Part of USS Sojourner: Mission 1 – Do not go gentle into that good night (Blood Dilithium Campaign) and Bravo Fleet: Blood Dilithium

M1 – Chp17: Back into the Fray

USS Sojourner
Stardate 240012.08
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Bridge – 9:00

Kirin paced the bridge of the USS Sojourner as the ship sped through space at warp 8 towards Devore space. Following two weeks of repairs at Markonian outpost with the support of two Star Fleet support vessels she was glad they were underway and now had orders and a plan to deal with the rogue entity that the Sojourner barely escaped from before. Though glad to be underway her mind was troubled. The recent destruction of the USS Discovery by the Devore was brutal to swallow especially coming so closely on the heels of the murder of Captain Tharia sh’Elas. 

Still, the news that the USS Discovery had discovered that a class-V probe with antiproton burst emitters fired into an anomaly would cause local blood dilithium to disappear into subspace was a boon that could not be dismissed and brought some hope. Following the news, Kirin ordered the Sojourner to depart for the binary pulsar system with the intent of finding and destroying the entity before it could claim more lives.

She debated with the idea of checking in on Thanen and Kerry in the Probe Fabrication laboratory to ask for an update on their work modifying several of the Sojourner’s class-V probes. After a moment she decided against it and left them to their work.

Kirin’s thoughts were interrupted when Lieutenant Belania spoke up from the operations station, “Captain, we are six hours from the outer edge of the wind nebula surrounding the system…” 

Kirin glanced back at the young Ferengi officer with a quizzical look but before she could ask why Belania had provided the update the lieutenant spoke again. “We are detecting a faint distress call three-light-year from us along our current trajectory.”

“Put it up,” Kirin said with a little frown. It was unlike Belania not to present superfluous information especially when something as critical as a distress call had been received. 

A moment later the audio systems kick in and the message, heavily distorted with static began to play. 

‘<> This i <> the Devore im<>um ves<> Ri<>ht. We are under at<>k by unk<>n cystal<> vessel. Hea<>ly damaged, life su<>t fai<>…’

“The message has cut off ma’am,” Belania remarked.

“Damn,” Kirin said as she turned to look towards the young Orion ensign at the con. “Ensign Tycon set a course for the ship. Maximum warp.”

Dese nodded, “Course laid in.”

Deep Space – 11:10

The heavily damaged Devore cruiser drifted alone through the empty void of interstellar space with only emergency power barely keeping the lights on. Several large gashes worked their way down the port side of the vessel ending in large crystals of blood dilithium that had ripped through the ship. Large swaths of its interior were exposed to space only illuminated by what remained of the vessel’s displays and lights in those sections.

The USS Sojourner dropped out of warp in a flash of white light 2,000 kilometres from the ruined vessel.

Bridge – 11:10

“Status?” Kirin asked as she looked at the Devore vessel on the view screen.

“The ship has sustained heavy damage, main power is offline, gravity is intermittent, and life support is down though the core still seems to be active.” Ril said from tactical, “About forty-five per cent of its interior is in a vacuum. The crystals seem to be the cause of the large hull breaches and have penetrated deep into the vessel bypassing their emergency systems.”

“Any life signs at all?” Kirin asked, a sad look crossing her face. Though the Devore could only be described as an enemy of the Federation she did not take any pleasure in seeing one of their warships in this state.

“One second, there is some interference from the crystals embedded in the hull…adjusting frequency and linking in the secondary deflector…got it,” Belania said. “I am detecting four Devore life signs, they look to be in one of the large bays on their starboard side, possibly a cargo bay. I am also detecting intermittent life signs, similar to the ones we have seen on the Malone mining colony moving towards the Devore.”

“Can we beam them out?” Kirin responded.

“Negative. The room they are in seems to be shielded. It’s likely where they keep the telepaths they kidnap before killing them,” Belania remarked.

Kirin suppressed a frown, though Belania was likely correct in her assessment the comment itself was out of line. “Are we picking up any signs of the entity on our sensors?” Kirin asked as she debated sending a team over.

“No, but I cannot be one hundred percent certain about that, it has proven to be difficult to detect in the past,” Belania responded. 

