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Part of USS Pioneer (Archive): Mission 1 – Operation: Shadow Strike and Bravo Fleet: The Lost Fleet

O:SS – Chapter 8

U.S.S. Pioneer
March 2401
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“Beya, we need those shields up now, use whatever you need to get them operational as soon as possible; we're sitting ducks without them. Kyth, are we picking up any Dominion ships on long range sensors?” Thiren said, turning his attention the the Orion at the helm. 

“No, sir, there are no Dominion vessels on long range sensors.” He said nervously, still working away at his console double and triple checking his answer. 

“Keep monitoring all long range sensors for Dominion activity. Continue on course to Saxue, we will proceed with our mission until we are no longer able to do so. Tactical, as soon as Dominion activity is detected, charge phasers and load quantum torpedoes. Without shields, we'll need to do our best to avoid a fight if possible, but if it comes to that I want the Pioneer to be ready.”

Thiren took a long pause and thought about what he was going to say next, but then ultimately decided that nothing he could say would make what they needed to hear any easier, so best to just come out with the truth. “Attention all hands, there is a changeling saboteur on board the Pioneer. At last sighting, he was impersonating Lieutenant Commander Jack Sanders, but it is highly unlikely he will stay with the same face now that he knows we've seen him in that form. From this time forward, everyone will operate in pairs until the changeling threat is neutralized. Report to the bridge immediately if you spot any sign of the infiltrator.” 

He was going to end it there, especially given that the changeling could hear everything he was saying, but he knew he crew was scared, and with that fear would come distrust of one another. So he decided to say a few more words, “I want you all to arm yourselves. My priority orders to each and every one of you is to protect one another. The changeling is going to try and use this opportunity to instill distrust and bring out the worst parts of ourselves in the name of fear. We must rally and have each others back. Work together to find and end this threat, we still have a mission to complete. The Pioneer has never faltered in it's long history, and it will not start now. Thiren out.”

Kosev walked across the bridge to one of the aft bridge monitors to attempt to track the changelings movements and perhaps determine the next target destination, then tapped his badge once more, “Thiren to Broll.” He waited a few seconds and then heard the doctor report in, “We need a way to detect this changeling, whether that is blood screenings, phaser sweeps, anything. Start working on a way to detect him and set it up immediately, use whatever resources necessary.” 


“Acknowledged, Captain. I have already started work on a detection method, I will update you as soon as I have any new information, Broll out.” The doctor said, tapping his comm badge to close the channel. He made his way into his office and began reviewing the information on the changeling biochemistry that was collected during the war to try and devise some sort of detection method. 

A few moments went by before he heard the doors open to sickbay, Lieutenant Evani walking inside. Immediately, Broll turned to face her, “Lieutenant, where is your partner? You know you aren't supposed to be moving about the ship alone.”

She crossed her arms, then began to make her way towards him, “Sorry, Doc, I was already out in the corridor by myself when that call came over the comm. I figured you could use some help coming up with some way to counter the changeling threat, so I came here.” She seen that he was suspicious of her, so she relented, “If it would make you feel better, go ahead and take a blood sample.” She then held out her arm to the doctor, offering him to take her up on her word. 

“It's nothing personal, Lieutenant, I hope you understand.” He said, grabbing a hypospray and taking the blood sample. After collecting the blood, he moved it around the vile a bit and seen that it did not revert back into the liquid state that changelings are composed of. He sighed, looking down as he placed the vile on the counter, “Sorry Alia, I guess I'm more on edge than I'd like to admit.”

“It's fine, doctor, I understand.” She said, then taking a deep breath, “Let's get to work.”


Beya and Tyler continued to work on the shields in the controller room on deck 4 while she sent an engineering team to repair the severed connections in the Jefferies tube. Savar was standing guard with his security team, just in case the changeling were to come back and sabotage their efforts to reactivate the refractive shielding. A few moments later, Ginell and her security team entered the room, much to Savar's surprise. 

“Commander, wanted to check in on things here, how's the repairs coming along?” She said, her arms crossed. 

