Check out our latest Fleet Action!

 

Part of USS Hathaway: Episode 15: Dark Voids of Ichor (The Lost Fleet) and Bravo Fleet: The Lost Fleet

Part IX

Various
Stardate 24013.9, 2330 Hours
0 likes 523 views

Having composed herself, and her team, enough to carry on with their mission, Commander Noli had returned to the scene of the assault by Gor version three(?) and had ascended the ladder to the command deck. Nothing could prepare her for what she saw upon emerging from the Jeffries tube and once standing on terra firmer again. Glancing around the dimly lit command centre, the Commander struggled for balance as a volley of weapons fire from the Hathaway rocked the warship’s shields. The room was surprisingly quiet, with only the Starfleet officers in hushed conversation.

Given the Breen corpses laid across the floor, it maybe wasn’t that surprising after all. Lights on their helmets had gone out; voice synthesisers no longer squawked their iceman gibberish. All of the Breen soldiers in the command centre lay stiff, as if they had been left on the surface of their ice world for longer than intended, and without the protection of their refrigerator suits. Despite the obvious positive nature of what she saw, Noli looked more than a little concerned.

Moving further into the command centre, it was clear which of the downed soldiers was Rodyn – the insignia on his uniform matched the intelligence that had been shared with them, and his position, slumped at the foot of the command chair, was a dead giveaway. “Our orders were to capture Rodyn, not kill him…” she found herself saying, letting out a sigh, puffing out her chest, and holstering her weapon in defeat. Maybe she was more annoyed that it hadn’t been her who had delivered the justice the Breen deserved?

Neither, it transpired, had the officers of Bravo team. “It wasn’t us,” the Bolian team leader shook his head, mimicking the Commander in holstering his weapon. “They were dead when we finally got in here. The news seemed to spread around the Breen in the corridor and they fled,” he told the commander, drawing a confused glare from the Bajoran.

“Well if it wasn’t you…” she trailed off, shaking her head with a smirk. “Well, I guess the Changeling served a purpose after all.” Another impact on the warship’s forward shields caused the Commander to stumble, and collapse into the chair that had previously been occupied by Rodyn himself. “Damn it! Someone contact the Hathaway and tell them to hold their fire,” she instructed anyone that could hear her.

“No, wait!”


On the main viewer at the front of the Hathaway bridge, Giarvar was thrilled to see the first of the Chel Grett cruisers burst into a billion pieces thanks to the barrage of weapons fire sustained from the Sagan-class starship and its starfighters. As he was about to adjust his set of orders and have the focus of their assault shift to the warship in the Breen centre, something took him completely by surprise. The warship’s weapons were brought to bear for the first time in several minutes, but they weren’t trained on the Starfleet vessel itself.

“Commander! The Breen…” Mayr exclaimed, looking across from her screen as a hail of disrupter fire erupted from the warship.

“I have eyes, Mayr!” Giarvar shouted back, practically leaping from the command chair and bounding down to the flight deck. Faced with impossible odds, the remaining Chel Grett swiftly turned and sped off at high speed.

“Shall we give chase?” Henry asked, looking towards the acting Captain for orders, his eyes almost pleading with the Trill to allow them the chance to go on the hunt once again.

Slapping his friend on the back, Giarvar shook his head. “We can’t,” he answered almost apologetically. “We have people on the warship, and we need to get help to the Captain. Let them go…” he trailed off regretfully. Returning to the command deck, he looked across at Tuca. “Recall the fighters. Or’uil! Get me Commander Noli,” he barked, sitting in the command chair and relaxing for the first time in what felt like days.

With orders being relayed across the ship and beyond, the news began to spread that the battle was over. At least for now. It wasn’t long until the main viewer changed from the sight of a damaged Breen warship to the far more amenable view of the blonde Bajoran. “Congratulations on a job well done,” Giarvar nodded to his counterpart, “report?”

Noli somehow looked relieved, yet pensive as she ran a hand through her luscious locks. “Wish we could take all the credit,” she confessed, “but we had a bit of a helping hand.

Over the next few minutes, the back and forth between the officers covered everything from the incident with the Gor changeling to the death of Rodyn and his command team. They even covered the current state of the Captain’s health, and the fact that they now had an entirely different problem to contend with; what exactly were they going to do with a Breen warship?

Intelligence will have a field day,” Noli grinned once it was agreed that Hathaway would escort the ship to a rendezvous with the nearest available Starfleet asset that could assist them in their hour of need. “I’m going to need some more personnel to lock down the ship and locate the Changeling… Speaking of which, what has happened to Captain Gor?” She asked, folding her arms as her expression changed to one of greater concern.

