Trek Among The Derelicts (Session 4)

 The air moving through the jefferies tube is cold. I look up, toward the source of the breeze, trying not to think too much about what the anomalous airflow might indicate. The last thing I want to deal with right now is an air leak. Running out of oxygen is the kind of ticking time bomb I don’t want to have to think about right now.

Reed climbs into the tube after me, and suddenly it starts to feel claustrophobic. There’s a smell, nasty and thick, hanging in the air like a fart, but I push on. Climbing down, I try to place the stench. It’s not Reed, unless he’s messed himself, but even then, why would the smell be getting stronger the further we descend into the ship?

(from prompting ChatGPT - Art from Bing)

And then I see it. I realize why the smell has been getting stronger. There’s something in the shaft, something living, something moving. Something has completely blocked our access to Engineering, and it’s made of meat.

I have to grab Reed’s boot before he steps on my shoulder. Startling, he almost loses his balance. When he looks down, he starts to shake. 

“What the hell is that?”

I shake my head. Seems to be the phrase of the day. What the hell is that? No clue. Absolutely no clue, and I’m tired of saying it.

“We’re going to have to get out on Deck 4,” I tell him, glancing over at the access panel for the deck.

“That’s crew quarters,” Reed says, and I can hear the fear in his voice. He’s thinking exactly the same thing I’m thinking. More crew probably means more problems.

“There’s a turbolift a hundred and fifty meters from this opening,” I tell him, removing the access panel as carefully as I can and stepping out onto the deck. Instantly, I stop. Instead of the carpeted hallway I’m expecting, my boot touches down on the hard, smooth floor of a shuttle bay. A shuttle bay I don’t recognize. A shuttle bay that shouldn’t be here.

“What is it?” Reed asks.

“These aren’t our shuttles,” I say, and the words just kind of drop out of me. I remember to move, shuffling as I make room for Reed to climb out of the tube and stand on the deck next to me. 

A sudden arc of electricity leaps from a damaged power conduit and strikes one of the shuttles. The crack of the bolt grounding out on the hull makes us both jump. Both of the shuttles are covered in scorch marks, and the paneling over their warp nacelles looks too dodgy for me to be willing to trust it in open spaceflight. Wherever we are, we won’t be making an escape in either one of these shuttles, not in the condition they’re in. The way the deck is arcing, I doubt we’d even be able to get close to them.

“This isn’t the Hippogriff,” Reed says as he walks past me. The console on the wall lights up at his touch, and as he pages through the data on the screen, I cross to stand beside him.

“Emergency evacuation protocols are in place,” I read the screen and he nods. “Everything’s open. All the doors, everything. Wait– Reed, look! There– that registry number. We’re on the Delacroix!”

“How is that possible?” Reed asks. “It has to be an error.”

“It’s the experimental cloaking device,” I tell him. “It has to be. Something went wrong with it, maybe merged the two ships into one somehow.”

“The way the Nalaraan Parasites merge themselves with people? Maybe?” Reed glances at me. “Elara, this is bad. This is really bad.”

“That much is clear,” I nod, glancing back at the jefferies tube access door. I can hear the meaty blockage squirming, or growing, or something. Whatever is happening, I don’t want to be around when it gets worse. I grab Reed by the shoulder and push him away from the console. “We have to go. We have to find an engineer, if there are any left on this ship. We have to find someone who can help us get one of those shuttles in the air so we can get the hell off this ship.”

“Wait, the Delacroix is a Steamrunner Class, right?” He asks, glancing down the corridor, away from the shuttle bay. “What deck are we on?”

“What are you thinking?” I ask.

“The Steamrunner was built to fight the Borg and the Dominion, right? It’s an absolute beast, designed to carry a ton of peregrine class starfighters. If any of those things are left, they’re two-seaters capable of high warp. Even one, even just one operational–”

“Don’t get my hopes up,” I cut him off. “If we find one, can you fly it?”

“I’ve flown Argus fighters, shuttlecraft, a runabout,” he pauses, swallows, spreads his hands. “I mean, yeah. Flying is what I do. A peregrine should be a breeze.”

“Then let’s go find ourselves a starfighter,” I say. 

For the first time since everything went to hell, I actually allow myself a smile.

Our Officer:

Lt. Commander Elara Wulfe
Red (Health): 2
Blue (Bio-Science): 3
White (Technical): 2
Green (Agility): 2
Black (Shooting): 1

PADD with Starfleet Intelligence File on it.
PADD with First Contact Protocol on it.
Box of isolinear chips
Phaser (non-functional).
A standard issue tool kit
Fusion capacitor


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