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Corvan Coda - Part 1

Posted on Fri Jul 22nd, 2022 @ 1:38pm by Captain Mrazak & Lieutenant JG Ryland Dedeker & Lieutenant JG Jaya Maera Garlake & Ensign Nandi Chakma & Lieutenant Colonel Storr Garlake & Lieutenant Commander BaoJun Qiao & Lieutenant Commander Finley Chu & Lieutenant Sophie Xiong & Ensign Khaiel D'hikatsi & Gunnery Sergeant Roderik Kos & Ferrofax & Calderon Jarsdel & Lieutenant Commander Leonora Wolf MD & Lieutenant Teejay & Chief Petty Officer Reggie Hawthorn
Edited on on Wed Sep 28th, 2022 @ 4:32pm

Mission: S1E5: Symphony of Horror
Location: USS Phantom
Timeline: MD 3


Bridge


No sooner than Mrazak had materialized on the Phantom's executive transporter pad that he was strutting onto the bridge with his hands splayed wide. "I did it!" he boasted with pride that ignored the Klingon blood splattered all over his exosuit which had a hole in the left flank where a grazing shot had exposed naked flesh. "We hit a few snags along the way, but I pulled us through!" Pointing back at Santra and Pandora, his face leered with savage victory. "We have our prize!"

Leah rolled her eyes behind him, wondering yet again how in the hell this man was still in charge.

Removing his suit helmet, Bao grunted. They all needed a trip to sickbay, and Mrazak's egocentrism wasn't getting them there. Then again, there seemed to be a rather inauspicious number of corpses and amount of blood on the bridged as well. It appeared orbit had been busy with Klingon fanatics as well.

Having no place on either an executive transporter pad or the bridge, Cal headed directly to sickbay. There was a background sense of inevitability that didn't require telepathy to experience, and that background vibe suggested being in top condition before the next chaotic strike would be a good idea.

Teejay, however, followed Leah, neither asking for permission nor assuming it would be denied. He remained, quietly attentive and studiously observant, in her immediate vicinity until someone told him otherwise.

The entrance of the away team was anything but climatic to the bridge crew; Storr simply cut his eyes from the viewscreen to the ridiculous-looking Vulcan parading onto the now all-to-small bridge with a grunt. Mrazak acted like a victorious Scorpio the Younger returning from the destruction of Carthage but wore it like a Caligula making his horse a consul. All the world is a stage and they were now, unfortunately, on Mrazak's.

Once it was clear everyone was on board, it did not take long for Mrazak to begin barking orders.

"Sergeant Kos, take Doctor Santra for safekeeping in the brig and do a strip search him first as to prevent any more hidden surprises," Mrazak smirked devilishly at his own order. "I'm certain he and that scoundrel Winton Ingram have much to catch up on."

"I do hope you don't suffer any allergic reactions," Santra said over his shoulder to Kos. "Undisclosed medical conditions have a habit of becoming a little more fully disclosed."

Rodi's suit-assisted grip grabbed Santra's shoulder. The pressure was calculated to leave an enormously painful set of bruises. "Be quiet or be silenced. Matters not to me." The marine quietly informed the good doctor as he half escorted/half dragged Santra to the brig.

"I need some Starfleet doctors to assess the biological contagion." Mrazak eyed the little Corvan girl Pandora. "Ensure she is not truly contagious and that an antigen can indeed be synthesized from her. I will be along shortly to receive said antigen if needs be."

Jaya gave Teejay and Leah a questioning look before turning her empathic acumen onto Pandora. "Hello, little one. My name is Jaya. Why don't you come with me?" She smiled warmly, neither overmuch nor diminished, as she guided the girl with a gentle hand on her back. "Maybe if we're lucky we can find something sweet in the infirmary."

Leah shrugged at Teejay and followed after the bald woman. "Just a little side note...try not to touch her skin, try not to get bitten, and don't get any fluids on you. Just ticking off all the usual transmission boxes." The Norwegian said, "sorry, kid."

For a split second, the half-Vulcan had thought she was referring to him with that apologetic comment, but as he looked from Leah to Pandora, a self-effacing grin beamed on those dark features. Teejay nodded and slipped a gloved hand around the child's own. Comfort, in these weird circumstances and strange company, was a Big Deal. "It'll be okay, Pandora," he told the little girl. "Is that your real name?" He asked, giving her time to reply before his second and third direct questions. "How much of all this do you understand so far?" He asked, conversationally as the four of them headed towards sickbay. "Do you know what he did to you?"

