((Management & Oversight Center - Endless Golden Penetrator))
The moment passed but Anroc could still smell a grotesque, lingering musk of pheromones - not only from Nokzu, but now from some of the other ephemerals on the bridge. The bitter scents of desperation and rage muddled up with the awful pungent aroma of insolence.
Around him, the throne had begun to glow a shimmering green and a faint twinkling hum was filling the command deck. It was nearly time. Anroc finished the last of his drink, some small pleasure salvaged from the otherwise disappointing day.
Anroc: I don’t particularly care what you do at this point, but if you send that distress call and the corporation hears of it, I promise that death is the least terrible thing you have to worry about.
With that, Shipmaster Pitorian Sal’Lat’Ut’Kel’Tras Anroc stabbed at a jewel encrusted control on the throne's arm. The glow within the throne intensified until it was nearly blinding, then snapped out all at once. Anroc’s body, still rigid and imperious upon the throne, was vacant and dead. The light behind all six of his eyes had been extinguished. His exquisite clothing and priceless jewelry were now macabre ornaments on a rapidly cooling corpse.
Nokzu: (Mumbling) Good riddance you skel’echt.
Nokzu shoved the body of the ageless corpse off the mantle and pushed it to the side. She’d deal with it later. Taking a seat in the throne herself, the woman massaged the small horns on the back of her head as she contemplated what to do. The sound of a door opening made her look up as a colleague entered the command deck. The woman’s clothes were stained and had some small tears. Exhaustion could be seen on her face.
Saulan: The breach on deck 23 is getting worse. They are trying to reinforce it but they don't know how much it will hold.
Nokzu: Anroc is gone. Everything on this ship has already been written off as a loss for the corp. We’re on our own now.
She leaned back in the massive and ornamented chair, the weight of her decisions now bearing down on her. Nokzu’s eyes flicked over the room as the rest of the command crew watched her. They all had families back home. She’d met many of them before they left so many years ago. Nokzu counted in her head and the numbers came easily to her as the welfare of each member of the crew was her responsibility. 897 widows, 142 orphans. That was the fallout of this ship not returning.
Finally she turned back toward the engineer, a renewed strength filling her.
Nokzu: Helm, set a course for planetoid Sigma 438, full burn. (Turning to the other side of the room) Operations, start calculating the fuel cost for our deceleration burn and landing on that rock. I need to know that we’ve got enough to make it.
Turning back to the engineer, Nokzu blinked, not wanting to say what she had to.
Nokzu: Saulan, if we lose too much fuel we’ll die for sure. We must seal that breach at all costs. At all costs. Do you understand?
Saulan: They do their best. But I will try... to encourage them. :: His voice was tired and became more sinister at the end of the sentence. ::
Nokzu: One more thing, old friend. It would take years for a message to get back to the homeworld. I know you’ve been working with radios your whole life. Is there anything you can do to get that signal out faster?
Saulan: There is a theory, that by focusing a signal at a certain frequency in line with the Edge emissions can be accelerated. Although we do not fully understand how. The problem is that it would have to be focused on, and hopefully bounce back to the home planet.
Nokzu: We’ve got nothing else to lose. Try. It’s our only hope we have to see our families again.
Saulan: I will configure the emitter. Give me a moment.
Before the disaster Saulan would be excited to try something like this. If it worked, her name could be on the patent, and she could find a comfortable position in the organization's colleges. Now it was a simple act of desperation.
Saulan sat at the communications console and was reconfiguring the emitter matrix to do what they wanted. He had to stop a couple of times to talk to the executive section chief of rapid maintenance, so that they could repair the breach.
Nokzu watched the man work for a moment before turning back toward the rest of the bridge crew. They’d heard the exchange with Anroc. They all understood the cost of calling out for help. Nokzu turned the decision over in her mind several times and for a couple of minutes they all worked in silence. A silence she finally broke.
Nokzu: As soon as you’re ready, Saulan, send the distress call.
Saulan: Ready. Sending the signal.
There, trapped by the manyfold intersecting layers of nebular gasses and exotic subspace fields, The Endless Golden Penetrator shouted past the Edge of known space. No one knew what lay beyond the Edge, and all expeditions to penetrate it over the millennia had come to the same inglorious end.
As the Penetrator sent out its desperate call for an unlikely rescue, the fields of the nebula briefly attenuated and massively amplified the signal. Distorted but intact, the message tumbled through subspace, echoing far beyond the Edge and outward, into a region of space that Federation astronomers would call ‘The Gamma Quadrant.’
Shipmaster Pitorian Sal’Lat’Ut’Kel’Tras Anroc
Owner & Guildmaster Extraordinary,
President for Life of the Saldanian Corporate Hegemony,
Beloved & Benevolent,
Everlasting & Magnificent
Nenni Chu’To’Lem’Ri Nokzu
Endless Golden Penetrator
Deputy Director of Daily Operations
Endless Golden Penetrator