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

CH12: Mystery Resolved?

Various
Stardate 240011.22, 2030 Hours
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Travelling a ship such as the Ulysses via the network of jefferies tubes was hardly a walk in the proverbial park, but luckily for Lieutenant Bellurr, she only had to climb for six decks; poor Linn Mora had to travel the thirty-five decks to engineering and hope he still had the energy to work when he got there. They had partied ways, along with the XO, on deck four, with the Klingon taking a different tube the rest of the way to deck six.

Emerging from the jefferies tube in section fourteen alpha, Bellurr stepped into the darkness, surveying the silence with extreme caution. Something out there had caused an explosion, and given the fact she was in the heart of personnel quarters aboard the saucer section, she couldn’t even rule out that it had been a person, either. Flashing her wrist beacons around the corridor, she could see nothing to alert her, so began her cautious approach to the location of the explosion, several hundred feet away.

For a deck where so many resided, and where an explosion had just taken place, deck six was eerily quiet. Perhaps the lack of power was keeping people confined to their quarters, but in her experience, humanoids were inherently nosy, so she had fully expected to have to order people away; but to see no one? That was unnerving to say the least. During her patrol of the deck, the Klingon continued to look for any sign of any kind that might alert her to the situation, but still there was nothing. If she hadn’t known better, she would have thought that maybe someone had clea…

Coming to a sudden halt, the unmistakable smell of an explosion assaulted her nose. She was close at last. Removing the phaser from her holster, the woman began tiptoeing on her heading. Soon, the sound of crackling began to hit her, a sound she could likely attribute to a probable fire. And then there was the thick smoke that began to drift in her direction.

Speeding up, the Klingon rounded the final corner to find the door to Guest Quarters 37-Beta forced open, and a bright orange glow from inside. Fighting her way through the increasing amount of smog, she reached the door and peered inside. She couldn’t see anyone, which was a bonus, but that didn’t mean there wasn’t someone in there, hiding away somewhere.

“Hello?!” she called, forcing her muscular frame through the gap in the door until she was through successfully. A fire was burning bright, right where the wall-mounted computer terminal had been located. “Hello?!” she called again, but still nothing.

Having searched the whole room after a few moments, she headed for the doorway again, deciding that the wisest course of action would be to vacate and get herself away from the fire that freely burnt away on the bulkhead. In the absence of a visible reason for the explosion, there were other people on this deck she had to check in on, to ensure their safety more than anything else.

Lifting her left leg up to climb through the gap, a loud clunking sound from inside the quarters caused her to pause and look back. In doing so, she presented the creature with ample opportunity to strike; the being lashed out and smashed the Klingon on the top of her head, then watched as she crumpled to the floor in an unconscious heap, unable to stop the retreating assailant.


Climbing through the jefferies tubes of the ship was far from Vasoch’s idea of fun, what with the stout character probably among the most unfit members of the ship’s personnel. His diminutive frame just wasn’t made for exercise, but instead for eating and arguing. Especially at his ripe old age. Thankfully, just like Lieutenant Bellurr, he didn’t have as far to go as Lieutenant Mora did, emerging onto deck twelve in relatively quick time (for him, anyway). Flashing his wrist beacons around the corridor to survey what awaited him, the Tellarite was pleased to find no sign of any danger, opting to proceed without delay to the medical ward a few sections down.

During the short walk, the Commander made contact with a few individuals, assuring them that all was well and they should remain in their quarters until power returned. It was a lie, of course, as the situation was far from under control, but he had to project that calming presence needed to control what he could of the developing situation. Sickbay, however, was a different story.

After forcing the doors to the medical facility open, he could hear the concern in the tone of the officers present. A quick visual scan of the medical bay identified no new casualties had seemingly been brought in, but Doctor in charge was more than a little agitated.

Spinning on his heels at the sound of a crewmate forcing their way inside, Lieutenant Torres breathed a sigh of relief at seeing the XO. “Commander,” the Terran man sighed as he walked over to the ship’s executive, “we have a problem.

“I know Doctor,” Vasoch interjected quickly, “we’re doing what we can to get thi…” but it was his turn to be interrupted now.

“I don’t care what’s happening outside of here,” the Doctor told bluntly, waving an arm in the general direction of the biobeds. “Stasis fields are offline, and even though they are sedated, our officer’s are starting to show more severe signs of blood dilithium exposure,” the Doctor explained, stepping over to the Counsellor’s bed. “I’ve already had to sedate Chiera again because she grew increasingly violent,” he finished, arms slapping to his side.

‘Wonderful…’ Vasoch sighed. Exactly what they had feared. “As soon as we can restore power, we’ll make sickbay and the containment fields a matter of priority,” the Tellarite grunted, “but for now, do your best. We’re trying to ascertain what happened but the lack of power is hindering matters,” he folded his arms across his chest, looking around the four, heavily breathing crewmates.

