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Official Lore Office post from Bravo Fleet: Blood Dilithium

On Solar Winds

Two lightyears from Retha Avani
12/3/2400
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The rift was a flickering, fibrous mass of luminescent tendrils. Neon whiplash movements glowed eerily from the bridge’s main viewer. Mek stared unblinking into its chaotic centre. Charged tachyons spewed forth, their opposing polarities sending cord-like apparitions shooting in all directions. Two lightyears coreward, the Blood Dilithium continued its slow eruption across the planets of the Retha Avani system. 

“It’s perfect,” Lieutenant Gailwon enthused from the science station, “That particle stream is so abundant, we’ll get an instant read on any changes in the flow rate even from way back here.”

“Excellent,” Rider looked over from the centre seat, “We didn’t analyse all that data from the Fourth Fleet to waste in suboptimal conditions.”

“This is it, sir. The goldilocks rift,” Gailwon reassured, “Reversing its tachyon flow will make it act like a magnet for the Blood Dilithium, and any other matter originating from subspace.”

A spark of hope ignited in Mek’s chest, “And all we needed was a Class-V probe…”

“The probe may be common but it’s been equipped like no other,” interjected Andreus Kohl, from where he was stood beside the bridge’s command arch.  “Gailwon’s team plucked insights from over fifty-thousand hours of research submitted back from every ship across the Fourth Fleet.  Every one of their discoveries taught us more about how to influence these spatial anomalies.”

“Truly remarkable science,” Mek added.

“Final check on the probe modifications?” Rider ticked off his mental checklist.

Gailwon’s self-satisfaction was audible, “It’s fully rigged with antiproton burst emitters and ready to go.” 

“Good,” there was a pause as Rider drummed his fingers against the chair, “Let’s see how this goes, then. Bridge to Rozan, we’re just about ready. How’s it going down there?”

Once again, Rozan faced the box containing the single shard of Blood Dilithium. She pictured the Brenari girl’s sunken eyes. The malnourished, pale faces of slumped prisoners sent an icy shiver down the back of her neck. She looked to Dr. Wilso, whose expression softened, the laughter lines on his wizened scales creasing into a mixture of empathy and encouragement.

“I’m ready,” she confirmed simply.

Rider’s face was solemn, “OK, let’s do this. Ops, launch probe when ready. Doctor, you’re clear to initialise the subspace trumpet.”

 


 

She stood again in the black. It was impossible to tell from which direction the light fell. Rozan could see clearly enough that the girl’s hair appeared less bedraggled; her small oval face less mournful. As the girl moved closer, her pace quickened into a run. Before Rozan had time to raise her hands, she found herself caught in a tight embrace. The force of impact knocked the First Officer’s tall frame back a step. Rozan reached down, not knowing what to do with her hands as the girl looked up at her, lips stretched into a thin smile. A tear percolated in the corner of the girl’s eye, quivered for a moment as it brimmed over her lower eyelid, then fell. More followed, leaving sparkling trails down the length of her thin cheeks. Rozan, hands still hovering awkwardly, slowly crouched. She clutched the girl to her shoulder, running a hand gently through the tangled hair, “Hey… Shhhhh…” Rozan soothed as a muffled sob escaped, “You’re OK. You’re OK.”

The sobs stopped. The girl stepped back, still smiling as she blinked to clear her eyes, “We heard the call. You want us to go.”

“The probe?” Rozan blurted. She cursed herself for how harsh it sounded. The girl’s bottom lip trembled, “No, no we just- the Blood Dilithium. There’s been so much destruction. Whole systems-”

“It’s OK,” the girl reached out a hand, placing it on Rozan’s shoulder. Now speaking with complete composure, all traces of her tears had vanished, “We like you.”

Rozan was visibly confused, “Me?”

“No, silly,” the girl’s nose scrunched up with a giggle, “the Federation. Starfleet. You!”

“Oh,” Rozan blushed in embarrassment.

“You helped us. Some of us are free now. We know you’ll keep helping, too.”

“We’re going to try our best,” Rozan reached out her own hand, brushing aside a lock of hair that had fallen over the girl’s face.

“Then we’ll help you, too,” the girl stepped back, “Bye, Natashar,” her face began to fade back into the dark. 

 


 

Gailwon could barely contain her excitement, “It’s working! Quantum spectrometer readings show reductions in Blood Dilithium concentrations on Retha Avani IV, V and VI!”

A cheer went up from the bridge, “That’s it. That’s our way out of this mess,” Mek’s heart skipped a beat.

“They’re going home,” Kohl chimed in, sounding wistful at this first sign of relief from the suffering blood dilithium had caused across the Gradin Belt.

“Outstanding!” Rider boomed. “Helm, lay in a course for the Markonian Outpost. Let’s get these findings back to the-” a loud hiss of venting plasma erupted from behind the tactical station, accompanied by a thunderous boom that shook Rider to his core. The blare of the red alert siren cut through smoke that stung his eyes as he tried to regain focus. Shrapnel from a shattered conduit fell to the ground as he heaved himself back up and into the command chair. Blood trickled from a gash in his temple, “REPORT!”

“Direct hit on our ventral sensor palette, antimatter torpedo,” came tactical over a frantic cacophony of yells and fire control equipment.

“From WHO?!” Rider bellowed, face crimson with rage.

“Devore, Sir. They must have come within range on the same plane as the tachyon flow. There was no way we could have-” another rumble, deeper this time, ripped through the fabric of the USS Discovery’s spaceframe. It felt as though the deck had fallen out from beneath them. LCARS controls flickered in and out of being as crew and debris were strewn across the bridge.

“Hull breaches on decks three, eight, nine, fourteen, seventeen and twenty-two.”

