Proposal by Woozamagoo
Proposal by Woozamagoo
|In Bravo Fleet||3.5|
Bravo Fleet Simms
|Simm||Position||Start Year||End Year|
|Simm||Organization||Position||Start Year||End Year|
On the far fringes of Federation space a desolate, barren group of sectors continues its distant and unending orbit of the galactic core. Devoid of all but floating rock, gaseous clouds and rogue planetoids, it remains a region traversed by only the foolish, curious, or those with something to hide. Dormant for years since the Dominion war, a supply depot floats listlessly deep within asteroid field 1-SZ. Its empty corridors are as cold and lifeless as the frozen, unforgiving vacuum it inhabits. Abandoned but not forgotten, its automated long range sensors sweep an area not far from the Breen border, keeping a vigilant eye on the activities of the reclusive Confederacy.
For decades, relay stations that snaked across the Alpha Quadrant transmitted nothing out of the ordinary. Quasar radio blasts, ion storms blowing through, neutron stars blasting radiation like lighthouse beams across the murky seas of nothing all failed to even register as pertinent; too routine even for Starfleet’s exploratory mandate. That was until stardate 76228.7, 0600 hours, galactic central time. A single warp signature triggered an alert warning within Starbase 86’s Strategic Operations Centre, then another, then another.
Exactly what the Breen’s motivations are for encroaching upon this seemingly irrelevant pocket of space remain unclear. Beyond Izar, and even Dared, there lies only the Klavdia system; the non-humanoid inhabited site of a research institute not visited by the Federation in decades. The USS Altai has been dispatched for long range reconnaissance patrol and reactivation of Outpost 1-SZ. Whatever the Breen are up to, it’s up to Commander Torden Streth and the crew of the Altai to find out.
Mission Concept 1
Mission 1: “Here be Monsters”
USS Altai is tasked with reactivating border outpost station 1-SZ, installing new sensor systems, converting it back to crewed operation. The mission will establish 1-SZ as the ship’s patrol base.
Accompanied by a vessel from Starfleet Corps of Engineers and a team of technicians, the crew will settle into the old, cramped, station that has been un-manned for twenty years. Together they will struggle to get it up and running and establish a border “interdiction & security zone”. Many difficulties will be faced along the way as they settle into their cramped living arrangements and get the old equipment in working order. They will also discover that the Breen are taking a keen interest in their activities and are likely to be testing their readiness.
Mission Concept 2
Mission 2: "Terrafliction"
Crew members aboard a Nyberrite Alliance freighter carrying terraforming equipment start becoming mysteriously sick. The Altai receives a distress call and rushes to provide whatever medical assistance it can, but the sickness keeps spreading. It is found that the terraforming equipment is leaking mutagenic radiation, literally terraforming the cells of those who come too close. Some of the crew’s cells begin to transform, creating entirely new life forms which spread throughout the freighter and onto the Altai. The crew must remove the source of the radiation and reverse the transformation process, all while fighting back the mutated horrors that have spread throughout the two ships.
Mission Concept 3
Mission 3: "A Daredian Deviation"
One of the crew aboard Outpost 1-SZ is discovered to be a Daredian Allasomorph. The shapeshifter has been monitoring communications and the Altai’s movements, passing them onto the Breen using encrypted subspace communications. The crew put together the pieces, travelling to Dared to look for answers. They uncover the early stages of a Breen operation to sway Daredian public opinion against the Federation. Key government figures have been replaced with shapeshifters loyal to a pro-Breen faction. The crew of the Altai must balance protecting the Federation from a potential threat against the drawbacks of wading into regional politics.
I hope the reader might forgive such a blatant act of self-plagiarism from a competition submission written last year.
Down in Flames
Lieutenant Commander Torden Steth’s knuckles shone ghostly white as he held onto the polycarbon rail for dear life. There was simply no way for the inertial dampeners to compensate for this. It had come out of nowhere, faster than the Steamrunner Class ship could possibly have hoped to evade. Their only warning had come from being scanned by a coherent tetryon beam. There was no way to know where it was coming from, and now this. The USS Altai tumbled through space and time.
