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Return to Sender

Posted on Mon Aug 16th, 2021 @ 8:18pm by Captain Shran dh'Klar & Commander Jonathan Grayson & Commander Samantha Howard & Ensign James Phoenix

Mission: A Dark Looking Glass
Location: Mirror Universe

Shran and Samantha made their way through the corridors, Samantha holding Estella with the help of one of the Terran rebels, the other pulling up the rear. Shran brought them to a turbolift and hit the button, the doors opening, "This will take us where we need to go. Be ready, it will be chaotic when we reach up there."

"Can't be much worse than we've already been through" Sam retorted, leaving out the silent words 'by yours hands'. Still she readied herself for what about what to face them when they exited the lift.

The turbolift moved briskly to their desired location, finally bringing them to the Operations center. A few were at stations from the view as they came to a halt, and the sound of disruptor fire could be heard in the distance. Shran looked at Samantha and Estella and waved for them to move forward, appearing to wish to use them as props of some sort. He walked with them out of the turbolift and looked at the officers at stations, mostly engineers trying to get systems back online. As their backs were turned busy working, he gave a devilish smile and fired, killing all of them. He then slowly marched up the steps to the Intendant's office, seeing her inside as the doors parted open.

"Shran, about time you reported in. And I see you have captured two of these rebellious Terrans" she said in that condescending authoritarian tone of hers.

"Yes Intendant" he replied. "But as you can sure hear, the Terran rebels are nearby in force. It would seem that you will need to make yourself scarce."

She looked at him with shock. "I am not going to lose this station to those miserable Terrans again. Get out there and stop them."

The Terran rebels continued to make their push forward, with both Smiley and Bashir working together, they had overwhelming force with most systems down. Smiley was being cautious as usual as he moved forward, Bashir was being his typical brash self. Only a handful of troops remained between them and the entrance to Operations.

Phoenix was currently crouched behind a post that was holding up the second floor. He quickly fired at the enemies and quickly ducked again to make an attempt at avoiding enemy fire.

Jon was also firing on the enemy troops even as his mind went to Essie and Sam. He just wanted off this lousy rattletrap of a station before it was too late for all of them.

Shran let out a sigh of frustration. He looked at the Intendant intently. "You don't understand. You have already lost this station to those Terran rebels. You have lost this station, and in time you will lose Bajor. The Alliance is gone, and they aren't coming back. The Terrans have returned, and they will take vengeance on all those that showed them cruelty. You are on top of that list Intendant."

She looked at Shran with contempt and smiled. "Cruelty? They haven't seen cruelty from me yet. I will eradicate their entire worthless species. I will make them think that their time under the boots of the Alliance was a vacation. Cruelty, they haven't even begun to feel how cruel I can be."

Sam watched the altercation - hesitant to intervene but feeling obliged to help. She eased Essie into the arms of one of the other Terrans before moving beside Shran.
" You've lost, your own people have turned against you. There is nothing left for you here. Enough damage has been done to both sides" Her words were filled with conviction and courage.

"Lost?" she said with an evil grin. "You think I've lost?" She reached for a disruptor she had on her desk and fired it, killing one of the Terran rebels. She looked at Samantha, "No my dear, I haven't lost. From the looks of you and your friend, I would say you are the ones who have lost. At worst, I have merely been forced to strategically retreat." She fired the disruptor again, this time at Samantha, hitting her in the right shoulder. She laughed maniacally as she watched Samantha fall to the ground. She turned and fired at the other Terran rebel who was holding Estella, the shot missing her by mere centimeters and hitting the Terran in the chest. He collapsed on the ground with Estella draped over him.

Shran watched the chaos ensue. He had seen such scenes many times, more than he cared to admit. That the Intendant killed one of the Terran rebels he had with him was of no matter to him. But he had made a promise to Ayana to save the Terrans from the other galaxy. That promise came with the hope of him finally being able to have semblance of a good life. And that meant at this point that he had to deal with the Intendant. He pulled his disruptor up from his side and fired it, hitting his mark cleanly.

