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Part of USS Bellerophon: Volleyed and Thundered and USS Odyssey: Volleyed and Thundered

Volleyed and Thundered – 15

USS Bellerophon (NCC-74705), Devenium System, Deneb Sector, Alpha Quadrant
Stardate: 78194.3
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“This is how I prefer the Dominion,” stated Lieutenant Commander Jirani Edeena as she inspected the debris field with a tricorder in one hand.

“In pieces, commander?” Chief Bronden asked her.

“Precisely,” The Bajoran woman answered with a smirk. 

Cargo Bay Three was currently littered with the remains of one of the Jem’Hadar fighters the squadron had discovered in a low orbit of Devenium Four. A combined science, engineering and tactical team were now assigned to investigate what had destroyed it and to learn anything new that would provide further answers to what happened when the Dominion attacked the system. 

Jirani was enjoying herself. The tall and athletic-built chief security and tactical officer enjoyed a good puzzle, which was undoubtedly one for her to sink her teeth into. She had tied her hair up in a bun instead of her long blonde locks flowing effortlessly down her back. Not wanting them to get in her way as she scavenged her way through the different pieces that remained of the enemy vessel. 

She had brought Bronden, their chief of operations, as she knew he had worked on one of the teams during the post-Dominion War rebuilding efforts that would collect, analyse and catalogue the remains of Dominion technology from various battlefields. The wide-shouldered Zaldan was a strong presence in any room he was in, even compared to some of the large bulky elements of the debris before them. 

“Hmm, curious,” Bronden said as he knelt down beside a hull piece and ran his tricorder further over it. His webbed fingers had a tight grip on the device. “I thought the initial scans of this debris field indicated that the colony’s defence network destroyed these ships?”

Jirani nodded. “That’s right, a mixture of pulse phaser fire, quantum torpedoes and phased ion blasts.” The Bajoran woman walked over to where the Zaldan man was. “Why?”

“I’m detecting extraordinary amounts of theta-band radiation,” Bronden held up his scanner for her to see. “See how the molecules’ bonds have broken down. That’s not normal if a ship has been destroyed by standard Federation weapons or exploding from an antimatter explosion.”

Intrigued by what they had discovered, Jirani stood straight just as Bronden got up. “This ship was in the centre of the field, besides the Breen ship, when it was discovered,” She said. “Maybe the other ships in their group were protecting this one?”

“Perhaps,” Bronden. “But why?” 

Jirani considered the puzzle before her. She twitched her nose for a second, her Bajoran wrinkles moving as she placed her hands on her hips as looked at the mess around her. She tapped her combadge. “Jirani to Jonarom.”

“Go ahead, ma’am,” replied Ensign Jonarom.

“Jonny,” She said, using the pet nickname she had given him a few months while they were on an away mission together in the Delta Quadrant. “Are you still in astrometrics?”

“Yes, ma’am, we’re in the process of trying to establish a link with the system’s detection grid.” The chief science officer replied. “Do you require something?” 

“Do me a favour, and can you please scan the system for theta-band emissions.” Jirani requested in a cordial pleading manner.

Jonarom confirmed he would start the scan but asked if there was anything specific he was looking for or where. Jirani couldn’t be more specific with details but asked him to tell her when he found something. After Jirani closed the channel, Lieutenant (JG) T’Penni wandered over to them with a PADD in her hand. The Vulcan chief engineer remained emotionless and expressionless as she handed the tablet to her superior.

“An update on the inventory of the debris field, commander,” T’Penni explained. “Unfortunately, we cannot find any device that would give us access to the ship’s records.” 

“Nothing at all?” Bronden checked, surprised to hear such a thing. “Not even a flight recorder? A sub-processor? A data node?”

T’Penni raised her right eyebrow. “As I said, chief, there is nothing.”

Jirani looked at Bronden. Intrigued by their dilemma. “Another layer to our enigma?” She asked aloud.

“Indeed,” Bronden admitted. “During the war, anytime we salvaged one of their ships, we could find something to help us access some computer records. Even if they were damaged or not useful. There was always something we could get our hands on.”

“It would appear that whatever caused the destruction of this ship, the Dominion were thorough in not leaving a trace for us to use,” T’Penni stated, grasping her hands behind her back. “They were presumably hiding something.”

“You think they activated the self-destruct to keep our claws off of whatever they were hiding?” Jirani posed to the engineer.

“The evidence points to that being unlikely, but there is a possibility that they purposefully destroyed the evidence as to what this ship was up to during the attack,” T’Penni answered. “From what I learnt from the academy, Dominion tactics normally involved using their damaged starship to inflict heavy damage on an opponent. So, for instance, we know when they were outnumbered or heavily damaged, Jem’Hadar fighters would ram an enemy target to prevent capture.”

“Well, whatever happened, they certainly didn’t want us finding out,” Bronden said, sounding slightly disheartened at uncovering another possible riddle that would be unresolved. 

