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

M1 – Chp19: There and Back Again

USS Sojourner
240012.08
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Bridge – 14:30

Thanen sat in the command chair as he reviewed the current sensor feeds on the arms screen, showing their location and that of the entity in pursuit of them. 

“Helm, what’s our status? Will we have enough of a lead to make it into the system before it catches up to us?” he asked, already confident of the answers. Though he knew Belania, currently manning the operations console would have the answer at hand, not to mention having the data on his own screen, he believed in never passing up an opportunity to train the crew.

Dese jerked straight in her seat at the request, glancing down at the console she pulled up all the relevant information, “Ah…” she started, “ETA is 15 minutes to the edge of the plerion sir, we will have a 5-minute lead on the entity as we have been able to gain some distance.” Dese glanced over at Ril who was at tactical before she continued, “I, I don’t think we will be able to sir, given its speed it will intercept us before we are able to enter the system proper and before we are in range to launch the probe.”

Thanen nodded in agreement, “Excellent, thank you, ensign. I agree with your assessment. Now we just need to find a way to slow it down.” As he said that the turbo lift door opened and Kirin stepped out.

“Status?” she asked as she stepped over to stand beside Ril and check the feeds. Thanen stood and updated her quickly before Kirin moved to take her seat. “So we need to slow it down. Ideas anyone?”

There was a moment of silence before Chief Petty Officer Sorrolk turned from the secondary operations console, “When the Enterprise encountered a crystalline entity they utilized a graviton pulse after isolating its resonance frequency.”

At that Kerry chimed in, “That might work, we have been able to isolate it previously but haven’t had a chance to utilize it,” she turned and began to work through their logs. “It may work, it isn’t the same entity but is somewhat similar.”

Kirin smiled, “Sounds like a plan. Helm, when we drop out of warp make best possible speed to the binary pulsars. When it closes on us I want the primary deflector charged and ready for a graviton pulse.” She paused for a moment before turning to Kerry, “Make sure those modified probes are ready as well.”

Bridge – 14:50

“Captain, the entity be within range in 1-minute,” Belania announced.

Kirin nodded, “Red Alert. Is the deflector dish ready?” The moment she spoke the lights from the yellow alert shifted and darkened as the klaxons across the ship sounded.

“Yes, Ma’am,” Kerry responded with a hint of nervousness in her voice.

“Helm, bring us about. Activate the pulse as soon as it is within range,” Kirin ordered.

From the swirling clouds of the plerion, the ominous shape of the blood-red crystalline entity emerged and began to fire pulses of energy at the ship. Without a moment’s hesitation, the graviton pulse shot forth from the primary deflector on the Sojourner impacting the entity at its core.

“It has stopped its forward movement, Captain,” Belania remarked as another energy pulse hit the ship, the edges of excitement slipping into her voice. “But…” she began then stopped, “I am not detecting anything beyond low levels of resonance within its structure.”

“Shields are 80% percent and falling.” Ril said.

Thanen frowned for a moment, “Activate the secondary deflector, give it every bit of power we can spare.”

The beam shooting forth intensified as the secondary deflector activated adding it’s enhanced power to it. “It might be working Ma’am,” Kerry remarked, breaking the tense silence on the bridge after 40 seconds. “The levels of resonance within it has increased but seem to be plateauing out. I am also beginning to fracture in places but they are healing rapidly as we have seen before. I, I don’t think this will destroy it. From what we have seen it will likely remain here to regenerate, this could be our chance.”

Kirin sighed and muttered a ‘Damnit’, under her breath. “Dese as soon as we stop the pulse take us at full speed to the pulsars and the anomaly.” 

Dese nodded as Kirin turned to Belania, “Cut it.”

As soon as the deflectors cut the pulse the Sojourner spun and shot into the plerion.

A minute later Kirin looked over at Belania and Kerry, “Any signs of pursuit?”

“No, it was repairing itself still when we lost contact with it due to the plerion, given the speed it has repairing, healing, I think we have 10 minutes. Though as the resonance decreases it may speed up the repair,” Kerry said. 