The Intendant turned to look at Shran as the shot registered, pain radiating throughout her body as she crumpled to the ground. Shran walked over to her and kicked the disruptor from her hand. She wasn't dead, merely stunned. He wasn't against killing, but as much as he hated her, he felt sorry for her as well. Besides, she might be the only thing he could offer to the Terran rebels to ensure his own safety.

Sam saw red and then the world disappeared into a haze of black as the impact span her around and took her to the floor. There wasn't hate, there wasn't anger, now there was only pity for what the Indendant's situation had become. She had lost the station, she had lost her leadership and most importantly she had lost any followers she had left . She saw the disruptor blast hit the Indendant, but had no idea of if the woman was dead or not.

James fired at more soldiers as he got closer to the entrance to ops. He didn't know what or who he'd find in ops. He had been keeping a cool head for a while, but he wanted to get off of the station. But first, he wanted to find Shran and confront the Andorian himself, as he was technically responsible for killing Ash. Needless to say, his patience was wearing thin and he didn't know what was going on behind the closed doors to operations.

Jon had made steady progress towards the Ops center of the station. He hoped Sam and Essie would be there and then along with James the four of them could get out of this nightmare and back to their universe. He approached the closed Ops doors and kicked them open, stopping and staring at the scene before him.

A mix of emotions flooded Phoenix as he stood next to Jon viewing the scene of what was ops. From the looks of it, it appeared Shran had caused the multiple casualties, including their comrades, and the Indendant. He looked at his phaser, and then back at Shran.

" He's on our side..." Sam struggled to sit with the assistance of one of the other Rebels. " At least I think he is"

Jon's phaser swung to Shran. "Yeah, I just bet he is. Who shot you Sam?" He asked, his eyes not leaving Shran.

"The Intendant... then Shran shot her" Sam replied, looking from Shran to Jon then over to Phoenix.

"Doesn't mean he isn't responsible for other deaths." Phoenix said referencing his friend while his pistol was still pointed at Shran.

"Perhaps, but he's our only hope of getting off this tincan" Sam grimaced, trying in vain to get comfortable. "We need to trust him"

"I'd rather trust a shark." Jon replied grimly. "How's Essie? And how are you?" He asked, not doing a good job of keeping the concern out of his voice

"We need to get Essie back to the Washington, or to sickbay on our DS9.. or somewhere with a decent medical scanner" Sam replied sagely " As for me, I've been better to be honest" She admitted.

Jon moved to Sam and Essie, his phaser still trained on Shran. As he got to them, he asked, "Is she going to die Sam?" His voice soft as he prayed for the best and expected the worst.

Shran broke up the moment of concern in his own less than subtle way. "All you Terrans are all alike. Always concerned about things outside your control, as if somehow divine providence shall sweep across like something from a story." He looked at Jon and Phoenix, then to Samantha and Estella. "You don't like me, I don't like you, but circumstances are as they are and we need each other to make good on whatever it is we want. You want to go home, and I want..." he trailed off for a moment, "well, what I want requires me to help you leave here. As a bonus I got to have a little fun" he said as he kicked the Intendant, bloodying her face and causing a rather large red welt to cover her left side of her face.

"Doesn't mean I can't shoot you still" said Bashir as he strolled into Ops in his typical fashion.

Shran's eyes narrowed as he look at the Terran commander. "Haven't seen you in some time. Believe last time I killed somebody you cared for. A dark haired female. Trill as I recall."

"And I owe you quite a debt that needs to be repaid in kind" replied Bashir.

"I suppose you do at that" said Shran, indifference in his voice. "But you won't be making good on that today."

"Is that so?" question Bashir.

