UT:TFV – Part IV – Solitary Frontier

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction' started by Gibraltar, Mar 8, 2017.

  1. admiralelm11

    admiralelm11 Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2009
    Location:
    Vancouver, WA
    I agree with CeJay. These characters are quite something.
     
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  2. Galen4

    Galen4 Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2007
    Location:
    Sol III, within the universe of United Trek
    I'm just as curious about the Europa's logs as I am where this small wormhole leads to. (If it is a wormhole) Can't wait to see what befell the Europa.

    I wonder if the process used to form this gateway is something that can be replicated for general space travel? Or does it only work because of pre existing conditions in this particular region of space? My nerdy little mind has so many questions....
     
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  3. TheLoneRedshirt

    TheLoneRedshirt Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    May 22, 2007
    Location:
    Here and now.
    Hopefully, this is merely a high-tech security precaution set up by whoever is left on Europa. However, since we have no idea who now controls Europa, that may not be a good thing. Regardless, they have no apparent choice but to see this through.

    Somewhere in the multiverse, a high-ranking officer who smells of tuna is warning, "It's a trap!"
     
  4. Gibraltar

    Gibraltar Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
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    :guffaw:
     
  5. Gibraltar

    Gibraltar Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
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    Location:
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    * * *​

    A bright white light suffused the cockpit of the runabout Namsen, causing Raffaele to cover his eyes while Ressessk’s nictating membranes slammed shut to protect her sight, an evolutionary safeguard of her species’ vision designed to thwart the glare of their bright white native star.

    “I’m polarizing the viewports,” Cybel informed them as the cockpit grew substantially darker.

    Raffaele blinked, his eyes watering. “Thank you. That was… intense.”

    All at once, the cockpit’s interface panels went dark. After an agonizing moment, they returned to life as systems rebooted.

    Cybel made a musing sound. “Full system restoration, apparently.”

    “I think I sssee ssstarsss,” Ressessk offered uncertainly as she gazed out a now tinted viewport. “Thossse dark pointsss.”

    Cybel joined her in looking out the window. “I believe you’re correct. Those dark points correspond with the locations of stars in this and adjoining sectors, though we wouldn’t have been able to see them from within the nebula. It’s as if the visual spectrum here has been inverted, and wherever this is, there’s no corresponding gas cloud. This may be a completely new dimension to us, or we might be slightly out of phase with our own dimension.”

    “We aren’t the first to come here,” Raffaele observed with an odd note of disbelief in his voice.

    Cybel turned towards him. “What?”

    “Well, it’s a starship,” Raffaele replied slowly. “Just… not the one we were looking for.”

    Three sets of eyes were now focused on the unlikely sight of what was unmistakably a Federation starship, a four-nacelle Constellation-class exploratory cruiser. It drifted less than a dozen kilometers away without running lights or any observable sign of active power.

    Cybel squinted as her cybernetic eyes enhanced the image of the ship’s registry. “NCC-2748, USS Caelestis.”

    “What in the seven levels of hell is she doing all the way out here?” Raffaele murmured, before adding, “wherever this is.”

    One of the forward monitors activated, and the face of a male human Starfleet officer addressed them. “I apologize for the unexpected transition here to what we’ve named nullspace, but I decided it was easier to show you what we had discovered than simply try and explain it.”

    “Wait,” Raffaele looked dumbfounded, “that’s—“

    “It sssertainly appearsss to be,” agreed Ressessk, equally stunned.

    “I am Captain Zeischt, commanding the Federation starship Europa. As our logs will explain, we were drawn to this location by persistent dreams through which several dozen members of my crew experienced inhabiting the bodies of members of Caelestis’ crew in the weeks leading up to the ship’s disappearance in the Beta Quadrant in 2295. We haven’t yet discovered how this is possible, or why, only that these experiences by the crew had become increasingly frequent and visceral.