“Our shields are down to 65%, I have diverted power to recharge them,” Ril said.

Bridge – 15:15

“We are about to clear the plerion and enter the system, Captain,” Belania said just as the swirling clouds on the viewscreen them.

“Good, set a course directly for the anomaly, let us hope that these probes will do the trick with the entity,” Kirin said.

The Sojourner shot through the system towards the small anomaly located between the two pulsars, “Watch out for the gravitation and radiation waves from those things. Even shielded they will wreak havoc on the ship,” Kirin warned. Before she could continue Ril cut her off.

“Devore ships, they were within the asteroid belt hidden from our sensors. I am counting six cruisers and three mining vessels. They are moving to intercept us.”

“Damn, they must have been here mining the system due to the high abundance of blood dilithium here,” Ril responded. 

As the Sojourner moved deeper into the system, towards the approaching Devore warships the crystalline entity emerged from the surrounding wind nebula. Within moments its course changed and it began to move towards the Devore ships, rapidly overtaking the Sojourner.

“Was it just me or did it look angrier than normal?” Dese said aloud before a shocked expression crossed her face realizing such a comment when they were on red alert might not be appropriate.

Kirin glanced at her and smirked, “It was pulsing with red light more so than before.” She then turned to Ril, “What are the Devore doing?”

“Five of their ships are adjusting course to intercept the entity, one though is maintaining course for us.”

“All power to shields, let’s push past it. We need to launch the probes if we have any chance of defeating the entity,” Kirin ordered.

The single Devore warship moved to intercept the Sojourner but they misjudged their intention and the Sojourner shot past lacking only a couple of glancing hits. “Shields at 92%,” Ril said aloud, “I don’t think they were expecting us to engage them. They are in pursuit.” As she said it the ship shuttered as another energy blast from the Devore ship struck the Sojourner.

“We are in optimal firing range for the probes given the gravitational waves from the pulsars,” Belania said, “I estimate a 50% chance of making it to the anomaly.”

“Excellent, launch all four then bring us about, keep us between us and the Devore. We know they are aware of what these probes do and they will likely try to stop it,” Kirin said, a moment after she did the four probes shot forth from the Sojourner heading directly towards the anomaly.

“Captain, the Devore ship has launched torpedoes. They are targeting the probes,” Ril said. 

Kirin growled through her teeth, “Dese, adjust course put us in teh path of those torpedoes now and transfer emergency power to the shields.”

The Sojourner shifted course moments before the four torpedoes streaked past it, as it did the three of them struck the shields on the dorsal side of the ship causing them to flare. The resulting explosions caused power surges across the ship. The final torpedo shot past the Sojourner, missing its shields by mere meters, and impacted the trailing probe.

“Status?” Kirin said as she pulled herself back onto her chair and brushed her now fiery red hair from her face. The lights on the bridge flickered and smoke floated across the bridge from one of the secondary engineering consoles which had exploded, thankfully no one had been there.

“Shields down to 50%, the first hit overloaded one of the generators which caused it to temporarily failed, letting part of the blast from the second torpedo penetrate the shield. We have several power relays that were blown out on decks 5 through 8 and the starboard nacelle is damaged, it is leaking warp plasma,” Ril said.

Thanen exhaled heavily, “I best get down there. I only just got this ship fixed Kirin!” With that, he made his way to the turbolift.

“Return fire on the Devore vessel, show them we are not some defenceless civilian transport.” Kirin ordered as the ship shuttered from another hit from the Devore vessel, “What is the status of the other Devore ships?” 

Ril grinned showing her teeth, “With pleasure.” A moment later phase fire lanced through the void between the Sojourner and the Devore vessel, several striking true.

Without pause, Belania responded, “The entity has cut through them, two are destroyed outright, and one is adrift, the remaining three are damaged and in retreat from the system, wait, the remaining two, the third vessel has lost power is now adrift.” She stopped for a moment as she flicked through, “The entity is shifting focus, it is moving this way though slower than before, it has been damaged and is regenerating.”

