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

Act 3 – Part 2 – ‘Battle Stations’

Various
Mission Day 14 - 23:35 hrs
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‘Commanding officers Log. Stardate: 78199.9: We have spent the past eight hours at high warp pursuing the renegade Ferengi vessel, which is currently in possession of the stolen energy device from Oppenheimer station. 

My Chief Engineer has been working tirelessly to push the Thyanis’s engines to the limit so that we can keep pace with our folly. 

I’m told that every safety protocol for the warp drive system had to be overridden, and all parameters have been pushed well beyond rated tolerances. 

Notwithstanding, Thyanis is a tough ship and she is so far; responding well to the abuse.

In parallel, my remaining senior staff and the crew at large have selflessly gone above and beyond to prepare themselves and the ship for what might indeed be; a one-way trip. I couldn’t be more proud of their devotion to duty at this critical time, or to call myself, their Captain.’


 

“Holding somewhat steady at Warp 8.92 and she’s still pulling away from us sir… Estimate five minutes until the Ferengi exceed our sensor range.” Harris reported, typing away at his console to try and smooth out the Thyanis as she shook in pain; having been pushed past her expected limits.

Thyanis was growing tired, and as much as she tried to hold herself together through the onslaught her crew was putting her through, she had little more to give and was starting to show signs of her fatigue. The droning of the warp engines could be heard in every compartment on the ship, in engineering; the roar of her warp core was so deafening that the crew had to be issued with ear protection.

Her hull was beginning to creak and crack as the immense stress from forces far beyond what she was ever designed to manage; began to weaken her stout robust frame.

“Bridge to Engineering, Chief, We are losing her! You’ve got to give me more!” Wallace called out over internal comms. He knew that his Chief Engineer would be cursing his name right about now, restraining himself from yelling back a quip about not being a miracle worker or being able to change the laws of physics.

“I can give you Warp 8.94 in two minutes, but sir, I am not joking when I say that she’s got nothing left to give after that!” Martin’s voice blared over the intercom, he was shouting over the strident growl of the engine, but his voice bore no signs of aggression or anger.

“I’ll take it chief, do what you can!” Wallace replied before gingerly making his way across the bridge to the tactical station, as to avoid being knocked on his backside by the ever more violent shaking of the ship. “Can we still detect their warp trail at this range?” he asked Lt Garcia as another change in the ship’s vibration caused him to lose his footing and grip the console for support.

“I’ve still got it sir, but it’s fading fast, If they move much further out of range the sensors might have a hard time resolving their signature against the background radiation.” She replied, holding onto the console herself to stop herself from succumbing to nauseousness.

“Do your best to keep them on scope, we can’t afford to lose them now!” said Wallace, trying to balance himself before making a dash back to his chair. “Harris, how long before they reach the anomaly?” he directed another question before taking his seat.

“About twenty minutes sir! And we’re probably ten minutes behind them!” Harris replied, not taking his eyes off the controls for a second as he put all his piloting skills to the test. 

Despite their overriding objective to recover or destroy the Oppenheimer energy device, he couldn’t prevent himself from placing Doctor Xan at the forefront of his mind. While he of course knew that the mission came first, the thought of not being able to save her pushed him into a state of mind where he became entirely focused on his flying. As such he kept the thought of her in the forefront of his mind with every minute course correction he made. 

“Engineering to Bridge, You’ve got 8.94!, but it’s going to be bumpy, and I’m not sure how long she’ll hold together!” 

“Great work Chief… Harris, step on it!” Wallace ordered as he said a brief Hail Mary under his breath.

Harris acknowledged his order and spammed the control to increase their speed, he watched the readout fluctuate back and forth as the engines struggled to stabilise and answer the helm. Warp 8.92, Warp 8.93, Warp 8.92, .93, .94. and Warp 8.93 again. 

“Buckle up!” he yelled, as he worked to re-align the warp field governor and try to stabilise their speed. By this point, what had been an unsettling vibration now felt like Thyanis was being tossed about in an Ion storm as the inertial dampeners consistently failed to keep up with the ship’s violent reaction to being pushed toward the edge of the laws of physics.

 

A short time later On the Ferengi Vessel


 

There was an uneasy calm inside the Ferengi cargo bay as Molly and Dr Sutherland patiently bided their time, working on the energy device, but slowly and carefully as to complete the minimum amount of work possible to avoid suspicion.

Molly had no idea if there were ships inbound to rescue them, but she knew that despite what Daimon Tal promised, the likelihood was that once her usefulness expired, she would more than likely be detained in the brig or worse. She had to keep working as long as possible to have the best chance of thwarting her captors plans. 

Fortunately, her knowledge of science and theoretical physics was something that was still of use to Dr. Sutherland and this gave Daimon Tal a reason to put her to work for a little while longer. She made herself look busy writing equations whilst still observing the guard’s patrols. Whenever she felt there was a window where she wasn’t being directly observed, she took a moment to discuss a plan with her fellow prisoner.

