Part of USS Odyssey: Into The Jaws of Death, Into The Mouth of Hell and Bravo Fleet: Blood Dilithium

Morning Has Broken…

USS Odyssey (NCC-80000) Gradin Belt, Delta Quadrant
Stardate: 77836.9
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“Sleepwalking?” 

Flemen just nodded in some slight embarrassment. “Apparently, so.” He confirmed as he picked up his mug of coffee to take a sip. “I don’t remember anything until I woke up this morning and found myself not in my quarters.”

Sitting across from him, Samris sniggered at the recount that Flemen had just shared. “What did Tomaz say?” 

Biting down on a bit of toast, Flemen replied after swallowing his breakfast. “He said he was worried that something else was happening with me beside the absolute nonsense I was sharing. The mild sedative I was given in sickbay was enough for me to fall asleep eventually.”

“And they’re certain you were sleepwalking and nothing else?” Samris checked as he lifted his spoon of porridge and took a mouthful. 

Flemen nodded at the same time he answered. “Yeah, the scans showed I was in a hyper-REM state.”

“Have you ever slept walked before?” Samris asked as he put his spoon back down in the bowl.

“No,” Flemen answered. “Tomaz said I was spouting a load of rhetoric about having to protect him and that someone had a plan that would put our survival in peril.”

“And you don’t remember any of it?” Samris checked.

Shaking his head, Flemen reaffirmed what he had said earlier. “Not a thing. I feel like such an idiot, Samris.”

“Don’t be so harsh on yourself, Craigen; you’ve stepped up to the mark in these last few months to assist with this goodwill tour. You’re allowed a blip, and it’s more than likely your subconscious processing everything you experienced while speaking with the Brenari telepathically, along with every other stress your body has probably been screaming out with.” Samris offered him. “Just take it easy over the next couple of days.”

“I will; I don’t want to ever wake up on Tomaz’s sofa bed again. It’s not as comfortable as my bed in my quarters. That said, I suppose I owe Tomaz for helping me.” Flemen said as he crunched into his toast again. The two officers were enjoying breakfast in The Auditorium, and everyone else was getting ready for alpha shift to begin. “How’s T’Rani doing?”

“She says she’s okay, Doctor Slyvexs is releasing her to light duties, but she has to wear a cortical monitor,” Samris answered. “She’s joining us for the captain’s impromptu briefing this morning.”

Flemen nodded in response, pleased to hear their chief helm officer was better since the Telemachus’ return. “Yeah, I saw you were invited to that this morning; how come?”

“Counsellor Horin has called in sick,” Samris answered. “I think the festival took its toll on her, and Baby H is demanding that mummy takes some time to rest and recover properly.”

“Well, it’s good to have you back at the big table again, Samris, even if it is brief,” Flemen said, smiling at his friend.

“Well, once Counsellor Horin goes on maternity leave, I’ll fill in for her for a little while, so expect to see me a bit more!” Samris said with a proud smile.


Begrudgingly, Jordan Duncan-Court slumped down the stairs and into the main living room area and groaned before falling flat face onto one of the sofas.

“Good Morning, Jordan,” Tobias said from where he stood by the dining table, sipping on a coffee cup. 

Jordan just replied with a muffled groan. 

Chuckling at his son, Tobias looked at his other son and asked for support with a simple gesture. 

William just shook his head and returned to sitting quietly on the opposite side of the table to his father and shoved another mouthful of cereal down his neck, milk spilling down some of his chin. 

Stepping out of their shared study and swinging his uniform jacket over his head and shoulders as he finished getting ready, Max noticed Jordan lying on the sofa. Like his husband, he looked for answers from his youngest son before making his way to the replicator. Again, William shook his head and stuffed more of his breakfast in to avoid having to comment on his older brother’s dramatics. 

After ordering a tea from the replicator, Max gestured at his husband for answers, and all he got was a simple shrug. 

Tobias relented, “Jordan, what’s up?”