Savar raised an eyebrow, “Not well, Commander Beya estimates at least a few hours before she can successfully purge the corruption installed by the changeling. The engineering team estimates even longer to replace the severed connections in the Jefferies tube.”

She nodded, “I'm on my way to engineering now, hopefully I can speed things along down there. We just came from Sanders quarters, he didn't make it. The changeling strangled him, we found his body in the closet.” Savar said nothing, only letting out a long breath. 

She paused for a second, then looked around the room, “So, the changeling went through that junction when it escaped?”

“Yes, we managed two shots on it before it disappeared. The way that it fell apart when changing form, it did not look like the liquid state from the historical records during the war.”

Intrigued, she asked, “How do you mean?”

Savar put his hands behind his back, then answered, “The changeling looked more like bio matter than it did a liquid, I am not sure if it was intentional by the changeling or not, but it was curious that it was different.”

“Well, something to keep in mind, I suppose.” She paused for a minute, then looked back at the junction where the changeling disappeared, “Where does that junction lead?”

“It is the central air shaft for the entire deck. About ten meters ahead, it leads down to deck five.” He said, looking at her and wondering where she was going with it. 

“What could be on deck five that would pose a potential target?”

Savar thought for a moment, then said, “Holodecks, crew quarters, sickbay, transporter pattern buff-”

Ginell cut him off, “Wait, that has to be it Savar.” She pointed to Savar's security team, “You two stay here and guard Beya and Tyler, Savar with me.” She pulled her phaser and headed out of the room towards the turbolift. 


“It looks like phaser sweeps at this setting should be sufficient to trigger the changeling back to it's gelatinous state.” Broll said, pointing to the data on the monitor as he and Alia went over the data together. They had discussed blood screenings, but they weren't really that viable an option given that a changeling could easily replace someone right after they were screened.

“Phaser sweeps do seem to be the best option available.” Alia said, then she tapped a few controls on the console and scrolled down through the data a bit, “The specifications for the sweeps that they had installed on Earth are in these files. We could replicate them and-”

“No, that would take entirely too long to set up and install. I think the best course of action would be to modify the phaser rifles and go deck by deck looking for the intruder. So long as the rifles are set to a high enough setting, it should be enough to trigger the changeling's matrix long enough to be discovered.” Broll said. 

Alia nodded, “You're right, that does seem like the best option.” 

“There may also be a way to modify the sensors to detect their composition, I would need a recent sample of it to perform an analysis.” Broll said, he was about to head back to his office when he heard the sickbay doors open again, revealing Ginell and Savar entering the room with their security team. 

“Commanders.” Broll said, greeting them both. “Report doctor.” Ginell asked, and the doctor brought them both up to speed on the current plan to modify the phaser rifles with the appropriate phaser setting and sweep the ship. Savar nodded in agreement to the plan as well. 

“Daan to bridge.”

“Bridge here, go ahead Commander.” Kosev said.

“Savar and I are in sickbay, the doctor and Lieutenant Evani hav-”

Thiren immediately jumped out of his chair, pulling his phaser and pointing it at Alia. Kyth also stood from his console, and pointed his phaser at the science officer. Kosev cut Ginell off, “Evani is on the bridge as well, Commander. Take her into custody, immediately.” Two officers that were manning the tactical and operations consoles walked over with phasers, grabbed Alia's arms as she raised her hands.

Savar and Ginell took their phasers out, pointing them directly at Alia in sickbay, who also raised her hands. Broll walked over stood between the phasers and the science officer, looking directly at Daan who was already yelling, “Move out of the way now, doctor!”

“This is ridiculous, the changeling is on the bridge, I took a blood sample.” He picked up the vile containing Alia's blood and swished it around for them to see, “Look, it's not h-” He couldn't finish his sentence before there was his own blood coming out of his mouth. Broll, now coughing and choking, turned his head back and saw one of Alia's arms transformed into a sword and stuck him straight through the chest.

Savar and Ginell, both taken back by what they just witness, hesitated only for a moment before they both began to open fire on the changeling, the security team behind them opening fire as well. Alia threw Broll's body across the room, the sword end of her arm sliding out of his chest as she tried to maneuver and evade the phaser fire, but it was no use against four of them. The changeling took too many hits, and was neutralized. 

