Part of USS Thyanis: The Raven of the Fourth and Bravo Fleet: The Lost Fleet

Act 3 – Part 1 “The Pursuit”

CO Ready Room - USS Thyanis
Mission day 14 - 17:00 hours
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Wallace assembled his senior staff in his ready room once again; the only place on the ship where he felt a briefing could be held in confidence and in relative comfort. He had already been given the news that his Chief Medical officer had been captured by the rogue Ferengi captain and his attention was now turned towards getting her back by any means necessary.

Harris activated the holo-emitters on the C.O’s desk and displayed the downloaded data from Oppenheimer’s computers and Dr. Xan’s Tricorder.

“This is everything we managed to get from the station’s computers about the device, It appears to be a small-scale experiment to explore the theory of harnessing the energy of a rapidly spinning black hole. The science team was close to a breakthrough before the station was boarded by the Jem’hadar.” Harris began breaking down the report from the Thyanis engineers who in the last few hours, had begun analysing the data.

“The device uses zero point energy to create an artificial singularity, then some sort graviton matrix is used to contain the singularity and its effects,” Harris added.

“But the device in its current form isn’t perfect, and it looks like the scientists only just got it working before the attack… the logs show that when the Jem’Hadar boarded, there was a cascade failure in the containment matrix, and the compartments closest to the core became subject to the effects of relativity, effectively causing time as we know it to break down.” Chief Catterick added.

“We found bodies, they were all in advanced stages of decomposition, and the only surviving scientist appeared to be over one hundred years old.” Harris said. 

“But what would Tal or the Jem’Hadar want with a science experiment?” Wallace proposed, concerned about the intent of their enemy. 

Harris switched the display to focus on the Tricorder data from Dr. Xan, “That’s where Molly’s scans come in… The core itself is a Penrose Sphere, it uses superradiant scattering to amplify a bosonic field. By design, It’s supposed to maintain an equilibrium but with a few modifications, the device could be turned into a weapon… In theory.” 

Martin leant forward to help the commander explain, “As long as the amplified energy is released in a controlled manner, it’s completely safe and the equilibrium is maintained… but if you reflect that energy back towards the singularity…the amplification is repeated, leading to run-away field growth and….”

The display then suddenly projected a simulation showing the core exploding, it was crude but everyone understood the concept. 

“What sort of yield are we talking about?” Lt Garcia asked.

“Depending on the size of the singularity, anything from the equivalent of a warp core breach, to a small supernova…. Scientists in the 20th century first came up with the idea, they called it a Black Hole Bomb.” Said Martin as he shut down the display.

“The presence of Jem’hadar on the station can’t be a coincidence, and I doubt Daimon Tal has any intention to profit from a new era of energy production… He means to deliver this device to someone who will unleash its sinister potential… That’s why he needs the scientist alive, he only gets paid if he delivers a viable weapon!” Wallace expressed his theory, putting the pieces together in his mind. “Thyanis won’t survive a direct confrontation with Tal’s ship, I need options… how do we even the odds?” He added.

Harris immediately put himself forward with some additional information, “Sir, just before Dr Xan was captured she told me to look for elevated Theta emissions, but the device presently doesn’t produce Theta radiation… Assuming Tal means to put her and the scientist to work on the device, she might try to sabotage it in some way.”

“The device needs vast amounts of energy to function, Tal would need to interface the device with his ship in order to use it and he can’t do that without allowing access to some engineering systems.” Martin pointed out.

“Chief, how long can we keep up with Tal’s ship before he goes out of sensor range?” Wallace asked, assessing his options.

“We’re running Thyanis to her limit trying to keep up, at warp 8.85 we can only maintain this speed for twelve hours before doing irreparable damage… Presently Tal is pulling away from us at Warp 9.2… I’d estimate about six or seven hours before they exceed our useful sensor range.” Said Martin, double-checking the math in his head.

“Sir if I may,” Harris butted in, reaching for the holo projector once again. The display materialised before the crew and plotted an extrapolated trajectory for both Thyanis and the Ferengi ship. “If they maintain current heading, they will likely pass through this region of subspace instability.”

“What do we know about it?” Wallace asked, intrigued.

