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

…Your Thoughts To My Thoughts

USS Odyssey (NCC-80000) Gradin Belt, Delta Quadrant
Stardate: 77837.9
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“You’ve got to be kidding me?” McCallister questioned his staff from where he stood in astrometrics. Placing his arms across his chest, he studied what Banfield had wanted to show him since she had called everyone together later that afternoon. They had been able to evade the two Devore warships from earlier, despite their actions rendering both vessels inept from chasing them; they had now called in for support. Another six Devore ships had entered the sector. 

Banfield shook her head as she operated the central console and adjusted the holographic displays in front of everyone. “The Devore are very much keen to find us, sir; their search pattern points towards that. However, I also believe they are attempting to locate more sources of Blood Dilithium.”

“How bad is it?” Duncan asked from beside the captain, his hands on his hips. 

Banfield adjusted the display to show multiple locations using red dots. “The concentration of crystals isn’t as high as it was after the planetoid shockwave, but there are many locations they could plunder.”

“But the low level of dilithium at those sites means we won’t experience another Praxis-level shockwave?” Slyvexs checked from where she was. Leaning across one of the aft consoles behind Banfield, the Denobulan doctor had already shown her dread at hearing the latest news. Alongside this, the exhaustion across her standard roses features was evident. This complete enigma they found themselves in was taking a toll on her. She was finding it frustrating to help those around her. Her numerous degrees in so many aspects of medicine were not enough for her to come to some conclusion that would aid them. This was one side of Slyvexs that none of them had seen before. She was close to defeat and was hanging in by a small thread. 

“Exactly,” Banfield confirmed. “However, that’s not to say that whatever the Devore did in the first place, over-mining is our assumption, may not happen again though on a smaller scale.”

“Lukiz and I have been working on a new shield modulation that may help us if we reencounter a shockwave,” Lenjir reported. He tugged on his large ear lobe and then scratched his goatee. “However, if this Blood Dilithium decides to bloom somewhere else in large quantities and the Devore go for it, we can’t be certain any defence could work in our favour.” 

“It’s a starting point, at least,” McCallister remarked, showing his appreciation to his tactical officer, “any other advancements with our current predicament?”

“Though we are masking our warp trail and energy signatures, I cannot adapt the Devore refracting shielding technology to the Odyssey. We’re too large for it to be effective,” Hunsen mentioned. 

“Shame we don’t actually have a Kraylor cloaking device,” Duncan stated, which caused a few chuckles. Flemen’s attempt to support the captain’s bluff from earlier had not gone the way they had hoped. 

Tomaz then spoke up, “I’m looking at implementing some of the tactics we used against the Hazari.”

“I hope you’re not planning on blowing up a sun again, Tomaz,” Court said with a smirk. 

Shaking his head, Tomaz replied to the master chief’s comment. “Not unless their entire task group descends on us. That said, Commander Banfield has already told me that a solar eruption against any spatial body with Blood Dilithium wouldn’t be a great idea.”

“More bangs?” Court asked. 

Banfield just nodded.

“It all just seems a bit hopeless,” Slyvexs said in a serious tone. 

McCallister gave out a huge sigh as he turned away from the display to look at his staff. “What about the rest of the crew?” 

“Morale isn’t great, sir.” Samris pointed out. 

“That’s understandable,” Duncan replied as he dropped his hands and looked at his former deputy. “Anything we can do to change that?”

Samris shook his head. “No, I don’t think so, and it’s mainly from those on the crew who have some form of telepathic ability. The wearing of cortical inhibitors isn’t going down well.”

“Well, I’d prefer everyone being a bit moody instead of going mad,” Slyvexs countered back. Her tone was firm and blunt and realising how she came across, she apologised to Samris. “I’m sorry, it’s just I’m not getting anywhere fast with my research.” She turned to McCallister, “Could we perhaps lift the radio silence and get back in touch with the rest of the fleet, sir. I could do with coordinating and sharing with others in the fleet. Speaking to others, like the Endeavour or Sarak, would help me.”

