

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Odo agreed with me and said that many Founders are still resistant to it. Though he likes to think that they’re outnumbered by those willing to take a more diplomatic approach. After all, the last thing the Dominion, or anyone, needs is a civil war. Odo then told us more bad news by saying that not all of the Hur’q were cured, so we’ll be dealing with rogue swarms for quite some time. However, he hopes that they can call on either one of us in the future if they run into that special kind of trouble that we have a talent for dealing with.  Rush said that she’d be happy to help for a price while all I could do was stand there like an idiot and give a high pitched sure. Then Odo warned both of us to keep an eye out for Quark, because that little act of “heroism” with the Sword of Kahless will make him bolder than ever. Odo asked me how my daughter was, and I told him that I heard from Garak that she survived the attack. Odo then apologized for putting my daughter in harm’s way and all I responded to that with was that he’s lucky that she wasn’t hurt. Chris told me that the Winchester’s been clear for departure, so they’re ready to leave when I am.  Rush got the same message from the Jimeck, who said that she was ready to clear out.

As soon as I got back on my ship, I got a call from Odo before I could visit Bajor.  He told me that the future of the Dominion is uncertain for the first time in many years.  According to Odo, without the Wicked Witch of the Gamma Quadrant and her unbreakable will at the center of it all, the GQ will undoubtedly go through a great deal of turmoil.  Odo said that he’ll do what he can to maintain order and keep the peace, but it’ll definitely be a challenge. For now, what matters to Odo is that we fought for the Dominion when they needed it the most.  Odo told me that he won’t forget that and, thanks to the Great Link, neither with the Founders. Odo thanked me and said that he hoped that we can meet again under much better circumstances.

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Elisa asked if I was ready to leave, but I told her that I want to stop by Bajor first.  I faced one fear, now it’s time to face another.

A/N: So, what did you think of Candy’s team up with Rush and her take on the epic battle?  Once again, I’d like to thank Hashakgig for agreeing to do this mission with me not once, but twice after I lost my screenshots.  Considering that I got to take better ones with Bandicam, maybe it was for the best.  Anyway, let me know what you think in the comments and feel free to role-play or make requests.

American McGee’s Alice (Amazon Store)

Requested by BloodRoseRed

After surviving a house fire that murdered her parents, young Alice finds herself locked up in an asylum.  

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Her only escape is through the mythical Wonderland, corrupted by her own experiences. Now she must fight her way through an evil land in order to reclaim her own sanity.

Those of you who’ve watched the Disney movie will be in for quite a shock.  It’s definitely not the Alice in Wonderland from your childhood. However, the game is also not a darker re-telling.  It takes place after the events of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass. Therefore, it’s more of a sequel to the original events, which I think works in its favor.  In the past, Wonderland has always been a place of mythical adventure that Alice could escape to when life became too much for her. Which, considering the first book ends with the Queen of Hearts wanting to chop off Alice’s head, wasn’t that happy go lucky either.  Now that tragedy struck Alice and she’s in a Victorian Asylum, which was not a place you wanted to be sent to, she needs this one escape to cope with her situation. The beautiful Wonderland she knew and loved transformed into a twisted nightmare due to her own experiences.  However, even in this hell Wonderland transformed into, Alice still has friends in the form of the Cheshire Cat, The White Rabbit and The Griffin.

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They’re the ones that help her through this nightmare world and guide her on her quest.

As I said, the game is a gritty sequel to the Alice in Wonderland books.  I first saw it at a store when I was in Middle School but, since I wasn’t old enough, I couldn’t get the game. I’ll admit, I thought that it was just a tale of needless violence thrown in to make a beloved children’s classic cooler and more adult.  Then BloodRoseRed requested me to review both this and Alice: Madness Returns and, I’ll confess, I was happily wrong. Yes, this is more violent than what you’d expect from something set in the Alice in Wonderland universe.  However, it’s not needless violence thrown in to make the game cool, as is often done in these situations. The game explores deep elements such as mental illness, trauma, and survivor’s guilt. When Alice was seven years old, she witnessed her family die in a fire and was too busy having a make believe tea party to pay attention to what was going on.  Minor spoiler alert, her guilt manifests in Wonderland as villains, such as the Jabberwocky and the Red Queen, as they call Alice a selfish and spoiled girl. According to them, she didn’t deserve to survive and, if she had paid attention, she could’ve warned her parents and saved them. These are feelings Alice has herself echoed through the words of the game’s villains and, in order to conquer them, she has to kill the villains that represent her guilt.  This is actually very symbolic of her fight to keep her sanity and it’s something that the game play reflects, which I will discuss in a later paragraph.

The game comes with an instruction manual that has a diary of one of the doctors of Rutledge Asylum giving his accounts of treating Alice in the real world while she battles her own metaphorical demons.  Unfortunately, the copy of the game I bought didn’t come with a casebook, so I had to look it up on the game’s wiki, which you can read here. I’m sure many of you who know the history of Victorian Asylums think the doctor is some sadistic man deriving in the torture of an innocent young girl.  I actually have a book called Women of the Asylum and it documented cases of women who refused to submit to the patriarchy finding themselves committed to the asylum for a mental illness.

