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Proximity Alert

Introduction The Station Puzzles Away Team
The Thing Bug Hunt Deep Space Nine The Second Attack
Infirmary Hunger Awake!  

Chapter Six | Deep Space Nine

Commander Benjamin Sisko of the Federation station Deep Space Nine nodded greetings to Ahmad, "I trust you are well, Captain. How can we help you?"

"Commander Sisko, have any unusual events taken place either on Bajor or on DS9?"

"This place is very unusual in itself, can you elaborate?"

"I am referring to events of a mainly psychic nature, possibly mass hallucinations, sudden psionic attacks, etc."

Sisko paused thoughtfully, then shook his head. "I haven't seen or heard anything like that, but I can find out. Can you tell me what it is?"

"I'd rather not discuss this over subspace. I would like to confer with you face to face. We are en route to DS9 and will arrive within 32 hours."

"Very well, Captain. I look forward to meeting you. Sisko out."

Ahmad leaned back in his chair, running the recent events in his mind. First the distress call, then the rescue, the explosion, denial by Starfleet, the loss of five men and now a possible runaway experiment heading for DS9. This was getting out of hand!

The door to the ready room chimed. "Come"

"Excuse me, Captain", Meechan said carrying a data-padd with him.

"Here is what we were able to download from the Proxima's computer. There's still quite a bit left, but we've stripped some of the encryptions and coded blocks. Searochd's theory about Project emk was correct after all. Basically it's a shape-changing, telepathic probe designed to infiltrate an organisation and obtain data, unrecognisable as an artificial object since it's part organic and part metallic - and it's gone haywire. Incidentally Project emk stands for Project Exo-Morph-1000."

"Charming! Its psionic transmissions must have been the cause of the neural damage of all those people on Proxima. Psychic energy so intense that it burned out the nervous systems of those who were even remotely psionically sensitive. It all makes sense now."

"Except for the generators exploding."

"Searochd once told me that a small degree of telekinesis always takes place on a molecular level in any psionic interaction, and in this case it is possible there was sufficient telekinetic energy to cause severe damage to the station, by altering the structure of the generator shielding on a molecular level."

"And now you think this probe is heading for Bajor."

"Who knows? I have tried to get through to Starfleet Command Intelligence Corps, without any success. They're now saying they've never heard of Proxima Tanis Theta or Project EMK. I've got a bad feeling about this."

********

Station Log: Stardate 49176.2. The USS Avenger has arrived here at DS9, investigating the occurrence of psionic events. I will find out more from my meeting with Captain Akeel Ahmad.

Sisko sat back in his chair, bemusedly watching Ahmad pace the office as he related the events of the past days. It was unusual for Vulcans to pace or express any form of nervousness, tension or grief for crew losses, yet Ahmad did all those things - he often seemed more human than Vulcan; however, he was polite enough not to voice that opinion.

"So you're saying that a top secret surveillance probe, code named Project Exo-Morph-1000, capable of shape-changing and telepathy, has been accidentally let loose before any control elements have been installed and is now running riot in this sector, Captain?" He gazed at Ahmad, almost smiling, not sure whether he should believe this story. "I suppose I should tell Odo to plan for a family reunion!" he added drily.

"I know it sounds crazy, but Bajor is the nearest inhabited planet to the launch site and this is where I expected it to head for."

"Well we haven't encountered anything like that, and nothing unusual has happened here or on Bajor, sorry."

"Probably just as well, what I saw on Proxima was not pretty."

"I would like to be of more assistance, but..."

*Odo to Sisko*

"Sisko here"

*You'd better come down to the Promenade, we have a situation here.*

"On my way." Sisko looked at Ahmad. "Perhaps you should come with me."

They made their way to the Promenade, edging their way through the crowd that had gathered. In the centre, Dr Bashir knelt at the side a Bajoran who lay very still. Dr Qnayf sat beside him. She looked up at Ahmad and shook her head.

"Same as at Proxima, Captain. His nervous system's been burned out."

Bashir glanced up at him, "This is the third case today."

Ahmad looked down at Qnayf and Bashir, and voiced their fears: "It is happening again."

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