“I strongly disagree with that idea,” T’Rani said. “It would be illogical to give the Devore our location by broadcasting to Starfleet.”

Surprised to hear the helm officer speak up, Slyvexs turned to her and snapped again. “Then T’Rani, you’ll be wearing that inhibitor for a little longer.”

“Would placing everyone affected into stasis be a decision we revisit?” Lenjir suggested. 

“How’d you like to be told that you can’t be trusted on a ship you consider your home just because you’re a telepath?” Flemen asked in an irritated tone. 

Lenjir frowned at Flemen, “As a Starfleet officer, I would be reminded of the oath I took that includes not just doing whatever it takes to protect myself but also others from harm.”

“Captain, you can’t be serious in considering ordering not only us but the civilians on board who have telepathic abilities into cold storage?” Hunsen piped up as he moved to stand beside Flemen. 

“The Odyssey would lose a large proportion of its population if you considered it. The logical course would be to remain using the cortical inhibitors.” T’Rani stated. 

“We would have uproar if you suggest using stasis chambers, sir,” Samris warned.

“Yes, thank you, everyone,” McCallister said in a more stern tone than the others had taken with one another. “I won’t make that decision, but it may have to be a last resort to secure the well-being of everyone on board.”

A few started to protest, and Duncan stepped in with a quick sharp whistle and raised his voice. “Enough!” He called out to them. “I’d like to remind you all that you are all Starfleet officers, and you will conduct yourselves in such a manner expected of you all as senior crew members. Am I clear?”

Calming down, they all stopped their disagreements and confirmed their understanding of what Duncan had just said. 

“That’s much better; now, back to the briefing.” Duncan insisted, still glaring at those who had started the arguments.

“With this many Devore ships in this region, we don’t dare head back to the Sanctum,” Banfield stated. “We should find other means to wait this situation out until a solution is found. It would also be a bad idea if we gave the Devore the idea to go and explore where the Brenari colony is. I’d hate to find them sticking their noses into the Gaharey Sanctum.”

“I hope you’ve got several ideas, Corella,” Slyvexs remarked. “As I will need a lot of time.”

Banfield nodded and proceeded to show several locations they could hide the vessel. The first one was a gas giant with no Blood Dilithium crystal fragments near it, followed by a moon with a para-magnetic core, and then there was a Class L world with a parthogenic atmosphere. “That last one, we would need to get closer to get a better look to scan for Blood Dilithium Crystals,” Banfield added.

“It’s better than nothing,” McCallister said, agreeing with Banfield’s ideas. “T’Rani set a course for the gas giant.”

“Sir, there is a dense region of subspace vacuoles nearby which would be more a logical location to hide in; the Devore would not consider coming for us there,” T’Rani suggested. “Also, it means they would avoid the area where the Sanctum is.”

“There’s an astral eddy in the centre of that region too, lieutenant commander,” Banfield said, sounding more irritated by the pilot’s attempt to bypass her ideas. “The ship wouldn’t survive long enough for the Devore to give up chasing us.”

“Couldn’t we re-enforce structural integrity?” Flemen asked. 

“Perhaps, but that would require a lot of power,” Hunsen answered as he crossed his arms against his chest.

“Power we don’t want to be overusing in case the Devore detects the odd surge,” Jen stated after shaking his head. “The less power we can use, the better it is for us to keep ourselves hidden from the Devore patrols.”

“Commander Banfield’s original suggestions stands; T’Rani, as I said, set a course for the gas giant,” McCallister ordered.

“Aye, sir,” T’Rani said with a single bow of her head. 

“Dismissed,” McCallister ordered everyone.

Everyone started to leave the lab; however, Captain McCallister started to hang back and gave a look to Duncan, Slyvexs, Court and Banfield to follow suit. 

“Was it me, or was that the most tensed senior staff meeting we’ve ever had?” Court asked once the last person left and the doors closed. “We’ve had our disagreements, but that was a whole new level.”