“I’m so tired.” He replied, “And I hate Alfie!”

Confused by that response, Tobias chuckled a bit. “I thought you two were babysitting for Commander Tomaz last night? Why don’t you like Alfie?”

“Because he volunteered for us to babysit, and we ended up having to act out the entire story of some character that is made purely of water and has a friend made from a tree trunk,” Jordan whined as he eventually pushed himself up and slumped on the sofa.

“Flotter and Treevis?” Max checked.

“Yeah!” Jordan confirmed.

Max chuckled before looking to his husband, “I loved Flotter; I once convinced him to flood-”

“Dad!” Jordan almost screeched. “My issues first, please!”

Smirking at how theatrical Jordan was this morning, Max and Tobias looked at one another. 

“Oh, come on, Jordan, you’ve got the morning off before you’ve got any duties. What’s the issue?” Tobias quizzed.

“I’m just tired, as S’Tem took forever to fall asleep, and that ended up with both Alfie and I falling asleep there. Then we woke up after hearing Commander Flemen being all weird in Commander Tomaz’s quarters; I then had to stay later so Commander Tomaz could take Commander Flemen to sickbay, so by the time I got back into my bed, I only had three hours asleep.” Jordan explained, sounding very done hard by. 

“Ah, diddums,” Tobias said as he approached his son and playfully pinched his left cheek. “What was wrong with Commander Flemen?” 

“I don’t know,” Jordan shrugged his shoulders and playfully smacked Tobias’ hand off him. “He was mumbling a load of nonsense; he sounded like one of those zombies from Captain Proton. By the time Commander Tomaz got back, he had woken Alfie and I up so we could go. He thanked us and said he would pay us back for our help.”

Tobias and Max looked at each other and shared a concerned expression at hearing that about Flemen.  

“Well, if you’re still tired, go back to bed for another hour and stop complaining,” Tobias suggested.

“I can’t, dad. I’ve got Alfie coming over soon so we can study for this test we’ve got today!” Jordan almost shouted as he stood up, flapping his arms in the air before storming back up the stairs. “It’s like none of you gets me!” 

Once again, both parents looked at each other and the moody teenager they had in their presence. 

Before either of his father could say anything, William cleared his mouth and spoke up. “He needs to go back into cryo-stasis!”


The door chime went off, and Tremt looked up from where he was sitting at the dining table, finishing his breakfast. “Come in,” He answered.

Swooshing open, Lieutenant Tierra stepped in and smiled at her superior. “Good morning, boss!” She said with a sweet smile. 

“Tierra, come in,” Hunsen said, welcoming in his Deltan deputy. “Everything okay?”

She nodded as she looked around his quarters and noticed the string of clothes and boxes lying around it. “Did you get mugged, sir?”

Hunsen chuckled, “No, no, those are all Louwanna’s belongings. We’re making these quarters a bit bigger ready for the baby, so we’ve started to move her gear in before the baby arrives.”

“Oh, that’s excellent news. Congratulations, sir!” Tierra said. “And to answer your last question, yes, everything is okay. I just wanted to let you know that I’ve heard from the Telemachus repair team this morning, and we should be on track to have it back up and running by the end of tomorrow. I know you’re meeting with the captain this morning, so I thought you’d appreciate sharing the update with him.”

Hunsen rubbed his forehead, “That’s great news, Tierra. Thank you for the heads up.” She paused and looked around the room, “So where is Counsellor Horin, if you don’t mind me asking?”

Hunsen pointed towards upstairs of their quarters, “Morning sickness,” He mouthed. 

“Ouch,” Tierra said just before Horin stepped down the twisted staircase. “Good morning, ma’am,” Tierra greeted her. 

Horin waved as she pulled her dressing robe around her closer, looking tired and rough from her recent ordeal. “Good morning Tierra; I must apologise for my current appearance.”

“You look amazing,” Hunsen said as he got up and walked over to her.

