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Part of USS Hathaway: Episode 9: Blood Dilithium Part 1 (The Great Escape) and Bravo Fleet: Blood Dilithium

CH7: Breakout

Various
Stardate 240011.20, 2000 Hours
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Sitting in her rightful place at the heart of the Ulysses command center once again, Captain Tharia sh’Elas wrung her hands for the thousandth time. Throughout everything they had endured over the last few days, Tharia had felt nothing but confidence in her people and their ability to get the job done, but now nerves threatened to overwhelm her. Lives depended on the actions they would take in the coming minutes, and if everything did not go to plan, lives would undoubtedly be lost. And that was a pressure she had not felt in a while. Even throughout the entire Romulan crisis of earlier in the year, the Andorian had not been under such pressure. The stakes had never been higher for a woman still in her first year as a commanding officer. She had made the most of opportunities presented to her, and luck had seen her land on the bridge of this particular starship, with this motley crew of hers. She could have had the crew of the famed Starship Enterprise at her disposal, been of the same calibre of commander as the great Picard, and she’d have still been nervous.

“Are we making the right choice here, Vasoch?” the Captain asked of her first officer, leaning towards him as she whispered her question. If anyone could put her at ease, it would be the Tellarite.

“You’re asking yourself the wrong question,” the Tellarite replied, hunkered down in his chair, his own voice at a whisper. “What you should be asking is how you would feel if we beamed our people out and made no attempt to help those people stranded in that prison; if we just went on our merry way,” he let out a sigh as he leaned on the arm of his chair. “You convinced Noli and I that this was the right course of action, and I’ve never once doubted it since. Don’t you start now,” he told her sternly.

Tharia smiled, sheepishly at that. She still wasn’t used to the Tellarite being kind, being supportive. She was used to him being the bad cop to her good cop, and she relied on that reputation of his to get the difficult jobs done and allow her to focus on her own role. But he had an ability to take her by surprise every once in a while.

“You’re the Captain of this ship and you have a singular talent for seeing things others do not. You see paths out of situations that others would never consider,” he reminded her, gesturing to certain individuals around the bridge, “and these people would die for you if you asked them to, because they know that you fight for what is right and just,” he smiled, reassuringly patting her on the hand gently. “Now, enough of that. Let’s finish this,” he flashed a toothy grin at his Captain, then turned his attention back to the forward stations.

As ever, the Captain tried her best to hide the emotions she felt, burying them as deep as she could, but the antennae on her head would give away her emotional state to anyone that knew her well enough. She’d been taken aback by the kind words of her executive officer, and as much as she wanted to hang on every single one, he was right; they had a job to do.

Inching forward and perching on the edge of her seat, the Ulysses‘ blue-skinned, white-haired mistress gripped the arms of it tightly. “Alright people, listen up!” she barked, drawing the attention of her officers. “We’re going to get one shot at this, and we need to get it right.” She took a deep breath. “Right now, the Devore vessels on our port and starboard bows have no idea we’ve retaken the ship. We will have to disable them in one shot if we are to evacuate the surface without resistance. Now, as soon as we power up, they’ll assume Kravik has been successful. We’ll have seconds to respond,” she finished her general brief and addressed specific officers. “Linn, as soon as the Devore ships are disabled, begin transporting prisoners from the surface. Commander Gor will transport security teams to the planet to assist in the evacuation and locate our people. Henry, when I give the word, get us out of here, best possible speed. Noli,” she turned in her chair and craned her neck to look at the officer behind the tactical Arch, “make every shot count.”

With everyone acutely aware of what they had to do, the Captain took one last look around her people. In the next sixty seconds, Plan B would enter its final phase, and she would be either vindicated or vilified based on its outcome. Oh, how she hoped it would be the former.

“Alright people,” she began, a deep breath in to steady herself, “Vaakh khuuz!”

