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

CH10: Somewhere Out There…

Sickbay
Stardate 240011.22, 2000 Hours
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Not for the first time in recent days, the command center of the Starship Ulysses was awash with the crimson glow of the red alert lighting. This time, however, something was different about the situation as Commander Gor escorted his Risian subordinate onto the bridge from the port side turbo lift. In such a situation, it was usual for the tension levels to increase among the staff there present, and for the bridge to be a hive of activity. Whilst she was no Betazoid, she could sense no such increase in tension among the staff, quite the opposite in fact. Henry and Linn were conversing as normal at the forward stations, Tharia was smiling and slapping the back of the Bajoran commander at tactical and Commander Gor practically skipped towards the command arena at the heart of the command center.

“Well, Number One?” the Captain queried, looking down at the Commander stood a few feet away and down the slight slope to the forward part of the bridge.

“I think they bought it,” the Tellarite man nodded, his hands on his hips as he spoke. “I think our Chief Science Officer bought it too,” he smiled in Akaria’s direction, flexing his eyebrows.

“Bought it?” the Risian enquired, a momentary look of confusion on her pretty, fair-skinned face until the sudden realisation dawned upon her. “It was a ruse?!” she asked, her tone indicating her dissatisfaction at being kept out of the loop on matters.

“It was Noli’s idea,” Tharia laughed, throwing her hands up in surrender and making a quick getaway from the tactical Arch.

“Of course it was…” Akaria frowned, arms folded across her chest in a protective gesture.

“We were getting nowhere with our questioning of the Devore, so we thought a little shake or two might give them the jolt we need to get them to cooperate,” the Bajoran second-in-command shrugged unapologetically.

“And the Hirogen?”

“Gone,” Tharia smiled, placing a motherly arm around the science officer and guiding her towards the science station. “We think they have given up; sensors detected them warping away from the area about twenty minutes ago,” the Andorian revealed whilst the Risian took up her place at the science station. “We’re going to stay in the nebula for another hour, then we’ll make for the Markonian Outpost,” the Captain told, finally letting the Risian in on her little ruse.

“Try not to give me anymore bumps,” a voice called out from the starboard turbo lift. The emerging dark-haired, grey-skinned woman made for the engineering station on the starboard bulkhead. “Repairs are complete, Captain. All systems functioning within normal parameters,” Lieutenant Prida smiled proudly upon the delivery of her report.

“Excellent work,” Tharia winked at the engineer before sliding into her command chair. “Now all we need to do is…”

Her words were cut off by the sudden vocals of the ship’s Assistant Chief Medical Officer. “Sickbay to bridge,” Lieutenant Torres spoke, a definite tone of agitation to his voice. In the background, and audible across the bridge, raised voices could be heard, and then what appeared to be the crash of metal. “Captain, you better get down here,” the Lieutenant requested before the line went dead.

“You have the CONN, Commander. Hold position and maintain sensor sweeps for any outside activity,” the Andorian decreed as she burst out of her seat, wagging her left index finger at Commander Noli and Lieutenant Okan in turn. “You two are with me,” she instructed, heading for the starboard turbo lift.

“Aye Captain,” Vasoch called, back to his usual stern self as the three women disappeared into the turbo lift, headed for sickbay.


Sh’Elas, Noli and Okan were deep in conversation upon entering the medical bay, but what greeted them was enough to halt the conversation abruptly and cause them all to do a double take. In the middle of sickbay, behind the safety of the forcefield that glowed with each glancing impact of a flailing extremity, their four colleagues were involved in a rather brutal scuffle.

“What the hell is going on in there?!” sh’Elas bellowed towards the Assistant Medical Officer who hadn’t even noticed the senior staff enter the room. When he did, the look of exasperation told the story of how difficult he was finding things.

“I don’t know what happened,” Torres shrugged, moving over to the safety of the Bajoran tactical officer. “One minute all was calm, they were chatting away and then all hell broke loose!” In all honesty, he felt defeated, and probably looked it too. “I think Tempestava may have started it all,” he added with a frown.

Noli grinned as she nodded in approval, a gesture that got her some strange looks from the others in the lab. “What?” she asked, “I always knew she had some fight in her,” the Bajoran shrugged.

“Have you tried sedation?” Akaria called out, moving past Noli and to one of the side stations in the bay.