“Fine,” Kirin said turning to Ril. “Ril take a security team over there and get the survivors out if you can. We may not like what they do but I will not leave people to die out here.”

Ril inhaled deeply and nodded, “And if they fire on us?”

“Stun them if possible but do not put your lives at risk more than you deem necessary getting them out. Try to access their computer core if possible. Any intel could be helpful,” Kirin ordered.

A moment later Ril stepped into the turbo lift already issuing orders over her coms for a security team to meet her in the transporter room.

Devore Warship – 11:20

The ruined corridor of the once-powerful warship was dark except for the low glow of flames which cast long shadows. The four members of the rescue team materialized temporarily brightening the corridor.

Ril raised her rifle and scanned the corridor, “This place is a mess,” she muttered as she ducked under a fallen support beam. “Allen, distance?”

Petty Officer Allen Thomas shifted his focus to his tricorder and a moment later he spoke, “15 meters to the life signs, um.. survivors Lieutenant. Though I am getting sporadic readings heading this way, we should move fast.”

“Let’s move quickly then,” Ril said before turning to Allen, “Take Johnson and try to get access to their computer core, Elem and I will get the Devore.” Allen nodded and turned down a side passage with Johnson in tow. “Watch your back Lieutenant.”

A minute later, after having to carefully scramble around fallen debris Ril and Elem reached the doorway. Tapping the control panel to open the door slid halfway open as bursts of energy flew through the open followed by a stream of untranslated obscenities. 

“HOLD YOUR FIRE,” Ril shouted, we are here to get you out.

The weapons fire stopped a moment later, “Who are you? Those things killed, and changed the crew.”

“We are with Starfleet and we are familiar with the entity that attacked you. We can get you out but not from that room,” Ril called back. Before they could respond Ril spoke again, “We don’t have time to argue, we do not have much time we have to move quickly.”

Silence hung in the air for a moment then the Devore officer called back, “Fine, we are coming out.”

A moment later four injured Devore made their way out of the rooms hesitantly, weapons still in their hands. “We will not surrender our weapons,” the lead individual said. Ril recognised the voice as the one who had spoken before, “Fine by me especially with those things getting closer. We need to get back to our beam in site, for some reason this part of your ship is shielded.”

The Devore looked at each other but didn’t say anything. “We need to move now,” Ril said, “Follow me.”

As they approached the beam in site Elem turned to Ril, “The intermittent life signs are very close. They just appeared on the sensors.” As if on queue there was an eerie shriek and several partially crystalized Devore stumbled into view.

“Shit, get into cover,” Ril said as she ducked into a doorway across from Elem. As she did a shard of crystal impeded itself into the fall centimetres from her face plate. A cry from behind her drew her attention and she saw one of the Devore stumble, a shard embedded in his throat. Muttering under her breath she took aim and fired. As she did a couple more of the crystalized Devore appeared. 

Tapping her combagde she opened a link to the ship, “Mnass to Sojourner, we are pinned down. Can you beam us out?”

Kirin’s voice responded, “We cannot get a lock at your current location. I will have a team over to you in 2 minutes to help. Hold on.”

Elem looked over at her, “How do we get out?” A hint of fear was clear in her voice.

Before Ril could answer phase fire shot down the corridor from behind the ambling Devore cutting into them. A few seconds later the corridor was clear. “Thought you might need an assist Lieutenant came Allen’s voice from down the hall.”

Ril smiled and looked back at the now three Devore survivors and waved the forward. “Move fast”.

Bridge – 11:30

Belania double-checked her console after the proximity alarm sounded, “Captain, the Entity has appeared on our sensors, 10,000 kilometres and closing fast. I do not know where it came from.”

Kirin cursed inwardly at the development. “Transporter room, do we have them?” she asked over the coms as she stood on the bridge.

There was a pause before Crewmen Floxan’s voice came over the coms, “Yes ma’am the team is ok and we have three Devore survivors. They are being escorted to sickbay and Lieutenant Mnass is on her way to the bridge.” A moment later the coms channel closed.