Ginell rushed over to Broll while Savar grabbed a medical tricorder, but it was too late. The damage was too extensive, and Broll was already gone, his eyes still open, blue blood dripping from his mouth. Ginell sighed, grabbing his hand and closing his eyes. Savar closed the tricorder and tapped his comm badge, “Savar to bridge, the changeling has been neutralized, however Doctor Broll has been killed.”

Thiren started to gasp, but then realized that all eyes were on him, then closed his mouth just as it started to open. He motioned for the officers to released Alia, and he walked up to her, patting her on the arm in an apologetic way before replying, “Acknowledged, I'm on my way down. Alia, send word to the crew that the changeling threat is over, you have the bridge. Kyth, keep an eye on those sensors, I want to know the minute we detect any Dominion activity.”

Both of them nodded as Kosev entered the turbolift. The mission hadn't even begun and already he had lost people. Losing people wasn't new to him, he had been in Starfleet a long time, and losing people was unfortunately inevitable, those risks came with the uniform. But it never got any easier, and perhaps he was most thankful that it never did. 

The turbolift arrived and he made his way through the corridor and entered sickbay, finding them starting to move Broll's body and clean up the changeling mess. He walked over to Broll and put his hand on the corpse for a moment, then stood and looked to his two closest friends, “Good work, both of you.”

“Not really a time I feel like being congratulated, sir.” Ginell said, holding her arms and looking down at Broll's body. She didn't know him long, but she did feel an instant connection with him when he reported aboard. She regretted not being able to save him, and regretted not taking more time to get to know him. 

Kosev looked to Savar who was looking directly at him, “How're you holding up?”

“I am puzzled, Captain.” Savar said.

“Oh?”

Savar walked over to the ground and retrieved the vile with the blood sample inside, then handed it to the captain. “Right before he was killed, Broll mentioned that he took a blood sample of this changeling. However, the sample did not revert back to a gelatinous state, it kept it's composition.”

Kosev examined the sample with Ginell, then she asked, “How could this be? They always reverted back in samples during the war.”

“I'm not sure, but we'll have to report this to Fourth Fleet Command as soon as we get back. We cannot risk sending a message now and be discovered, especially without the refractive shielding.” Kosev said. He put the sample on the counter, then looked at them both, “Do what you can to assist Beya with those repairs, we need those shields operational as soon as possible, we are only a few hours out from Saxue.” He started out of the room, “Then the real hard part begins.”

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  • Man, that was a swerve and an intense death! I had to go back and reread it as it was so jarring - in the best way possible. So much detail in that moment and so much guessing at that moment as to who was what and what was going to happen...and then BOOM, you just cut us all in two with that moment. It leaves me wondering if the threat is truly over, or is something more coming?!? Dun dun duuun!

    June 1, 2023
  • One of the greatest opportunities presented in telling the story of a Changeling is to tell the story of distrust and fear its presence caused, and this post did exactly that. Of course, even though they did eventually address the threat, they learned that the very safeguards they think they can use to protect themselves are no longer as effective as they believed. I look forward to seeing how this newfound discovery plays on their minds, as well as how the crew copes with loss of life before the mission even gets messy.

    June 1, 2023
  • Paranoia is the name of this chapter. I liked the way this story swept through the breadth of the ship: taking in different areas of vulnerability and postulating at possible security measures. As much as you put me on high-alert, you still caught me off-guard! Broll's death was gruesome and I loved his faith in the Alia Changeling, even up to the last moment. So tragic.

    June 1, 2023
  • Wow! Just wow! You really aren't shy about killing off crewmembers that's for sure! Makes sense for the changeling to cause as much chaos as possible if it's backed into a corner and facing death. And tripped up by an idle mentioning of names. What a way to get revealed. Love the reveal of the Picard-era changelings as compared to the DS9 era, with the crew stumped by the mystery before them. Is this the only changeling aboard? Are we down to just mundane threats to the ship and crew now? What else have the changelings done to the ship? Can't wait to find out!

    June 3, 2023