Dark Matter

Dark Matter was a mission carried out by the Tryfan-class USS Horizon, NCC-825002, between stardates 12.1202 and 13.0316.

Mission orders

To: Captain Tergin, CO, USS Horizon
From: Fleet Admiral Fuchsia Tino, acting Fleet CO, Cocoon Fleet
SD: 12.1202

A priority red message has been received from Research Facility Arkon in the Kataria sector. Arkon's mission involves investigation of a dark matter anomaly. According to the priority red, the nebula is showing some disturbing activity. Further attempts at communication with the Arkon have been to date unsuccessful. You will take on the Augur Sensor Array pod; proceed to the Kataria sector, Research Facility Arkon; undertake an investigation of the situation; undertake whatever measures you feel necessary. The USS Dakota will be available for support if needed.

Godspeed and good luck,
Fleet Admiral Fuchsia Tino
Cocoon Fleet Commanding Officer

Senior staff

CO: Captain Tergin
FO: Commander Dhalit P'Nehbuddar
FCO/2O: Lieutenant Jarek Malaar
CNS: Lieutenant JG Trinity Layne
OPS: Ensign Blaze Starsinger
CEO: Ensign Dariale
CMO: Ensign William Patton
CSciO: Ensign Melody Cuen
CSO: Ensign James Mauler
astCNS: Ensign Jay McMadeth
SOCO: Lieutenant JG Arkanis

Mission summary

written by Don Ratliff

The crew of the Horizon gathers for the first briefing on their new mission. Admiral Tino received a priority red message from Research Facility Arkon in the Kataria Sector. The research station had been investigating a nearby dark matter anomaly, when the nebula starting showing evidence of growth. Subsequent events at the station were unknown. The Horizon is ordered to investigate and take whatever measures are called for.

The Horizon starts this mission with several newly-minted Ensigns in key positions: William Patton, CMO; Dariale, a member of a race of mimics, as CEO; Melody Cuen, a Q-raised Human as CsciO; James Mauler, CSO; and Jay McMadeth, asstCNS. Lieutenant <jg> Arkanis moves from CSO to special operations officer with his own eclectic team of specialists. FCO/2O Jarek Malaar is promoted to Lieutenant-Commander, and chief OPS Blaze Starsinger is promoted to Lieutenant <jg>.

Immediately after the staff briefing, Tergin and P'Nehbuddar adjourn to the ready room. They discuss the little that is known about dark matter anomalies. Only four of such anomalies had been discovered before. They were known to have an effect on those with telepathic abilities and to grow very quickly - consuming entire star systems in a matter of days. Other than that not much was known. P'Nehbuddar agrees to keep a close eye on the science department (which had taken on many new members) and to pay particular attention to the new CEO. Ensign Dariale is the first representative of her race (from the Andromeda Galaxy) to join Starfleet.

Doctor T'Salek returns from her leave of absence on Vulcan and a time spent with her husband. She returns pregnant, a fact that she hopes to keep secret. Doctor Patton, however, soon discovers this, but agrees to respect T'Salek's wishes.

Tergin asks Trinity and Jay to keep a close watch on all the crew. Given the dark matter anomaly's history of affecting those with telepathic abilities, a close watch for such influence is in order.

Ensign McMadeth and Ensign Patton meet over breakfast. McMadeth expresses his concern for Patton's emotional status… given all the death in Patton's previous life (his previous Starfleet Marine service and the early loss of Patton's young wife). McMadeth makes sure that Patton knows he is available for conversation at any time.

Now with all the newly assigned Ensigns aboard, P'Nehbuddar tosses the Ensigns together in one place. They all report to sickbay for physical exams. Then the gaggle of Ensigns take a tour of the ship. Cuen makes quiet an impression on McMadeth and Mauler, as they both competed for her attention. Unsure of her emotions, Cuen dealt with the situation as best as she could without hurting anyone's feelings.

