Check out our latest Fleet Action!


Blood Dilithium

A massive subspace pulse in the Delta Quadrant leads to the sudden blooming of dilithium crystal across the Gradin Belt - and leaves chaos in its wake.

They Sent Us Here

USS Discovery, En Route to Starbase 38
October 16th, 2400

Spiral arms turned. Time, measured by the fractional inching forward of that celestial pinwheel, reached its hateful coordinate. Then it began. Across the Gradin Belt, within a miniscule fraction of the Delta Quadrant’s Centaurus Arm, the pulse surged forth. From those weak points in spacetime, from the perforations and eddies where relativity had lost its hold, the red dilithium came.




“He’s hyperventilating,” the nurse announced, medical tricorder pointed calmly at the Betazoid on the biobed.

“20 ccs of melorazine. Now.” Dr. Vashek held up her own hand scanner. It bleeped with a warning as the restrained patient’s heat rate shot past 100 bpm.

“Grrrrraaaaahhhhhhhhhhh,” a vein in the Betazoid’s temple bulged almost as much as his straining bicep. The strap holding it to the bed pulled taught. Bug-eyed and crimson faced, his head lurched forward as his teeth gnashed, “They’re. In. Here. With. ME! HNNNGGH!” A retching sound followed as a battle for his vocal chords took place.

The nurse darted forward with the hypospray, withdrawing just as quickly, “That should do it.”

The Betazoid’s hazel eyes took on a faint gloss. A Lieutenant in the Science Department, sweat had flicked from his matted brown hair, speckling the teal shoulders of his uniform that were frayed from the struggle.

“Heart rate’s dropping off,” Vashek exhaled, wishing she could say the same for her own, “Wait-”

“NYAAAAAAAAH!” The restraints gave way. The patient leapt up, lunging for the hypospray.

“Security team to sickbay!” Vashek yanked the nurse out of the way just in time. The Betazoid’s grasping, clawing fingers connected with nothing. He spun around, chest heaving, remains of the black restraining belts still dangling from his forearms.

“They sent us here. We want their BLOOD!” Eyes unfocused, he tore at the air in front of him.

A phaser bolt slammed into his side. Keeling and spinning, the unconscious weight of his limp body slammed into the surgical cart a metre away. Cortical stimulators and empty vials skittered across the deck.

“That’s enough. Computer, end playback.” The tired voice of Fleet Captain Erill’Yun Mek cut through the holographic rendering. The shimmering apparitions of the Merevek crew flitted away, bringing the room’s occupants into focus. Around the conference table sat Captains Andreus Kohl and Lucas Rider, grim-faced. Mek pinched bridge of his nose below his upper nostrils, “Admiral Beckett’s already disseminated copies to all assigned ships.”

“Vice Admiral Beckett?” Rider’s eyes narrowed, their opal still reflecting streaked stars as the USS Discovery pressed hastily on to Barzan.

“Yes,” Mek grumbled, “He’s rounding up as many ships as we can get our hands on.”

Kohl folded his hands on the table, saying nothing.  He chewed on his lower lip for a heartbeat while his gaze followed the terse exchange between Ryder and Mek.  After taking a breath, Kohl looked Rider in the eyes.

“The USS Merevek was engaged in a cultural exchange with the Chessu homeworld at the time of the subspace phase pulse.  Between all our ships in the Delta Quadrant, the subspace phase pulse was detected across fourteen sectors in the Gradin Belt.  That seemed the first impossible thing,” Kohl said.  “The Merevek crew were our first to follow the subspace chatter to a planet where dilithium has bloomed spontaneously.  The second impossible thing.  There was not one sign of dilithium when the planet was surveyed a year ago.  According to the Merevek’s sensors, this spontaneous dilithium is chemically identical to any other dilithium in the galaxy, except it caused strange reactions” –Kohl swept a hand in the direction of where the holographic projection had been– “in their Betazoid and Vulcan officers.  Some of them are hearing voices, some of them have little more than a migraine, and then there was that reaction. Oh, and the dilithium is red.”