"I was sick, and then the doctor helped me," Pandora said with a child-like logic to her words. "My name is Pandora, it's my grandmother's name. Mother and father were sad when I got sick, and now they will be very happy do you not think?"

Leah glanced over at Teejay, then down at Pandora. "I'm sure they will."

"Who wouldn't be happy to have their little girl all safe and sound?" Teejay walked that middle ground between answering the question and lying. He had no idea if Pandora's parents were still alive or not, so was choosing the lighter way to respond. "C'mon, let's go see just how cured you are, k. Might be that you can help all of us be safe and not sick. That'd be a good thing, right?"

They took the route to the lift, hand in hand.




The sight of Storr sitting in the command chair summoned Mrazak's typical scowl. "You stand relieved, Colonel Garlic. Pity you missed out on all the bloodshed. It is the one thing you are good for."

Lt Col Storr Garlake rose to his full height and brushed off his hunter-green-trimmed uniform, at once both glad to be out of the small chair yet regretful that his ability to command and protect those on the Phantom had come to a close. Yes, he knew that it was only a temporary action but it was in times like these that he missed commanding men and units to perform their utmost in the most unappealing situations. The problem with promotions, he quickly found out, is that they get you farther from getting actual work done.

"I stand relieved, though am glad that at least one of us has a talent that Starfleet has an appreciation for," the marine said, standing aside to reveal two Klingon warrior corpses splayed atop each other with blade wounds marking their demise.

Only then did Mrazak register the Klingon bodies in his field of vision. "Wait. Why are there dead Klingons on my ship?" The blipping readouts from across the bridge demanded his attention as well. "What in the blazing Fusion happened up here?"

“We had to get a little reckless to survive,” answered Sophie, eyes still on the shield readout. “Shields now at 101% and falling. More slowly now, though.”

"It certainly was...an experience," Khaiel said, standing beside the console he had been working at.

Bao rolled his eyes. "Behold the great perceptive powers of the mighty V'tosh Ka'tur," he mumbled. He moved towards a station. "Perhaps we ought to be going before we have any more need of suicidal bravery, desperate gambits, and AIs doing things they aren't supposed to be capable of?"

"This V'tosh Ka'tur avenged your Lagashi people and didn't ask for a thank you," Mrazak said to Bao. "I think I will continue calling the shots with you following orders."

"Speaking of thank-yous..." Ryland swiveled the pilot seat around and gave Mrazak a glowing smirk. "Yours truly saved the day with a breakneck, high-speed maneuver."

"Yes, yes, good for you," Mrazak said dismissively. "What I want to hear is a status report. Prep the Quantum Slipstream Drive if it remains operational after whatever stunt it was you pulled. We must be away from this horrid frontier and get back to the heart of Federation space immediately." He grinned fiendishly. "I have a mission report to file."

Before Ryland could reply, an automated red alert sounded off. "What the blazes is that?!" Mrazak groused, throwing a sidelong glance at the nearest teal shirt.

Nandi let out a gasp and covered her mouth.

"Out with it!" Mrazak barked.

"Transwarp!" Nandi exclaimed a little too loudly. "It's a transwarp conduit of unknown configuration!"

The eyes nearly bulged out of Mrazak's sockets. "Transwarp? Red al--" He stopped himself, realizing the klaxons were already sounding. "What's coming through?"

All of the known wielders of transwarp technology, and they were few, were not friendly to Starfleet. Today would be no exception.

"Unknown," Nandi said as her fingers ran across the sensor controls. "The terminus is rippling with chroniton radiation."

Mrazak could do nothing but scowl, though it failed to hide the slight tremor of his chin. "Put it on the main viewer."

The display was crystal clear as the sensor readings had finally recalibrated from Ryland's head-on collision with the Klingon Bird-of-Prey. Even so, the terminus of transwarp conduit flickered with periodic distortion that the rendering could not fully eliminate. Chroniton radiation always did wreak havoc with sensors. At the far end of the conduit, a planet could be viewed. On the Phantom's side of the conduit was one of the largest ships Mrazak had ever seen. Its narrow forward section was long clear of the conduit and the bulk of the wider hull still had not made egress. The instantaneous nature of warp travel seemed to be lost on the massive super-carrier, as if lazily drifting between standard space and transwarp was a normal phenomenon.

"Fusion..." Mrazak whispered in awe before finding his voice. "Scans! What is that and where did it come from?!"

