Part of USS Damascus: M1: Just A Gentle Touch and Bravo Fleet: Blood Dilithium

5) Troubled minds

USS Damascus - Science Lab
November 2400
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The Damascus was en route to their assigned destination, where they were to use their ship’s advanced equipment to get the job done. Get the information on what Blood Dilhithium was, how to prevent damage to telepathic people, and how to mine it safely. A boom in much-wanted dilithium was needed within the Federation. But the Federation was not the only customer who wanted to use such a resource.

Looking at the information a few times, Sazra sighed and leaned backward. There were so many question marks when it came to this assignment. Why risk going all out for just some dilithium? If the reports of various reports were correct, there would be enough for everyone in all quadrants. Well, that was a bit overestimating the growth, but Sazra’s eye fell upon the data again. Starfleet was putting a lot on the line for this, but the curiosity side of her wanted to understand why this was all happening and why now. She suddenly felt something cold against her cheek and moved away from it, looking at it.

A drink was in front of Sazra as Adrián smiled, “You are doing that thing again, Captain” He placed the drink on the table next to her. “Getting attracted to the unknown as a magnet, ignoring everything and anything around you” He sat down on an empty seat. “I know that with T’Path gone, you are the designated Chief Science Officer again. But it doesn’t mean that you have to do everything yourself.

Looking at him, she noticed other officers in the lab as well that were working harder than usual. Was it because she was there? Was it because she entered the lab earlier, greeted them, and sat down to work on this assignment? Now she felt terrible about the whole ordeal. These people didn’t know her so well yet, yet she sat down, “I know…” Sazra muttered, taking the drink and a sip of it. “Ice coffee, are you trying to get on my good side for something?” 

He grinned a bit and just shook his head. “Not at all, but good that you noticed the problem” Adrián saw the glare earlier. He knew Sazra well enough to know what she was thinking after working all those years, yet there were moments when he was surprised by what she said, what she thought, and how she reacted. “So far, the reports from the Fourth Fleet are pretty much the same. They don’t know how the blood dilithium reacts on the ship. Some civilian miners have already gotten the dilithium without any danger. However, there are some vague rapports.”

“Vague rapports?” Sazra looked down at the information where the red glowing blood dilithium was shown, “I got to agree with the reports of many science officers out there. This dilithium is not impacting the ship or its system, but it is affecting the crew.” 

Giving the nod to her as he crossed his arms.” The vague reports state that a mining convoy went to the more dense area. Their logical thinking is not far off. Go to a denser area, and you might hit the jackpot by fishing in bigger prices.” 

“I hear a but coming” Sazra briefly looked at him.

“Yes, the but” He scratched behind his ear for a moment as Adrián resumed, “The but in this whole idea was that they didn’t expect the anomaly density would also increase in those areas. From what I understand, Markonian Outpost has alerted all species to stay away from the area we are heading for” Adrián played with his own fingers while looking up at the ceiling. “Some ships didn’t return from that grid, and those that survived were severely damaged to their hull. The Captains of those ships didn’t talk about what happened, but whatever happened there went terribly wrong.”

Giving a soft nod to him as Sazra took another sip of her drink “That does sound troubling and also explains why you are so focused on finding out what happened to their ships. So what did you learn?” Sazra placed the drink again and swiped the data to the right side.

“While we were at Markonian Outpost, I looked around to find any information that could help us in the given situation. But many of the crews that docked at this outpost kept it to themselves and only warned me to stay away from that cursed location. When I had a chance to check the hull from one of the ships, I was surprised as to what I found”. He turned his attention to Sazra, who he saw putting her hair behind her ear, and found himself staring at his Captain. What was this sudden look that she was giving him? He noticed two Ensigns looking at them and quickly giggling away, making Sazra look up.

“Did something happen?” Sazra looked her side to Adrián. “You were saying?”

Adrián shook his head, “Maybe they saw something funny. The ship hull was ripped apart, and the damage looked quite severe. The weird part is it was not external damage,” Adrián shrugged, “It was internal, as if something ripped open the whole hull, and I guess they managed to get out of there alive.” He was somewhat concerned about that prospect, “Before you ask what the possible reason could be for that, I have no idea.”

The possibility that something was out there, the effects of those anomalies? Was there potentially a source for this all? How far was she going to go to get that answer? Sazra leaned back from her console again and sighted, “The possibilities are pretty long, we honestly don’t know what we are dealing with, and I feel like we are just hitting the tip of this all. Telepathic that are driven to madness when being too close to those anomalies. The lust and greed were noticeable at Markonian Outpost. Everyone was happy that this had happened. People would cross the galaxy to ease their greed.” 

“Being a philosopher with me right now, Captain?” Adrián smiled a bit.

