The turbolift doors whistled open and Matt limped out onto the bridge. Chan immediately stood. “We have assumed standard orbit, and Premier Vorshun has already hailed us, demanding to speak with you.”
“Well, let’s not keep the Premier waiting, shall we? I have the conn,” he said as he sat, rubbing his sore leg.
“Captain has the conn,” the XO answered as he assumed his standing station behind and to the left of the Captain’s chair.
“Status of the Klingons?”
“Their battlecruiser remains docked at the Lorsham shipyards, Captain Dahlgren. She does not appear to be prepared for battle.”
“On screen, Miss Biddle.”
The red-furred Lorsham head of state appeared on the main viewer, and his lips parted in a snarl. “I have already formally protested your ship’s intrusion into Lorsham space without the permission of this government, and without a Lorsham observer on board, Captain Dahlgren. Such sudden and precipitous actions have resulted in far worse than a mere reprimand, if I may remind you.”
“My apologies, your Excellency. I was given the impression at our meeting that you desired for Star Fleet to see the devastation of your colonies for ourselves. It was quite distressing, I assure you.”
“Yes, so your Ambassador has stated. Your ship has been to Gelast II and Shirdon IV, then?”
“We have, and we have also documented evidence of the attacks on your colonies to be included in our recommendations to the Federation Council.”
“And that recommendation will be?”
“Your Excellency, I would prefer to discuss the matter first with Ambassador Sepak, before I give you my own views on the situation. I am, after all, only a Star Fleet officer and not the accredited representative of the United Federation of Planets.”
“I see, Captain Dahlgren. Unfortunately, your Ambassador has taken ill.”
Matt raised one eyebrow. “Really? That is unfortunate. Have you physicians not been able to treat him?”
“They say he is in perfect health, but he does not respond; to me, to his aides, to any attempt to elicit a conscious answer. We are baffled by this,” the Premier answered warily.
“I’d like to beam him and his party back aboard ship, with your permission, your Excellency. Our ship’s surgeon is quite familiar with Vulcan physiology and might be able to treat the Ambassador.”
The Lorsham paused for several moments, and then he slowly nodded. “Yes. It would be best if the Ambassador was restored to full function. Regardless, I would like to meet with you and your staff; tomorrow, perhaps? After you have been able to see that your Ambassador has received proper care.”
“I would be delighted, your Excellency. Until tomorrow then,” Matt finished as the transmission suddenly cut off and then his forced smile faded.
“Doctor, something has happened to Sepak on the surface; he will beamed directly to the Quarantine Bay. I’ll be there in a few moments.”
“We’ll be ready to receive him
“Transporter Room One, bridge.”
“Transporter Room One
“Prepare to beam Ambassador Sepak and his party aboard; I want them held in transporter stasis until a full scan has been completed. Any foreign objects or substances not in the possession of the away team at the time they beamed down to the surface are to be held in transporter confinement. Once you have removed those objects, Chief Sandler, beam the Ambassador directly to the Medical’s Quarantine Bay and his aides to the brig, directly into the secure cells. Understood?”
“Aye, aye, sir
“Prepare to receive the Ambassador’s aides in the brig, Lieutenant Beck. Isolate them; they are not to have physical contact with any member of this ship’s crew.”
“Aye, aye, Sir
Matt stood. “Mister Chan. You have the conn. Rotate the crew on the four-hour shifts and keep every station manned.”
“Aye, aye, Sir,” the XO answered, "I have the conn."
Matt limped over to the turbolift and entered it. “Deck Three,” he said quietly.
The armed Marine stationed on the opposite side of the transporter room from the doors (offset to one side of the doors, as well) snapped to attention as those doors slid open and Matt limped into Transporter Room One.
“Sir,” the transporter chief said. “I have acquired the Ambassador’s party and his aide just requested that we beam them aboard.”
“Proceed, Chief Sandler, as you were, Corporal Danton.”
James Sandler quickly set the controls and then trigger the transporter, causing the pads to flash and columns of shimmering light to appear. “Transport suspended; scanning personnel now,” he said to himself, and then he frowned as a red light began to flash. “The two aides are carrying several small foreign objects that the database does not recognize, Captain—and they are both armed. The Ambassador is carrying nothing.”
“Hold the weapons and objects in the buffer, Chief, and then go ahead and send them through.”
Once again the specialist tapped at the controls, and slowly the lights diminished and went out. “Transport successful, sir.”
“What were the weapons?”
“Klingon infiltration disruptors, Sir. Their version of our crickets. I’ve tied the main computer into the scan, but the other objects are unknown to our database. Shall I transport them into an isolation unit?”