However, this is not the case.  The doctor is actually a caring man not sure what to do about Alice’s condition.  He talks about how he had to treat other patients and seems remorseful that the treatments result in death far more than they do in curing mental illnesses.  Little by little, this becomes normal to the doctor but he still wants to do his best to help the people in his care, even if the “treatments” are barbaric by today’s standards.  Yes, Asylums in Victorian London were hell on Earth, but the Asylum was a recently introduced concept to curing the mentally ill. Many of the horrors were less from evil and more from the ignorance of the time.  It doesn’t make it any better and I’m sure it’s making Alice’s mental illness worse, but it does make us more understanding. In addition, you can tell that the makers of the game did their homework when writing the book, even if they did get one detail about Victorian London wrong in the game, which I’ll discuss later.  You also get to see the difference between Alice in Wonderland who, in this version, is a real badass you don’t want to mess with, and the Alice in the real world, who’s a passive patient. The doctor is actually rooting for Alice, even if a part of him wants her to stay in the Asylum with him.

The game takes place entirely in Wonderland with only a few mentions of the real world. In it, you take control of Alice who must defeat the corrupted and nightmarish versions of the Wonderland characters we know and love.  These enemies represent Alice’s insanity trying to consume her and she must destroy them to keep what sanity she has left. Like many games, this one has an HP bar and an MP bar.  The HP bar represents her sanity, which she regains by killing enemies such as the playing cards that attack her and must consume the essence they leave behind. Try explaining that to a psychiatrist and see if they don’t put you in a home.  The MP bar is for magic you need to defeat the enemies but, thankfully, the essence found throughout the game to restore HP also works for MP. Boss’s have their own level and they must be defeated if you want to advance through the game.

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However, Alice is not alone as she has friends who guide her throughout her journey that represent her sanity.  One conversation she has with the Cheshire Cat about taking Gym Class contradicts schooling in Victorian London, due to not having Gym Class back then. They had Drill Class, which was the closest you could get, and it was for boys. Girls whose parents were rich sent them to Finishing School to learn how to become proper ladies and there was no Drill Class for them.  Still, historical inaccuracy aside, these conversations and help she has from those few friends represent what little sanity she has left. Spoiler alert, these characters die trying to help Alice, which feeds into her own survivor’s guilt about how she should’ve died in the fire with her family. It also shows that, for a brief moment, Alice’s insanity is winning. Having the Jabberwocky and the Red Queen accuse Alice of being selfish and spoiled represents the most powerful obstacle that Alice has to overcome if she wants to rejoin society, her guilt.  So, in many ways, the game play is made almost entirely of symbolism, which is actually very creative. You can also collect weapons throughout the game and complete puzzles in order to advance through the storyline. The most powerful weapon is the Jabberwocky eye staff, which you can use to beat the final two bosses, but my favorite for dealing with the regular enemies is the Ice Staff.

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It knocks them out just like that. The puzzles can also be difficult and, more often than not, you’ll find yourself consulting a walkthrough.

As for the horror element the game tries to represent, I admit that I didn’t really find it that scary.  I found it interesting from a psychological perspective, as I already discussed, but I wasn’t really trembling in my seat.  I did find myself on edge when I managed to play it at night but the only incident that made me slightly jump out of my seat was when a fish pops out of the lake and eats you.  Then again, I am a tough sell and I haven’t been properly scared since the recent IT movie.

This game is intriguing and fun.  I give it 9 out of 10, a creative take on a classic story and mental illness that really made me think.

Tenebris Torquent (Star Trek Online

A/N: Candy’s back and, this time, she’s recounting when she had to visit the Hur’q homeworld and got separated from her away team while traveling dark corridors, praying that she doesn’t become the Hur’q’s next meal.

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Fleet Admiral’s Log Stardate 96225.23

This is Candy Marino and I just got a call from Garak.  He told me that researchers led by his friend, Doctor Bashir, have isolated several fascinating aspects of Hur’q biology.  Garak said that he’s told this data provides insight on their native environment; specifically a metallic planetoid orbiting a pulsar within a nebula.  Garak claimed that there’s only one system that meets these requirements: Havas-Kul, in the Gamma Quadrant. Garak told me that he’s going to investigate, along with Captain Kira in the Defiant.  Then he said that Doctor Bashir will accompany us as well, since his insight will be critical to the mission’s success. Garak claimed that the doctor believes we’ll find what we need to end this conflict on Havas-Kul.  Garak said that if Bashir’s right, and he often is, Garak’s willing to go to the heart of enemy territory. Then asked if I would join them. I told Garak proudly that I never back down from a challenge. Garak only challenged this by pointing out how I acted the last two times, barely able to contain my fear of the Hur’q.  I countered back by pointed out that I still managed to do my job. Garak then had the nerve to say that he hopes I can still manage this time and then cut the connection with a smile on his face! The nerve of that man! I set course for Havas-Kul, determined to prove him wrong.

As soon as I arrived, which was a long flight, I met with Garak and he talked about how the survey reports don’t do this system justice.  After all, it’s got a nebula, a pulsar, dark energy and the Hur’q homeworld. I said that it’s like a haunted house in space and then pointed out that I’m not reading any Hur’q ships on sensors.  Garak said that he didn’t either, something he found strange. Garak claimed that one would think that they’d place a heavy guard on their home system, something we both found peculiar. Garak wants to use the opportunity to look around quietly, but I suspect a trap.  I still conducted a system scan, which Garak said picked up a number of interesting phenomena, despite interference from the nebula.

