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Part of USS Thyanis: Children of the stars

Part 2 – Fallen Angel

USS Thyanis
Late April 2401
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The black veil of the cosmos was suddenly disrupted by a bright flash of visible light, ambient photons that were violently punched into high energy states as they collided with the hull USS Thyanis when she crossed the light speed barrier imparting her energy into the particles and causing them to luminesce in a poly-luminous burst.

As she rapidly slowed to subluminal speeds, the effect collapsed along with her warp bubble as her impulse reactors ignited.

On the bridge, Lieutenant T’Nira began her plethora of scans with a stoic and logical attitude. Prioritising each sensor sweep in order of intensity and relevance; she quickly and efficiently progressed through the standard scans and moved on to more complex and specific Interrogations. “Fascinating,” a brief slip of her resolve caused her to express her thoughts. 

Wallace sat comfortably in the command chair, his legs crossed and his arms relaxed dangling either side of the arms. His science officer’s reaction stimulated his curiosity enough for him to prompt an explanation, “Anything to report Lieutenant?”

“Captain, the S-Band transmission appears to be emanating from the fourth planet in this system, it appears to be M-Class,” T’Nira reported, her brow furled.

Wallace’s composure was unaffected by his science officer’s report, yet he was perplexed as to why she found an M-Class world fascinating. “And that’s unusual because?…”

“The statistical likelihood of a ship in distress successfully locating and landing safely upon an M-Class body is highly Improbable. I recommend we proceed with caution,” T’Nira explained.

Wallace took her concerns under advisement, but his responsibility to render aid was now at the forefront of his mind. It didn’t hurt to be cautious but that shouldn’t impact their efforts. “Maintain your scans, Lieutenant. Harris lay in a course!” 

Harris obeyed the command without question, engaging the Tyanis’s Impulse drive and skilfully plotting their transit across the star system. Within minutes the viewscreen was filled with the pale blue glow of the planet’s nitrogen-oxygen-rich atmosphere, as Harris concluded his performance of skill by nestling their ship into a standard orbit.

All eyes on the bridge were locked onto the viewscreen, entranced by the planet’s lush continents and temperate weather. “Looks a lot like Earth,” LT Garcia said, mesmerised by the view.

Abruptly, a piercing alarm from the Science console cut through the calm and hushed environment of the bridge, triggering everyone to turn their attention to LT T’Nira.

“Captain, sensors are detecting an energy signature on the northern continent,” T’Nira reported.

“What sort of energy signature?” Wallace asked his undivided attention now upon his science officer.

T’Nira paused for a moment, working her console and trying to cross-reference the data. “Unknown, its signature does not match any known forms of energy. But its amplitude is increasing rapidly.”

Wallace felt a sickening anxiety build in his stomach. Still, before he could process it and formulate an instruction, he felt his neck snap violently to one side as the inertial dampers struggled to react to a sudden jolt. The deck shook vigorously, unsettling everyone who was standing as they clung to their consoles for support.

Automatically, the ship’s computer registered the tremor as a threat and initiated a ship-wide red alert condition. The standard lighting dimmed as the LCARS displays across the bridge all turned red, coupled with an ear-rupturing klaxon and pulsing red glow from the auxiliary lights.

“Captain! our orbit is destabilising!” Harris shouted as he fought for control of his vessel.

“We are caught in some sort of tractor beam!” T’Nira reported, her stoic composure remaining unphased in response to the situation.

“All engines reverse full! Harris! Maintain altitude. Garcia! lock phasers on the beam’s source!” Wallace ordered, his resolve under pressure was unwavering. He appeared calm and comfortable in a crisis, like a Swan gliding across a lake. 

The lights and consoles began to flicker as if Thyanis’s life was being drained from her. “Main power is failing, weapons and shields are off-line!” Garcia reported, glancing over at her damage control interface.

“We’re entering the ionosphere, hull temperatures rising!” Harris’s voice strained with tension as he desperately fought for control. His teeth, grinding as his muscle memory kicked in and he felt the overwhelming need to pull hard on a physical control that was not there.

Wallace watched in horror as orange plasma began to form ahead of their vessel, indicating that re-entry was inevitable. “Keep her steady commander! do what you can to manage our descent!” 

The tone on the bridge had changed dramatically in the space of a few minutes. It wouldn’t be hard for someone to gauge the fear and anxiety in the crew from the way they chose to focus on their work and do everything they could to avert their eyes from the viewscreen.

