Part of USS Corax: Supplies and Suspicions and Bravo Fleet: Blood Dilithium

Chapter 2 – We Are The Only Ones

Delta Quadrant
Nov. 2400
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“On screen”

The viewscreen flickered into life as the distress signals source showed themselves. Interference from the subspace pulses still apparent as the screen froze and caught up before becoming awash with static. Out of the corner of his eye Aris noticed T’Keterk had retaken his console.

“Lieutenant, I need this signal cleaned up as best as possible.” Aris nodded toward his engineer. “I’ll receive your report as soon as we know what we are dealing with.”

“Yes, Captain.” T’Keterk acknowledged getting to work. “I’m boosting our own subspace relay and will attempt to isolate the incoming signal.”

Within moments the signal began to clear. “I think this is the best we are going to get, Captain.” Reported T’Keterk. “This close to Chaotic Space and the lingering pulse effects is making communication difficult.”

“Copy that T’Keterk.” Aris replied before diverting his gaze back to the viewscreen. “This is Lieutenant Commander Aris Suin, commanding Officer of the USS Corax.”

A tired drawn face finally materialized on the viewscreen. Whoever this was seemed to be running on fumes, signs of dehydration and exposure to the elements were apparent immediately. What Aris wasn’t expecting was the relieved smile on the person’s face

“Corax, this is Jacob Stockton, I’m the lead surveyor on orders from the Federation Council to determine if any of the surrounding planetoids are suitable for habitation. We have been trying to get a signal out for days but with no response.”

“Emma?” Aris questioned quietly. “Do we have any records or confirmation of any surveying teams in this region?”

Emma shook her head just barely enough not to be noticed.

“What’s the status of you and your team?” Aris asked. Suspicion rising by the second. Was this a trap, a mass hallucination. They were still flying too close the screwy physics of Chaotic Space coupled with the ever present threat of the hypnotic effects of the Telepathic Pitcher Plant.

“We have been experiencing numerous issues with our power generators. No matter the amount of repairs and maintenance we perform, we are experiencing daily losses of power.” Stockton continued. “Our preliminary scans on arrival revealed no indigenous species or other signs of habitation.”

“Do you have capacity to transmit the results of your scans?” replied Aris.

“Negative, already this transmission is draining our last reserves.” Stockton continued. “We really could use an assist.”

“Stand by.” Aris signalled to pause the transmission. “Are there any other vessels in range in a position to assist?”

“Negative, Captain.” T’Keterk replied. “Considering we can’t identify the source of the transmission, nor have any intel on what awaits us should we alter course, I don’t believe the Corax is appropriate to respond.”

“Thank you Lieutenant.” Aris replied. “Considering we are the only stressed Aris “Starfleet vessel in range, it is our duty to respond to the best of our abilities. We will ascertain the location of the transmission, make a detailed threat analysis and determine the best possible course of action.”

T’Keterk raised an eyebrow. “A logical course of action, Captain.”

“Reopen the channel Ensign Swain.” Aris swiveled to face the viewscreen.

“Channel open, Sir.”

“Mr Stockton, we are having trouble determining your location, due to the subspace interference present in this area. Please transmit coordinates and we will alter course.” Aris’s tone left no room for disagreement.

“Transmitting coordinates now.” Stockton responded. “Please resume communication on this channel upon your arrival.” As the comm channel was closed, the silence on the bridge was almost deafening.

“Ensign Swain, Lieutenant T’Keterk before we alter course, i’d welcome your input, if you could meet me in the conference room shortly.” With that Aris got to his feet, his thoughts going a mile a minute as he strode towards the rear compartment off the bridge. 


As the door separating the rear compartment from the main bridge slid closed. Emma turned to face her colleague. “T’Keterk, level with me. Are we out of our depth?”

“I am not certain, Ensign.” T’Keterk replied. “I can not fault the Captain’s logic in his proposed course of action. But he spoke the truth, we are Starfleet officers and by extension representatives of the Federation and ignoring a legitimate call for assistance would be seen as dereliction of our duty.”

“I trust the Captain will not put us in a position of hardship without due course.” T’Keterk finished as he finalised his report on the ships systems and landing struts.

Emma sighed as she got to her feet and approached the replicator bay at the rear of the bridge. Ordering a hot sweet tea, she turned to face T’Keterk again. “You are correct of course.”

“I almost always am, Ensign.” T’Keterk responded drily motioning toward the rear compartment. “It won’t do to keep the Captain waiting.”


“Well little one.” he muttered softly as the door slid closed behind him. “What have we got ourselves into?”

Taking his seat, he took a few minutes to review the latest sensor logs and analyse the abrupt change in demeanour of this Mr Stockton. “I don’t like this, something feels very, very off about the whole situation.”

With the volatility of the Gradin Belt and the exhaustive mapping and surveying already completed since the arrival of the fourth fleet in the quadrant, there should be some sort of record of this survey team in the vicinity, but all the records kept coming up blank. Nothing at the Academy could have prepared him for this situation, but nothing about this situation was normal.

Comments

  • Dun, Dun, Dunnnn! Things are beginning to heat up already for the Corax, I liked the fact that you included the Telepathic Pitcher Plant in there. Things are looking suspicious from the start, what stood out to me was he couldn't send the results of their scans but can send the coordinates to their location. Now, I really can't wait to see what is in store and what you have planned! Great work!

    November 18, 2022
  • Oof. I love the bluffs and double-bluffs throughout the exchange between Aris and Jacob. Jacob is a liiiiiittle too far flung to be credible, and his power systems are mysteriously broken, and there don't seem to be any records of his mission, but you immediately hang a lantern on all that, with your crew considering all the credible reasons why Jacob might be lying. So, as the reader, it's not like I feel clever that I've solved your mystery because you're showing the cards I thought I had discovered. All it all, it keeps me well-unbalanced and eager to read the rest of this mission! Thanks for the mystery!

    November 24, 2022