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We found a plethora of heavy metallic compounds, and a hotbed of tetryon and thermobaric energy throughout the nebula. Kira contacted us to say that there’s a moon nearby.  She claimed that the preliminary scans aren’t showing much, but it’s just the kind of place the Hur’q could be using to hide a base… or a fleet. Kira said that she wanted to take a closer look, something I agreed to. After all, the bug people are much less scary when they’re flying around in ships.

I headed for the dead moon and got another call from Kira about how the pulsar’s throwing off a lot of hazardous energy.  Garak complimented her on being astute and then suggested that we make the appropriate shield adjustments. Meanwhile, I scanned the dead moon and got another call from Kira.  She told me that she didn’t like that scans were showing a lot of bare rock, but no metals or compounds. She and Garak said that it’s a lot like it’s being stripped of anything remotely useful, which is the calling card of the Hur’q.  Garak suggested sending down a probe just to be sure. He said that there could be some Hur’q down there, hidden by the nebula’s effects on our sensors.

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Hey, anything that prevents us from running into the Hur’q is all right with me. I immediately sent a probe and got a call from Kira right after.  What can I say, she works fast. Kira told me that the moon is barely Class-D; no metals, complex compounds, liquids, or atmosphere. Garak said that the interior is a complex maze of tunnels-thousands of them. Bashir told me that this matches Hur’q patterns they’ve seen elsewhere, so you can bet that the Hur’q have been here.  I was about to set course for the dead planet until Garak contacted me. He told me that the probe is online and transmitting and their science teams are taking a close look at the incoming data, but it doesn’t look terribly promising. Then asked if we should forge on, since there’s a lovely planet nearby, no doubt filled with a bounty of toxic rocks and metallic salts, which he was being sarcastic about, of course.  I set course for the planet and got another call from Garak about how I’m entering scanning range.

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Bashir contacted me and said that the astronomic readings are strange. He said that the planet has a highly eccentric orbit and it looks like it collects matter from the nebula as it sweeps around the pulsar, all while being bombarded with radiation. Bashir concluded that it’s definitely not habitable by most standards, but not quite Demon-class.  Bashir went on about how the planet has an orbital period of several thousand years, which explains the Hur’q lifestyle. Bashir claimed that they must hibernate while the planet is at the far range in its orbit. Bashir talked about how this orbit coincides with the previous emergences of the Hur’q. Then he said that the thousand-year-cycles explain why they appear suddenly, then vanish just as quickly. Garak contacted us and put in his two cents, about how we’re reading complex structures here, along with power systems and technology.  Then said that this could be a base of operation for the Hur’q. Garak told us that it appears to be deserted and suggested that we look around, since this is a prime opportunity. Great, I have to beam down and face the bug people, again. I sarcastically asked Garak if I have a choice. Garak only responded by saying that I actually do, I can help them stop the Hur’q now or I can lay back and wait for them to devour everyone I know and love, including myself. Damn, he’s good. Kira contacted us and said that we need to meet on the Defiant.  After all, we’ll need to make preparations before we send an away team down there.

Me and my team immediately beamed on the Defiant and met with Kira.  She told us that she’s sent a team down to establish a secure zone. Apparently, they’re ready for us, but we’ll want to put on EV suits before I beam down.  Kira said that they have some in that container for me to use. She told us that, once we’re suited up, they’ll beam us down to the planet’s surface in a large cavern area.  So, we got the EV suits and beamed down to the caverns.

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As soon as we beamed down, Chris told me that this chamber appears to be a natural cavern, but the readings show unusual energy and a lot of magnetized metals and salts not far from here.  He said that some of the caves near here have a regular structure, like they were dug out rather than naturally occurring. Chris suggested that maybe the Hur’q have something like an ant hive.  I sarcastically told him that he’s telling me that the Hur’q have something in common with Earth’s most vicious species. Chris looked at me like he thought he was joking, until Elisa chimed in asking about that famous saying. Then said that, if ants had photon torpedoes, they’d end the galaxy in a week. Chris thought it was crazy and asked me if I really believed that. I told Chris that I don’t think it would take them that long. This was more than enough for me to take, so I said that we need to check in with Kira’s away team and see how they’re progressing.  First I went to Williams, who said that he should have a habitation area set up soon. Williams told me that we can replace the reducing atmosphere in this cavern with standard oxy-nitro and warm things up a bit. He said that Kane’s keeping watch and Weir’s looking into other connected areas. Then Williams told me that we should have a perimeter field up within a few minutes.  After that, I went to Ishimura who told me that she’s reading a lot of background radiation and some wild magnetic fields. Ishimura claimed that it’s like the pulsar and the nebula are supercharging the metallic crystal compounds here. Then she proceeded to tell me what I already know, about how the environment’s very different from anything we’d consider a habitable planet. Ishimura said that it explains why the Hur’q are so alien.  Then she said that it’s quite a treasure for a geologist like herself. I told her to just ignore the fact that we might get eaten alive by a giant ant colony and it’s a real picnic. Chris suggested that we hail the Defiant and explain our situation, which I agreed to. Bashir asked the Defiant if they still have a lock on us. Thankfully, Kira replied with an affirmative but, if we need transport, there might be a slight delay due to pulsar emissions.  Ishimura said that she’s getting something odd on her tricorder and I’ve played enough horror holo-programs to know that’s never a good sign. Turned out I was right because we heard something sneaking around us and I’d bet the Winchester it was the Hur’q. Ishimura yelled that she saw something nearby, that “something” being a Hur’q hiding like a horror movie monster in the shadows!

