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Part of USS Odyssey: Into The Jaws of Death, Into The Mouth of Hell and Bravo Fleet: Blood Dilithium

Forty-Seven – Part 2

Stardate: 77838.52
USS Odyssey (NCC-80000) Gradin Belt, Delta Quadrant
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Yanking the transparent gas mask off his face, Lieutenant Commander Tomaz walked into engineering and swiftly approached Commander Duncan. 

“Report?” Duncan asked his strategic operations officer. 

“The Telemachus is secure and ready to launch remotely if we need it. The neurozine continues to pump through the ship’s systems; no one else is waking up.” The Barzan conveyed as he adjusted the straps around his neck. “Where are we at with things?”

“I’ve finally restored helm control to us,” Jen announced from one of the stations. “But we’re just about to drop out of warp near the baby telepathic pitcher plant.”

“That would explain why my headache is growing,” Tomaz commented. 

Gliding over to him, Slyvexs had her tricorder out and ran her scans over his head. “As I feared,” She closed her tricorder, “Our proximity to the pitcher plant will start to affect the rest of us non-telepaths as the neurogenic field increases.”

“Didn’t the Voyager records state that during their encounter, everyone, except those who couldn’t be tricked, was rendered unconscious by the neurogenic field?” Tomaz checked as he ripped off his uniform jacket. “My skin feels like it’s crawling with bugs. Is anyone else feeling that?”

“Yes to both accounts,” Slyvexs answered. “Your right about what happened to Voyager, but you’ve got to remember they were playing with the real full-grown thing. We’re dealing with an offspring of it, a much smaller version, but its manifestations are appearing randomly for all of us. I thought I saw half of my grandchildren sitting around the warp core a moment ago. It’s unable to decide how it wants to control us.”

“Sounds like any typical child, unsure of what it wants!” Tomaz remarked with a snigger as he soon realised nothing was crawling around him. Instead of putting his jacket back on, he left it off, pulled his combadge and stuck it to his uniform undershirt. “And we have just over ten minutes until we’re blown to smithereens. It sounds like a typical day in Starfleet! What else can I do?” He looked at Duncan. “By the way, sir, I spoke with your son, and he mentioned you’ve ordered them to leave the Calypso. Change of plan?”

 Duncan wobbled his head slightly. “Sort of,” He replied. “We’ve established there are no ships near us who can help us in time. I don’t want to launch the Calypso and something else happens that they can’t manage without Odyssey’s support. We’re better if we stay together.”

“Dealing with the monsters head-on together?” Tomaz wondered.

“Exactly, now Tomaz, will you go help Abbej with her scans of what’s happening to the Devore squadron we just detected,” Duncan ordered.

Tomaz nodded and proceeded to help the deputy chief science officer. 

Duncan turned to Slyvexs, “Where are we with our subspace trumpet?”

Slyvexs turned around to see where Jen, Jines and Banfield were working while Horin meditated nearby. “I’m not sure about this still, Max.” She whispered. “This may be the worst version of a mind-meld I’ve monitored.”

“Or it could be one for the books!” Duncan said, trying to sound optimistic. 

Penelope walked over to Duncan, who was rubbing his forehead again. “Sir, I’ve been able to transfer all ship controls to here in engineering. Unless someone has high-level clearance, no one can access them.”

“Good, because the moment we start this crazy plan of ours, then I don’t know how long it would take for us all to succumb,” Duncan replied.

“Well, so far, if Doctor Slyvexs’ theory of the pitcher plant being an infant and is unable to give out a powerful neurogenic field like its parent, then you may all survive this ordeal,” Penelope said, copying Duncan’s positiveness from earlier.

“We can only hope, but I do mean what I said earlier. If you need to assume command, then do it without hesitation and save us at all costs,” Duncan asserted. 

The hologram just nodded. 

Walking over to stand by Horin, who had just opened her eyes, Duncan smiled at the Betazoid counsellor and extended his hand out to help the heavily pregnant woman up off from the decking plating. “Are you sure about this, Louwanna?”

She nodded and smiled at him. “I’m ready,”

They were about to turn over to the resonance emitter setup when Lieutenant Marova spoke up. “Sir, we’re dropping out of warp!” 

Duncan looked over his shoulder at the pilot, who was using holographic controls to pilot the ship from the console she had commandeered. “All stop then, lieutenant,” He ordered.

“All stop, aye, sir.” announced the Hekaran deputy chief pilot. 

