“There’s No Place Like My Home Dimension”
- Wizard Of Oz VIII, circa 2297
Entering the TW Conduit, the last thing that most of the bridge crew saw was the Klingon Torpedo hitting the wall of the conduit on the port (left) side of the ship because a split second later the viewscreen went dark and all lights and panels went out along with gravity and inertial dampeners. The ship lurched as the shields failed and people and objects flew in all directions, colliding with each other and objects of various sized, shapes, and sharpness. The emergency lighting kicked in right after the gravity systems. The crew had just time enough to realize they were going to hit – something – right before they did.
No one onboard escaped without bumps, bruises, and scrapes. 25 people died. Nearly half the crew had injuries ranging from serious broken bones to life-threatening injuries, or death. 78% of the casualties were on the port side of the ship. Miraculously, somehow the shields were all up, at only 20%, but up. The raised shields saved the ship and everyone’s life, though no one can say how they came back up.
In the first few minutes after ‘entry’ into the transwarp domain (TWD), Assistant Chief Science Officer and head of the Computer Science Division, LtJG Curtix Na Zach, (who was one of the very few without serious injuries) brought the Emergency Medical Hologram (EMH) and the Emergency Holographic Damage Control Team (EHDCT) systems online. By judicious and careful reallocation of resources within the computer systems he was able to create 4 functional EMHs and 4 EHDCTs.
Though there wasn’t a direct call for it, he was all too aware that the bridge had taken a serious hit (his station being on that deck and directly behind the bridge) and that command personnel would be needed in this crisis and he deployed 1 EMH there, probably saving the life of most of the people there. He sent one to Medical, one of the hardest hit areas of the ship, where the EMH was able to begin getting medical personnel back on their feet to help throughout the ship. He sent one to Engineering on a hunch (the 43 calls for EMH help may have helped influence his decision as well) and another to the Physical Sciences lab which showed on sensors to be the hardest hit area of the ship, and whose Division leader would step up and take the place of the freshly crushed science officer on the bridge (Lt Svak will be missed).
The EHDCTs LtJG Na Zach distributed to hotspot areas as well preventing the Fusion plants from overloading and preserving Auxiliary Power, clearing an EPS rupture that could have been catastrophic, preventing the loss of the port engine due to an over stressed nacelle, performing emergency shutoff of the Impulse Engines to save them from potential overload damage from the EPS situation, and afterwards literally hundreds of small tasks that allowed the ship to somewhat recover functionality over the first 3 hours in the TWD. Well done LtJG, your medal is in the mail.
In the Physical Sciences lab Lt Jog Clivurc responded well to the EMH’s treatment and was soon on his feet, ignoring the EMH as he moved out of the lab, filled with the wounded and dead of his science division and hailed the bridge. Being the senior ranked science officer on the ship and LtJG Na Zach being too valuable in his present duties, Captain Morgan promoted him to temporary Chief Science Officer as his first official duty after regaining consciousness. Upon receiving this news he made his way to the bridge and started science-ing all over the place. There were sensor scans, interesting theories, and the shocking discovery of a Starfleet vessel some distance away from their location broadcasting an automated distress call. It was the USS Ipsus, disappeared some 4.5 months ago in this area and the very ship the USS Marathon was here to replace.
No matter what the engineers did, the warp core would not activate. Most shocking to them was the fact that matter and anti-matter was colliding withing the dilithium matrix, just as it was supposed to do, but simply did not react to it’s counterpart. They weren’t sure what the issue was, though there were theories – hundreds of them (ok, 4) – and they simply couldn’t think of anything they could do to correct the situation so they moved on to their numerous other problems for the time being.
At 3 hours past entry the ship’s systems were more or less back online, at least the ones that still existed. The EPS rupture got into the transporter and replicator networks and basically blew out every part of those systems. While Chief Engineer * Vegga Aece* was unconscious and/or recovering from his fairly dire wounds, his Assistant Chief Engineer Lt Christina Williams wasn’t as badly injured and went to work on the issues the ship faced. Realizing that the repairs needed replacement parts, along with a newly requested sensor that needed to be manufactured from scratch, she directed the engineering crew and made it her primary duty to scrounge what she could and then to use them to build an engineering replicator, and then to use that to make the needed sensor system. By the time 6 hours had passed she had done both and it had been installed. She was cranky.
Lt Jog Clivurc conducted intensive scans of the space surrounding the Marathon. He looked over the engineering reports regarding what was going on with the warp core. He consulted the (surviving) civilian specialists regarding what was found and they reached a consensus of 4 theories and proposed a sensor enhancement module that could potentially prove 1 of them and rule out the other 3, or rule out 1 in favor of the other 3. Jog fed the information and made an official request of Lt Williams (as if the assistant chief engineer had nothing better to do) and she went to work on building an engineering grade replicator with which she could build more replicators, critical parts for engineering, and the new sensor module. It took 3 hours to complete, and the module took another 3, but eventually it was done and installed roughly 10 hours after entering the TWD. With the data from the new sensor module Clivurc was able to rule out 3 theories and confirm the most likely candidate.
