S.S. Sodor; Shahr System; Dubhe Sector
It was better for them to split up, cover more ground and assess the ship better. Plus, If they had stayed together, there was a good chance Thra’ssk might have eaten Gormesh. The Nausicaan obviously volunteered to take engineering, Kronq was stuck with the grunt work checking the cargo bays, and Thra’ssk took the bridge.
The Gorn towered over the control panels of the Freighter’s bridge, but it did not take him long to override command, and initiate a remote link to the Qul Cha’bIp. After a brief search of the room, finding not a single spec of evidence of life he spent the next few minutes of peace and quiet scrolling through the ships logs. Shortly after departure there was an issue in Cargo Bay 12, a few minutes later the Automatic Distress Beacon was activated via Voice commands from the same Cargo Bay, after that…nothing.
So whatever happened, occurred in Cargo Bay 12. Checking ships sensors, Thra’ssk could see Kronq was diligently working his way in order, already in Cargo Bay 7. As he reached to activate the comms, he noticed a life sign blip approaching the bridge fast. The Gorn spun around and drew his Disruptor, aimed at the door as Gormesh barreled through, sweat pouring from his head, his face in a mix of shock and panic. The Nausicaan peered around for a moment, “Where is the kid?” Gormesh was known for emotional outbursts, bipolar episodes, and erratic behavior, but fear was never apart of that mix. “What’s wrong?” the Gorn inquired.
“ WHERE IS HE!?” Gormesh roared out, rushing to an adjacent terminal. “He’s in Cargo Bay 7, I was just about to call him, Calm down, what the hell is going on?” Thra’ssk snapped. “We need to get back to the ship, NOW.” He hurriedly explained. Tapping on the terminal before him Gormesh activated the comms to the Cargo Bay Kronq was in, “Gormesh to Kronq, Report!” his tone reflected his nervousness, as Thra’ssk pulled up the video footage of the room. Kronq was standing next to a crate, with a data padd in his hand, scanning off barcodes off the sides of the freight to ensure everything was accounted for, at the call he stopped and looked up, “Kronq here. So far everything is accounted for.”
Gormesh snarled to himself, “Are you just scanning the boxes, or are you actually opening some to verify what’s inside?!” he rushed. Thra’ssk could see the Klingon throw his hands up in frustration, and reach for a box, “Standby…”
“NO DON’T!!!” Gormesh yelled across the comms, but it was too late, Kronq had already pulled the lever. The crate door swung open, spilling out the contents inside which the Klingon Pilot narrowly avoided being avalanched under. But what poured out was not what Thra’ssk had intended to see. Instead of parts, components, or metallic scrap; hundreds of small, round, fuzzy balls tumbled out into the cargo bay floor. The crate was packed with Tribbles.
“Oh SHIT!” Thra’ssk blurted out, as they watched Kronq scurry away and back to his feet. He drew his Disruptor but stopped curiously for a moment as he watched the pile. “NO NO NO!!” Gormesh shouted as he scrambled to re-activate the comms, “THEIR NOT DEAD! THEIR MUTATED! RUN!!!” He shouted, so loud in fact that they could hear the echo of the words all the way in the bridge. True to his words, the lifeless balls of fur began to stir on the ground, and a horrid sight occurred. Multiple long appendages and bone shards began to tear out of the Tribble’s bodies, as a grotesque face was almost ‘molted’ outwards as if the entire body was being duplicated via still connected cell-separation. Kronq could only take a pop-shot at the collective mass before he rushed out of the Cargo Hold, the horde of ‘monsters’ using their furry appendages like legs, scurrying after.
Reference: Arachnophobia Warning
((Photo REF: https://www.ex-astris-scientia.org/gallery/artoftrek/poluka-spider-ds9.jpg))
“Qul Cha’bIp, Ready Emergency Beam out for three on my mark!” Thra’ssk reported as he and Gormesh moved to the door to the Bridge, Disruptors out. They came to check things out, they were NOT prepared for a fight like this. The two could hear Kronq’s furious screaming getting louder as he bolted down the hallway like his life depended on it, followed closely behind the chittering sounds of…whatever the hell they were chasing after. But things only got worse, as the commotion from the Cargo Bay must have awakened more, Cargo Bay’s 5, 4, and 3 doors began to open as the sound of the monstrous chittering grew exponentially louder as if more creatures were waking up.
“SEAL THOSE DOORS!” Thra’ssk ordered, Gormesh leaving his post by the door and heading to the nearest terminal to override the Cargo bay doors. Thra’ssk began aiming down the hallway, firing his disruptor past his Klingon protégé at the creatures pursuing him. “I WILL F##KING LEAVE YOU, MOVE YOUR ASS WARRIOR!” He roared down the hallway to motivate the Klingon. A few more of these monsters began to come out of the opening cargo bay doors as Gormesh managed to get them to close, Thra’ssk firing to keep Kronq’s way clear.
20 meters….18……16……13……7 meters away, Kronq was literally running for his life. Death in battle was one thing, but to be feasted upon by a horde of tribble, would bring dishonor to him and his whole family. “TRANSPORTER ROOM, NOW!” Thra’ssk Shouted into his comms, as he reached his claw out to his comrade, grasping his hand as the red beams of light shimmered over the three.