Abbej cleared her throat before reporting what the sensors were showing them. “Sir, that entire squadron of Devore warships are all sitting in a line on the edge of the pitcher plant.”

“How comes?” Duncan queried as he moved over to see the sensor readings.

 Shaking her head, unable to work out what was happening, Abbej couldn’t give him a clear answer. “It’s weird, none of their defence systems are operational, but it’s almost as if they’re lining up to be eaten by the pitcher plant.”

Clarifying her scans, Tomaz agreed with the Boslic woman. “Abbej is right; I think the Devore have been taken over by it too.”

“I thought the Devore spent years of training resisting telepaths?” Horin questioned aloud. 

“Obviously, they can’t defend themselves from a baby telepathic pitcher plant that is laced with blood dilithium,” Tomaz responded. 

A warning signal went off at Abbej’s console, forcing her to frown at what it was telling her.

“What is it, Abbej?” Duncan asked.  

“Sir, I’m detecting over forty-seven thousand Brenari life signs spread across the twelve Devore warships.” She reported, “My scans are detecting neurogenic fields on each vessel, so I think they are all unconscious, but they are there. With their defences down, I can get a good look at their interiors.”

“I would suggest they are all in what appears to be large detention areas. Almost like our cargo bays and shuttlebays.” Tomaz summarised. “We can’t leave them there, sir.”

Duncan looked at Horin before turning over to Jen. “Lukiz, can we expand our life support systems to deal with forty-seven thousand extra people?”

Jen dropped the tool he was using on the emitter and walked over to the others. He had been listening to the conversation they were having. “We can, but it would require other systems to lose power. Plus, the transporters would have to be set beyond their safety limits to beam that amount of people over.”

“How quickly can you do it?” Duncan asked before looking up at the self-destruct system. They had seven minutes to go.

“A couple of minutes,” Jen answered. 

“Do it, and start to beam them over to the cargo and shuttlebays,” Duncan ordered. “Once we’re done here, we’ll set a course back to the Sanctum where we can take them all.”

“Are we sure they’re not another mirage?” Horin checked. 

Penelope joined the group and checked the readings, “They’re real.”

“Sir, the emitter is ready,” Banfield announced after a few deep breaths. The neurogenic field was starting to take its toll on her. “And can I make one more suggestion? We cancel the auto-destruct? We’re not in any danger of being taken over by anyone else.”

Duncan agreed with the idea. “Good idea, Number One,” He said, using the nickname McCallister sometimes used on him. “Computer, terminate auto-destruct sequence. Authorisation, Duncan-one-seven-delta-romeo.”

 “Computer, this is Commander Corella Banfield; I concur; terminate auto-destruct sequence. Authorisation Banfield-two-one-beta-charlie.”

“Confirmed. Auto-destruct sequence terminated.”

Sighing with relief, everyone appeared to be calmer the moment the countdown had ended.

“Now that’s over; once we have those Brenari over here, can I suggest we disable the Devore warships?” Tomaz shared. “Without engines or weapons, they won’t be a threat to us and wouldn’t enter the pitcher plant.”

“That’s not a bad idea,” Penelope stated. “Let me handle it.”

“Make it happen,” Duncan agreed as he rubbed his forehead.

“Bad headache?” A familiar voice said at the entrance of main engineering.

Twisting his neck, Duncan smiled at his husband returning with their son Jordan, and the captain’s sons, S’Tem, and Cadet Grant. All of them were wearing gas masks and unclipping them after entering the safety of engineering. “Welcome, weary travellers.”

Jordan walked up to his father and gave him a hug. “I know you’ve set up containment fields around engineering to keep us all safe, but climbing through more Jefferies tubes and crawlways as the transporters can’t be used, isn’t my way of fun, dad.”

“Sorry, mate,” Duncan said, embracing his son again. “We needed to ensure no one had delusional ideas about taking back control of the ship.”

“Is our dad safe?” Alfie asked Commander Duncan, which was quickly followed by his brothers bombarding the first officer with more questions. 

“Uncle Tobie said you knocked everyone out with gas?” Henri asked. 

“Can we see him?” Theo also queried.

Duncan raised his hands, “Your dad is fine; he is on the bridge, sleeping it all off. We’ll get to him once we’ve sorted out this situation. Why don’t you all make yourselves useful and get checked over by Doctor Forbes.”

Court walked over to his husband and gave him a light kiss on the cheek before seeing what he could do to help. “I can tell you my headache is getting worse.”

“It’s the same for us all,” Duncan assured him. He turned over to Horin. “Louwanna, are you ready?”