    “When we finally located Caelestis, we were being actively pursued by an Amon faction and could not remain here long without endangering the ship. We’ve included our initial findings so you may determine if there’s been any change in the ship’s status since we happened upon her.

    "I have included star-charts of those areas I plan to explore next, provided the Amon allow us that opportunity. Additionally, we have begun to endure our own inexplicably troubling events aboard ship. I fear that the malevolent force that tormented
    Caelestis’ crew and then swept them into the LMC has now turned its attentions on Europa.

    “I’ve also included detailed instructions on how to recreate the trans-dimensional portal that brought you here so that you may transit back and forth to our home dimension at will. I sincerely hope you are able to revive Caelestis’ crew from whatever manner of stasis has gripped them, should they still be in the same state as we discovered them.”

    The image winked out, leaving the three officers deep in thought.

    “The LMC continues to surprise me,” Cybel confessed.

    “I must admit, I did not see that coming,” Raffaele offered.

    “Ssshit,” added Ressessk.

    * * *​
     
    Last edited: May 28, 2017
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  6. TheLoneRedshirt

    TheLoneRedshirt Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    May 22, 2007
    Location:
    Here and now.
    :wtf: Um.
    Did not see that coming, either.
    So "Captain" Zeischt/Sandhurst (?) is in command of Europa and the crew had dreams of a 23rd century Federation Starship, reliving their past lives. Now Cybel, Raffaele, and Ressessk have stumbled across said vessel in a different dimension. Well, perhaps lured is a better word.
    Okay.
    And I thought I wrote weird stuff. :lol:
    Seriously, this is good. Weird . . . but really, really good!
     
  7. CeJay

    CeJay Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2006
    Yeah, don't think anybody saw this coming. This is one peculiar development and I'm still not entirely sure if I got this right.

    Curious to learn more about what the heck is going on here and you know ... why and also how?
     
  8. TrekkieMonster

    TrekkieMonster Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2001
    Location:
    The Hub of the Universe
    Well, that was quite a left turn. Completely unexpected, but even more intriguing.
     
  9. Gibraltar

    Gibraltar Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2005
    Location:
    US Pacific Northwest
    USS Caelestis
    Nullspace


    The team which discovered Caelestis had returned to Valhalla to report their discovery and upload the data from Europa’s log buoy. Izawa was unwilling to risk the entire ship in this little-understood nullspace, and had instead sent a more robust exploratory team in the runabout back to Caelestis’ location.

    The reconnaissance drone swept the starship’s bridge with fanning blades of sensor energy, analyzing the vessel, its atmosphere, and its crew down to the subatomic level. After ascertaining there were no detectable threats present, the drone vanished in a transporter beam as the away team materialized in its place.

    Maddox, Ressessk, and Dr. Zelbin were all clad in hardened environment suits, while the engineer and Cybel appeared in standard duty uniform, the engineer’s presence courtesy of his mobile-emitter.

    The team spread out throughout the darkened bridge, playing their wrist-mounted lights across the lifeless LCARS displays, which were frosted with ice crystals due to the temperature having reached near absolute zero in the compartment.

    Caelestis’ bridge crew remained immobilized, presumably in the same positions and postures they’d assumed nearly a century earlier in the Milky Way galaxy. They, too, were coated in sparkling ice, like so much crystalline statuary. They were clad in the old belted, maroon military-style uniforms favored at the turn of the century, festooned with rank insignia, length-of-service pins, and department noted by turtleneck undershirt color. Most sat or stood at their control stations, some appearing to have been speaking and others inputting commands when the mystery event seized the ship and froze the crew like insects in amber.

    Though Cybel’s mouth did not move, the team heard her voice clearly over their shared comms-channel. “So far, everything appears exactly as the team from Europa found it nearly three years ago.”

    “Did we expect anything different, Commander?” Zelbin inquired.

