The Cost of Forever (USS Thor)

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First Season, Episode 4: Stardate 239801.05 - 239803.01

Teaser

While the USS Thor prepares to leave New Bajor/the Gamma Quadrant, it receives a faint distress call on an unusual frequency at the edge of its range. Traveling to the source of the distress call, the crew discovers an unusual solar system enveloped within a highly charged nebula... and a failing primitive spacecraft trapped at the nebula boundary.


Mission Summary

Prologue

After six years of arduous journey to the Edge, the crew of the Endless Golden Penetrator found that the goal for which the starship was built had failed. [1] Owner & Guildmaster Extraordinary, First Eternal, President for Life of the Saldanian Corporate Hegemony, Beloved & Benevolent, Everlasting & Magnificent Sal’Lat’Ut’Kel’Tras Anroc, disappointed with the loss of his assets and the damage to his reputation that such a fiasco represented on his home planet, left his body behind on the vessel, thus leaving more than 1300 crew members at the mercy of the space singularity. [2] Left to their fate, the Ephemerals Nenni Nokzu and Saulan Ket'han resolve to try one last option: launching a desperate distress call against the Edge to make it bounce back to the home planet, whilst they try to take the fatally wounded vessel to a nearby planetoid. None suspect the signal will be recieved by someone unexpected...


Act One

As the Thor wrapped up shoreleave on (New) New Bajor, a distress signal spurred the crew back into space to answer the call. Ensign Katsim Peri, Lieutenant Sirok, and Captain Wes Greaves were called together as a team in order to analyse the signal. Sent via radio waves, distortion had warped it so it was difficult to decipher, but Sirok managed to restore enough of it to get a summary of what was going on. Meanwhile, Ensign Katsim used the gravitons from the signal to pinpoint the direction and location of the source. Lead to a nebula from the remnants of a supernova, the group find that their destination is not without perils, subspace waves and other anomalies making any sort of rescue mission risky.


Meanwhile, Commander Geoffrey Teller summoned Lieutenant Alieth & Ensign Jehe Saja to the intel centre to study the available data on the area and the possible threats they might encounter. However, it soon became clear that they were entering unknown and rarely explored territory that should not be inhabited at all. With the prospect of contact with an unknown species, they coordinated with the other teams for the possibility of First Contact, perhaps with a pre-warp civilization or a very limited warp.


At the same time Lt. Commander Alexander Brodie, Lieutenant Quen Deena & Ensign Dar Elandra planned for a possible mass rescue of the shipwreck from both a medical and a security perspective. Finally, on the bridge, Lieutenant Udro Nepra, Lt. Commander Ben Garcia, Lieutenant Lorian Lovar & Ensign Tara Wilkins studied the hazards and physical conditions of the nebula and the potential challenges of the rescue.


Called upon by the Captain to act as first contact, Commander Teller, Lieutenant Alieth, and Ensign Jehe transported over to the other ship. Upon arrival, they met with what seemed to be an abandoned control room. A moment later, two alien life forms were found hiding, and as the translator caught on to their language, they began to understand the strange beings who beamed aboard their vessel. With the location deemed as safe, Captain Kells indicated to Lieutenant Sirok, Captain Greaves, and Ensign Katsim they would be on standby as a second away team. A few hours later, the small group congregated in the transporter room. Captain Greaves, decked out in an EV suit, suggested the others follow suit. They beamed to the shipwrecked ship, then known as the "Endless Golden Penetrator" and joined the first away team on the bridge.


Captain Kells, Captain Greaves, and Ensign Katsim remained on the bridge trying to understand the mysterious Zet, who seemed adamant about saving the ship even at the risk of their own lives. After a tense discussion, Captain Kells and Captain Greaves managed to convince the shipmaster and his assistant to evacuate the crew, in exchange of doing everything possible to save the Penetrator. In the meantime, Ensign Katsim monitored the ship's hull microfractures to ensure the stability of the hull and studied how the approaching wave could be forded to save both the Zet and the Thor.


Meanwhile, on the Thor, the bridge crew discovered that the arrival of the Starfleet vessel had caused a wave in the nebula, and that a wave composed of highly dangerous and energetic particles was heading towards them from the opposite direction. With quick thinking, they combined their efforts with the away team to surf the wave. One final group headed for the main sickbay to receive the first refugees.


After convincing the aliens that their intentions were altruistic and coming to their aid, Commander Teller, Lieutenant Alieth, Lieutenant Sirok and Ensign Jehe made their way to the ship's engine room, determined to use the ship's systems to power up the Thor's tractor beam and bring the ship to safety, while beginning to triage and evacuate the Penetrator's crew.


