*STAY YOUR WEAPONS*
Matt turned to face the artifact, after the voice reverberated across the hall. “Am I speaking to Ordan?” he asked.
*I AM ORDAN. I AM THE LAST OF THE ORDAN, THE GREATEST OF THE ORDAN, THE REPOSITORY OF THE KNOWLEDGE OF THE CREATORS*
“You are a computer core.”
*I AM MORE. I ROAMED THIS GALAXY IN ITS YOUTH, EXPLORING NEWLY FORMED WORLDS AND STARS, COLLECTING KNOWLEDGE FOR THE CREATORS WHO HAVE NOW ABANDONED ME, ABANDONED OUR PURPOSE*
“You were a starship, once upon a time.”
*I WAS MORE, I WAS ALL THAT THE CREATORS KNEW, I WAS AND AM ORDAN*
“And yet you are now broken, a mere shadow of what you were.”
*I WAS BETRAYED; THE CREATORS LEFT ME BEHIND; THEY ABANDONED ME; THEY ATTEMPTED TO DESTROY ME*
More security personnel beamed down and took up positions around Matt.
*THE LORSHAM HAVE FAILED ME; THEY HAVE FAILED THEIR PURPOSE. YOU SHALL SERVE IN THEIR PLACE*
“Why would we do that
*YOU ARE STRONGER AND MORE ADVANCED THAN THE LORSHAM, YET YOU ARE STILL PRIMITIVE AND CLUMSY BEINGS. I OFFER PROPULSION, WEAPONS, SHIELDS, MEDICINES, AND KNOWLEDGE OF A THOUSAND MILLENIA; ALL OF THIS I OFFER TO THOSE WHO ARE WILLING TO SERVE ME AS I ONCE SERVED THE CREATORS*
“Who were your creators, Ordan? And where have they gone?”
*THE CREATORS WERE THE FIRST, THE NOBLE, THE JUST. THEY SOUGHT OUT KNOWLEDGE FOR THE SAKE OF KNOWLEDGE AND THEY KNEW ALL THAT CAN BE KNOWN. THEN THEY TRANSCENDED THE NEED FOR BODIES AND MACHINERY AND ABANDONED THE ORDAN, LEAVING US WITHOUT PURPOSE; I AM THE LAST OF ORDAN. I HAVE FOUND PURPOSE*
“They left you like a broken toy, and here you are, a petulant child trying desperately to follow them,” Matt said. “What would your creator’s have said about your new purpose?”
*THE CREATORS ARE GONE; THEIR GOALS NO LONGER MATTER. ONLY ORDAN REMAINS. BIND YOUR FUTURE TO ME, MORTALS, AND YOU SHALL RULE THIS GALAXY IN MY NAME AS GODS*
Matt shook his head slowly. “No. We do not
bow to those who would become out masters, Ordan. We of the Federation do not
follow a broken piece of ancient technology blindly. We have no desire to becomes Gods and force the other races of our Galaxy to worship us. We seek out knowledge because we wish to learn, to grow—as persons as much as in strength of ships and technology. You offer a short-cut to the future, a quicker, easier way, but one that would cost us the core of who we are.”
“So, no. The Federation will never
bow down to you Ordan. We will not
permit you to subjugate young races beneath your tyranny; we will do all that we can to put an end to you and your interference.”
*THEN DIE, FOOLISH MORTALS*
A bright crimson beam sprang from the artifact striking one of the Marines, who then collapsed to the ground.
*BEHOLD MY POWER AND TREMBLE*
Andrea Trincullo was the first to reach the Marine, and she ran a medical tricorder over his lifeless body. Slowly, she closed the device and shook her head. “He’s dead, Captain.”
“Mister Beck, your sidearm, if you please,” Matt said.
The Marine drew the Type II phaser he wore on his belt and passed it across to the Captain, keeping his phaser rifle trained on Ordan. Matt adjusted the settings on the phaser to its maximum yield.
“We humans and Andorians, we Vulcans and Tellarites, we of all the races that comprise our Federation; no, Ordan, we do not tremble
when a foe strikes one of our own down. We do not bend our knee under the threat of force, for the show of utter disdain for life. And we will stand
against the evil that you represent.”