“I don’t know how much longer we can keep this up, it’s already been nearly eight hours and I think the guard is getting impatient,” she said hushfully. 

“I’m almost done with the modifications, just like you said it will look like a malfunction and start leaking Theta radiation, hopefully, they won’t want to take the chance of being turned into puddles of orange goo, and jettison her into space!” said Sutherland as he crawled out from under the device. Molly had done an amazing job regenerating his cellular structure, while he still appeared much older than 35 years of age, he had regained much of his mobility.

“Here, slip this into your coat pocket and keep it hidden.” Molly discreetly handed the Doctor a hypospray she had been hiding inside her uniform jacket.

“What’s this for?” asked Sutherland

“Arithrazine, it will help counteract theta radiation exposure, but I only packed one vial in my med bag so don’t use it unless you have to,” Molly whispered.

“If I recall correctly, this has to be taken under medical supervision, and what about you?” said Sutherland.

“I don’t think you wanna argue with me when you consider the alternative, and I think it’s far more likely Tal will send you to fix the device, It is your design after all,” she said.

 “You keep it, besides, you’ve already pumped me full of that hydro-corto-whatever, and I’d rather not be high as a kite when I’m trying to defuse a bomb with the explosive yield of a small star!” said Sutherland, allowing his chivalry to guide his decision making.

“It’s not psychoactive, and it’s not up for debate, Doctors orders!” Molly replied, almost forgetting they were under guard and allowing her voice to carry.

“GET BACK TO WORK HEW-MON!” a voice yelled from across the cargo bay.

Molly stood up and looked over at the Ferengi guard who was beginning to grow suspicious and had begun approaching them to inspect their progress.

“You’re taking it and that’s final!” Molly growled under her breath as she slipped the medicine into Sutherland’s pocket herself and went back to her equations.

Sutherland rolled his eyes briefly before standing up and beginning a simulation at the energy devices console. The display showed a perfect start-up sequence, establishing a quantum singularity, and then showed a text-book introduction of the bosonic field into the chamber. The display simplified the reaction for easy understanding and projected an approximation that showed the field gaining momentum as it orbited the black hole and reflected off the walls of the chamber like ripples in a pond.

The Ferengi observed the simulation for a few seconds and then, satisfied that the prisoners were still working, went back to his post.

 

Meanwhile – Ferengi Bridge


 

“Daimon, we are approaching the coordinates, but the Starfleet ship is still in pursuit!” reported the tactical officer.

“Reduce speed, Take us into the anomaly!” Tal ordered as he fed himself another hand full of tube grubs.

“And signal our buyer that we have arrived, hopefully, we can get this exchange done before the Hew-mons arrive!” he added, spitting pieces of his meal as he spoke with his mouth full.

“Message transmitted, Daimon, can I remind you that our sensors will be blinded inside the anomaly and we will be unable to power shields or phasers!” replied the tactical officer, concerned about the potential disadvantage they were willingly entering into.

Tal ignored his tactical officers’ report, he knew of the anomalies effects and was content to take that risk after all the Starfleet ship would also suffer the same effects should they choose to pursue it, and it was the specific instructions of their contractee to deliver the device to this location.

Tal keyed his arm console and cleared his throat, “Ehem, Attention my esteemed guests, my patience is wearing thin! What’s your status?” he playfully declared over the intercom. 

“We still need to work out a few kinks, I wouldn’t want to rush getting this right, you are asking us to make a bomb after all” Dr. Sutherland’s voice replied over comms.

“You have ten minutes doctor, then you’ll have to explain yourself to my contractee, for your sake, I hope you can give them good news… Ten minutes, tic toc!” Tal replied before closing the channel. He shovelled another handful of grubs into his mouth and shredded them with his fangs, humming a delightful melody to himself as he began to visualise the Latinum that would soon be filling his cargo hold.

 

Meanwhile USS Thyanis


 

“Sir, the Ferengi just dropped out of warp, they are entering the anomaly!” Garcia reported as she tried desperately to keep down her lunch that was being tossed about by the ship’s violent shaking. 

“Harris, E.T.A?” Wallace asked, also gripping the arms of his chair with such force, he could feel his fingernails puncturing the upholstery. 

“We will be on them in less than three minutes sir!” Harris replied as his hands danced across the console like a pianist skilfully composing a dramatic chorus.

“Steady as she goes!” Wallace ordered, then immediately realising that there could be nothing anyone could do to make their ride any more or less steady.

The Anomaly was a vast region of interstellar dust, debris, and pockets of variable density that cloaked larger objects that had wandered into the region due to gravitational drift. It was essentially a minefield of cosmic proportion that ensnared any vessel that was foolish enough to enter without extensive modification. There were derelict hulls of long-forgotten ships, drifting endlessly and long after their crew had perished after becoming lost in its clag.