Lieutenant Alieth, and Ensign Jehe performed triage on all the Zet they could find, guided by Vice Associate Director Of Crew Fulfillment & Disposal Shaggee Rod'gurs. Their work was not without frustration and misunderstanding, given the Zet's reluctance to accept a service without an economic exchange, which forced them into creative solutions and corporate discourse. Ensign Jehe was able to beam out of the ship (with the help of a priority beam tag that the Vulcan made sure to pin on her uniform without the Bajoran's knowledge) with the last refugees, but Dr. Alieth remained on the ship until the last minute trying to save as many of the crew as possible.


In a fight against the clock, Commander Teller & Lieutenant Sirok jammed the Penetrator's systems with the Thor's to force a translation of the convoluted Zet script, just in time before the wave that the Thor's arrival had triggered in the Nebula struck. They succeeded at the very last second, and the Thor was able to envelop the massive ship in a warp bubble, saving it from destruction. However, the Penetrator lacked inertial dumpers, resulting in a broken nose and a flying Vulcan when the wave made contact.


Act Two

Two days after the rescue of the Golden Penetrator, the USS Thor managed to tow the ship to the Zet homeworld.[3] Upon arrival, they received a call from the ship's real owner, Shipmaster Pitorian Sal'Lat'Ut'Kel'Tras Anroc, who invited them to his headquarters - particularly interested in the presence of the Chief Engineer. Lieutenant Sirok came down to the surface, escorted by Ensign Jehe Saja and Ensign Dar Elandra, with Captain (SFMC) Wes Greaves leading the away team.[4]. They were greeted in a lavish area of a massive city, even more so than the Golden Penetrator itself, and were soon greeted by the Eternal Anroc. [5] The meeting with Anroc did not go well. The SalCorp CEO belittled the away team, and upon discovering that none of them were the Captain of the Thor, he dismissed them as worthless and left the meeting. The away team spent some time attempting to gain insight into the corporation but were mostly foiled by the company's lawyers. With nothing left to gain on the surface, the team returned to the Thor.


Meanwhile, a second group (composed of Commander Teller, Lieutenant Alieth, Lieutenant Quen and Ensign Katsim) beamed down to a different part of the planet: a decaying, foul-smelling slum suburb where thousands of Zet huddled together. Their goal was to sort out the repatriation of the Penetrator shipwrecks who, for some reason, were being rejected on the surface. Their acquaintance Shaggee Rod'gurs led them into the massive building to deal with the administrative headache of rehousing employees who had supposedly expired. [6][7] The away team was shocked by the inhumane conditions the Zet employees lived in and were forced to wade through bureaucratic procedures to reinstate the status of the Golden Penetrator's crew. After finally meeting a low level bureaucrat, the team tried to identify the correct process and paperwork to file to achieve their ends. Ultimately the task proved ridiculous. Cleverly distracting management, the team hacked into the Zet network and set up a meeting with upper management and forged all necessary forms for the meeting. Finally finding success, the away team took a lift to the upper floors of the building where they discovered former Shipmaster Nokzu waiting to meet with management as well. The team invited her along, and despite the Zet woman's reservations, she accepted their help. The whole meeting turned out to be a trap however, and as soon as they were inside the meeting room, it was sealed and Eternal Anroc appeared on several monitors notifying them of their fate to be used as a bargaining chip.


On the Thor, Fleet Captain Aron Kells underwent a counseling session with Lt. Commander Alexander Brodie about his reckless approach to save the Penetrator.[8] At the same time, a runabout, piloted by Lt. Commander Ben Garcia with Lt. Commander Lia Rouiancet and Lieutenant Lorian Lovar on board, left the Thor to study the planet from the atmosphere.[9] The shuttle team was intercepted by several small Zet craft and through some clever negotiation, gained clearance to conduct a low orbital entry to the planet.


Act Three

Eternal Anroc contacted the USS Thor, and specifically requested an audience with Fleet Captain Kells. Anroc demanded negotiations to trade the eternal technology that allow the Zet to live forever via cloning and data transfer. In return he demanded warp technology. During the brief discussion via video feed, Anroc demonstrated his absolute authority over the Zet people by ordering a subordinate to commit suicide, which was done immediately and unhesitatingly. Despite being horrified by this display, Fleet Captain Kells and Lt. Commander Brodie agreed to meet with Anroc. They, along with Ensign Jehe beamed to the surface to for the negotiations. With all other senior staff off ship, Marine Captain Wes Greaves was placed in command of the Thor. Joined by Lieutenant Sirok, and Ensigns Vogue, Glass, and Richards, the four took charge of the ship from the bridge in an effort to find out why they had lost contact with Commander Teller's away team.


Aboard the Thor, the command team identified several structures that disrupted the Thor's scanners. Lieutenant Sirok devised a plan to use a tetryon pulse to allow the Thor to scan these buildings and possibly find the missing away team. Furthermore, they could disrupt the Zet's data transfer capability which would momentarily make the Eternal Zet mortal until the system was reconfigured. The hope was to give Fleet Captain Kells extra leverage during his negotiations. Working with Lt Commander's Garcia and Lia Rouiancet aboard the shuttle craft Ra, the teams modified the shuttle's deflectors for the use of the pulse.