Tierra smiled in a supportive way, “Don’t worry, counsellor; I’ve been where you were when Abbej and I had our children. Morning sickness will pass.”

“Not for Betazoid women; it can come and go for the whole ten months,” Horin grumbled as she placed her hand in front of her mouth. 

Hunsen placed a reassuring hand on her back and rubbed it. “Is there anything I can get you before I go?”

Horin shook her head, “No, nothing right now, Imzadi.” Horin weakly smiled as she looked up at him. “How’s the headache?”

“It’s going,” Hunsen replied before kissing her forehead.

“Oh no, I don’t believe-” Horin said quickly before she instantly got up and ran back upstairs towards the bathroom. Seconds later, the sound of her emptying her stomach echoed through their quarters.

“Lou, you sure there’s nothing I can do for you before I go?” Horin checked. 

“No, just go!” She shouted back.

“Okay, I’ll see you later,” Hunsen announced loudly enough just as she started to spew her guts again. 

Hunsen sniggered somewhat as he suggested that he and Tierra leave before they heard more gruesome noises from Horin’s bathroom antics. 

Walking down the corridor, Hunsen squinted his eyes a bit. “Is it me, or do the corridor lights seem bright this morning?” He complained as he caressed his temple again.

“Still got that headache?” Tierra asked him.

He nodded, “Yeah.”

“I’ll get a team to take a look later,” Tierra said as they walked past a few colleagues, both men who looked her up and down and smiled at her before carrying on in their direction of travel. “That’s the fourth time this morning.”

Hunsen blinked his eyes as they approached the nearest turbolift, “What is?” He asked her.

“Do I have something on my face or something? I’ve had almost every crewmember I’ve passed by…” Tierra dropped her voice to hush tones, “almost checking me out.”

Surprised to hear her say that, Hunsen leant against the bulkhead as they waited for the lift to arrive. “What do you mean?”

The Deltan shrugged, “I can’t point my finger at it, but almost everyone has given me a lustful look. It’s starting to creep me out.” She sighed, “even Abbej was behaving strangely this morning.”

“What like?” Hunsen enquired just as the doors opened, allowing them to enter the cart.

“I know we’ve been married for a long time now, and we’ve got our way of doing things,” Tierra started, “but she was eager this morning to do things that are not part of our morning routine if you get what I mean?”

Hunsen stared at Tierra for a moment before he realised she had emphasised the word ‘thing’ and what she was implying. “Oh,” He said, “oh, well, they say keeping things fresh keeps a marriage alive.”

“There’s keeping a marriage alive, and then there’s going wild, and she was that this morning,” Tierra said before calling for main engineering. “Maybe it’s just me,” Tierra said, waving the whole issue off.

“Maybe,” Hunsen said before his headache worsened, but he decided to ignore it for now.


Entering the observation lounge with his operations officer, Captain McCallister had always had a soft spot for Jen and his role. As a former operations officer, McCallister had always kept those under his command who held this spot close to him as he related so much to their work. Being the operations manager was a significant responsibility on any ship as it was down to them to coordinate so much among many departments. Add into the mix that Jen was eager to progress into further leadership roles (like most of McCallister’s senior staff); McCallister could relate very well to the joined Trill. 

“We should definitely see if we can adjust the Odyssey’s shields to use this refractive shielding; if not, maybe one or two of those runabouts?” He suggested as the doors closed behind them.

“I’ll get a team to research those possibilities, sir,” Jen remarked and tapped the idea down on the PADD in his hands. The Trill officer stopped in his tracks as he saw T’Rani sitting in her usual chair with a Vulcan spice tea in front of her. “T’Rani! You’ve been let out!”

“If you are referring to Doctor Slyvex’s discharging me from sickbay earlier, you are correct,” T’Rani said after swinging her chair around to see her colleague. “It is agreeable to see you, Lukiz.”

Jen smiled at his old academy friend and gave her a big hug. After squeezing her for a second and realising she was finding their embrace a bit awkward, Jen stepped back. “How are you feeling?”