“Impossible means nothing in the Delta Quadrant,” Rider spoke from experience, “our people there sure as hell know that much. What’s the latest?

Kohl explained, “Admiral Vailis, from the Delta Exploration Initiative, has asked for our assistance.  Most of our starships on exploration missions have been diverted to study the subspace phase pulse and what the Merevek crew has dubbed ‘Blood Dilithium’.  However, our ships are being turned away by allies and preemptively attacked by pirates and miners who all want to stake their own claim on the veins of blood dilithium that have bloomed across dozens of planets, moons and asteroids.”

“Fourteen days…” Mek sucked a breath through his teeth, “Wormhole’s not open again for fourteen days,” he cast his eyes to the far corner of the room, “and the Alpha Quadrant miners have all slipped through on the last window. By the time we get there the whole Gradin Belt’s going to be carnage.”

Mek stood, face contorted into a scowl. He paced over to a communications panel on the bulkhead behind, “Computer, begin recording a priority one message,” he paused as a two-tone chime acknowledged, “To all ships of the Fourth Fleet, this is Fleet Captain Erill’Yun Mek, Task Force 17 Command. Vice Admiral Beckett has made you aware of the unstable situation in the Delta Quadrant’s Gradin Belt. You will have by now also seen reports of Blood Dilithium spreading throughout the region. Further to Admiral Beckett’s orders, I implore all available starships to rendezvous at Starbase 38 by 0800 hours, stardate 24000111. From there we will proceed through the Barzan Wormhole to the Delta Quadrant, and we’ll get to the bottom of this. Mek out.”

Begin With A Leap

Barzan System
November 1st, 2400

Scatters of mottled greys, blues and crimson specks coalesced in the diffracted filament rays of the Barzan sun. The Fourth Fleet shone. At its centre; the obelisk. Creeping round, large enough to cast a chasmic shadow over docked vessels attending to resupplies and systems checks, it truly took on the appearance of a guardian. Starbase 38 hung, looming and hive-like on its orbit path. Docking modules yawned open, allowing glimpses of cavernous interiors and repair bays. Runabouts and executive shuttles ferried to and fro, work bees milled anxiously about three Saber-class frigates undergoing last minute reconfigurations for the trip ahead. 

Beyond larger explorers and cruisers that circled lazily, a far-off speck to those watching from the hastily assembled milieu, the relay station began power transfer to the verteron array. 

“Approximately ten minutes until wormhole opening,” the USS Discovery’s Chief Science Officer announced to the bridge. 

“Alright,” Captain Lucas Rider confirmed, not looking up as he flicked through status reports from the command chair, “I want to know as soon as the first wave is clear of the Delta Quadrant terminus,” he cleared the display and stood, “I don’t need to remind any of you how critical it is that we make good time to the Markonian Outpost. All reports indicate the Blood Dilithium is spreading fast, and we’re already seeing increased contact with the Devore. I’m sure we’ll all feel more comfortable once we’ve got a safe port of call.”

“All second wave ships report ready, sir,” Commander Natashar Rozan’s voice came from the First Officer’s chair.

“Good, move us into position,” Rider took his seat once more, steepling his hands, “Verteron array status?”

“Powered up. Initialising in one minute,” came Science again.

“Signal Starbase 38. Confirm wormhole traffic from Delta Quadrant side,” Rider called.

Guardian reports twelve ships incoming; eight freighters, four Ferengi Marauders.” 

Rozan snorted, “Filled to the brim with Blood Dilithium.”

“I don’t like it either,” Rider turned to face Rozan, “but we’ve got more to think about right now than DaiMon Scum’s mining profits.”

The sour look that flashed across Rozan’s face was quickly wiped by a chirp from her chair controls, “Verteron array initialising.”