"Taking a wild guess here, it's a ship and it appears to have come from somewhere that is not here by way of transwarp travel," Bao deadpanned as he began scanning. "If I am not much mistaken, the planet in the background is Boreth, a volcanic Klingon world with a monastery and serves as the ceremonial throne world of the figurehead Emperor Kahless," he rattled off. "Which is to say that it should have neither the industrial capacity nor the necessary manpower to field that thing. Scans indicate it is approximately 1.2 kilometers in length, 700 meters across, and 218 meters high, with numerous auxiliary craft bays capable of holding at least 72 fighter-sized craft. You'll need someone far better at analyzing pew-pew boom-boom devices than me to quantitatively give a full tactical breakdown, but I believe the qualitative version of 'fuck' is reasonably accurate."

"I think we're about to find out," Ryland quipped. "Forward weapons batteries are hot and about to blow."

Mrazak scowled. "Take evasive action. Flank them if possible."

"Yessir," Ryland said as he brought the Phantom closer to the edge of the transwarp conduit. "Though my guess is they're ignoring us. Their vector ain't changed even though they had to have made us already."

"What are you doing?" Mrazak whispered, deep in thought. "They aren't going to attack the planet. What else could they possibly--"

"Primary weapon is firing!" Ryland reported.

The main viewer showed an aft vantage point to the super-carrier's port side. What appeared to be forward phasers launched a writhing blue beam of energy that ripped through the atmosphere of Janner's World. Its clear Class M atmosphere began writhing in a swirl of chaotic earth tones emanating from the epicenter of the beam which was glimmering with ultraviolet energies surrounding an impenetrable black nexus.

"Whatever they're doing, it's sending chroniton readings off the charts!" Nandi exclaimed. "I've never heard of anything like it!"

A volley of torpedoes launched from both sides of the super-carrier. Multiple impacts inside the heart of darkness made absolutely no sign of impact. They were simply in motion one moment and gone the next. And, then, so was Janner's World. Like a bubble in the wind, it simply winked from existence.

Mrazak blinked. "Where'd it go?" The Vulcan stormed back to the sensor suite where Nandi stood and hip-checked her out of the way. "Are the sensors still glitching?"

"Ow..." Nandi groaned.

But the systems read 100% operational. The sensors no longer registered a planet in local coordinates. Janner's World was no more and by all readings never was.

"How is that possible?!" Mrazak pounded the suite. "Even if they could atomize a planet with a solitary bombardment, there would be debris left behind. Matter can neither be created nor destroyed, only converted. The sensors aren't picking up anything but elevated chronitons!"

“With chroniton radiation,” started Sophie, stunned, “the question may well be not where, but when.”

Mrazak rolled his eyes and scoffed. "When? How preposterous of--" Then his eyes shot wide open. "Wait. If the primary weapon utilizes a chroniton beam to catalyze an eigendecomposition of the overarching quantum matrix and molecular submatrices, then all it would take is a sufficient force to divert the value of the temporal eigenvector from positive or negative to null." He raised his voice in his epiphany. "An undefined eigenstate cannot exist within spacetime!" Thrusting his finger at the main viewer, he said, "That super-carrier can knock entire objects like starships and evidently entire planets out of spacetime!"

Bao resisted the urge to scoff at Mrazak reciting such an asininely elementary and mistaken proposition as the conservation of mass. As he'd mentioned before, time and place considerations were a thing. "Mr. Hawthorn, Ms. Xiong are you familiar with the work of Annika Hansen of the Daystrom Institute and Captain Tuvok? I've only passingly seen their work but I seem to recall they co-authored at least one paper on methods for shielding against temporal attack. Perhaps, Captain, we should field-test their research, as I presume no one here present is any more eager than I am to go, wherever it is one goes when knocked out of spacetime?"

"As fascinating as what just happened is," Leah spoke up from just next to the door of the Turbolift, "we need to stop that thing. No one should have that much power." As the red alert sounded, she'd sent Jaya and Pandora to Sickbay, but Leah herself had returned to the Bridge. "So let's find that research," she said as she headed over to Sophie and Reggie.

“Do we really have time for that?” demanded Sophie. “I say we try my little shield trick again only this time, modulate the whole thing to the most typical Klingon shield harmonics and hope for the best.”

"I can find it while you implement your strategy?" Leah offered in turn, "at least you'd have a backup plan."

"Shield trick?" Mrazak said. "Presuming you were at odds with the same class of starships we battled over Alucard, I doubt your 'trick' will succeed against something of this super-carrier's magnitude." His cheek ticked as he added, "Besides. As I recall, the ship systems were in disarray for some time until I got here." Nodding at Bao, he said, "We'll go with the Commander's suggestion. If there's a way to counteract their primary weapon, then we need to do so. This cannot be allowed to go unchecked."

"Sir, we're being hailed," Nandi said with no great aplomb. In truth, she was a nervous wreck.

