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

21) Chains Meant To Be Broken – Part 1

USS Damascus - Bridge
November 2400
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On warp 4, Damascus was traveling as quickly as they could out of the newly conquested Devore Imperium space. Their destination would be Markonian Outpost, a safe haven where the rest of the fourth fleet would be stationed. Either coming back from their mission or ready to head out again. The bride was still a mess, and scars of the interaction with the Blood Crystalline Entity were quite present. 

“Is Commander Valerio getting any progression on that left engine?” Silina felt that the trip was taking too long. They needed to get out of here and fast. 

Rami shook his head. “Latest reports show that the engineering is making little progress. The left engine had taken a beating from that impact and the amount of pressure from those explosions. But also, those tentacles didn’t do us a favor” He taps onto his console as Rami shrugs at the severity of their situation. “How freaking long until we reach that outpost?!” 

The Caitian looked up “Sorrry, I am trrrying my best. The ETA is still 28 hourrss.” K’Nala spoke, feeling like she was getting punished for the slowness of the ship.

“Don’t be sorry, Ensign. The Lieutenant is on edge from the whole given situation. We are in a hostile area, and he is…rightfully worried about getting us to safety” Silina looked with harsh and disapproving eyes at Rami, who raised his shoulders. “He doesn’t mean to be blaming you. Right, Lieutenant?”

“Yea… I didn’t mean it like that” Rami followed up on what Silina was saying. The tension on the bridge was quite present for those trying their best to operate in the given situation. “The whole bloody mission was a mistake to start with” 

Leaning back in her chair, Silina rubbed the side of her head. “I can only agree with that statement, but we have also produced results on the other side. We manage to save the people on that transport ship, the Red Lunar. We learned quite a bit from the area itself, the density, the blood dilithium, and the effects” She points her fingers in the air. “Plus that it also affects large spacial creatures that devour planets for their greed or, most likely, they would argue to be fuel for their journey” Shaking her head, “If they even could communicate with any of us….”

K’Nala looked over her shoulder. “Well, actually, the one that did was Captain Prrraugol. She somehow manages to send that beast to the Devorrre and destrrroy it?” Quickly looking back at her console. She felt like meddling with a discussion that was above her pay grade. 

“That is something I, medically, can’t explain,” Silina pointed out and placed her hand on her head again. “Because record-wise, the only one that did communicate was an android. Who, by the way, was working for said Crystalline Entity” It was difficult to explain by itself. Silina was trying to wrap her head around the concept of connecting with an interstellar creature that could travel significant distances in warp and was the size of a moon or even a planet. 

“Commanderrr, I am reading signals on long-range. They are vague, but therrre is something following us!” K’Nala just announced, seeing the vague bleeps on her console. The signals were disappearing and reappearing. The young ensign could only acknowledge it as the problem from the damage they had sustained from their encounter with the Blood Crystalline Entity. 

Sitting up in her chair, “Red Alert” Silina was not taking any chances on the given situation they were on and pressed the communication tap. “This is Commander Ruslanovna. Battle stations, everyone. We have unidentified targets or targets on our tail. I repeat battle stations, everyone” Silina looked at the Ensign. “Get me an aft view now! Rami!” 

“On it damn it, the shields are only 49% back,  but we are by far in any condition to go into any battle. Play your cards, smart Commander. It might be your last” Rami announced while trying to reroute the energy to get more to shields and weapons. 

The aft view appeared on the screen as Silina slammed the side of her chair. “Frak, Devore patrol ships” She acknowledges it after seeing the shapes right in front of her. “They must have gone after us when detecting the multitude of explosions from the grid. Ensign, get me more juice into those engines” 

Swiping her fingers over the console, she felt on the verge of having a panic attack “Commanderrr, I am trrrying what I can to get morrre powerrr to the engines. But the left engine status is blocking me, and placing it on the right engine will overload herrr. We will not gain anything from that solution. Aside from Commanderrr Valerrrio giving me a lecturrre” 

The girl was right, given the situation that had developed. Silina shrugged and just nodded to herself. “Drop us out of warp. Let’s see what they want from us” She could hear everyone taking a deep breath out of fear. “We just have to talk ourselves out of the situation and break this bloody chain to get to safety” 

“Are you sure about this? These guys are ruthless and will board us even if we say no” Rami leaned on his console. “Plus, while we don’t have any telepathic crew members besides our Captain? What can we say about the people we rescued from that transport ship!” 

