The away team had gotten what it needed from the dreadnought’s nerve centre. The cryptic text had been hard to decipher, pointing the way to the energy dampening weapon module’s exact location. The unit was located in a tactical assembly two decks up from where they now stood. The computer had also revealed three removable bionodes in a data relay tunnel two decks down.
“Streth to away team,” the Andorian’s voice came over their combadges, “We’ve got the weapon’s location. Vogler, it’s your call on whether you go after the bionodes too. Report to the Altai when you reach a target, we’ll beam in some pattern enhancers to get a better transporter lock on the tech.”
Astrid nodded, “Understood sir. If you want those bionodes we will get them for you.”
“Ready whenever you are, Ensign!” Beck smiled.
While some of the away team secured the area and others pored over cryptic Breen text, the DOT had seen fit to conduct a perimeter sweep. It entered a corridor adjoining the bridge. Its searchlight shone an inquisitive white glare across the looming grey bulkheads. Turning another corner, it hovered partway down a shallow alcove, finding itself facing what looked from initial scans to be a vertically mounted storage unit. A curved glassy covering would have made its contents visible were it not for a dense covering of ice crystals obscuring the view. The DOT hesitated, emitting a low boop. A metallic claw extended, rotating, calibrating. It inched towards the coffin-like unit. There was a loud hiss, and the DOT sprung back. Beeping loudly in alarm, its sensors got a clear read on what lay inside. Slumping forward in a cloud of refrigerant gas came the limp body of Chief Petty Officer Joran Tel.
As the DOT’s beeps quickened to a wail, Joran’s head slumped to the side and he began to drool.
Beck hurried over to the DOT and knelt down as he placed his hand on top of its head. “Easy there little buddy.” He then saw the CPO. “Ensign!” Beck called for Vogler as he reached for his phaser pistol and pulled it out of its holster.
The Hazard Team rushed to Beck’s side compression rifles at the ready. When she saw Joran Tel, Astird swore. “Doc!” She shouted for the team’s field medic, who pushed her way forward and kneeled next to the fallen NCO.
“He’s alive,” Doc replied reading her tricorder. She dug into her rudimentary aid kit and pressed a hypospray to Tel’s neck. ‘Heart rate and blood pressure is stabilizing,” she said announcing her tricorder readings.
“Away team, this is Streth. We’ve got readings of another life sign by your position. What’s going on?”
“DOT found one of our own, sir. Not sure how he got here.” Said Beck.
“Starfleet?” Streth couldn’t believe his ears, “What’s their status?”
Doc glanced at Beck, “I suggest a medical evac ASAP sir.”
“Alright, standing by to receive medical evac. Streth out.”
“Ensign Maec, lock on and beam the new life sign directly to sickbay,” Streth activated the intercom, “Dr. Randall, prepare for a casualty from the Breen ship.”
his whole situation had been bizarre to Maec, but he was one to please and was trying to make sure that he pleased the Captain in whatever way he could.
“Yes, Sir” he replied as he watched the crew members leap into action as soon as the person had been transported he keyed his comms again. “Successful transport, Sir. I will keep you updated on any developments.”
He began to monitor for any other possible changes in the area because something still seemed like it was off.
==USS Altai, Sickbay==
How much time had passed since Joran Tel had set foot on board a Starfleet vessel was known only to the Bajoran who now materialised on the biobed, life signs faint but there.
Nurse Harris was the first at Joran’s side. She rushed to settle him into the biobed, and get the stranger’s vital signs up on the monitor. She was removing the Petty Officer’s dirty uniform jacket when Dr. Randall approached.
“How is he looking?” Randall asked.
“Vital signs are stable. Blood pressure is 130 over 89, heart rate is 80, and O2 sats are 96.” Harris replied.
Randall opened his medical tricorder and removed the hand scanner and ran it over the patient. “Mild cerebral edema consistent with a moderate to severe concussion… that’s odd.” He entered commands into the tricorder. “He also has systems of cryogenic hibernation.” He turned to his medical trolly and loaded a hypospray and pressed it go Joran’s neck. “That should reduce the swelling in the brain and allow him to regain consciousness. Allison, in the meantime take a DNA sample and compare it to the Starfleet personnel records.”
“Of course Doctor,” Nurse Harris replied as she used a hypospray to collect a DNA sample and headed to the medical lab next door.
The haze in Joran’s head began to slowly lift as he registered vague lights and sounds around him though it came through in a vague dreamlike state.
The computer processed the sample for a few moments and chimed when it was complete with a match found before displaying it on the screen.
