Tirren Ra Hoth stared at a set of numbers on a readout screen on one of the auxiliary stations along the main entryway in engineering. He and Tarlazzi set up a program to alert either of them of any sudden system malfunctions. When Tarlazzi asked what they were looking for, Ra Hoth gave a deadpanned reply of, “I don’t know” that was hardly of any reassurance.
He was pushing buttons to scroll down the display with all three of his hooves, distinguishing features of Triexians, when Goris M’Rev slowly walked towards him. “You wanted to see me?” the Tellarite asked, showing mild annoyance about being taken off the bridge.
“I was running through the systems logs,” Ra Hoth explained. “According to Tarlazzi, an unscheduled sensor diagnostic took place an hour ago. We were unable to trace who authorized it…”
“Get to the point already,” M’Rev sighed impatiently.
“Well, I ran across some kind of spike on one of the subspace bands.”
“You’re right. That is odd with the warp drives off all ships docked at the starbase are either at minimal power or offline altogether.”
“So what could be generating such a spike?”
“A subspace communications booster relay, a subspace corridor terminus, sub-spatial charges… ”
“Sub-spatial charges,” Ra Hoth interrupted. “As in subspace explosives?”
“Possibly, but those were banned by the Second Khitomer Accords of 2346.”
“We still can’t rule it out. The Son’a and the Breen still sell them on the black market.”
“Someone may have smuggled subspace explosives aboard the station,” Ra Hoth reported to Limis and Tarlazzi when they arrived in engineering. “We’re trying to extrapolate the location of the spike. It’s fragmentary at best since it came up during shifts in the station’s scan cycle.”
“Couple that with our sensor diagnostic that I did not authorize,” Tarlazzi added. “We’re pooling what little sensor data we have with other ships. But we’re still waiting hear from them.”
“M’Rev,” said Limis, “you said that the metreon particles interfere with subspace. What would happen if someone tried to activate the warp drive deep in the Patch?”
“The particles would ignite the gases causing a highly explosive reaction,” M’Rev answered.
“We’re about a light year from the perimeter cloud,” Limis recalled aloud. “But the devastation would still be great. We need to concentrate on where the explosive will be planted.”
“Agreed,” Ra Hoth replied. “I’ll coordinate with station security.”
Crewman Saul was observing the discussion amongst the four officers while looking up from a padd on the opposite side. He paced over to a port side alcove. He opened an encrypted communications channel to contact Major Kelsen on the starbase.
“This better be important,” Kelsen snapped when his face appeared on the monitor.
“I’m in danger of being discovered,” Saul whispered. “We have to move up our timetable.”
“I’ll get on it right away.”
The transmission ended, replacing the Bajoran militia officer with the Starfleet delta. Saul looked over to his to see no others present in his field of vision. “Computer,” he said, “initiate program Saul one.”
The computer chimed and Saul dematerialized.
Another computer chime caught the attention of Tarlazzi on the console to the right of the monitor readout he had been analyzing. The computer had finished reassembling deleted engineering diagnostic logs. The monitor could provide the identity of who authorized the unscheduled sensor diagnostic.
Tarlazzi tapped his combadge to contact the person behind this unauthorized work. “Tarlazzi to Crewman Saul.”
No one answered.
“Computer, locate Crewman Saul,” Ra Hoth commanded.
“Crewman Saul is not on board the ship.
“What was his last known location?” Limis inquired.
“Unknown. Transporter log has been erased.
“Ra Hoth, you’re with me,” Limis instructed. “We’re beaming over to the starbase.”
Limis and Ra Hoth accompanied three Starfleet security officers on the starbase. Ra Hoth, standing on Limis, and starbase chief of security Tamir Nussef, on Limis’s left, both scanned the area with tricorders. Two other station security officers, a human male and a Tellarite female, brought up the rear armed with phaser rifles.
The team of five marched through a corridor in the station’s central core. As they neared the main reactor, the tricorders began beeping at a higher pitch and at quicker intervals. “Subspace energy readings are now off the scale,” Ra Hoth reported.
Upon arrival at the door to the reactor, they all leaned against the wall; Limis and Ra Hoth stood on the left side while Nussef and his officers stood on the right side. Ra Hoth pushed a button to open the door, but nothing happened. Nussef then opened a small panel on the lower wall and pulled out a manual door clamp. He placed it on the door. The muscular Middle-Eastern man needed all his strength and Ra Hoth’’s three arms to slide the door open. They slipped through the opening in the door one at a time.
Two Starfleet technicians lay unconscious on the floor of the reactor room. Three unkempt Bajoran civilians in tattered clothing stood guard in front of the reactor core. Both Saul and Kelsen were putting together an explosive device to attach to the core. The guards began shooting at the Starfleet team taking out the Tellarite officer and the other human security officer. Nussef, Ra Hoth, and Limis dove out of the way of the flurry of phaser fire and behind side consoles on both sides.
Kelsen smacked Saul in his upper forearm. “You were supposed to crash the sensors,” Kelsen growled.
“I told you I was close to getting caught,” Saul demurely insisted.
Nussef kneeled upright and stunned the guard on the right. The other two guards, who were laying down cover fire in the direction of Limis and Ra Hoth, turned to start shooting at Nussef. Limis used the distraction to take down the two remaining guards.
Saul removed a micro-stun grenade from underneath his left uniform sleeve and threw it on the ground. He then bolted for the door while Kelsen armed the detonator and set the timer. Limis and Ra Hoth ran after Saul. Nussef gathered himself.
The detonation countdown had already begun. Kelsen tapped a communications device, and he dematerialized. Nussef now had sixty seconds to try and disarm the explosive, or combined with the plasma pulsing through the core, it would send out subspace pulse destroying the starbase and all surrounding ships.
“Nussef to Ops,” he called out, tapping his combadge. “Try to lock onto the explosive attached to the reactor core.”
“We can’t get a clear lock,
” the duty officer in the starbase operations center replied. “Any attempt to beam it out may trigger the explosion prematurely.
“Then stand by for my signal,” said Nussef tapping his badge again.
Limis and Ra Hoth continued to give chase to Crewman Saul. When the rogue Bajoran turned a corner, he stopped and fired a Starfleet issue phaser at his pursuers. Limis and Ra Hoth fired back. He completely absorbed the phaser pulses. The blasts only slowed him down rather than stunning him.
He began to pick up the pace again and rounded the intersecting corridor. He came to a sudden stop, grimaced, and fell forward onto the deck. Limis and Ra Hoth entered the adjoining corridor and saw this taking place. His mouth began to open even though he appeared to have suddenly lost consciousness. A blue mollusk-looking creature emerged from his mouth and began crawling quickly across the deck.
“What is that thing?” Ra Hoth gasped in horror.
Limis did not answer, even though she was briefed on what this thing was when she first took command of the Lambda Paz
. She increased the setting on her phaser and fired at the creature immediately killing it.
Back in the reactor room, Nussef removed the casing from the explosive to get a better understanding of the wiring. A red wire and a blue wire connected the timepiece with the detonator. If he had a coin on him, he’d flip one to decide which wire to pull. Of course, the stakes were too high. “Ops,” he said, “prepare to lock onto my combadge and transport forty thousand kilometers from Docking Bay 14.”
He pulled the cylindrical detonator off the rest of the explosive just as the time readout registered five seconds. He slapped his combadge on it and called for transport. “Now!”
Once the detonator was out in space, it exploded harmlessly.