Literary Challenge #24 : Tholian Encounter, Part II
Hello and welcome to another edition of our writers' challenges! :cool:
Today we start the two-week run of the twenty-fourth Literary Challenge: Tholian Encounter, Part II
An old enemy has reemerged and taken interest in a system in the Neutral Zone. Interspatial rifts have been discovered on Nukara Prime, a demon-class planet in the Eta Eridani Sector Block, and now the reclusive Tholians are intent on claiming the world and its secrets for themselves.
This is the writer's thread -- only entries should be made here.
The Discussion Thread can be found HERE.
We also have an Index of previous challenges HERE.
The rules may change from one challenge to another, but I'd like to remind everyone what the base rules are. These may grow as we move on, so also feel free to give feedback!
Captain's Log, Stardate: Today
Tholian vessels have been sighted in the Nukara system, which makes sense as there have been several groups of Tholians on the surface of Nukara Prime. However, this is not my main concern.
What really troubles me is that several starships with markings of the Tholian Assembly have been sighted extremely close to the Federation's core worlds such as Earth, Vulcan, Andor, and Tellar.
Also extremely troubling is ships from the Mirror Universe have been sighted with increasing frequency near these worlds.
Vice Admiral George Aubrey@sharpie67, Access Denied
Captains log: Stardate; hell if I know...
Now that the rest of Pegasus fleet has arrived as support, I have requested immediate R&R for my crew.
The Argama was tasked to investigate reports of Tholian activity on Nukara Prime, when we arrived, we fell into a KM situation...
Demon-class atmosphere restricting equipment options, full-scale Tholian invasion, nigh ineffective weaponry... we were lucky to bring anyone back at all.
14 investigation teams M.I.A. , 3 rescue squads K.I.A., medical supplies depleted, and I lost a dear friend.
We found... a mirror Dendrobium, hidden within catacombs in the mountains. My trusted friend, captain of our Dendrobium, second in command of Pegasus fleet, Cagalli recommended that we attempt to scuttle the Odyssey class vessel. We failed...
4 teams sent to other locations were lost, I led the core demolition team with experienced officers, and a junior officer trained on Odyssey class vessels, Ted.
We were ambushed the moment we started preparations to scuttle the ship. Our weapons were ineffective so we had to fall back towards the surface for evac.
I was hit in the leg pretty badly, my team ignored my standing order that no-one risk their life for me. Ted placed our last turret to block the Tholian advance long enough for them to carry me out of the cave, but the targeting system failed. Ted stayed behind to aim manually.
Lying in sick-bay, I make the recommendation that Ted be posthumously commended for his valour, bravery and sacrifice. I also recommend that every available ship be sent to Nukara Prime, loaded with combat grade EV suits and modulate as many weapons as possible for sonic capability.
The line must be drawn here...
"Computer; end recording and forward to command. So doc, how long will I be in here for?"
"You'll be up and about by the time we reach the next starbase. Though you won't be leading any away teams for a while." says Zazhid, struggling to hide her feelings.
"I don't know how I managed without you, Zazhid" Amuro said, trying to lighten the mood.
Zazhid couldn't hold back any longer, flinging her slender arms around Amuro, shedding tears from her deep, ocean blue eyes "I don't know what I'd do if we ever lost you..."
Amuro held Zazhid close; "Nor do I... Nor do I..."
Zazhid looked up, "I'll have Allan get started on contacting families of the lost crew."
Amuro interjected, "No, that is my task, and mine alone. Co-ordinate with Allan, and our good friend Char, of the Ra Cailum. We need to bring the Argama back to a full crew complement.
See if you can get us some new Peregrine refits for the hangar bay too. We're going to need them when we go back..."
Captain's Log, Stardate 86561.1
After being in orbit around Nukara Prime for three days, we have finally ascertained the proper weapons to beam to the planet in order to quell the Tholian invasion.
Unfortunately, I believe we may have much more of an issue than Command realizes. One-hundred-seven additional starships have beamed personnel to the combat zone.
It's quite surprising, but today I received notice that I personally killed one thousand Tholian officers. I'm not sure how I feel about that. However, due to the fact that the Tholian's made the aggressive action, I am more at ease than mournful. If any Tholians were to leave into Federation or Klingon space it would threaten the fragile peace we have worked so hard to achieve.
I have sent several requisitions to Starfleet. With the new sonic weapons and armor plated environmental suits designed to function within the Class Y planet's atmosphere, we are hoping to regain a foothold. Only time will tell.