“HOLD ON!” Captain Maddox’s voice sounded strange, muffled as if his vocal cords were being stretched and distorted. His head began to distend across Torden’s field of vision, his pink human skin colour smearing into the blinking LCARS screen behind. Whatever this took the laws of quantum relativity and made mincemeat out of them.
He didn’t get long to study the effects too closely. A massive jolt sent the bridge crew tumbling, scattering them like ragdolls across the deck. Torden’s head smashed into the tactical console, sending him into a daze. All he could see now were the blurry outlines of the bridge crew, frantically trying to regain control of the ship. Their shouts sounded distant at first, then suddenly his ears were filled with the blare of the red alert klaxon.
“We’re venting plasma.”
“Deck ten is gone, hull breaches on Decks seven through nine. Reading no lifesigns on those decks.”
“Antimatter containment bre-”
The deck bucked, and the bridge crew were briefly suspended in mid air as the artificial gravity systems began to fail. Torden noticed a few globules of blue blood floating away from him, and he brought his hand up to feel a stickiness where the side of his head had been gashed. His antennae twitched in pain, but he quickly forgot all about it as he, the whole crew, and all the spinning bridge debris crashed down on the deck. The Captain’s body hung lifeless over one arm of the centre chair, the colour drained from his face. Fire suppression systems hissed, barely containing the superheated plasma that poured from the conduits connecting the bridge to the EPS grid.
Torden groaned. The sudden gravity activation had slammed him down on his right forearm, which now seared with pain when he tried to move it.
“OLAFSEN?” He choked on the fumes of burning circuitry, coughing, “BELTEK?” Grey smoke clouded the bridge. He heaved the Captain’s body from the chair with his good arm and collapsed into it.
“Sir,” Lieutenant Olafsen’s voice called out as the ship heaved again, “McClusky’s dead.” Torden looked back towards the tactical station and caught a flash of the Security Chief’s golden hair, her face was blackened and smeared with burnt tripolymer residue.
“The Captain’s gone too.” Torden grunted back, furiously inputting commands as fast as his disoriented state would allow. “Can you get anything on sensors?”
“Negative, sir. It’s all out. Internal, external, short range.”
Something began smashing on the other side of the turbolift doors. They parted, but only by an inch or so. “Medical team.” A voice called through the gap, altogether too calmly given the situation. Olafsen engaged the manual lift door controls, cranking them wider until N’Vea, the Chief Medical Officer slipped through.
“The Captain…” Her voice trailed off. Her uniform was smeared red, her right sleeve shredded. A slender forearm, now exposed, was grazed and scratched from her climb through the turbolift shaft. The dermal regenerator in her hand, however, was not for her. That would have been illogical. She surveyed what remained of the bridge, approaching Torden to inspect the gash on his head. Another medical officer began to check the incapacitated crew for vitals.
Torden winced as her fingers brushed against the wound. “What’s the situation in sickbay?”
“Most of the main engineering staff is there. The antimatter containment breach on deck ten resulted in a power surge. Twelve dead, fourteen suffering severe plasma burns. Hold still.” Torden felt instant relief from the pain as the regenerator hovered over his skin. “Your arm is broken,” the Vulcan added, “you require immediate treatment in sickbay.”
“Reactivating computer outputs.” Olafsen announced, and almost in reply the computer’s monotone voice rang out after the standard two-tone chime that Torden knew and loathed.
“Warning. Structural integrity near critical. Emergency forcefields failing.”
It felt like the bottom half of his stomach had just fallen away. They all felt it. A sudden lurch, as if they were riding an aeroshuttle turning into a dive. He knew that feeling, it was more than an artificial gravity malfunction. How could it be happening now? They were nowhere near any gravity wells.
“Sir, main viewer coming back online.”
His stomach sank again, but in a different way. Apart from a tiny shrinking strip of space, the orange glare of a class H desert planet filled the screen. There was no time to think about where, or how. They were too close.
“All hands, this is the XO.” Torden barked over the intercom, “Abandon ship. Proceed directly to emergency escape pods. Repeat. All hands, abandon ship.”