    “There was some thought among Europa’s science team that this might be an example of a highly localized temporal flux; basically time moving much more slowly than normal for Caelestis’ crew. However, what we’re seeing here isn’t consistent with that phenomenon.”

    “No power to the ship’s systems,” the engineer noted over comms, though he went through the pantomime of moving his lips despite the lack of atmosphere. “From the scans we took aboard the runabout, there’s an active matter/anti-matter reaction taking place within the M/ARC chamber in main engineering. From a physics standpoint, it’s impossible to stop such a reaction in mid-stream, unless you create a complete temporal stasis field.”

    “Thisss isss not sssuch a field?” asked Ressessk.

    “No,” Maddox spoke up from where he was scanning a darkened console with a tricorder. “If such a field existed around Caelestis, we’d be affected by it, too.”

    The muzzle-like protrusion of Ressessk’s mouth bunched in the Selay variant of a frown, visible from within her EVA helmet. “Then how isss thisss posssible?”

    “No idea,” Maddox and Cybel answered in unison before pausing to share a smirk from opposite sides of the bridge.

    Zelbin swept his medical sensor wand over the inert form occupying the captain’s chair as Cybel stepped over to join him.

    “No cellular activity, no neural activity either, but no signs of necrosis. There is also no indication of the kind of cellular damage one would expect from biological tissues exposed to temperatures of minus two-hundred seventy-three degrees Celsius. From a medical standpoint, sir, they are neither alive nor dead.”

    Cybel grunted in response, “Schrödinger’s crew.” She took a moment to examine the unmoving form of the man in the center seat. Through the semi-opaque covering of ice, Cybel could make out a Caucasian human male of average height with light curly hair marked by a receding hairline.

    “Captain Marshall Abrahamson. I doubt this was the way anyone at the time would have foreseen his career ending.”

    “Was he notable in some way?” Zelbin asked as he checked his readings on a medical tricorder.

    “Quite, for his time.” Cybel rejoined. “He was promoted to captain fairly young, after distinguishing himself during the Cormara Incident when that rogue Klingon faction tried to seize Zouérat Station. Over the next decade he made a name for himself as a deep space explorer, always pushing back the frontiers of science and diplomacy.”

    Zelbin smiled. “Sounds very much like our commodore.”

    “Yes,” she agreed, “in many ways, though somewhat more flamboyant in that inimitable 23rd century fashion.”

    “The Kirk era of dashing daring-do?” Maddox asked.

    “Precisely.” She activated comms to the runabout. “Rafe, you getting our data signal?”

    “Confirmed,” Raffaele replied from aboard Namsen. “Telemetry link is active and stable.”

    The work continued quietly for some minutes, with team members engrossed in their own analyses. Finally, Raffaele broke the silence by asking, “So, Sandhurst is back aboard Europa, and in command? How did that happen?”

    The query was directed toward Cybel, who was the only member of the crew who’d had access to the sum total of Europa’s logs and the ability to absorb them in their entirety.

    “Not easily,” Cybel replied, engrossed in her tricorder’s readings. “Brief power struggle, threats of mutiny, nothing that will benefit any of their long-term career prospects.”

    “Probably not their first priority, given the circumstances,” Raffaele pointed out.

    Cybel allowed, “Probably not.”

    “I’ll admit, I was surprised we found a viable clue to Europa’s whereabouts so soon, or at all, really. Hopefully the info they left will help us to narrow our search parameters.”

    “Hopefully,” Cybel echoed. “Sandhurst did identify some other nebulae where they might have left us other log buoys, circumstances permitting. A least we’ve a better idea where to look now.”

    “And the Amon?” Raffaele pressed for greater details. “What kind of threat do they pose now?”

    “The ones from the cube that managed to survive Lar’ragos’ virus were understandably put out. Saying that they’ve declared a holy war on Europa’s crew might be painting too rosy a picture of the situation.”

    “Ah,” Raffaele replied, “vengeance with religious overtones. A tried-and-true classic.”

