Shadows of the Rift (Gorkon)
|2399, Episode 20|
Shadows of the Rift
- Stardate 239901.27 to 239904.22
"They hunt us and they hurt us, then they eat our souls. No one lasts long after that."
The USS Gorkon has picked up garbled distress signals from the USS Triumphant with their last known location attached, located deep within a subspace bubble—possibly a Tyken's Rift. As sensors and communications reduce to a mess of echoes, and their power and drives are affected by the environment swirling around them, the Gorkon continues their rescue efforts and search for the Triumphant.
The Rift appears to be a subspace bubble, dramatically affecting the performance of the ship on all levels. Power fluctuations, warp drive problems, and sensor echoes are only the tip of the iceberg. The Rift severely hampers the abilities of the crew to perform their rescue efforts, and precautions are noted, as well as adaptions made to give them the edge in the harsh environment.
- Disables warp and QSD;
- Interferes with long-range sensors and communications;
- Intermittently superimposes subspace over real space, creating strange “out of body” experiences;
- Each superposition, aka a “Blip”, is preceded by warning signs:
- 2-3 minutes beforehand, systems experience a brief surge in strange and random malfunctions (even systems without power);
- 10-30 seconds beforehand, there is a surge in polarised gravitons which tricorders have been configured to detect;
- Not responsible for the power drain—that’s a separate effect (it’s the Taniwha, though the PCs don’t yet know that).
- The Gorkon: The ship’s warp and QSD are disabled by the Rift;
- Experiencing an escalating power drain;
- Experiencing random malfunctions before a superposition (as described above);
- There is a suspicion the Warp XV drive is interacting with the Rift in an unusual way;
- The warp coils hold an unusually high tachyon charge—they should have discharged by now, but something is preventing it/recharging them;
- 34 crew disappeared during the first Blip.
- Sasu Gol: A Vulcan-built Apollo-class starship, part of the Federation Merchant Navy.
- Crew count of 47;
- Passenger count of 4, including a human artist named Vry;
- Sent a distress call 3 days ago that the Triumphant responded to;
- All escape pods have been launched;
- The Triumphant’s shuttlecraft, the Essington, is parked in the shuttlebay;
- Minimal power, and not answering current attempts to hail;
- Intermittent lifesigns hint there are still people aboard.
- USS Triumphant: The Defiant-class vessel, part of the Starfleet Tyrellian Defense Taskforce.
- A crew count of 40;
- Sent a distress call 12 hours ago after running into difficulty assisting the Sasu Gol;
- Reported a slow power drain of unidentified cause, sensor difficulties and unable to establish a warp bubble;
- No escape pods have been launched, and its 2 Type IX shuttles are still docked;
- Minimal power, and not answering current attempts to hail;
- Intermittent lifesigns hint there are still people aboard.
- The Escape Pod: Launched from the Sasu Gol.
- Discovered by the Gorkon and brought into cargo bay;
- One survivor aboard (see below), sent to sickbay;
- Passed through a debris field after leaving the Sasu Gol;
- Seems to be the nexus of Rift activity on the Gorkon.
- The Rescued Survivor: Sole survivor discovered on an Escape Pod and brought into the Cargo Bay.
- Species: Denobulan
- Gender: Male
- Description: Very agitated, unable to communicate due to the heavy mental stress experienced.
- Occupation: Starfleet, gold uniform. Otherwise unknown.
- Commander Jal Desoa & Lieutenant Petra Bjarnadottir: Triumphant senior crew members who were stranded on the Sasu Gol once both the Sasu Gol and Triumphant ran out of power. Their survival hung in the balance given the hostile conditions of the starship and the terrors the Rift had hurled against them.
Click sub-headings below to expand or collapse.
Act One: Still, They Ride
On the Bridge of the Gorkon
- Learning more about the Rift and how to escape.
