Suburban Timewaster

I play video games and review them.

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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