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That thing blasted us with a shockwave like it was a Final Fantasy monster and knocked me out big time!

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Thankfully, I didn’t need a Phoenix Down to get back up again, because I woke up in a series of underground tunnels.  Not so thankfully, my entire crew didn’t wake up with me. Before I could contemplate that, I got a call from Kira. She told me that she was glad that I was still with them.  Then said that whatever it was must’ve left me for dead. Kira said that I’d better get moving in case it comes back to make sure. She also explained that I’m in a series of tunnels that connect to a larger cavern.  Then said that Garak and Bashir are close to my position and they’re moving into a large open chamber. Kira told me to try to make my way to them. I told Kira as I was trying to regain my senses that I’ll just get my away team and then I looked around and realized that I had no away team. After that, Kira told me to be careful. She said that some of the crystal formations down here are emitting intense amounts of energy. Then said that they can’t lock onto anything with transporters, and the others are reporting that directed energy weapons won’t work. I cut the communication with Kira and got another one from Bashir, saying that he and Garak are alive but they’re a little lost.  Thank God for small favors.

I wasted no time and immediately started walking through the caves.  It didn’t take long for me to get another communication from Kira, who told me to keep moving because I should head up to another chamber.  I’ll admit, I’m hoping to find my crew ASAP and get out of here before any of us becomes that creature’s next meal. Then I got worried that my crew might’ve already become its next meal.  No, I can’t think like that! Each member of my crew is alive until proven dead! Kira contacted me to tell me that the creature’s in a passage near my location and I need to stay sharp. I got my weapon out and kept moving, which wouldn’t really do any good against the creature but it makes me feel better, like a security blanket.  I got another call from Bashir, who told me that he and Garak are moving into a very large, oblong chamber. Garak called in with his own commentary about how he was hoping that those cozy, cramped little tunnels would make a nice vacation spot. I said that it might make a decent theme park ride. Come one, come all to a tour of the great underground.  Run for your life from giant man-eating bugs while fearing for the lives of your friends. Caution: chance of getting eaten alive. Those with claustrophobia or a deathly fear of bugs need not apply.

Before anyone could respond to my little joke, I found a door up ahead that Kira told me was locked.  I examined the door and got a communication from Bashir. He told me that those readings I’m getting from that crystal node are interesting.  Then he explained that it’s generating a localized magnetic field. Bashir said that manipulating that field could cause a response, similar to pushing a button or flicking a switch.  Then Bashir asked me if I think Hur’q can sense magnetic fields, similar to sharks on Earth?

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I told Bashir that, right now, I’d much rather be dealing with sharks. Bashir seemed surprised by this, but I told him to get to the point.  Then he told me that I might find a way to manipulate that magnetic field to open the door. Bashir said that the morphogenic crystals are probably the “keys,” so look for one nearby that has a similar output to the door nods. In other words, we just went from Final Fantasy to Legend of Zelda.  I said out loud that maybe, if I keep looking, I’ll find a weapon that can help me defeat the Big Boss. I turned around as if expecting one of my crewmembers to respond, but found no one there to appreciate my pop culture references. Then I went to get one of the crystals Bashir told me about and got another communication from Kira.  She told me that the readings she’s getting on that crystal are weak, so it’s probably not usable. I found another crystal that Kira told me had an odd harmonic and doesn’t seem to match the rest. Then I found another crystal and, apparently, third time’s the charm because Kira told me that it’s the one I need. Then she told me to use it to open that door.   I wasted no time because, the sooner I get through this dungeon, the sooner I can find my crew and get out of here. I must’ve said it out loud, because Kira told me that this was a cavern, not a dungeon. I told her to play a Legend of Zelda holosuite program next time she’s at Quark’s and she’ll see what I mean.

Before Kira could respond, one of the bug people beamed in right behind me!  

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Kira told me not to fight that thing and run, which I was already doing anyway!  Then she said that there’s a deep crevice ahead of me and told me to see if I can get across.  I told her that it doesn’t look like I have much of a choice, and ran and jumped through the thing with a speed and strength I didn’t even know I had!  After that, Kira told me that there was hazardous energy and anti-gravity ahead, and to use my thrusters. I wasted no time turning them on while praying to every religion in existence that the energy’s also hazardous to the giant Hur’q that’s chasing me.  Thankfully, the creature turned back and Kira said that it might not like anti-gravity. I stopped and took a deep breath, thankful that this Indiana Jones boulder chase was over.

Then I found myself in an underground anti-grav labyrinth when I had to go down at the end of the hallway.  Kira told me to be slow and steady and to not get lost. Then she said to try to head up when I can. The good news is that the monster can’t get to me here.  The bad news is that this labyrinth doesn’t have any 80s rock stars ruling it, and I still haven’t seen any sign of my crew. I told Kira that, with my brain, I’ll be out of this maze by dinner time, hoping I sounded more confident than I felt.  Then we got another call from Dr. Bashir who said that he and Garak have a breathable atmosphere and that we need to try to reach their location. After that, Williams called and said that he’s stuck in some kind of tunnel maze and not sure how to get out.  Then Ishimura called and told us that her nav system’s useless, but she’ll keep trying to find us all. Meanwhile, I found a console nearby and operated it. That’s when Kira called and said that this one looks like technical data. Then she said that it was interesting that none of their starships had weapons until two thousand years ago.  Apparently, their first designs were way ahead of most species at that time. Then Kira asked aloud how they went from the geniuses to the ravenous eating machines we’re dealing with now?

