Official Lore Office post from Bravo Fleet: Blood Dilithium

They Sent Us Here

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