I have instructed Commander Mungege to keep all Anti-Proton Cannons on stand by. The Scorpio will remain in orbit as I continue to combat the Tholians with my fleetmates and fellow officers at my side.
End Log - U.S.S. Scorpio - Akira Class Carrier - Sorin Lisaran commanding.
Captain's Log, Meliss OEH-28477, Supplemental.
We have finally reached Nukara Prime, and now I can see why this ship was ordered here. The Bethune is primarily a medical vessel, maybe better armed than most other hospital ships but ... still a hospital ship.
With a crew that is about as far from the humanoid norm as you can get. Three sentient holgrams, a number of liberated Borg and several horta. While most species would find the conditions on Nukara Prime to be excessively inhospitable, we would be far less affected than most others.
Our first foray onto the planet's surface was exploratory in nature rather than military. There may be a lot of hostile Tholians down there, but I wasn't going to just rush in.
A small base camp has already been constructed on the surface, and I took Commander Naraht and Lieutenant Benson with me to do a little exploring. Luckily, it seems that horta aren't particularly troubled even by a Y class planet's atmosphere, and both my emitter and Benson's could withstand it for a significant, if not infinite, amount of time.
There appears to be widespread spatial distortions across the planet, as well as outcroppings of some strange crystalline substance. We were attempting to study such an outcropping when the Tholians decided to turn up in force.
Luckily for us, when they chased us into a cave, they decided to wait outside.
Normally, this would have worked - without pattern enhancers we can't get a transporter lock on most of Nukara, and they clearly knew that the cave was small. Going in would have been costly, and there was no way out.
Until Commander Naraht made one. Trying to trap a horta in stone is an exercise in futility.
Something serious is going on here, and I suspect that both the crystals and the distortions are involved. The Tholian presence here has already drawn both Federation and Klingon responses, and I doubt that they would provoke this kind of reaction without some solid, significant gain.
While we try to find out just what that gain is, the Bethune has taken up a low orbit over the planet. The Tholians lack any ground to space weapons capability, and a lower orbit will reduce the strain on the Bethune's transporters, allowing her to better assist the wounded that we already have on the surface, and the many more that will come.
Captains log: Stardate 80859.93
Few days ago we receive a emergency broadcast over the subspace concerning a daemon class planet by the name of the Nukara prime in the Federation-Klingon neutral zone. Ships of the Tholian assembly have been spotted in the vicinity of the system and all available ships have
What troubles me is that the Tholians are extreme isolationists and now they suddenly invade in the neutral zone. My first officer Tekra is making modifications to our away team weapons we dont know much about the Tholians but if they are invading we shall draw the line.
Our contract with Starfleet give us obligation to assist in any way possible so i have contacted the rest of the Galactic Privateers Syndicate and await reinforcements.
Another troubling think is the massing of Klingon ships over the planet if the Tholians are not the main problem we may have to deal with the Klingon armada.
First reports are already arriving it is an invasion i am sending down all available hands including myself already send a wide band broadcast of the situation.
I am leaving the command of Cardassian Legacy to my science officer Serak for the time.
can i make it in comic form
Char'li She'en trudged down the corridor in his bulky EV suit with the massive CRM 200 strapped to his back. He couldn?t hear the sound of his armored boots, but knew that they must have echoed throughout the IKS Targ's Blood. With the helmet on, the only thing he could hear besides his breathing was the comm traffic that filtered through his headset. He rather enjoyed it and the effect that it had on his crew. They stayed away from the armored behemoth. Those that were brave enough to seek him out, he was easily able to ignore them by muting the channel or alternating the subspace frequency to his personal music database. Upon reaching the transporter room, he stepped onto the padd, turned to the transporter operator and gave the command to transport him down to the Staging base on Nukara.
The other members of the House of Caspian were already waiting for him. He couldn?t tell who was who underneath the heavily armored EV suits. The staging base was crowded with people. "Where in the name of Grethor are you guys?" Char'li demanded over the open comm channel.
"We?re over here," Circe replied.
"Oh yah, that helps a lot," Char'li responded as he looked around. "Could you be a bit more specific?"
With a hearty laugh, Yellev Ydoow responded, "We?re over here. I?m the one waving my arms."
Char'li She'en looked around and saw a small four man team huddled in a corner near the forcefield overlooking the hostile demon-class battlefield over-running with Tholians. One of them was waving at him. Char'li raised an arm in response and approached the group of armored warriors. "Let?s get this show on the road," he replied when he joined them.