On the bridge, Reynolds, ch’Ranni, Sevo and sh’Qynallahr worked to uncover the nature of the Rift and a way to escape it. They launched probes and searched the computer for similar incidents; the probe data indicated the Rift itself is not responsible for the power gain and is a separate effect, while research failed to uncover any incidences of starships encountering the phenomenon in the past. Their attempts were frustrated in part by an interruption in the main computer network, which turned out to be one of a collection of random ship malfunctions (comms failing, a replicator turning off halfway through materialisation, a sonic shower playing music, gravity inverting in a cargo bay, etc).
Shortly thereafter, they experienced their first Blip, an out-of-body experience prompted by a superposition of subspace over normal space, characterised by an almost imperceptible dimming of light and a jump in tachyons. They also discovered the Blip had “stolen” 34 crew, and created a warning system for tricorders and internal sensors, by programming them to detect a preceding surge in polarised gravitons.
Aboard the USS Kahnrah (Yellowstone-class Runabout)
- Searching for the ships in distress.
In the runabout, USS Kahnrah, Alieth, Orson Marshall, Lephi and Stoyer headed into the Rift, able to reach further with short-range scans and minimal sensor ghosts. Their search pattern took them through the deepening Rift, widening out into a chasm-like region, where space itself appeared to disappear. All onboard the runabout felt the sudden shift as if they'd passed through an energy wave.
Shortly thereafter, they found a floating piece of junk metal likely from an escape pod, bearing similarities, and following that, their search pattern took them deeper into a debris field. Power fluctuations started to increase the closer they seemed to be to the centre of the wave pattern, and using some engineering trickery alongside detritus from a broken ship, they mimicked a sensor signal, penetrating further.
Following the signs, power draining fast, they reached the Triumphant and Sasu Gol, an umbilical connecting the two vessels. With enough time to get a preliminary scan of the Triumphant completed, the team had to abort. Significant power issues and subsystem casualties made for a frosty ride back to the Gorkon but armed with the coordinates for the two vessels, next time they'll take a spare oscillating neutrino controller.
- Investigating the recovered Escape Pod
In a cargo bay, Neathler, Tahna and Tan inspected an escape pod from the Sasu Gol. Tricorders functioned intermittently, but despite that difficulty, they found a shard embedded in the slightly damaged hull, identified by Tahna as diamond, and later discovered most likely a result of the pod travelling through a debris field.
Inside the pod, the trio discovered human blood stains—later discovered to belong to an artist named Vry—and despite connecting an external power source to the pod’s computer, encountered inexplicable difficulties in keeping the computer active long enough to download logs and data. Instead, they turned to the activated emergency beacon and downloaded data from that. While working, the team experienced a host of strange effects; the temperature inside the pod plummeted, they saw strange things in its interior and on their equipment. When they exited the pod, they discovered the cargo bay crew had vanished, comms were nonfunctional, the ship’s computer was no longer listening, and the cargo bay doors were locked.
The strange effects continued, the temperature dropping throughout the cargo bay and the team now also being jostled and shoved by invisible forces, seemingly with the intent of preventing them from reading the logs. This escalated to a full physical assault, with the team being grabbed and thrown around. Attempts to communicate were unsuccessful, and finally, with a little help from the bridge, the team escaped the cargo bay.
- Dealing with the rescued survivor.
In sickbay, Fortune, Loxley and Taeval provided aid to the ensign rescued from the Sasu Gol’s escape pod. The young Denobulan man was covered in blood, though had no obvious wounds, and was in a state of extreme agitation, refusing to allow anyone close. The trio worked together to calm him down enough to get him onto a biobed for scans, and then sickbay experienced a Blip. With several members of the team experiencing aftereffects, it was Halat, the Denobulan ensign, who had the worst reaction and collapsed into a coma immediately afterwards. Diagnostic tests showed no injury, infection, or other cause. All they could determine was that his brain activity did not show a clean transition from active to inert and that his lower brain functions were still intact.
Act Two: Kill of the Night
Aboard the Triumphant: Engineering
- Get the ship up and running.