With the Augur Sensor Array in place, the Horizon departs on stardate 12.1220. CSO Mauler prepares for evacuation of the Arkon if needed. Patton, Cuen, and the medical staff run a holodeck evacuation exercise in preparation for the real thing. Arkanis drills his SpecOps team during the voyage.

Starsinger and No'urdan finally acknowledge their feelings for each other. No changes his plans about leaving and decides to stay on the Horizon.

Malaar welcomes his stepfather, who catches up with the Horizon. Ekul comes for a visit with his son. Trinity and Malaar agree that it is time to start a family.

As the Horizon gets close to the anomaly, crew members begin to be affected. Tergin and P'Nehbuddar are the first to feel the unease. Tergin gets the mental message of "Death". Examination by the CMO does show some telepathic imprint on Tergin's mind. P'Nehbuddar's examination was completely negative.

Cuen reports that since the Horizon's arrival the anomaly had showed an increase in its growth rate and energy output.

Starsinger is the next to be affected…seeing the word "Death" on the view screen picture of the anomaly. Further analysis of the energy waves by Cuen shows two 'psi' waves imbedded in the carrier wave of energy from the anomaly.

Another blast of the psi waves from the anomaly strikes Tergin. The captain cries out, has a seizure, and collapses on the bridge. Patton, McMadeth, and T'Salek arrive quickly on the bridge, followed closely by Arkanis and Mauler. They stabilize Tergin and move him to sickbay.

Arkanis checks in with his SpecOps team, who have pinpointed the source of the psi wave attacks from the anomaly. On the bridge, Arkanis seems to be waiting for something. Waiting to see who would be affected next. Sniffing the air, he detects a change. Without warning Arkanis attacks P'Nehbuddar. The fight is vicious but is over before the bridge crew knows how to react. Arkanis' knife is plunged into P'Nehbuddar's chest. Now, the bridge crew reacts. Fourteen phaser beams hit Arkanis. Both are transported to sickbay, where Arkanis is stabilized and treated. P'Nehbuddar is dead on arrival, but still with enough residual psi energy in her body to stun doctor T'Salek during the examination. Tergin is still unconscious, but stable.

With Captain Tergin in sickbay and P'Nehbuddar dead, Malaar takes over command and moves the Horizon to a safer distance from the anomaly. He informs Starfleet Command of recent events. SF Command orders Malaar to take charge of the Horizon, pending Tergin's recovery or the arrival of a new first officer.

Trinity's consciousness is taken over by Kiaja. Jarek, upon meeting the 'new' Trinity realizes something is wrong. But there is no time to pursue the matter.

Melody Cuen, after the stress and events on the bridge, faints. At first it was thought that she, too, had been affected by the psi waves. Examination in sickbay, however, reveals it to have been only a faint caused by the emotional overload.

Tergin drifts, unconscious, in a world of his own. Searching for his voices. They are strangely silent. And the anomaly engulfs the Horizon in its dark embrace.

Malaar goes to the Holodeck in search of Ekul. He finds the dark matter entity and finds himself transported from the holodeck to the emptiness of space. He remains there for less than five seconds, before he appears in sickbay, where he is treated for the exposure.

Meanwhile the USS Dakota is sent to aid the Horizon. A new first officer, to replace P'Nehbuddar, is dispatched aboard the Dakota. Commander Leyson Ayden, whose past (or should I say future) is sealed behind security codes, boards the Dakota. Leyson is from the future, the first officer of the USS Enterprise-J. In his future the Milky Way Galaxy has been destroyed. Ayden has been modified with cybernetic implants. Plus he has had some experience with dark matter anomalies. He guides the Dakota into the heart of the anomaly, searching for the Horizon.

On the Horizon, the warp core turns completely black. The engineering crew are taken over by the dark energy. Dariale shuts down the system, places locks on the computer controls, and barricades herself in her office after sending a message to the bridge. A rescue team arrives to find the effects on the engineering crew faded. Dariale is taken to sickbay to recover.