"Julian" came a voice from behind. Smiley came forward with a few more Terran rebels. "Now isn't the time for such things. We still have firefights going on in different locations, troops roaming areas unrestrained, and from the look of it, between our sabotage and whatever happened up here, systems are offline and will need mending. You'll have to seek revenge another time."

"Sound advice" said Shran. "If you have need for somebody to kick around though, you can have her" he said as his heel stomped into the side of the Intendant, making a thudding sound that made it pretty clear he had at the very least cracked a few of her ribs.

"You see, he has a peace offering" said Smiley.

"I don't feel all that peaceful" said Bashir. He holstered his weapon and took a step forward, "but it'll do for now."

Shran looked over at the Washington away team and then back toward Smiley. "I believe these people have someplace to go. Best they go there now."

Sam looked from one to the other, not daring to hope that they may be going home but not wanting to quash the tiny flame of it either.
"How do we get home?"

James stepped into operations lowering his phaser. He realized that Shran was quite possibly the team's only ticket off the station. However, James kept his phaser in hand and unholstered, in case Shran tried anything. He thought for a moment to think, realizing something.

"What about the same way we got here? After all, that may have brought our counterparts to our universe possibly." Phoenix inquired.

Smiley shook his head. "I don't doubt the sincerity of that comment, but I'd like to use a more tried and true method of returning you home if you don't mind. The transporter ought to get you all home just fine, and we can reclaim any of our lost sheep in the process with a bit more certainty."

"Transporter. You have the ability to do that?" questioned Shran.

"You'd be surprised what we have the ability to do. We've learned a lot from the other side. With luck, we might even create something like their Federation one day" replied Smiley.

Shran looked at the away team. "I'd say you better get a move on. Get while the getting is good I think the Terran expression is."

Jon moved to where Essie lay crumpled over a dead Terran rebel. He picked her up gently, brushing hair away from her cheek as he kissed her gently. "We're going home Essie, just hang on a little longer sweetheart." He whispered to her before moving to Sam and extending a hand to help her up. "Come on Sam, we're getting out of here." He looked to James next, "Ensign, let's go."

Smiley escorted them out onto the Ops deck. He looked to the computer terminals and looked to see the status of the transporter systems. While many systems were down, he was relieved to see that the transporters were in fact functioning. He entered some commands into the computer and then walked over and used a device he pulled from his bag of tricks to make alterations to the transporter controls. He walked over to the transporter padd and looked to Jon and the others. "Time to get you back where you belong."

Sam sagged against Jon, leaning on him for support even as he cradled Essie in his arms. She was gravely concerned for Essie, and still for Jon, Phoenix seemed to be doing the best out of all of them. Soon, soon they would be home.
"Thank you - for helping us" She said to Shran as stood behind Smiley.

Shran shrugged. "I made a promise. It was a matter of personal honor. I don't know if you can understand that."

Jon looked at Shran even as he held Essie. His own face disfigured. "Honor from you? Your right, I don't understand. I think your psychotic and if Essie dies, I'll come back and kill you."

Shran grinned. "You are welcome to try."

James looked at Smiley after a moment of thought. "Thank you as well for your support. I do have one final request though."

Smiley looked at him as everyone was gathering on the transporter padd. "Better make it quick."

"Can you relay a message to my counterpart? If I am playing my cards right, he'll understand it. The message is one word: Stallion." He said knowing there was a chance that his mirror counterpart would not remember it, let alone know or understand it. The least James could do was to try.

Smiley had a look of confusion. He nodded, "I can do that I suppose." He looked around, seeing everyone was now on the transporter. "Brace yourself lads. This won't be anything like you are used to." The transporter energized and they are slowly disappeared in an orange haze.

On DS9, the red alert klaxons sounded as an unknown transport was occurring to the Ops transporter pad. Kira stood there with her phaser in hand as the transport completed. When the transport completed she looked at the rag tag bunch, noting that many of them looked like the duplicates they had currently at Quark's, and then she spotted Smiley. "Like living dangerously don't you Smiley?" she said.

