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Official Lore Office post from Bravo Fleet: The Lost Fleet

Lost

Somewhere deep beyond the Federation's borders...
February 2401
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‘All hands, stand by. You know what to do. Today, we make history. Begin experiment 001.’

Six years, fourteen failed research proposals, and countless calibrations, and here he was at last. Doctor Marl Trojet could barely believe it as he stood on the bridge of his small science ship, the Sef, hand poised over the deflector controls. The glare of the nearby pulsar gently distorted the view through the cramped viewport, and otherwise, all he could see was space, stars, and opportunity.

His eyes fell on his timid assistant. ‘Full power to the deflector array.’

‘Yes, Doctor. Full power to the deflector array.’ Fillian’s voice only wavered a little.

Trojet ignored the apprehension. The young Trill’s role was simple enough. He’d been chosen for his expertise in tetryons, not his coolness under pressure, but with their theoretical work done Fillian could surely push a button and not screw that up. Trojet again reached for the comms. ‘Launch the target drone.’

Yes, Doctor. Launching.’ The voice from the bay was much more confident. Those were crewmen accustomed to simple scientific operations, handling probes and keeping the Sef out of the gravitational pull of stellar phenomena. They did not need to understand the magnitude of this experiment to do their jobs.

He watched the sensors, beady eyes narrowing as the small dot on the display of the drone rocketed away from the Sef. With a satisfied nod, he turned back to deflector controls. ‘Generating subspace tensor matrix.’

Fillian winced as the Sef began to rumble around them. ‘It’s working.’

‘I know it’s working,’ Trojet snapped. ‘But not enough. I need more power in the focal array.’

‘Doctor, you’ve got all power -’

‘If a system isn’t keeping us alive or keeping the ship in one piece, it needs to go to the deflector systems! Do it.’

Fillian cooperated, and Trojet relaxed an iota as his displays turned green. But soon the assistant’s reedy voice rang out as the deck of the Sef didn’t stop shuddering. ‘That’s all I can give you, Doctor. It can’t be for long or the deflector array will overload -’

‘The first thing we did was reinforce the components so it could take this power. Come on, Fillian, have some nerve. We’re going to make history here.’

Fillian’s eyes dragged around the bridge as the lights flickered. ‘Or be history,’ he muttered.

Trojet would have snapped at him for that, but through the viewport then soared the amber light of the subspace tensor matrix, the beam shimmering out across space in the direction of the target drone like a gleaming lance from the heavens. He gave a wordless bark of satisfaction. ‘The magneton pulse! Quickly!’

Dutifully, Fillian reached for the probe’s controls, and a heartbeat later multiple alert klaxons went off. ‘It’s – it’s working, it’s reacting!’

But there was fear in his voice. ‘We want this to happen,’ Trojet reminded. ‘The feedback loop?’

‘It’s – not yet. Doctor, if this goes wrong…’

‘It won’t.’

‘The damage to subspace…’

Fillian.’ Trojet realised he would have to take his panicking assistant in hand and snapped upright. ‘We are light-years from any inhabited system, far beyond Federation borders.’

‘And if we need saving nobody knows we’re out here – we told Farpoint we were on a survey mission out past Saxue.’

‘If you expect failure, that’s all you get. Hold.’ Trojet lifted a hand, eyes now fixed on the front viewport. ‘Hold.’

He’d spent years waiting for this moment. Sunk countless hours into even the smallest calculations, begged the indulgence and time of every scientific body of the Alpha Quadrant. They’d all turned him down, not because of the danger, but because his work, they said, had been tried before, and failed before. But it had not been tried by him. Him, Marl, and the half-dozen brilliant scientists who had lived through Trojet before him. And that had been almost thirty years ago.

Lifetimes and light-years had brought him to this. And as the searing amber ray of the subspace tensor matrix was drawn to the magneton pulse, the feedback loop began. In a burst of crimson and gold, the probe detonated, and the two Trill held their breath as all through the viewport faded to black.

