“Danger, Danger, High Voltage”
There were already stars in Kohl’s eyes and he had barely crossed the threshold into the runabout’s cockpit. He couldn’t be sure if the blinding spots across his vision had come from the erratic whirl of starlight through the forward viewport or the expulsion of sparks from an overloaded EPS conduit overhead. Kohl braced his elbows against the doorframe to keep from falling as the deck swayed beneath his feet. He silently counted to five until he could see clearly again.
The last time Kohl had checked in on the cockpit, his trusted confidants from Task Force 17 operations had been engaged in a convivial debate about a pickleball game they’d watched on Starbase 38. Now, the overlapping cross-talk between the six officers, seated at consoles around the Arrow-class runabout’s cockpit, had far more to do with keeping the USS Maronti in flight.
“Report,” Kohl said. The word snapped out of him to break through the clamour. “Is it the Devore Imperium?”
From the seat closest to Kohl, Yeoman Aneasa replied, “No, captain.” –She cleared her throat in that way she did when she was about to take liberties with Kohl– “Sir, we’re unlikely to encounter Devore in the Typhon Expanse.”
Kohl stumbled across the cockpit and allowed himself a controlled fall into an empty chair beside Aneasa. He raised his eyebrows at her and offered her an unblinking look.
“You weren’t on board the USS Discovery when High Commissioner Fintt fired the crippling blows in retaliation for our interference with blood dilithium,” Kohl said, plainly haunted by the memory. “We may have unlocked the secret to send blood dilithium back to subspace, but we lost our flagship in the process. If a turbolift so much as groans, I’m probably going to think it’s the Devore for some time.”
The rumbling and wheezing through the runabout’s spaceframe began to lessen. As the Maronti came to a full halt, the pinwheeling stars beyond the cockpit returned to the calming visage of motionless pinpricks of light.
From the pilot’s chair, Lieutenant Emem said, “I’ve regained full flight control. Diagnostics show no damage to the nacelles, but our port nacelle had slipped out of sync with the starboard nacelle.”
“What happened, lieutenant?” Kohl asked.
“Our navigational records indicated we were about to pass through the Zorouse-Beta solar winds,” Emem answered. “What we found instead were the solar winds had whipped up into a magnascopic storm! I’ve diverted us around the storm and I’ve set a new course for Deep Space Seventeen.”
Priority Mission In Play
Although Task Force 17’s recent deployment to the Delta Quadrant has brought stability to the Gradin Belt by transporting the dangerous substance blood dilithium back into subspace, it has come at the cost of their flagship, the USS Discovery. Upon returning to their normal operations of deep space explorations, Task Force 17 has discovered something has changed in the backyard of Deep Space 17.
Known for its dazzling and dangerous stellar phenomenon, the Typhon Expanse has been largely unexplored. Starfleet has only made a concerted effort to explore the area in recent months as part of their research agreements with the Romulan Free State. Despite how much is still unknown about the Typhon Expanse, one thing has become clear on long-range sensors: all of its spatial anomalies and stellar phenomenon have increased their energy output.
Starships of TF17 have been dispatched to the Typhon Expanse to study this sudden change in the stellar phenomenon across the region. Although there has been an apparent correlation between the high-energy discharges occurring shortly after the fleet shunted all blood dilithium into subspace, no causal link has been scientifically established. Starfleet crews —with or without their Romulan Free State civilian scientist partners— are urged to take this opportunity to reach a better understanding of these anomalies in nature and to research what’s caused them all to increase in intensity.