A lone Cardassian cargo ship drifted lazily through space: a single golden form, like a great lumbering dagger against the stygian depths of the starry expanse of stars.
Buried within the forward section of the crew hull was a command center, much like those found on the larger Galor-class cruisers, albeit with slightly stripped down functionality and a bit more wasted space.
At the center of the roughly rectangular room, Gul Akhet remained relaxed in his large, spacious chair - as cramped as it was in between partitions, control stations, and handrails.
"Report current status, navigator." Akhet ordered with a sigh, his round, pudgy face betraying his increasing feelings of anxiousness.
"We have cleared the nebula," his navigator curtly reported.
"Excellent!" Akhet exclaimed, rising from his chair and striking a pose that would make any propagandist proud,
"That will teach those damned gases to think twice before impeding the path of Gul Akhet of the Starship Ankhor of the Fourth Battalion of the Third Regiment of the Cardassian Material Supply Command."
His executive Glinn bit his tongue, holding back a biting remark, "Yes sir, of course sir."
"Ah s-sir-" the ship's intelligence officer stammered, hesitant to interrupt the Gul after his latest outburst, "Our detection scopes are picking up some sort of disturbance directly in our path..."
Directly ahead of the Ankhor, there was a ripple in space-time - it was as though someone had dropped a rock into water. It took only a mere moment for the disturbance to disappear. Then, with sudden fury and force, a great maelstrom appeared, swirling and flashing - it loomed menacingly over the Ankhor.
Gul Akhet regarded the site merely with detatched amusement. With a chuckle and a wave of the hand, he casually issued his next order.
"Call the Federation Starfleet," he deferred, "They love this sort of thing."
"Instruments are off the charts-!"
"By Galor's Hood! Look at the size of it!"
STAR TREK: LEMURIA 13
created by Gene Roddenberry
Lemuria Station. Known informally by nearby posts as "Lemuria 13". When Starfleet first arrived in the Argus Sector in the 23rd century, it was all wild space - subspace eddies, ether flows, and many untold perils.
Starfleet built Lemuria Station to keep an eye on the Argus Sector. It fell into the planet it was orbiting. So they built a second one. That one dropped out of orbit as well. So they built a third. That one was dismantled due to health and safety risks posed by toxic materials used in its insulation. They built a fourth, but that one was vapourized by a Romulan Bird of Prey. The next few simply disappeared like keys in a sofa. They built an eleventh. That was attacked by Klingons, caught on fire, was attacked by Jem'hadar, then fell out of orbit. But the thirteenth one has stayed intact so far.
Episode 1x01 "Miner Problems, Part I"
Understandably, Lemuria was not the most desirable posting in the fleet. Commander Maximus Chase was en route to assume his duties as first officer, and much to the confusion of his fellow shuttle passengers, he was quite eager to get there.
Chase stared out the long window set in the gullwing door that took up much of the shuttlecraft's side. Nothing about Lemuria seemed particularly conspicious; it was merely an average Glenn-type
space station - a large shallow disk, below which a trio of smaller disks were mounted on a set of arms. It didn't seem like the sort of place that might explode or disappear at the drop of a hat. Thankfully, humanity had evolved beyond the need for hats, and as such, Commander Chase was not worried.
The shuttle glided smoothly through the trapezoid-shaped shuttlebay doors, the forcefield gently fizzing around the contours of the craft with a snap-hiss. With a sudden bump, the shuttle set down on the deck.
As the gullwing doors slowly rose open with a sigh, the shuttle's crew exited through the drop-down nose hatch, muttering to each other about how they were more than eager to unload these people and get back to Starbase 47.
Chase shouldered his duffle bag, and stepped out of the shuttle, keeping one foot on the warp nacelle as he stepped onto the floor. Standing erect, he looked around the flight deck, making an obvious show of it.
Satisfied that he'd posed enough to make an impression upon his arrival, he stepped down and briskly walked into the turbolift.
Stepping out onto the operations center, Chase felt at home in the nestled array of consoles and handrails filling the circular chamber.