    Cybel moved to scan the armrest of the command chair, tempted to take a sample aboard Namsen to see if there was any detectable evidence of whatever phenomenon caused this event that might become apparent if a piece were removed from the influence of the ship itself. She withdrew her phaser, and set it to an appropriate power-level and beam width. “Be advised,” she warned the others. “I’m taking a material sample.”

    She began to cut into the armrest, producing a flood of sparks as the tritanium yielded to her beam. Suddenly, the layer of ice clinging to the captain’s form broke free and began to float away as the body began to shimmer and vibrate.

    Cybel called out over comms, “Namsen, emergency transport of the person in the captain’s chair. Put him behind a containment field and have the runabout’s EMH on standby!”

    The weirdly pulsating form vanished in a cascade of transporter energy. Cybel turned to look at the others, her expression sheepish. “Oops,” was all her higher-order intelligence could think to offer in the moment.

    * * *​

    The oscillating form regained cohesion on the pad of the runabout’s cramped transporter booth as Raffaele rose from the copilot’s seat and ordered, “Activate EMH.”

    The hologram appeared and Raffaele instructed Ensign Beresha at the pilot’s station to brief the EMH on the quickly developing situation.

    As the wavering energy field flickered and died to reveal Captain Abrahamson sprawled on the transporter pad, the man took a deep, heaving breath — his first in eighty-eight years. He looked around, wild-eyed and confused. “Where… where is this?”

    Abrahamson scrabbled to his feet, bolting forward only to crash headlong into the containment field. He rebounded and landed heavily on his backside.

    On the other side of the field, Rafe knelt and made eye contact with the displaced officer. “Captain, I’m Lieutenant Raffaele. Please try to remain calm. You’re in no immediate danger. You’re aboard a Starfleet vessel, see?” He gestured to the Starfleet arrowhead emblazoned upon the combadge affixed to his chest.

    Abrahamson seemed to collect himself and began to take a real look at his surroundings. “Okay, Lieutenant, you have the advantage. Explain what’s going on here. Where is my ship?”

    “Beresha,” Raffaele instructed, “bring us around so we can see Caelestis through the forward ‘ports.”

    Meanwhile, the EMH busied himself scanning Abrahamson with his medical tricorder.

    Namsen came about so as to make the older vessel visible through the cockpit windows. Abrahamson squinted at the dismaying sight of his ship set against a stark white field, peppered with black stars twinkling in the backdrop.

    “We found Caelestis adrift in this dimensional schism, you and the rest of your crew frozen somehow. We sent an away team over to your bridge, and it appears we unwittingly unfroze you somehow.”

    Eyeing Raffaele’s uniform, Abrahamson warily asked, “How long?”

    “Sir, I’m not sure fixating on the detai—“

    “How long, Lieutenant?” Abrahamson barked with such authority that Raffaele found himself replying before he could stop himself.

    “Eighty-eight years, sir,” Raffaele announced sharply, before lowering the tenor of his voice to add, “And if that isn’t disconcerting enough, we’re in the Large Magellanic Cloud, orbiting the Milky Way.”

    Raffaele’s eyes were drawn to the wedding band on Abrahamson’s finger, and an uncharacteristic wave of empathy seized him.

    “Elevated blood pressure,” the EMH announced, “and indications of significant stress hormones.” The hologram turned his neutral expression on Raffaele. “His reaction seems appropriate to the circumstances.”

    Abrahamson shot daggers at the EMH with his eyes, prompting Raffaele to call, “Deactivate EMH.” He gracefully snatched the medical tricorder from the air as it fell from the hologram’s evaporating hand.

    “Holographic projection,” Raffaele explained as Abrahamson goggled at the man’s abrupt disappearance. He tapped his combadge, opening a channel to the XO. “Commander, I have a man here with many questions.”

    * * *​

    USS Valhalla
    Sickbay


    Abrahamson had been largely quiet during Dr. Zelbin’s comprehensive examination, his eyes taking in the advanced medical technology on display.