“Not much, the USS Monte Carlo first encountered the region in 2376. Their report stated that they couldn’t maintain more than warp four without destabilising the warp field.” Said Harris while checking his PADD for data pertaining to the region.

Wallace stroked his goatee for a moment, deep in thought, “Computer, calculate the time to arrive at the sector highlighted on my holographic display, assumed warp speed is factor 9.2.” 

At Warp Factor 9.2, Arrival after six hours, twenty-nine minutes, and fourteen seconds” The computer chirped.

“Now calculate the arrival of the Thyanis, Warp 8.85!”

“Seven hours, twenty-seven minutes, and thirty-six seconds”

“That gives us just under an hour’s difference, Chief I need you to do everything you can to squeeze as much as possible from the Thyanis’s engines, I need that gap down as much as possible!” Wallace ordered before turning to his X.O.

“Harris, scour the navigational database and see if you can cross-reference the Monte Carlo’s report with any other anomalies encountered in the past… Try and get me more information about what to expect when we arrive!” 

“I’ll get started right away!” Harris responded, standing from his seat and immediately making his way to the door.

“Garcia, start by analysing the recording of our engagement with Tal’s ship, Look for anything that might give us an edge the next time we meet, then start working on a plan to extract the Doctor and this scientist, When you’re done, link in with the Chief in engineering, I want options for neutralising this device if it comes to it!” Said Wallace, feeling resolute in his role as Commanding officer, to delegate tasks and get his crew working together on the problem.

No objections were made by any of the senior staff, they all accepted their orders and got to work without challenge or hesitation.

As they all left the ready room, Wallace turned to gaze out of his windows and lose himself in the beauty of the Thyanis’s warp field. His mind turned to Doctor Xan, and while he was deeply concerned for her safety; he also knew she was a tough individual with several lifetimes of experience under her belt. He knew he could trust her to make wise decisions.

 

Meanwhile – Tal’s Ship


 

“What’s taking so long Hew-mon?” barked the guard securing the room.

Molly had been working non-stop for the past two hours, trying to save the scientist’s life with only a limited med kit and instruments from the Ferengi sick bay that was unfamiliar to her. 

“For the last time, not a human… Im a Trill and this would go a lot faster if you stopped asking me that every ten minutes you ugly son of a–” She was silenced by the sharp crack of the Ferengi’s hand as he struck her across the face, bursting her lip.

“Enough!” a voice shouted from across the room, it was Tal. He had just witnessed his guard assaulting the prisoner and he was less than impressed. “Lay another hand on the Trill and I’ll see to it that you spend the rest of your days becoming intimately familiar with the faecal matter of a Klingon Targ!” He said as he scalded his guard for the beating.

Tal turned his attention to Dr.Xan, who was trying to wipe her lip of the blood her jailer had drawn. He picked up a dermal regenerator and used it to close the slight wound left by her beating, “There, I apologise for my associate’s loss of control. It Won’t! Happen again… will it?” Tal prompted the guard to make an apology.

“No Daimon, My apologies Miss!” Said the guard, shaking slightly in fear. 

“Spare me the charade Tal, You have no interest in my welfare!” Molly retorted in disgust at Tal’s display of faux chivalry.

“On the contrary my dear, I have no desire to see you come to any harm. I simply require your services and that of the professor here, and when I have what I need… you’ll be free to go!” Tal said with a sinister grin on his face, “That is… unless you desire to provide me with…additional services in exchange for some form of compensation?” Tal began placing his hand on the hip of the Doctor, where she immediately and aggressively struck it away. 

Tal laughed which prompted his associates to also join in like a pack of hyenas. “I thought not, shame really… I’m told the Trill have such delicate attention to detail that makes Oo-mox particularly… Soothing.”

Molly scowled in disgust, “If you lay one finger on me again, you’ll find out just how much attention to detail I pay to tearing those lobes from your thick skull!” she threatened.

Tal smiled again, he found himself aroused by the doctor’s tenacity, but he also respected that she was not his property, and although he enjoyed toying with her; it was a distraction that delayed his ultimate goal. “You have my word, Just revive the good professor as soon as possible and I assure you that your stay on board my ship will be largely uneventful,” He said as he turned to leave the room. 