Looking to his left, Giarvar gave Mayr the silent instruction to join Noli on the Breen ship. “There’s no sign of him,” the XO frowned, shuffling uncomfortably in the command chair as he addressed the fate of the Captain. “When we discovered the Gor changeling, I had the computer confirm the presence of the Captain. According to our data, he never came aboard the ship during the handover, just like Doctor Torres.”

“I may have a solution to at least one of our problems, Captain…” Lieutenant Okan apologised to the Commander for the slip of the tongue, then revealed why she had interrupted the conversation. “Can you get access to environmental controls?” She asked of the Bajoran.

For a second, Noli looked off-screen and had a hushed conversation with a figure that was out of view, before looking back at the viewscreen “I think I may know where you’re going with this,” she grinned slyly.

“I’d recommend chlordiazepoxide,” the Risian suggested, looking at the Trill sat in Nazir’s chair, then back at Noli, “you’ll feel fine, but it will penetrate the Breen masks and render them catatonic. Release it on all decks, and then you’ll be free to hunt the Changeling.”

“On it. We’ll be in touch. Noli out,” the tactical chief declared before the screen went blank.

Akaria and the XO shared a concerned glance, then she returned to her seat at science. With events settling down, the Commander turned his attention to the greater need. “Or’uil,” he called down towards Ops, “Contact Fourth Fleet Command. Tell them our location and give a situation report. Advise them of the capture of the Breen vessel, and request medical assistance for the Captain.”

The Ungeat’s bulbous, green eyes looked at the acting Captain somewhat quizzically, and then he turned away and back to his station, to carry out the orders as requested. Now all they could do was wait for the plan aboard the Breen ship to unfold.


It wasn’t long before security teams Charlie and Delta arrived on the Breen vessel, as heavily armed as the rest of their cohort. Led by Lieutenant Bellurr, the additional teams were accompanied by Lieutenant Prida and several members of her engineering team. In her debrief, the Commander from tactical explained how they had managed to release the sedative, with reports of Breen falling unconscious when in battle with the Starfleet boarding parties. Now, their attention was turning to the sweep for the changeling. The assignments were pretty simple; Prida’s engineering team, along with security team Delta, would secure the engineering bay; Bravo and Charlie would reinforce the boarding parties across the ship in their search of the Changeling, and the tagging of any Breen they found for transport to the Hathaway. It was a solid plan, but it was one with many variables, and many potential casualties. Especially if the Changeling rumbled them.

Instead, Prida had an idea; and it was a cunning one at that. A moment of brilliance. And for a moment, only the briefest, Noli was shocked. It was as if her friend’s Bajoran physiology, usually so dominant, and fully receded and been suppressed by her Cardassian heritage. If it wasn’t for the nose wrinkles, the cunning plan, the forehead ridges and the grey skin were more than enough to convince people of her Cardassian side.

Noli listened and listened intently. It was devious. It was smart. It was… “Are you sure you never served with the Obsidian Order?” The tactician asked, smirking as she received a playful jab from her friend. “Keep coming up with this stuff and Tuca will be out of a job,” the Commander declared, approving of the Engineer’s ‘simple’ plan with a nod.

Reaching out to the control panel, the Commander opened a channel across the ship. “Starfleet personnel,” she called into the comm, “we are experiencing engine difficulties that are making the ship unmanageable. We are abandoning ship.” Pressing the comm button, she terminated the channel. A look at Prida and Mayr gave the two all the permission they needed to put Prida’s bold plan into action.


Main engineering on the Chel Boalg warship was only three decks below the command centre. Unlike the bold design of Starfleet vessels, the Breen didn’t put their bridge on the ’top’ of the ship, but rather, they protected it several decks down. It was also the coldest part of the ship, and a place where the Breen didn’t have to wear their refrigeration suits to acclimatise to warmer temperatures. It was also quiet on this occasion. Too quiet. The only sound in the engine room was that of Lieutenant Prida as she made her way from console to console, doing her utmost to put her plan into action. With her, Lieutenant Bellurr kept watch.

Prida had worked around the bay, systematically disabling stations and systems as she went thanks to her trusty universal translator. Moving to the console attached to the guard rail surrounding the engine core, the engineer had just one task left. Holding her tricorder in her left hand, she waved the holographic controls over the Breen panel, providing her with a new ‘skin’ to the control panel, and making her work much easier. “Okay, we’re ready,” the engineer nodded to her security officer counterpart. When the Klingon/Terran hybrid confirmed her status as ready, the engineer got to work. Her hands danced furiously across the controls until an alarm klaxon began to call out across the ship. It was blaring, a piercing shrill of a sound.