“Perfectly fine, thank you,” She answered in her usual calm manner.

McCallister smiled at his pilot, “It’s good to have you back with us, commander.”

“Thank you, sir,” T’Rani said with a bow of her head. 

At that point, the rest of the senior staff started to enter, and a small level of chatting took place among them as they took their places around the long, slightly curved table. Once they were settled, he started briefing them about what Starfleet had sent him. After showing them the records of the USS Merevek, McCallister noticed the eerie silence shadow over the room. He had never witnessed his senior staff go so quiet like this. 

From the corner of his eye, McCallister could see that Slyvexs was swiping through data on her PADD at an impressive rate. “Everything okay, doctor?” He asked her. 

Slyvexs, like everyone else, was obviously disturbed by the images he had shown them, but her natural instinct to understand the medical front was fully apparent. “I’m worried I’ve missed something over this Blood Dilithium and its side effects.”

Everyone heard her say that, and many of them looked surprised. For a well-experienced doctor, someone who was well-gifted and knowledgeable in a range of fields of study, to admit she said something was very unlike Slyvexs. 

“What do you mean, doctor?” Banfield asked from the opposite side of the table. 

“I need a moment,” Slyvexs said as she tried to concentrate on what her PADD was telling her. She got to one piece of information and almost appeared to deflate at what she read. She looked at Hunsen, “Tremt, do you still have that headache?”

Feeling like he was being singled out, Hunsen sat up straight from his leaning position. “Yeah, somewhat.”

Slyvexs was then on a mission as she looked over at T’Rani, “Commander, when that shockwave hit the Telemachus, did you feel anything out of the ordinary?”

Considering the question carefully as she tried to recall the incident, T’Rani nodded. “I was overwhelmed by a rush of emotions, doctor.”

Turning to Flemen, Slyvexs shot out her next question, “And Craigen, are you certain you don’t remember your sleepwalking antics?”

Blushing red, Flemen shook his head.

Samris then realised what the doctor was trying to establish, “You think we’ve been infected by Blood Dilithium already, don’t you, doc?”

Slyvexs paused and then looked at the captain, “I can’t be sure; I’d need to run some more tests and make comparative notes to what Starfleet has found so far, but it would explain the odd behaviour and scans I’ve seen in the last twelve hours since we left the Gaharey Sanctum.”

“So next time Craigen goes sleepwalking, do we need to go to red alert?” Tomaz asked, which caused a few chuckles around the room, including Flemen himself.

“I can’t be sure,” Slyvexs said worriedly, ignoring the banter from the Barzan strategic operations officer.

“It says here,” Duncan said, picking up his PADD with the briefing notes that McCallister had shared, “that Starfleet has sent a large flotilla through the Barzan Wormhole to assist with this matter.” He placed the PADD down, “Surely, someone else out there knows more right now?”

Agreeing with his first officer’s idea, McCallister picked up his PADD. “Yes, you’re right, Number One. I believe the USS Sarek has been assigned as a mobile research centre for this mission; they may have some more answers.”

Hunsen spoke up, looking at Duncan, “Max, didn’t you say an old academy classmate of yours recently made first officer to the Sarek? Wasn’t he that former vedek from Bajor that helped you over relieve some…stress from the final exams?”

It was now Duncan who appeared uncomfortable at his friend sharing that news, and it didn’t help with him having a glaring look from his husband. “Yeah, Commander Elbon.”

Noticing the tension between Duncan and Court, McCallister hid his smirk with his left hand and then spoke. “Don’t worry, Number One; I’ll reach out to Captain Taes to see what she knows.”

“It’s fine, sir; let Commander Duncan speak to his counterpart on the Sarek; I’m sure they have A LOT to catch up on,” Court said with a wry smile. 

Ignoring the exchange between them, McCallister looked over to Banfield. “Corella, start scanning the region for this new version of dilithium crystal. I want to know how much we are talking about in our locality.”