Strange things continue to happen to the Horizon as she probes deeper into the anomaly. The computer system is taken over by the dark energy. Crew members begin to see their long dead loved-ones and the dead souls of many others demanding release. Captain Tergin recovers somewhat and returns to the bridge, although still under mental assault which he manages to hold at bay.

Or'Nonya is the first to offer an explanation of the dark matter anomaly. A long time ago the Meparchkans developed the science to manipulate dark matter as a defensive measure during a war with the Founders. Behind a wall of dark matter the Meparchkan civilization continued to flourish for many centuries. Unfortunately one of the side effects of this was the twisting of the souls of the dead. He informs Tergin of his theory.

Ensign Starsinger is temporarily possessed by the dark matter beings. They identify themselves as the spirits of the dead. There are those in the spirits who want to possess the crew of the Horizon as a means of escaping their limbo. But there are also those among them who wish to help the Horizon escape.

One of the latter is Maggy. She found a way to manifest herself to Ensign McMadeth. Maggy is a former Starfleet officer, killed before her time. She makes contact with McMadeth and offers a plan. A plan to allow the Horizon to escape. A plan to return her to life.

Meanwhile in the morgue, P'Nehbuddar's body is re-possessed by the malevolent force from the anomaly and begins a killing spree in sickbay. Dariale and Patton take her on and succeed in dismembering P'Nehbuddar's body. Hopefully rendering it useless to the dark forces.

The Dakota continues deeper in the anomaly behind bursts of anti-neutrino energy, following Leyson's plan. The deeper the Dakota gets into the anomaly, the more damage is done to the dark matter beings' influence…and the more it threatens to end Maggy's chance to return. The Dakota follows the Horizon to the center of the anomaly, Research Station Arkon. Ensign McMadeth decides to take a drastic measure to help Maggy. He 'borrows' a shuttle and makes his own way to Arkon.

Teams from the Horizon and Dakota board the Arkon. After some distraction they meet in the compartment with the single life sign reading on the entire station. There they find doctor An'Faldo, an elderly Meparchkan scientist. His attempt to recreate the 'tolmae', the dark matter home of the undead, to recover his soul-mate and child who died when their vessel was destroyed as they slipped through the Cocoon's wall. They succeed in transporting An'Faldo to the Horizon's sickbay.

Ensign Dariale is 'contacted' by the soul of California Douglas, former Horizon cadet who died during a previous mission. After getting Dariale's permission, Douglas takes possession of the mimics body. He goes to the bridge with a plan for Tergin to destroy the anomaly.

McMadeth succeeds in his plan of using the Arkon's transporter, along with a mass of carbon, to bring Maggy back to the life that was untimely stolen from her.

As the research station began to break up, both teams rush to their respective ships. Once safely back 'home' they set about putting the finishing touches on the mission. California Douglas uses the deflector dish to beam 'life' into the anomaly. Slowly the anomaly shrinks and with Maggy restored there is no further resistance to the ship's departure.

Leyson takes over as first officer of the Horizon, while the crew tries to adjust to his presence. Malaar attempts to returns his pregnant wife's mind to her body. Melody is rendered unconscious and her place taken by a look-alike twin…

… But That's Another Story.

Promotions

Lieutenant Jarek Malaar: promoted to Lieutenant-Commander
Ensign Blaze Starsinger: promoted to Lieutenant JG
Ensign Melody Cuen: promoted to Lieutenant JG
Ensign Dariale: promoted to Lieutenant JG
Ensign James Mauler: promoted to Lieutenant JG
Ensign William Patton: promoted to Lieutenant JG

Awards received

Picard Medal of Honor: Captain Tergin
Troi Plaque: Ensign Jay McMadeth
Star of Hope: Commander Dhalit P'Nehbuddar

Wingman Awards: Ruud Visser and Jonathan Illingworth
Terraformer Award: Adam West
Blue Ribbons: Mistie Smith and Don Ratliff

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