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Official Lore Office post from Bravo Fleet: Blood Dilithium

Begin With A Leap

Barzan System
November 1st, 2400
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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.”