Jirani’s combadge came to life through the excited tones of their chief science officer. “Jonarom to Commander Jirani.

The Bajoran woman tapped her badge and answered the call. “Go ahead, ensign.”

“Ma’am, I’ve discovered the remnants of an artificial theta-band carrier,” Jonarom shared. “It will eventually disperse among the usual background noise of space; it is almost indistinguishable. We wouldn’t have seen if I hadn’t adjusted our sensor filters to detect it.”

“Can you determine where it came from?” Jirani asked.

“I’m tracking it now,” answered Jonarom.


Chimera (NCC-74705-07)

When the opportunity to join one of the away teams presented itself, Doctor Sarella Corben may have appeared a bit too enthusiastic; however, she had her reasons. Spending too much time in the confines of sickbay would surely make her go crazier than she usually felt. The Betazoid physician enjoyed being out of the ship when she could. Joining the team assigned to sift through the debris field created by the Breen cruiser, she was pleased that Commander Jaz approved to her offer. The fact that the Breen used organic-based technology in their ships made her an excellent pair of eyes too.

However, rather than running through sensor scans within the comfortable confines of the cockpit of the Chimera (the Delta-class runabout assigned to the Bellerophon), Corben found herself wearing an EVA suit while conducting what should have been an autopsy on a Breen soldier they found floating in space. But, there was no Breen soldier. To be more precise, there was the Breen refrigerator suit, but no one was in it. 

No remains at all. 

Just nothing. 

Jaz had tasked Corben to discover why not. To air on the said of caution, she had donned the EVA suit before the Breen suit had been beamed into the aft compartment. 

Her tricorder scans were not revealing anything new. There was literally nothing in the suit. It lay there on the bio-bed. Completely lifeless. She wondered if this was some sort of sick Breen joke (did the Breen have humour?). She had postulated if the Breen had all thought it would be funny if they littered Federation space with their clothing. It didn’t seem funny to her, but then Betazoids were not able to read Breen’s emotions, so if they did find something ‘a laugh’, she could never tell (unless her universal translator was reconfigured to understand their squark-ish tones). Corben was certain that Breen jokes would be lousy, so she had concluded that there must have been a Breen in this suit. Nevertheless, the evidence pointed to the opposite. There were no biological traces whatsoever. Not even the odd hair follicle (did the Breen have hair, she wondered). 

“This is annoying,” Corben grumbled to herself as she shut her tricorder down and almost slammed onto the side. Shaking her head, she was convinced that this was just a spare Breen suit that had somehow survived the destruction of its mothership and was ejected out into space. Maybe the Breen did become a race of anti-environmentalist and were planning to drop their rubbish and waste all over the quadrant. 

Maybe? 

Or was that just too farfetched? 

Probably.

Corben groaned inwards. She wanted to scream but knew that wasn’t very professional for the chief medical officer of one of Starfleet’s longest-serving Intrepid-class ships to do so. She had to be more graceful. More elegant.

“Jaz to Corben,” interrupted the Trill first officer.

Corben, pleased to not be thinking about the naked Breen suit, tapped the button on her suit that linked to the intercom. “Go ahead, commander.” 

“Sorry to interrupt your moment with our guest, but we’ve found several more,” Jaz announced, sounding just as baffled as Corben.

“More Breen?” Corben checked. She was certain someone was playing tricks on them today. Maybe she was becoming the butt of this Breen joke. 

“Yeah, Sarella, and from the looks of it, they are all empty as well,” Jaz said, sounding intrigued. 

“This is bizarre, commander. I’m coming up to the cockpit. None of this is making sense.” Corben closed the channel with another swipe and activated the forcefield around the Breen suit before closing the biobed into the wall. “Computer, run a full decontamination sweep of the aft compartment, and use all possible biological and non-biological filters to determine if there is anything out of the ordinary present.”

Moments later, after going through the airlock to ensure she was okay and not spreading anything, Corben entered the cockpit of the Delta-class runabout Chimera. “You said you found more suits?” 

Jaz, who was sat at the forward controls while a few young junior officers occupied the other positions, turned around to greet the doctor. “Yeah, look ahead of us.” She pointed to what she meant. 

Corben was confused by what she saw moving so she could be behind the commander. Breen refrigeration suits, all floating in space. “And you say none of them has any biological readings?”

Shaking her head, Jaz gestured to the sensor readings on the lefthand console. “I know the Breen are different to most humanoids, no blood or other liquid circulatory system, but I’m certain they wouldn’t leave a bunch of empty suits in outer space for no reason. If we trace the drift direction, these suits were blown from multiple points on that ship.”

“Commander, my analysis of the Breen hull segments is complete,” one of the junior officers said. 

“What do you have?” Jaz said, spinning her chair around and with Corben turning herself around.

“Though there are definite weapon signatures within the hull consistent with Federation weapons signatures, there are parts of the Breen ship which are missing, based on our records of their ships.” 