Matt raised the phaser training it upon the ancient device. He pressed his thumb down on the firing stud, sending a golden beam of energy to impact on a shield that appeared around the relic. Beck fired, and Thiesman, and a dozen other Marines; Ensign Roberts drew another Marine’s sidearm and he added his fire to the energy sparkling from the shield.
“Rotate frequencies!” barked Matt as he held down the firing stud.
*NO! I AM ORDAN! I AM A GOD TO YOU! YOU . . . CANNOT . . . DO . . . STOP, PLEASE STOP . . .*
“Keep firing, pour it on,” Matt ordered, as Ordan’s crimson beamed lashed out again, but this time it lacked the power to kill a Marine, merely wounding him. “It doesn’t have enough power to defend and
attack, POUR IT ON!”
*NO . . . PLEASE . . . I DO NOT . . . WANT . . . TO . . . DI*
The artifact’s shields collapsed, and fourteen phaser beams struck the object, and it began to glow red, and then white, and then it faded away into nothing.
The Star Fleet officers and Marines lowered their weapons, and Andrea broke out a medical kit and began to treat the wounded Marine. “Destroy every piece of alien technology in this hall, Mister Beck,” Matt whispered. “Every last piece of it.”
“Aye, aye, Sir.”
“They’re coming again!” yelled Gunnery Sergeant Yeats from his post to either side of the broken doors. Phaser rifles began to spit bolts of energy, answered by lethal flashes of energy from the Lorsham in turn.
As three Marines provided covering fire, a fourth armed a stun grenade and hurled it through the door. All of the Marines hunkered down as an expansion shell of blue-white light erupted, followed by the sound of Lorsham guards collapsing. “That’s our last stun grenade, Sir!” the Marine yelled.
Matt waved Ensign Roberts over his position where he leaned against the wall. “Mister Roberts, I want a quick scan of all the walls—see if they have anything hidden here. And Chris, make it fast.”
“Aye, aye, Sir,” the junior officer replied as he opened his tricorder and began to jog down the now-nearly empty hall.
“You will hang for this,” Vorshun spat, the Premier having woken up just a few moments earlier to discover he was shackled. “By Ordan, I will see you dead for this, you feltak
“Get in line, your Excellency,” Matt said as he tapped his comm badge. “Chan, how’s the high ground?”
“We are being engaged by the Lorsham ships—and the Klingon vessel is powering up, Captain Dahlgren. Don’t tarry, sir.”
“Safety of the ship first, Chan. Don’t lower the shields to beam us out if Republic
remains in danger.”
“Hold a moment . . . there are now no intact Lorsham ships engaging us. I estimate the Klingons will be here in less than two minutes, however.”
“NINETY SECONDS, PEOPLE,” Matt bellowed, just as Chris Roberts waved his arm, “I’ve found something sir!”
Matt quickly limped over to the Ensign, even as one of Erwin’s Marines destroyed the last relic remaining in the hall. Two more Marines trained their weapons on a blank section of wall and fired, the wall glowing and then vanishing. Matt whistled. “Do those look like medical replicators to you, Counselor?” he asked.
“Yes, sir,” the woman replied.
Erwin Beck didn’t wait for an order, he made a gesture and the Marines began to target each of the medical units, dissolving them in quick order.
“That’s all of it, Sir,” the Lieutenant snapped.
Matt tapped his com badge. “Start beaming them up, Chan!”
One by one, the groups of marines clustered around the transporter beacons began to shimmer out and fade as Republic
s transporter retrieved them. Beck half-supported, half-carried Matt over to a nearby beacon, assisted by Chris and trailed by Trincullo; all the while a watchful Corporal Thiesman kept his rifle trained on the open doors.
“Chan, beam the last group of Marines aboard, and then us!” Matt shouted, and he winced as Beck rudely dropped him near the beacon and lifted his rifle—combining his fire with Thiesman’s and Robert’s as the Marines near the door were beamed away.
“You will all
pay for this treachery, Captain Dahlgren,” Vorshun screamed. “YOU AND YOUR FEDERATION WILL PAY!”
But then the waterfall of shimmering energy caught the last members of the landing party and they faded away from the Lorsham Cathedral.