Thyanis ripped through the atmosphere with as much grace and elegance as a flying brick. The flames began to subside, leaving scorch marks across the hull which continued to smoulder as she fell further into the atmosphere. The terrain was approaching rapidly, it would have been the most picturesque vista had it not been for the current crisis. Miles of lush green forest bordered by stunningly White snow-covered mountain peaks.

Harris’s efforts in trying to coax the ship out of her free fall began to pay off as to his relief the retro thrusters began to fire, slowing their descent from a suicidal dive to a more or less graceful glide. “Helm control restored!” He announced, breathing a sigh of relief.

“Can you get us back in orbit?” Wallace asked, hoping for a glimmer of hope.

Harris tried plotting an ascent trajectory but as he tried to engage the impulse engines, he felt helm control begin to slip away again, “Negative! Impulse not responding!” 

Wallace measured the expressions on his bridge crew’s faces and knew that there was only one option left. “Deploy landing gear, try and set us down in one of those clearings!” 

Harris was already two steps ahead, he had trained for crash landings as a pilot and had already identified a suitable landing zone.

Thyanis was now below the cloud layer. Mountains towered above her casting shadows across the hull as she flew through their shade. The trees were only a few hundred feet below her and she was still in only a partially controlled descent.

Putting his crew management skills to good use, Harris activated his comm badge and contacted the Chief in the engineering bay, “Harris to Catterick, on my mark, I need all the power you can divert to thrusters and inertial dampers!”

Martin didn’t ask questions, he just acknowledged the request and waited for the command. He may not have been aware of the exact situation, but the rattle and vibration of the ship was a dead giveaway that they were operating outside of normal procedures.

The clearing appeared to grow in size through the viewscreen as they hurtled towards it, everyone was subconsciously gripping onto whatever they could for dear life as the seconds that passed by felt like an eternity.

Harris remained fixated on his landing area, trying his best to maintain an optimal glide ratio. He knew that they would likely only have a few seconds of useful flight when the thrusters fired, he wanted to make sure he was as low as possible so they didn’t end up dropping like a stone. “Standby… Now Chief!”

“All hands brace for Impact!” Wallace echoed as his first officer initiated their terminal descent, he closed his eyes and braced himself for the unknown. He had every faith that Harris would be able to get them down safely, but he was a realist and was not able to ignore the possibility of failure.

The starboard bustard collector briefly dipped below the forest canopy, tearing a hole through the upper foliage. The casing shattered immediately on impact, showering the forest floor with debris and sparks. Moments later every thruster port on the ship’s belly and bow fired simultaneously, rapidly arresting the descent and forward velocity. 

What little lift there was rapidly melted away and Thyanis hit the ground hard, her landing struts carving into the soil for a short distance before she came to rest at almost the exact center of the clearing. Her engines immediately powered down and as the ship cooled she almost seemed to breathe a sigh of relief herself with a gentle hiss.

Harris secured his console and assumed the executive officer role in Ernest. The ship had no need for a pilot for the time being, his time would be better served helping coordinate the crew in the wake of their situation. “Damage report?” He requested.

“Largely superficial, there’s plasma damage to the forward hull, starboard nacelle has suffered impact damage, and the starboard landing gear has buckled… Casualty reports coming in,” Garcia reported, ignoring her own discomfort as the impact had caused her to bang her head against the console, blood was streaming over her right eye but she refused to let it distract her. “Four wounded, nothing serious Captain.”

Wallace permitted himself a moment to take stock of the situation. They had survived a spontaneous, rapid, barely controlled forced landing and now it was time to work out the cause and plan what to do next. “Garcia, get yourself down to sickbay, get that eyebrow looked at… T’Nira, start trying to work out what the hell just happened, Harris, I want a briefing with the senior officers in one hour Port-side mess.”

Olivia made no objection as she handed over her console to another officer and made her way aft towards the infirmary. She knew she would have been fine to continue working but they were for want of a better explanation, marooned in an uncharted world. The captain would likely be relying on her skills as a security officer in the coming hours and he would need her with a clean bill of health.

As the adrenaline of the situation began to wear off, an atmosphere of somewhat normal operations returned to the bridge as everyone began downloading and saving their data. Regardless of how the situation panned out from here on, there would be an investigation into how Thyanis managed to crash land and even the most seemingly insignificant bit of data might hold the key to explaining why.