Literary Challenge #36 : The Haunting of Deck 13
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Join Date: Jul 2012
01-21-2013, 11:47 PM
Captain's Log, Stardate 86787.54. The
is currently exploring nebulae in the Hromi Cluster. The only incident of note is an impact with unidentified debris passing through a cerulean nebula. As our shields were off-line at the time due to nebulaic interference, we are en route to Starbase 157 for examinations and potential repairs.
Admiral Remus Lee stared at the container of metreon gas hanging on his ready room wall as Security Ensign Lutz waited at the door.
"It's open!" he cried, leveling his tetryon pistol at the container as Lutz walked in.
"Admiral!" Lutz shouted, struggling to maintain his composure as the tetryon bolts hit the wall around the container. "Commander Serket has completed the security report and would like you to review it as soon as you can."
Lee holstered his weapon as he took the PADD from Lutz. It was unusual for Aranea to send a subordinate to deliver the security report, as she relished personally handing the security report to him with a dash of Orion pheromones just to test his faculties. Lee began perusing the report.
"Armory informs that photon grenade supplies are replenished, assault squad shuttles report condition green... what's this?" Lee pondered as he glanced at a section titled
Mysterious events on Deck 13
. Lutz began squirming uncomfortably as Lee read the section allowed.
At 0000J today, a Crewman Mar of Deck 13 reported a failure of the sonic shower. Since then, other malfunctions have been plaguing the occupants of Deck 13. These systems failures have ranged from simple waste extraction failures and replicator mix-ups to electroplasma shock and loss of gravity. Personnel on Deck 13 have also sighted various unidentified persons wandering the corridors. At 0800J, Deck 13 lost atmospheric controls; on my authority as security chief, I have sealed the deck and am assembling a security team to investigate the nature of these mishaps.
Commander Aranea Serket, Security Chief, USS
Lee frowned as he checked his watch. 0800J was four hours ago; Aranea's absence most likely meant that her mission failed.
"Ensign Lutz, do you know where the security chief is, and why it took four hours for this to come to my attention?" Lee queried.
Lutz blanched visibly.
"Commander Serket went with several security officers into Deck 13, but the team became MIA. Their lifesigns are still active, but we're unable to transport them out. Commanders Taylor and Nethri are at Turbolift A-1 on Deck 12 to salvage the situation," Lutz replied.
Upon hearing this, Lee took out his Environmental Suit from the locker and strode out his ready room. Lutz began panicking as he tapped his combadge.
"Commander Taylor! The admiral's heading your way!" he shouted, before hurrying out himself.
Commander Kay Taylor braced herself as Admiral Lee exited the turbolift onto Deck 12 in full environmental gear.
"Admiral," she lectured, blocking Lee as he tried to wriggle his way past her. "Starfleet regulations prohibit the commanding officer of a starship to enter a potentially hazardous situation."
"Starfleet regulations also require the commanding officer of a starship to be responsible for the well-being of his or her crew, now let me through, Kay," Lee retorted, vainly attempting to evade his first officer while wearing a bulky EV suit.
Taylor began to glower as Lee kept trying to squirm past her.
"This is why Drevis and I didn't inform you immediately about this situation. We knew that you would pull a Kirk and attempt to rescue the security personnel alone. This is an unacceptable risk for an admiral to be taking."
Commander Drevis Nethri stepped in between the two quarrelers to defuse the situation.
"Now, admiral, Kay and I were only concerned about what would happen to you if you went into an unknown situation. We still don't know what's going on down in Deck 13. We've been able to rescue part of the security team, but life support and gravity controls are down. Aranea and Ensign Socci are still unaccounted for, and Lieutenant Velmer fell out of contact with us trying to reach them."
Taylor nodded contemplatively.
"The only clue we have as to what's occurring down there," she said as she held up a PADD, "is that every display, PADD, and console has the word
on it, and we can't clear the consoles to check their information."
Lee nodded contemplatively in turn as he inched towards the Jeffries Tube.