Matt considered and then he shook his head. “No, Mister Sandler. Beam the weapons and the objects into deep space, maximum transporter range, maximum dispersion.”
The NCO’s eyes grew large. “On my authority, Chief.”
Sandler slowly nodded and reset his console, triggering the rematerialization sequence and overriding two separate safety controls. “Objects have been dispersed across forty thousand square kilometers of space, Captain.”
“Remove the patterns from the buffer, Chief; I’ll be in sickbay,” Matt said as he limped out.
"Aye, aye, sir," Sandler said as he erased the buffer patterns that the computer automatically stored. "What the HELL is going on, Max?" he asked the Marine.
"Don't know, don't want to know, Chief," the Marine answered with a shrug. "I discovered a long time ago, that officers and NCOs get ulcers from dealing with shit like this; me? I'll just do my job and let them worry themselves to death. Then go drink a beer before I turn in for the night."
Sandler shook his head, and then he chuckled to himself. Yeah, a cold frosty ale sounded rather good right about then.
Matt approached the Vulcan scientist looking through the armored transparent aluminum windows into the Quarantine Bay. “Dr. Turovik, did Dr. Talbot call you in for a consultation?”
“Yes, Captain Dahlgren. As the only other Vulcan among your crew, he asked me here in case there arose any questions as to our physiological or neurological structures.”
Matt nodded, and he too peered through the window, watching Quincy and several other medical specialists clad head to foot in biological hazard suits working on the Ambassador. Sepak lay on a medical bed, a sheen of sweat covering his forehead, face, neck, arms, and bare torso. Restraints were fastened around his wrists and ankles, but the Vulcan did not appear to be conscious, his eyes were closed, although he had a twitch in the muscle of one cheek.
“Are the restraints truly necessary, Captain? He is a Vulcan, after all.”
“Lieutenant Turovik, if we are correct and he has been infected by the Lorsham agent, then right now there is a personality conflict going on within him. That is a Vulcan healing trance, correct?”
“Sepak is trying to fight it; but he might not win, Lieutenant. You Vulcans are not without emotion—you channel your emotion and control it, burying it deep within your conscious mind, living through logic. If this agent has infected the Ambassador, then he is struggling against a wave of emotions as powerful, in their own way, as your pon farr
. He is fighting against emotions he has never allowed himself to experience, emotions that are overwhelming his logical, rational self—emotions that must be released despite every effort his mind is making to drive them back down. And you believe that the restraints should be removed?”
The Vulcan scientist slowly shook his head, and he triggered the intercom. “Doctor Talbot. I would suggest tripling the number of restraints.”
Quincy nodded and then one of the nurses placed additional straps around Sepak’s lower arms and legs, and then his biceps and thighs.
He turned to face his Captain. “Just to be on the safe side, Captain Dahlgren.”
“How is he, Quincy,” Matt asked into the intercom, and Sepak’s eyes snapped open.
The Vulcan tried to sit up, but the restraints held him, he closed his eyes, and then he spoke.
“I . . . am . . . Sepak. I . . . am . . . Vulcan. I . . . am . . . not . . . ruled . . . emotion. I . . . embrace . . . logic. I . . . AM . . . SEPAK!”
His eyes snapped opened, and he slowly turned his head from side to side. “Captain,” he gasped, as he hyperventilated. “Ask your questions quickly
Quincy and his team raced hold the Vulcan down and administer various drugs, as the diagnostic bed began to sound alarms. “His blood pressure is soaring, Captain! I’ve got to put him under!”
“NO. Where are the artifacts of Ordan, Mister Ambassador?”
The Vulcan shivered, and then he laughed, he cried. “I can’t hold it back, the joy
, the rapture
! I . . . must . . . I . . . beneath the cathedral, they are beneath the cathedral.”
Matt could see the veins on the Vulcan throbbing, and then the Ambassador managed to collect himself once again.
“I . . . am . . . Sepak. I . . . am . . . Vulcan. I . . . am . . . not . . . ruled . . . by . . . emotion. I . . . will
. . . embrace . . . logic. I . . . am,” his voice trailed off into a whisper, and the Federation ambassador lay back down, closed his eyes, and reentered his trance.
Slowly, the alarms began to cut off as the patient’s vital signs returned closer to normal.
“Matt,” the Doctor said. “I’m blind here. I have no idea of how to treat this.”
“Doctor Talbot, Lieutenant Turovik,” the Captain said. “I want your full attention on the Ambassador and finding a way to reverse this condition. I’ll inform Lt. Commander Tsien, to put the Science labs are at your disposal. Quincy, when he stabilizes, I want his aides examined as well,” the corner of Matt’s mouth twitched. “Apparently, they are not happy about being in the brig and are cursing Lieutenant Beck and his men as heretics and infidels to the Will of Ordan.”
