Chapter 14 - Season 4: Episode 14 - Deliverance
“Calling the discovery of this new Iconian artifact on Dysathus II a game-changer is one of those understatements that’s so obvious it would’ve had me doing push-ups for my Academy instructors until they got tired. Yet here we are, right in the thick of it as we try to figure out what to do with it, or even if we can do anything with it.
Or, if we should do anything with it.
The Orion salvage collectors remain a problem. They’re angry we’re here in the first place, despite our efforts to come to an understanding, but the discovery of the Oracle has changed the game. Their leader’s smart enough to know this thing’s important to the Federation, the Klingons, and a lot of other people. Orions aren’t easily deterred when there’s potential profit involved. I would’ve liked for them to back away from the site after the previous skirmish but they’re hanging around, forcing me to send a larger security detail to the planet’s surface to protect the away team and the site.”
Working with an unknowable clock in the background the away team must translate enough of the Iconion symbols to disengage the safety protocols and stop the Oracle from jumping through time and space again! If they were to fail it is unlikely that they would ever see the Oracle again in their lifetimes!
Lieutenant T’rhyn explains that after she was pulled from her time with the Oracle she ventured further inside and started to study its operation. From her point of view it had been only a few days since her disappearance to when the away team found her! She believes that the Oracle chose this time for the increased activity of Tilikaal technology in the region.
Deactivating the safety mechanism requires accessing several systems using crawl spaces and access panels. With the help of the ship’s computer and T’rhyn the away team is able to translate much of the instructions needed but spent several hours crawling through the structure to reach circuits and remote stations in order to make the necessary changes and overrides. As they finish their work the Potemkin informs them that long range sensors show several vessels from the Romulan side of the Expanse have been detected at high warp heading in their direction.
T’rhyn informs the away team that if they are to save the Tilikaal they must activate the Locus, however it requires a power supply to give it a jump start so it can begin generating its own power. They decide that the shuttle would be able to provide the needed jump and get to work connecting the two very different devices. This is further complicated by the Orions demanding to know what is happening, they are clearly worried that Starfleet is going to take this very valuable find from them. By now a security team has been landed and are ‘dealing’ with the annoyed Orions and keeping them from the federation landing party and the shuttles.
Power is restored sometime later and the party realize that they have very little time to decide if they are going to help the Tilikaal back to their bodies or not, but they need to decide quickly as the Romulans are on their way and their intervention will only make the choice harder!
After their encounter with other members of the Tilikaal and how they tried to force their way into bodies that were not their own the away team is hesitant to return the entire species to their actual bodies. On the other hand the Tilikaal’s repeated attempts in returning to their bodies on their own has resulted in some powerful ‘natural’ events such as supernova. Having them return to their bodies could lessen their powers, or they could be releasing a new unimaginably powerful threat upon the galaxy, if the Tilikaal who returned were too far gone the Iconions fears could be realized!
As power starts to restore inactive systems scans of the energy being created by the Locus and report unusual spatial and gravimetric readings from the heart of the mechanism, it is likened to scanning a tiny, and mostly harmless blackhole; there is a point at which scans show nothing despite the hailstorm of energies coming from the core! Starting the process of bringing the Tilikaal back is possible without finishing it, given the time restraints Pax gives the order to connect the Locus to similar structures across the expanse. It will take time, maybe more than they have.
As the away team finish their work new functions appear on the main console, access to the Tilikaals interspatial network, it might now be possible to speak with the Tilikaal in their pocket universe directly!
Narendra stations long range sensors are already starting to pick up increased activity from Tilikaal sites throughout the expanse, this is clearly good news as it means that the away team had been successful in connecting the Oricle to the network, however bad news always follows good! Pax reports that a dozen Romulan warbirds have entered the Dysathus system.
A Romulan scout ship has been detected on the ‘other’ side of the star moving in towards the second planet, its cloak is disabled and shields are low suggesting it had taken some damage while traversing the asteroid belt. The Potemkin is moving to intercept but Pax says that two assault shuttles have already nearing the planet and will likely be carrying strike teams.
T’rhyn speaks up at this and says that the building can deploy a powerful and adaptive forcefield, it is a simple operation but the away team wants to make sure that the Orions are within the fields parameter, a quick scan shows that the Orions are already moving towards their camp and the forcefield can be deployed to cover that area.
“Supplemental. According to the captain, things are getting dicey upstairs. In addition to the Romulans, Narendra Station reports other ships are also heading toward the Dysathus system. An Orion freighter, probably coming to check on the salvage operation we interrupted, along with a VinShari Stormbreaker and even an Akaru frigate, are heading for us.
A lot of people seem interested in what we’re doing down here. Why do I get the feeling we’re making a huge mistake?”
Information from across the Tilikaal network continues to arrive in waves, so much data that it threatens to overwhelm the Oracle’s systems!
The away team worked with T’rhyn, and with whatever enhanced intelligence she’d been given by the Oracle had gifted her are able to configure all the artifact’s control systems to manage everything. The Oracle’s control systems report the torrential flow of incoming data is starting to stabilize. Prompts and responses from Locuses across the Expanse are detected, and there’s the Tilikaal network to consider, but now there’s something new. A circular door at the room’s far end cycles open. Beyond is a barely contained swirling storm of blue-white energy. A beam strikes out and envelopes T’rhyn.
In a voice not of her own she introduces herself as Uth’Olano and pleads for help!
She explains that their pocket universe is in danger of collapsing, she continues by explaining that the Iconian’s plan to retrieve them was an all or nothing process due to the enormous energy requirements. By drawing upon the zero point energy of the pocket universe they could retrieve billions of people across a ‘bridge’ connecting the two universes. Since the pocket universe would no longer be needed then why not use it to power the process.
However, the faction of Displaced Tilikaal only wanted to remain in the pocket universe. They had millennia to develop a defense and were ready to fight the Iconians, never knowing that they had died out ages past.
After a brief, but spirited debate the characters decide Uth’Olano’s plan in keeping the Tilikaal in the pocket universe, and disconnecting the bridge between the universes. The time isn’t right for them to return. The plan would also draw Ash’Tamalia and her faction back into the pocket universe. The away team worked hard and quickly, for any delay could either destroy the pocket universe or give the other faction time to enact their own plans, either choice could cost millions of lives!
As they finish their work, the ‘gateway’ that was allowing Uth’Olano to act through T’rhyn closed, and the Oracle started to show signs that it was going to jump through time and space again. The away team hustle out and watch as the massive structure blinks away. Reinforcements in the form of the Venture and Bellerophon and along with the Potemkin drive the Romulans away and back to their own space; which might have been promoted by the disappearance of the Oracle.
Something went sideways though. Just as the Potemkin is getting ready to warp away there is a massive burst of energy. It strikes the ship and overloads the shields and several systems but it interacts in strange ways with the Protectorate technology seeded throughout the ship’s warp drive and it triggers the warp engines. The crew is overwhelmed and they fall Unconscious!