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

CH11: For the safety of all involved…

Bridge, Deck 1
Stardate 240011.22, 2015 Hours
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Captain’s log, supplemental.

 

Upon the advice of Lieutenant Okan and Doctor Torres, Ulysses has begun its search of the nebula in the hope of locating a source of blood dilithium. The mission of our scientific probes has been complicated by the swirling nebula clouds we are calling home for the time being. Even with a sensor suite as capable as ours, we could not hope to search the entire nebula in the short amount of time we were to remain, hence the use of Akaria’s probes, but the sudden reappearance of the Hirogen hunting party now circling the nebula makes speed of the essence.

 

Rallying to Akaria’s call for help, the entire senior staff is working like a well-oiled machine. Linn and Henry are assisting in making the probes search quicker, working on guidance and sensor systems. Prida and Noli have been dispatched to science lab three to assist with creating a containment space suitable for housing any samples we may find, while protecting the telepaths aboard ship. The XO and I remain vigilant from our posts on the bridge, with keen eyes on sensor readings from both beyond and within the nebula.

 

My biggest concern right now is with the four officers under sedation in sickbay, and the number of guests we have under quarantine. Whilst it is my priority to gather samples for further analysis, the situation is fluid; if the threat to our guests or crewmembers grows, I will have no choice but to take Ulysses out of the nebula…

…and face the wolf pack beyond.

Huddled around a station in the StratOps suite at the back of the bridge, Lieutenant Okan and her colleagues from Operations and Flight Control were monitoring the incoming telemetry of the modified probes they had dispatched to survey the nebula for traces of blood dilithium. Frustration was the order of the day as probe after probe continued to send in negative sensor readings.

Sat at the station with her colleagues stood either side of her, the Risian was perhaps the most frustrated of all. “Probe Alpha-Three showing negative signs for, well, any…” Okan paused, staring at the readings ahead of her, causing the Bolian and the Terran to stop their own tasks.

“Lieutenant?” Henry asked, looking at the tattooed woman curiously.

“It’s found something,” she smiled, “it’s found something!” her exclamation was enough to draw the attention of the Captain and her executive officer sat in the command chairs at the heart of the bridge. Rising from her seat, she led the two rather bemused gentlemen back onto the bridge and headed for her science station. “Ma’am, with your permission?” she asked of the Captain, gesturing to the viewer at the front of the bridge.

Vasoch and Tharia exchanged glances before the Andorian gave a nod of acceptance to the Risian.

“Henry,” the Science Chief called out as she took her seat, “pull up grid alpha-three-two please,” she requested of the Flight Controller whilst he took his seat.

“Alrighty,” Henry nodded, taking his seat at the CONN and letting his fingers do all the work. Soon, the lighting on the bridge took on an orange hue as the holographic viewscreen changed to show the nebula around the ship.

Something in the center of the image drew everyone’s attention, even causing the Captain to move forward and perch on the edge of her seat. “Magnify,” she spoke quietly to no one in particular. As the image was enhanced and the central section enlarged, a smile crept across her face.

“It’s an asteroid, approximately seven hundred kilometers in diameter,” the Science Officer told, her analysis confirming several readings. “We’re also detecting blood dilithium deposits on the surface,” she continued excitedly.

“Take us closer Henry,” the Captain ordered, slouching back in her chair, relieved. “Number One; make sure Noli and Prida have the containment system ready to go,” she added, a side glance at the Tellerite before eyes forward once again.

Vasoch spun slightly in his seat, tapping away at the controls on the small console beside him. It allowed him to see what the status of their project was, and to contact the two officers if necessary. Thankfully, the report was good. “Prida reports that the isolation field and containment chamber are complete. They’ve used data gathered from research teams before we lost contact with Starfleet to replicate the chamber,” he advised the Captain, with a look across at the Science Chief. “They’re going to send you the details of how big a sample we can house shortly,” he told the Risian, eliciting a simple nod from the woman in return.

Upon receiving confirmation of the sample size, Akaria surmised that the best way to obtain the sample would be to carve out a deposit using the ventral phaser array. Submitting her idea to the tactical station where Lieutenant Bellurr stood in place of the ship’s second officer, the science team was ready.

“Henry?”

“We’re holding steady within phaser and transporter range,” the Terran helmsman revealed, “but I must warn you there is every chance the Hirogen may detect us when we open fire,” he added, the note of caution enough to cause the Captain to reconsider for a moment.

“Alright,” she nodded, heeding the youngster’s warning, “plot the quickest, and safest, route out of the nebula and onto a course back to the outpost. We’ll go as soon as the sample is aboard,” she instructed.

“Got it, Captain!” the flyboy responded whilst commanding his controls to do his bidding.

Vasoch rose from his chair and rounded the tactical Arch, standing beside the Klingon-Terran hybrid overseeing the controls in Noli’s absence. Not because he didn’t trust the Bajoran’s understudy, but because he wanted to assist, if he could, at such an important moment.

“Bridge to containment lab,” the Captain called into the internal comm array, “standby to collect sample.”

We’re ready when you are Captain,” Prida’s voice echoed around the bridge.

“Make it so Lieutenant Bellurr,” Tharia declared loudly, hands gripping the chair arms either side, eyes trained on the screen.

“Initiating phaser spread,” the younger woman at Tactical barked, her Klingon side coming through.

In the depths of the nebula, with swirling gases masking the Ulysses and her asteroid target, the ventral phaser arrays of the ship unleashed three sustained bursts at different locations on the rock. In doing so, a large portion of its face evaporated under the phased energy blast, allowing a glaring, scarlet glow to emit from beneath the surface.