In an instant, the Federation behemoth’s entire stance changed, sparking momentary joy that swiftly turned into panic stations aboard the Devore warships. First, just as expected, the mighty Starfleet vessel’s systems came online in such a manner it would deceive their enemy into thinking Kravik had somehow successfully broke the lockout. But as the vessel’s weapons systems came online, and her phaser arrays charged, they could sense something was wrong. Their response was too late, however, with neither vessel able to raise its shields before several lances of orange phased energy simultaneously emitted from the dorsal saucer of the Galaxy-class starship knocked out their own key systems.

Among the cheering on the bridge of the Ulysses, the Captain remained stoic and focused. “Commence transport,” she instructed, her eyes never leaving the image of the two burning Devore warships. Oh, the difference the element of surprise made. In the asteroid field, the Devore had the advantage and caught the Starfleet vessel with its pants down. Here, the roles were reversed. The overconfidence of the Devore was proving to be their undoing , for now at least.


Thousands of kilometers below, safe from the danger of the space battle above, the prison facility on the planet Haess IV was fairly quiet. It was early evening and while most prisoners were in their cells, a fair number milled around and made the most of their allotted exercise time, oblivious to what was about to transpire.

In dozens of locations across the paddock, streams of blue, phased energy began to appear, with well-armed figures materializing in seconds. At first, the presence of the armed soldiers took everyone by surprise, unsure of what to expect, but as soon as the first bursts of phaser fire were exchanged, chaos ensued. These new soldiers, these officer’s clad in black and gold, were not targeting the prisoners, or the infrastructure, but the prison guards themselves.

Upon hearing the first familiar sounds of the Federation transporters, and the welcome sound of lances of phased orange energy, Matheus flew to his feet from the safety of his bunk and sprinted for the doorway. From his vantage point, he could make out nearly a dozen Starfleet officers in various positions, engaged in fire fights with Devore soldiers. The commotion could not be ignored by the rest of the away team either, with Zinn and Tempa the Aenar helping their injured comrade to her feet and dragging her to the doorway.

Beckoning to a nearby pair of security officers, one of their liberators, the science officer waved the man across and took ownership of his side arm. “Report crewman,” the Lieutenant enquired, ducking under the threat of fire.

“We’ve retaken the ship and have orders to get you out of here sir,” the security officer revealed, “the Captain authorised us to tell you Plan B is in effect,” he shrugged, not entirely sure what that meant.

The look of relief etched on the faces of the away team showed they knew exactly what it meant. “Alright crewmen,” Matheus nodded, firing off a blast of phased energy in the direction of two advancing guards, “get these three back to the ship. You, you’re with me. There’s something I need to do before we get out of here,” the science officer decreed, avoiding the protests from the Chief Medical Officer and his wounded colleague.

Watching as his team dissolved into blue phased energy particles, the Betazoid cocked his head at the security officer, and sprinted off.

All around them, chaos had definitely ensued. Whether it was the sudden shock of feeling their bodies being overwhelmed and disintegrated by the Federation transporter, or the explosions of phaser and disruptor fire erupting across the compound, the confusion was making Ren’s task that much trickier until a voice called out to him from behind a damaged wall.

Taking cover for a second, the scientist spotted his targets; Maevis and Arivek huddled together for safety, with Spornak firing off a stolen Devore weapon, sporadically and aimless. Exchanging knowing glances with the security officer, Matheus waited for his chance. During a break in the weapons fire, he sprinted across the open chasm between them, sliding to a halt and falling to the ground when behind cover once again, a blast of disruptor fire exploding on the floor just millimeters from his spot.

“Time to go,” he smiled at Maevis before, placing a gentle hand on the arm of the aging man (who he could swear looked older every time they met). “Get across to the Crewman and he’ll get you beamed to my ship. I’ll cover you all until you’re safe,” the Betazoid told them, tapping Spornak on the arm to get the giant’s attention. Exchanging a reassuring look with the big man, the science officer took over Spornak’s defensive position and began to open fire. 