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Honestly, I have a hard time believing that those creatures ever had the slightest form of intelligence. I left the room and then heard screaming from Kane on my comm that got cut off.  Please don’t tell me the bugs are back! They’re supposed to hate anti-gravity! Kira told Kane to report in and then said that she just lost his vitals. Great, what if my crew suffered the same fate and I don’t even know it? I came across another console in this labyrinth and activated it as Kira told me that Weir’s comm signal is down, but he’s still alive. Then she told me to keep an eye out while I’m trying to keep an eye out for my own crew.  It wasn’t long until I found more tunnels I had to go up and down in. Then I found another console and sent the transmission to Kira who told me that there’s a lot of historical data and cultural references in there. She gave me the short version, which was that they used to be a peaceful species. I interrupted by asking Kira if she was seriously telling me that a race of humanoid consuming bugs used to be peaceful! Kira angrily responded by saying that, if I’d let her finish, the information talks about a “great betrayal,” and some kind of epidemic.  Then I sarcastically responded by saying that it’s not their fault that they devour people alive, they’re just sick. I finished up by asking Kira if their daddy also didn’t give them enough hugs and, I’ll admit, I got a little on edge. Actually, I got way on edge. Kira responded by asking me how many hugs my father gave me. All I could do was stare and blink and tell Kira that she’s good. Then I followed up by asking Kira what else she found out about them. She told me that the rest of it is gibberish. I asked Kira if she’s located my crew yet and, when Kira answered no, I hung up on her.  Then I went deeper into the labyrinth, found another console to turn on and kept going. Yeah, this whole thing is getting redundant, even if this console actually opened a door for me that pushed me deeper into the labyrinth. Then I found another console to open a door, went past two consoles that did nothing and then went into a room that finally looked like the exit. Kira contacted me and told me that Bashir and Garak are just past this chamber.

Finally, I got out of that labyrinth and Kira told me that they’re picking up some interesting tech on sensors.  She said that it was interesting and old, very old to the point that most of it predates the Federation by several centuries.  She asked me if I was reading those energy patterns on the other side of that opening. Then Kira said that the patterns are far more intricate than the others we’ve seen.  She claimed that they think there’s some kind of ship ahead of me. Then said that it shows signs of damage and I might be in some sort of drydock or repair facility. Kira told me that there are large gaps in tech level between each section of the facility, as if the Hur’q learn as they hibernate. Then Kira elaborated by saying that they wake up with a thousand years of advancements at hand and get ready to work. Okay, this I’ve got to see. I told Kira that I found a console that looks like it can operate a door here.

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So I opened the door, went through the hall and came across another big giant door that opened on its own.  Then I finally ran into Chris and I was so happy that I did something completely against my character, I hugged him! Chris was quite shocked, but eventually hugged back. Then I regained control of my senses and ended the hug, telling Chris that it would be hard to find another doctor who has the stupidity to put up with me. Chris responded by telling me that, what I call stupidity he calls patience.  Then I said that, if he’s okay, then the rest of my crew should be fine and I don’t have to go through any hassle trying to get a new one. Chris told me that we’ve got a safe area set up here, so it should be fine. Garak interrupted us by saying that he’d hate to break up this touching reunion, but we’ll need all the help we can get if we’re to leave this world alive. Garak claimed that he and Bashir have started to make sense of our surroundings.  Garak explained that we seem to be in some sort of Hur’q command center. He told me that, from here, we can begin to restore power and critical systems. Bashir then explained that Hur’q technology is driven by electromagnetic manipulation of morphogenic crystals, doors, life support… everything, even their central computer. I said that this feels like a huge design flaw, to which Chris said that it’s a design flaw that works in our favor. Bashir agreed and told us that, if we can find the right crystals, he can bring things back online.  Then we can look for information on Hur’q biology within their data system. Then he said that we might even find a cure to what’s ailing the Hur’q. Then Bashir went on about how this planet used to be rich in a type of fungus and it thrived in the harshest of environments, even areas high in pulsar radiation. He said that it used to be a staple of the Hur’q diet until it disappeared from the ecosystem. I sarcastically remarked that I wondered who was responsible for that. Bashir just kept on talking about how, without the fungus, the Hur’q began to suffer a severe type of malnutrition. Apparently, it led to a number of neurological disorders, many of which we’ve seen firsthand. Then Bashir said that, based on these readings, there should be more data storage units in the tunnels beyond this chamber. He told me that they’re the ones by the door with the blue glowrods. I told Bashir that I’ll get the spiritual stones and help him get the Triforce before Ganondorf. I was about to leave, until Bashir told me some parts of the tunnels still have malfunctioning gravity systems. He said that I should be able to navigate through them, but the energy fields in there will nullify my weapons, so I need to be careful.  I made a remark that it sounds like I’ll be going through the water temple. Bashir asked if that was going to be a problem, to which I told him that I got through that temple… eventually. What I didn’t say was that I had to consult walkthroughs on my PADD. Even for someone of my intelligence, that temple is a real pain in the ass.