"Could this be an assault by the Borg or the Tholians?" Lee inquired.
"There hasn't been any sign of unusual Borg tech on Deck 13 or elsewhere on the ship. The security team noticed various unidentified personnel walking throughout the deck, but- Hey!" Taylor cried, as Lee slipped down the Jefferies Tube into the murk of Deck 13.
Lee slowly propelled himself down Deck 13 as Drevis guided him via combadge. Just as Commander Taylor said, every console on Deck 13 read
. Smoke billowing out from various devices made visibility close to zero.
"Drevis, can you give me a general location for Aranea, Velmer, and Socci?" Lee asked.
"They're all in closed rooms throughout Deck 13, admiral," Drevis replied. "Something down there is keeping them incapacitated. Lieutenant Velmer is a few meters in front of you, in crew quarters M-113."
"Roger that, Drevis. Lee out."
Lee made his way to M-113, forcing the doors open with a piece of paneling. Inside, he found Lieutenant Velmer being interrogated by an Andorian Imperial Guardsman.
"Where do you come from? Do you spy for the Vulcans? We'll see what secrets we'll pry from you before we turn you against the pointed-ears!"
As the guardsman repeated his inquiry, he noticed Lee, shouting the same to him before rushing at him, unhindered by the lack of gravity. Piece of paneling in hand, Lee shoved it into the Andorian's chest before using his thrusters to launch himself into the Andorian. Upon contact with the wall, the Andorian vanished. Lee recovered quickly from the impact, but was still dazed at the Andorian's disappearance.
"Drevis, Kay, did sensors pick up an Andorian intruder?"
"Negative, admiral, we haven't picked up any signs of Andorians, although to be honest, we can't pick anything up except for you and the other EV suits. There's too much background radiation to do anything except keep tabs on them."
"Curiouser and curiouser," Lee pondered, as he reconnected Velmer's air supply and injected her with tri-ox compound. She quickly came around, surprised at Lee's presence.
"Admiral! You shouldn't be down here! This is a dangerous place!" she exclaimed.
"Yes, I know, Commander Taylor told me all about the dangers of Deck 13. Can you walk?"
"That Andorian cut my leg with an ushaan before dragging me in here. My suit sealed automatically, but I don't think I can walk."
Lee tied a length of coil around Velmer's waist before drawing his compression pistol.
"Kay, inform the transporter room that I'm going to send Lt. Velmer out the window. Keep scanning for her lifesigns outside Deck 13, room M-113."
As soon as he finished, Lee fired four bolts into the window, shattering it and exposing the crew quarters to empty space. Lee slowly unwound Velmer out the window before she was transported to Sickbay. Lee made his way out M-113, shutting the door behind him. As he turned around, a Vulcan science minister greeted him.
"You seem to have had quite the journey. I hope that your experience with the Andorians have not soured your quest for knowledge. Live long and prosper, and may you find your way home," the minister said, before walking down the corridor.
"Hey! Tell me what's going on!" Lee yelled, but the Vulcan minister went on his way, vanishing into the smoke.
"This is some karked stuff down here, Kay. Are you sure you're not picking anything else up?" asked Lee.
"Negative, admiral, just your lifesigns, a lot of EM radiation, and a slow power drain."
What could this mean?
Lee thought to himself as he boosted down the corridor.
These mystery people have got to be involved in these events. In any case once Aranea and Ens. Socci are rescued I'll evacuate the chevron and tow it to Starbase 157 with the stardrive section.
Lee's inner thoughts were rudely interrupted by a Ferengi marauder dragging the limp body of Ensign Socci down the corridor. Unfurling his energy whip, the marauder flung several bolts of electricity in Lee's direction as he ran in the other direction, shouting "I can't make a profit with space trash! There's nothing of value here! Just useless junk!" Surging forward through the flurry of bolts, Lee reached Socci but lost sight of the Ferengi.
"Kay, Drevis, I've found Ensign Socci. He seems to be alive, but just barely. I don't think I can drag him to a Jeffries tube in time to save him."