Transporter Room One to Bridge,” and unidentified voice filled the airwaves, “commencing transport now.


Located across the Starfleet ship, hundreds of survivors from the Devore prison rested in relative luxury. Gone were the inhumane conditions some had been kept in for eons, replaced by startling comfort, not to mention the freedom to eat, drink and even bathe whenever they so desired. Whilst they were still under quarantine, a medical necessity as explained by the Starfleet doctors, most were content to stay out and enjoy the simplest of creature comforts once more.

But one in particular was finding this new form of incarceration challenging. They had been given relative freedom on the planet below, but not here. Here, they suffered. Here, they could see everything, hear everything and feel everything. It was exasperating. It was painful. It was impossible to talk about with these Federations.

As far as they were concerned, this one had not transported to their quaint vessel and instead remained on the surface. Many had asked about this one’s location, but none had an answer; why would they? This one’s disguise was complete, convincing. No one would ever kno…

But what was this? A sudden outpouring of emotion from the telepaths aboard. A sudden pain of such intensity this one dropped to its knees.

And then, in this one’s own moment of weakness, a blood curdling scream. A scream that shattered glass, destroyed furniture…

…and eliminated the force field keeping them locked away.

Starfleet thought it was for this one’s safety. If only they knew it was actually for all of theirs, instead…


Across the bridge, feet tapped nervously on the deck plating, twitchy fingers drummed against console screens and the beating of anxious hearts threatened to drown out the almost deafening silence whilst they waited for news.

Prida to bridge,” the more familiar voice of the Chief Engineer called out from the ether, “transport complete. We have one significant sa…le succ…ly… st…

Inching forward in her command chair, the Captain tapped the controls on her chair arm.

“sh’Elas to Prida, repeat your last?” the Captain enquired, but nothing was reciprocated, causing the anxiousness to ramp up. “sh’Elas to Noli, are you receiving us?” she asked again, this time directed at the other officer located with the Chief Engineer in the containment lab. Nothing.

Flying out of her chair at warp speed, the Captain spun on her heels and looked across at Vasoch. Before they could even begin conversing, lights and control systems across the bridge began to wildly fluctuate until all went dark.

It was only a matter of seconds until the pale, white emergency lighting activated, partially illuminating the bridge, but doing just enough to grant the bridge crew the ability to see one another, and that the bridge was in tact. Then, drawing upon the power reserves, a few of the bridge consoles blinked back to life.

“Report!” the Andorian barked, hands on her hips and looking for the first of the voices to come her way.

“Helm is unresponsive,” Henry called out in response, the Terran never one to let down his Andorian mistress, “we’re dead in the… well, nebula.”

“Power is down across the entire ship, Captain,” the Bolian next to him revealed. “Life support is operating at minimal, power reserves will soon be depleted,” he told, spinning in his chair and shooting the Captain an apologetic look.

“Intra-ship communications are down,” Vasoch chimed in from the tactical Arch next to Lieutenant Bellurr.

“Weapons, shields, external sensors. If the Hirogen find us now, we’re sitting ducks…” the Klingon frowned, perching back on her stool in frustration.

“Mayr; you said external sensors are offline. What about internal sensors? Can we transfer enough of the power reserves to ascertain what might have happened?” the Captain suggested, taking a step closer to the command area and the tactical Arch.

Shrugging, the Klingon woman sat forward in her seat and began tapping away at what functions her console still had. “Apparently so,” she smiled a few seconds later. “Sensors are showing there was an explosion on deck six about thirty seconds before the power went out. Without communications, I’m unable to dispatch a security team to check it out.”

“We potentially have a bigger problem,” the Risian at science added in slowly, causing the Captain to spin and divert her attention to her blue-uniformed subordinate for elaboration. “If the power is out on all decks, that means that all of the force fields, both security and medical, will be offline,” it seemed obvious to her, but she felt the need to remind everyone of the situation they faced. It wasn’t long ago that a number of their crew had been locked down for violent outbursts.

“Right,” Tharia nodded slowly, running her hands through her silver mane as she contemplated a plan of attack. “Mayr, I want you to head to deck six and ascertain what the hell went on. Number One, head to sickbay, then the isolation lab. Linn, get down to engineering and get the power online,” her orders precise and quick. “Akaria, Henry and I will monitor the developing situation from here and try to get systems online as quickly as possible,” she instructed clearly. Slipping into her seat was the cue the officers needed to depart and set about their tasks.

Rising to his feet, the Bolian from Ops frowned as he walked past the tactical Arch and towards the aft jefferies tube access panel.

“Great,” he muttered, “thirty-five decks to climb down to engineering,” he huffed.

“You could always try free falling, mate,” Henry responded cheekily, earning him a disapproving (officially, anyway) look from the commanding officer and a curse word or two from his Bolian buddy. His Bolian buddy who had a very long climb ahead of him…

Comments

  • Oooooooh, I like the cage of the catch-22 you've built for Tharia and Co. Their mission for Starfleet to study the blood dilithium could be the very thing that attracts the Hirogen to their very position. Not to mention, the threat of bringing blood dilithium aboard a ship fit to bursting with traumatized telepathic ex-prisoners. What will the cries of the murdered Brenari do to them?? They ALREADY have reason to hate the Devore. I was so thankful when something went catastrophically wrong, of course. Can't introduce Chekhov's gun without pulling that trigger!

    December 10, 2022