“Casualties coming in on all decks, Captain.”

“Tactical, why are we not returning fire?” the frustration in Rider’s voice bubbled to the surface.

“There’s some kind of feedback running through the EPS. Targeting sensors are offline, Sir.”

Rider’s arm controls responded with a faint chirp as he smashed a fist down onto them.

Gailwon, heaving the Communications Officer over to one of the medical team, struggled to seat herself as the deck tremors continued, “Sir, we’re being hailed,” she announced, “Viewer’s offline, audio only.”

“Let’s hear it,” Rider spat.

In a moment of respite, the Discovery fell still. Several plasma fires trailed tongues of greenish flame from gaping wounds in her primary and secondary hulls. Scorch marks smeared her once pristine duranium and, without maneuvering power, she drifted listless below three Devore warships. Like great buzzards, they circled their quarry.

“Federation vessel,” an officious, haughty sneer filled the bridge, “I am High Commissioner Fintt of the Devore Imperium. I’ve been watching you.”

“Captain Lucas Rider, USS Discovery,” Rider reflexively replied, “You’ve committed an unprovoked attack on an exploratory vessel conducting scientific research. You’re a disgrace; a coward,” the anger rose, “I expected more, even from the Devore.”

Fintt scoffed, “Scientific research. Laudable, Captain,” the Devore commander barely held back another scornful snort, “You were interfering with a key strategic resource in our territory. Of course, you do as the Federation always does. Always talk of research and science while you scheme and plot like all the others. And now you seek to limit our growth by removing our fuel. You’re scared of competition for your own expansion. Don’t act surprised, Captain. We see it clear as day.”

“And we see your government exploiting planets, ecosystems, and uprooting entire civilisations,” Rider stood, “You carry out genocide, and then you lecture me about being scared? What’s got you so afraid of telepaths, Fintt? Afraid they’ll see the truth? The insecurities of a group of paranoid fascists?”

“That’s enough, Captain,” Fintt drawled, “your pathetic ramblings are of no interest to me. You will have noticed that I am about to destroy your research vessel. I am, however, benevolent. Simply allow us to board with an inspection team. We will take control of your ship, your data, and deposit you at the nearest neutral outpost.”

Rider appeared to ponder the proposal for a while, “High Commissioner Fintt,” he inhaled, “targ will fucking fly before I surrender my ship to a thug with a badge. Cut it.” He whirled round, “ALL REMAINING POWER TO SHIELDS!”

Immediately, the deep shudders resumed.  

“We can take about another ten minutes of this,” called the remaining operations officer.

“All hands, this is the Captain,” Rider’s voice echoed through ruined corridors, “Abandon ship. All hands abandon ship.”

Mek summoned everything he had, dragging himself to his feet as a gold-shirted officer nearby popped a Jeffries tube hatch. Pain shot like lighting through his leg, “Let’s go, sir!”

“Rider!” Mek winced, steadying himself against the bulkhead behind, “The research!”

Rider darted across what remained of the bridge, “Com relay’s still got residual power… If we broadcast on a narrow band subspace frequency then maybe we can- Captain Kohl!” Rider peered through the haze, identifying the only other remaining officer on the bridge, “Help me prepare the data for transmission!”

Bounding up the ramp, Kohl joined Rider at one of the aft LCARS consoles that was still functionally lit up.  Kohl’s fingers stabbed at menu options to sort through the science library, building the data package to be transmitted to the task force team back on the Markonian Outpost along with every other Fourth Fleet starship in range.  Kohl started with the specifications for the probe modifications and then added the sensor data from their test.  The research explaining the probe Kohl included would only be transmitted if the instructions to the fleet made it through first.

“This probe is Gailwon’s baby,” Kohl remarked, as he entered the coordinates for the Markonian Outpost.  “She’ll never forgive me if I accidentally tell the fleet to build it backwards.”

“Let’s hope that worked,” Rider shouted over roaring flames. 

“Transmission complete,” came the computer’s final words. 

“Go!” sweat and soot mingled. Together, they hauled Mek to his feet and into the Jeffries tube. 

 


 

The spaceframe of the USS Discovery began to warp and buckle under a blinding hail of torpedoes. With each impact flash, painstakingly assembled composite alloys disintegrated into their constituent atoms and subatomic dust. Disfigured and twisted almost beyond recognition, the charred hulk of the Century-class starship began to barrel portside as Devore energy weapons slammed into her flank. Structural integrity fields failed. Antimatter containment was breached. Her fate was long sealed.

From the burning mass, propelled only by a small maneuvering thruster, spun the last escape pod. Inside, three Captains, silently slumped against the interior of an eggshell hull. Rider sat closest to the rear viewport, his head turned ninety degrees as he looked back at the incinerated wreck. Secondary explosions tore through Discovery’s carcass. A shockwave pulsed from its molten core. All was consumed, scattered on solar winds. The last flash of orange reflected in the pale blue glisten of Rider’s eyes.   

 

In-Play

Modified probes – Thanks to the combined scientific efforts of the Fourth Fleet, you can now modify class-V probes with antiproton burst emitters. Fire one into an anomaly; the anomaly is now a Blood Dilithium hoover. Any Blood Dilithium in the vicinity will gradually fade and disappear back into subspace.

The Brenari – You might want to have a telepath say goodbye to the Brenari in the Blood Dilithium. This is optional. The mechanism for clearing up the Blood Dilithium is the modified probe. 

The Devore – Expect heavy resistance. The Devore consider the Blood Dilithium critical to their continued expansion and will attempt to stop any attempts to make their new fuel source disappear!

Comments

  • Well this just got interesting. Great progression of the campaign. Going to have to think how I will work this in!

    December 3, 2022