Banfield nodded in agreement with that order, “I’ll have astrometrics tune our long-range sensors to see if they detect the moment the crystals appear by this subspace anomaly.”

“Good idea,” McCallister said with an affirmative nod. “Tomaz, have we noticed any changes to the Devore overnight?”

“Nothing, sir,” Tomaz answered, “they’ve not moved a meter. If they are truly mad about getting their hands on this dilithium, sir, especially if they think it has properties to eradicate telepaths, then I am certain they will hold their ground until they are fixed.”

“If the Devore are bent on mining this version of dilithium, then I would think they overdid it on that small planetoid, which resulted in that shockwave we encountered,” Banfield suggested. “If they are being reckless with such things, then we could end up seeing similar shockwaves in the region.”

“We should warn the Brenari,” Flemen suggested. 

McCallister shook his head, “We can’t; if we break radio silence and send a message back to the Sanctum, then the Devore could work out what we’re up to and go looking for the colony themselves. I won’t risk it.”

“We’re only an hour away from the last known whereabouts of the Brenari scout; perhaps they could raise the alarm if we can fix them up and get them underway,” Jen proposed.  

“That’s probably the safest route,” Lenjir said, “that said, we might not be able to defend them if the Devore come after them.”

“Let’s deal with one thing at a time,” McCallister stated before taking a breath. “Tremt, can your team check the Telemachus’s hull damage to see if the shockwave has left any traces of fragments in it?”

“We can take a look,” Hunsen said in agreement. “Is that how you think it may have got on board?”

“I think if we can identify where it’s coming from, it would help Doctor Slyvexs with her tests,” McCallister advised. 

“Captain, will you be relieving any of us from our duties?” T’Rani then asked. 

Surprised to hear her ask such a question, McCallister frowned at her. “Why would I do such a thing, T’Rani?”

“From the data presented, a good number of us in this room have telepathic abilities, and the same can be said for the rest of the crew. Logic would dictate that you act now to prevent us from behaving similarly to those on the U-S-S Merevek.” T’Rani answered. 

“Relieving the telepathic population from duties seems a bit drastic, commander.” Court expressed. “Especially when we’ve not established if Blood Dilithium has had this effect on you all. For all we know, Tremt’s headache and Craigen’s sleepwalking are isolated incidents. They could be the result of their interaction with the Brenari during the Festival of Honesty.”

“The chief has a point,” Slyvexs agreed. 

“I disagree,” T’Rani said firmly.

“On what basis?” The doctor challenged the pilot.

“I have started to experience the early onset of Pon Farr,” T’Rani answered deadpan before turning to the captain. “I am not scheduled for another…few years, captain.”

Not sure he was comfortable hearing about his pilot’s sex life, McCallister looked at Slyvexs for a response.

“T’Rani, you have a minor neurochemical imbalance. That doesn’t straight away indicate it is Pon Farr.” Slyvexs remarked. 

Hunsen cleared his throat, “What about Louwanna? She was complaining about headaches last night, and she’s been violently sick this morning.”

“She pregnant, Tremt,” Slyvexs countered back, “but even so, this is why I need to start my own investigation.”

“Make it a priority, doctor,” McCallister ordered her, “and use whatever and whoever you need.”

“So, will you relieve some of us?” Hunsen challenged the captain.

Duncan then stepped in, “Tremt, the captain can’t answer that question.”

“Not right now,” Samris said and then realised what he had just said, “sir.”

“For now, we have a Brenari scout to rescue and orders from Starfleet to monitor and record the situation in this region of space. Now, do I make myself clear that no one outside this ship finds out about the Brenari colony?” McCallister rose from his chair before asking the question. He received a round of agreements from everyone. “Then let’s get to it. Dismissed everyone.”

They all started to file out of the room, and Court immediately began asking his husband questions about his academy antics. 

“So should I be jealous of Elbon, guy?” Court asked. 

