((Deck 1, Bridge, USS Arrow))
Shayne: Is the channel open?
Had he made some faux pas already? It couldn’t be. He’d examined the contact procedures exactingly, he’d gone through with the proper address; he’d even combed his hair in a way that avoided favoring one side or the other, in line with the Gentii flightiness. Surely not…
With the arrival of an unknown object came a switch into action- action that the Gentii might find undesirable, but the captain had fully finished with his tolerance of hesitation. The shields would go up when there was a threat, and that was the end of it.
DeBarres: A probe of some type, I think. It was active and power is building up.
The green beam passed through them, and the captain’s training took hold. Scans usually held a very specific pattern or appearance- it could vary, but it was advised the in such situations, officers went with their guts. No one was sprawling over themselves in agony, or falling to dust like so much detritus; there was reason to pause. Not hesitate. Pause.
Collins: The light seems to have painted all decks. No signs of damage or energy bleeds, however. The scan didn't seem to be directed at the ship. It was more directed toward US, apparently.
That was disconcerting, but not entirely unexpected. If these people were truly so paranoid, then it was only fitting that they’d express that paranoia through invasive investigation. Shayne had the proof.
Shayne: Apparently our medical communiques were insufficient.
Collins: Brain chemistries and language centers mostly. But that's just preliminary scans. It would, uh, have to happen again to get a more comprehensive reading.
Now what could they want with brain chemistry? Were they looking at endorphins? Hormones? Examining whether they were afraid, or angry, or irrational?
DeBarres: The scans are starting to reflect back at us. I don't understand this. I am getting scans of the Arrow systems and crew.
Rodan: My sensors indicated it collected very specific biochemical data from each of us. Very specific and very intrusive.
The captain, being a private person, was inwardly incensed by the callous disregard for courtesy. However, if they were being so brazen about it, there was less to hide on their part, which was an advantage in these proceedings.
Shayne: Let’s start this with a show of good faith. Keep the shields down for now.
Shayne’s mind was the one place where he did not hold himself to an achievable standard. Thoughts and ideas could be cruel, ignorant, mean-spirited, as long as they remained securely in his mind and were not acted upon. Threats to that security usually resulted in… very bad occurrences. His own fear of telepaths, not at all assisted by his youthful distaste for therapists, was something he was working on ridding himself of. Part of him wanted to hide away, or fire on this probe and establish a buffer around his thoughts. But he was an officer of Starfleet- it wasn’t proper, and it would never be.
Rodan: Perhaps an attempt at some kind of communication? Maybe their Universal Translator is down and they're scanning for telepaths with the right cerebral configuration to speak with telepathically?
Shayne: I don’t recall seeing a telepathic capacity listed on their dossier.
A fat lot of good that observation did them, because in another pulsation, Shayne felt a stabbing pain through his mind. The world was spinning, and then he was, careening to the deck with a whopping great thud.
Around him, the sounds of similar slumpings echoed, before all he knew was darkness.
Shayne opened her eyes.
Everything was wrong.
For a start, he was slumped forward, atop the helm console that he was so unfamiliar with. The cold metal had just begun to warm under her weight. He pushed her arms forward slightly, and stood on her own.
Except the console, and the whole bridge was a good foot taller than they ought to be.
Shayne: What the hell?
No sound came forth. He said the words, breathed them out, but they refused to manifest properly. Panic settled in as he felt her heart begin to race.
And then, loudly, with a garish mechanical warble…
Shayne: WHAT THE HELL-
The voice was not his. Blind dismay coursed through her body as he turned around, and saw one of the scariest things her eyes had ever witnessed.
Randal Shayne, laying in front of the captain’s chair, slowly beginning to crawl upright.
Captain Randal Shayne