“Find. Me. A. Cure,” the Captain told the scientist and doctor before he turned about and made his way out of Medical.
The very young newly minted petty officer looked up in surprise as the doors to Transporter Room One whistled open. He, and his marine security guard, snapped to attention as Matt limped in, trailed by Counselor Trincullo, Ensign Roberts, and Corporeal Thiesman.
“Good morning, Mister Edwards,” the captain said pleasantly as he crossed over to the transporter pads, turning back around to face the console. The others also filed onto the pads.
“Good morning, Sir,” Edwards answered in a bewildered voice. It was 0214 hours!
“You have the coordinates of our last beam down site stored, Mister Edwards. Beam us down to that location.”
“Ah, Sir, shouldn’t I have authorization from the bridge?”
Matt sighed. “Mister Edwards, who do you think gives the authorization on this ship if not me?”
“Right, Sir. Sorry, Sir.”
The nervous transporter operator pressed a few buttons, locked the system onto the surface coordinates, and four columns of light appeared and then vanished. He swallowed, and then he tapped his comm badge. “Transporter Room One to Commander Shrak.”
“What is the meaning of disturbing me at this hou . . . ah, you are early
Captain Dahlgren,” Vorshun said with a grin that showed his bared fangs. “I was not expecting you quite
Matt winced as he knelt on his good knee, the rest of the away team following his example, and he bowed his head low. “Forgive us, Premier. We are servants of Ordan, blessed Ordan, who has upraised us and who knows our hearts from before we knew her.”
But Vorshun was frowning. “Your leg? The sacred drug did not heal you, Captain Dahlgren?”
“Your Excellency,” Matt answered as he bowed low. “My ship is crewed by humans for the most part—humans with whom I have been in constant contact for the past few months now. Humans are often unaware of subtle changes around them, but my limp they would notice if it simply vanished in the night. My leg did
heal; it was made anew through Ordan’s gift to this, her servant. And I deliberately
fractured the bone and bruised deep the flesh again upon waking, so that none might suspect.”
“A most ingenious thrall indeed in the service of Ordan, as we are all thralls to her name. Why did you not wait until morn?”
“The aides to the Ambassador; they spoke of the glory of Ordan that waits beneath the catacombs of this mighty Cathedral. We would no more wait to perceive its glory than we could will ourselves to cease drawing breath.”
“Then rise, servants. Rise, and bear witness to the glory of Ordan.”
“Here,” Vorshun said as he led them down flight after flight of stairs and ramps, and past scores of guards to a tremendous pair of bronze doors, “here is the Hall of Ordan.”
“Within, you will bear witness to the relics we have recovered that Ordan left behind before she ascended back into the heaven’s. These relics have given the Lorsham the keys to the stars, and soon, we shall rule over all in Her Blessed Name.”
“Blessed be Ordan,” Matt intoned as he followed the Vorshun leader and his three aides and body guards into the hall. The doors soundlessly closed behind Matt and his people as they followed, and he watched as Vorshun knelt, along with the other three Lorsham. Lights began to spring to life, revealing a long hall, adorned with broken pieces of what had once, long again, been a starship.
“Blessed be Ordan,” Vorshun intoned as he presented the symbol he wore about his neck, and on one piece of equipment, a light suddenly clicked on. Vorshun cocked his head slightly. “But Ordan, they are your servants,” he said in a voice that sounded confused.
Matt pressed the hidden button on his cane, and the long shaft disconnected from the handle, which he brought up to bear, even as Vorshun started to turn around. The captain of the Republic
pressed the stud and held it down as the phaser built into his cane handle flared and fired a beam the swept across all four Lorsham, stunning them into unconsciousness.
He lowered the weapon and tapped his comm badge. “Dahlgren to Republic
,” he said. “Chan have you got a transporter lock?”
“Negative, Captain, we tracked you until just a few moments ago, and then you vanished from sensors
Matt nodded at Thiesman and Roberts, who quickly unfolded a sub-space transport beacon hidden in the cane’s shaft and activated it.
“What about now?” Matt asked.
“Loud and clear, Captain Dahlgren. First Marine contingent is beaming down . . . now
Six waterfalls of light suddenly appeared, and then Lieutenant Erwin Beck and a Marine fire team appeared, clad in security armor and bearing Phaser Rifles. One of the Marines tossed Corporal Thiesman a rifle.
“Erwin, all hell is about to break loose. Get those other transport beacons set up, get your men down here, and then,” Matt shook his head as he stared at the long line of priceless artifacts, “and then, destroy everything
in this chamber. Disintegrate it."
“Aye, aye, Sir.”
It was at that precise moment that Ordan chose to speak.