Star Trek: Defiant

"Stereotypes Broken" - Part 1B

Written by Valas Maerret

"I just can't figure it out, Captain," Commander Bedard states with obvious distress. "For the past week we've had our engine efficiency is around two percent less than normal. I agree that it's not a big deal, but we still can't find a reason for it."

"So when does this get to the part where you tell me why you took my engines off line?" The less than happy Captain Bridges responds.

"Because, sir," Bedard continues, "the efficiency has now dropped down another four percent, and is now below the acceptable tolerance."

The Captain takes a deep breath "So it is my understanding that you want to shut down the warp core and run a full diagnostic on all key engine systems, thereby putting us even more behind to our allready critical arrival at the Antarus sector."

"Sir, if we don't find out now what is causing the problem, it will undoubtedly get worse."

Captain Bridges stands in silent thought for a moment. "This is definitely a serious matter which must be resolved, but the conflict at Antarus is even more serious. There is more at stake here than simple engine efficiencies. Bring the core back on line. I'm afraid you're going to have to attempt to resolve these problems within those limitations."

"Aye, sir," Bedard complies. He turns to one of his crewman and issues an order to commence main engine start up. Turning back to the Captain he states "Main power will be back on line in five minutes, then I'll let you know if everything has stabilized."

"Very well. Bridges to Hardin, resume course for Delis 2 as soon as engineering reports ok."

The Captain continues, "Now I want this problem, at the least, stabilized until we can get to a starbase. Begin by going over step by step everything done to the core before the problems started. What was the last major work done?"

Bedard shakes his head. "Nothing major. Only routine stuff which has all been diagnosed as not the problem. But I will keep you posted."

* * *

The D'Antar Fusion Refueling Station hangs in orbit above Delis 2 like a Tolian junkyard, stripped of all of its fuel and left battered by recent attacks from marauding pirates.

The administrator of the station displays a face of bitterness through garbled communications on the main viewscreen of the Defiant. "We demand that these perpetrators be found and dealt with severely!"

"In this matter Starfleet seems to agree with you, administrator," Captain Bridges replies evenly. "These pirates are interfering heavily with trade within the the Federation in this sector."

A look of relief crosses the Delisian's face. "What do you propose?"

"We have been ordered to patrol this sector for the time being. The starship Yamato will be arriving within a few days to assist. It is out hope that we can learn where these pirates originate, and put an end to these attacks."

"I am very grateful for your assistance, Captain."

"Do you require aid in repairs to the station, administrator?"

"Thank you, but no. We have about three hundred people working around the clock here. None of the major systems were severely damaged. I imagine it looks a lot worse than it is."

"Very well. We'll keep in touch, administrator. Defiant out."

* * *

Commander Hardin stands with most of the engineering personnel looking over the dilithium crystal cluster recently removed from the reaction chamber. "You found something?"

"Yes, sir," replies Commander Bedard. "As you know we have recently been able to begin diagnosing all the key engine systems to determine the cause of the recent loss of efficiency. We've turned virtually all the components inside out looking for some clue; the injectors, plasma relays, and the entire EPS system show no signs of malfunction. It turns out that the culprit is the dilithium crystals."

Hardin, with a suprised look, states "That is odd. I thought the reaction crystals are one of the most reliable parts of the system."

The Bolian continues, "That was why it took us so long to find; its the last place we thought to look. There's usually nothing that can go wrong here, the crystals themselves aren't affected by anything while the engine is running. They play the most simple of roles, solely to direct the matter/antimatter stream."

"But that isn't the case here," Hardin states as much as asks.

"That's right. If you'll take a look here at this scan done at 24000 scale, compared to one done about two weeks ago, you can see the porous nature of the dilithium has become more rough and fragmented."

"What's the cause?" Hardin asks intently.

"This," Bedard replies, pointing to a screen displaying the component layout of the dilithium. "Anti-tritium."

Hardin shakes his head, "Now you're loosing me."

"Well, anti-tritium is not an uncommon thing in itself. It is present in all antimatter in minute amounts. But it reacts differently than the anti-dueterium normally used. And in over abundant doses can cause the crystals to destabilize, and, eventually, lead to injector failure due to a kind of 'back-washing' affect."

"So how did this excess anti-tritium get into the crystals?"

Bedard responds matter-of-factly "I think someone deliberately added it to the reaction chamber."

Hardin looks to the floor in disbelief, "We have a sabatour on board."

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