Part of USS Constellation: Nothing Comes From Being Right and Bravo Fleet: The Lost Fleet

From Being – 5

Shuttlecraft Canis Minor
March 2401
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Captain’s Log, supplemental:

 

We have reached the Ianua pulsar only to discover the system has been mined for hundreds of millions of kilometres.  Although the Constellation’s impulse engines make her one of the most nimble in the fleet, I have opted to map the minefield by way of probes.  Upon our first survey, we have found no evidence of a space station, time machine or spatial anomalies to explain the origin of the Lost Fleet.

 

All we have located is the scant wreckage of a small starship.  Perhaps the absence of… anything remarkable… is why the Dominion only protected this place with mines, rather than a patrol of warships.  Operating on the assumption this starship was the very first witness to the Lost Fleet, I’ve dispatched a shuttlecraft to search for their log buoy.

 

Repairs continue aboard Constellation in the meantime.  Despite the proliferation of our old prefix codes, our engineering team has found no evidence of a breach in our computer’s data security.  Otherwise, we have restored sixty percent of our shield capabilities and short-range RF communications.

 


 

“It’s still there, Nova.  That mine.  Now fifty metres off our starboard,” Science Officer Nune remarked.  He said it in the same timbre he might use to order lunch from a replicator.  The only evidence of urgency in his voice came when he stressed the word ‘still.’  Looking up from the sensor readings on his dashboard console, Nune turned to look out the shuttle’s angled viewport.  He pressed the flat of his palm against the transparent panel.

“Right.  There.”

Sitting close beside him, in the pilot’s seat, Nova spoke softly in reply.  “Activating thrusters,” Nova said.  “Course adjusted.”

Nune’s gaze lingered in the distance through the viewport, even as the mine slipped out of view behind the motion of the shuttlecraft Canis Minor.

“I’m missing something,” Nune said.  The statement was ponderous, his tone emphasizing the mystery rather than any self-doubt. He returned his sights to the tactical display on the dashboard.  Blinking indicators identified every Dominion mine within sensor range.

Nune explained, “There’s nothing out here but mines.  No habitable planets within light-years, no spatial anomalies.  The Iauna pulsar is certainly handsome in its own way but nothing I would write a hundred poems about.”

Seated at the science console, directly behind Nune, Laken loudly scoffed.

“Handsome in its own way?” Laken incredulously asked, echoing Nune’s words. “The Iauna pulsar has a staggeringly high solar mass of 2.567.”  Although he was a Romulan civilian among Starfleet officers, Laken demonstrated the poise and confidence to rise and point an instructive index finger over Nova’s shoulder.  “You’ll need to make another adjustment, lieutenant.  The gravitational pull is liable to drift us into that next mine if you’re not mindful.”

“I see it,” Nova replied through grit teeth.  Both of her hands swiped through separate and simultaneous adjustments to the shuttle’s path of travel.  After a couple more taps on the controls, she asked, “Remind me, between the three of us, who was certified as a level four pilot?”

Still, Nune went on to say, “I was expecting to find at least residual chroniton particles or neutrino disturbances.  But there’s nothing.”

As the shuttle tilted on its new course and the artificial gravity adjusted, Laken side-stepped behind Nune’s chair.  He clung to the headrest for support while he chided Nune’s line of questions.

“Shouldn’t you be focused on the locations of the mines, lieutenant?” Laken asked.  The rhetorical question sounded more grounded in ridicule than genuine concern.

Nune replied, “With the sensor module aboard this shuttle, I shouldn’t have to multitask.  The answers should be lighting up before my eyes.”

“Would you like me to show you what you’re doing wrong, sahe’lagge?” Laken asked and he didn’t exactly wait for an answer.  He was already leaning over Nune.  Laken interlaced his left hand with the back of Nune’s left hand and he began piloting Nune’s hand over the sensor controls.

Without looking up from her own console, Nova interjected, “Shut your mouth.  Nune’s not doing anything wrong.”

“Nova, he’s fine,” Nune gently insisted.  As warmly as he spoke, he let those words out rather quickly.  His hand glided easily over the LCARS controls, held in Laken’s grasp.  Smirking at Nova, Nune remarked, “I intend to be a star pupil.”

Laken instructed, “Don’t you see it right there?  Our treasure?  There’s hardly anything left of the wreckage.  Shattered shards, each piece smaller than a tricorder.  But if you look at those construction materials…”

“It was a Federation starship,” Nune said, arriving at the same conclusion.

 


 

Following Captain Taes’ orders, the away team aboard Canis Minor hailed the Constellation by the time it reached the wreckage in the midst of the minefield.  The voices of Nova, Laken and Nune were transmitted to the bridge, reporting on their inference that the obliterated starship had been Federation in origin.  Real-time sensor telemetry scrolled down one side of the viewscreen in translucent text and waveforms while they shared their findings.

–absolutely no sign of a log buoy or flight recorder, captain,” Nova reported over the comms.  “There’s nothing but fragments out here.  Whomever they were, these were the first victims of the Lost Fleet.

“Understood,” Taes replied.  From her vantage point in the captain’s chair, she saw Lieutenant JG T’Kaal looking back at her from the forward science console. Taes nodded to the science officer.

Taes said, “T’Kaal is going to check our logs for any records of Federation survey missions to Ianua in the past two months.”

The only thing we’ve found,” Nova went on, “that actually looks like anything are three panels from the starship’s deflector dish.

Laken interjected, “The molybdenum-duranium mesh panels appear to have survived the destruction of the starship because they’ve been hardened by tetryon radiation.