Four points of purple light marked the cruciform relay station’s extremities. For the preceding 29 days, one might have been tempted to question the purpose of that highly modified structure as it stared blankly into the nothingness of space. Now, however, as those points intensified into blinding flashes it became clear the relay station was the key. Polarised verteron particles erupted, streaking towards a convergence point ahead. Neon violet cut through the black. Spacetime convulsed. An invisible particle field billowed around that convergence point, and the Alpha Quadrant terminus of the Barzan Wormhole exploded into being. 

Concentric rings of blue were trailed by a pale haze. Their centre, nebulous and cloud-like, poured forth brilliant white. It was as if a shower of sparks had made that 75,000 lightyear journey, flowing along that subspace thread folding distance and time into irrelevance. They appeared as silhouettes at first, lobed hulls grew from shadows. Eight more angled cargo haulers slunk behind. As soon as possible, they hastily bore starboard, shying away from the arrayed deflector glare of the fleet that now crawled forward to begin its own passage. 

Colours whirled and spun. For thirty minutes, verterons wedged the gate open. Most bore Starfleet markings, some civilian. Each paused for a while on the Delta Quadrant side, drinking in the unknown. One by one they departed. Each course laid in would bring many of them further from their homes than ever before fathomed. 

The Discovery pivoted, gliding from the Wormhole’s mouth in a wide arc. Two more ships, one Olympic-class, one Nebula, moved to flank her. Simultaneously, their warp engines engaged, and they disappeared with a flash into the same vanishing point.  



48 Hours Later

Eri’ll’Yun Mek and Andreus Kohl paced the upper levels of the Markonian Outpost’s central structure. Out of place didn’t even come close. Navigating their way up to the gigantic, sprawling station’s upper levels had been a task in itself. They passed species, sights and sounds unrecognisable even to the pair’s well-traveled sensibilities.

“What is that smell?” Mek’s face scrunched up, just as the need arose to sidestep a huge, lumbering blue humanoid. The figure’s tongue whipped out towards an insect buzzing by, then just as quickly retracted with a loud smacking sound.

Andreus Kohl, similarly, dodged the blue humanoid and swept back to Mek’s side.  Without slowing his pace, Kohl raised his chin and he sniffed at the air.  He winced at Mek and then returned his gaze to their destination.

“It’s body odour, sir,” Kohl replied in a downtrodden timbre, as if there was an inevitability to that being the answer, given the countless number of species passing through the outpost.  Kohl said, “Medical reports they can prepare a shot for crew members who wish to numb their olfactory senses, but it’s not their first priority.  They’ve commenced unpacking the infirmary. By end of the day, they’ll have the capacity to treat up to five patients at a time, giving priority to those under distress from blood dilithium.  We’re fortunate: our forcefield projectors and biobed equipment appear compatible with the outpost’s power distribution system.”

Wishing dearly for fewer nostrils, Mek managed to compose himself, “That’s good news. I’ll be first in line for that shot,” he scanned the area, craning his head to peer through a clump of bulbous, pulsating leaves growing from what the Station Manager had called the julba bush, “Looks like this is the spot. Now where is-”

“CAPTAIN MEK, CAPTAIN KOHL!” a tremendous boom came from the raised walkway above them, “Just in time for the julba bush feeding. It prefers a live meal.” The green-scaled Shivolian’s torso leaned over the railing, and he rummaged in a wriggling satchel slung low on his waist. He produced a small mammal, not unlike an Earth rabbit, holding it by the scruff of its neck. It kicked and strained as Fictieff leaned out further, casting it down with a flick of his wrist towards a bright orange flower the size of a dinner plate. The petals instantly fanned out, then closed just as quickly around the hapless beast with a hungry rustle.

The two Captains stepped back from the bush, “Uhm,” Mek looked up, “Thank you for your hospitality, Manager Fictieff. The station has been very… Welcoming,” he said with a forced smile.

“WONDERFUL!” Fictieff thundered again, stepping onto a staircase that descended behind him. His side profile revealed a protruding belly beneath a loose-fitting, long grey coat, “Your engineers work quickly! As they should with this dilithium business, I suppose. And the Devore,” the smile fell off his face, “Many here have been forced from their worlds by that empire of thugs… You see, it is the transient nature of this place. So many would rather be elsewhere,” his horned eyebrows sagged, and he made a show of looking left and right into the noisy hubbub of commerce and chaos, “Still! Worse places to end up,” his eyes creased into a smile once more, “Tell me, Captains! What can we do to further ease your burdens? Our goals align. And your technology is most, fascinating.”

