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Old July 15 2012, 04:59 PM   #32
Rear Admiral
Re: UT: Refugee Crisis/Dark Territory-"Stealing Fire"

Glad you're liking the banter CeJay and D'noth. The Erickson crew has grown me more than I suspected. Almost feels bad seeing what might be in store for some of them.

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The Burning Claw
First Mate’s Quarters

First Mate Gedrik sat up in his bed, his thoughts finally coalescing into answer for the questions that had been plaguing him ever since they left the alien starship. Stumbling out of bed, he rushed to the communicator attached to his wall. He slapped it hard, and croaked into the intercom.

“Gedrik to Captain Deoch,” he nearly shouted.

“What is it now Gedrik?” The captain didn’t even attempt to hide his annoyance.

“We’ve got to go back to that ship.”

“I told you before that we have a rendezvous with the Orions and we’re already behind schedule due to this accursed nebula,” Deoch groused. “We don’t have time to satiate your scientific curiosities!”

“Perhaps you wouldn’t feel so if I told you that on that ship lies the answer to saving our homeworld.”

“Do you take me for a fool?”

“If I did, would I bring this to you now, or even be part of this crew?” Gedrik asked.

“I see,” Deoch said slowly, and the first mate could tell his commander was mulling over what the man had said. With Deoch it didn’t matter so much what one said, but how one said it. He admired confidence, assertiveness, boldness.

“Are you certain of this?” Gedrik wisely kept silent. He knew any further attempts to bolster his argument would only come across as seeming less sure of himself.

The tactic worked. “Turn this ship around!” He heard the captain bark. Then: “Gedrik, get to the bridge immediately!”
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Shuttlecraft Oyekan

Ensign Kittles wished she felt as confident as she had sounded with Roland. She was generally good at talking a good game, she always killed during Lt. French’s poker tourneys in Birdland, but this was a far bigger gamble that she had just taken on.

It could go wrong for her in so many ways, just losing her life being at the top of a very long list. And she had put Roland’s ass on the line too, so she better make good or be quick about returning.

The cabin shook as Oyekan brushed against another astral eddy. They had increased the further she went into the expanse and it forced her to readjust her course and speed, slowing down her search.

It was just as well. Her visibility, from the port window to ship’s sensors was nearly shot, and all she could see before her was a thick, colorful soup of strong reds, purples, oranges, and blue gases. The warp trail she had detected was fading rapidly, as if being gobbled up by the expanses’ roiling stew.

“Perhaps I should just quit now,” she thought. Turn back and head back to the alien ship. Roland would understand, she knew. Hell, he would be relieved, and she knew he wasn’t the type that would gossip about her failure.

“No,” she answered herself. “I’m doing this,” she said, pushing forward. If nothing else she would collect as much information as she could and at least have something to show for her recklessness.
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Alien Vessel
Engine Room

“Now this is interesting,” Lt. Ramlo remarked as he swept his tricorder over the large octagonal structure dominating the room. Shashlik was no engineer, but even she figured out that the octagon must be the ship’s main propulsion system.

And Ram was correct, it was an interesting design, to say the least. Even though she also suspected that he wasn’t talking just about how it looked. “What are your readings picking up Ram?” She asked. But the man ignored her. He walked around the structure, his nose pressed against his scanner.

“Ah,” he said, “Handholds,” he added. The Kaylar trudged quickly after him. By the time she reached him, he was halfway up the structure.

“Do you think that’s wise Ram?” She asked, looking up.

“I’ll be fine,” he said, with a distracted tone. She knew how easily and completely he could get wrapped up in his scientific memories. She thought to follow him, but decided to leave the science officer to his toys.

Shashlik took out her own tricorder and made her way over to the databanks encircling the octagon. Perhaps there was more information she could glean from them.

Finding an access port, Shashlik set the thing to work, and then tapped the combadge attached to her suit’s chest plate. “Lt. Shashlik to Greenaugh.”