Rapid bursts from the scientist and his counterpart provided the opening the three telepaths needed. With Maevis clinging on one side, and their massive protector on the other, Arivek took a deep breath, and was dragged across the divide. But, in the chaos that ensued, a single bolt of energy from a Devore weapon smashed their protector in his chest, sending the three tumbling to the ground in a heap. Stumbling to her knees, Maevis placed a hand on the giant’s chest, his tunic gathering a small puddle of water as she said her goodbye.

Rising to her feet slowly, time seemed to slow. Disruptor bolts that normally hurtled through the air at speed slowed considerably, allowing the woman to dodge them at will. As she turned in the direction from whence they came, the science officer could see the change in her demeanour, even from his hiding place. Clenched fists, lowered head, gritted teeth and a scowl that would make the Tellarite XO seem like a pussy cat. Then, in an incredible show of force that literally shocked the entire compound, Maevis let out a deep, primal scream accompanied by an inexplicable display of telekinesis, something Matheus Ren had never, ever heard of, let alone seen. A swift, violent shockwave burst forth from the young woman and hurtled in the direction of the Devore soldiers. Buildings in its path were reduced to rocks and shoals, bodies tossed in all directions.

An awesome display of power that she could demonstrate now, even under the influence of the neuroinhibitors that prevented the Betazoid from using his own empathic abilities. She was significantly more powerful than anyone else in their vicinity, just as she claimed to be.

“Come…” Matheus instructed as he sprinted from cover, “time to get out of here.”


“Status?” Vasoch barked from his command chair next to the captain. Their mission was underway, but it was taking time. The fierce resistance on the planet had put paid to the hopes of a swift exit strategy, so too had the ever increasing numbers of telepaths being detected.

“According to sensors,” Linn spoke from the Ops station as his fingers danced away, balancing the power reserves between all of the active transporters, “we’ve still got nearly five hundred prisoners, and our away teams to recall.”

Rising to her feet, the Captain wandered over to the Bolian and leant over him as he worked. “Have you tried wide expanding the transporter beam to grab anyone within range?” she asked, probably knowing the answer.

Whilst the two officers exchanged theories regarding how they could boost the ship’s transporter capabilities, the ship rocked heavily, the lights on the bridge flickering and a chorus of alarm bells calling out. As the ship rocked a second time, the Captain stumbled towards her command chair. “They can’t have repaired their ships already?!” she exclaimed over a third impact, referring to the Devore ships they had disabled a short while earlier.

“Negative”, Henry barked from the CONN. “I’ve got incoming vessels, bearing two-five three mark one eight three, closing fast.”

“It’s a Hirogen hunting party. Three ships,” the Bajoran at the tactical Arch told, looking at the Captain only briefly. “They must have been operating under stealth to get in so close without detection,” she surmised whilst she endeavoured to ascertain the developing situation. “They’re beaming hunters aboard the Devore warships.

“Number One,” Tharia slumped into her seat under another volley of weapon’s fire, “I trust you will agree if I give Noli permission to do her thing?” the Andorian smirked, looking at the Tellarite, who simply nodded. “Very well Commander, fire at your discretion. Henry; evasive maneuvers, but keep us in transporter range. We’ve got to get our people out of there…”

For a beast that had been stationary for so long, the mighty Ulysses swiftly burst into life, the internal pulsations of her warp core manifested in the bright glow of her functioning nacelles. Working in conjunction with each other and under the direction of flyboy, the impulse engines and manoeuvering thrusters powered the ship to safety under the advance of the new enemy force closing on their location. Unlike the comatose Devore vessels, Ulysses was proving to be the threat the Hirogen had been looking for all along. Exchanging weapons fire for a few minutes, the Starfleet vessel did its best to fend off the attentions of the far more nimble hunting vessels but wouldn’t be able to do so for long.

A violent explosion to the aft of the bridge, which threatened to destroy the new StratOps suite, nearly tossed the Captain from her chair, the vice-like grip she clung on with the only reason she remained in her place of command. Glancing at the Tellarite next to her, who had to clamber back to his seat, the Captain knew enough was enough. “Linn!” she barked at the forward stations.