TobeQa pulled out her dual pistols from the holsters at her side and led the group to the lone transporter pad in the center of the staging base. "Let?s transport to the forward base Bravo."
Gar'Toris replied, "Let's do this!" He dematerialized. The others followed him, leaving Char'li alone on the staging base. He punched up the coordinates for the Bravo forward base and followed his comrades.
When he rematerialized at the forward base, his fleetmates were firing at a Tholian that had spotted their arrival and came charging at them. Char'li wasted no time in revving up his CRM 200 and fired a frigid pulse at the Tholian. Its body instantly froze in place, as his compatriots unleashed with everything they had from their own weapons. The Tholian began to shake and vibrate as cracks began to course through its crystalline exoskeleton.
"Stand back, it's going to shatter!" Yellev called out as he sought cover behind the communications console.
Circe, Gar'Toris, and Tobeca scattered in other directions and took cover behind boulders and large rock outcroppings as the Tholian exploded into jagged shards of razor-sharp crystal. Char'li missed being impaled by Tholian shrapnel by diving out of range. With the immediate danger behind them, Char'li got to his feet and met up with his fleet mates. They checked each other's suits for damage, since the hostile environment of the demon class planet would not hesitate to kill them by exploiting any weakness in their armor.
Tobeca pointed down a narrow ravine, and asked, "What is that?"
Everyone turned their attention to a Tholian crystal lattice secured to a rock out cropping at the far end of the chasm. Circe nodded and jogged towards it with her weapon at the ready. Gar'Toris, Yellev, and Tobeca covered their flanks, while Char'li covered the rear.
Yellev called the team to a halt as he began firing down a crack in the rock face. Two Tholians emerged and began attacking. Another pair wandered in from near the crystalline lattice and another crawled in from behind them. They were surrounded. The House of Caspian returned fire and killed the Tholians nearly as fast as they came into view. Sonic and Frigid attacks coupled with plasma grenades made quick work of their enemies. They had to move quicker, but they also couldn?t ignore the data slates that the Tholians dropped, though they had no idea what was on them.
The warriors continued down the ravine towards the crystalline cage. As they approached, it became clear that there was a person inside. Gar'Toris took careful aim at the net and fired. When the trap disrupted, the EV suited individual inside fell from it. Yellev approached the fallen warrior and checked them for injuries. As he scanned, the others covered him as more Tholians emerged from wood work. The warrior handed over another pad that he had taken off the Tholian that had entrapped him and explained that it contained an access code required to shut down the interspatial rift generators. Yellev slapped a transporter tag on him and called for them to be immediately evacuated. With the warrior safely transported off the planet, they continued towards a nearby clearing.
Their first order of business was to clear the clearing from the dozen or so Tholians that attacked from all directions. Char'li used his CRM 200 to blanket a mob of spiders, while Gar'Toris, Tobeka, Circe, and Yellev fired their sonic and proton weaponry. Tholians fell all around them. However, as their numbers decreased, more emerged from the interspatial rift that a trio of generators emitted.
They needed to shut them down and fast.
"Cover me!" Char'li shouted over the coms as he ran over to the closest generator. He removed one of the Tholian data slates from the pocket in this EVA suit and entered its code into the generator. When it shutdown, the interspatial rift flickered for a moment before the remaining generators compensated. "Who?s next?" he asked as he took aim at another Tholian.
Tobeka killed a Tholian and ran towards another of the generators. She entered the shutdown code but it was wrong code. She tried another and another before the generator shutdown. A Tholian emerged from the rift. It attacked Tobeka and nearly impaled her, when Gar'Toris ran up to it, pushed it back with a hearty swing of his rifle. It bought Tobeka enough time to take aim at the Tholian and unleashed a hail of sonic bolts at it.
Circe stepped to the remaining generator and entered one of the shutdown codes that she had acquired. The rift flickered, deposited an angry Tholian Lieutenant, and closed. The Tholian launched its acidic web at them. It struck Char'li and Yellev, and the acid began to break down the reinforced armor of their EVA suits. They needed to get out of the mess before the acid compromised them. While Char'li and Yellev dealt with their issues; Gar?Toris, Circe and Tobeka unleashed everything they had on the Tholian.
The distressed Tholian called out to its friends and they rushed into the clearing. They were surrounded once again. If they were going to survive this, they needed to kill these Tholians and get back to the transporter pad in once piece.