Nearby, a trill officer in science blues was dilligently pressing buttons and other things Starfleet officers do when they need to look like they're doing Starfleet stuff. She pushed a ginger lock of hair out of her way as she turned to greet the newcomer.
"Hey, you must be Commander Chase. I'm Lieutenant Vyrian Raza, chief science officer," she enthusiastically shook his hand, "I figured we'd get a new XO eventually."
A slightly older, stern-looking woman approached the science station, seemingly oblivious to Chase's presence. She was in operations gold, and bore the rank insignia of a chief petty officer.
"Lieutenant" she crisply said with a stiff english accent, "I've been having problems with the internal sensors in platform 3. Apparently they were shaken out of place by a docking ship."
"Hey yeah, sure thing."
Chase extended his hand to the newcomer, "CPO Jennifer Bryce, right? I'm Commander Chase. It's a pleasure to meet you."
"I'm sure." she replied skeptically. "Lieutenant, we can talk about this later. I have rounds to make."
"Cold shoulder, huh?" Chase asked.
"Just the shoulder?" Raza replied with a chuckle. "The Captain's waiting for you in his office."
"What's he like?"
"Don't worry, he's harmless - a big ol' teddy bear."
Meeting Captain Zhathas was not quite what Chase had in mind. Captain Zhathas was a gaunt, elderly man. His face was short, but narrow, his forehead clearly the victim of a continuously furrowed brow. A white unkempt mess of hair stuck to his head like a lump of cotton, through which a pair of drooping antennae rose.
As Chase entered the Commander's Office, the andorian got right to business, without even so much as shaking Chase's hand, or even looking him in the eye.
"Commander Maximus Horatio Chase, reporting as ordered sir. It's an honor to be here, and I'd like to say I'm excited to be on the frontier."
Zhathas rubbed his temples, as though he were suffering from a migraine.
"Great, nice to meet you commander." he said flatly, drained of any conversational enthusiasm.
"Unpack your shit, then get familiar with your duties. Dismissed."
Chase, while taken aback, nodded curtly and left. Almost immediatley, the captain's commbadge chirped.
"Sir, it's Raza. We're getting a distress call. You better see this."
Zhathas trudged reluctantly into Operations, not looking forward to putting up with whatever strange new headache this new development would unleash.
"Let's see it. Onscreen."
"Where else would I put it? In the replicator?"
"Jam a fork in it, Raza."
Gul Akhet appeared on the main viewer, framed by important-looking telemetry displays.
"This is Gul Akhet of the Starship Ankhor of the Fourth Battalion of the Third Regiment of the Cardassian Material Supply Command! This vessel is under attack by a ship that came through a spatial anomaly-"
A visual recording of the anomaly appeared onscreen. It was like a great swirling whirpool, ringed with chaotic flashes, with an utterly dark void at its center.
"It looks like some kind of lightning storm... in space." Chase remarked, awed by the mere sight of it.
"Our sensors have returned little data - all we know is that it came out of some kind of hole in space."
Chase's jaw dropped as the video feed changed angles to show the attacking ship, a giant thorny, spiny, nasty, ugly ship, "Great Bird of the Galaxy! Look at the size of it!"
Raza shrugged, "Eh, I’ve seen bigger."
"-we can’t hold out much longer-"
The transmission fades out and disappears completely.
"Sir, we have to help." Chase begged.
"No, we should just sit around with our thumbs up our asses staring at your captain. Get your asses to a runabout, before you’re wearing them as hats!" Zhathas snapped
By the time the runabout Missisipi arrived at the site of the distress call, the three Starfleet officers had taken their places in the runabout's cockpit - Bryce and Chase at the forward controls, while Raza sat at one of the side consoles.
"Sensors read signs of kinetic impacts and numerous smaller breaches."
"Perhaps we should hail them and find out what happened?" Bryce suggested.
"This is Commander Maximus Horatio Chase of the Federation Runabout Missouri of the Federation Space Station Lemuria."
"This is Gul Akhet of the Starship Ankhor of the Fourth Battalion of the Third Regiment of the Cardassian Materiel Supply Command."
Raza grinned, "These two should get a room."
"Are you in need of assistance? We can transport over to your ship with some of our equipment to assist with repairs if you consent."