“What do you mean, ensign?” Jaz said as she stood up.

“Well, the biological elements, ma’am.” Came the reply from the ensign wearing a yellow-shouldered uniform.

Corben and Jaz looked at each other before Corben went over to see what the ensign was sharing. Surprised, she saw exactly the same thing. “He’s right; the entire organic matter that is consistent with a Breen cruiser has been wiped clean.”

“By what?” Jaz asked.

Corben shrugged. “Unknown.”

They all turned to look back at the debris field before them, perplexed by what they had uncovered. 

“Let’s head back to the Bellerophon; perhaps we can find more answers based on what the other teams have uncovered,” Jaz suggested as she made her way back to the helm.

Corben scratched her chin. 

This was certainly no joke. 


USS Bellerophon (NCC-74705) 

“Enjoying the big chair, Rubon?” Counsellor Hilgan teased as he walked onto the bridge and saw Lieutenant Jarata sitting in the captain’s chair.

The pilot smirked at the counsellor and watched him walk around the handrail, down the two steps towards the central command area. “It does fit me well, don’t you think?” Jarata flirted back.

Hilgan rolled his eyes. “I’m surprised you’re here and not on one of the recovery teams?” 

Jarata then gave a small sigh, loud enough only for Hilgan to hear and see. “The captain wanted me here so I could easily take over the helm if enemy vessels suddenly appeared.”

Chuckling at Jarata being ‘benched’, Hilgan showed his sympathy by grabbing his chest and mocking the lieutenant slightly by dropping his bottom lip. “Ah, Rubon, all left behind and with no one to play with.”

“Are you offering to be my playdate, counsellor?” Jarata countered with his tongue-in-cheek remark.

Walking over to take the executive officer’s chair, the counsellor sat down, leant over the raised command console and quietly replied. “Keep it in your pants, Rubon.”

“It’s hard to do so when I’m itching in this seat,” Rubon playfully said as he tilted his head toward the counsellor. The two of them had this on/off relationship that was never serious. 

“Doctor Corben may have something for you for that!” Hilgan suggested.

“What I want, I can’t get from Doctor Corben,” Jarata replied, close to a whisper, while raising his eyebrows at Hilgan in a suggestive manner. “Can my counsellor put some time aside to provide treatment?”

“Maybe,” Hilgan said before reacting at hearing the sound of the captain’s ready room doors parting open. He shot up and out of Commander Jaz’s chair before the captain walked out.

Horatio McCallister climbed up the small stairs onto his bridge (he never knew why the designers of the Intrepid-class decided to place levels across the bridge). Walking across the room, he looked over at Jarata. “Rubon, any news from any of our teams?” 

As he rose from the captain’s chair, the pilot and third officer answered. “Commander Jaz just reported she’s returning, but no one has shared anything of importance yet, sir.”

McCallister looked uneasy as he looked at the main screen before turning back to the lieutenant. “What about the Cardassians?”

Confused by that inquiry, Jarata checked the command console between the captain’s and first officer’s chairs. “Looks like they are still meeting with the Themis.”

McCallister rubbed his hands together in an almost nervous twitch.

“Problem with the Cardassians, sir?” Counsellor Hilgan asked in a quiet tone.

“Bad memories,” McCallister nodded. “Specifically with who is in command of them.”

Hilgan and Jarata looked at one another, confused by their captain’s response.

“You know Gul Jacet?” Jarata asked, intrigued to work out how and why.

McCallister nodded. “You can say that,” The captain replied, sounding a bit sheepish as he took a deep breath. “As does James.”

“Back when you worked for Starfleet Intelligence?” Hilgan checked.

“I can’t confirm or deny that, counsellor,” McCallister said with a smirk and a wink. “But let’s say you can probably guess why I prefer being in the Delta Quadrant instead of the Alpha Quadrant.”

“Bad memories, indeed,” Hilgan agreed, not wanting to know any more than he was probably allowed to know.

The intercom went off before Jarata could say anything else, and the bridge speakers came to life with Ensign Jonarom’s voice. “Astrometrics to the bridge.”

McCallister answered. “Go ahead, ensign.”

“Captain, I think it would be wise if we assemble the senior staff. I think I’ve found something of interest.” The chief science officer announced.

Intrigued by Jonarom’s vagueness (something he wasn’t known for), McCallister said he would be down to see what he had while Jarata pulled the troops together. 

Comments

  • Theta-band radiation and the thoughts about "anti-environmentalist" and "rubbish" all give these little hints and nods to the Void, that area of space that Voyager came across that was devoid of all things. It's not quite the same as the Void, for here it's just biological matter, useful electronic systems, that sort of stuff, but it's still a nice callback. Coincidence or not? That is the question... The mystery you've constructed here continues to pull me in. I'm not even so much worried for the crew of the Bellepharon as much as just wanting ANSWERS!

    May 30, 2023