Check out our latest Fleet Action!

 

Part of USS Sarek: Lies I Loved and Bravo Fleet: Blood Dilithium

Lies I Loved – 15

USS Sarek saucer section, Secondary Sickbay
November 2400
0 likes 709 views

At the sight of Doctor Nelli lurching towards her, Taes could feel her body reacting in terror.  Taes’ mind began to react as if Nelli’s nearest vine was swinging a laser scalpel at her recumbent form.  Feeling the physiological responses to panicked hormones flooding her body, Taes’ first thought was how difficult it would be to break into a run while laying on a biobed.  Taes supposed she could unbalance Nelli by opening with a scissor kick to their mid-truck.  The two of them were alone in a private recovery room; no one would notice if Taes tackled Nelli to the deck.  Taes imagined she could buy herself more time to run if she damaged Nelli’s vocoder with her second strike.

Before Nelli stepped into kicking range, Taes practiced a breathing technique to ignore every instinctive signal her body was telling her.  She took notice of her panic and she isolated her conception of self.  Taes could see –she could plainly see– that Nelli’s vine was carrying a medical tricorder rather than a laser scalpel.  The large chunks of blood dilithium in the Sarek‘s geology lab were radiating a still-unidentified form of psionic something that was causing Taes more and more distress the longer it remained on her ship.  As Kellin had informed Taes, it was the psychic screams of deceased Brenari that were tricking her body.  

With a flick of a vine, Nelli tossed the holographic scanner results from their tricorder to join Taes’ medical records on the biofunction monitor.  By the time Nelli trod beside Taes’ bed, they put the medical tricorder aside.  Taes observed Nelli dropping the tricorder as if it had weighed three hundred pounds.

Nelli said, “Captain, given the marked improvement in your cognition function, I wish to submit myself to a Starfleet board of inquiry if you believe my relieving you from duty was unjust.”

Watching Nelli intently, Taes shook her head.  It was a gentle movement to protect herself from aggravating her headache.  Taes folded her hands atop the thin blanket that covered her legs and abdomen.  She tried to speak, but her voice was too raspy from disuse, having spent the past few hours in solitary meditation.

“You’ll do no such thing, lieutenant,” Taes replied, firmly and with warmth.  “You’ve done everything you can in the protection of this crew.  Frankly, I can’t be certain I can say the same for myself.  Has there been word of improvement in Lieutenant Yuulik’s condition?”

There was a flutter of the leaves on Nelli’s head-approximation.  They only hesitated in answering for a moment and that was enough time for their vines to droop close to their trunk.

“Her condition is unchanged, captain,” Nelli said.  “The stardrive section’s sickbay has advised Yuulik remains comatose.”

“Yuulik…” Taes muttered, as her chin fell to her chest.  Unbidden, Taes’ hands balled into fists, crinkling the clean lines of her hospital bedding.

When the door chime rang, it let the figurative air out of the room, even before Taes said, “Come,” and the door opened.  Taes smiled fondly once she saw Kellin Rayco standing at the threshold.  Beyond her usual delight at seeing him, Taes appreciated the distraction.  Whatever tedious update Kellin was bringing to Taes, to prove she was still valued, would buy Taes another fifteen minutes before she had to debate if her commands in this mission had led to Yuulik’s questionable life choices.

Nelli was already moving towards the door when they offered greetings to Kellin and made excuses to return to their duties in sickbay.  Kellin nodded at Nelli and said something about an “invasive weed”, but the statement made little sense to Taes without the shared context between the other two.  Kellin sat in a chair beside the bed.  Even in her tender mental state, Taes could empathically sense he was concerned for her comfort, not wanting to tower over her.  He asked Taes how she was feeling and she said she was fine.  Taes rose her eyebrows at him to tell him to get on with it.

It was only after Nelli had excited and the door closed that Kellin shared his report.

“Szerda picked up a strange transmission,” Kellin said, “A song called Sonic Headache by an Orion post-modern punk band named Kolar Blight.”