Mrazak narrowed his eyes. "Put it through."

The same wizened Klingon as before appeared before them, though he looked on Mrazak with suspicion. "You are not the general from before," he said suspiciously. There was a guttural lilt to his voice as the Universal Translator fought to keep up with his obscure dialect and inflection.

"Colonel Garlic has been relieved of command," Mrazak said with stoic dispassion. "I am Captain Nobody of the USS Neverwas and--"

Storr had already opened his mouth to parlay but the Vulcan's mouth was again operating at speeds previously thought impossible to sane mortals. His louder-than-respectful sigh was thankfully covered by the Grand Inquisitor's response.

"Silence!" The Grand Inquisitor's eyes bulged at the exclamation, but he quickly resumed his savage serenity. "You have proven yourself in battle, and for that honor, I shall allow you to live. However, you will not remember our encounter. We shall remember this day in our chronicles once we have purged the abomination and the world which generated it."

"You mean Corvus Prime." Mrazak turned his head askance. "Do you think we will stand idly by while you 'purge' world after world?"

The Grand Inquisitor grinned for the first time with a throaty chuckle. "Do you think this was our first meeting?"

At that, the channel terminated.

"Damn him!" Mrazak shouted.

"Cap'n, another transwarp conduit is poppin' up," Ryland reported. "Looks like that old troll is about to make good on his threat!"

"Pardon me," said Nandi, "but if I may surmise a theory? I think that our proximity to the transwarp conduit is preserving our memory of Janner's World. If we were to exit the event horizon of the temporal distortion, then the wavefunction constant of known spacetime could possibly wipe all recollection and any other connection we had to that world. The way he boasted about forgetting what happened would support that potentiality."

Mrazak scowled so hard it twisted his face. "Engage the Quantum Slipstream! Lay in a pursuit course inside the new conduit!" His eyes burned with fury. "We are Memory Theta. We are the ones who remember."

"Aye, aye," Ryland said as he guided the Phantom into the eye of the storm. "Though I hope one of you evil geniuses come up with something good because that sumbitch looks damn near invulnerable from where I'm sitting."

Khaiel just stood there at his station, still stunned by what was going on around him. While he was incredibly intelligent, a lot of what they were talking about was entirely over his head. Seems there was a lot that wasn't taught at the Academy, a fact that was hindering him right now. But he made a mental note to look into this research from the Daystrom Institute. But that would be for another day. Right now, they needed to take down this super-carrier, and an idea just popped into his head.

"Sir..." he said, somewhat quietly but he cleared his throat and tried again. "Captain Mrazak, I may have an idea."

Mrazak quirked his eyebrow at the other Vulcanoid. "Out with it, then."

"The virus we used to take down the other Klingon ships, we may be able to use it here as well." Khaiel turned to his station, bringing up a breakdown of the computer code he'd written. "It's a simple program, but the structure will still work for this vessel. We can disable it quite easily."

"If it's so easy then why haven't you done it yet?" Mrazak retorted. "Disable that thing immediately if you can!"

Khaiel jumped slightly at the outburst, but immediately turned and set to work. His fingers flew over the console as quickly as they could. A few moments passed as the Computer chirped at him in a disgruntled manner. The young man shook his head as he tried again, inputting the same command as before. Another disapproving sound from the Computer.

He could feel it. Mrazak's eyes boring a hole in the side of his head as he tried to get this plan to work. Khaiel glanced up, his eyes meeting the Vulcan's for a quick moment before he turned them back to the console. "It's not working," he said, slightly under his breath, but he knew immediately that he hadn't been quite enough. Surely the man had heard him.

"Why not?" Mrazak's volume had dropped, but so had his tone.

"If I may venture a theory, it would appear the vessel is utilizing an advanced form of temporal shielding," Nandi interjected. "We might be able to punch through a couple of times with the right phase variance, but without reinforcements, it's unlikely we could critically damage the super-carrier."

Mrazak turned his mad, withering glare on Nandi. "What about a transporter signal? Could we punch one of those through?"

"In theory?" Nandi said with a falsetto note and a shrug.

"Helm!" Mrazak shouted without looking at Ryland. "What is the ETA for this conduit's terminus in the Theta-Corvus system?"

Ryland ignored the opportunity to remind Mrazak that he was a pilot and not a navigator. He also skipped over the part where general relativity and chroniton-driven transwarp travel made the concept of time a difficult thing to estimate under the circumstances. "Couple hours?"

"How many hours?!" Mrazak barked, turning to face the helm with his fuse burned low.

"2.7 hours." Ryland laced his guess with the most confidence he could muster.

