Part of USS Hathaway: Episode 10: Blood Dilithium Part II (A Price Paid in Blood) and Bravo Fleet: Blood Dilithium

CH8: A Scientists perspective

Various
Stardate 240011.22, 1900 Hours
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Chief Science Officer’s personal log, stardate 240011.22.

 

So much has happened in the few weeks Ulysses has been in the Delta Quadrant, and despite being a scientist in the middle of nowhere, I can’t help but dream of home. Exploring the far off reaches of outer space should be every science officer’s dream, but so much has happened recently that has put a new perspective on things, both professionally and personally.

 

In the months since we’ve been back together as a family, Marley, Matheus and I have faced so much. First sh’Elas wouldn’t let father and son join their mother on a mission deep into Romulan space, separating us at a crucial time of rebuilding relationships. Then, when we are finally reunited again, the ship is sent to respond to yet another crisis in a far off land. Although we were together this time, it didn’t stop us getting embroiled in a mission where Matheus had to put his life at risk because of his empathic abilities whilst Marley and I were locked away in our quarters for days. How the hell do you explain to a child that his father has been persecuted because of his biology, because of something he never wanted but had no choice in? Then, right when we get him back, he’s locked away in sickbay for monitoring after the disaster down on the surface of Haess. Zinn says they’ll be allowed out in a matter of days, but that’s no relief to a youngster who just wants to be with his father. I suppose one good thing to come out of all of this is that I have a grasp of my feelings now. Yes, Matheus cheated. Yes, he ruined what we had. I have to acknowledge that I played my part in the breakdown of our previous relationship, but I never stopped loving him. I thought I did; I thought I never wanted to be anywhere near him again. Children change things. They put things into perspective. Our plight is nothing compared to the ship-wide populace, though.

 

Ulysses has found a safe haven inside a mutara type nebula located some thirty light-years from Haess IV, though not by choice. What sensor coverage we have been able to maintain shows that Hirogen vessels remain in the area, hunting us down. We have less than eight days to make it back to the Markonian Outpost, or we’ll be stranded in the Delta Quadrant for another month. sh’Elas says she has no intention of fighting the Hirogen, not after recent events, but that seems inevitable now. There’s virtually nowhere left for them to search; it’s only a matter of time until they find us…

The usual darkness of space had long been replaced by the swirling mixtures of gas that emanated a pinky-purple glow and made up the mutara class nebula housing the Starfleet vessel Ulysses. Whilst several key systems had failed upon entering the safety of the nebula, the crew found solace in having some time to take stock and breath a much needed sigh of relief. Long gone were the warships belonging to the Devore Imperium, in their place, several Hirogen hunting vessels circled the safe haven that Ulysses had made home (at least temporarily). In normal circumstances, that would be a major concern, and for the powers that be, it was, but for everyone else it was a reprieve. Not a single person aboard had emerged from recent events unscathed; not the Starfleet crew, not their Devore captives, nor the hundreds of telepathic passengers the crew had liberated from incarceration on the prison planet.

For those on duty in the science laboratory on deck thirteen, they had a momentary distraction from the thoughts of days gone by, having been tasked with ensuring Ulysses remained hidden as long as possible. Working their magic with the ship’s sensors, trying to mask the energy output of the systems that were still online was proving to be an ongoing task requiring constant supervision. Even a ship with a functioning cloak would have found such an endeavour difficult when surrounded by the gaseous clouds of the nebula, and they weren’t even deep into the nebula; the ship was still relatively close to the edge of the phenomenon, with sensors unable to adequately detect what might have existed further inside. Mapping the phenomenon was proving a challenge for those in Stellar Cartography too, but everyone was doing their best, just as the Risian department head expected they would.

Akaria though was deeply engrossed in another task; sifting through countless reports of exposure to blood dilithium, obtained by those individuals aboard the ship who had been happy to divulge their experiences. Throughout her analysis, one thing had become abundantly clear – blood dilithium impacted individuals in dozens of different ways. Beyond the more common reports of rage-fueled outbursts, physical altercations and the displays of sexual promiscuity, some rather peculiar side effects had been reported. Increased appetite, strengthening of abilities and even rapid onset aging to name a few. Most were temporary of course, but some would leave permanent scars. Everyone had agreed that the most damage done had been the emotional turmoil they had been subjected to. Those scars would take a long time to heal. She just hoped the ship would still be around when they had…


Waiting around was never the Chief Science Officer’s strong suit. Standing around outside the brig on deck twenty-six, the Risian tapped her feet in frustration, waiting for the arrival of the ship’s second in command. Running a hand through her flowing, golden locks, she flicked the golden strands to the right, revealing a large, shaved portion of her skull, decorated in tribal tattoos. It was a recent change brought about thanks to her recoupling with Matheus. It was a sign of her Risian heritage, and a sign of wanting to be different.

She was about ready to give up when the diminutive Tellarite rounded a corner, an unusual grin filling his face. It was enough to  unnerve a Vulcan well-practiced in the form of kolinahr. “Everything alright, sir?” She asked cautiously.

Vasoch didn’t even stop to greet the Risian, simply offering an ‘Oh yes’ on his way past the younger woman and into the prison block.

Under normal operating circumstances, the two brig cells on either side of the room would comfortably hold three individuals, perhaps four at a push. On this particular occasion, each cell was crammed to the rafters with seven individuals under lock and key, and all supervised by a single brig officer at the security terminal in the middle of the room. All eyes in the room darted in the direction of the door at the sudden appearance of the Tellarite and his blue-uniformed counterpart. Vasoch sauntered over to the terminal and smiled at the security officer, unnerving him in much the same way Akaria had been before.

“Good morning everyone,” the pig-like creature grinned, “I hope your stay has been enjoyable thus far, but alas, your tenancy in these wonderful guest quarters are at an end,” he smiled, arms out wide and head twisting between the cells.

Mockery was such a Tellarite trait, and it appeared Vasoch was a master at it. Akaria watched, almost in awe, as the XO went to town on their ‘guests’.

“We will shortly transfer you to a Hirogen hunting pack as part of our negotiations for safe passage,” he revealed, much to the concern of the prisoners who began to grow restless in their cells. “That is!” He declared loudly to silence the Devore and garner their attention. “That is unless you begin to cooperate and answer our questions,” he told them.

Akaria stiffened at the ploy being used by the XO. Dangling their lives before them in such a way was akin to torture, wasn’t it? She couldn’t believe that the Captain had sanctioned such a move… had she?

“Okay then,” the Tellarite smiled his toothy grin, rubbing his hands together in glee, “let’s begin, shall we?”

Twenty minutes later, and not a single question had been answered; Commander Gor’s pleasant demeanour had evaporated quicker than a puddle under the sun during Risa’s summer solstice. He was now pacing the prison room, banging on the cell forcefields and glaring at the Devore soldiers securely behind them with bared teeth. For Akaria, this was a futile gesture. Clearly, the threats of the Commander were not convincing enough. Fate, however, would play its cards.

A strange shrieking sound filled the bay, accompanied by a strong vibration of the deck plates beneath their feet, causing everyone to cover their ears. Akaria exchanged concerned glances with Commander Gor, only for a second, louder shriek to fill the bay. This time, rather than being accompanied by simple vibrations, there was the distinct feeling of an explosion somewhere nearby.

“Battlestations!” the voice of the Andorian Captain filled the brig, “Commander Gor, report to the bridge. We’ve been located…”

Gor and the Risian looked at one another before heading for the doorway and exiting the brig.

Standing at the forcefield nearest the door, Devore Inspector Kravik watched the two officers leave, a smile slowly emerging on his face. Perhaps there was a way out for his people after all?