Kohl grinned back at Fictieff with a glint of deepest amusement behind his eyes.  He glanced over at Mek with a hopeful pop of his eyebrows, before answering the question laid before them.

“Technology.  Technology would ease our burdens,” Kohl replied.  “Exactly how many communications transceivers could we utilize?  We’ve brought dozens of starships from across the galaxy to respond to distress calls, study the blood dilithium and, as you say, evade the Devore.  We need to coordinate them from here if we’re to keep them safe. We wouldn’t rather be anywhere else right now.”

Fictieff bowed his head deferentially, “I believe the Nygean Consortium has recently vacated the lateral spire. We can grant you use for the time being. Its communication array should be sufficient for your needs. The control room might also serve as an operations centre of sorts.” 

“Thank you, Manager Fictieff,” Mek smiled, “Centralised communications are vital. With your permission, we’ll send our engineers in right away.”

With a wave of his hand, the Shivolian signaled his approval, “And should you be in need of anything else, Captains, the Markonian Outpost will do its best to accommodate. After all, I’d much rather be playing host to Starfleet than, say, a Devore legion.”


From a Hundred Worlds

Main Science Lab, USS Discovery

The tall figure of Commander Natashar Rozan, Betazoid First Officer of the USS Discovery, stood in the middle of the ship’s main science lab. A strand of blonde hair had fallen away from the tight bun in which it was usually contained. It fell across her face, barely visible against her pale skin. A slender hand brushed it away, quickly tucking it behind her ear as she looked towards the deck.

A stubby Grazerite thumb and forefinger gripped the cortical scanner. Dr. Wilso leaned towards Rozan, gently pressing the cold metal to the skin of her temple. A few inputs later, and the status lights on the device began to flash, “I’ve got a solid read on your neural activity,” he rumbled, “We’re good to go.”

“So this is the subspace trumpet?” Mek looked towards the emitter. The machine looked like drilling apparatus, with a point extending from a rounded housing that reminded Mek of a miniature class eight probe. Mounted on the lab’s central ‘pool table’, it was aimed directly at an elevated containment box some ten metres away.

“Yes Sir,” the Lieutenant Gailwon closed up her tricorder, “It’s based on a theory from the Sarek, but we’ve added to it based on data sent back from across the fleet. The principle of the thing is,”  Mek noticed the dark blue circles under the Bolian’s eyes, “This thing’s gonna bombard the Blood Dilithium with a subspace resonance burst. Like a tiny version of the wave pulse that started this whole thing.”

Padding in Rozan’s direction, Kohl encouraged, “This is what you trained for, Commander. A first contact mission. Like all the others. You can navigate a first contact mission through a hangover if you had to.”

Rozan breathed in, smiling at Kohl, “Thank you, Captain Kohl. A first contact like no other… I’m ready,” a steely determination shone behind her eyes.

“Emitter diagnostic complete,” Gailwon announced.

“Standby to initialise,” Captain Rider stepped forward, “release dilithium containment on my mark.”

The three Captains looked on as Rozan moved to stand beside the emitter. She looked dead ahead towards the containment box. Gailwon tapped several commands into the table controls, sending a shimmering beam bursting with pastel sparkles from the trumpet’s mouth. Upon meeting its target, the metal cube was surrounded by a pinkish glow.

“OK, Natashar,” Rider called, “here we go. Release dilithium containment in five, four, three, two, one… Mark.”

Gailwon punched in a further command. The front of the grey box began to slide open, rising up like a tiny shuttle bay door. Their naked eyes fell upon the Blood Dilithium for the first time. The shards radiated their crimson glow through the room, casting shadows behind all six of them. Rozan’s eyes widened. She gasped, raising a hand to grip the table beside her. Her mouth fell agape. From it, came a low gurgle, then a growl, then a scream.