Taes broke into a grin, breathing out a soft, “Huh.”  She took such perverse delight in just how inconsequential Kellin’s report turned out to be.  Taes supposed any news that didn’t involve crew members committing blood dilithium-inspired violence was good news.

“That turned out to be our lucky song,” Kellin said enthusiastically.  “To search for the source of the transmission, we tested out the absolute maximum reach of the Sarek‘s new long-range sensors.  We couldn’t find the source of the music, but we did detect a Devore warship passing through the outer reach of this sector.”

Taes sat upright on the biobed.  She wasn’t smiling anymore.

Kellin advised, “Based on Flavia’s projections, the warship’s course won’t intercept the Burleigh system and we haven’t detected any telltales of their sensors on our hull.  I’m sorry, captain, I can’t risk losing any more crew to the debilitating effects of blood dilithium.  I’ve invited any telepathic crew members from the USS Palm Springs to board the Sarek and I’ve transferred all our blood dilithium to the Palm Springs.”

Taes cleared her throat and she said, “Commander, I don’t think–“

Although Kellin interrupted Taes, he did so in a compassionate and understated manner.

He said to Taes, “Captain, this is a tactical risk.  This is what I’ve trained for and it’s why you put me in command.  This is happening.  The blood dilithium is already gone from our science labs.”

“…Okay,” Taes said.  Blinking at Kellin, Taes couldn’t make out if she was feeling offended or impressed.

Kellin said, “I’m taking the saucer section into the corona of the Burleigh star where, Flavia assures me, the solar radiation will be more effective than any cloaking device, should the Devore’s sensors glance this way.  Palm Springs is taking up position in the Lagrange point between Burleigh IV and Burleigh Minor to avoid detection by the Devore.  Their away teams will complete the mining of Burleigh Minor in less than six hours. ”

“You’ve thought of everything,” Taes said.

Nodding glumly, Kellin said, “In fact, when the Kadi ambassador arrives–“

“No, commander,” Taes said, and she wasn’t as kind when she cut him off.  “I have already spoken with Commander Elbon about our diplomatic strategy.”

“It’s me,” Kellin said in earnest.  “You have to surrender me to whatever punishment the Supreme Abbott requires.  I’m the one who beamed the Kadi remains to the Sarek.”

Taes snapped, “That’s out of the question, commander.”  She paused to take a breath.  “As commanding officer, I am accountable for the actions of the entire crew.  Only because my perceptions are… unreliable right now, Command Elbon will represent me in our negotiations with the Kadi.  We will reach a new agreement on how to move forward now the Romulan Free State have claimed the Kadi’s history for their own.”

“But it’s my fault,” Kellin said.  The decisive starship captain in Kellin was replaced by a petulant teenager quicker than a blink.

“Yes,” Taes said, “and it’s my fault for giving you autonomy to make the mistake without the capabilities to avoid it.”

Kellin said, “Captain, I insist on–“

“If you say one word to the Kadi ambassador,” Taes promised, “I will demote you, commander.  What I will permit is for you to watch.  I want you to watch Jakkelb humble himself to the Kadi ambassador.  I want you to watch him grovel and beg for forgiveness.”

Taes poked Kellin in the chest to make her point, knowing how much Kellin still cared about his ex-husband.

Tilting her chin up, Taes said, “That will be a far greater punishment than anything the Kadi could do to you.  Besides, you need to see how commanding officers grovel for when it will be your turn.  Your day will come.  But it’s not today.”

His voice dropping to a whisper, Kellin sounded fatigued, when he said, “I didn’t mean to fail you, captain.  I didn’t keep you secure.  Not from Flavia or the blood dilithium.”

“You didn’t fail anyone, Kellin,” Taes said.  She smirked at him then.  “You can’t imagine this was the first time I threw myself on the floor and screamed gibberish at a foreign dignitary, can you?  I negotiated constantly with Cardassian scientists on starbase three-ten!”