“We’ve still got over three hundred people down there,” the Bolian called over the dinn behind him, knowing exactly what the Captain wanted from him. “We’re going as fast as we can, Captain,” he assured her.

“It’s time to go. Get our people back aboard,” she paused as she took a deep breath and closed her eyes. Her next words were not what she had wanted to utter, but to get this far had been a mammoth achievement. “Anyone else, we leave behind. It’s time to go…”

After a moment of hesitation, the Bolian nodded. “Aye Captain,” he dutifully answered, hands dancing on the controls, relaying the orders to all of the transporter operatives across the ship. Soon enough, the confirmation of their success came through. “All Away Teams present and accounted for Captain!” the placid Bolian declared.

“Henry,” the Captain called out, “you know where I want to go. Make it so, mister.”

“Setting course, heading one-two-three mark two-six-five. Maximum warp,” the flyboy’s fingers twitched like those of a piano player making sweet music on their beloved instrument. Responding instantaneously, Ulysses spun on her x-axis and she burst forward, stretching her legs until she reached sprint speed and slipped into warp.


“Captain’s log, supplemental.

 

Ulysses is once again under our control and is currently at maximum warp, headed for the safety of the Markonian Outpost and the nearest Starfleet vessels.

 

Our mission has been a success; we’ve rescued over six-hundred souls from their internment on Haess IV, including the four members of this crew unlawfully detained. Success? *Audible laughing sounds* How we can truly class the mission a success when over three-hundred prisoners remain trapped on that world, I don’t know. Vasoch assures me we have achieved great success here, far greater than we could have hoped for; thanks to intelligence from Voyager and that of traders we recently encountered, the mission we threw together liberated hundreds of people from captivity, but my thoughts dwell on those left behind. What will happen to those poor souls? Will they continue to be tortured at the hands of the Devore? Perhaps they’ll be murdered for sport at the hands of the Hirogen hunting party? Sadly, both are more likely than the wish that they may find some freedom down there. At least Kravik and his men will have no further part to play in any of this; the Devore soldiers who were aboard the ship at the time have been placed in custody. The cramped confines of the Brig is more than they deserve after what they have done.

 

Our telepathic crewmembers remain under observation in sickbay, with the Counsellor’s condition stabilizing for now. Doctor Zinn is leading the analysis of the effects of exposure to Blood Dilithium whilst he is confined to sickbay. Commander Noli and Doctor Torres have begun the process of assessing and making our visitors comfortable. The good Doctor assures me he has the situation under control. I have spoken with a number of our visitors in the short time they have been aboard, and the overwhelming emotion is one of gratitude. So many thought they would never see their people, their homeworlds, again, but we have given them hope. I suppose, if anything, that should make the mission worth it, right? 

 

So far, communications with Starfleet have gone unanswered, but we will persevere. We must alert as many people as possible to the plight of our survivors and of those that remain on the surface of Haess. However, our efforts may be hampered by outside forces; a Hirogen hunting pack is on our tail, waiting for their opportunity to pounce…”

Comments

  • I'm still delighted by the respect and friendship(?) that's grown between Tharia and Vasoch. They started out at each other's throats and now his opinion means so much to her. Big heart eyes reading this! Of course, I can't be surprised his opinion means so much, given his wisdom really struck me: asking Tharia how she would feel if she left the prisoners behind. Sadly that turned out to be such tragic foreshadowing, given the Ulysses BARELY escapes the Devore and prison-breaks most of the telepaths, only to be attacked by the HIROGEN? (What?) I'm curious how haunted Tharia will be by the decision to leave so many prisoners behind.

    November 23, 2022
  • The gut-wrenching decision to leave people behind was the right call considering the circumstances you crafted. It left the crew with a choice of risking all, or cutting their losses and that's a decision they'll have to deal with. The use of a captain's log at the end to give an insight into Tharia's thinking on her decision was a good choice and well done. And the cliffhanger certain seems interesting!

    December 11, 2022