“It was a one-night stand, I was pretty drunk, and I was young and foolish, Tobias. I’m pretty certain last time I spoke to him; he said he was married too,” Duncan said with a sigh just as they crossed the threshold and out onto the bridge.

Banfield and Slyvexs had remained behind with the captain, waiting for everyone to leave before they spoke.

McCallister could sense what they were thinking just by looking at both women. “I know you’re both worried by this.”

“I may have to make some quick decisions about isolating crewmembers, sir,” Slyvexs warned him. “I didn’t want to say it in front of the others, but it may not be you relieving people from duty.”

“I understand,” McCallister said. 

“And if another one of those shockwaves hits us, sir, who knows what trouble we’ll be in. I’ll double our efforts to get an early warning system. Perhaps Lukiz could work on a new shield modulation to help us protect the ship better?” Banfield stated.

“Work together, see if you can find something to help us,” McCallister pleaded both women before nodding for them to get started. 

As soon as they left, McCallister instructed the computer to send a message to the USS Sarek to see if they had any other answers. Before he sent the message he saw the list of ships that Starfleet had sent into the Delta Quadrant. The list was long for such an expedition, and familiar names appeared. The Ulysses, the Ahwahnee, the Endeavour and then the last one caught his eye. Though he still owed Matt Rourke a drink for saving the Odyssey during the Archanis Campaign, almost eighteen months ago, it was the USS Saratoga‘s name that made him pause from sending his message to the Sarek. He knew the Saratoga‘s skipper and like his first officer, Fleet Captain Azras Dex was an old academy classmate. She was a couple of years ahead of him, so seeing that she had made fleet captain before him was no surprise. McCallister gave out a long sigh. Dex was always ahead of him at the academy, she was notorious for her all-night study groups and being the top of her class.  Before Starfleet recalled the fleet from the Delta Quadrant, he wondered if like Duncan, he’d have time to reconnect. 

“Probably not, knowing our luck,” He grumbled to himself before pressing the button that sent his message to the Sarek. 

Comments

  • Teenagers geez, parents can never seem to 'understand' them. That was comical to read that part about Jordan and his complaints and getting all upset when it was suggested that he go to sleep for a little while longer. I also enjoyed the briefing and the realization from the Doctor putting things together. I also enjoyed the cameos at the end! Loved it! Now I can't wait to read more!

    November 8, 2022
  • Sleepwalking? Probably not important. Ha ha, how funny Flemen's never experienced it before, it's definitely not a sign of trouble, for sure. ;-) "Dad, my issues first, please," is peak teenager energy but also good on Jordan for establishing this boundary (EXCUSE ME I came here to complain NOT to listen to you). Big Mood, kid. Hunsen trying to maintain composure and courtesy in the conversation with Tierra is VERY funny, with of course the ominous underlayer of That Headache (and the implications of Deltans reacting to the blood dilithium too) keeping a sense of menace in the scene. Then we get Sylvexs realisation of 'it's all connected,' (as are the Sarek references, heh). I love seeing the contrast across ships on who benches telepaths, who confines them, who monitors them and how, except by not benching them poor McCallister has to hear about T'Rani's sex life! And we round off with another set of references, which always helps everything feel inter-connected and part of a wider universe - helpful particularly with the kind of claustrophobia of the premise of the hidden colony (it's given it a kind of submarine film feel). Anyways, good stuff!

    November 9, 2022
  • I'm loving the effect of blood dilithium on telepaths you've scattered throughout this chapter. You really brought me along on their journey as they piece the puzzle together, before and after reviewing the Merevek report. It's a really clever way to play out the mystery on such a personal level. For example, the Pon Farr reaction is simply brilliant. Brava. Through it all, you've maintained the threat of that disabled Devore ship; it gives me a sore stomach to think about. I keep waiting to see a fin in the water. And then the coup de grâce: this reveal of Duncan's chapter in the history of Commander Elbon of the USS Sarek was imminently delightful! It truly made me laugh.

    November 10, 2022