Shaking her head, a mirthless laugh bubbled out of Taes.  “I’m almost relieved Flavia betrayed us.  I don’t have to wait for it anymore.  We can always trust the Romulans to be Romulans.”

 


 

In another sector, in another sickbay, on the Sarek‘s stardrive section, Elbon Jakkelb clasped Sootrah Yuulik’s hands between both of his own.  Her biofunction monitor softly chimed the steady beat of Yuulik’s heartbeat.  The sound reassured Elbon that Yuulik was alive.  Laid out on the biobed, Yuulik’s body was motionless.  Practically lifeless.  Her pale skin was all the more pallid and Elbon was unaccustomed to seeing her face without a sneer on her lips.  Yuulik’s condition had remained unchanged since T’Kaal’s hails had alerted him to Yuulik’s condition, unconscious on the deck of the epigenetics laboratory.

Yuulik’s condition remained unchanged until it changed.  Her heartbeat started to rise and her eyes fluttered open.  A pained groan reverberated from her chest.  Yuulik blinked heavily, but her eyes remained otherwise half-lidded, while they welled up with tears.

“Yuulik?” Elbon said in hope she could hear and understand him.  “Yuulik, how are– how are you feeling?”

Yuulik’s mouth dropped open, but she didn’t say anything.  She didn’t even groan again.  Silently, she stared at the ceiling, rivers of tears cascading from her eyes.

Then she said, “Don’t.”

Comments

  • Kellin taking charge and making executive decisions is a nice change. Of course they are decisions within his familiar thought processes, so they would have been easier to make. Comfortable even - remove the threat to the crew as best as possible. And I love the Vondem Rose call-out! Kolar Blight, inadvertently foiling the Devore Imperium since 2400! Violating some sort of noise or transmission laws, but just far enough away not to be seen. Now I need a full discography for Kolar Blight! And man am I pleased to see Taes getting back on her feet. Course now I want to hear about one of these Cardassian border events!

    November 23, 2022
  • I am ecstatic to be on top of the Sarek adventures again! Reading all this has had me gasping and laughing away, and I'm thoroughly in awe of this story's scope. As always, your characters are so wonderfully unique and I can clearly picture each one in my head as if they were acquaintances of mine. Unearthing Kadi artefacts and having the Romulans show no respect whatsoever to how the Kadi might actually feel about that, lying and betraying their way through scientific research is such a wonderful insight into how a society with few scruples would go about exploring the galaxy. Flavia is a brilliant contrast with Rayco, who is still finding his feet as commanding officer of the saucer section with Taes as the ever patient mentor (love the small details that hint towards his slight naïveté e.g. wearing his hair flat). The entire Burleigh IV plot engages us with the overall Blood Dilithium story line, forming clear parallels with themes on afterlife, how we treat our dead, and the clashing of different cultures' respective philosophies relating to the treatment of ancestors. Your writing at times evokes a sense of barely controlled chaos amongst all this, which I adore. The amorphous figure of Dr. Nelli, occupying the bridge at the same time as the deeply thoughtful, clean-cut Rayco. A lovely bit of development for Szerda occurred earlier, turning up too early for a meeting with the acting commanding officer; despite her own demons I felt to be a display of earnestness illustrating the vast chasm of professionalism between those like her, and gloriously unhinged shameless favourite of mine, Yuulik. Greatly enjoying Flavia's chaotic energy too, and I had a good giggle at "babe". Riveting, excellent, superlative plot and characterisation here! Thank you for the gripping read.

    November 24, 2022
  • That was a smart move on Kellin's part to do what he did, moving the blood dilithium off the ship to protect the rest of the telepaths was a smart move. I particularly liked how Kellin wanted to take the blame for Flavia's stupidity as he was the one who beamed them onto the ship, though he couldn't have particularly known as Flavia was deceptive. Now I am curious to see what exactly happened to Yuulik, I mean trying to turn herself into a telepath. Did it work or were these the consequences for even trying? Great work and again can't wait to see what happens next in the adventures of the Sarek.

    November 24, 2022