There was a loud scram of pain from Kronq as they collapsed onto the Transporter pad. The three (plus transport officer) looked to see what was wrong, and they found that one of the creatures had made a hail-mary lunge and attached itself to the Klingon’s foot mid-transport, its ‘fangs’ buried deep into his foot. Both Kronq and Gormesh aimed their Disruptors and fired, striking and killing the creature, as well as hitting his ankle. There was another cry of pain, as Thra’ssk pulled the warrior off the pad to rush him to the infirmary, while Gormesh scrambled to get a level 9 forcefield over the carcass of their stow-away.
Two Hours Later
I.K.S. Qul Cha’bIp; Science Lab
V’ecna entered the Science Lab to find Gormesh and Thra’ssk waiting. She had just come from the Infirmary where the young Warrior Kronq lay in a coma, his foot was mangled and burned but would at least heal in time, the poison in his system however was the most troubling. “Report.” She snapped angrily.
“Video Surveillance indicate that one of the cargo-pods onboard was infected with Tribbles.” Thra’ssk began, “When the Freighter Captain discovered this, he deployed a home-made remedy.”
Gormesh pressed a button which removed the dark tint over the container on the desk, it -appeared- to be a dead tribble inside. V’ecna looked over at it in disgust then back to the two, “Are you two telling me you all ran from this? And that it caused that amount of damage to our pilot?” she snarled. “No ma’am. The Ship’s captian had a ghIlo’meH onboard. Well, an unregulated version of it. This version has DNA from an Andorian Glikar’ma spider. We think that’s what is contributing to Kronq’s condition.
“So, it’s a Mutated Spider Glommer? Then why does it look like a Tribble? What does that have to do with the Missing Crew?” V’ecna inquired, more concerned than angered now. “Well, Becca’s not here to do her job, but were guessing this species uses the carcass of a Tribble to hide in, which is why we didn’t detect its lifesigns. Adjusting the sensors, we can confirm 1,300 of them currently onboard. They are like Tribble, in that they multiply when they consume.” Thra’ssk explained. “I saw them moving around in Engineering…Most likely they did their jobs too well, not only killed the Tribble on board, but also the crew in Cargo Bay 12, which is why they never clarified their issue. And with no other food source these ‘terrors’ went into a kind of hibernation until we showed up. Movement and Sound seem to trigger them” Gormesh further explained.
“Recommendations?” V’ecna inquired. “High Yield Torpedoes. Lots of them.” Thra’ssk stated without hesitation. V’ecna shook her head, “I’m not about to destroy fleet resources so easily and head home empty handed.” “But Ma’am, You know the mandate on Tribbles! And these are FAR worse! We cant allow a single one to make it back to the fleet!” he tried to argue. V’ecna slowly turned her glare upward to the Gorn, but before she could berate him, Gormesh chimed in, “What if we vented the atmosphere onboard? Suffocate and freeze them out?”
The two turned to the Nausicaan, once again a brilliant streak of intelligence showing. “Will it work?” V’ecna tested. Gormesh shrugged, “Couldn’t hurt, no one else is over there. And afterwards we can just clear them out with a baryon sweep before we make it back to the fleet star base.”
“Do it!” V’ecna ordered, “And incinerate that -THING-” she added to the contained Tribble Corpse as the three departed the Science Lab for the bridge. Thankfully Thra’ssk had transferred remote access to the Freighter as soon as he got aboard, so the matter of overriding safety protocols and venting the atmosphere was almost too easy. The crew watched from the view screen as all ingress points opened up, venting gas, loose particles, and even small furry blobs. They cheered in success as they watched Tribbles fly out of the freighter into space, but Thra’ssk was not so enthused.
“Commander. Scans indicate there are STILL over 800 life signs aboard.” He reported from his terminal. “WHAT?! How?!” She demanded to know. The Gorn pulled up security footage from inside the cargo ship, showing that the ‘spiders’ had made compact cocoons using cargo crates which somehow held in the oxygen for them to survive. They even spotted a few roaming spiders skittering down corridors, with an orb like weave around their heads, like a biodegradable EV suit. “I’m starting to lean towards the Torpedo suggestion Ma’am.” Gormesh deadpanned from his station. V’ecna slammed her fist on the Captains Chair in frustration. The first time Roh’Khan left her in full command could NOT end like this in failure.
“One Darsek…” She growled from her seat. “One Darsek for every mutated corpse made by a warrior. We will not blow up our belongings! We will not allow these FREAKS to take what belongs to the Empire! That ship belongs to US! They injured OUR warrior, and for that they will all SUFFER WITH THEIR LIVES!” She hailed. The crew roared in unison to her words. “SUIT UP!” She ordered, “The bulk of their numbers will be easy pickings inside their hide! The rest we will snuff out with impunity!” The crew rallied together and headed off towards the Turbolift, ready to claim glory and riches!
“Gormesh.” V’ecna called out to the Engineer. “Don’t tell the Captain I authorized this…but your free to use the Flamer…” Gormesh’s face lit up like a child at a candy store as he jumped up with joy and headed off to the armory.
The ensuing action afterward was not a battle, but a bloodbath as Klingon Warriors climbed over each other to claim their kills with Disruptor Fire, Bat’leth and the occasional brave d’k tahg. But none were quite as successful as The Nausicaan and Gorn who took back half of the ship on their own in burning green plasma fire.
[To be Continued]