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

Chapter 9 – Drop Completed

Delta Quadrant
Dec. 2400
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Back on the bridge, Aris took his center seat and waited for Emma and T’Keterk to retake their places at Helm and Engineering respectively.

“Emma, bring up the navigation logs from the time we picked up the distress signal to the time we ”landed” on the planetoid on the main screen please.” Aris requested. Thankful at this time that Emma maintained such meticulous logs and route calculations.

“On screen now Captain.” Emma replied reflecting the all business tone of the Captain. “As you can see, here is where the distress signal was first picked up.” Emma indicated on the charts. “Followed by some curious course alterations.” Emma continued as the navigation chart cycled to the next chunk of time. “Here is where contact was made with the survey team, closely followed by that damn maneuver you made me attempt.”

Getting to his feet to get a closer look at the viewscreen, he had a sudden thought. “Emma, without relying on current sensor data as we won’t be able to trust it, do you feel confident you can get us back to this point?” Aris indicated the location they picked up the signal.

Emma nodded, confident in her ability. “I can manually calculate a route back using old sensor data, the existing navigation logs and our bearing position, I may have to alter course at times but I believe I can get us back there.”

Aris nodded. “Start calculating Ensign.”

Retaking his seat, Aris turned to T’Keterk. “Run a full diagnostic on our primary systems, after what went on down in Impulse Control, I want to make sure we have full control of the ship.”

“Aye Captain.” T’Keterk replied as he set the diagnostics routines. “We should know more in a matter of hours.”

“Thank you Lieutenant.” Aris finished as he resumed facing the viewscreen.

The next few hours had the Corax weaving its way back to its original starting location as Emma made minor course corrections to compensate for the ever present influence of the neurogenic field. Based on the reports he had read prior to the mission, the further they got away from the creature, the less the influence should affect them as they collectively rejected the creatures machinations.

“Diagnostics have been completed, Captain.” T’Keterk reported breaking the peace on the bridge.

“Report.” Aris replied. “Is there anything requiring urgent attention?”

“Negative, Captain.” T’Keterk replied. “Weapons systems are operational, shield strength is nominal and hull integrity is green across the board. Propulsion has not been affected by the creature or your adventure.”

Nodding, Aris turned to face Emma. “Ensign Swain, your report?”

“Captain,” Emma whispered softly. “Requesting you increase the power on my cortical inhibitor please.”

Aris nodded to Emma as he relayed the request to T’Keterk. The engineer got his feet, tricorder in hand and increased the power to Emma’s inhibitor.

“Thank you both.” Emma breathed. “Is there anything we can do about the headaches?”

“Im sorry Emma, but no.” Aris replied. “You’re doing so well though and I am proud of you for getting through this with us.”

Emma’s face fell slightly before she returned her attention back to her report. “We are a few hours away from reaching our original starting location, even with the course corrections and alterations we are making good time.”

“Thank you Ensign.” Aris continued. “Alert me when we are close to the first waypoint, I will not leave those colonists without the supplies we have on board.”

“Roger that, Captain.” Emma responded before swiveling her chair back to face her console.

True to her word, Emma let Aris know as soon as they had reached the outer limit of the neurogenic field’s influence.

“Drop out of warp and maintain full impulse power.” Aris commanded. “Compare current sensor readings with the initial ones we took a few days ago.”

“Very little difference, Captain.” T’Keterk reported back. “We are not detecting any subspace signals or federation carrier waves.”

Feeling a sense of deja vu, Aris only nodded as they effectively reset themselves from the events of the last several days.

“Emma, bring the Corax down to thruster speed only and set course for the refugee colony.” Aris requested.

“Copy that, Captain.” Emma replied as she slowed the ship down. “Course has been laid in sir, ready on your mark.”

“Thank you Ensign. Maximum warp, and all subspace signals are to be ignored without an appropriate sensor reading and established communications, I will be dammed if I lose this ship and get caught up in the Pitcher Plant’s influence a second time.” Aris ordered with a fire to his voice.

He had disappointed himself. He should have realized something was wrong from the very outset. Could he have lived with himself if he had lost his crew and ship? Would a court-martial have been worth it if the distress call turned out to be legitimate? So many unanswered questions and even more answers he would most likely not want to think about.

As the Corax sped to its destination, the bridge was still relatively quiet as the crew decompressed and absorbed the events of the last few days. They were a tight-knit crew who thankfully didn’t feel the need to fill the silence with noise. Each quite content to soak in the calm and familial bond from each other.

“Captain.” Emma broke the silence. “We are approaching the refugee colony, although I am detecting traces of blood dilithium in the area.”

Sitting up straighter in his seat, Aris turned to face his engineer. “T’Keterk what is your status”?”

“I am well Captain.” T’Keterk replied. “I will continue to self-monitor but will request upon landing, that you confine me to quarters until we can ascertain the concentration and location of the blood dilithium.”

