Black Tide

The mission seemed to star in media res, in the middle of the thing. One moment crew members were about their business…The next they found themselves on what was for most of them a strange vessel under red alert, apparently heavily damaged. Officers and enlisted both proved their mettle as they rallied, stabilizing the ship and then settling down to discover what, exactly, was going on.

What was clear were these facts:

1) Everyone had lost four to six months of memory, and a vast majority of the crew had not been assigned to this vessel, the USS Lionheart, NCC73058-B.

2) There were many personnel unconscious in makeshift emergency wards contained in the diplomatic quarters. Many were infected with a particularly nasty parasite, one of which had attacked the ship’s doctor as he found himself in the middle of a surgical procedure to remove one from a patient.

3) Engineering contained a dimensional drive, a device that would allow a vessel to pierce the veil of reality and enter into other planes. Said drive was blown to pieces and there were dead officers about the wreckage.

4) The ship’s computer was down, the bio-neural gel packs infected with some unknown pathogen.

5) The ship’s captain, Devin Hadenbeer, was as much at a loss as the crew. Worse, it seemed Hans Adenaur, the Lionheart’s assigned captain, had been locked in his quarters at the time of the immediate crisis!

Work went on to repair the ship’s computer so ship’s systems could be restored while Lionheart lingered in some strange alien dimension. It was then that they discovered the ship had an unwelcome stowaway, an alien who could use tiny worm like creatures to infect crew members and control them. He attempted to create havoc and destroy the ship by causing a matter-antimatter explosion while he would escape on a runabout. Fortunately the attempt failed and the alien was captured, his victims freed of his control. During this incident it was discovered that a joined Trill could detected infected beings; it seemed these aliens were in many ways the opposites of Trills; while one formed a symbiotic relationship with a host, these aliens were users, parasites of the highest order who saw all beings as tools…or fodder.

One of the runabout’s logs was accessed and it seemed that Lionheart had been involved in a rescue operation, with the ship acting as a distraction as runabouts stole in to some facility to free captive Federation personnel. The mission turned out to be a success but the ship had been sabotaged, hence its current state. More interesting, once a replacement drive had been installed and the log of Lionheart’s travels was determined, she was not taking a direct course home. Officers were found to be missing and the truth was bore out at a staff meeting attended by Admiral (retired) Connagher with information supplied by the ship’s Emergency Medical Hologram. Lionheart had been sent on a reconnaissance/rescue mission with Hadenbeer along as an advisor. They had discovered the aliens, called The Black Tide, used sentient ships and could travel easily between dimensions, snatching up ships, their “mounts” immune to phaser and photon torpedoes as they “ate” energy. Lionheart’s crew discovered a makeshift weapon, a gravitic lance that could hurt the mounts, called Cthhulu and Dagon.

Hadenbeer had on insisted on a rescue attempt once the Federation personnel were found, but Adenaur balked. Hadenbeer assaulted Adenaur and a fiction was formed that he had possibly been infected and was not fit for command, and hence was confined to quarters. While some officers went along with the fiction others balked and refused to follow Hadenbeer, but agreed to aid in the rescue. Lionheart led the ‘Tide on a chase while those at the staff meeting determined the missing officers must have taken one of the other ships and went straight home to warn Starfleet of the threat.

The Science department discovered that one of three materials could damage the flesh of the mounts: nitrogen, oxygen, or water. Quantum torpedoes were converted into “harpoons” that would inject the alien mounts with concentrated bursts of the different elements. Lionheart was confronted with Cthhulu and Dagon and Adenaur decided now was a good time to stage a coup of his own, he stunned Hadenbeer on the bridge but he himself was immediately stunned himself by security. He was carted away while Commander Tuleski took command. Lionheart put up a valiant fight and discovered oxygen was the element that killed the flesh of the mounts. Hadenbeer returned and while they fled to another dimension while Dagon was wounded, Cthulhu followed. It fared no better and she ordered it slain. However lt. Borok, with the skill of a surgeon, sliced away the nodules containing the Black Tide, freeing Cthulhu, an act of mercy. The fate of the freed alien remained unknown as Lionheart took her prisoners in tow, and began the trip home.

What awaited the crew when they arrived back in familiar space was unknown…


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