"It is a way of life for us" Smiley replied.

"Commander Grayson, Captain Shran will be very happy to know you and the others are back. He's been a taskmaster since you disappeared."

Sam looked around at the clean and crisp lines of the DS9 Ops centre, the well fed uniformed crew calmly going about their business despite the intruders in their midst. Her knees threatened to give out but the urge to help Essie was stronger. "We need to get Essie to the Infirmary" She addressed Kira "Please, she might die" Her own needs could wait.. at least until Dr Bashir had taken care of Essie.

Jon continued to hold on to Essie as Sam spoke to Kira. He looked to Smiley, "Thank you." He said not knowing if he'd get a chance later. "Sam, come on, we need to get Essie to medical." He urged.

Kira nodded as Sam spoke and beamed Sam, Essie and Jon to the station's infirmary. As the materialised Bashir hurried over to assist, carrying Essie and placing her gently on the biobed. A nurse spied the scorched mark on Sam's shoulder and guided her to the side and assisting her onto another biobed.

Jon stood by helplessly as Essie and Sam received much needed medical attention. Doctors and nurse hovering over them like a swarm of bees. He said a silent prayer that Essie and Sam would both be alright. He leaned against the wall, suddenly feeling very old and tired. The events and torture he received over the last few days catching up to him.

Bashir and his staff worked smoothly, a short time later the worn doctor approached Jon.
" If you could tell me exactly what happened to them, we'll be better able to treat them. Doctor Howard is showing signs of an abdominal intrusion and phaser wound to the shoulder, Estella however isn't responding as well as we'd hoped to her treatment."

Jon nodded, "Sam, that is Dr. Howard was sliced open during an interrogation by a scalpel. A laser scalpel and then her insides were played with before being hastily sealed shut. Essie, was shot at close range with a disruptor and was constantly moved. Sam did her best to treat Essie but she didn't have any of the equipment she needed." Jon replied wearily, his voice sounding like a clock whose spring has run down.

"Hrmmm" Bashir rubbed his chin and formalted his treatment options. " Here, take a seat" He gestured to a chair and pulled it near Essie's biobed as the team worked. " I won't lie to you Commander, it may be safer for us to put Estella into stasis until we can better treat her injuries. There is several internal trauma that we can't even begin to treat until she is more stable"

Jon nodded his disfigured face. Tears filled his eyes at the news Bashir had given him. Essie and her health were paramount in his mind. "Do it." He said without hesitation. "Do what you have to to keep Essie alive. If that means you put her in stasis, do it."

Bashir nodded, his team shifting gears as they prepared Essie for stasis rather than surgery. A stasis unit appeared a few minutes later.

" If you'd like a moment, we can give you some privacy" He said softly.

"Thank you, I would." Jon replied grateful for a few moments alone with Essie. He walked over to where she lay. She looked so peaceful, like she was sleeping. He picked up her hand and kissed it softly. His other hand caressing her cheek. "I love you Essie Stratton and your not getting out of marrying me." He whispered as tears began to flow down his cheeks. "This is going to help you get better sweetheart. Build up your strength, so Dr. Bashir can operate on you safely and make you all better."

His head lowered and rested lightly on her forehead as the tears now streamed down his face like twin rivers. His eyes were closed but his lips were moving in a silent prayer that Essie be returned to him fit and whole. As he finished his head raised and he kissed her softly on the lips. "Remember Essie, I love you." His voice barely a whisper, his heart breaking looking at her and knowing he had to leave her. It felt like he was abandoning her, running out. Leaving her all alone. he sat back in the chair and waited for the nurse to come get Essie, all the while his heart breaking and still the tears continued to fall.

James watched the events in the medbay play out. They reminded him of his own past. He understood what Jon was going through, especially since he went through something similar. Twice.