Reynolds, Sevo and sh’Qynallahr beamed to the Triumphant with the aim of bringing the warp core online and restoring power to the ship. On arrival, they discovered the warp core had been deliberately shut down, and realised they needed to increase the power from the fusion reactors before they could go any further. En route, they noted signs of corridor battles, and the same quantum particle trail the team aboard the Gorkon detected.
Inside the reactor room, the team discovered there was a threshold at which the energy drain stopped/started and set the power output just underneath that. However, their experiments appeared to draw the attention of a “ghost”, who appeared as something uniquely terrifying to each of the officers, terrorising them and attacking before abruptly vanishing.
Unnerved but mostly unharmed, the team returned to engineering. With power now available to restart the core and its controls, they used the data they had gathered on the quantum particles to modify the warp core and its power output to something “unpalatable”. Their efforts bore fruit, and the team were able to bring the reactor back online and stop the power drain. However, the ghost appeared shortly thereafter, this time with a companion, and the loss of their food source saw the pair turn on the Starfleet officers.
The team fled to sickbay intending to use the force fields there for defence. The discovery of the battered doors and the lack of pursuit led them to theorise the ghosts are deliberately terrorising them. Just as the team linked the ghosts and the Taniwha together, they were caught in a subspace superposition, and like so many before them, vanished from real space.
Aboard the Triumphant: Mess Hall
- Locate any survivors, gather any information you can.
Neathler, Fortune, Loxley and Tan beamed to the Triumphant, beginning their search for survivors in the mess hall. They discovered no sign of the crew, nor any indication they had sought refuge there; instead, it appeared anyone inside had left the second the alert was sounded and no one returned since. After a brief investigation which gave them no significant clues, they moved on to the ship’s science/medical lab.
Despite finding a lab coat and a prosthetic eye belonging to one of the crew, there were again no further signs of life. From there, they moved into sickbay, where they made the grim discovery of a dead crew member (later identified as Chief Petty Officer Toaxx), ominous writing, and continued to experience sensory hallucinations—though the startling attack on one set of sickbay doors was all too real.
From there, they proceeded to the life support bay, where they discovered the current minimal settings had been entered and locked three hours ago by the ship’s captain. Though they could make no changes, they realised they could use the life support monitoring systems as a proxy for searching for the crew, looking for changes in heat, oxygen levels and so forth. They proceeded to the upper level of the shuttlebay and after battling to ignore the most intense hallucination yet. This revealed there was dream/nightmare-like activity in people’s brains, along with the unnerving discovery the creatures likely feed off the energy from living beings, as well as the ship’s energy sources.
Aboard the Sasu Gol
- Locate any survivors, gather any information you can.
Alieth, Orson Marshall and Stoyer beamed to the Sasu Gol with the intention of finding any survivors, locating any Triumphant crew aboard, and discovering any information on what happened. Their initial search for survivors was unsuccessful, and with the ship so low on power the corridors were frozen, they were forced to take the maintenance shafts and ladders to move between decks.
The team experienced vivid hallucinations during the climb, and were barred from further progress when an unknown someone sealed the hatch above them. Forced to take a detour, they discovered evidence of a human recently passing through the area, and a trail of Vulcanoid blood leading out of sickbay. Inside, they discovered signs of violence in the form of more blood on a biobed.
Exploring the adjacent room, they discovered spiralled artwork on the walls (the work of Aliman Vry) and were surprised by the sudden appearance of Jymak and Diinr, doctor and nurse. Unfortunately, due to the spiralling power loss aboard the Gorkon, they could not immediately transport them away. While the Starfleet officers discussed the best way forward, Jymak stole a phaser and took his own life.
Returning to sickbay, and met with the sound of screaming, Diir described the crew’s descent into madness and terror. Shortly afterwards, the team were attacked, much to Diir’s apparent delight, and he offered/sacrificed himself to the darkness. Shaken, the team decided their best course of action was to head for engineering and disconnect the umbilical to the Triumphant, then head to the shuttlebay to get off the ship, and hopefully find any survivors along the way.
Aboard the Gorkon: Engineering
- Keep the ship running, find a way out of the Rift.