“Tobias is right; we’ve never had anyone snap at each other like that before,” Slyvexs said. “And I am sorry for my own behaviour.”

“Slyvexs, it’s okay. You’re under a lot of pressure, we get it. But the others don’t have the same excuse.” McCallister assured her. 

“And I’ve never known the likes of Craigen, T’Rani or even Samris to question an idea in the tones they took,” Duncan added. 

“Is it crew morale, or are we looking at a more severe issue, doctor?” Banfield asked.

Banfield shrugged her shoulders, “They’re all wearing cortical inhibitors; it could be the effect of not having complete mental control over their telepathic abilities that may be causing it. Let me check what their inhibitors registered. If it is the effect of the Blood Dilithium, then we may need to consider that option they’re not keen on.”

McCallister rubbed his forehead, “What if we just relieved them of their duties?”

“Maybe, until I know more, let me monitor it,” Slyvexs recommended. 

“Keep us posted,’ McCallister asked her as they filed out of astrometrics soon after. 


Approaching the nearest turbolift,  Hunsen found himself waiting by the door with T’Rani, Flemen and Samris. Rubbing his forehead, he could feel his headache returning, and he winced at it while wearing the cortical inhibitor. 

“Headache returning, sir?” Flemen asked, sounding concerned. 

Hunsen just nodded. “Yeah, it’s probably the inhibitor.” 

“The inhibitors are a nuisance,” T’Rani remarked.

Samris agreed, “The sooner we can get rid of them, the better.” 

“It makes me feel like we’re being punished for our telepathic or empathic abilities,” Flemen said. 

 Hunsen shook his head as the turbolift eventually arrived, and the doors parted, allowing them to enter the cart. “You all know that’s not the case,” He assured them. “But I get where you’re coming from that they could be seen as a tag to show our differences.”

As the three officers followed the chief engineer, they all stood in front of him as the doors closed behind him. They all pulled off their inhibitors before Flemen and Samris rushed at him and pushed him against the wall.

“Fellas, what the hell are you doing?” Hunsen struggled to fight them off him. Their sudden aggressive gesture caught him off guard, and the pain of hitting the back of the lift surprised him. He was in agony from it but was now trying to ignore it as he resisted their tight grip over him.

“It’s okay, sir, you are strong, like us; you can be like us,” Flemen whispered.

“Craigen, what the hell are you on about?” Hunsen said, still trying to push them both off of him as T’Rani approached him. 

“Everything’s fine,” Samris whispered to Hunsen in the same manner he had said to Flemen a few hours ago. He removed the inhibitor from behind Hunsen’s left earlobe and then looked at T’Rani with a grin. 

“Hold him,” T’Rani said as she placed her fingertips around the edge of his face. “His strength will only help us further.”

“You guys will be in a lot of trouble for attacking a superior officer-” Hunsen said before T’Rani spoke the next set of words that echoed through Hunsen’s mind. 

“My mind to your mind, your thoughts to my thoughts….” 

You can see the things we can see.

You’re standing on the edge, like us.

We’re wishing you were us.

Just hold on. 

Hunsen felt his entire mind was about to explode as he heard those words repeated over T’Rani’s voice. It was all too much for him, and he instantly collapsed into the strong arms of both Flemen and Samris. 

Darkness fell over him.

He felt like he was falling into a void. 

Moving faster and faster, he had nothing to hold on to.

Nothing was around him. 

Eventually, he lost. He gave in. There was nothing to stop him, to help him, to protect him.

They had won. 

The turbolift doors opened, and Hunsen stepped out of the cart with a slight swagger. He turned to the other three, “You know what needs to happen.” He said to them. 

“Aye, sir,” They all said in unison, and the door closed in front of them. 

Making his way across the deck, Hunsen made his way towards his quarters to find the one person on the ship he could share his gift with. 

His equal, 

His love, 

His Imzadi.


