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Part of USS Sarek: Lies I Loved and Bravo Fleet: Blood Dilithium

Lies I Loved – 19

USS Sarek; Research & Development Lab, Bridge, and Stellar Cartography
December 2400
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The moment Leander Nune stepped into the research and development lab, Science Officer Yuulik held her breath.  It may have sounded like a gasp, but she would assure you it was absolutely nothing like a gasp.  If anybody dared say aloud that Yuulik had gasped, Yuulik was prepared to file court martial proceedings against them.  But those thoughts would come later.  Standing at a maintenance table, with her hands in the guts of a Class-V probe, Yuulik didn’t even notice Operations Manager Szerda proffering emitter lenses to her.

Bobbing her head from side to side, Szerda asked, “Lieutenant?”

Yuulik took a stumbling step back from the table.  Her days in Sickbay had figuratively offered her a spiritual reboot.  She no longer felt like the same person she had been a week ago: terrified of blood dilithium and yet obsessed with harnessing its secrets.  Seeing Nune again, in person, struck Yuulik in the gut like she had fallen through the Guardian of Forever.  It was like time travel.  At the back of her throat, she could taste all of those obsessive feelings she had worked so hard at tamping down.  Worst of all, she could taste the fear from when Nune had raised his hands to her and kicked her with his own feet.  Yuulik understood the blood dilithium had diminished his mental capacity, but her nervous system couldn’t make that distinction when she saw him standing there.

Following very closely in Nune’s shadow was the Edosian Lieutenant Jurij.  The Assistant Chief Security Officer was keeping a personal eye on Nune, even though there was no blood dilithium within concerning range of the USS Sarek.  Taes had assured Yuulik that Nune asked to remain in his quarters, or under guard, until he felt more like his own self.

“Can I see it?” Nune asked faintly.  He sounded as gaunt as he looked.  The gaze from his dark eyes bounced from Szerda to Yuulik and back again.  Yuulik thought he was able to look at Szerda for far longer than he could look directly at Yuulik.

Nune explained, “I’d like to know it’s real.”

When Szerda moved to share the emitter lenses with Nune –presumably given his expertise as chief engineer– Yuulik grunted at her.  Szerda looked at Yuulik with her eyebrows raised and Yuulik shook her head in the negative.  Szerda didn’t say anything in response.  She simply frowned and returned to installing the emitter lenses in the opened probe casing.

Yuulik pointed her index finger at the arch of the doorway Nune had just walked through.

“You can see perfectly well from right over there, thank you,” Yuulik said firmly.  She yanked a holographic schematic from a transparent LCARS panel that was protruding from the maintenance table.  Yuulik tossed the schematic across the compartment and the computer understood the gesture well enough to present the holographic schematics in front of Nune’s face.

“We have new orders from Task Force Seventeen command,” Yuulik affirmed.  “Destroy all blood dilithium!  We cannot allow the souls of the Brenari to be further abused by the Devore, nor used as fuel for warp engines.  The USS Discovery platformed off the research of the entire fourth fleet –including significant findings from the USS Sarek— to design the antiproton burst emitters you’re studying.  We’re installing them in a class five probe.  The antiproton bursts will reverse the tachyon flow from the spatial anomalies that bloomed the blood dilithium in the first place.  Those same anomalies will draw in any matter that originated in subspace.  The Discovery‘s first test–“

“I believe you, Yuulik,” Nune said, plainly overwhelmed by Yuulik’s brilliance.  He had traced a finger through the emitter schematics the entire time Yuulik had been speaking.  If Yuulik could only trust Nune for one thing at this point, she trusted his technical mind to spot any mistakes in the technology.  Nune snatched up the holographic schematics in his fist and he tossed them back to the LCARS panel they had come from.

“If the emitter design looks sound to you,” Nune said, “I trust they’ll be true.  They’ll send all the blood dilithium back to subspace.  No, Yuulik, I’m here because I’m horrified by the things I said to you,” –his voice went soft and cracked– “the things I did.  I’ll do anything to atone for my actions until you can trust me again.”

Yuulik’s eyes widened at Nune in a threatening glare.

“I don’t trust you,” Yuulik affirmed.

“I understand,” Nune replied.

“I don’t forgive you either,” Yuulik said.  “I do– Leander, I do understand the voices of the Brenari were echoing in your head.  You probably thought I was a Devore fascist half the time.  But I hate you right now.  That’s how I feel today.  I don’t know when that will change.”

“You have every right to hate me,” Nune said.  “If I can’t ask for your trust or your forgiveness, can I ask for something else?”

 


 

The swirl of stars streaking across the viewscreen made for a dynamic backdrop to the story Captain Taes was telling Elbon Jakkelb about her days of scientific diplomacy with the Cardassians.  Elbon was still seated in the captain’s chair and the captain was sat beside him in the mission specialist perch.  Although Doctor Nelli had cleared Taes for duty, Taes herself had insisted on Elbon remaining in command as they warped into areas of the Gradin Belt that could still be infested with blood dilithium.

From the tactical console behind Elbon, Security Chief Kellin Rayco said, “We’re closing to within long-range sensor distance of the planet Withheld.”

Elbon waited thirty seconds for elaboration and when none came, he teased, “The sensor palettes on this ship are like a mobile starbase.  Is that all you can tell me?”

