2.04: Return to Sapella: Nuniok Dak

DS Day 137-153

Where: Enroute to Sapella & Beyond

Binaros was behind them. With a hangar load full of frozen Sullustans, the Farstar set forth back to Sapella.

Gammer woke from surgery sore. He had a headache bigger than any hangover. Then he realized something. He didn’t crave anything alcoholic, he actually wanted water. He looked up at the Doc, who said “While I was in there…”

The emptiness of the Kathol Outback was ahead of them, its silence mocking the dauntless crew of the Farstar. The mysterious cargo of Sullustans in stasis worried the crew. Their presence was haunting everyone. More so for Sooni. He recognized at least half of them. He could almost the echoes of their screams while he slept. How he knew they you in pain, he didn’t know.

The Doc steered clear of Sooni, because any news he had for the Sullustan was not good. How a small population from his home world appeared here in the Kathol Sector was any one’s guess. However, close scans determined why. They had Darkstryder Implants in their brains. Their brain activity was registered off the scales, and the neural area where telepathy and the like come from, was the center of all the activity. If he was to say that his brain activity was a hand-lamp, these Sullustans were ship engine reactors.

In order for him to do anything, he had to crack one open. He asked the captain for permission.

*****

The captain was looking at a report from Loffryyn. Suddenly, old and new problems with ship had started surfacing. Systems failures were reported all over the ship. Loffryyn was baffled, as was Brophar, but they still worked to find the problem. The Captain simply ordered them to keep working on it.

The doctor strode in with a look of concern and determination on his Mon Calamari face. This wasn’t going to be good news.

“I would like permission to crack one of the Sullustan containers open.”

This was not what she expected. The risks involved could be insurmountable. She had to consult Thyte for this. There was two ways of doing this: close to somewhere safe or out in the middle of nowhere. Her concern for her crew wanted to take the ship into port at Sapella or Timbra Ott and try it where it was safe for the crew. However, how safe would that be, and would she be risking more than her crew if she was near a planet. These Sullustans were part of some project called Nuniok Dak. If the last Sarne project was any indication of scale, this might be even larger, especially if it was related to the name sake. Thyte agreed that a test in the middle of nowhere might be safer over all. She ordered all non-essential personnel to their quarters, and the ship out of hyperspace.

The Doctor arranged for tight security around the iso-lab in med-bay. Slave, Gorak, Kl’aal, and Samarion were there. Samarion was closely feeling for any sign of something in hyperspace. The preparations were carefully laid out before the actual operation. There was nothing they felt they were unprepared for.

The hiss of the cryo-gases startled everyone, as the lid lifted in a cloud of vapor. A strange sound came from the unit as it warmed, and the vapor dissipated. They all stood staring at the Sullustan inside. He lay still in the pod, cold and quiet. Some wondered if he was actually alive. Then he stirred.

*****

Thyte didn’t like this idea, although he had agreed with the Captain. He didn’t like being out here with no back up. Yes, they put a team of the Night Terrors on the Muvon and put them an assumed safe distance away from the Farstar, just in case. They also alerted the New Republic base on Timbra Ott of their intentions and their location. But he still didn’t like it… The Captain is losing it…

Adrimetrum herself was using the time to have a discussion with Dajus. She was in her cabin with the black-haired ex-Imperial, and Thyte didn’t trust that. He hoped Kl’aal was somewhere nearby.

He listened on the intercom as the Doctor vocally walked them through his actions. “Opening the pod now….”

“The patient is still….no wait,it’s moving…”

The ship suddenly lurched. Alarms sounded.

“What the hell is going on now!!!!???” Thyte screamed across the bridge. A few confusing and nerve-wracking moments passed before someone answered.

“The ship is being drawn into hyperspace sir!”

“Captain to the bridge!!!” There was no response.

*****

Sooni sat in a corner, far away from Med-lab, crouched and mumbling to himself. He knew what this was. He was paralyzed with fear. Nuniok Dak.

*****

Samarion was screaming in the middle of the room, as if something was tearing his insides out. The ship was shaking and rattling worse then it had ever before. People were scrambling to keep their footing. Akenseh was reaching for the close control on the pod. He was knocked away by falling debris. Samarion passed out, and fell to the ground.

*****

“Entering Hyperspace sir!”

“Get a fix. I want to know where we are going!” Thyte ordered.

A panel exploded in the face of the technician. He fell from his seat, badly injured. The bridge was chaos as other techs worked feverishly to get control of the Farstar. Why do I think this has something to do with that Sullustan? Nuniok Dak, huh?