Sam watched the events play out before her like a bad holonovel. So much hurt, both emotional and physical were evident. She wished she could comfort both Jon and James - they looked so traumatized. She had all faith in the abilities of Julian and his team though - if anyone could pull off a miracle and save Essie on the other side of stasis it would be him.

Shran made his way through the Promenade to the Infirmary. He had been given the call by Kira that his people were back and he very much wanted to see them. He had given the order to have the duplicates returned home and Kira had said she would send them packing with Smiley immediately, which seemed to agree with Smiley. Shran hoped that his people were in good shape, but he wasn't certain what to expect as he made his way into the Infirmary, especially with the crew having been on the other side for several days.

Shran entered the Infirmary and asked a nurse where everyone was, being directed to the surgical bay. He made his way over quickly. As he entered he saw Phoenix standing against the wall looking dejected, Samantha nearby looking much the same as a nurse worked on her, and Jon was standing over a bed looking heartbroken as Bashir approached to what he could only assume was work in some manner. It had to be Estella on the table, and Shran was quite broken about that. He could only hope that whatever the situation, that she would be alright. They all looked like they had been through Hell. It reminded him of the war, a subject ironically he and Estella would talk about in private. He wasn't sure how any of them would react after all they had been through, but he needed to let them know he would be there for them, both as their captain and as their friend.

Shran walked to the bedside and looked at Estella. "What is the prognosis?" he asked.

"I'm putting her in stasis for the time being. It is the best option for her at this time. It will give me time to find a way to treat her" replied Bashir.

Shran looked at Jon, not knowing what to say, or if he should even try. "She will be alright. She is strong. Whatever happened, you got everyone back here."

Jon turned his disfigured face to Shran and simply nodded. His eyes dull, lifeless.

Sam struggled to keep the conflict from her eyes, the other Shran had caused them so much pain, but had ended up helping them in the end, ultimately saving their lives.

"I'm sorry I couldn't do more for Essie" She whispered as the nurse injected her with something. With Essie being prepped for stasis Sam had a bad feeling the next one on the surgical table would be her.

Shran could see the pain in Jon's eyes, could hear the pain in Samantha's voice. He didn't know what had happened to them while they were in the other universe, but he knew it was an ordeal. He stepped back and watched as Bashir placed Estella in stasis.

Bashir walked over after the stasis field was activated and placed a comforting hand on Jon's shoulder, saying nothing. He then walked over and took a look at Samantha. "Your injuries are less severe. I should be able to have you on the mend in a few hours. Come with me and we will get you sorted out." He motioned and offered to escort Samantha to the surgical table.

"Thank you Julian" Sam grunted as she rose, heading over to the change area to dress in the appropriate gown and pants before padding on bare feet over to the surgical table. Her eyes were still dark with emotion, barely contained as Essie as taken out in the stasis pod for her eternal sleep. Sam still felt responsible for not being able to heal her friend, or at the very least prevent her from more harm. She sat on the surgical table, making eye contact with her friends for an instant.

"See you on the other side I guess".

Jon nodded, he was incapable of talking as emotions overwhelmed him. He prayed and hoped Sam would be restored to good health. He leaned against the wall. His face hurt, his chest hurt and his heart was broken.

It was an hour before Sam returned, sedated and on the mend after her insides were put back where they were supposed to be and the phaser wound to her shoulder had been treated. Jon hadn't moved in that time.

" We've successfully placed Estella in stasis" Bashir started as he approached the broken commander, guiding him to a nearby chair " And I've contact the best minds in Starfleet Medical as to how to treat her"

Jon's movements were robotic and lifeless as sat in the chair, he gave no reaction to Bashir's words just nodded automatically. After several moments of silence he raised his head and looked at Bashir. "Thank you Doctor." He said dull, lifeless he then asked "How's Sam?"

"She is well" he said, a tinge of smugness in his voice. "I have managed to treat her and while she will need to rest here for 8 hours before we move her back to the Washington, she will be be fine. I estimate she will need 3 days of bed rest before getting back into her normal routine."