Char'li and Yellev made it out of the soup and redirected their attention to the Tholian Lieutenant. Moments later, it was dead. "Winning!" Char'li exclaimed victoriously. They began to retreat down the ravine they had just come from as they targeted the Tholians that pursued them. The Tholians dropped like flies. The warriors of the House of Caspian cleared out the remaining spiders just as they reached the transporter. They called for an evacuation and returned to the staging base.
Char'li removed his helmet and wiped some sweat from his ridges. "I don?t know about you, but after all of that I need a drink. I say we return to the House of Caspian Starbase, and I?ll buy the first round."
"I could drink," Tobeka replied after thinking about it for a moment. "Last one there buys the rest of the rounds."
The others agreed and hailed their respective vessels to be beamed back onboard.
Personal Log: Colonel Sevak Sharp:
It has been a week since my team was rescued from the surface of Nukara Prime. Myself, and Lieutenant Enree remain in the ICU undergoing treatment for our injuries. I must say the facilities here at K-7 are much improved, and their medical staff are most kind. I wasn't surprised either to find my wife here. Admiral Olio says we owe much to her bravery. I'm not surprised by that either.
I am also grateful to Lieutenant Enree and her skills as a scientist. Admiral Alvarez informed me that she is being given a rightful promotion, and manning the deflector console aboard the Stellar Drift. Kim is certainly receiving one of the finest officers in the fleet.
I wish I could remember more of my experience on Nukara. Unfortunately, the nature of my injuries is preventing me from recalling much of it. Most of what is left in my mind are amalgamations of dreams mixed with reality. At this point, it's difficult to ascertain what is what.
However, I do remember what appeared to be alternate universe technology, and perhaps evidence that the Tholians have been using gateways to an alternate universe for their advantage. There is a fear that they may be shuttling technology from this universe and altering the timeline in other realities.
I have made a full report to Starfleet Intelligence, as well as the leadership with the V'Shar. There is hope that what little I can provide them will assist any more expeditionary teams. Some of whom I hope to be a part of once Doctor Lethi releases me.
Kim tells me that she is permanently being assigned to Taskforce Sierra, along with Captains Bain, Suari, and Anja. Even Vaihuu is being asked to transfer from Starfleet Medical, to help establish more of a presence in this sector. I would be lying if I said I wasn't giving some thought of petitioning the V'Shar to allow me to remain here as a representative of sorts, or finally resign my commission from them and rejoin Starfleet.
The last few months I have spent back with the V'Shar have been rewarding, but there is a certain measure of familiarity between now and the Dominion War, when Kim and I would chase each other around the front through different assignments. It makes me uneasy, especially with the change in our relationship. I am relieved to see her, and I owe her once again, but in the back of my mind there is a thought that we are how humans call it, "tempting fate."
That aside, there is little doubt in my mind that with the Tholians making a push this close to the heart of Federation and Klingon territory, that they represent a disturbing new threat.
Admiral Olio informs me he is meeting with General Hara Tal, a representative of a leading house within the Klingon Defense Force to see if we can get an ear with the High Council. General Tal is a new face, and from what I gather, one that needs to remain quiet. All I have been told by the Admiral is that she is unusual. I hope that his efforts will not be fruitless, and at least there may be a temporary cease fire.
Captain's log Stardate: 88568.8
I was a little surprised when the orders came in. A normal mission along the normal channels. But after our last mission I'm not surprised that Drake would keep his distance. It was an odd request for my crew, but at the same time I could see the need for our skills. There'd been an incident on Nukara Prime and the Geist had been called in to investigate. Nukara Prime is a Y-Class or a demon planet. Recently there had been a discovery of some interspacial portals. After dispatching a team it was discover that Tholians had taken the planet. Tholians... I could hardly believe it when I'd read the report. It had been a while since the Tholians had caused any problems. Since it was a bit of a flight from the Lectarian home world to the Nukara system so I decided to start running drills in preparation. Using the holodecks I had two teams running simultaneous incursions. To get them used to the environment all drills were ran in full EV suits.
From the daily reports I was getting over subspace the Tholians had been increasingly aggressive. Normally territorial, they were now attacking on sight. Our orders were clear: Investigate only. Intervention was only to be a last resort, one that would prove difficult with the reports that were coming in. Upon arrival the observation team had a startling new discovery, that the Tholians were using the portals to capture Federation officers. The strange thing was there had been nothing in the way of missing officer reports. Had the Tholians managed some form of interspacial portals like the Iconians? Was Section 31 behind the cover up of missing crewman? I could only assume at this point until we had more information, but it would make sense to cover this up if it meant keeping such a discovery out of enemy hands. At first it was business as we'd planned. Observe and investigate. I sent Beta team to gather crystal samples as well as try and gather more information on the portals.