After several thudding heartbeats, Fillian checked the sensors. ‘Subspace readings are -’

Then the gentle sable of the stars erupted into the swirling purple maelstrom of a wormhole.

Fillian was first to brighten, punching the air. ‘Yes! You’ve done it, Doctor -’

But now it was Trojet’s turn to be cautious. ‘Not yet. We knew this could be done. It has to be stable.’ His eyes turned back to the controls, and as several red lights flashed up, the bottom of his stomach dropped out. ‘The surge of neutrino emissions is already dropping…’

‘No, no, no…’ Fillian scrambled from the probe’s controls to the Sef’s sensors. ‘No, look, Doctor, the theta-band radiation is stable.’ Then he stopped. ‘And the quantum level fluctuations are… increasing?’

‘It’s no good,’ Trojet hissed. ‘It’s just like the old experiments, it’s collapsing…’

‘No, Doctor… something’s coming out.’

Trojet’s eyes snapped up to the viewport as proximity alerts went off. If he’d thought he was sick at the sight of the artificial wormhole collapsing almost the moment it had been created, then this latest sight was enough to cast his stomach into a bottomless pit. ‘What in the…’

It wasn’t a ship. It was dozens – hundreds. Soaring through the aperture in the mere seconds of its existence, spilling not just before the Sef but past it, encircling it. Trojet was no engineer, but any scholar of wormholes had inevitably seen at least footage of these warships. With their purplish hue, with the beetle-like build of the smaller vessels, there was no mistaking their design.

‘What the hell are Dominion ships doing here?’ Trojet snapped at Fillian. ‘And how did they come through this wormhole?’

‘I’m scanning them!’ Fillian’s voice was borderline hysterical, but he was acting, hands moving smoothly over the sensor control. Perhaps he had some nerve under pressure after all. ‘They’re at full battle stations, Doctor; weapons armed and shields raised!’

For his part, Trojet could only gape, even when the comm systems chirruped to life with an incoming hail. Rather than establish a full connection, Trojet fumbled so badly with the controls he only established a one-way audio link, and the bridge filled with a brusque, angry voice.

Unknown vessel, identify yourself!’

Rather than reply, Trojet gave Fillian a startled look. ‘We’re a Federation science ship, why are they acting like we’re a threat?’

‘Doctor…’ The assistant looked up. ‘Something’s very wrong here.’

‘I know that! The Dominion have stayed in their space for decades – did we just open a wormhole on top of one of their Gamma Quadrant fleets?’

‘I don’t think so.’ Filian worked his jaw, clearly unsure of his own words before he made an attempt. ‘I did a full scan to figure out their origins, and factored in disruptions to space and time. Doctor, judging by this reading of their quantum particles, these ships are from the year 2374.’

The colour drained from Trojet’s face. ‘That’s not possible.’

‘Doctor?’

For a long moment, Trojet didn’t respond, staring at the viewport through which countless Dominion ships soared. ‘In 2374, the Dominion sent a fleet through the Bajoran wormhole to join the war effort in the Alpha Quadrant. It never reached its destination.’ At last, the final sputtering of the wormhole died, fading from sight on the viewport as all readings on their sensors dimmed. But the damage was done. His work had achieved dizzying heights beyond all of his wildest dreams – or, rather, his wildest nightmares.

‘This is them,’ Trojet said hoarsely. ‘The Lost Fleet.’

Comments

  • Unknown Author

    Another great story that builds on the other stories I read. I like how from this viewpoint of the Science Ship out in the middle of nowhere trying to create artificial wormholes was the cause of the Jem 'Hadar appearing. Something that seemed so innocent becoming the catalyst for danger and war. Shows the violent nature of the Lost Fleet, after all to them it was still 2374 and the Dominion War with the Federation, they would be coming out blazing with ordinance, knowing from old intelligence that there was a space station and ships on the other side. Whatever happens, the Lost Fleet must be confused as well and with only a science ship present, it gives the Lost Fleet a way to gain intelligence of what is going on.

    May 9, 2023