Turning back to Khaiel, Mrazak pointed a finger at the ensign. "You are going on a trip, Mister D'hikatsi. Once we find a way through their shields, you and a team of however many specialists are necessary will escort you to wherever you need to be in order to upload your kill-switch to their primary systems." Without waiting for acknowledgment, Mrazak looked around the bridge. "Who's going with him?"

Khaiel just started to shake his head, "Captain, I don't think that's a good idea. I'm not even positive this will work on the vessel. And what if..." his words trailed. "What if you can't get us out?"

"From where I'm standing, the inside of that super-carrier is the safest place in the galaxy," Mrazak said. "Now go bring it down. You and all others."

Leah said nothing, just moved to one of the consoles and brought up the readings. "I suggest we keep trying punching those holes as a distraction. If their systems keep being focused on us they might miss a transporter signal." She said after a moment.

"Don't worry, Ensign," Fin spoke up with an encouraging smile. "I'm sure Captain Mrazak will find a way to get us out. Or Commander Wolf will have his pointy ears for breakfast." She turned to Leah to give her a wink.

Leah shook her head in semi-amusement but said nothing. "It will be a cold day in Helheim before that's allowed to happen, I think," Wolf thought to herself.

"There are two," Mrazak said. "Who else will go?"

"I'll go," volunteered Cal, stepping into sight, yet not across the threshold, after a deliberate wander in the direction of the bridge. He hadn't entirely figured out his position here yet, but he knew he wasn't part of the command structure. Still, the amount of angst and focused concern between those gathered in this forward command center had dragged his curiosity closer to the mental thunderstorm. He hadn't been present to see for himself on the screens, but the imagery of the planet's disappearance had scalded into his mind from everyone's here.

"I'll lead the team," Garlake said, not moving from his position. "I seemed to have gained the respect of this...Inquisition and could use it to some advantage. I'm also told I am only good for one thing, which might actually occur on this away mission."

Mrazak nodded. "Very good. Garlic, Jarsdel, and Chu will escort D'hikatsi and ensure the super-carrier is disabled from within. The rest of us will continue remote intrusion of their systems and defense and proximity of the Phantom to secure exfiltration upon the away team's success. If there are no other questions, then get yourselves ready. Time is of the essence."

"Not to interrupt the hoo-rah speech, but we got something on nav sensors," Ryland said. Navigation at the moment was less figuring out where to go and more keeping the drive output in the redline without blowing a proverbial gasket. Even so, nav sensors were keenly scanning for nonexistent obstacles or debris inside the transwarp conduit. "Several somethings. Dunno what the Klingons are dropping, but I'd rather not find out the hard way."

Leah saw it on her scans too, "checking."

It took a few moments for the sensors to get a readout.

"They are dropping mines, proximity, by the looks of it, so we'll need to watch our distance." Wolf said finally. "Feeding the info to you now, Flight." She said to Ryland, not having quite caught the man's name yet.

"Thank ya kindly, baby gur--" Ryland got cut off as the whole ship rocked from a detonation. "What?! That wasn't anywhere us!" he shouted.

Nandi was already reviewing the sensor scans. "The detonation an antimatter detonation charged with chroniton particles. According to these scans, the mine that detonated was along our direct trajectory, as if our direct course--" The ship wracked again from another detonation.

"If you have a point, Ensign, please make it!" Mrazak barked.

"I think the proximity mines are multidimensional, meaning that a sufficiently high temporal probability is enough to detonate them!" Nandi shrugged, hoping she hadn't oversimplified.

Mrazak seemed to weigh her suggestion against what he knew of temporal mechanics. "Helm, do not perform any known evasive actions. Alter course at random intervals without observable repeat patterns."

"Why the hell would I do that?" Ryland turned around and leveled a confused expression at Mrazak. "No way we could maintain pursuit, transwarp or no transwarp."

"Just do it!" Mrazak ordered. "We can't follow them if we're blown to oblivion, and Chaos Theory may just be our only chance."

That made no sense to Ryland, but he just shrugged. He had no way to dodge mines with trick fuses and that seemed to hop positions from one second to another. "You got it... Still might wanna boost shields, engines, and all else though."

"Only after we've punched a hole through with the transporter," Mrazak said. Turning to the away team, he shouted all the louder, "Why are you still here?!"

Khaiel stood, shaking slightly as he unplugged a PADD from his console, slipping it into a safe pocket of his uniform jacket. Without a word, he headed for the turbolift.

Looking to the Marine CO, Cal canted his head and waited for Garlake to make the first move, then followed in the man's wake along with Fin.

To Be Concluded...

 

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