Counsellor Horin was lying straight out on one of the many biobeds in sickbay. Remaining as still as she could, the sickbay scanners were doing their job. Remaining calm, she took several deep breaths. Horin had finally stopped being sick but could not return to duty today. She was now hungry and had urges to eat so much, but the idea of stuffing her face with any food made her feel queasy.   

Checking her bio scan one more time, Doctor Forbes looked over what he could see from the counsellor’s records and reviewed the latest scans. “Everything looks okay, ma’am,” He assured her. “Baby H is well.”

“Thank you, Remi,” Horin said with a smile as she placed her hands over her bump. “Is the inhibitor having any side effects on the pregnancy?”

He shook his head before answering, “Not that I can tell; I think the low setting that Doctor Slyvexs suggested is enough to protect you and Baby H.”

“Betazoid physiology is known to create a strong telepathic and empathic link between mother and child,” Horin remarked, “I just hope all of this Blood Dilithium crystal saga has no effect on me or Baby H.”

“So far, ma’am, besides the unusual spout of morning sickness returning to you, I’m not detecting anything out of the usual. Do you feel or sense anything different?” Forbes checked as he pressed a button to let the biobed scanners return to the standby position underneath it. 

“Just the urge to want to eat so much food,” Horin shared. “Lots of chocolate. And I mean lots!”

Forbes chuckled, “That sounds normal to me, but just make sure if you go on an eating binge, you don’t overdo it.”

“I understand,” Horin said as she tried to get up but felt a bit dizzy as she did.

Noticing her wobble, Forbes immediately caught her in his hands. “You okay, ma’am?”

“Just a bit light-headed,” She answered as she decided to lay back down again. 

Running his tricorder over her, Forbes could see why. “It’s what I thought; the fact you’ve not kept anything in your system for a long time is having some sort of ordeal on your body. Let me give you a hypospray with everything in it to help you rebuild what you lost.”

“Thank you, Remi,” She answered with a smile as he prepared the injection. “I’m certain that everything I puked up earlier was far more than what they serve in the all-you-can-eat breakfast buffet in the Auditorium.” 

Injecting her with the potion of everything she needed to help her deal with the pregnancy after puking up everything she had, Forbes took another scan. “That’s better. Everything is going in the right direction.”

“My head still feels like it’s spinning,” Horin shared as she winced slightly. 

Horin saw the issue from his scans and explained why she felt the way she was. “Your psilosynine levels are low, which is expected with the cortical inhibitor and your connection with Baby H.”

“Is that dangerous for the baby?” Horin asked, sounding alarmed again.

Forbes shook his head, “No, it’s normal for a Betazoid baby to take a higher level of psilosynine from their mother. Let me inject you with some more, just for Baby H. I’d like to monitor your levels for the next hour or so if you don’t mind.”

Horin’s shoulders shrugged at the idea of remaining in sickbay. “Let’s be safe than sorry.”  

“We can replicate anything you want,” Forbes offered. “Also, I can place you in one of our private examination rooms, and we can set up some relaxing holographic environment if you fancy it?”

Considering Forbes’ offer for a moment, Horin eventually nodded in agreement. She took hold of his hand as he guided her into one of the private rooms. After helping her onto the bed in her own room, Forbes pulled one of the sheets over her and raised her pillow for her. “How’s that?” He asked. 

“Like four-star service,” Horin answered as she found this bed more relaxing than the one she was just on.

“Just four? What can I do to make it five?” Forbes asked as he dimmed the lights slowly and brought the PADD over that controlled the holographic interface.

“A huge bowl of chocolate fudge cake, covered in chocolate ice cream with chocolate flakes on top and a hot chocolate on the side,” Horin answered honestly. “Maybe add some chocolate chip cookie dough into that mix as well!” 

“As one of your physicians, I should warn you about eating an excessive amount of chocolate,” Forbes warned her as he went over to the replicator. “That said, I have also learnt never to get in between a Betazoid and their love of chocolate.”