Initially assigned to investigate and stall the power drain, and find a way to bring the warp drive online, ch’Ranni, Lephi and Tahna worked on the problem from engineering. They discovered a trail of quantum particles moving between engineering and the cargo bay, theorising it was the path of the creature which had tormented Neathler’s team during their inspection of the Sasu Gol’s escape pod. They could not detect the creature itself, but linked the beginning of the Gorkon’s power drain to the arrival of the escape pod—and thus its invisible passenger.
An explosion breached the hull on deck 8, and ch’Ranni’s team was joined by Ensign Bryce Tagren-Quinn and deployed to assist in the rescue and stabilisation efforts. Navigating their way through heavily damaged corridors and laboratories, they have so far established a triage point in the main brig, checked and cleared geology and multipurpose lab, rescued 3 survivors and confirmed a fatality. With 3 more lifesigns on their sensors, they continue to push forward, but the continuing energy drain complicates their efforts, threatening the integrity of the emergency force fields currently holding the vacuum at bay.
Act Three: Shout Into the Noise
In Non-Space with the Entity
- Survive in non-space, for as long as they can
Having been absorbed by Non-Space into the unknown entity, the team dealt with various strange circumstances, flashes of their pasts intermingling with reality, such as the experimentation and torture suffered by the Admiral.
The group was soon drawn back to a memory of Cardassia Prime during the bombing raids at the end of the Dominion War. Frightened and in crisis, the group hid from the Jem'Hadar groups that plagued the city, murdering every civilian or Cardassian in sight.
While in hiding, they encountered Meidra Sirin who had been trapped in that No-Place when she travelled to join the crew of the Gorkon. As they were about to be trapped, their world mutated and transformed into the bridge of a starship during the events of Wolf 359. Searching for clues on how to flee the place and while avoiding the Borg drones, they came across Caedan Nkai, the owner of the flashback, embracing the dead body of a Vulcan crewman.
They get the Rodulan to focus and use his telepathic abilities to contact Corliss Fortune who was acting as a beacon on the outside of No-Space. With this, the group manages to escape from the No-Space and join the group aboard the Triumphant.
Aboard the Triumphant
- Rescue the Triumphant crew (and the other away team!) from non-space.
After moving into the transporter room, the team discovers batteries and wires scattered everywhere, suggesting that someone has been tampering with the room. After a bit of reverse engineering, they bring back the Triumphant crew members who were stored in the transporter patterns, including Captain Walter Brunsig. Soon learning of the disappearance of the Captain and her crew, they all head to engineering, ready to put a plan in place to bring them back, while getting the Triumphant's engines back on line.
With the warpcore back online they receive a new attack from the creatures, which they manage to avoid.
With the captain helping to assist the counsellor Corliss Fortune in playing as a telepathic beacon, they manage to use the hole to bring the crew back, with the admiral's team coming out last.
With the entire crew safe, the starship free and powered up, the teams return to the Gorkon to leave the Rift once and for all.
Aboard the Sasu Gol
- Unhook the umbilical, get off the ship.
After fleeing the madness unleashed by Diir, the team arrived at Engineering, finding it riddled with homemade traps that prevented them from easily reaching the warp core. As they carefully made their way towards it, they encountered the missing members of the Triumphant away team: Commander Jal Desoa and Lieutenant Petra Bjarnadottir.
After some initial tensions, they teamed up to separate the umbilical and allow the triumphant to escape or be towed out of the Rift. No sooner had they accomplished their goal, however, the group was attacked by the mass of shadow that Diir had joined.
The creature managed to trap both Alieth and Petra Bjarnadottir and, while Commander Jal Desoa managed to wrench the latter from the creature's arms, Lieutenant Cory Stoyer failed to restrain the Vulcan, who was apparently consumed by the creature.
After a few minutes of doubt and confusion, the team discovered that Alieth's combadge was still reactive, locating her in the Freighter's cargo bay. They went there not only to find the Vulcan visibly agitated, but there was an unearthly sound coming from a strangely crafted artefact, which seemed to be summoning the Rift creatures around them.