*****

The Sullustan was shaking in the pod, his blood vessels were bulging, and blood was pouring out of every natural orifice. The scene was gruesome. The doctor was injecting drug after drug to calm the Sullustans body down. His brain activity had knocked out most of the med-scanners in the room. Med-lab was working on emergency power. They moved Samarion to a med-bed and a droid started work on him.

The Sullustan would not stop convulsing. His body was shaking itself apart. His extremities were bulging unnaturally. Fluids were pouring out of cracks and tears in his skin. There was nothing that would save this being… the Doc slouched back and hoped that it will all end when the Sullustan died.

*****

A few long moments later…

“Dropping out of Hyperspace!!”

Where? Thyte knew that question was unanswerable. No fix was made, and they were making a random jump. The ship slowed to normal sub-light speed.

Assessment of ships systems revealed that all major systems were down. Grav systems and emergency power were the only thing working. The engineering team lead by Loffryyn and Brophar set out to bring all systems back on-line.

Thyte sat recovering from the jolts and shutters. This ship wasn’t made to take this kind of punishment. He sat wondering where the captain was.

*****

Gammer sat up in his bed, still recovering from his surgery. He felt strange, almost better than he has felt in years. Except for the headache. He suddenly felt something move under his sheets. More than one thing. He then heard something strange; like something wet and organic sliding across his floor. He slowly moved to look down at the floor. It was moving with thousands of green legs…

“AAAAHHHHHHH!!!!!!”

*****

Akenseh covered the mutilated body of the Sullustan with a blanket. He heard the medical droid exclaim in surprise. He turned to the scanner the droid was using and saw Samarion odd readouts. He recognized them from the records he was able to scrounge up in an Old Republic database. His skeleton was always the most surprising thing. It was made of a natural alloy of metals that gave him his sensitivity to hyperspace. His skeleton looked as though it tried to go into hyperspace, which in turn ripped his internals up . His amazing metabolism and strength was able to withstand the pressure. However, it left him with some internal bleeding and he was bruised from the inside out all over his body. It was the Bacta tank for him.

What happened? Akenseh thought as he threw himself in a nearby chair as they lifted Samarion up from the bed.

*****

“Lt. Thyte, sir. We have determined that we are in the middle of a nebula, very dense. We think we are only a few dozen light years from our last location, which means we may still be in the Kathol Sector.”

Great… Thyte thought.

Thyte finally got worried enough to check on the captain. He called for Kl’aal to help out. Her door was locked. Thyte manually overrode the controls, and walked in. There was Dajus and the Captain, unconscious. Dajus had her hands around the Captain’s throat. Thyte called for the security droid. None came. He called for a security officer to take Dajus to the “brig”. Seedar insisted they they both be taken to med-lab first. Thyte conceded that their injuries were more important at the moment.

He turned around to the security droid he was expecting and noticed it standing completely still, it’s indicator lights were off. He looked around the room top see that all the other droids were the same. He called Dann Drugah.

As he turned to find a seat, he noticed something strange about the holographic projector at the comm station. He switched his arm to cap-ship repair mode, and opened a panel at it’s base. His attempts to determine the problem resulted in a flare of sparks and metal debris. However, the hologram suddenly came alive. The tall figure of Sarne stood above the crouched Thyte. It was a prerecorded message. Sarne apparently didn’t trust some in his ranks.

*****

Dann was going mad. Suddenly, as a result of some crazy plan the captain and the doctor, all the droids were down, and he couldn’t figure out why. The first one he was going to work on was Slave, who lay silent on the med-bay floor. After the doc cleared the room of any biohazards, he came in and began to examine the droid. He toggled the power switch, and the droid came alive again.

Huh, that was easy…

*****

Gorak, now acting Captain, was getting calls from all over the ship about damaged or down systems. It was the calls of strange multi-legged creatures were coming in from all over the ship that caught his attention. He called for all active military personnel that qualify as security to start checking for any signs of these things. IT wasn’t long before he got a call from Mayato called from Hydroponics. It was locked down, and the scientists inside weren’t answering calls.

After re-trying to get a response from inside, they finally got an answer…”Help me….” in a raspy pained voice.

Mayato hit the manual override on the door.

*****

The doctor was busy patching up the injured when he heard a alarm from another cryo-pod. It was the one that held the survivor from the shuttle; the Imperial security officer they found in the derelict shuttle outside of Binaros. The alarm was sounding because the temperature had risen in the pod… to a tropical level temperature. It had gotten so hot that the cryo-system had blown.