“Especially a pregnant Betazoid,” Horin warned him with a cheeky grin.

“Agreed,” Forbes said as he returned with her order on a tray and placed it just above her stomach. 

“Hunsen to Horin, where are you, Imzadi?” Hunsen asked over the intercom, almost sounding like he was panicking. 

Horin groaned at hearing the chief engineer’s voice. She was about to tap her badge when Forbes stopped her and answered for her. “Doctor Forbes here, Commander Hunsen.” He said after tapping his own combadge. “Counsellor Horin is currently in sickbay, resting.”

“What? What happened? Is she okay?” Hunsen asked, emphasising every single word he said. “I must see her now.”

“She and the baby are okay, but I cannot permit visitors now. She must rest.” Forbes replied.

“That’s not good enough; I need to see her. Now!” Hunsen exclaimed, again stressing at his need to see her.

Forbes sighed at the awkwardness and responded. “I’m sorry, sir, but those are my orders, and I will not allow you to enter sickbay to disturb one of my patients.”

“Lieutenant, I will order you to let me in,” Hunsen said.

“Sorry again, sir, but medical protocol supersedes your authority. In this case, it recognises my orders, and if I need to, I will have Doctor Slyvexs support them. Do you really want to deal with Doctor Slyvexs today, sir?” Forbes gambled by using the threat of Slyvexs against the chief engineer.

“Very well,” Hunsen relented. “But tell me the moment I can see her.”

“I will do my best, sir; sickbay out.” Forbes then tapped his combadge and closed the channel.

Horin shook her head, “I’m sorry, Remi, for Tremt’s behaviour. Ever since he found out he’s going to be a dad, he has become highly protective.”

“Dealing with patients’ relatives comes with the job, ma’am,” Forbes assured her. “Is there anything else you need?”

She shook her head before tucking into her food. Forbes smiled and made his way out of the private room. Once the door was closed, he decided to find his superior to raise Hunsen’s unusual behaviour. 


“And so the answer would be?” Alfie asked, elongating the ‘be’ and glancing at Jordan from his PAD. Noticing his friend was not paying attention to him, Alfie nudged him with his bare foot. “Jordan!”

Surprised by the slight kick and calling his name, Jordan shook his head and looked over at Alfie. “Sorry, what?” 

Groaning and throwing his head back down on the pillow behind him, Alfie dropped his PADD onto his chest. “You’re hopeless, Jord!” 

Unsure what his friend meant by that, Jordan shook his head again and realised where he was again. He had completely lost track of time and his location. Looking around, he soon remembered he was sitting on the large king-size bed in Alfie’s bedroom as they tried to study for their next exam. Alfie was lying on his back along the centre of the bed while Jordan was sitting on the end. Rubbing his eyes, Jordan looked back down at his PADD and tried to work out where they were on their revision. 

“Sorry, Alf, where are we?”

“We’re reading chapter eleven of the Battle of Sol,” Alfie reminded him as he sat up and joined his friend by his side to scroll his PADD to the right place. “The part where the Romulans attempt to attack Earth with nuclear warheads.”

“Ah yeah, the Earth-Romulan War,” Jordan remembered as he watched his friend help him. “Thanks,”

“Yeah, we’re almost on the last bit where the Challenger N-X-Oh-Three takes on those Romulan drones.” Alfie reminded him. “The question was, how did Fleet Captain Burton disable the drones?”

Jordan quickly looked at his study material, “Oh yeah, wasn’t it something to do with EM-residue?”

“Yeah, Burton and his crew worked out a plan to overload the impulse drives, allowing them to pick them off one at a time,” Alfie added. “Pretty advanced tactics for the time,”

“Why do we have to study pre-Federation history?” Jordan asked. 

“It’s a course requirement, Jord,” Alfie reminded him. “Anyway, you said last week you enjoyed reading the early missions of the third NX-class ship; what’s wrong with doing it today?”