“Crap, I had hoped for more time.” Kirin said before looking over at Kerry, “What is the status of the probes?”

“ETA is 20 seconds, we have,” Kerry responded as she adjusted the sensors, “yes, two remaining. The gravitational waves just destroyed one of the probes. The other two are on course.”

“The entity has just entered range, it is firing on the Devore vessel we are engaged with. They are withdrawing now,” Ril said.

“Probes are successful, they have entered the anomaly, I am already reading a change in energy levels from the anomaly,” Kerry said.

“Excellent,” Kirin remarked. Turning to look at Dese, “Helm, keep us away from the entity for as long as you can.

Dese nodded, and without a word, she brought the Sojourner around and the ship began to move away from the entity.

Bridge – 15:25

The Sojourner flew through the system’s asteroid field using it to keep just outside the range of the entity’s weapons. The first couple minutes as the entity closed had been tense as it was able to fire at the federation ship several times before the Sojourner was able to use the asteroids as interference.

Kirin sat forward in her chair watching the sensor feeds, “Kerry, can you confirm what I am seeing here? It appears to be slowing down and the regeneration is also decreasing.”

Kerry was silent for a moment before responding, her excitement clear in her voice, “Yes, I was just double-checking the readings. It would appear that the radiation from the pulsars is amplifying the effect of the anomaly, similar to how it did when it first appeared. I am already seeing the blood dilithium deposits begin to reduce in size; they should be completely gone within two days.”

Ril let out a snort, “We, don’t have days, let alone hours.”

“That is lovely to hear Kerry but what about the entity, the deposits aren’t actively trying to destroy the ship,” Kirin remarked after giving Ril a ‘NOT NOW’ look.

Kerry stammered slightly, before continuing, “You are correct, it is slowing down and the regeneration has slowed significantly, if not stopped completely. I am not reading a reduction in its density though. Given time it may disappear but I cannot be certain.”

Kirin shook her head, “Alright, even slowed it could leave the system and the range of the anomaly, this could be our only chance to stop it.” She looked at the crew and the new damage the ship had sustained and made her decision. “Kerry, Belania, charge the deflectors, we will hit it with the graviton pulse from both the primary and secondary deflectors at the same time.”

Both Kerry and Belania nodded and began to work on readying a new pulse.

“Ril, ready a full spread of quantum torpedoes and the phasers, if this works I want to shatter that thing,” Kirin said to which Ril smiled. “Weapons are ready.”

“Great. Helm, keep your distance until I say so.” Dese responded with a worried expression, “It is pushing through the asteroid field, I can keep us out of range for five, maybe six more minutes.”

With that Kirin tapped a button on her console and opened a channel to engineering. “Engineering, what is the status of the nacelle?”

After a moment of silence Anahis Sanin’s, the assistant chief, voice responded. “Captain, repairs are underway, we have stemmed the plasma leak. We expect to have full power from the nacelle in 30 minutes.”

“We don’t have 30 minutes, we will be engaging the entity in…,” Kirin said and glanced at Kerry, who raised three fingers. “Five minutes. I need as much power and manoeuvring as you can give us.”

Sanin responded quickly, “You will have everything we can give you Captain.”

Bridge – 15:35

“Helm, bring us about, straight at the entity,” Kirin ordered and she watched as the image on the view screen swung rapidly to the left as the ship came about, hugging one of the large class D asteroids. Before them, the red and purple shape of the entity appeared and began to rapidly grow in size. 

“Belania, if you will.” 

“Gladly, rerouting power now,” Belania responded and both deflectors activated at once sending a slight hum through the vessel. The twin beams of the graviton pulse connected just before impacting the entity. As they connected, the entity slowed and pulsed a bright red before it began to send pulses of supercharge energy towards the already damaged Sojourner.

“I am seeing an increased effect on the entity, the anomaly seems to have weakened it,” Kerry said. “Its energy readings are all over the place.”