Her world was black. There was nothing except the dilithium. It was in front of her, just as it had been in the lab. It hovered there, and the terror coursed through her. She heard whispers, “ThemTheyThose…” quiet echoes reverberated around her, “Who sent us here…” She forced herself to concentrate, controlling her breathing. Looking down to her hands, the red banding of her uniform sleeves gave her pause. She remembered Kohl’s words. First contact.

She looked up, and the girl was there. The scrawny figure was sallow-faced with sunken, glassy eyes. Sooty black filth, smeared across her hollow cheeks, came into view as she padded towards Rozan from out of the gloom. The eyes stared, unblinking. Her head cocked to one side.

“Hello,” Natashar ventured, a shiver running down her spine.

The girl’s tousled hair looked dishevelled and blown about by a strong wind. Yet here in the dark, there was only stillness. Rozan knelt down, putting herself at eye level. Her gaze was drawn to the two folds of skin at the bridge of the girl’s nose. Rozan’s brow wrinkled, “You’re…” then it came to her. This wasn’t first contact at all, “Brenari.”

The girl’s eyes fell. Top lip quivering, and with outstretched arms, she ran towards Natashar. With a whimper, she pulled herself close. Awkwardly, Natashar held her there, and her breathing quickened. The girl’s touch was ice cold. An electrical sting began to spread from where those small hands clasped around her. Natashar pulled back, only to be met with the girl’s stare. Now emotionless, frozen black eyes locked her in place.

“They sent us here,” the girl whispered, “To this place. In the deep. They said we’re underneath space.”

“Who?” Natashar’s voice, too, was breathless.

“I’ll show you.”

The light was blinding at first. It fell away to an overcast sky. Clouds smudged across it in a continuous, amorphous haze of grey. Grey everywhere. From the metal fences, dusty earth and filthy smocks, all colour had been picked clean. Their faces, thousands of them downturned, looking only into the tracks of those who had trudged before them; dead like the eyes that had bored into Rozan only seconds ago.

Rozan now stood side by side with the girl. Distant mountains loomed, their granite rock faces as stern as the guards that walked beside the wretched column. As Rozan peered closer, she saw that the prisoners were all Brenari. Periodically, a kick or swing of a metal baton would be aimed their way. In the last column, a woman fell to her knees. A black uniformed guard kicked up pebbles and dust as he stormed forward. He ripped her hair back and aimed a kick directly towards a skeletal temple, tearing open her white, malnourished skin.

“Brenari animal!” he came within an inch of her face, “What use are you?” he pushed her head back down, “You? Meet your quota? You can barely walk,” his mouth stretched into a sneer and he paced around her, “Waste of grain. You want to rest,” he brought a boot against her shoulder, shoving her over onto her side, “Well now you can. And I’ll watch as the vansha birds tear the flesh from your bones.”

“Devore,” Rozan’s hands balled into fists. No sooner had she taken a step forward than she felt a small hand grasping her wrist. She looked down to the girl.

“They sent us here,” the black eyes looked up. Wire fences and corrugated barracks faded from view, and the mountains dematerialised, “From a hundred worlds. Our worlds.”

“But you came back,” Rozan’s voice was low, “In the dilithium.”

“For the blood of those that sent us here.”



The cortical monitor on Rozan’s forehead blinked more quickly. She pushed herself up from the bench with a gasp.

“Easy, Commander,” Dr. Wilso said gently, eyes fixed on his tricorder, “Deep breaths,” her head whirled round to face the three Captains. They looked on intently, clearly waiting for the Doctor’s all-clear.

“It’s the Brenari,” Rozan made to stand.

Wilso scowled, “Commander, you shouldn’t-”

“It’s OK, Doctor,” she dismissed with a wave of her hand, “The millions killed in the Devore camps. They’re… In the dilithium. Their consciousness is in subspace, and they’ve found a way back through.”