“I said I liked reading about the Challenger, as well as the Endeavour,” Jordan corrected, “And nothing is up; I just keep finding myself struggling to focus.”

“Still tired from last night’s antics with our babysitting duties?” Alfie asked as he jumped off his bed and headed to the replicator, “You want a drink?”

“Whatever you’re having, thanks,” Jordan replied. “And yeah, maybe the interruption to my sleep hasn’t been great.”

Returning with two chocolate milkshakes, one in each hand, Alfie handed one to his friend. “Counsellor Horin got me hooked on these a few months ago; the extra secret is a dollop of ice cream.”

Looking at the metal straw in the glass, Jordan asked his friend how he was meant to drink it. 

Alfie showed him by sucking on the straw, “See, like that.” 

Copying his friend, Jordan sucked on the straw and immediately felt a frosty sensation in the front of his mind. “Oww, what is that?”

“A brain freeze!” Alfie replied, “it’s what happens when you intake something cold so quickly. It’s amazing!” As he got back on his bed, he kept sipping on his drink. “Now, back to the battle, there’s this cool thing where the Enterprise comes in and helps save the day!”

Jordan looked back down at his PADD, but the words became fuzzy. He blinked a few times, and he regained his focus. “Alf, can we stop for a moment?”

 Worried to hear his friend ask that, Alfie placed his drink on his bedside cabinet. “Sure, what’s wrong, Jord?”

“I don’t know, I’m just struggling to focus,” Jordan answered before an all-mighty shiver went down his spine. “I’m starting to feel cold now.”

Alfie placed the back of his hand against Jordan’s forehead and felt his temperature. “You feel fine to me,” He replied before taking the milkshake off him. “Here, put this on.” He offered one of his hoodies that was hanging over a nearby chair. 

Thanking his friend, Jordan put the hoodie over his head and placed his arms through it. “Thanks,”

“Is that better?” Alfie asked.

Jordan nodded. “It’s just a weird sensation,”

“You want to check it out in sickbay?” Alfie offered.

Jordan shook his head, “It’s probably me, still tired, and that milkshake being extremely cold.”

“As cold the Andorian Wastelands!” Alfie quipped back, “Now, come on, let’s get back to this chapter, or we’re never going to be ready for that test!”

Jordan agreed as he moved to sit beside Alfie at the top of his bed as they finished reading their materials. But in the back of his mind, he was sure he could feel something…or someone. 

Comments

  • Geez where did the arguing come in, I can see McCallister getting a headache from all that bickering going on. Now that is a bit concerning how some of the senior staff were acting out of the ordinary. Now they seemed to go after Hunsen and get him under whatever influence the three were and now Hunsen after finding out that Horin was in sickbay demanded that he see her but the doctor stopped that. Wonder how that will play out since she's expecting, good stuff going on there. Also, I loved how Jorden was so out of it during his study time with Alfie and how he grumbled about them needing to know history. Though I like how he blamed it on being tired, I can't wait to see what happens next!

    November 14, 2022
  • “I just hope all of this Blood Dilithium crystal saga has no effect on me or Baby H.” Not this! I don't think I can handle it if she gives birth to a baby with blood dilithium for fingers! I am fully invested in the conspiracy among the telepaths. It's creepy and compelling and I can't wait to discover exactly what they want or what they'll do next. You've got it all here, with developing relationships, the ongoing submarine tension of hiding from the Devore and whatever horror is happening with the telepaths. Incredible fun!

    November 17, 2022
  • I'm glad we can see the effect of these stresses on the non-telepath. Slyvexs is usually so unflappable but the odds are against her this time. But it's obviously the telepaths teetering on the edge, and it's interesting to watch McCallister have to keep a tight rein when the challenge is, for once, from his own crew - Odyssey is usually so tight a gang. Deeply curious to see what Telepathy Press Gang is getting at - and I've a feeling that Baby H is going to be a twist in the road here somehow...

    December 13, 2022