Molly watched as the disgusting troll departed, leaving her alone with her patient. For the first time in hours, she was given some privacy and decided to take the opportunity to develop her plan to escape.

She reached into her med-kit, retrieved a Hypospray, and administered the drug to her patient, reviving him from his state of unconsciousness. 

The scientist was frail and spoke with a raspy and fatigued voice, “Where am I? Who are you?… The Core!” the old man spoke, before mustering all his strength to sit up in panic.

Molly begged the old man to hush and keep his voice down while she explained, “Sir, I’m from the Federation Starship Thyanis, Your station was attacked and we were kidnapped by the Ferengi.” she said, trying her best to explain the situation.

“Federation? Ferengi? My experiment?” the old man asked, panic still embedded in his voice.

“The Ferengi took that too, it shut down but it’s on-board this ship, I don’t know what the Ferengi plan to do with it but it can’t be good. ” Molly said.

“You shouldn’t have gotten involved, I knew the technology was too dangerous to keep, that’s why I tried to destroy it!” said the old man, quickly regaining his focus.

“Destroy it? What do you mean?… Mister?” Molly asked.

“It Doctor actually, Doctor Leon Sutherland PHD, and yes Destroy it! You don’t know what my research could do in the wrong hands!” Old man Sutherland explained.

Molly tried to think for a second, she knew the device created an artificial singularity but beyond that, she couldn’t see the usefulness of the device or how anyone would be remotely interested in it.  “What exactly does your device do? And why did you try to destroy it?” she asked, curiously.

“It’s an experiment, meant to prove the theory of the Penrose Process and try to extract energy from a rotating singularity, but it’s a two-edged sword… with just a few tweaks someone could easily turn the device into a weapon of devastating destructive power, that why I have to destroy it… When the Jem’Hadar showed up and attacked the station, I triggered a cascade failure in the graviton confinement matrix.” Dr Sutherland paused for a moment and readjusted his seating position for more comfort.

“It was meant to release the singularity and allow it to consume the station, now I see it only partially worked and I should have accounted for the relativistic time dilation.” He added, pointing out his aged and withered appearance.

“Penrose Process? You were experimenting with rotational superradiance?” Molly exclaimed, struggling to contain her admiration for her patient’s endeavor.

“Precisely, I see you are familiar with the sciences, Miss?” Sutherland asked.

“Doctor Mollia Xan, pleased to meet you, though it was my previous host who was the scientist: Jorek Xan,” Molly explained.

“Jorek Xan, as I recall, he was the Trill Science Ministry’s foremost expert on quantum mechanics was he not?” Said Sutherland, slightly awed to be in the presence of a renowned fellow in his field. He noted a nod from Molly as confirmation and continued to reminisce, “I was saddened to hear of his passing, but that means you understand how dangerous my research is Doctor.” 

Molly considered the possibilities, while she was no expert she understood the concept that Doctor Sutherland was proposing and knew that the reason such an experiment had not been attempted thus far was due to its inherent instability and catastrophic consequences for failure. 

“The Ferengi, don’t have any use for such a weapon. It’s only logical to presume that Tal means to deliver your experiment on behalf of someone else… we can’t allow that to happen, how do we stop it?” She asked.

“That depends, How much time do we have?” Sutherland asked. 

Comments

  • Love it. The tension present in the ready room felt thick and heavy. Everyone coming to terms with what happened and figuring out the purpose of the device. I also appreciated the scene skip to the Ferengi vessel. Again the Ferengi dialect is on point and the aspects of Ferengi culture such as Oo-mox and the affection for strong women. Im anxious to see how Molly gets out of this one and what other unknowns can be illuminated with the help of the good doctor. You absolutely have a way of hooking the reader in and throwing them in so many directions yet they all feed into each other naturally.

    June 6, 2023
  • This isn't good especially something that can be used as a weapon in the wrong hands, let alone the hand of the Jem'Hadar. Things have turned from curiosity as to what was going on with the station to find out something can have devastating effects. I hope that a resolution can be found and this device kept out of the wrong hands, that they will be able to destroy it fouling whatever plans they have. I can't wait to see what happens next, great job with this story!

    June 17, 2023