And captain,” Nova spoke up again, her voice lowering to the tenor she used when she had tried to resign her commission.  “Judging by the pattern of the tetryon exposure on the panels, the deflector was used to generate a subspace tensor matrix.

“Ah,” Taes replied sourly.  “Will we never escape the USS Brigadoon?

In Yuulik and Nova’s conspiracy to rescue the crew of the USS Brigadoon, Nova had modified a subspace tensor matrix to anchor the USS Sarek to the temporal vortex that had imprisoned the Brigadoon.  Although the Brigadoon was momentarily released from the vortex, the Sarek nearly sunk into a subspace inversion fold.  Nova and Yuulik had ultimately rescued the Sarek, and the crew of the Brigadoon, but Taes had hoped to never hear the words ‘subspace tensor matrix’ again.

I don’t know what that reference means, captain,” Laken said, “But in Federation science, the manipulation of subspace tensor matrices was revolutionized by Doctor Lenara Kahn.  Her research into the creation of artificial wormholes was required reading at the Tri-Planetary Academy.

Nune could be heard asking, “Uh, isn’t the Tri-Planetary Academy in the Federation?

Flanking Taes at the expansive science II console, Ketris stabbed at the console to silence a shrill alarm.  The Romulan scientist swivelled her chair to better face Captain Taes.

“As much as it pains me to interrupt such fruitful teamwork between our joined science departments,” Ketris said, “Our sensors have picked up the USS Rubenstein.  The runabout is on an intercept course at warp eight.  I anticipate the away team’s arrival in less than a minute.”

Looking to her chief security officer, Taes asked, “Can you hail them, commander?”

Ache shook her large, multi-lobed head.  “No, ma’am,” Ache said, “they’re still out of our current comms range.”

Given the Rubenstein had been abandoned  among a swarm of Jem’Hadar fighters, Taes had to ask, “Can you detect any lifesigns aboard the runabout, Ketris?”

Ketris shook her head.  “Indistinct at warp, captain.”

Through the viewscreen, a flare-up of light heralded the arrival of the USS Rubenstein.  Despite the heavy amour-plating of the Orion-class runabout, there were visible scorch marks across the hull.  One of the Bussard ramscoops on the enclosed nacelles was flickering in an unhealthy fashion.

“They’re hailing us, captain,” Ache reported from tactical.  Her facial tentacles twitched in unison.  “And their shields are raised.”

“I’m detecting one Arcadian biosignature,” Ketris said slowly.  “And two Trills.

Taes snapped her head in Ketris’ direction.  Urgently, Taes asked, “Romulan?”

“None,” Ketris said tonelessly.

Turning back to consider the viewscreen, Taes took hold of her armrests and she gripped them tightly.  She said, “On screen.”

A holographic projection of the Rubenstein’s cockpit appeared on the viewscreen, centering on Lieutenant Yuulik.  There was a visible splatter of green blood on the Arcadian’s face.  Worse, the teal panelling across the upper chest of her uniform was caked in a massive pool of dried red blood.  Yuulik leaned in close to the visual sensor.

“Captain Taes,” Yuulik asked intently, “what did you and I find inside a cornerstone on the New Tenar colony?

Sighing at the abrupt non sequitur of a question after how long the Rubenstein crew had been out of contact, Taes was quick to throw up her hands in frustration.

“I don’t remember,” Taes said, shaking her head.  “Yuulik, what’s the meaning of this?”

Yuulik stared back at Taes unblinking.  There was a hardness behind her crystalline grey eyes.  She inclined her head slightly.

Computer, set a reverse course.  Maximum warp,” Yuulik ordered.

“For one thing, it wasn’t a cornerstone,” Taes spat out.  “It was a drawer.  And when you opened it, we found… we found… a, uh, a broken mirror?  And the vertebrae of a symbiont!” –Taes groaned– “Enough of this, lieutenant.  I need you to tell me what’s happened.  Where is Doctor Flavia?”

Yuulik slapped her palm down on her console, screaming:

Kellin was a fucking Changeling!”

Comments

  • Ah, so a bit more of our mystery is unveiled, but slowly and surely, the crew of the Constellation will put the pieces of this puzzle together. And we need to know what happened to the real Kellin! Is he alive? Is he dead? Will Yuulik ever stop swearing?! (probably not) but I am pleased to see she is still alive and is returning to continue her persistent annoyance of Taes!

    May 29, 2023
  • Now we get to the nitty gritty! I'm hoping the vessel you've discovered ties us into the very first teaser, as it would be a great way to go full circle (although given the situation we are all in, anything is possible). For me, there is no better crew in the fleet for getting to the bottom of this mystery than that of the Constellation, and you are doing a fabulous job with a mission that I know hasn't been easy. I love the little test at the end from Yuulik, and Taes' understandable reaction to the tedious nature of the Arcadian. Yuulik has such a colourful vocabulary, shame she has to resort to such language (although the tension and the drama more than warrants it). What has happened to our boy Kellin? I hope we'll get to find out soon. I like this Tri-Planetary Academy idea, and I will look into it more as I have a scientist to create after my mission. Always an inspiration reading your writing. Thank you!

    May 31, 2023
  • Ah Yuulik, never change from either keeping everything absolutely secret and so close to the chest even you've lost sight of things, or blaring it out for all to hear as loud as you possibly can. The story she'll have of her daring escape is one I'm looking forward to reading. In the meantime, nice to see the mystery is starting to get unravelled now. Tensor matrices, destroyed ships, vast Dominion minefields guarding a graveyard. Just what is specifically going on in his location I wonder? I'm certainly intrigued by the mystery and waiting with baited breath that's for sure!

    June 2, 2023