“Yes,” Torres barked in reply, all the while watching the brawl slowly get more physical. “I even tried anesthizine gas at seventy parts a million. It should have knocked the four of them off their feet straight away… I daren’t try any higher…”

“Right…” with that, Noli wandered over to a black case hanging on a nearby bulkhead. Typing in a code, the front facing flap slid downwards to reveal several sidearms inside. Plucking one of the hand phasers from its home, the Bajoran upped the device to its maximum setting. “Akaria, get ready…”

Nodding in agreement, the Risian knew that if the anesthizine gas hadn’t worked, being stunned by phaser fire was their only other option at this point. “Lowering forcefield… now,” she declared, tapping the console in front of her by instinct alone, her gaze centralized on her floundering colleagues.

As soon as the field surrounding the group at the heart of sickbay began to fluctuate, Noli raised the phaser, holding it at arm’s length and ready to fire. Once the shield was lowered, she dispatched a single blast which impacted Akaria’s unfortunate spouse in the left shoulder. Ren crumpled to the floor, followed by three more phaser blasts and the rest of the team collapsing in silence.

With the medical facility under control once again, the Doctor waved for his medical team to help each of their fallen comrades to a bio bed. “Erect a security field when they’re comfortable,” he ordered of his team, hands on hips as he spoke his instructions.

Rising to her feet, the Chief Science Officer joined the three other officers in a huddled conflab. “These are the first new symptoms reported by any of the survivors or the away team since returning to the ship,” she advised the group, arms folded across her chest in a protective gesture.

“But I thought the Counsellor was the only one to be exposed?” Tharia mused out loud, looking past the group and towards the prone officers, resting peacefully upon their bio beds.

“I do have a theory,” Akaria began, only continuing with a nonverbal sign of approval from the Captain. “Either we beamed some blood dilithium aboard during the retreat, or we’ve got some in close proximity somewhere,” she suggested to the gathering.

“There was no indication of any such material beaming aboard during the withdrawal,” Noli countered swiftly, “I had my team go over all of the transporter logs.”

“Then let’s suppose we’re recently moved within range of some somewhere. Is it possible there could be a blood dilithium deposit within the nebula?” Tharia asked, looking more in the direction of the scientist for an answer.

“According to all data I have read, blood dilithium has only been recorded as forming on solid surfaces in close proximity to an anomaly,” the Risian lifted a hand to rub her chin whilst considering the Captain’s question. “It is possible; we’d be looking for some form of solid structure, either natural or artificial,” she concluded.

“Even though the sensors are weakened by the nebula, surely we’d have detected the source by now if it was close enough to elicit that kind of reaction?” Noli’s question was one typical of a tactical officer who had maybe not done all the scientific reading she perhaps should have.

“Not necessarily,” Torres shook his head. “If the deposit is large enough, there is every chance they’d feel the effects from a great distance,” the medical clinician revealed, causing the Captain to let out a sigh.

“Okay,” she slapped her arms down to her sides, “Akaria, you and I will head up to the bridge and begin the search for blood dilithium deposits. Noli; get a security team down here until further notice. Then begin a sweep of all our visitors. I want to know the minute there are any issues,” the Andorian instructed.

“Hang on Captain,” the doctor interjected briefly, wandering to a side station and picking up a small device. “I think we need to start monitoring neuro pathways for any indication of increased activity. You should have your team dispatch cortical monitors to all of our guests. I’ve already begun replicating additional units,” the man told, handing off the object to the tactician.

“Keep me updated on developments Doctor,” the Captain nodded to the Assistant Medical Officer, before turning and vacating sickbay with her science officer close behind. “Any thoughts on how we can do this?” she asked the Risian on their approach to the turbo lift.

“With the limited range of our sensors, I’d recommend dispatching a number of probes into the nebula,” Akaria suggested as they walked, “they’ll cover more ground than we can, and it prevents us from having to utilize support craft.”

Disappearing into the turbo lift at the end of the corridor, the two officers remained in deep conversation until they arrived at the bridge, where the Chief Science Officer put her plan into action alongside a number of other officers in the StratOps suite aft of the bridge.

It was imperative their search found the supposed source of the blood dilithium, for the sake of all the telepaths aboard the ship.

Comments

  • I enjoyed the repeated themes of paradox and catch-22 throughout this post: the ruse with the Devore, the sanctuary of the nebula proving to be a danger as a source of blood dilithium, and at the risk of getting back-handed in sickbay. I loved how the presence of the dilithium was discovered due to a knock-down drag-out brawl in sickbay. Such fun imagery that was. And speaking of the ruse, Akaria's incensed "It was a ruse?!" needs to be up there with iconic Trek moments like "It's a faaaaaaaake!"

    November 29, 2022