He heard Kellin clear his throat.

Unamused, Kellin responded, “There is no sign of interference that should be preventing them from subspace communication with the Kadi home…”  He trailed off as he tabbed through his tactical scans.  

Then he said, “I’m detecting two starships of Devore origin in orbit of Withheld.  They’re not– I’m not familiar with their configuration.  The hull plating is much thicker than Devore warships, but their tactical systems are far more rudimentary.  The superstructure is reminiscent of our Typhon-class starships.”

Elbon mused aloud, “We’ve been receiving reports of the Devore expanding across half the sectors in the Gradin Belt for the past month.  Perhaps they’re stretching their resources too thinly?”

Kellin added, “They must know the Kadi can’t present much of a defence.  It wouldn’t require an entire flotilla of warships for a remote colony like Withheld to fall.”

“Captain,” Flavia interjected from the science hub, “I’m detecting dilithium deposits on Withheld.  If our sensors can pick that up from this far out, they must be very, very large deposits.”

“Huh,” Elbon reacted with concerned confusion.  “The Supreme Abbott made no mention of that.”

“Blood dilithium,” Kellin assumed.  “The configuration of those Devore starships: they’re probably mining ships, mobile refineries.  Our orders are clear: destroy all blood dilithium.  That would serve the Supreme Abbott too.  From everything the fourth fleet has observed, from what the Kadi told us of their experiences in the past, the Devore would abandon the planet if there was no blood dilithium for them to covet.”

 


 

“That has to be the one!” declared Science Chief Flavia.  

From where she was standing on the edge of the narrow work platform in the stellar cartography lab, Flavia pointed out a specific stellar object that was flashing in front of her.  She heard Ensign T’Kaal manipulating the LCARS console behind her and the perspective of the starscape shifted.  In its darkened state, the stellar cartography lab was little more than a globe-shaped holodeck, but with the holographic projectors running, it felt like they were standing on a narrow bridge protruding from the hull of the ship, out among the stars.

Sneering back over her shoulder, Flavia asked, “Unless… Are you certain you’ve adequately incorporated the Kadi’s star charts, the Starfleet charts and Romulan ones I provided?”

T’Kaal looked up from her console and she offered Flavia a blink and a bland expression.

“Our computer systems,” T’Kaal said, “are more than capable of such menial tasks.”

As she said that, the Vulcan science officer swiped the pads of her fingertips across the smooth interface to illustrate her point.  Out in the holographic starfield, a peach-coloured LCARS indicator drew a ring around the speck of light Flavia had pointed out.

“That cosmic string has been labelled as PX-two-twenty-seven by Starfleet,” T’Kaal said, “and the Kadi call it the Silent Confession.  Oddly, there was no sign of it on the Romulan Free State’s star charts?”

Flavia ignored that example of typical Vulcan superiority.  She gestured to the LCARS indicator and swiped her hands wide to magnify the holographic image of the quantum string.  Given the quantum string was actually as narrow as a proton, the sensor composite created artificial colouration to identify interstellar gasses accelerating into the string’s powerful gravitational fields.  A further visual representation demonstrated sensor data of the subspace frequencies and tachyon particles emanating from its event horizon.

“The Silent Confession is located a little over a light-year beyond the borders of chaotic space,” Flavia said, pointing out the relative distances on the star charts.  “The Withheld system is another light year away from the cosmic string.  If the Devore truly are mining blood dilithium on the planet, the subspace phase pulse that bloomed the dilithium had to originate from here.”

Further along the starfield, a Starfleet arrowhead pulsed into view to represent the USS Sarek.  A curving purple line extended from the arrowhead and avoided the representation of Withheld to arrive at the cosmic string.

“If we take this route,” T’Kaal suggested, “there is a sixty-four percent chance we will remain out of the sensor range of the Devore starships.  The gravitational fields emanating from the cosmic string should obscure our arrival when we drop out of warp.”

After squinting at the holographic course projection, Flavia took two steps back to examine T’Kaal’s calculations on the LCARS panel.  She nodded at the work, if only slightly.

“Send the new course to the bridge,” Flavia ordered.

After T’Kaal had done so, she pushed her chair back from the LCARS console.  She was about to stand up and Flavia put a hand on her shoulder.

“Commander Rayco tells me commendations are in order,” Flavia lyrically said.  “When I was on the surface of the moon, you remained a voice of reason.  Even when the concentration of blood dilithium caused the vaunted Captain Taes to lose her senses, you were steady.  Are the teachings of Surak so powerful that you were never even shaken by the cries of blood dilithium?”

T’Kaal logged out of the LCARS panel.  She didn’t look up at Flavia when she responded.

“I’ll never tell.”

Comments

  • I hope Yuulik can eventually forgive Nune, I kinda feel bad for him as we all know that he wasn't in his right mind. At least Yuulik is sorta talking to him even if it's 'duty' related so maybe that is a start. Only time will tell, though I do hope for the best and for forgiveness to happen between the two. I still don't know if I can 'trust' Flavia the character just kinda rubs me the wrong way (though I do love a good drama) I find it interesting that she would ask T'Kaal if the teachings of Surak were so powerful part, interesting to see T'Kaal's response is it that she won't tell her or just not sure herself? Great overall character development during this chapter and going to be interesting to see the Devore's reaction when the BD disappears.

    December 9, 2022