Underpinning the entire region, was a weakening of the barrier between normal space and subspace which made navigation almost impossible to all but a few vessels.

From deep within the fog, approached a vessel that dwarfed the small Ferengi marauder. It slowly emerged like a leviathan from the depths and hovered with an intimidating posture off the Ferengi bow. 

Tal felt intimidated by the image displayed on his viewscreen. The ship’s design was unlike anything of the Alpha quadrant races, but he could barely make it out through all the interference. 

“Hail them!” Tal commanded, swallowing a gulp of saliva to lubricate his vocal cords. He waited for a nod from his conn officer before making an opening statement.

“Greetings! On behalf of the Ferengi Alliance may I extend–” Tal was abruptly silenced as his buyer interrupted him.

“SILENCE FERENGI, DO YOU HAVE WHAT I WANT?”  a strident voice boomed over the transmission.

“In my cargo bay as promised, now shall we discuss payment?” Tal replied unable to contain his greed for wealth.

“THERE IS NOTHING TO DISCUSS, TRANSPORT THE DEVICE, AND THE SCIENTIST IMMEDIATELY, WE ARE SENDING YOU CO-ORDINATES” 

“Of course, without delay. But before I do, can we perhaps negotiate a little–”

“THERE WILL BE NO NEGOTIATIONS, TRANSPORT THE DEVICE IMMEDIATELY!”

“Now wait just one minute here, at least listen to my proposal!” Tal pleaded, trying desperately to buy some time for his prisoners to make the device fully operational.

“TRANSPORT THE DEVICE NOW FERENGI, YOU HAVE ONE MINUTE BEFORE WE TERMINATE OUR AGREEMENT AND OPEN FIRE!” 

The transmission ended abruptly, leaving Tal feeling exposed and approaching a state of panic. “Send the transport co-ordinates to the cargo bay, If they won’t listen to me, I guess ill just have to explain in person!” Tal said as he left the bridge.

 

Meanwhile – USS Thyanis


 

The crew felt an immediate sense of relief as Thyanis secured from warp, the shaking stopped and the deafening drone of the overstressed engines returned to the familiar low hum everyone was used to.

As the ship approached the threshold of the anomaly Wallace began preparing himself and his crew for what was to come.

“Harris, walk me through how we do this again.” He said as he walked over to the conn comfortably and with confidence in his balance for the first time in what seemed like an eternity.

“The anomaly affects sensors, shields, and energy weapons, with any luck Tal will have the same issues, Garcia and the Chief modified the main deflector to discharge a short tachyon burst, we should be able to use it to ping and locate Tal’s ship without conventional sensors,” Harris explained.

“Sort of like sonar?” Wallace asked, trying to simplify his X.O’s explanation.

“Essentially, yes, but there’s a catch. We can only track bearing and distance, not speed or direction, and every time we ‘ping’ the Ferengi will likely be able to detect our location as well, for a moment,” added Garcia.

“We can use the triangulation to get as close as we dare, then we should be able to detect the residual tachyons passively when we are within five hundred metres, then we beam an away team over to look for the device and Molly. Said Harris, expanding his explanation.

“Great work, all of you! You’ve given us a fighting chance at turning this around, now let’s get to work! Battle Stations!” Wallace commanded as he resumed the centre chair.

The red alert klaxon sounded, signalling one final call to arms as Harris piloted Thyanis into the depths of the anomaly.

Comments

  • In your crafting of the prose and details of characterisation, I was really taken by the visceral sense the ship was about to shake apart. It was almost like every character in the bridge crew were speaking their lines through gritted teeth. I could practically see it all with shaky cam. What I thought was interesting too was the stark contrast you presented aboard the Ferengi ship. Despite the tension and the trickery, the sense of calm you portrayed aboard the Ferengi ship heightened the drama aboard the Thyanis! I look forward to the rescue mission for Molly being just as exciting.

    June 10, 2023
  • Another fantastic instalment in the story. As Andreus mentioned above this very much felt like you were in amongst the action. We never see enough of the deviousness of Ferengi and you have again captured this well. This was another tense ride and the inclusion of some 20th century methods such as sonar was a fantastic implementation of using less advanced, but no less capable methods of ship detection. I eagerly wait to see how the rescue of Molly goes and how the Ferengi deal/negotiate with their client. Well done on another awesome read!

    June 14, 2023
  • Ya had me on the edge of my seat throughout this chapter, I hope that the two on the Ferengi ship can pull off their plan. The Jem'Hadar can't be able to use this device. I could feel the tensions rise as the strain the ship was taking at prolonged speeds, felt like the ship might just tear at the seams as it traveled. The engineer tried to give it more but there was nothing more to give. I can tell that Tan was getting nervous as he was trying to buy time with the buyer. Can't wait to see what happens next! Great Job!

    June 17, 2023