"Admiral, if you can take Socci to turbolift E-1, we can be in place to catch him on deck 14."
As Lee brought Socci to the turbolift shaft, Socci began drifting back into consciousness.
"Mao, Tojo, watch out for that Klingon... they're taking Commander Serket to Observation Room 13... What is that, some sort of space squid..."
As Socci began fading into unconsciousness, Lee unceremoniously tipped him into the turboshaft before continuing down the hallway. Lee contacted Commander Taylor again.
"Kay, can you give me any information about Observation Room 13?"
"Other than that Aranea's there, no. However, it is the closest room to where that unidentified space debris hit our ship, if there's any connection."
"Thanks, Kay. Lee out."
As Lee reached Observation Room 13, he was confronted by a flying squid-like entity, which screeched at him. Fed up with the shenanigans of mysterious beings, Lee lobbed a photon grenade in its direction. The squid creature escaped into Observation Room 13, with the photon grenade exploding impotently against the sealed bulkhead door. Swearing softly to himself, Lee attempted to open the door manually. As he prepared to place the emergency hand actuators, a Pakled captain stepped though the closed doors and greeted him.
"Do you need help?" said the Pakled.
"I am trying to find a friend, I think she is behind this door," Lee replied, his sense of incredulity having run dry.
"You are tiny," said the Pakled. "Can you still go?"
As the Pakled captain spoke, he pulled the door open unassisted. Lee became baffled as the Pakled reentered the room. Inside the observation room were aliens of all kinds, surrounding a sizable piece of debris embedded in a desk computer. Throughout the room, the word
flashed on all displays. Lee regained his composure as he saw his missing security chief restrained on the desk.
"Attention! This is Admiral Remus Lee of the USS
! You are holding one of my crew hostage! Release my crew and vacate the premises or swift action will be taken!" Lee blustered.
In response, a Klingon warrior jumped down from the mezzanine. Pointing menacingly at Lee, the Klingon began elaborately waving a D'k tahg.
"Shooting space garbage is no test of a warrior's mettle! I need a target that fires back!" he shouted as he rushed Lee.
Having exhausted his patience long ago, Lee obliged the Klingon by blasting him in the face with his tetryon pistol. As the Klingon fell to the floor, parts of him began shimmering before fading out of existence. The other aliens began surrounding Lee and Commander Serket. As Lee contemplated his situation, a glint of light caught his eye. Lee's gaze fell on the debris embedded in the computer, a golden plate fused with a rudimentary processor.
In a fit of pique, Lee yanked the plate out of the computer. As the electrical charges faded from the plate, the aliens in the observation room slowly faded into oblivion. At the same time, power and life support returned to Deck 13. Commander Taylor hailed Lee over ship communications.
"Admiral, what happened? Power to Deck 13 just came back on. All the PADDs that had
on them are back to normal! Did you find Aranea?"
Lee responded in the affirmative.
"I ran into a little trouble in the observation room, but I think I discovered the source of the problem. Get Aranea to sickbay ASAP, and then send a few security teams down here to help clean up."
As Commander Serket was beamed off of the observation room desk, Lee sat down on one of the few remaining chairs in the room. Staring at the golden plate in his hand, he flipped it over to the processor side. Written at the top was the word
. Smirking a little, Lee wiped off the centuries of melted circuitry and space dust on the plate, revealing the words
Captain's Log, supplemental. The mystery of Deck 13 has been solved, and with it the mystery of the fate of one of Earth's first interstellar vessels. In the years since its disappearance, Pioneer 10 had led an interesting life, making first contact with many alien species long before humanity discovered it was not alone. The sum of Pioneer 10's experiences manifested itself into the ship's photonic database, causing much (probably) unintended havoc with the ship systems on Deck 13. Commander Serket and the rest of the security team are expected to make a full recovery. A full report will be made to Admiral Quinn as soon as possible.
Literary Challenges Entries- Star Trek Online: Lord English
Dramatis Personae of Star Trek Online: Lord English
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