Mek stood aghast, still processing what it meant. He turned to Gailwon, “Get the subspace trumpet schematics out to the whole fleet. Let them know we can communicate with the Blood Dilithium.”


The Subspace Trumpet In-Play

  • Your ship has now received schematics to construct its own “subspace trumpet”.
  • This is a subspace resonance emitter, mimicking the effects of the subspace wave pulse that triggered the Blood Dilithium event, but on a miniaturised scale.
  • When pointed at a sample of Blood Dilithium and activated, the subspace trumpet allows any exposed telepath to converse with the Blood Dilithium. This might be like an orb vision with the Bajoran prophets, or something more straightforward like a disembodied voice.
  • The Blood Dilithium consciousness is a subspace imprint of collective telepathic rage. The voice of millions of Brenari murdered through systematic Devore oppression, whether in labour camps or ethnic cleansing campaigns, lives on.

On Solar Winds

Two lightyears from Retha Avani

The rift was a flickering, fibrous mass of luminescent tendrils. Neon whiplash movements glowed eerily from the bridge’s main viewer. Mek stared unblinking into its chaotic centre. Charged tachyons spewed forth, their opposing polarities sending cord-like apparitions shooting in all directions. Two lightyears coreward, the Blood Dilithium continued its slow eruption across the planets of the Retha Avani system. 

“It’s perfect,” Lieutenant Gailwon enthused from the science station, “That particle stream is so abundant, we’ll get an instant read on any changes in the flow rate even from way back here.”

“Excellent,” Rider looked over from the centre seat, “We didn’t analyse all that data from the Fourth Fleet to waste in suboptimal conditions.”

“This is it, sir. The goldilocks rift,” Gailwon reassured, “Reversing its tachyon flow will make it act like a magnet for the Blood Dilithium, and any other matter originating from subspace.”

A spark of hope ignited in Mek’s chest, “And all we needed was a Class-V probe…”

“The probe may be common but it’s been equipped like no other,” interjected Andreus Kohl, from where he was stood beside the bridge’s command arch.  “Gailwon’s team plucked insights from over fifty-thousand hours of research submitted back from every ship across the Fourth Fleet.  Every one of their discoveries taught us more about how to influence these spatial anomalies.”

“Truly remarkable science,” Mek added.

“Final check on the probe modifications?” Rider ticked off his mental checklist.

Gailwon’s self-satisfaction was audible, “It’s fully rigged with antiproton burst emitters and ready to go.” 

“Good,” there was a pause as Rider drummed his fingers against the chair, “Let’s see how this goes, then. Bridge to Rozan, we’re just about ready. How’s it going down there?”

Once again, Rozan faced the box containing the single shard of Blood Dilithium. She pictured the Brenari girl’s sunken eyes. The malnourished, pale faces of slumped prisoners sent an icy shiver down the back of her neck. She looked to Dr. Wilso, whose expression softened, the laughter lines on his wizened scales creasing into a mixture of empathy and encouragement.

“I’m ready,” she confirmed simply.

Rider’s face was solemn, “OK, let’s do this. Ops, launch probe when ready. Doctor, you’re clear to initialise the subspace trumpet.”



She stood again in the black. It was impossible to tell from which direction the light fell. Rozan could see clearly enough that the girl’s hair appeared less bedraggled; her small oval face less mournful. As the girl moved closer, her pace quickened into a run. Before Rozan had time to raise her hands, she found herself caught in a tight embrace. The force of impact knocked the First Officer’s tall frame back a step. Rozan reached down, not knowing what to do with her hands as the girl looked up at her, lips stretched into a thin smile. A tear percolated in the corner of the girl’s eye, quivered for a moment as it brimmed over her lower eyelid, then fell. More followed, leaving sparkling trails down the length of her thin cheeks. Rozan, hands still hovering awkwardly, slowly crouched. She clutched the girl to her shoulder, running a hand gently through the tangled hair, “Hey… Shhhhh…” Rozan soothed as a muffled sob escaped, “You’re OK. You’re OK.”

