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

Chapter 4 – Into the Unknown or Concerns Voiced

Delta Quadrant
Nov. 2400
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Glancing up as the door to the makeshift conference room opened, Aris got to his feet. “Thank you both, I will try and make this quick. Can I get you anything? He motioned toward the replicator.

“No thank you, Captain.” Emma replied taking her seat. Truth be told, her nerves were jumbled as it was as they stared into the abyss of the unknown, knowing the abyss was staring back.

“I am fine, Captain.” T’Keterk likewise responded in the negative.

Aris nodded before retaking his seat. A cup of coffee long since forgotten sitting at his elbow. “Before we begin, T’Keterk I believe you had an update for me?”

“Affirmative, Captain.” T’Keterk responded bringing up the results of his diagnostic scan earlier. “No major issues to report, Captain. Structural Integrity is within agreeable norms and shields are holding strong.”

“Good to hear, Lieutenant.” Aris nodded motioning for his engineer to continue. 

“Landing struts are in working order.” T’Keterk continued. “And barring a significant firefight or bombardment our current armaments should suffice.”

“Thank you Lieutenant.” Aris nodded. “I trust you have familiarized yourself with the information pertaining to the Blood Dilithium phenomenon?” 

Seeing the affirmative nods, Aris launched right into the briefing. “Here is what we know. As you both know the Corax has received a distress call to assist a survey team beset by power generation issues. Although concerning in itself, the legitimacy of this call is questionable.”

As his officers nodded in the affirmative, he carried on. “As Starfleet Officers we are duty bound to respond and abide by our Task Force mandate to offer humanitarian assistance to all who request, and I do not want to be put in a position to disobey orders.”

Taking a sip at the now cold coffee and grimacing, Aris turned his attention to his crew. “Ensign Swain.”

“Yes, Captain.” Emma replied.

“Based on our current heading and trajectory, what is your estimate before we are in range of the survey team?

Emma ran a few mental calculations. “I estimate approximately six hours before we will be in sensor range once we alter course, if current velocity is maintained of course.”

“Very good, Ensign.” Aris replied with a small smile.

“T’Keterk, I would like us to remain battle ready with regular sensor sweeps.” T’Keterk nodded taking notes on his padd. “I am authorizing you to make any adjustments to the sensor array and deflectors as you see fit in order to see us arrive safely. I do not want to be caught unaware.”

Taking another sip of the stone cold coffee in hopes that the taste had improved, Aris bought up the information on Blood Dilithium. “We will need to be prepared for the event Blood Dilithium is at our destination and how we can mitigate any issues arising from contact with the crystals.”

“Of course, Blood Dilithium may not form part of the equation if we are being led on a false chase.” Aris continued. “This could be a hostage situation or a lure to capture federation technology, but orders are orders, we respond to this distress call, assist if possible, and remove and contain any Blood Dilithium blooms. 

Aris took a longing glance at the mug again, deciding a fresh cup was in order before continuing. 

“Prior to our departure, the primary cargo bay was outfitted with containment units to prevent any interaction with the crew. I am making an official order effective immediately – the Cargo Bay will be off limits to all personnel if any Dilithium is onboarded, and any analysis will be completed remotely using onboard tools.”

“Yes Sir.”

“Of course.”

Emma and T’Keterk replied as Aris took a solemn breath. “Informally, I have a request for us all.”

“Sir?” Emma questioned, confusion lacing her tone.

“I want us to be mindful of each other and watch our backs. There are only three of us after all” Aris spoke to the room in general. “If either of you notices any changes in behaviour or demeanour, let someone else know. We are still unsure why Blood Dilithium affects telepaths. If you have any theories, please let me know.”

Aris made to switch off the display when T’Keterk spoke up. “Captain, may I have a private word at the conclusion of this briefing?”

“Very well.” Aris replied. “You are all dismissed. Emma, please make arrangements to alter course. We will be on the bridge shortly.”

“Aye sir.” Emma replied getting to her feet to make her preparations.

Once Aris and T’Keterk were alone, Aris turned to his engineer. “What can I do for you Lieutenant?”

“I find myself concerned about the consequences of any exposure to Blood Dilithium that may result in me losing control of my emotions or becoming a threat to the successful completion of our mission.” T’Keterk spoke evenly. “As Captain, you are ultimately responsible for both Emma and myself and if my presence on board becomes a threat, I want you to do what you must to ensure the successful completion of our assignment.”

Aris mulled this over as T’Keterk calmly looked toward the captain. “I don’t like what you are implying Lieutenant,” Aris narrowed his eyes briefly. “But to be on the safe side, I will make arrangements to convert some of the disused quarters into holding areas. I will not resort to violence and i’ll do my utmost to return us safely to the Alpha Quadrant.”

“Thank you Captain.” T’Keterk nodded. “You may have no choice, but your reluctance is a credit to you sir, but I trust you will do what is best for the crew and the successful completion of our mission.


While Aris and T’Keterk were finishing up in the Conference Room, Emma made her final preparations and noted any course corrections she may need to make. Avoiding Borg space and any Devore patrols was of the utmost importance. She was fairly confident she would be able to outfly any incursion by the Hirogen or raider squadrons, but she was hoping against all hope that the Corax would be disregarded as a threat.

Plotting the last waypoint into the helm console, she let the hum of the warp engines and the stars streaking by calm her nerves. Something about the transmission from this purported survey team set her on edge. In her minds eye, they were a tiny fish in a massive pond, listening for echoes in the dark. Feeling like a sitting duck was not a good position to be in.

Comments

  • Great job at setting up this chapter, with the three of them talking about what was at hand or what might happen once they reach their destination. Will it be a trap, my mind keeps going back to the Telepathic Pitcher Plant that you mentioned in an earlier chapter. I enjoyed how T'Keterk voiced his concerns about his well-being when it comes to the blood dilithium which is very amicable. Shows that he is concerned for not only his safety but that of his fellow crewmembers.

    November 26, 2022