Meanwhile on the planet's surface, Commander Teller's team worked to devise an escape plan. Lieutenants Alieth and Quen devised a means to create an acid with the chemicals in a medical kit. They intended to melt a hole in the windows of the skyscraper, however the metal used for construction had an unexpected reaction with the acid causing a large explosion. No one was injured, but the team was forced to flee out on the window ledges and make their way to a Zet hover vehicle while being chased by Zet corporate security. Successfully taking control of the vehicle, the team was followed by a Zet security craft which attempted to shoot them down. The security craft employed a communication jammer to prevent the team from being identified, contacting the ship, or beaming out. Commander Teller discovered the field had a short range however and came up with a plan to escape. As their hover vehicle dove behind a building at several thousand feet, the entire away team jumped out into a free fall. The hope was that they would escape the jamming field and be beamed out before they hit the ground. The plan was successful, with one complication. The Thor locked onto the communicators of the away team, which meant that their Zet accomplice, Nokzu, was not beamed out. Furthermore the team's momentum was only slowed partially when rematerializing aboard the Thor and most of the team was injured in the resulting impact with the transporter padd. Despite injuries, Commander Teller managed to override the transporter safeties and beam Shipmaster Nokzu to the Thor just seconds before impact with the ground.


Nearly immediately afterward the Thor was targeted by a surface fired missile. Scans indicated the explosive payload would be negligible against the shields but the warhead carried Theta Radiation which would kill everyone aboard the Thor. Moreso, if the missile was destroyed or self-detonated in proximity to the Zet homeworld it would likely eradicate the entire population as well. The bridge team quickly developed a plan to use the Thor's superior speed and a modified probe to lure the missile off of the Thor's path and out into the nearby nebula rendering it harmless. After several minutes, the plan was put into place and was successful. A precision phaser blast was used to destroy the Zet's launch site to prevent any follow on strikes.


On the Zet homeworld, Fleet Captain Kell's team met Eternal Anroc as well as another Eternal Zet. Eternal Storignal was serving as special advisor to Anroc during the negotiations, however she was also the CEO of another Zet mega corporation: Storignal Cooperation. Fleet Captain Kells met privatly with Anroc while Lt. Commander Brodie and Ensign Jehe met with Storginal to discuss legal details of any arrangement. It was discovered that Eternal Storignal's corporation held the key to the Zet data network which the eternal technology relied upon. Lt. Commander Brodie quickly deduced that the Zet woman held significantly more power than she led on and between his efforts and Ensign Jehe's they were able to review signficant technical details of the data network. Working efficiently, Ensign Jehe stealthily secured a copy of the data during the negotiations before they were ended abruptly by Anrocs actions and the pair of Starfleet officers were forced to return to Fleet Captain Kells.


In his private meeting with Anroc, Fleet Captain Kells was led to the Zet's private chambers where the enslaved shells of numerous Zet were arrayed along the halls in a sick display of power. Intending to intimidate the Starfleet Captain, Anroc's actions had the opposite effect. Fleet Captain Kells was quietly enraged by the display and refused to yield to any of Anroc's demands. As Anroc became more and more frustrated, the Captain ended the negotiations and vowed to see the Zet receive the justice he deserved. No less than the destruction of his corporation. [10] Realizing he'd lost control of the captured away team, Anroc ordered the missile attack on the Thor. Unfazed by the attack and joined by the rest of his team, Fleet Captain Kells ordered the beamout of the team which was immediatly accomplished via the Ra and the use of the tetryon pulse.


With the crew safe, the Thor departed the Zet's system with the former crew of the Endless Golden Penetrator aboard as refugees. Fleet Captain Kells ordered a beacon placed at the edge of the nebula, warning passerby of the pre-warp civilization within inside.


Officers


MSNPCs

  • Shipmaster Pitorian Sal’Lat’Ut’Kel’Tras Anroc, Owner & Guildmaster Extraordinary, First Eternal, President for Life of the Saldanian Corporate Hegemony, Beloved & Benevolent, Everlasting & Magnificent
  • Nenni Nokzu, Acting Shipmaster
  • Saulan Ket’han, Deputy Director of Daily Operations
  • Shaggee Rod'gurs, Vice Associate Director Of Crew Fulfillment & Disposal
  • Galat Zhkrg, Second Grade Associate of the Sub-division 88 of Redistribution of Workers of Mid-Lower Profile
  • Frizikh
  • Eternal Adkatha Storignal Chief & Principal Executive of Storignal Cooperation



Footnotes

  1. Ensigns Glass and Richards arrived at the end of Act 3.
  2. Ensigns Glass and Richards arrived at the end of Act 3.
  3. Lieutenant Udro Nepra went LOA at the beginning of Act 1.
  4. Lieutenant Lorian Lovar went LOA at the beginning of Act 2.
  5. Ensign Tara Wilkins went LOA at the beginning of Act 1.


References