"Alright," Chase declared as he rose, "Everyone gear up and meet me in the transporter room."
Bryce stared at him for a few seconds before regaining the brain cells necessary for speech. "The transporter is in the cockpit."
"Yes, I know."
"Which is this room."
"Just making sure."
The three of them beamed in.
"I’m Commander Maximus Horatio Chase of the Federation Runabout Missouri of the Federation Station Lemuria."
"And I am Gul Akhet of the Starship Ankhor of the Fourth Battalion of the Third Regiment of the Cardassian Material Supply Command."
Raza leaned over and whispered in Bryce's ear-
"I think we might be in a stable time loop."
"Are you alright?" Chase asked, at least somewhat concerned for the safety of Akhet's crew.
"We ran into a hole in space and got massacred by a giant ugly spaceship, but we're quite fine now."
"How many of your crew survived the attack?" The commander asked.
"47 out of a compliment of 180."
"Well," Raza remarked, "In Vulcan culture, 47 is considered a lucky number."
Faltering under the Cardassian gul's glare, the trill science officer cleared her throat.
"Right. Shutting up."
"Chief Bryce, what do you think?"
"Well, Commander, judging by the blast patterns, I'd say we're dealing with something armed primarily with mining charges."
"Great," Chase griped, "That narrows it down to Pakleds, Tamarians, Klingons, Breen-"
"Our communications systems were destroyed during the crash," Akhet informed the two women, who were clearly more on the level than their commander, "If you could send for aid from the Union-"
"It would be weeks before they could retrieve your ship. Perhaps it would be better if we were to tow you to Lemuria and conduct repairs there."
"-Karemma, Orions, Andorians, Gorn-"
Akhet nodded curtly, "Thank you, but I'm sure that won't be necessary."
"-Bolians, Tercerites, Cardassians-"
Thankfully, Chase's commbadge chirped before he could finish a comprehensive list of known races that used mining charges. The quick series of three chirps in a row indicated that the transmission was from somewhere else, and was being relayed by the runabout, as opposed to two chirps, which indicated imminent beamout, and four chirps, which, having no assigned function, indicated nothing.
"Chase here, go ahead."
"Commander, this is the Captain. We're tracking a ship moving rapidly towards your location, and if our sensors are right, its big."
"Uuum," Raza said nervously, "That ship that attacked you wouldn't happen to be a kilometer-long assemblage of pointy, curved spines, with menacing green glows and a ton of missiles?"
"Yes, why?" Akhet asked.
"Cause that kind of looks like them." Raza deadpanned as she pointed at the main viewer.
"By Galor's Hood... they've come back to finish the job..."
A low-ranking communications officer wearing a headset turned away from his console to face the Gul, "Sir, we are being signaled by the other vessel."
The Gul's hands balled into fists as his expression hardened, "Put him on. We'll show him just what the Cardassian Union thinks of pirates and thugs."
"Hi, I'm Captain Nero of the Narada. You'll come onboard or die, Cardassians."
Raza clapped her hands and rubbed them together loudly, grinning broadly as she patted Akhet on the back, "Well, it's been fun, but we really should go-"
"Your new friends, too."
"-Maazarites, and Romulans too I guess." there was a slight pause as whatever mechanism acting as Chase's brain churned, "Ha! I knew it was Romulans! This has their stench all over it! It smells like onions and chlorine."
"Actually, that's me." Raza admitted.
In an instant, the Cardassian bridge crew and their Federation visitors were beamed out by the Narada, its transporters leaving no sign of those taken. They rematerialized in a cargo hold, surrounded by a group of angry gun-toting Romulan miners.
Secure in a brig cell, that for some reason, was filled up to ankle depth in warm water, the three Starfleet officers boldly bided their time, waiting for an oppurtunity to escape to prevent itself.
Across the cell block from them, Gul Akhet was doing some sort of combination of looking confident and in command, and being scared out of his stylish uniform.
Chase grimaced, "I'll get us out of here. One way or another, we're escaping."
"Well!" Raza said, "Good luck with that, send me a post card with your atomized remains."
TO BE CONTINUED?