    Izawa and Cybel stood conferring nearby, awaiting the doctor’s final report on the health of their guest.

    “I’m still not sure I could recreate whatever it was that I did to disrupt his stasis, sir,” Cybel explained.

    Izawa nodded, his arms clasped behind his back. “With any luck, we’ll be able to crack the mystery and revive the rest of his crew. If we can restore Caelestis as well, we could conceivably send them back to the portal under their own power.”

    Cybel appeared surprised. “Sir? You don’t think we should escort them back? Without transwarp, it would take them almost six months at their maximum speed to reach Shul’Nazhar and the portal.”

    “I won’t deny that stumbling upon Caelestis with Europa’s help was a rare stroke of good fortune, York, but I remind you the recovery of this ship and crew is not our mission. We’re in a better position now to locate Europa than at any point since we arrived in the LMC. And since we have confirmation that Sandhurst, an acknowledged traitor, has returned to the ship and seized command, locating them has become even more urgent. The man is even flaunting his Amon name, as if to rub our noses in it.”

    Cybel seemed about to contest the point, but fell silent in the face of Zelbin’s approach.

    “Commodore,” Zelbin said, “I’m pleased to give Captain Abrahamson a clean bill of health. Aside from being understandably upset at his circumstances, his vitals are strong and conform to his last recorded medical examination at Starbase 41 last century.”

    “Thank you, Doctor.”

    Izawa nodded to the security specialist nearby, silently dismissing her. He hobbled over to Abrahamson with the help of his cane and extended a hand. “Commodore Takeo Izawa, commanding the starship Valhalla. It’s a pleasure to meet you captain, though I wish it were under different circumstances.”

    Abrahamson shook Izawa’s hand, still looking somewhat overwhelmed. “Thank you, Commodore. Marshall Abrahamson, at your service.”

    “Captain, I want to assure you we’re doing everything we can to rescue your crew, and perhaps recover your ship as well. It would be helpful if you could tell us what circumstances led up to this event.”

    Abrahamson’s face set in a stony expression, untold horrors flitting behind his eyes. “Tell me, Commodore, do you believe in devils?”

    * * *​
     
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  10. admiralelm11

    admiralelm11 Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2009
    Location:
    Vancouver, WA
    This is great stuff! The mystery of Europa and Sandhurst get to be more and more exciting to read about. The discovery of Captain Abrahamson and his ship is an added cherry on the top of this mystery sundae that you've spooned up for us, Gibraltar. I'm very interested to see where this goes.
     
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  11. CeJay

    CeJay Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2006
    I feel a story coming on, and judging by that mysterious introduction, it's going to be a good one. Whatever Abrahamson and his crew have been through, it sounds like it must have been hell.

    I also wonder how this very unexpected find is going to tie into the ongoing search for Europa now under Zeischt's command.
     
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  12. TheLoneRedshirt

    TheLoneRedshirt Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    May 22, 2007
    Location:
    Here and now.
    Curiouser and curiouser. Captain Abrahamson and crew are experiencing their Morgan Bateson/Bozeman scenario, albeit with apparently different causes. I understand the Commodore's desire to pursue the mission, but wouldn't it be wise to allow some of Valhalla's crew to accompany Caelestis back to the portal and, ultimately, Federation space? No doubt the 23rd century crew will experience considerable psychological trauma due to their temporal displacement. Some contemporary Starfleet personnel may need to step up should some of said defrosted crew succumb to PTSD or some such malady. Perhaps they could replicate the Chief Engineer, provide mobile emitters, and send a copy along? Just a thought.
     
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  13. Gibraltar

    Gibraltar Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2005
    Location:
    US Pacific Northwest
    Beresha awoke slowly, luxuriating in the knowledge that following yesterday’s grueling away mission to Caelestis, she had an entire day off duty. She’d scheduled three hours on the holodeck to simulate rock climbing in Delta IV’s challenging Duruk Mountains, a goal she’d yet to successfully complete despite having owned a copy of the program for more than two years.