Losing her temper and driven mad by the experience and the disturbing sound, Alieth set out to destroy the device, and Cory Stoyer's attempts to stop her only served to further enrage the Vulcan, who lashed out, injuring him badly.
After that unfortunate encounter, the lieutenant destroyed the device, but the subsequent explosion caused one of the fragments to severely injure Desoa, endangering his life. Despite desperate attempts to keep him breathing, Desoa's health deteriorated dramatically, and he confessed that he and the Tyrellians knew of the creatures, calling them "Taniwha", and devoted some intense words to Petra Bjarnadottir, of a much more personal nature. Before she could elaborate much more on the matter, Lieutenant Commander Caedan Nkai confirmed that the Gorkon had regained power and the use of the transporters, and transported the group directly to the Sickbay, but not before Alieth retrieved a fragment of the wrecked device.
Once there, the Vulcan hijacked an operating theatre to tend to Desoa while the rest of the group remained behind to catch up on more personal matters.
Aboard the Gorkon: Deck Eight
- Deal with the cascading effects of the hull breach, make the ship safe for warp.
The team, dressed in EVA suits, advance through the wreckage looking for survivors, but the structural integrity of the area and unreliable sensors make the advance dangerous and put both their lives and the lives of those they want to rescue at risk.
After failing to find living survivors and having to make a decision on what to do with them, the team moved into the most damaged area of the deck. There, they find a Tellarite crewman, Ensign Tzim-Shah. The crewman's condition was critical, even more so considering there were others wounded in the area so, while discussing what to do and getting the other survivors to safety Lephi, ignoring Dr. Bryce Tagren-Quinn's advice and listening to the Tellarite's desperate plea, cut off his trapped arm with a plasma torch. This reckless and desperate act resulted in a great shock and put the ensign's life in danger. Concerned about the situation, it was determined to create a triage unit at the brig and Lieutenant Commander Jona ch'Ranni marched over there to organise it, taking the badly injured Tellarite with him.
The team was now captained by Lieutenant Commander Kero Rix, who pushed the team forward towards the most damaged section of the deck.
Once there, they discovered signs that Valesha Sienelis and Vorin were trapped at ground zero of the explosion, behind a large wall of rubble in one of the labs. Once they were able to pry the lab door open, the ceiling of the lab collapsed, causing Sienelis and Vorin to essentially be buried and thought to be potentially deceased. With the transporters inoperative and the deck structure disintegrating beneath their feet, the team had to work against the clock to develop a plan to rescue them or press on for other survivors. Time and resources were at a minimum. This caused a great debate among the team's members, but eventually, they decided to give it a chance and resolved to work on the problem; to leave no man behind.
Just as they were about to run out of ideas to save them, Robert Peek informed them that the transporters were back online. At first, they attempted to lock on to life signs, but sensors and interference made extraction by transport impossible. With limited power and time still in mind, they decided to transport the debris to the Rift instead, to clear the field, thus revealing the two Vulcanoids. They discovered that one of them was badly injured and the other was in late labour.
- Cmdr. Desoa & Lt. Bjarnadóttir - Shadows of the Rift - Written by Vice Admiral Quinn Reynolds and Commander Jo Marshall.
- V. Admiral Quinn Reynolds - Where the Stars are Scattered Thinly - Written by Vice Admiral Quinn Reynolds.
- Cmdr. Desoa & Lt. Bjarnadóttir - Kill of the Night - Written by Vice Admiral Quinn Reynolds and Commander Jo Marshall.
- Vice Admiral Quinn Reynolds - One Step Closer to the Abyss (Part I), (Part II) - Written by Vice Admiral Quinn Reynolds.
- Stardate 239902.13: Gorkon responds to distress signal From USS Triumphant in Rift
- Stardate 239903.20: Triumphant and Sasu Gol found adrift in space, Gorkon investigates
- Stardate 239904.25: Crew of the Gorkon faces terror and horror in wake of Subspace Rift
- Stardate 239905.28: Crew of the Gorkon escapes nightmare subspace Rift
|REV SD 240001.25|