I equipped some knives I got from Lek who, in return, got to copy my music playlist. Even if phasers and disruptors are nullified, physical weapons always come in handy and I’m going to need more than my fists.  I went through the tunnels and found Kolez waving to get my attention, so I went to get him. There Kolez was with Ishimura, who was really happy to see me.  That’s when you know the situation’s bad. She said that they were about to leave and then got cut off by getting grabbed by one of those bugs!

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I’ll admit, that made me jump and I nearly threw my knife at the thing until it disappeared! Then I got a call from Kira, who demanded to know what was going on because Ishimura’s vitals just flatlined. The thing attacked me and Kolez before I could answer, so I immediately started attacking with my knives while Kolez shot and threw bombs at it, his weapons working just fine.  After a while, the thing moved away from me and shrouded itself, which Kira was kind enough to tell me. Bashir told me to send Kolez to him so he can address any injuries.  I ordered Kolez to do so and then told Bashir that my weapons are working just fine, to which he immediately corrected that he meant that going through the malfunctioning gravity system would nullify my weapons. Ordinarily, I would fight that but I’m still trying to compose myself after that random encounter.  Knowing that the thing I’m so afraid of is still cloaked and lurking around is not helping. Anyway, Kolez went back to Dr. Bashir and I got one of the storage crystals from the room. Dr. Bashir told me that it covers the first peaceful meeting between the Hur’q and the Founders over three thousand years ago.

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Honestly, it’s still hard for me to believe that there’s anything peaceful about this species, no matter how much information I come across that says they were. However, I’ll admit that, thanks to my half-sister, Tanya, sticking bugs in my hair when I was a kid, I’ve got a huge fear that makes me somewhat biased. Maybe if I went back in time and told Tanya that I would face giant man-eating bugs in the future, she wouldn’t have done that and I could actually get through this with my senses intact. I take that back, that would only encourage her.  

As I was thinking about all this, I got a call from Garak telling me that Kolez is with them. Then I finally saw a pile of rocks and activated the anti-gravity machine before going through that.   After that, I found Zarva lying on the floor injured. I gave her some first aid and she thanked me, explaining that the thing ambushed her and Weir.  Said thing tried to ambush us again but, after a few rounds of shooting at it, Kira contacted us to say that it moved away from us and shrouded itself again.  This feels less like Legend of Zelda and more like trying to get away from Pennywise in Neibolt House, or when Batman went to the sewers in Arkham Asylum and had to evade Killer Croc.  Once again, Bashir told me to send Zarva to him so he can address any injuries. Zarva told me that she’ll head to the central area now and wished me luck before leaving. I went through the tunnel and came across the last member of my away team, Elisa.  To say she was happy to see me was an understatement. Crewman Williams told me that I’m a sight for sore eyes, again something people only say in the most desperate circumstances. He said that we need to get out of here before— and then got killed by the thing he wanted to avoid.  

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The thing dragged him back and, if I can make an educated guess, ate him. Seriously, do the Hur’q have bottomless pits for stomachs? They’re like those dinosaurs in Jurassic Park whose only purpose is to eat! Which is actually quite fitting, considering how the Hur’q came to be in the first place.  Then Elisa and I had to, once again, fight off the Hur’q. After the Hur’q shrouded itself, Bashir told me to send Elisa his way, who was a little wary about following his orders, but I told her that I’ll be fine. It wasn’t long until Garak contacted me and told me that one of my officers has arrived there.

While I was exploring the area looking for more crystals, I found a helmet that belonged to Kane and Kira said that she doubts we’ll find the rest of him.  

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It wasn’t long until I found the second storage crystal and got a call from Bashir. He told me that the Hur’q tried to synthesize the enzyme they needed for cognition but failed. After exploring the bottom, there was nowhere to go but up. So I hummed the Song of Time and went up one of the anti-gravity beams. Then I went up one of the beams and I have good news and bad news.  The good news is I found the crystal. The bad news is it’s behind metal bars and I can’t beam myself past them. So, I had to go back down and find another anti-gravity beam to go up. Unfortunately that led to another set of bars and, even worse, I saw one of the Hur’q behind it!  Please, whatever deity runs this universe, don’t make me fight that thing again!  Guess what, I had to fight that thing again and, let me tell you something, Lek’s knives suck!  At least they do against the Hur’q.  Then I remembered that Kolez managed to use his bombs, despite Bashir’s claims that weapons wouldn’t work and re-equipped my original weapon of choice.  Guess what, it does work and I’m going to have a fun time pointing this out to Dr. Bashir later on!

After quite a bit of backtracking and error, I finally found a way to the third shard.  Yep, this is definitely the Water Temple. Except, this time, I can’t consult my PADD for walkthroughs.  Anyway, I got the third shard and Bashir told me that the enzyme the Hur’q need is a precursor to Ketracel White. I didn’t have time to contemplate that, because the Hur’q attacked me again!  If there are any deities controlling the universe, they hate me. I didn’t even fight that thing, I just got the hell out of there and went back to the Central Room! Then I talked to Bashir, who congratulated me on a job well done.   He told me that we should be able to translate the Hur’q data files and run a detailed analysis of them at a greatly accelerated rate now. Bashir told me that he has a good friend in Starfleet Engineering that’d love to spend some time with this technology, who I’m guessing is the great Chief O’Brien I read about when I was learning about Deep Space Nine history at the Academy.  It was one of the few times I willingly paid attention in class. Then Bashir said that the Hur’q have made some remarkable advances in their time. Bashir practically celebrated when the first results came in, and then told me that he has access to a few critical systems, including gravity and power generation. He brought them back online and claimed that doing so should make things a little smoother.  I’m all for anything that gets us out of this hellhole ASAP. Bashir told me that he got some historical records and, guess what, it was the Dominion who removed the fungus from the ecosystem during a Hur’q hibernation cycle for military conquest and it drove the Hur’q to madness.