At the 3 hour point confidence was high enough to bring the impulse engines back online, immediately supplying power to the ship and more than doubling shield strength. With the shields stronger matter and antimatter began to dislike each other again, and the warp core was brought onine, capping out at 30%. Due to its behavior as well as how the EPS conduits reacted, the idea that something had invaded the warp core and acted to inhibit matter/anti-matter reactions, though what that was. A request for WTF was sent to the Science Officer:
-Unlike our universe where gravity is by far the weakest of the 4 fundamental forces, here it is much stronger, nearly equal to the others. The ship’s graviton detectors were tuned to our universe’s level of gravitons and were simply didn’t detect them at their normal levels. The new detector was set to an extremely course resolution and picked up the massive gravimetric signature immediately. With a little refinement and computer modeling the Science Officer and Civilian Specialists formulated the theory of ‘Denatured Gravitons’ and successfully predicted, in broad strokes, how it operated later experiments conducted by the Daystrom Institute would show.
At around the 6 hour point Chief Security/Tactical Officer Lt. Stilicho Th’azyron began operations along with his Assistant began playing with a shuttlecraft on a tether to see if it was possible and safe for the ship to move in the TWD. The shuttle was fine until it passed through the shields of the Marathon, whereupon its own shields rapidly failed (3.8 microseconds) and it was crushed with massive, sudden force. It was retracted and mounted on the wall of the Captain’s ready room. A similar attempt was about to be made with a warp shuttle when the Captain thought better of the action, thinking the shuttle might be needed.
After roughly 24 hours the ship and crew were as ‘put back together’ as they were going to get and the Captain ordered that the ship set course for the distress signal of the USS Ipsus.
She was 2 hours away at full impulse and the captain the ship to travel at that speed. Shortly after entering the TWD it was noticed that the sensors worked unbelievably well, at a little more than 3 times their normal effectiveness, allowing the Marathon to determine active lifesigns onboard the Ipsus while still an hour out from her. As they closed they refined their readings and found 5 individuals onboard her who still breathed, and a great many that did not. Repeated hails were ignored or not noticed.
The ship is able to move on impulse only. The engineering team is able to determine that the ship isn’t generating the power needed to breach the
TransWarp barrier as it is currently operating. With limited options,
the Captain orders the Marathon to investigate the other ship by moving to it. Transporters are destroyed from an EPS overload, and exposing a shuttlecraft is a bad idea as well, as verified by the Tactical department. A personnel umbilical would be possibly funny, but also a bad idea as the crewman attached to it would be crushed as well. This left direct hull -
to – hull docking of the ships as the only viable boarding solution.
Sensors revealed the structural integrity fields in the Ipsus’ engineering section were set to maximum, and seemed to be using the entire output of a wounded fusion reactor to run them, along with minimal life support. The only accessible docking access that didn’t seem to be crushed was the warp ejection port, which required some interesting piloting and engineering to accomplish, but was doable. As communications were either out on the Ipsus, non-functional in this space, or they were unable or unwilling to respond, uncredited ship’s officer #3 came up with an interesting idea. Some interesting communications work resulted into tapping directly into the commbadges of the Ipsus crew and actually getting a response from some very shaken personnel. A boarding party of engineering crew and security officers erected a makeshift docking collar, force fielded it into place, and opened the ejection port of the Ipsus. From there they made their way to the deck plating below the compartment of choice and cut their way in. Using sensor scans, the Science Officer was able to advise the away team of the positions and general health status of the personal onboard the Ipsus along with the fact that 3 of them were restrained.
The Ipsus was declared lost just over 4.5 months ago. Onboard were survivors who are in bad shape. They’ve had water, food, life support, emergency medical supplies, even bedding, but they’ve been trapped here for over 4 months with no way to contact anyone and no reason to
believe anyone would even be looking for them, much less able to reach them. Several of them (there were 26 originally) died of their injuries. Others just lost it and became a threat to either themselves or others and had to be killed, or eventually killed themselves. There were 3 crewmen
that died after being restrained. Of the remaining 5, 3 of them are quite mad and are in restraints (strapped to stretchers). Only Security Specialist 2nd Class Vul’shara of Keth Uclanath and Medical Specialist 2nd Class
Geet Naveen were still somewhat coherent. The others are BCS Specialist 1st Class Keval th’Zarath of Keth Dra, Chief Science Officer Lt Jamie Werner, Ship’s Counselor Lt Cmdr Miloi Raise.