    She slowly opened her eyes and immediately froze as it became apparent she was not in her quarters. Her first thought was that perhaps she’d had too much to drink the previous night with some of the ship’s other junior officers in The Falcon’s Lair lounge in the main shuttlebay.

    Please tell me I didn’t… she thought desperately. As a Deltan, she was sworn to uphold her oath of celibacy. Due to her species' potent empathic abilities, both physical and emotional relationships with Deltans could have profoundly negative impacts on humans and other races that her people considered ‘sexually immature.’

    She rolled over and was relieved to discover she was alone, however, this was most definitely not her cabin. She sat up and as she pushed the covers off herself she froze again, staring aghast at her hand.

    Only it wasn’t her hand.

    What should have been a dark, ebony complexion was instead a pale pinkish hue, with tawny hairs on her arms.

    Beresha abruptly slid off the bed and glanced around the small cabin searching for a reflective surface. She spied the mirror in the cramped refresher cubical and stumbled desperately towards it, only to freeze for a third time as she found herself staring at the reflection of an entirely different person.

    She assumed the woman looking back at her was human, based solely on her appearance, a rather mousy looking Caucasian with shoulder length auburn hair that clung damply to her head as though she’d been perspiring heavily in her sleep.

    “Computer,” Beresha blurted, “where am I?”

    “You are in junior-officer’s quarters, cabin four-zero-nine, deck four, section three, USS Caelestis, the computer obediently replied.

    “Computer, who am I?”

    “You are Suzette Saint-Marie, Lieutenant junior-grade, Starfleet. Your current billet is Assistant Chief Navigation Officer, USS Caelestis.”

    “No,” Beresha gasped, “Oh no, no, no… by the six deities this is not happening!” She stood, hands gripping the sides of her head. “This has to be a dream. It has to!”

    Only it did not feel like a dream, especially to a Deltan, a species who learned the ability to active-dream in their youth as a guide to exploring their own subconscious. She was proficient at discerning dream from reality, and then actively guiding her dream-state in order to stop nightmares-in-progress or to discover more about her unconscious thoughts and desires.

    Beresha attempted to utilize these skills, to no effect. All her senses told her definitively that she was wide awake and firmly planted in what humans would term, ‘the real world.’

    She walked slowly back to the bed on wobbly legs, nearly overwhelmed by the sheer incongruity of the experience. However, as she sat down on the bed she realized that despite the fact that she appeared to be inhabiting a human body, she still felt Deltan, still had access to her empathic perceptions. She could still sense other crew nearby, could still perceive an undercurrent of fear and stress that seemed to bubble just beneath the surface.

    Beresha stood and moved to the closet, pulling on what to her was a uniform from another era, spending long minutes trying to figure out how the various clasps and buckles on the overly-ornate uniform worked. She’d have to try and explain herself to a superior officer, and hope that they didn’t send her to sickbay on a special psychiatric watch.

    She caught Saint-Marie’s reflection in the mirror on the cusp of exiting the cabin, and remembered that this woman had hair, something that she’d have to do something with, or about.

    Locating a maroon-colored hair band, she fiddled with the unfamiliar tresses for a few moments until she’d suitably contained the unruly mass.

    Beresha stepped to the doors, which slid open to reveal a man in a garish jester’s costume, his face painted in a sloppy rendition of a classic Terran clown’s makeup. An overwhelming stench of fetid decay swept into the cabin from the corridor, nearly causing Beresha to gag as she recoiled from the specter’s unexpected presence.

    “Hey,” the ghoulish harlequin rasped, holding up Beresha’s severed head in both hands. “Are you missing this perchance?”

    She screamed, staggering back into the cabin and tripping over a table leg, falling heavily and wrenching her knee in the process.