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I sarcastically asked Bashir if he really needed to risk all of our lives to get files that say something I could’ve deduced in two seconds and, I’ll admit, my voice got a little higher than it should’ve.  Chris responded by telling me to calm down, but everything I’ve been holding in during this nightmare just came pouring out! About how I had to deal with man-eating bugs, actually worry about the lives of my crew and nearly turning into a sap and, to top it all off, Odo nearly got my daughter killed when he planted that device on Bajor! After that, I took a deep breath and, if it weren’t for my E suit, I would’ve drank from my flask. Everyone stared at me, except Garak who only gave me a smirk.  Then Chris asked if I really had a daughter. Before I could respond, a Tzenkethi beamed in with Vorta and Jem’Hadar.

I said to look at this, Vorta and Jem’Hadar slaves everywhere, but their master is nowhere to be found.  Garak noticed this and said that it appears we have some uninvited guests. Bashir told the “Admiral” that he’s a long way from Tzenketh.  Garak agreed and asked what we owed the pleasure to. Turned out the Tzenkethi was actually the Changeling bitch herself, to the surprise of no one.  Bashir asked if she was traveling incognito, and Garak said that it was one of her many covert identities, he suspects. The Changeling bitch told us that this expedition of ours has gone on long enough.  Bashir then asked the Changeling if we touched a nerve and she told us that we found a secret that she’s kept for a millennia, even from Odo and the Great Link, which Garak guessed was the origin of the Hur’q infestation, and Bashir finished the sentence for Garak like they were an old married couple by saying “And your role in it.”  I told the Changeling Bitch that I’m guessing she’s not here to give us a medal. Then she said that she needed soldiers to realize her dream of Dominion, enforcers willing to obey without question.

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I responded by saying here comes the evil villain monologue and she only told me to be quiet as if I were a child!  I was about to grab my phaser and blast that inconsiderate bitch all over the cave, but Garak gave me a look that said he had a plan that might be better than a simple phaser shot. Anyway, the Founder went on about how, physically, the Hur’q were perfect candidates but their peaceful free-thinking nature was an obstacle.  Fortunately for her, and unfortunately for us, she found the key to the Hur’q’s loyalty by studying their biology. Bashir said out loud that it was the Ketracel precursor. Then the female Changeling went back to her evil villain monologue by admitting that she extracted that from the Hur’q ecosystem so that they had no choice but to obey or die.  

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All that’s missing is some cookie dough chips and a cherry Dr. Pepper with vodka in it and I can really enjoy myself. Garak said that he took it things didn’t go according to plan. The changeling said that it didn’t because they became savage, incoherent, volatile and, with each cycle, the swarm grew larger, wilder, and her ability to control them diminished. So, all she could do was point them to the direction of her enemies.  The Changeling told us that she would let them rampage and await their eventual hibernation, which really pissed Chris off as he summed up that she used bullying to get her way. Kolez added that now her victims are fighting back. Bashir quoted Lex Luthor from Smallville by saying “cry havoc and let slip the dogs of war.” Even the Changeling bitch herself admitted that they were a failure. I told her that it’s not hard to believe. Then I explained that she tried to control life, but life can’t be contained. Life breaks free, expands to new territories and it crashes through barriers. Life finds a way. The female Changeling insisted that solids might not be able to control life, but changelings can. My phaser trigger’s getting really itchy right now. Then that Changeling Bitch said that some good came from the Hur’q, the Ketracel White, it was a gift that led to a more successful endeavor, the Jem’Hadar.  While the Changeling went on with her monologue, the backpack transformed into Odo and he told her, in a crowning moment of awesome, that he thinks he’s heard enough! Then he said to the changeling that he knew she was involved in this somehow. After all, she built an empire on slavery and now it’s all falling apart.

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Odo told her that, when the Alliance learns about this and was about to say what we would do before getting interrupted by the Changeling insisting that they won’t because we’re not leaving this world alive.  Elisa rolled her eyes and said that we haven’t heard that one before, earning a smile from me. Odo seemed surprised that she would kill another Founder while I sarcastically said, “So much for ape shall never kill ape.” Then the female Changeling explained that there were other Founders who knew the truth, once. Apparently, they had as many reservations as Odo did about building a Dominion on the backs of slaves. So, they tried to depose her, and to expose the truth to the Link. She said that they failed, and paid for their lack of vision, meaning they died.  Then the Jem’Hadar aimed their guns at us and Weyoun ordered all of us against the wall. Garak told Odo that this is getting out of hand and Odo told the female Changeling to stop this now. Predictably, she refused because, according to her, this is bigger than him, bigger than all of the changelings. She went on about how the Dominion must endure, but Garak told her that he’s afraid he can’t allow that. Before I knew it, Garak retrieved a Hur’q remote and said that she forced his hand.