Vul’shara, after recovering her wits, told the rescue party, “I don’t know if this matters or not, but Lt. Werner was trying to restart the warp core. He’d been repairing it for two months. That’s when he lost it and nearly killed the Counselor. He was talking about being almost ready for a low energy power up about 3 days before he went crazy. It was after we finally had to restrain him by maybe 2 weeks that the Counselor went insane and just started howling all day and night. But he stopped after about a
week and just kind of stares and twitches now. I think Keval seemed to know she was becoming unbalanced because she asked to be restrained before she hurt someone. Since then, me and Geet have been taking care of them and just kind of watching to see which of us was going to be
next. Neither of us knows anything about the warp core, or what good it
would do even if we did get it started without blowing it up, and so we haven’t touched it. It’s just like Lt Werner left it.”
Geet piped up, “You should probably also know that the Counselor and the Science Officer had a theory that the space that we’re in is at least partially responsible for everyone’s unstable mental health, though they weren’t sure why that would be. I hope that’s helpful.”
The two of them collapsed into exhaustion as soon as they’re brought to sickbay. They were in poor health, both mentally and physically and the ordeal had been taxing. The bodies of their fallen crewmates are brought aboard the Marathon as well and autopsied. It was found that all of the
deceased and living crew of the Ipsus are suffering severe brain damage caused by very low dosage thalaron radiation over time. Sensors do detect trace amounts of the radiation in the space surrounding the ships. The damage to the bodies can be cured, and even the brain tissue might be regenerated given time and research, but the memories, knowledge, and personalities of the surviving Ipsus crew is permanently damaged and irretrievable. The Marathon’s shields are an effective deterrent to thalaron radiation in these dosages, and the Assistant CMO assures the Captain that the crew has nothing to fear.
Once they have been checked out, Geet and Vul’shara are assigned to quarters together to rest, they are locked in (rations are supplied), and guards are posted outside. The dead of the Ipsus (that can be reached) are laid out alongside the dead of the Marathon in the Main Cargo Bay and identified. At this point serious thought turned to how to get out of the TWD.
Multi-warp core restart sequence technique – There were arguments. And theories. And arguments about theories. And theories about arguments. It was finally decided to treat this as a contaminant the could be filtered out by the warp field, and that if a second warp field could be brought online then the two could be used to ‘clean’ the warp core. They made use of the warp core on the Ipsus that had been almost fully repaired (it only took the Marathon engineers 1 hour to bring it online). They activated the warp core of the Ipsus and expanded it to cover the core of Marathon, then shut down the Marathon’s core and restarted it within the Ipsus’ core, roughly a one hour process, which allowed the Marathon’s core to operate at considerably higher output. Then the same process was reversed to bring the Ipsus’ core online at a higher output. After 4 cycles of this, the Marathon had achieved just high enough warp output to be able to activate it’s Transwarp Drive in cutting mode.
All seemed to be going well when something in the Ipsus warp core went terribly wrong. Some undetected weakness caused a critical overload to begin building in the Ipsus’ warp core with no way to shut it down. The engineering crew got out as fast as they could, but they were too slow, and the Marathon was in the explosion zone of the Ipsus when she blew with enough power to destroy both ships. A curious quality of the heavier gravity in this domain caused the explosion to not propagate in the same way it would have in normal space, such that the Marathon was able to withstand the blast. Still, it would have been nice to bring the ship back.
Both the Captain and 1st Officer were later found to have sustained further injuries in the blast, but held on to consciousness long enough to give the order to start the TW Drive and cut out way out of “this damned Transwarp Domain”, which the crew did. Surprisingly, upon re-entering normal space they found that they had drifted in the TW Domain several light years, indicating that it was moving relative to normal space, and that they were now roughly 4 light years from Starbase 134, an 8 day journey at their best warp speed of warp 5 due to a damaged, bent, and twisted port pylon.
They signaled BattleGroup 28 who agreed to radio silence and began moving towards them, due to arrive in 4.5 days. The crew went about the business of putting the ship back into as much order as possible and patching up crew to full health. The Captain and 1st Officer kept their injuries hidden.
After roughly a day spent warping towards SB134 a signal was detected being broadcast from the ship. It was detected by doing intensive scans of the ship itself after 2 Nausican raiders showed up, moved to within their sensor range of the Marathon (but still far out of weapons range), then turned and left prompting the crew to investigate what was going on. A foreign transmitter was found, hastily deployed with no effort to hide it, in one of the forward photon torpedo tubes. Evidence was planted to implicate another crewman, who happened to be unconscious and under medical supervision since before exiting the TW Domain. Trace DNA was located and tracked to a cargo handler who was taken into custody, interrogated, then, upon the chief counselor’s advice and with his approval, a vulcan volunteer was allowed to mindmeld with her. The results showed mental fragmentation consistent with a personality overlay and memories of planting the transmitter. She was immediately stored in the brig.
At this point the Captain and 1st Officer succumbed to their wounds, had to be taken to sickbay, and missed most of the next gaming session.