“It’s not just those in here we need to worry about,” Torres reminded the first officer, “but we have hundreds of telepathic guests on this ship who will likely be showing similar effects, and I’ve got no way to control the situation,” Josue frowned, exasperated at the direction his first stint as acting Chief Medical Officer was going.

“Your security team here will keep you safe,” Vasoch pointed to the two officer’s clad in yellow, “I’m going to head to the science lab to ascertain what the situation is there.”

Unwilling to wait for any sort of response from the physician, Vasoch turned and climbed his way out of the medical ward and back onto deck twelve. It would be another short climb to the containment lab.


Tapping her feet as she stared into the bright red glow emitting from the containment unit, Commander Noli Auru was struggling with the lack of information from across the ship, and was battling the desire to abandon her task and head off to intervene somewhere. But someone had to keep watch over the blood dilithium sample they had harvested. With power out, Lieutenant Prida had begun the climb to engineering to see what she could do there, leaving the tactical officer to keep watch.

“I don’t know what all the fuss is about,” she shrugged, pouting as she stared at the crystal formation. As a non-telepath, it posed no risk to her, and she was struggling to fully comprehend its devastating power. She obviously knew of its potential as a source of power, but beyond that, nothing. She couldn’t pretend to understand the complexities of the crystal like the science and engineering teams could.

Whilst deep in thought, the Commander was startled by a clang from behind the containment structure that stood eight feet tall and in the center of the lab.

“Hello?” she called out, bending to the right to try and catch a glimpse of behind the unit. Unable to see anything, the Bajoran wandered around to the left, looking around slowly until she noticed something reflecting the crimson glare of the blood dilithium. A data PADD. A data PADD sat on the floor next to the containment field, and no sign of where it came from.

Another quick scout around and the blonde stopped to pick up the PADD. She would not climb up again, however, as a clubbing blow to the back of her skull sent her crashing face first to the floor. There she remained until a figure appeared in the science lab doorway a short while later.

“Noli? Prida?” a voice called out, emerging from the darkness of the corridor and into the crimson-lit lab.

Running a hand through his bushy beard whilst her surveyed the chamber, Vasoch nodded in approval at the success of the team’s efforts. He only stopped smiling when he caught a glimpse of two black clad feet poking out from behind the containment unit. With an uncharacteristic burst of pace, the stumpy Tellarite flew around the side of the field to find the prone Bajoran. Crouching to her side, the Commander placed a gentle hand on the woman in a bid to stir her somewhat unsuccessfully. Next, he shouted her name, but still nothing.

Assessing the woman for injury, he could see nothing that would pinpoint why she was unconscious. There was no way he could get her to sickbay himself; he’d have to drop her down the jefferies tube to the next level, and that would kill her for certain. No, he had to get help. He couldn’t risk enlisting any of the guest personnel on the deck given the state of things, so he’d have to get help.

Pressing his fingers to her neck and checking her vitals one last time, the Commander was content enough to leave the containment lab in search of the mythical help he required.


Over a dozen decks away, an exhausted Prida Rala finally emerged from a jefferies tube access hatch on the upper level of the engineering bay, smoothing down her uniform once she was on her feet again. Whilst the upper level was quiet, it was clear from the commotion below that engineering was a hive of activity, despite the lack of power.

Wandering over to the protective rail that surrounded the upper coolant tanks, the Bajassian placed her hands upon the railing and glared at the people below. “I’ve been gone for a few hours and you lot break the entire ship!” she balled, drawing the attention of everyone below.

“It wasn’t us, Chief!”

“I think it might have been Smithy…”

“It’s always Smithy…”

“Hey!” a young Petty Officer frowned, hands on hips, “I told you already, it wasn’t me.” He then lifted a hand to his head and rubbed his brow. “At least, I don’t think it was…”

Prida smirked and shook her head, feeling sorry for poor Smithy. One of their newer recruits to engineering, the team seemed to enjoy ribbing him thanks to a slight mishap with the propulsion systems a number of weeks ago now. Walking to the steel ladder at the edge of the upper platform, the Chief Engineer grabbed either side of the vertical bars and used her weight to slide down to the lower level, like something reminiscent of a firefighter she’d seen in one of Henry’s twentieth century movies.

As he feet made landfall, a second figure emerged, this time from the large bay doors, and looking rather red – which was no mean feat considering he had vivid blue skin. Watching while the newcomer bent down to catch his breath, the Bajassian joined her team at the pool table, looking a little confused.

“Linn? I thought you were on the bridge?” she enquired of the exhausted Bolian, who finally caught his breath enough to take a few paces to the pool table and prop himself up.