    “Oh, damn,” the clown muttered. “You’re Deltan, aren’t you? Probably give less than a squirt about clowns, eh? How about this then?”

    Suddenly the clown was a Mostrui druid, the hobgoblin of Deltan children’s tales, the claimant of souls who died tragically before their time. He tossed her head into her lap, which Beresha caught fumblingly despite her every sense shouting at her to throw it away.

    The eyes of her severed head opened and it screamed impossibly in her own voice–

    Beresha sat bolt upright in bed in her junior officer’s cabin aboard Valhalla, gasping for breath and drenched in perspiration, her heart hammering in her chest.

    She unconsciously reached down to grab her left knee, which throbbed inexplicably.

    * * *​
     
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  14. TheLoneRedshirt

    TheLoneRedshirt Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    May 22, 2007
    Location:
    Here and now.
    Uh-oh. This does not bode well for the crew of the Valhalla.
    Damn clowns getting into everything . . .
     
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  15. Gibraltar

    Gibraltar Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2005
    Location:
    US Pacific Northwest
    Right?! Worse than gremlins those things! :rofl:
     
  16. CeJay

    CeJay Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2006
    Okay, uh, did Valhalla have a pitstop at Starbase 66 per chance before heading over into the LMC?

    Things are getting super spooky.

    Great job on the Deltan perspective. The fact that she had to deal with something as alien to her as hair was a hilarious side note.
     
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  17. Galen4

    Galen4 Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2007
    Location:
    Sol III, within the universe of United Trek
    What the hell, dude? :0
    Yes, I'll take a pinch or two of horror in my Star Trek soup, please!
    Love the fact that his tale keeps going off the rails in all the right ways.
    Don't stop now!
     
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  18. Gibraltar

    Gibraltar Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2005
    Location:
    US Pacific Northwest
    USS Caelestis
    88 Years Earlier
    Beta Quadrant, Milky Way Galaxy


    Marshall Abrahamson allowed himself to sag against the wall of the turbolift, utterly exhausted. He’d used his command override to ensure there would be no other stops on the way to the bridge, for fear of another crewmember finding him slouching against the side of the ‘lift like a petulant school boy.

    The persistent nightmares had recurred last night, waking him repeatedly to the point he doubted if he’d got much more than an hour and a half of actual sleep. Precious little of the rest he did get was of the critical REM-sleep variety.

    Neither the somnetic-inducer nor the sedatives Dr. Müller had prescribed him had worked to any significant degree, and it almost seemed the night-terrors had increased in vividness to counter the use of these sleep aids.

    He straightened and tugged at his uniform jacket to straighten it, determined to put on his best face, even if that face included puffy, darkened saddlebags under his bloodshot eyes.

    The doors parted and Abrahamson stepped onto the bridge. Despite his own fatigue, it was impossible to miss the lethargy evidenced by the crew, most especially his senior staff. He knew from Dr. Müller that dozens of others among Caelestis’ compliment had complained of similar symptoms. Officers and enlisted personnel stared listlessly at their stations, with more than one even doing the occasional head-bob of someone repeatedly dozing off at their post.

    Lt. Commander Corata, his Deltan Executive Officer, rose slowly from the command chair, handing over a padd containing updates on the events of Gamma Watch. Her typically bright and bubbly disposition was clouded with… something. Not weariness, precisely, but she did not seem her usual buoyant self.

    “More of that sporadic subspace radio traffic, Captain,” Corata advised, surrendering the chair to the ship’s master.

    Abrahamson remained standing, scrolling through the overnight activity log as he nodded soberly. “Any more luck with the UT?”

    “None yet, sir. Lieutenant Fakhoury advises that we’ll need substantially more unbroken comms activity from the source before the translation-matrix will be able to begin formulating a vocabulary pattern.”

    Abrahamson glanced around for a brief moment and then gestured with the padd to the doors of his ready room, a welcome addition of the ship’s latest refit.