“Ensign Fryer here,” the reply came a slowly for her taste. And did she detect a note of concern in his voice, or was that just her imagination?

“Is everything all right up there?”

“Uh, yes sir, of course, why do you ask?”

“You don’t sound so sure. Would Ensign Kittles also say the same thing?”

“I’m sure sir,” Fryer hastily responded. “There’s no need to ask her.”

“I’ll determine that Ensign,” she snapped. “And I’ll do so now, Shashlik out.”

“Wait!” the ensign’s shout made her wince. “Uh, I mean, sir…”

“Great Bird of the Galaxy!” Ram’s unusual exclamation drew her attention away from the flustered Fryer.

“We’ll discuss this later Ensign,” she said quickly before disconnecting. She looked up at the octagon to see the Arkenite peering over it, his slash of mouth forming a smile. “What have you discovered Ram?”

He waved the tricorder at her, like he had discovered a Hyterian Lost Relic. “What is it Ram?” growing a bit annoyed. She wasn’t sure if it was the science officer’s goofy spout of joy or Fryer’s evasions that had set her down the bad mood path.

“The magneton scan confirmed it,” he gushed. “We’ve found a stable polaric ion energy propulsion system!”

“Okay,” she said, less than enthused. “I’m coming up.” She quickly scaled the structure. When she reached the top, Ramlo was still frowning.

“Don’t you get how important this find is?”

“No,” she admitted. “How about you explain it to me,” she said, as she looked around the device. The Arkenite had mentioned polaric ion isotopes before, but hadn’t elaborated. Now finally the man might just put her out of her misery.

“Polaric ion particles generate an inordinate amount of power, and many nations have tried and failed to harness this power, including the Romulans. After their research facility was destroyed on Chaltok IV over a century ago, they signed onto the Polaric Test Ban Treaty, which has been in effect since 2268.”

He paused briefly, to gauge her reaction. “I guess you weren’t paying attention that day in history class huh?”

She shrugged, nonplussed, “It was only the wars that caught my attention. Not peace treaties that the Romulans probably violated even before submitting their signatures.”

“That’s just the thing,” Ramlo said, “Polaric ion energy has been proven to be so unstable, producing subspace chain reactions, in addition to having temporal effects, that the treaty has been one of the few that has held. No one has seemed to want to open that Pandora’s Box.”

“Until they find out about this contraption,” Shashlik pointed out. She looked across the propulsion system. The corners of the octagon contained what she suspected were the depleted power cells. Walkways connected each power cell to a central alcove, and whatever had been inside of it was missing.

“You see it too don’t you?” Ramlo said, stepping onto one of the catwalks that led to the alcove. “I believe this is the vinculum or plexus, the nerve center of the propulsion system. It had to have housed the polaric ion stabilizer or processor, which made the use of the energy manageable.” He turned back to her, his joy dimming again. “I think someone took it.”

“The same people who attacked this vessel?” She said, with equal parts fear and excitement.

“Or maybe some of the crew survived and spirited it away because they knew how dangerous it could be,” Ramlo surmised. “In either event, we have to find it. The idea of a hostile power having such power at their command…”

“Now that I get,” she said, nodding with confidence. “We need to tell the captain. I’ll have Fryer relay the message on to Erickson.”
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Tholian Trade Ship
Antedean Space

Spinel’s entire being vibrated as the message trilled through hir. It was of Tholia, but at the same time not, and s/he knew that the questions surrounding that would be beyond it to answer.

Focusing hir mind, Spinel sent hir thoughts out into space, knowing they would skitter along the mind line into the very minds of the High Magistrates themselves and that they would uncover what s/he had found. Spinel knew it was a severe breach of caste to do so, but s/he was certain that what had just happened to hir would be of utmost importance to the rulers on Tholia. And they might even reward hir with greater license to do more business with non-Tholians.

Once that was completed, Spinel continued on hir task. The cargo hold of Tholian silk the ship contained wasn’t going to sell itself after all.
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