The sobs stopped. The girl stepped back, still smiling as she blinked to clear her eyes, “We heard the call. You want us to go.”

“The probe?” Rozan blurted. She cursed herself for how harsh it sounded. The girl’s bottom lip trembled, “No, no we just- the Blood Dilithium. There’s been so much destruction. Whole systems-”

“It’s OK,” the girl reached out a hand, placing it on Rozan’s shoulder. Now speaking with complete composure, all traces of her tears had vanished, “We like you.”

Rozan was visibly confused, “Me?”

“No, silly,” the girl’s nose scrunched up with a giggle, “the Federation. Starfleet. You!”

“Oh,” Rozan blushed in embarrassment.

“You helped us. Some of us are free now. We know you’ll keep helping, too.”

“We’re going to try our best,” Rozan reached out her own hand, brushing aside a lock of hair that had fallen over the girl’s face.

“Then we’ll help you, too,” the girl stepped back, “Bye, Natashar,” her face began to fade back into the dark. 



Gailwon could barely contain her excitement, “It’s working! Quantum spectrometer readings show reductions in Blood Dilithium concentrations on Retha Avani IV, V and VI!”

A cheer went up from the bridge, “That’s it. That’s our way out of this mess,” Mek’s heart skipped a beat.

“They’re going home,” Kohl chimed in, sounding wistful at this first sign of relief from the suffering blood dilithium had caused across the Gradin Belt.

“Outstanding!” Rider boomed. “Helm, lay in a course for the Markonian Outpost. Let’s get these findings back to the-” a loud hiss of venting plasma erupted from behind the tactical station, accompanied by a thunderous boom that shook Rider to his core. The blare of the red alert siren cut through smoke that stung his eyes as he tried to regain focus. Shrapnel from a shattered conduit fell to the ground as he heaved himself back up and into the command chair. Blood trickled from a gash in his temple, “REPORT!”

“Direct hit on our ventral sensor palette, antimatter torpedo,” came tactical over a frantic cacophony of yells and fire control equipment.

“From WHO?!” Rider bellowed, face crimson with rage.

“Devore, Sir. They must have come within range on the same plane as the tachyon flow. There was no way we could have-” another rumble, deeper this time, ripped through the fabric of the USS Discovery’s spaceframe. It felt as though the deck had fallen out from beneath them. LCARS controls flickered in and out of being as crew and debris were strewn across the bridge.

“Hull breaches on decks three, eight, nine, fourteen, seventeen and twenty-two.”

“Casualties coming in on all decks, Captain.”

“Tactical, why are we not returning fire?” the frustration in Rider’s voice bubbled to the surface.

“There’s some kind of feedback running through the EPS. Targeting sensors are offline, Sir.”

Rider’s arm controls responded with a faint chirp as he smashed a fist down onto them.

Gailwon, heaving the Communications Officer over to one of the medical team, struggled to seat herself as the deck tremors continued, “Sir, we’re being hailed,” she announced, “Viewer’s offline, audio only.”

“Let’s hear it,” Rider spat.

In a moment of respite, the Discovery fell still. Several plasma fires trailed tongues of greenish flame from gaping wounds in her primary and secondary hulls. Scorch marks smeared her once pristine duranium and, without maneuvering power, she drifted listless below three Devore warships. Like great buzzards, they circled their quarry.

“Federation vessel,” an officious, haughty sneer filled the bridge, “I am High Commissioner Fintt of the Devore Imperium. I’ve been watching you.”

“Captain Lucas Rider, USS Discovery,” Rider reflexively replied, “You’ve committed an unprovoked attack on an exploratory vessel conducting scientific research. You’re a disgrace; a coward,” the anger rose, “I expected more, even from the Devore.”

Fintt scoffed, “Scientific research. Laudable, Captain,” the Devore commander barely held back another scornful snort, “You were interfering with a key strategic resource in our territory. Of course, you do as the Federation always does. Always talk of research and science while you scheme and plot like all the others. And now you seek to limit our growth by removing our fuel. You’re scared of competition for your own expansion. Don’t act surprised, Captain. We see it clear as day.”