Kirin nodded with a slight smile, ‘This may actually work’ she thought. “How long can we maintain the pulse?”

“At current power levels?” Kerry remarked, “Two minutes at most, I am pulling almost every bit of power I can for this.”

“Ril, how long can our shields hold?”

“At this rate,” Ril said, as the ship shuddered from another bit, “about 70 seconds, maybe 90. The modifications are helping but only just.”

Kirin cursed inwardly, ‘if only we could try to evade but we need to keep the pulse activated.’ “Very well. Keep the pulse going. Let’s see who faulters first.”

Sixty-five seconds later Kirin steadied herself in her chair as the ship shook violently as she watched as the shield strength dropped below 5%. She was about to order the Dese to turn and try to get the ship away when Kerry’s voice cut through the increasingly smoke-filled room. “Ma’am, IT’S WORKING. I am seeing large cracks forming and spreading throughout its entire structure and its energy outputs are falling rapidly.”

Kirin didn’t wait, “FIRE!”

A second later ten quantum torpedoes shot forth from the Sojourner in a tight spread as the phase cannons and phaser banks fired. The weapon fire lanced through the space between the ship and the entity. They impacted almost instantly and Kirin and the crew watched as the explosions engulfed the core of the entity and began to fade. Her heart jumped into her throat as the entity appeared intact for a second, then two before fractures became visible and spread through its entire structure with an almost audible sound through the silence of space. A moment later the entity shattered releasing a pulse of energy that smashed into the Sojourner sending the ship tumbling.

“Helm, stabilize us,” Kirin ordered, “Damage report.”

Dese quickly stabilized the vessel and Belania responded. “That energy wave damaged several EPS relays and knocked out our warp drive; the core is showing minimal output.”

“The entity?” Kirin asked.

“It is gone,” Kerry remarked just as the space it had been in reappeared on the view screen. “All I am seeing is the empty shell of the Devore survey ship and small crystalline debris with minimal energy readings.”

Kirin smiled, “Well done, everyone. What about the Devore ships?”

“They have left the system. The mining ships and remaining cruisers entered the wind nebula ten minutes ago. Given the damage they had it looked like they were high tailing it home,” Belania said.

“Good, I want a full damage report and estimates on repair time in an hour. We took a betting and we are far from friendly space. Without warp we are vulnerable and I don’t think teh Devore will be happy with us removing a source of so much blood dilithium.” 

Two Days Later – 240012.10

The Sojourner sat motionlessly above the ecliptic plane of the system behind the gas giant out of the way of the gravitational waves from the pulsars. Over the previous two days, the crew worked diligently to repair as much damage as possible. The first six hours had been tense as the warp drive remained offline and power fluctuations throughout the ship hampered initial repair activities. Once Thanen, Sanin and the rest of the engineering team along with the operations team were able to get the warp core drive and other key systems back online the crew visibly relaxed. The concern that one or both of the remaining Devore cruisers would return abated once they were able to jump to warp.

Once the primary systems were back online the science team spent their time gathering as much data as they could while the remaining blood dilithium dissipated throughout the system. Using the trumpet to interact with the few large pieces of blood dilithium remaining in the system and of the entity Kerry, Jenora and Sorrolk were able to confirm that the intense anger they had encountered before was now gone.

After two days the last of the blood dilithium vanished from the system before the anomaly collapsed onto itself leaving the Sojourner alone in the system.

Kirin sat down in the command chair on the bridge and couldn’t help but feel a little relieved. This excursion to the delta quadrant and their mission to provide support to those in need had taken more than a few turns; with very view happy ones. As she thought back her mind drifted to the murder of Captain Tharia sh’Elas on the Ulysses and the horrors this system created. She had to admit though, even with everything they had encountered a part of her wanted to explore more of this region of space but the Sojourner, though able to go to warp, was in need of a proper shipyard.

With that, she gave the order and the Sojourner spun in space and made its way through the plerion. As soon as it emerged its nacelles locked into position and the ship disappeared in a flash of light, making best speed to the Markonian outpost and the Federation.

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