Part of USS Corax: Supplies and Suspicions and Bravo Fleet: Blood Dilithium

Chapter 8 – Seeing the Wood for the Trees

Delta Quadrant
Dec. 2400
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From his position just outside the Bridge, Aris could hear all the goings on in the bridge. Hearing Emma pull her phaser on T’Keterk, jolted him into action. Readying his own weapon, Aris swept into the bridge.

“Ensign Swain, this is Captain Suin, lower your weapon.” Aris commanded as he squared up behind Emma. “Emma, please, lower your weapon.”

Emma was completely focussed on T’Keterk and hadn’t noticed Aris’ arrival on the bridge. It wasn’t until the captain’s voice filtered through breaking her focus that she became aware of the captain’s presence. “Captain, you’ve returned?”

Deciding in the best interests for their long term survival, Aris decided to play along. “Yes Ensign, I will need your help with determining the best locations to set up some defenses, but first do you care to explain why you have our engineer at phaser point?”

Emma’s voice shook slightly as she answered Aris’ question. “I have reason to believe Lieutenant T’Keterk is acting under an external influence and is putting the mission in undue risk.”

“What is the basis of your claim, Ensign?” Aris probed further.

“He is under the impression you have been onboard the ship since we landed and has no recollection of your order to transport you back.” Emma continued.

“Very well, Ensign.” Aris replied. “Arrangements have been made for such an eventuality and I will deal with this accordingly. Grabbing the weapon off Emma, Aris led her back to the navigation console. ”I have some scans I want you to look over.”

As Aris busied himself with keeping Emma occupied, he signalled T’Keterk with the tiniest of nods. T’Keterk had been keeping a close watch for the all clear from the captain, or to intervene if things went wrong. Seeing the signal, T’Keterk levelled his phaser at Emma and fired.

Aris tensed as he heard the phaser fire, ready to catch Emma as she went limp. “Lieutenant T’Keterk, get the cortical inhibitor fitted and assist me in getting Emma to the infirmary. I need her back on her feet as soon as is safe.”

“Computer, three to transport to infirmary.” 

As soon as Emma had been transferred to the biobed, T’Keterk configured the cortical inhibitor and prepared the stimulant. Aris gave one final look over the restraints before nodding to T’Keterk that he was ready. As he had done with the Captain, T’Keterk attached the cortical inhibitor to Emma before placing the hypospray to Emma’s upper arm and delivering an initial stimulant dose. 

Leaving the stimulant to do its job, T’Keterk and Aris kept a watchful glance on their flight control officer, silently hoping this would break her free from the creatures influence.

Blinking her eyes open, Emma shook her head slightly in an attempt to bring the world back in to focus. Noticing Aris and Suin a short distance away, she spoke up. “Captain, Lieutenant, why am I in the infirmary?”

Striding back over the biobed, Aris looked at Emma. “Ensign Swain, what is the last thing you can recall?”

Thinking back Emma, ran through the timeline in her head. “We picked up a distress call of unknown origin a few days ago, after receiving location details, we executed a pretty risky variant of the Picard Maneuver before landing and starting repairs.”

“Continue Ensign.” Aris requested motioning for Emma to carry on.

“You had left the ship to scout out the survey teams location and left orders to transport you back within the hour if you didn’t return under your own power.” Emma finished. 

T’Keterk dragged a chair over to the Captain so he could sit while he bought Emma back up to speed.

“Thank you Lieutenant.” Aris smiled as he took a seat and refocused on Emma. “We have reason to believe the distress signal was fake, designed to keep us busy and not notice anything.”

Holding his hand up to stem the oncoming flow of questions, Aris continued. “We have all fallen under the influence of a neurogenic field employed by a space borne entity known as a Telepathic Pitcher Plant, the field is designed to keep us busy and simulates what it thinks the victim’s best outcome will be.”

Emma nodded as she followed along, she wasn’t as familiar with the Telepathic Pitcher Plant as she would have liked to be. 

“If we remained unaware much longer it is highly likely the ship and ourselves would have been devoured.” Aris finished as realisation entered Emma’s eyes.

“I tried to shoot Lieutenant T’Keterk didn’t I?” Emma asked, although she was recalling drawing her phaser on the vulcan. 

Aris nodded solemnly. “It’s not all bad Ensign, we were all taken by surprise and for what its worth, you carried out T’Keterk’s request to the letter, but I need you back on your feet so we can get ourselves out of here.”

Emma nodded as she shakily got to her feet. “Allow me Ensign.” T’Keterk offered as he prepared another stimulant dose. “We have all been fitted with cortical inhibitors in an effort to counteract some of the creatures influence.”

“I have explained to the Captain, that we will need to remain vigilant to discern what is real and what is part of the creatures influence. I am not going to lie, the next few days are going to be uncomfortable as we adjust the inhibitors as we progress.” T’Keterk reported as they waited for the second stimulant dose to take effect .

“Are you well Ensign?” T’Keterk asked after a moments wait.

“As well as can be Lieutenant.” Emma offered with a small smile. “And thank you.”

T’Keterk waved off the acknowledgement. “Comes with the job description Ensign.”

Cutting into the conversation, Aris bought the attention of the crew back to himself. “As fantastic as it is to have us all back and fairly sane, we still have a job to do. All hands report to the bridge.”

Exiting the infirmary with T’Keterk and Emma following behind, Aris escorted his small crew back to Deck 1 and a way out this situation.

Comments

  • Daaaaaamn, T’Keterk is cold: stunning Emma with her back turned. It's always going to be a good day when you start it with the bridge crew at a phaser-studded standoff. What fun! And that's just the beginning, as you keep ramping up the tension with the knowledge that they may still be careering into the maw of the telepathic pitcher plant. Now they're all on the same side again, I'm very curious to see how they plan to be sure they're on an escape route to safety and not stomach-bound!

    December 11, 2022
  • I have to agree T'Keterk is cold the way he stunned Emma when she had her back turned, though I know it was for a good reason. The tension was ramping up at the beginning, though I am glad that they were able to bring Emma back around out of the grasp of the creature in a way. Now can they escape the grasp of this pitcher plant before it's too late? Great job!

    December 11, 2022