“And we see your government exploiting planets, ecosystems, and uprooting entire civilisations,” Rider stood, “You carry out genocide, and then you lecture me about being scared? What’s got you so afraid of telepaths, Fintt? Afraid they’ll see the truth? The insecurities of a group of paranoid fascists?”

“That’s enough, Captain,” Fintt drawled, “your pathetic ramblings are of no interest to me. You will have noticed that I am about to destroy your research vessel. I am, however, benevolent. Simply allow us to board with an inspection team. We will take control of your ship, your data, and deposit you at the nearest neutral outpost.”

Rider appeared to ponder the proposal for a while, “High Commissioner Fintt,” he inhaled, “targ will fucking fly before I surrender my ship to a thug with a badge. Cut it.” He whirled round, “ALL REMAINING POWER TO SHIELDS!”

Immediately, the deep shudders resumed.  

“We can take about another ten minutes of this,” called the remaining operations officer.

“All hands, this is the Captain,” Rider’s voice echoed through ruined corridors, “Abandon ship. All hands abandon ship.”

Mek summoned everything he had, dragging himself to his feet as a gold-shirted officer nearby popped a Jeffries tube hatch. Pain shot like lighting through his leg, “Let’s go, sir!”

“Rider!” Mek winced, steadying himself against the bulkhead behind, “The research!”

Rider darted across what remained of the bridge, “Com relay’s still got residual power… If we broadcast on a narrow band subspace frequency then maybe we can- Captain Kohl!” Rider peered through the haze, identifying the only other remaining officer on the bridge, “Help me prepare the data for transmission!”

Bounding up the ramp, Kohl joined Rider at one of the aft LCARS consoles that was still functionally lit up.  Kohl’s fingers stabbed at menu options to sort through the science library, building the data package to be transmitted to the task force team back on the Markonian Outpost along with every other Fourth Fleet starship in range.  Kohl started with the specifications for the probe modifications and then added the sensor data from their test.  The research explaining the probe Kohl included would only be transmitted if the instructions to the fleet made it through first.

“This probe is Gailwon’s baby,” Kohl remarked, as he entered the coordinates for the Markonian Outpost.  “She’ll never forgive me if I accidentally tell the fleet to build it backwards.”

“Let’s hope that worked,” Rider shouted over roaring flames. 

“Transmission complete,” came the computer’s final words. 

“Go!” sweat and soot mingled. Together, they hauled Mek to his feet and into the Jeffries tube. 



The spaceframe of the USS Discovery began to warp and buckle under a blinding hail of torpedoes. With each impact flash, painstakingly assembled composite alloys disintegrated into their constituent atoms and subatomic dust. Disfigured and twisted almost beyond recognition, the charred hulk of the Century-class starship began to barrel portside as Devore energy weapons slammed into her flank. Structural integrity fields failed. Antimatter containment was breached. Her fate was long sealed.

From the burning mass, propelled only by a small maneuvering thruster, spun the last escape pod. Inside, three Captains, silently slumped against the interior of an eggshell hull. Rider sat closest to the rear viewport, his head turned ninety degrees as he looked back at the incinerated wreck. Secondary explosions tore through Discovery’s carcass. A shockwave pulsed from its molten core. All was consumed, scattered on solar winds. The last flash of orange reflected in the pale blue glisten of Rider’s eyes.   



Modified probes – Thanks to the combined scientific efforts of the Fourth Fleet, you can now modify class-V probes with antiproton burst emitters. Fire one into an anomaly; the anomaly is now a Blood Dilithium hoover. Any Blood Dilithium in the vicinity will gradually fade and disappear back into subspace.

The Brenari – You might want to have a telepath say goodbye to the Brenari in the Blood Dilithium. This is optional. The mechanism for clearing up the Blood Dilithium is the modified probe. 

The Devore – Expect heavy resistance. The Devore consider the Blood Dilithium critical to their continued expansion and will attempt to stop any attempts to make their new fuel source disappear!