Sazra lifted her shoulders as a sign of the unknown. “I don’t think there is much to it, but this same lust does not drive Starfleet. At least, I hope they are not. I don’t want to have something similar to the Liberty incident. We are en route to an unknown and dangerous location for answers,” Sazra wanted to make a point.

“The answer to other problems, solutions. Like those worlds that are getting consumed by these crystals for unknown reasons. People are getting killed by merely being close to it….that does bring up the question, Captain” Adrián narrowed his eyes a bit, “Are you able to resist the madness lurking out there right now?” He was concerned over her, maybe overprotective since the Broken Wings faction kidnapped her. 

Looking at Adrián with an intense stare and eventually looked back at the information, passing her eyes on the console, “The doctor will keep an eye on my status, attitude, and behavior. He is trying to learn everything he can about this contamination and how it might affect me. As I said in the briefing, if my ability to command is compromised by whatever this crystal is doing to people like myself, then I shall be confined to my room, and Commander Ruslanovna takes command.” 

He shrugged as he looked around the room at everyone working in the big lab. “I think we both know it will go to the limit to convince you to stand away from your chair, Captain. But you told us this, and we shall perform within the given order” Adrián stood up and stretched. “We are still about 3 days away from the location. I still have tons of work to read from ships that did encounter potential issues with the crystal itself.”

Not looking at him, Sazra just nodded as confirmation to his statement, “There are a lot of things we still need to investigate, leads to looking at, and data samples to process.” She tapped her finger at the long, written, detailed reports as she could hear Adrián leave. She spoke up, “Will we survive this…” She bluntly spoke, realized what she had said a second later, and eyed the other people who didn’t pay much attention to her, and a feeling of relief hit her. She was not heard by others, as that would make her standing as a Captain seem wrong.

“Why would you say something like that” A soft reply came back from Adrián, who was looking at her with some disappointment in his eyes that now met with Sazra. “We have survived quite a bit over the last 7 years, Sazra….I think we will survive this under your guidance without any problem.” 

It was somewhat reassuring to hear those words from not only one serving under her but also a dear friend, “Thank you, Adrián,” She replied softly to him, giving the nod. “Thought please address me as a Captain in the presence of other officers,” Sazra bluntly pointed out as she aimed her thumb at a few of them, “I don’t want people to get the wrong idea.” 

Adrián blinked a few times and was surprised at the reaction “Right, yes, sorry, Captain” he replied a bit too formally “I better get going” He nodded to himself as Adrián turned around and exited the lab.

The room became quiet again, sometimes some brief muttering between two officers, as Sazra had been looking at the console for a while now. She needed T’Path here, a second person that could understand her train of thought and debunk everything that wouldn’t make any sense was something she desired. But what was she going to do right now about it all? The possibilities of what was waiting there were getting vaguer with every rapport that came in from Starfleet. Was the anomaly ripping ships apart? Was the area unstable? Was there a creature? Are the Devore making use of the area to test weapons? Anything right now was possible, and Sazra was sending in a strong scientific ship but weak against any attacks into the den of a targ. It made her feel insecure as a scientist. It made her feel irresponsible as a Captain. 

Were they really ready for whatever was waiting out there?

Comments

  • What a great story. I loved the interaction with the two characters; it was a playful mix of intimate and professional. You can feel the chemistry between these two. I am excited to see how you develop this further, the possibilities are endless. I loved the bit, “I don’t want people to get the wrong idea.” I certain felt like there was an indication of a wrong idea. Exceptional story my friend, keep it up!

    November 4, 2022
  • I really enjoyed this post. You're setting the stage beautifully for whatever is to come. Adrián can be salty, but after all these years together, I trust that he knows the captain down to her bones. He sees the long shadow her torture casts over her. What I really enjoy about Sazra is how she has the foible that brilliant people can often have, as Adrián pointed out, where she gets blinders on when she's trying to solve a problem. It's well-crafted plotting that she's been forced into a situation, with her CSO reassigned, that tempts her to give into that obsession again. Plus the combo Captain and Science Officer role it's a reflective nod to her Raven days all over again. This post is as bid mood too: such a gnawing sense of dread about the sector they're about to fly into!

    November 5, 2022
  • I'd have to agree with Andreus here that you have set the stage beautifully for whatever you have planned. I enjoyed the two talking amongst themselves within the science lab. Going over whatever has happened and the warning that they get from other Captains about the area in question. Makes me wonder what truly is happening out there that not everyone is aware of or doesn't experience. I think that the two Ensigns giggling amongst each other was good gave me a bit of a chuckle and whatever they may be giggling at. Now I am really wondering what is in store for the crew of the Damascus as the story continues to unfold.

    November 26, 2022