“I was,” he wheezed, “but right after you beamed the blood dilithium aboard, there was an explosion somewhere on deck six. That’s when the power went out,” he informed the gathering of gold shirted officers.

“I thought I felt something…” the green-skinned Orion, Lieutenant Udal, spoke in his usual gruff voice and with arms folded across his broad chest.

“We lost sensors almost immediately, so we have no idea what happened,” the Bolian continued his report, “so the Captain sent Bellurr to investigate deck six. The XO went looking for you and Noli in the containment lab,” he told the grey-skinned woman, who looked a little more concerned now.

“Containment fields will be down across the ship and we have a massive source of blood dilithium aboard…” the Bajassian spoke, lowering her head as she braced herself against the pool table.

“It’s going to be a powder keg waiting to explode…” Ensign Jezi from Oolaron III remarked, looking around the group. The situation they faced was dire, especially if there was no way of working out what was wrong. They were going to have to get somewhat creative.

Or not. No sooner had they finished feeling sorry for themselves and completed task allocation, the lights in the engineering bay flickered into existence once again, followed by the familiar hum and glow of the massive warp core that dominated the heart of the ship.

“Smithy…”

“I swear to everything holy, it wasn’t me!”

“He’s not that good…”

“Quiet!” Prida barked over the laughs of her team. “Just because the power is back doesn’t mean we can rest on our laurels. I want to know why it went out in the first place, and I want to know the containment fields are functioning again. Recall everyone. Anyone in gold, formally in gold, or who thinks they may want to wear gold in the future,” she barked somewhat ferociously, “get them in here!”


Pacing the bridge, Tharia was threatening to wear away the thin carpet that blanketed the deck plating beneath. She must have done about a billion laps of the command center in the time since the XO and the team departed, unnerved at the wait for news she was having to endure. If she asked any of her crew for an adjective to describe her, patient would most definitely not be one of them.

“Henry?” she called out.

Spinning in his chair like it was some sort of carousel ride or something, the flyboy stopped only long enough to answer the Captain’s question. Just as he had the hundred times before.

“Still nothing, Captain.”

A heavy sigh accompanied the equally heavy footsteps that resumed their tour around the bridge, much to the annoyance of those few people still present; oh, how they hated it when the Captain was in this mood. It invariably ended poorly. As she passed the tactical Arch, she slapped the rail as she had a dozen or so times before, only this time something strange occured. As if by magic, lights and consoles across the bridge flickered back to life, drawing cheers from those few people holding station. 

Flinching her hands away from the console, an expression of utter shock on her blue face, the Captain looked towards the flight controller at the front of the bridge. “I didn’t do it; it wasn’t me,” she shook her head vigorously in response to Henry’s quizzical look from the CONN.

Engineering to bridge,” a familiar voice, albeit accompanied slightly by static, filled the command center again. “Whatever you did up there, it worked!” Lieutenant Prida called out, an obvious tone of relief to her words.

Reaching down to the controls on her command chair, the captain opened a channel to respond. “Prida, it’s the Captain. We didn’t do anything up here,” sh’Elas revealed, “I assumed it was you…”

Negative Captain,” the engineer reported, “but we’ll get to work on figuring it out.

Now the ship’s systems seemed to be working once again, the comm array failed to get a moment’s respite. The latest was a strange request by sickbay. “Sickbay to Captain,” the ACMO spoke.

“Go ahead, Doctor…”

Captain, we need you in sickbay right away,” Lieutenant Torres requested, “but please don’t travel alone.

Tharia exchanged concerned glances with Henry at the CONN, who tapped his commbadge and began a hushed conversation. “Alright Doctor,” the Captain responded, “I’ll be there shortly.”


Usually, Tharia wouldn’t take kindly to one of her subordinates giving her instructions, but the tone with which Josue had chosen his words hinted that there was something of concern going on, and given the strange scenario they seemed to be playing, the Captain was willing to play along. Thus, on her departure from the bridge, the Captain had been joined by a two man, armed, security team summoned by Lieutenant Mitchell. They observed their commanding officer throughout the slightly awkward turbo lift ride to deck twelve, and on her journey from lift to sickbay. Upon depositing the Captain safely inside, the two officers remained on station either side of the door, awaiting instructions.

Chaos was the only word to describe the situation in the medical bay once the Captain crossed the threshold. Concerned medical professionals scuttled about the place in a vain effort to support the crewmates that had been admitted, and those who were already present and struggling under the effects of exposure to blood dilithium aboard the ship.

Sidling up to the Tellarite who was stood on the boundary, the Captain placed a hand on the small of the man’s back to get his attention. “What the hell’s going on down here?” she inquired.

A wave of relief flooded over the man, once cool, calm and collected, but now with more than a hint of concern about him. “Captain,” he sighed, “It’s not looking good ma’am, and that’s before we even get to the telepaths,” he frowned, waving her over to a new biobed.