    Once inside, Abrahamson fixed a concerned expression on Corata. “I had another bad night, Commander, and unless I miss my guess, most of the senior staff is in the same condition.”

    “Yes, sir,” she affirmed. “It’s bad. As your people are fond of saying, there’s no sense in sugar-coating it.”

    “No,” he murmured listlessly. “I suppose not.”

    “Captain, have we given any thought to the possibility that it’s something to do with this region of space? Starfleet has seen such things before. There’s precedent for energy fields generated by all manner of phenomena that can interfere with humanoid brain activity.”

    Abrahamson shrugged in response, tossing the padd onto his desk top with a clatter. “Mister Satel has been running scans for the past four days on anything and everything that may appear out of the ordinary from an emissions perspective. Thus far, he’s not found a damn thing. Meanwhile, Dr. Müller has been monitoring the neurotransmitter levels in the effected crew, and reports that it doesn’t appear as if we’re under the influence of any kind of detectable telepathic activity.”

    Corata’s shoulders slumped and she appeared crestfallen. “Regardless, sir, perhaps it might be for the best if we turn around and head back the way we came?”

    He moved around the desk and sank into his chair with all the grace of an anchor settling into mud. “We’re on the cusp of a First Contact here, Corata. We’re only eight weeks out of Frontier Station Laramie, the first manned vessel into this region. How will it look if we turn around now and head home with our tail between our legs because we were having ‘bad dreams?’ How’s that going to play with Commodore ʻŌpūnui? She’s already got it out for me after that dust-up with the Orions at Urat-Fal, and she’d just love an excuse to put me in hack!”

    ”That wasn’t our fault,” Corata argued. “They were running an arms smuggling operation under the guise of a diplomatic mission. How can ʻŌpūnui censure you for that?”

    “You know that, and I know that. Hell, even the commodore knows that. Nonetheless, the Orion attaché whined to the Federation Council, who snapped at the Security Council, who barked at the C-I-C, who badgered Starfleet Command, which in turn rolled a dung-ball downhill onto ʻŌpūnui. Legitimate or not, our actions created a diplomatic incident and made her look bad.”

    Corata made a graceful gesture with her hands, one Abrahamson long ago had come to accept as the Deltan version of a non-verbal sigh. “I understand, Captain. However, as XO, it’s my responsibility to notify you that whatever it is that’s infected the crew’s dreams, it’s now become problematic to the point that it’s affecting our readiness, and therefore the safety of the ship and crew.”

    “Your advisement has been heard, Commander, on the record,” Abrahamson replied stolidly.

    “My duty log will reflect that, sir,” she informed him.

    “I have no doubt of that, Commander,” he answered tersely, still edgy from lack of sleep. “You are dismissed.”

    “Aye, sir,” Corata acknowledged, her eyes lingering on Abrahamson for just a moment longer. From behind those Deltan eyes, Liana Ramirez drank in the experience of being a Starfleet officer once again, unencumbered by the sins of her past. She knew this wasn’t a dream, but whatever it was, it was certainly better than being restricted to guest quarters aboard Valhalla.

    * * *​
     
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  19. admiralelm11

    admiralelm11 Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2009
    Location:
    Vancouver, WA
    It's weird how a scene from the past can play out and then suddenly, it's like you were seeing it from another person's perspective in the future.

    Great work, Gibraltar. Stopping off at Starbase 666 for drinks is certainly freaking all of us out.
     
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  20. Galen4

    Galen4 Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2007
    Location:
    Sol III, within the universe of United Trek
    I went from really liking Ramirez back in the day, to hating her as a villainess, to now...I don't know?
    Pity? I'm just as interested in where she ends up as a character as I am about this "IT" creepy-ass storyline that seems to be hellishly ensnaring ship after ship.

    Looking good. And nice how you're adding this in easy bite-sized chunks to read.
    Keep it coming!
     
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