Pirate Queen's Treasure

After weeks of serving as a training vessels for midshipmen on a training cruise Lionheart was ready for a new assignment. Captain Hadenbeer had returned after a much needed leave, her leg largely healed after successful surgeries. She had arrived with two new passengers, a cat named Marta and her niece, thirteen year old Dare. The ship had also gained a new XO, Commander Taylor.

The vessel was sent to a region of space near “The Triangle”, the oft-times contested region that lay between Klingon, Romulan and Federation space. A brown dwarf had been found with a strange artifact in orbit around it, a moon sized structure connected to a kilometers thick ring circumnavigating the stellar body. An energy signature had been spotted that resembled a warp signature, it had appeared only for a moment but the implications that a mass the size of a brown dwarf could achieve warp speed was…disconcerting to say the least. Lionheart’s job was to head to the brown dwarf and assess the situation.

Along the way Devin had begun noting a presence, also her niece Dare at one point created a curious painting, that of the brown dwarf as well as a strange green wedge shaped object. When Lionheart arrived they had spotted a vessel not unlike the one from Dare’s painting, when analyzed speculation ran that it could be a Defiant class vessel, as odd as it may have seemed.

But for Captain Hadenbeer the possibility was all too likely. She filled in her staff on events that had taken place during and after the Dominion war…

Devin waited until her orders were obeyed, she did not pay much attention to the confused expressions on the various personnel who obviously wanted to stay. Marty was one exception; he seemed grateful nobody was paying attention to him any more. When the bridge was cleared Devin said, “Computer access file Intransigent, clearance Hadenbeer Holst Brahms.” The forward screen lit up and a series of files scrolled across it. Devin walked over to an empty work station and manipulated the data, as she did so she said, “It was the end of the Dominion War and the Breen had entered the conflict on the side of the Founders, they employed a weapon that disabled vessels, rendering both our fleet and the Romulans’ helpless. Only the Klingon ships were immune due to a feature of their shields. As Federation and Romulan engineers strove to adapt our ships to take advantage of the harmonics that would protect our ships the Klingons were all that stood between us and defeat.” (These events took place in the 7th season of Deep Space Nine.)

The screen showed a battle between Klingon forces, they were being assaulted on all sides by Dominion, Cardassian and Breen vessels, “Klingon losses were horrific but due to stubbornness, pride and indomitable courage they held. All except one vessel.”

The screen zoomed on one ship, a Klingon bird of prey, that cloaked in the middle of combat, “The IKS Blood Wasp disappeared and never appeared again on the field of battle. For weeks it was assumed she was lost, until analysts began combing through sensor data and determined she cloaked and never re-appeared. The crew had deserted.”

Devin shifted to other files, “Over the years the crew has turned up, dead. Causes have ranged from fatalities in bar fights to suicides, to what we can only assume is assassination. The Klingon High Command has disavowed any knowledge regarding the fate of these crewmen and Starfleet has not pressed the issue. But what is of importance to us is this.”

She shifted the files to that of a Defiant class vessel flying in combat, the name Intransigent was emblazoned on her hull. Devin explained, “After the war the Intransigent was assigned to the badlands on pirate patrol detail. The vessel and crew was caught off guard when the Blood Wasp de-cloaked and her crew beamed over en masse. They subdued the crew with pain sticks, held them hostage for several days while they cannibalized their own vessel for whatever they felt they needed, then left ‘the Tranny’s’ crew on the Blood Wasp, adrift, without power. We can assume that the Klingons attempted to install their cloaking device in the ship. If so they were unsuccessful. They also did not seem to have full mastery of the vessel’s navigation systems because they drifted into Gorn space. They destroyed a Gorn destroyer and fled but the incident sparked an aggressive response from the Hegemony. They sent in a small fleet of colony ships through the Kalasi Nebula, planning on using it to mask their movements so they could place themselves in a position to land on a Federation colony world called Mursaka Alpha Prime. There is an old saying: possession is nine tenths of the law, and they counted on heavy Federation losses during the war to influence our decision into whether or not we should press the issue regarding possession of the planet.

“This led to what romantics later called the battle of the lion’s den,” Devin’s expression was wry, “Trust me, no one who was there who lived through it calls it that. What we did do was stop the Gorn incursion, mostly by disabling the colony ships. It was only until later at the negotiating table that the Gorn explained what sparked their actions.”

Devin sighed, “Ever since the Klingons, Gorn and Starfleet were aware of what had transpired. The Klingons had to pay reparations to the Gorn, the Gorn officially apologized to the Federation, and official reports listed Intransigent lost in a collision with a foreign body, all hands having had to abandon ship. The fate of the Intransigent had become a mystery.”

She turned back to the screen, “Until, I think, now…”

It was indeed the Intransigent and it was now in the possession of “The Wicked Witch”, a half human, half Orion pirate who had renamed the vessel The Elfaba and now seemed bound and determined to take possession of the artifact. The Witch was an old enemy of Commander Taylor’s and the staff came up with a plan; some would pose as pirates and stage an escape, taking Taylor as a hostage and making off in a runabout. The Witch took them on board and then had a surprise of her own; she left crewman Tchulka behind on board with a bomb, her intention was for Lionheart to take the vessel into her bay and to detonate the explosive device! What followed was a curious chase as Lionheart had to avoid the runabout, unable to destroy it without also killing Tchulka. At the same time those on the Elfaba posing as pirate found their escape from the brig mysteriously facilitated by an unknown presence who had possessed the guard and let them go.

Elsewhere Taylor and The Witch had their own confrontation. They fought and The Witch shot herself in her own foot, her trigger finger mysteriously twitching prematurely. Most of the crew of the ship was gone, they were on board the artifact so the Lionheart crew were easily able to take control. During an interrogation of The Witch Doctor Klarth recklessly stabbed her to frighten her, only the wound proved to be near-mortal.

And that was when they discovered there was a self destruct device wired to her heart that would detonate the ship if said organ ceased beating. Klarth managed to stabilize her while Commander Tev found a way to disable the device.

With Intransigent now secured, the Lionheart crew boarded the artifact. It seemed the pirates had made little headway into discovering how the damn thing worked. Then one of them triggered…something. A countdown began and the pirates and Lionheart crew both had to fight off automated security drones. At last the drones were defeated and the countdown and potential disaster was averted.

Only now Doctor Klarth faced dire consequences for his actions. He was offered a chance at redemption, to join with a group of Klingons on a glorious suicide mission. Senior Chief S’Lace agreed to accompany Klarth on this mission, having formed a bond with him. Bemused, full of hope for the man who had repaired her leg, Devin watched the group depart.

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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