"That is good to hear doctor" said Shran as he came into the infirmary. He looked at Jon and could see he was broken with grief and he knew it was because of Estella. He needed to get more information, but he wanted to be delicate about it with Jon so nearby. "What is the situation with Cmdr Stratton?"

Bashir looked at the Andorian, "We have her in stasis. I have made inquiries with StarFleet Medical regarding her treatment. I suspect they will get back to me quickly. Ultimately though, I assume they'll want to move her to another facility, possibly even back to Earth eventually."

Shran nodded and looked over at Jon. He kept his eyes on Jon as he continued to speak with Bashir. "Thank you doctor. I am sure you are doing all you can. Let me know if I can do anything to help." He waited for Bashir to leave as he slowly approached Jon. He kept his distance, understanding that Jon needed space at this time. "I want you to spend all the time you need here Jon. Be with Sam and Estella. Let the medical staff look you over when you are ready."

For several moments Jon was silent then slowly he raised his head to show red rimmed eyes from the tears he had shed. "Yes sir." He replied woodenly his voice devoid of all emotion. It was like how he felt...dead.

Bashir hovered nearby, tricorder and hypospray at the ready. Jon's wounds needed tending at some point, they were painful but not life threatening at this stage, his most pressing concern was the Commander's mental state.

Jon was aware of Bashir hovering around but not getting too close to him. Jon looked at the doctor with dead eyes. " What do you want Doctor?"

" To make sure we can treat your injuries, and offer any other support you may need - it's been a rough day for you" The lanky doctor replied softly " I can ask Ezri to drop by if you like?"

Jon ran a hand up the side of his face where it had been scarred with a white hot knife. "I had forgotten about it and my chest." He looked down at Sam. "She's my best friend. I can't lose her and Essie both." He said quietly.

"Sam? She's not going anywhere, too stubborn that one. She'll be bouncing off the walls in a couple of hours. I may need her help to keep her quiet and recovering. Doctors do make the worst patients" Bashir smiled as he took in Jon's reaction. "And as for you, the sooner we get a dermal regenerator going the better, scar tissue and all" He continued.

Jon nodded. "Good, I'm glad she will make a full recovery." Jon replied automatically. "I can wait. Concerned for Sam." He said honestly.

" Sam will be a right royal pain in the ass when she wakes up, we have time now to get you healed" Bashir commented, giving the sleeping Sam a glare.

Jon looked to the sleeping Sam. "Can you do it here? I don't want to leave Sam."

"Of course" Bashir replied. He looked to the nurse nearby and asked for a dermal regenerator. She brought it to him and he slowly moved towards Jon. "I just need to get to your wound if you don't mind commander."

As Bashir tended to Jon, Shran walked over to Phoenix. "Ensign, how did you fare? You seem no worse for wear, but I'd like your assessment of your condition."

He looked at his CO. "Aside from the multiple scars and burns, my condition is manageable. At least physically. My mental state is a different story at the moment" he said nearly hesitating.

Bashir made a note to get Ezri down here as soon as possible, the trauma would need to be unpacked sooner rather than later. When he was finished with Jon he turned his attention to the Ensign " Alright, your turn"

James did as requested and sat on the biobed that was closest to him. "My arm got the brunt of the physical damage done to me. And then there is the multiple burns and scars" he said to Bashir. "I'm not sure what else has been broken or wounded though."

Bashir took his time scanning and treating the last member of the Washington away team, wondering if the report in to what actually happened on the other side would be classified or be available to read. It would no doubt be quite the read indeed.

Bashir finished working on Phoenix. "There you ensign, good as new. You can return to the Washington in the morning. I plan to have our counselor Ezri, I mean Lt. Dax, come speak with you." Bashir looked over at Jon, "She'll be by to speak with you as well Commander. You are clear to remain here as you need."


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