The planet’s surface began to slowly rotate on the viewscreen. Torden could feel the reverberations that gripped the entire ship. He clung to the centre chair as the remaining bridge crew scrambled to the pods. The jeffries tube hatches had been popped, and Lieutenant Olalfson lowered herself down after the others. She looked up at the Andorian who seemed frozen, eyes locked onto the planet which now rotated faster. The Altai plunged into the planet’s exosphere. Gravity’s gyroscopic forces grew stronger, spinning the ship like rifling would a bullet exiting the muzzle of an ancient firearm.
“Let’s go, Commander!” Olafsen yelled, with only her torso and head visible, jeffries tube hatch braced against her arm ready to slam shut. Still, Torden was silent. The creaks and groans of the hull accompanied a dull roar as the atmospheric resistance began to heat the Altai’s forward section. “STRETH!”
Torden whirled around to face her, the whites of his eyes and pale blue skin cut a stark contrast against the brilliant orange light from the viewer that now flooded the bridge. Torden jumped up, and Olafsen exhaled, ducking down through the opening as fast as she could. He followed, glimpsing the bridge one final time as he climbed down into the tube. It was dark and difficult to hold on. It was like the ship was howling in protest, having been ripped from orbit against its will and forced into an early grave. He climbed as fast as he could, one arm hanging limp by his side. On deck three he tumbled into a vacant escape pod. Some had already been jettisoned; a good sign. Olafsen was already seated. He strapped in.
The escape pod housing on the dorsal side of the Altai’s hull exploded open before immediately being ripped away by the shearing force of its downward spiral. Maneuvering thrusters fired, hurling the tiny duranium life vessel out and away. It didn’t matter where, as long as it was away from the impact site. The ship was breaking up. Streaks of flame trailed the path it cut against a blue sky, growing bigger as the oxygen density increased on the descent. Hull fragments scattered away, followed by the entire starboard nacelle ripped away from its housing. Torden shielded his eyes from the explosion. From the size of it, he could only surmise it must have been the warp core, finally engulfing the incinerated hulk in a ball of seething flame. Torden watched from the pod’s small viewport as it passed out of sight below. He knew what was coming next. He could almost make out the shockwave rippling through the air. The pod was thrown from its axis, thrusters firing wildly in a futile attempt to regain its trajectory. Blood pooled in Torden’s head while the pod fought with centrifugal forces far beyond its safety parameters. Down, down they plummeted for what would have seemed like an eternity if Torden had at this point possessed any rational concept of time. He gritted his teeth and closed his eyes.
“Warning. Insufficient deceleration distance.” The computer’s alert drove the obvious home.
The first thing he noticed was the silence. A cool breeze. Sand stuck to the gaps between his fingers. It felt calming, like the cavern lakes on Indarax. The turquoise shimmering water would wash over that sand, white like his own hair. He’d slept on that beach. It was a peaceful place.
A distant voice. Vulcan. Familiar. “He’s conscious.”
His skin burned. His eyes felt dry, stuck to the skin of his eyelids. He coughed, heaving, and pain ripped through his chest. He tried to take a breath but instead came a series of excruciating gasps. One arm was immobile and numb. Something attached prevented him from bending it. His other arm reached out, fumbling around. He tested his weight on it.
“Don’t move.” That voice again.
He pushed against the sand, propping himself up. The agony came in bolts through his chest.
N’Vea’s voice belied her distress, “Commander, you must remain still. You have sustained severe traumatic injuries, continued movement will only-”
“The ship.” Torden groaned. His eyelids peeled back. The sun beat down on his blistered face. He took a first step forward. Immediately he doubled over, body wracked by a deep spasm. Between his feet, the blood that dripped from his mouth was quickly absorbed by the hot sand. “Where?”
The USS Altai’s wreckage was a miniscule blemish on Ocampa’s spotless burning sea. Thousands of kilometres away, with clockwork regularity, pulses of light collided with the surface. For now, the crash survivors had barely moved beyond the scorched obsidian rings that marked their landing sites. The only vessel to take notice of their emergency transponders, Kazon. Barely an hour had passed for them in this distant corner of space, 70,000 lightyears from their origin. Despite events, they had yet to make acquaintances with the true brutality of the Delta Quadrant.