“Put the entity on screen and back us away,” Kirin ordered. A moment later the view screen showed what used to be a Devore survey ship now completely obscured and forming the very core of a massive fractal crystalline structure.

“Is it just me or is it significantly larger than before?” Dese said aloud from the navigation console. A slight hint of apprehension in her voice.

From the science station, Kerry spoke up, “Sensors indicate that it has increased in size by 75%. The energy readings it is giving off have more than doubled though I am struggling to get a clear reading.”

As the Sojourner began to move away from the incapacitated Devore warship the large crystalline entity continued its approach ignoring her. “Kerry, are there any of the anomalies in close proximity?” Kirin asked already knowing the answer.

“No, the closest one we have detected is in the binary pulsar system. Without it the probe will have no effect,” Kerry responded.

“Damn, we will need to get its attention then,” Kirin remarked just as Ril and Thanen entered the bridge. Glancing over at her tactical officer and XO she smiled, “Glad you could join us. Ril, we are going to have get it to….” She was cut off as the Sojourner shook violently and Thanen who was also in his seat was thrown to the ground.

“The entity just turned towards us and hit us with the same energy discharges as before though this was stronger,” Ril said as she rapidly scanned her console. “Looks like the shield modifications worked, they are only down to 75%”

Thanen pushed himself back to his feet and pulled himself into his chair, no worse for wear, “Looks like you got its attention, Captain.”

“It’s firing again,” Ril said moments before the ships shook again and the lights flickered. 

“Return fire, a full spread of torpedoes and put some more distance between us.”

The torpedoes shot forth flashing past the Devore ship and struck the entity exploding in brilliant flashes of red and purple as their energy mixed with the released energy from the blood dilithium. “Minimal effect, there are some fractures in some of the crystalline structures but they seem to be regenerating.”

Kirin looked at the screen as she racked her head for ideas, ‘Maybe coming back after this thing, even with orders to do so, was a mistake without support’ she thought. As she did an idea crossed her mind. “How close will it get to the Devore ship?” 

Belania glanced at her and then down at her console, “It will be within 8 kilometres in 25 seconds.”

Kirin smiled, “Target the Devore ship’s core, two torpedoes should do it. I want them to hit just as the entity closes with it.”

The rest of the senior crew caught on right away, “Target locked,” Ril said. The next few seconds seemed to take an eternity as the entity fired several more times on the Sojourner, “Sheilds down to 15%. There are reports of injuries coming in. An EPS relay has blown on Deck 7,” Belania reported.

Kirin checked the console beside her and smiled, “FIRE!”

The two photo torpedoes lanced forth closing the distance between the ships in seconds and penetrated deep into the Devore ship before detonating just as the entity reached the vessel. The resulting explosion ruptured the vessel’s core creating a massive antimatter explosion that seemed to engulf the entity and temporarily caused the Sojourner’s view screen to go white.

“Status?” Kirin asked as the view screen cleared reviewing the entity with a portion of a crystal growth shattered.

“It’s still intact but has taken damage…” Belania began then her voice trailed off as the crystal began to reform before them. “It’s repairing, healing itself. I…I don’t think the explosion phased it all.”

“It was worth a shot. Set a course for the binary pulsars, and get us there right away. Hopefully, that thing will follow us and these probes will do the trick,” Kirin said.

A moment later the Sojourner jumped to warp and was gone.

Comments

  • I'm so impressed by how layered and textured your storytelling is here. From earlier in the mission, you've maintained that moody torch-lit Aliens feeling of the away missions. The style you put into your prose creates a real sense of danger when the crew is off the ship. Continuing to write this mission after the close of the campaign, I like how you've really been able to dive deep into the events of Blood Dilithium, such as the destruction of the USS Discovery, to provide a real lived-in feeling to the Sojourner in a shared universe. I also also love the reversal of the Devore as damsels in distress; I didn't expect to see that! Such a fun read!

    March 8, 2023
  • Lovely scene with a lot going on. I love the detail and the atmosphere of the away mission. Add the tension and the banter to the fact the boot is now on the other foot with the Devore, and it’s a great read!

    March 13, 2023