Stepping back from the console, the engineer let out a sigh. “Core overload in two minutes,” she confirmed. Drawing her phaser, the miracle worker stood back-to-back with her fellow gold shirt, keeping their eyes (and weapons) trained in all directions. All they could do was hope that the Bajassian was right; that the Changeling’s sense of self-preservation would force it to make an appearance in the engineering bay. 120 seconds was not long to wait in the grand scheme of things, but in the context of their mission, it was almost a lifetime. And what if she was wrong? What if the Changeling didn’t care about the ship’s destruction? Or maybe it had already achieved its mission? Maybe it was content with giving its life in the pursuit of the Dominion’s wider go…

A clattering of metal in the walkways above the engineering room drew the attention of the Starfleet officers, with a little over forty seconds to go. With their weapons trained on the ceiling, hands clasped tightly around the grips of their weapons, the two failed to spot the thick, oozing matter emerging from beneath the environmental controls console on the other side of the core. It was only when two gelatinous tentacles struck out and whipped the weapons from their grasp that either of them knew of its presence in the bay. A second strike from each arm sent the Starfleet women hurtling through the air and crashing into consoles at the back of the room.

Once the Changelings ‘goo’ moulded into the form of a humanoid, the being was clearly supposed to be ‘male’ thanks to the chiselled cheekbones and bushy eyebrows it sported. It was also interested in only one thing; stopping the core overload. Walking to the controls, the being reached out and began tapping away at the core command systems. With twenty seconds to go until the overload, and seemingly making no progress, the creature began to reach into the circuitry and began pulling at wires and control systems in an effort to disable the overload. As the seconds ticked by, the Changeling grew more frantic. It needed to complete its mission, so it turned around and angrily stretched out an arm, snatching the engineer from the floor and dragging her to the console.

“Disable the overload,” it snarled, its voice loud, almost echo-like, as it shook her to life again for its own benefit.

Struggling in the Changeling’s grasp, the defiance of the woman annoyed the being to the point where it began to squeeze, in an effort to drain the life essence from her until she agreed to his request.  Fortunately, the engineer wasn’t alone. Just as planned, Mayr (who had stirred from her attack-induced slumber) lifted her phaser and pointed at the Changeling. “Hey!” She called out, drawing the being’s gaze. “Time’s up!”

As the clock ticked over to zero, the massive explosion the changeling expected didn’t come. Instead of all the bulkheads collapsing and the ship exploding into balls of fuel and flame, the consoles in the engineering bay seemed to overload with electrical charges, sending lightning-like surges through the Changeling’s body. Screaming in agony, it released its grasp on the engineer and dropped her to the floor, gasping for air. As she crawled over to the protection of her counterpart from security, Prida gave her colleague the go-ahead to increase the power output. This was one changeling that wouldn’t be getting off the ship alive. With the push of a button, the charge increased significantly, sending increased volts surging through its goo-pilaries and goo-veins. A final, blood-curdling howl of pain preceded the explosion of the being’s body. Instead of a puddle of goo unable to hold its solid form, the being exploded into a cloud of ash, which eventually settled upon the deck plating like a volcano going dormant.

Helping Prida to her feet, the tactical officer shared an embrace with her friend, and supported her upright. A tap of her commbadge later, and the tactical deputy was revealing the news everyone needed.

“Mission accomplished.”


Acting captain’s log, supplemental.

 

Our mission, a mission of the highest priority and with a solitary objective, is at an end. Thot Rodyn is dead, never to terrorise the Deneb sector again. His forces, or rather, what remains of them, have fled. Those Breen soldiers who found themselves slipping into a peaceful night’s sleep aboard Rodyn’s warship now find themselves in the comfort of our cargo bay, surrounded by security fields and armed security. Commander Noli, Lieutenant Prida and an engineering team have remained on the warship to serve as its command crew. We will escort them to a rendezvous point where we will hand over the ship to Fourth Fleet Command. It is my sincere hope that, whilst we were not able to capture Rodyn alive, the data housed in the ship’s computer will prove invaluable, as will the opportunity to study a fully functioning Breen vessel. Given the complications our mission endured, I would be surprised if Command were anything but thrilled at our achievements.