He rushed over to the pod, the clear canopy was fogged and hot. He ran a few scans, and saw that the mass inside had increased 300%. The Imperial was dead, but something else was alive inside; several of them. Scanners picked up several dozen spidery-plant-life creatures devouring away at the Imperials remains.

A full analysis determined that these creatures multiply rapidly, when there is something to consume, but had to have originated from a source; a queen. However, they were mutating rapidly, perhaps by a recent energetic event (what could that be?). Some major event has caused their metabolism to increase. He heard the reports of other things like this all around the ship, so he switched from helping the injured to determining a defense or weapon against these things. Seedar and Hasslock moved to help.

*****

Mayato had put in a call to all those in the area to help him at the hydroponics bay. The doc had mentioned that there might be a bigger creature on-board. They had found it. It had taken over all of Hydroponics and was pushing against the walls, ceiling, and outer bulkhead as it grew faster. The ceiling was groaning under the stress. An alarm sounded as it detected a potential hull breach.

Others rushed to help, blazing away at tendrils writhing out beyond the door frame. Blasts were being poured into the room like water. But the “queen” plant-thing was still coming. They were not doing anything more than containing the creature. However, if the creature wasn’t going to get out one way, it was going to try another way. It began to push out in other directions.

*****

Thyte was trying to evacuate the bridge as the flooring began to give to the plant-creature’s pushes. More alarms began to sound as the hull breach got worse. The flooring began to creek and groan under the pressure of the creature’s strength. Thyte was not prepared for the next report…”Captain, we have detected two ships outside the nebula…”

A crack formed in the paneling in the floor. “Akenseh! I need some kind of solution now!!!”

******

Akenseh was frantically trying every gas and solvent he had. Some began to damage the pod. These things couldn’t get out. Suddenly one of the tendrils broke through the canopy. It swung around the room, knocking chemicals off shelves, and tripping droids at work. One bottle broke open over the tendril’s hole and poured it’s contents into the pod. The tendrils began to shrivel away, leaving a slimy residue behind. Akenseh looked at the label… saline solution? Salt water.

“Load up some sprayers with saline. Salt water will take them out!!!” Hasslock and Seedar ran to follow their orders.

*****

At the hydroponics bay, the group resorted to cold-fire extinguishers, thinking that the cold would at least subdue the creature. It had begun to spawn little versions of itself, which where being held back by cold gas and blaster fire. The air was getting thinner as a result of the hull breach, but the group was lucky Mayato ordered everyone in ENVI-Suits earlier.

The word came down that the plan was to saturate the ships atmosphere with salt water mist. They had to hold off the creature until the could modify the atmosphere controls. They couldn’t allow it to do any more damage or infect any one on board.

Sounded like a plan to Mayato.

Minutes seemed like hours. A few men had already been wounded by flailing tendrils, and were taken to sick bay. Blaster clips, and extinguishers were running low. Hasslock came running down with sprayers filled with saline, which did the trick. The creature repelled against the mist as if it were acid to it.

The salt-water fog began to be pumped into all compartments, and the slimy residue flowed from almost every pour of the Farstar. There were more of these things than any one knew.

Once the queen creature was determined as dead, and the hull-breached area sealed, the Farstar crew set out to prep the ship for leaving the nebula. General quarters were sounded when a small squadron of fighters were detected coming from the 2 ships beyond the nebula. When they exited the nebula, sensors told them that they were friendly ships; the Nova Cloud Strike Force search fleet. They weren’t too far away from Sapella.

Before returning to the space station at Sapella, the Farstar assisted in searching for the missing ship, which the found floating in orbit around a gas giant.

Upon, returning, the ship was put in dry dock and hosed down and decontaminated. While in dock, the crew returned to Sapella to relax and plan. Gorak made contact with his business partners to monitor progress of his plans. What he found out was that Chuborro was even more desperate for Darkstryder tech.

Kl’aal ventured out on a hunt, with Gunthar, Dervious, and Samarion.

Dajus recovered from the near-coma she was in. Thyte, Akenseh and the captain waited for her to awaken. She could not remember what happened, and she had no explanation for what occurred. The doctor showed her medical readings, which showed severe neural trauma had occurred at the point when the Nuniok Dak pod was opened. The device in her neck also showed signs of coming out of dormancy. The Captain made the decision, after hearing the evidence to not press charges. However, in a private conference with the Doctor, they did agree to take measures to monitor the device.

The Farstar was ready for departure in 2 weeks.

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