“Let’s get this show on the road,” The counsellor remarked as she made her way over to where the others were with the modified resonance emitter. 

Slyvexs placed several monitors on her forehead. “Now, in case any of us do pass out from the neurogenic field, then Doctor Agnes will take over. Remember the plan; you get in, you get out without harming yourself.”

Doctor Agnes, the ship’s EMH, smiled at Horin. “I promise to take good care of you and your baby, commander.”

“Thanks, Agnes,” Horin said. “Now remind me how this will work again?”

Jen, who had finished working on the transporters and beaming over the Brenari survivors, had returned and was now working with Banfield. Speaking up, the joined Trill and explained how they had connected the emitter up to the main deflector. “Hopefully, you’ll be able to connect with the blood dilithium, just like the Discovery crew did, but this time you’re connecting to the blood dilithium laced within the pitcher plant.”

“We can’t be certain what will happen once you’re linked up,” Banfield said. “We’ll monitor your vitals, but if anything goes out of the ordinary, then we will cancel the link.”

Horin nodded. “Let’s do it,” She said with a confident smile. Looking around the room, she could sense they were all looking at her, and all of them were doing their best to ignore the headache and the slight dizziness they felt because of the neurogenic field. She closed her eyes, and Slyvexs activated the device. 


Standing in what looked like a barren desert, with only a few bits of grassland and what looked like dark red cactuses, Counsellor Horin looked around at her surroundings. She didn’t recognise where she was. As she surveyed the land, she placed her right hand just above her eyes as she tried to shield herself from the strong sunlight.

“Hello,” A small voice beside her said.

Startled by the sudden appearance, Horin almost jumped out of her skin. Looking down, she saw what appeared to be a young humanoid girl. She had long wavy curly blonde hair and wore a white summer dress.

“Hello,” Horin said with a smile. “What’s your name?”

“I don’t have one,” The young girl answered. “Do you?”

“I’m Louwanna.”

“I knew that,” 

Confused by that remark, Horin ignored it for now as she tried to work out what was happening. “Where are we?”

 “My home,”

“This dessert is your home?”

“Well, it was, until they started growing everywhere,” The girl pointed at the crimson cactuses dotted around the desert. “I started to chop them down, but the others stopped me.”

“Who are the others?” Horin asked.

“My guests,” The girl pointed out to a large rock formation in the distance. “They’re all gathered together there. Do you want to meet them?”

“Sure. Do you know who your guests are?”

She shook her head. “Most of them all look the same; they have funny noses, but some of the others who joined us recently are wearing the same clothes as you.” 

Horin looked down at her uniform and was intrigued by what the girl meant by that. “Do you know their names?”

The girl just blinked, and before Horin could react, she had moved and was now standing within the rock formation, surrounded by hundreds, if not thousands of people. It was busy. It was crowded. Looking around at the people; they were all moving past her, almost ignoring her. Horin took a moment to breathe and then realised that the people were, in fact, the Brenari, but she didn’t recognise any of them. They were all wearing rugged clothes.

“Louwanna!”

Spinning on her feet at hearing her name, Horin turned and saw a group she instantly knew coming towards her, especially the man leading them.

“Tremt!” She exclaimed before her Imzadi grabbed her and picked her off the ground into a tight hug

Comments

  • This is truly more exciting than anything I ever imagined for the blood dilithium campaign. You're writing such a rip-roaring adventure here, with the Odyssey crew flying directly into the jaws of the telepathic pitcher plant. I really enjoyed Duncan's optimistic style of leadership, especially when it proved to being infectious among the crew. I didn't know what to expect from the telepathic contact with the TPP, but a psionic landscape (in what's probably Vasquez Rocks) is truly nostalgic Trek storytelling at its best. I could practically imagine the bleach bypass haze to the film and the fades to white. Dying to read more of that.

    November 29, 2022
  • From start to finish, a heckuva story! Love the details, the crew dynamics, and the pace of the story. I need to bookmark it and do a few more read-throughs to get my head wrapped around everything that's happening - lots to dig into here. Nice job!

    November 30, 2022
  • Using an offspring of the pitcher plant is a good move - not just so it's not the canonical thing, but it gives you more room to play with its powers as the story needs. Hoo boy, forty-seven *thousand* more Brenari? That's a hell of a lot of people to rescue. Loving the notion of the telepaths being manipulated by the pitcher plant being to some extent psychically stuck IN the subspace blood dilithium pocket. This is gonna get weeeeird I bet.

    December 27, 2022