 

Captain Nazir remains in sickbay, under the watch of our Emergency Medical Hologram. She is stable, but at great risk. Injuries sustained by host and symbiont alike could prove life-threatening if we do not get her to a suitable medical facility in time. I am assured that the vessel we will rendezvous with within the hour will have a more than adequate facility and physicians for the job at hand. My report to Starfleet has made it abundantly clear that her fate is tied to the fact that, somehow, two Changelings were allowed to board this ship, posing as significant members of this crew. A complete review is underway, and Tuca will have more for me in the coming days.

 

Our original mission may be complete, but we now hurtle through the stars on a mission of mercy…

Laid back, head in the clouds and using his feet to spin the chair at the head of the observation lounge table, Giarvar was in deep contemplation. Such deep contemplation that it took a clearing of the throat from Akaria to draw the man’s attention back into the room.

“Sorry to bother you sir,” the Risian smiled, “but I thought you’d want to know that we’re arriving at the rendezvous point.”

Pushing himself up and out of the chair, the XO slapped the scientist on the back in playful thanks before storming onto the bridge, assuming the command chair from Tuca. “Helm, bring us out of warp. Open a channel, standard greetings and assurances. Let our friends know the Breen vessel with us is a friend,” he directed, slipping into the command chair.

“Exiting warp… now,” Flyboy called from the CONN.

“Transmission sent,” Or’uil twitched.

For the next few minutes, nervous energy engulfed the bridge, with the crew simply waiting for their rendezvous. It allowed them time, too much time, to think about what had transpired in recent days. Thankfully, when the alarms began to sound from the helm, everyone was calm enough to not overreact.

“Starfleet vessel dropping from warp in three… two… one…”

Beyond the bulkhead of their home, the stars several hundred yards before them distorted with the sudden collapse of a warp drive slipstream. The sight that emerged was a welcome one. Two enormous, elongated nacelles swept back from the ship’s secondary hull. An angular primary hull, ‘chevron’ in design, sat atop two unique necks that allowed a gap between the two most significant sections of the ship’s hull. It was a unique design, massive in size, and recognisable to anyone in the fleet.

An Odyssey-class starship was probably the best rendezvous they could make in the middle of open space, other than that of a starbase. This one was obviously very new; there wasn’t so much as a hint of wear or tear on her hull anywhere. She was a beauty, and she was there to save the day.

A ship with a proud lineage, another to take its place in the annals of history. Her name?

The U.S.S. Discovery NCC-92422.

Comments

  • What an energizing conclusion… no pun intended! Rodyn has met his demise, serving him him right for destroying the Nogura; the changeling has been defeated; and Starfleet is now the proud owner of a Breen ship. I got a little worried as they headed to the rendezvous that you might pull another Nogura on us. It was mighty relieving to see the USS Discovery. A particular highlight for me in this post was your treatment of the Changeling. It felt very genuine and true to what we know of Changelings, and I absolutely loved “goo-pilaries and goo-veins” (although I’m pretty sure that’s not an accurate description of Changeling anatomy!). Look forward to learning what is deduced from the Breen ship and what becomes of the poor Captain.

    May 29, 2023
  • 'squawked their iceman gibberish' - haha, I never considered the Breen being squawky in their gibberish, but that I can see! And poor Nazir! Are we going to see another change in the ship's chain of command? I kind of see why you were asking the other day whether or not a changeling can do circuitry stuff - I think the trap you set up here for the last remaining changeling (we hope) was well written. I don't feel this is the end for the Hathaway though? More pew pew pew soon?

    May 29, 2023
  • Crisis of Infinite Gors! What gives! I felt so clever when I had guessed which one was a changeling until they all turned out to be changelings! I was plenty amused by Noli's mixed feeling about finding Rodyn dead -- not that I've hunted people in the deadliest game or anything -- but there is something so relatable of feeling frustrated when someone else completes a task you've been working on, and also finding out they've done a sloppy job. Relatable! Of course, the real meat of this post was the cunning trap you built for the Changeling -- just a shame there was nothing left to be interviewed. And I loved the appearance of the new USS Discovery; felt very reminiscent of the arrival of the USS Enterprise at the end of Discovery Season 1. Regal, even!

    May 31, 2023
  • More time for Prida to shine! I love that she can get some light-hearted jabs from Noli about her Cardassian side in a friendly instead of antagonistic way. The little details about the counter-Federation layout of the ship and the translator skin Prida used on the consoles were interesting and did a good job of creating ambiance. Between this post and the last, I appreciate the way you write the changelings as powerfully threatening cornered beasts.

    June 17, 2023