Joining her right-hand man, the shock on the Captain’s face at the sight of Commander Noli laid on the bed prompted the fuzzy-haired XO to elaborate. “I found her in the containment lab. She was on the floor, unconscious and entirely unresponsive. The medics have tried waking her, but with no success.” He watched as the Captain placed a hand on the Bajoran’s arm, then nodded in the direction of the biobed next door. “Same with Bellurr,” he told, “she was found on deck six by Ensign Valesa and brought here.”

“Deck six?” The location dawned on the Captain now, “the origin of the explosion…”

Vasoch nodded in confirmation. “Thanks to the redundant systems in sickbay, we managed to access the LCARS system on one of the more advanced tricorders. We tracked the explosion to guest quarters on deck six assigned to someone in particular,” he then lowered his voice to a whisper, “a woman named Maevis. I’ve got a security team doing a sweep of the quarters for any sign of her, but so far nothing.”

“She’s still alive…”

A quiet, feminine voice from nearby drew the attention of the two senior officer’s, both of whom were shocked to see Counsellor Chiera stirring and looking their way.

Tharia gave the Counsellor a reassuring smile as she rounded the beds and walked up to her colleague. “How can you be so sure, Vittoria?” she asked, placing a gentle hand on the Betazoid’s restrained arm.

“I don’t know how,” a strained voice responding, sounding like a woman much in need of a beverage, “but I can sense her emotions clearer than anyone else on the ship, clearer than I can yours, with you standing right here,” the woman whispered, voice cracking. Straining against the restraints of her biobed, the look of concern on her face startled the Captain.

“Find her, Captain…” the Counsellor pleaded, “find her before she hurts anyone else…”

Watching as the Counsellor slipped back into a restless state of unconsciousness, the Captain exchanged glances with Vasoch as the Doctor approached. “Could this Maevis be responsible for the attacks on these women?” she asked of the two men.

“From what the away team have told me, it is entirely plausible,” Doctor Torres nodded, arms folded across his chest. “Ren in particular was quite clear that this woman exhibited powers far superior to anyone else, even under the restriction of the neuroinhibitors on the surface,” his words causing the Captain and XO to shuffle nervously.

“Wonderful…” Sass beyond belief emitted from the Andorian as she threw her hands in the air briefly, before placing them on her hips. “What about our people?”

“They’re sedated and calm for the most part,” Torres revealed, looking around the biobeds, “my biggest concern is for Bellurr and Noli. Without knowing what happened to them, I have no way of treating them. For all intents and purposes, they’re asleep…”

“Probably the safest place to be right now,” Vasoch grimaced, drawing a nod from the physician.

Bridge to sickbay,” the very southern American vibe of the Terran CONN officer filled the medical bay, swiftly bringing their conversation to a halt.

“Go ahead Henry,” the Captain authorised the man.

Captain, we’ve got sensors back,” the CONN officer revealed, “but they’ve detected six Hirogen vessels circling, or closing in on the nebula.

An Andorian expletive left the blue-skinned woman’s lips, acknowledged by the Tellarite with a nod of agreement. “Maintain position, but be ready to get out of here at a moment’s notice,” the Captain instructed, tapping her badge and terminating the channel.

A worrying development for sure. She had no choice but to give her next orders. “Number One; have all security teams report in and begin securing the ship. I want random patrols and anyone who is not in the right place to be apprehended,” she told sternly, “Computer, intruder alert!” she beckoned impatiently, “lockdown all guest quarters, shuttlebays and cargo bays. Restrict access to senior staff, security and medical personnel,” she instructed sternly.

Whilst the lights across the ship changed from the crimson red of the heightened state of alert they seemed to be residing in lately, to a more unusual blue with flashing accents, the Captain and her officers continued their discourse.

“Perhaps the intruder alert will spook Maevis and cause her to lash out further?” the Doctor suggested, a look of concern on his face, “I’d like additional security assigned to sickbay.”

“It might force her to ground, meaning she’ll stop her attacks and give us crucial time to close in,” Tharia suggested, nodding in response to the Doctor’s request. “Either way, we need to find her.”

Vasoch ran a hand through his beard several times, in deep contemplation for a minute.

“Captain, I might have an idea…”

Comments

  • I love the slasher film vibes in this one, as the crew wanders the ship, alone in the dark while something or someone hunts them. I got so immersed in the perspective of these potential final-girls running around the ship, I got whiplash at the reminder that many of the same crew who need protecting from the hunter will possibly be even more dangerous by the time the telepaths are all flooded with the death cries of blood dilithium! And then here you go ramping up the terror again: with the Hirogen closing in on them when they have a hunter of their own on board. I hope Vasoch's idea is bloody brilliant!

    December 10, 2022