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So, this was what Garak was planning that would be better than blowing her up to smithereens.  He told the Changeling bitch that it was a modification of her own Hur’q lure. Then he said that every Hur’q in the quadrant is homing in on the signal as we speak. The Founder asked Garak if he was seriously calling them here, to their homeworld? Garak explained that, on the contrary, he was calling them to The Founder homeworld. Then he told that Changeling bitch that her chickens, as the humans say, are coming home to roost. I smiled at this, adding that the dinosaurs broke free and they’re eating everything in sight. The Female Changeling lost her shit and called it insanity, but got interrupted before she could say what her people would do by one of the Hur’q themselves.  

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As bad as I was shaking, there was something satisfying about watching the Hur’q murder the Wicked Witch of the Gamma Quadrant. Unfortunately, not everyone was as pleased as I was. Zarva looked horrified, yet couldn’t look away. Weyoun and the Jem’Hadar looked like their lives ended as their God was killed right before their eyes. Unfortunately, that meant we had to clean up the mess and fight that Hur’q before it killed us.

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It took a while, but we defeated that monstrosity and, after that, Garak said that, since we have restored operations here, our ships will be able to lock onto us with transporters. He suggested that we take advantage of this while we can and I agreed. Weyoun collapsed in a heap and got angry at us for killing his god.  He cried about his “beautiful” Founder being gone and how much he loved her. Then he declared vengeance on all of us, ordering the Jem’Hadar to attack.  Odo ordered them to stand down, but Weyoun refused and called Odo a traitor. Then Weyoun claimed that he would carry out her final order. Loriss stood by Odo’s side and told Weyoun that the Founder he’s crying about is no more. Then she pointed to Odo and said that this Founder has given him an order and he will obey. Weyoun kept demanding that Odo is no Founder and the Changeling Bitch was a Founder.

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Then he called Odo a traitor and ordered the Jem’Hadar to shoot to kill every single one of us! Fortunately, Dukan’Rex told the other Jem’Hadar to belay that order and told Weyoun in another crowning moment of awesome that they don’t serve him!  Then Rex pointed to Odo and said that, where this Founder leads, they follow. Odo thanked him for that, but it made Weyoun angry as he declared that he would do it himself. Then Rex knocked that asshole down and Garak clapped while I told him, “Nice punching, Rex!” Odo told Rex to take Weyoun into custody and to return to his ship. Then Odo turned to Garak and said that we have business at the homeworld to attend to.

We beamed up and now we have to deal with a whole swarm of Hur’q.  Great, more giant bugs! Thanks a lot, Garak! Kira demanded to know if it was part of Garak’s plan to draw every Hur’q in the sector to this system.  Because, if it was, it worked with flying colors. Then Kira said that we need to get out of here, and fast. She told me that our only hope is to punch a hole through the swarm so we can go to warp.  I told Kira that I’d do anything to get the hell out of here. While I started fighting the Hur’q, Garak told me to try to hold them off and he’ll see if he can arrange a distraction.

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Then I heard from one of his soldiers that they got a containment breach!  Then another Cardassian said that the structural integrity was failing and that they needed to abandon ship! It took awhile and the Winchester suffered quite a bit of damage but, eventually, Kira contacted me to tell me that the Hur’q are breaking off. Garak said that they received the signal, they’re heading for the Founder homeworld.  Zarva said that it was to commit genocide against an entire species. I told Zarva that it won’t happen if we can help it. After that, Garak contacted me and said that he thinks we’re in the clear. Garak told me that the Hur’q have departed for the Founder homeworld, but it will take them some time to reach it, even at maximum warp. Garak said that we should make the most of that time and bring an end to this madness.  He told me that the information Bashir, who he calls the good doctor, found should do just that. Then Garak suggested that we return to our respective fleets and prepare the next and, hopefully, the final steps of the journey. After that, Odo contacted me and told me that, thanks to Garak, his homeworld is under siege. He said that he realizes that there’s not a lot of love lost for the Founders these days, but if the center of the Dominion falls to the Hur’q, so does the rest of the galaxy.  Odo said that, if I’m willing to stand with them one last time, I should assemble my forces and rendezvous with his fleet in the Gamma Quadrant. He told me that he hopes to see me there, before it’s too late… for all of us. I told Odo that, lucky for him, I don’t judge an entire species based on a few members and, even if I did, I wouldn’t let the rest of the Galaxy go down with them.

I warped out and got a message from Garak, who told me that there’s a certain poetic symmetry at play.  He told me that the Dominion are about to receive their comeuppance from one of the many species they’ve abused.  Then said that, regrettably, his people have experience in such matters. Garak told me that our work is just beginning.  He said that we need to formulate a cure for the Hur’q before they devastate every species in the quadrant. Garak added that, hopefully, we can achieve this lofty goal before they make a meal of the Dominion.  Then he told me that science is often a lengthy, perilous process. Garak said that he’s certainly glad to put Havas-Kul behind him, because small dark passages are not a passion of his anymore than bugs are a passion of mine.  

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Thankfully, he didn’t say that in a mocking way. I cut the connection and prepared to head for Odo’s fleet.

A/N: So, what did you think of Candy’s take on the underground Hur’q mission?  I meant to post this mission before the Mirror of Discovery two-parter, but I ran into an issue with Star Trek Online and had to do the uninstall/re-install method.  Needless to say, a lot of my pictures got deleted, save the ones I took through Bandicam, and I had to replay a few missions.  Anyway, let me know what you think in the comments and feel free to role-play or make requests.

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