Name: Joran Z. Tel
Age: 30 years
Date and Location of Birth: 18.06.2370 Luna
Starfleet Rank: Chief Petty Officer
Posting: USS Atlai; Chief Flight Control Officer
Randall was running a medical device over Joran when Nurse Harris returned with the identity of their patient. She entered the data into the chart. “How is he doctor?”
“Stable. The cerebral edema is subsiding and I have just finished repairing several bumps and bruises. He should be waking any minute now.”
Joran groaned as he slowly started to come back to himself as he heard voices around him. As he did the aching in his head increased as he cracked open his eyes and the lights above blinded him. He slowly brought his hand to his head, covering his eyes, “Wha….What Happppp…ened? Where am I?” he muttered.
“I was hoping you could answer that Chief,” Randall asked looking up from his device. “I’m Doctor Randall and welcome to the USS Altai.”
Joran tried to push himself up into a sitting position but quickly realized he was unable to and dropped back onto the biobed. Turning to look over at Doctor Randall he blinked several times as his eye adjusted, “The Altai…I, I was on my way here. New posting…” he said with some difficulty, his head still aching, “How did I get here? Last thing I remember was being in my Valkyrie and….and…A Breen warship appeared, drifting….”
Randall raised an eyebrow at that, “You came here on fighter? At any rate you were discovered by our teams on the Breen ship and beamed here. You had a concussion and signs of cryogenic stasis not to mention some various bumps and bruises. To be honest I had hoped you could shed some light on your situation.”
Closing his eyes and exhaling slowly Joran tried to think back his last memory before speaking, “I was approaching the asteroid field were I was ordered to met with the ship, the Altai…there, there were weird distortions over the cons..I think, yeah they came and went then there was the Breen ship, adrift. I took the fighter in for a closer look..I think I heard a sound on the outer hull but it’s really fuzzy. Next thing I know I woke up here. Well if you exclude some terrifying dreams.” Opening his eyes again the pain in his head seemed to subside as he slowly pushed himself up to sitting.
Randall nodded. He wondered if those mechanical bugs in the caves of the station had been what had done the dreadnought and Joran’s fighter in. Tapping his combadge, “Randall to Streth. Our uh… Chief Tel is awake captain.”
“Chief? They’re one of ours?” Streth wondered out loud, “How in the…” He trailed off, knowing he would find out the whole story soon enough, “Alright Doc, do what you can to orient him while we complete this operation. Sending someone down to assist.” Streth closed the channel, “Mr. Maec, please join Dr. Randall in sickbay. See if you can shed any more light about how this Chief Tel ended up on that ship.”
D’vaid immediately sprung up and made his way to the sickbay arriving in short order to see the Captain and the Dr waiting for him. He smiled “How can I be of assistance?”
Randall handed the captain’s yeoman a PADD. “Cheif Petty Officer Joran Tel. A fly boy from his service jacket. Took a blow to the noggin and doesn’t remember much. DNA test confirms identity and I see no indication that he is a clone. We could to a blood test to see if he’s a Changeling, but I really doubt that’s the case.”
==USS Altai, Bridge==
Alton sat at the Ops console, scanning the area and the Breen ship. A sensor alarm sounded.
A duranium panel wriggled on the dreadnought’s hull. To anyone watching, it would have seemed like hammer blows distending the surface outwards before the plasma welded riveting finally gave way. The metal floated away, another serene chunk of debris within the cold chaos of the asteroid field. From the hollow chamber within the ghost ship, a single metallic limb emerged. Glinting, scythe-like with a serrated cutting edge, it heaved its robotic body from the confines of the hull. More followed, each barely bigger than a human head. They spread outwards, swarming in an amorphous patch like an infected wound in the dreadnought’s side. On the far edge, most proximate to where the USS Oklahoma circled above, the mechanical spiders began to clump together in a ball.
Alton checked his scanners. “Captain. Sensors are detecting some kind of metallic object moving on the dreadnought’s hull.”
“Metallic?” Streth glanced over to Alton, puzzled, “It’s supposed to be powered down. What’s the nature of this object, Ensign?”
“I am unable to determine the object’s power source, but I think it is independent of the dreadnought’s power. When I first detected the object, it had more mass….now it appears to be round in shape. The Oklahoma is closest to the object, so they might have a clearer reading, sir.” Alton responded.
Streth opened a channel, “Oklahoma, this is the Altai. We’re picking up some unusual readings from the Breen hull. Sensors indicate they’re closest to your position. Can you identify?”
Alton kept the scanners working analyzing the object.
“Oklahoma, this is USS Altai, please respond,” Streth said again urgently. A silent moment passed, broken only by the faint hiss and pop of subspace interference. Quiet background chatter from the away team also filled the void.
Streth’s antennae twitched. Glowering towards the floor, he exhaled heavily through his nose as the static filled his ears, “Yellow alert,” he growled.