Looking at the screen, I saw the four Devore ships were closing in. “We can tell our Captain was injured during our scientific mission, which is not a lie. But you make a strong case regarding the transport people” Silina started to bite her nail, trying to think “We got to keep them safe at any cost. They already on to us….” 

“They arrre locking onto us!” K’Nala saw the alert popping up on her console “Commanderrr orderrrs!” 

“Drop us out of warp now!” Silina gave the command as the Damascus dropped out of warp. Sparks were flown off the Damascus from various locations. Seconds later, four ships dropped out of warp and closed in on the Damascus with their weapons charged to deal with their potential problem. 

Rami shook his head in disagreement and saw the popup comes up. “Their lead ship is hailing us. Bloody, think carefully about the given situation when saying something against them. Commander” He ended it respectfully, but the message was made clear on how much he disapproved of the given situation or made choice. 

She rolls her eyes at the harsh comment, “Lieutenant, I am well aware of the situation or predicament we are currently in. I am not in the mood for your lecture. Now put these people on the screen, and freaking let me do my job while you do yours” Silina was annoyed for sure, but not only because of Rami’s words. But the given situation was, in a way, weighing on her shoulders. 

The screen changed to the layout of the previous Devore ship they had met at the grid. In the middle, a Devore male sat back in his chair and leaned forward. “It seems that some species still have a brain when encountering the mighty Devore Imperium. An excellent choice to drop out of warp, Captain.” He said with a grin on his face. 

“What can I do for you, Captain?” Silina let out her annoyance and sighed “My name is Ruslanovna, and I am the ship’s Executive Officer. We have wounded on board our ship and are en route back to Markonian Outpost. So I do not mean to be rude to you or your fellow people. But we are on a rather tied schedule” Silina tried to explain it as well as possible. There was no lie in her sentences as she bluntly explained their intention to go where they needed to get medical aid and engineering support. 

The man shook his head slightly. “Well, you see, that is something I can’t allow you to do. You see, we recently expanded our mighty Imperium and laid claim to the blood dilithium. So we have to investigate every ship out there and see if they have stolen any of our values” He placed his hands over each other “So if you would not mind standing down, Commander. We will send over a transport team to investigate your ship, and if there is nothing to hide we will be off again” 

“We have nothing to hide. We were out here to do scientific research. As you might have noticed, it went wrong when we exited the grid” Silina was trying her best to find an exit in this dire situation.

He then leaned slowly forward on his chair, leaning on his knees, and placed his hands in front of him. “Now that is quite interesting, Commander. You see, we just received an SOS signal from that grid, the one with the large density of the anomaly.” His eyes narrowed, looking more serious. “You see when our battle group arrived at that given location. We found debris from a ship ripped apart” 

The tension on the bridge grew as people showed their worries in their facial expressions, but Silina kept calm “That sounds like a Devore affair, and we are explicitly told not to meddle with your affairs. I am sorry for your loss, but as you see to my ship, I need to bring my people to a safe location” 

The man laughed briefly. “You are very safe, Commander. You are surrounded by the best and bravest of the Devore Imperium. Now I am not going to request it again. Lower those shields and get ready to be boarded. If you dare to defy our orders, then we shall open fire, and we have no guilt whatsoever for those that trespassed our lands and defiled it” 

Silina looked over her shoulder to Rami, who shrugged. “We …” Silina looked back at the Devore captain and took a deep breath. “Will not comply with your orders. If you set one foot on this ship, we will defend ourselves until the bitter end. So if you want to fight, Captain, you shall have it” She cut off the signal and stood up. “Fire on them” 

“And what ship you desire to fire, oh glorious leader?” Rami said while shaking his head and getting the ship into combat mode. This was going to be a hopeless situation.

“I don’t f*cking care, Lieutenant. Just shoot them!” Silina replied, annoyed, and looked at the Ensign. “Avoid any of their shots, Ensign. I know I am putting a lot on your shoulders right now, but I need you to focus” She placed her hands on her shoulders. “You can do this!” Silina tapped her combadge while walking back to her chair as the ship made rough moves. “Bridge to Valerio, you better get me that bloody engine back online. You do not have much time!” 

I presumed so much already, with the ship sharing its tears and cracks on the absurd moves! Keep them away from the Damascus, and I see you get your miracle. Valerio out!” 

“Just focus, be the ship, feel the flow” K’Nala muttered to herself, trying to keep her eyes on the surroundings and the sensors that showed her the whole images. The commander had placed her trust in her, so she needed to ensure that it would not be for anything.