Team Alpha was sent to a near by system of caves where the Tholians had set up a base and were taking the captives. It was here that we learned the most. Inside we found that while they were capturing officers, they weren't Federation. They were Terran. It's not common knowledge but this isn't the first time the Tholians have attempted transdimensional studies, but again, those records are strictly controlled and regulated. Once inside Alpha Team managed to find a lot more questions than answers. The Tholians were indeed capturing Terrans but no one really seemed to know why, even the Terrans them selves. As far as any one could tell they were gathering intelligence on terran technology, interrogating the prisoners about the various things they've taken from what some at Section 31 call a "mirror" universe. My concern was that Terran technology is the same as and in some cases modeled directly after that of the Federation. There was no telling what the Tholians could learn from reverse engineering our technology for weaknesses. More troubling was that some of the prisoners in the Tholian complex came from a captured Terran Cruiser. One that seemed be be the "mirror" copy of our own Flag ship the U.S.S. Enterprise. Intervention now seemed a direct imperative.
Collaborating both teams from the war room aboard the Geist it was decided to strike both fronts at once to split up forces. Beta team would make a direct assault on what the original observation team believes to be the Project Manager with security teams beaming in as needed. Alpha team shortly after would Make it's way it's way to the captured Terran vessel overloading the computer core frying any and all systems in the ship with out causing the warp core to overload. An explosion like that would take out a sizeable chunk of the planet itself, but add in the volatile nature of a Demon class planet as well as the crystals the Tholians are using, who knows what other type of damage would be done. I'm not sure if it was just blind luck or poor planning on the Tholians, but the ship had already had several major components removed. The warp core, one of several holodecks, a shuttle, and the computer core itself. With all systems seemingly still wired to the ship the plan was still in effect, with out having to traverse the ships interior and escape before the overload. A new problem how ever would be that Alpha team would have to defend the core as the Tholians would no doubt try to shut down the self destruct.
It wasn't long before both teams had been surrounded by Tholians from all sides. While Beta team was using the cover provided by the rock formations the Tholians began pouring in through the interspacial rifts. Ensign Richards figured out that a charged burst from the phaser rifles would disrupt the portals much like it did with dividian portals. The portals collapsing though had the unseen effect of rupturing the crystals in the cavern, some of which were connected to a natural reservoir of a highly acidic source causing a slight flooding. Despite the set back, the Tholian project leader was arrested pending further investigations. The remaining Tholian forces pinned Alpha team down around the computer core. I doubt they would have survived had it not been for Commander Keating using the computer core to activate the warp core. A dangerous move, but one just as inspiring. The Tholians pulled the systems out in haste, so activating it caused the plasma to leak out.
Normally deadly to organic species, the Tholians crystalline structure was enough to protect them, but not enough to let them cross the cloud. The rest of Alpha team began to follow suit, activating any and all nearby systems. One such system was the environmental controls from a hall way that had been removed, were able to start lowering the temperature enough to help fend of the Tholians. Even the shuttle's phaser array was able to be used to defend the computer core as it ran through the 5 minutes it would need to over load the ship. It wasn't until the holodeck had been activated that I had a sudden realization. The last program running was about the Borg. As Alpha team used the drones to fight the Tholians I had Commander T'pal go through Alpha teams conversations with the Terrans they freed. Along with the seemed to be interested in the Borg, or at least how the Terrans were handling them. Once the Computer Core had begun self destruct we beamed Alpha team out of there. As planned the overload of the systems was enough to destroy the systems of the ship with out destroying the warp core. A small sonic charge left on the warp core would be enough to shatter any dilithium as well as leak the remaining plasma making the warp core itself unusable.
Still though, after bringing back both teams and all dispatched security personnel I find myself with more questions than answers. Could the Tholians be working with their "Mirror" selves? What is the interest in the Borg, or old weaponry like the Tr-116? There's something happening here and frankly I'm not even sure Section 31 knows all the angles yet. The Tholians aren't a new enemy, but they're not like mostly of the enemies we face. With these portals the Tholians can swarm in seconds. Who knows how far they can project these portals or what else they can do with them. It seems for the time being all we can do now is wait.
Captain James Charles Donovan
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