“Request approved Lieutenant.” Aris replied. “Emma, open a channel to the colony.”

“Channel open, Captain.” Emma quickly reported.

“This is Captain Aris Suin of the Starfleet vessel USS Corax, we are bringing emergency cargo supplies and food rations, requesting suitable coordinates to land and unload.”

“USS Corax, this is liaison Antonia Caudwell, we have been expecting you. I am transmitting landing coordinates and look forward to receiving your shipment.”

“Copy that Liaison Caudwell, Corax out.” Aris replied.

“Coordinates received Captain.” Emma supplied as she prepared the ship to land.

“Blue Alert.” Aris called as the bridge lighting was replaced with the blue glow of the alert status notifications. “T’Keterk are you ready?”

“Yes Captain, at your convenience.” T’Keterk replied.

“Computer, please transport to Lieutenant T’Keterk to Quarters Delta-2 and secure the door with a triple-layer sequence keyed to my authorisation code.”

“Please state authorisation code.” the computer responded.

“Suin, 7-2-2-6 Epsilon Sigma.” Aris stated.

“Request confirmed and voice print matched.” acknowledged the computer as T’Keterk was transported to the secured quarters.

“Ensign Swain, take us down.” Aris nodded to Emma as he settled in for atmospheric entry.


As the ship landed at the indicated coordinates, much more calmer than the simulated atmospheric entry, Aris breathed out a small sigh of relief. They had finally arrived at their intended destination and were well within agreeable time frames considering the time they had spent under the influence of the Pitcher Plant and the backtracking  they had to undergo to reset their intended path.

Aris was stood in the main cargo bay with Emma as they bulkhead door slid upwards and the ramp to access the cargo hold extended, Aris led Emma who was pulling the anti-gravity pallet behind her.

“Welcome Corax, I am Liasion Caudwell, we spoke over the comm channel earlier.” a voice called out from the small crowd gathered near the ship

“Captain Suin.” Aris returned the favour. “Quite the welcoming committee you have for us.”

“Can’t be too careful in the Delta Quadrant these days, and these supplies are sorely needed.” Caudwell continued.

Meeting the liaison officer face to face, Aris handed over a padd. “For the purposes of the ships log, please note the transfer two months food rations, portable shield generators, wet weather clothing, heating equipment and some pre-fab shelter units.”

Antonia reviewed the details on the padd in front of her and cast an eye over the crates before approving the cargo transfer. “Now I know you have to report to your Commanding Officer, but I would ask a request if possible?”

“Go on Liaison.” Aris prompted.

“During our evacuation, one of your federation scientists got caught up in the exodus from our world. As a show of faith between our two quadrants, I would like to request he accompany you back to federation space.”

“Of course, have him meet us at the ship as soon as he is ready to depart.” Aris smiled. He would be happy to return a federation citizen home for some rest and relaxation after the ordeals in the delta quadrant. 

“One last thing Captain, we have nothing to offer in exchange for the supplies, but we would like you to accept some small crates of dilithium we bought with us, being near it is causing some of the colony distress and if there is no dilithium here we should be able to stay safe.” Antonia stated. Aris knew this was not a negotiation or request. The blood dilithium had to return with them.

“Very well.” Aris nodded. “Emma, please arrange transportation of the dilithium crystals to the secured cargo hold and prepare for departure.”

“Yes, Sir.” Emma replied as she affixed isolinear tags to the crates to get them securely under lock & key before returning to the bridge via the turbolift in the cargo bay.

Watching the crates of dilithium disappear, Aris noticed the refugee liaison approaching with their passenger. “Liaison Caudwell.” Aris nodded as the pair stood before him.

“Captain Suin, this is Damien Andrews, his credentials tell us he affiliated with the federation sciences division, please return him to where he is meant to be.” Antonia began by way of introduction. “He has been struggling since we made landfall after the annexation.”

Aris offered his hand. “Permission to come aboard Damien. Let’s get you home.”

Instead of shaking the offered hand, Aris was momentarily stunned as his new passenger threw his arms around Aris’ shoulder and burrowed into his shoulder muttering “thank you.” over and over.

Guiding the passenger into the cargo bay, the ramp retracted behind them and the bulkhead door came down, sealing the ship once more.

“Computer unseal Delta-2, authorisation Suin, 7-2-2-6 Epsilon Sigma.”  Aris spoke as soon as they had exited the cargo bay. “Lieutenant T’Keterk, please meet me outside the primary cargo hold and escort our passenger to quarters. Emma, set course for the Barzan wormhole, i’ll be on the bridge shortly.

“Yes Sir.”

“Affirmative, Captain.”

Comments

  • Awesome ending to the Corax mission, glad they were able to get free from the pitcher plant's influence and get back to what their mission was, to begin with. Though I am curious as to how a Starfleet Officer was left on a colony world within the Delta Quadrant. I am sure that they would find out soon enough if he decided to talk about what had happened. Great job on your first mission!

    December 11, 2022