Brother Benny I hope not to disappoint you, but Tai isn't going to be the only ones who are going to want to tear into these guys. And CeJay, that's an awesome idea actually. Get all the badasses from the UT into one big crossover action extravaganza.
They swooped down together, changing before they touched gracefully onto the rocky outcropping. Fear’s guise changed, becoming humanoid again, but this time with further definition, taking on the height and breadth of a tall, muscular human. The brown-skinned, bearded man was the first human they had ever encountered.
Hope donned the same mask. “Captain Terrell I presume,” Hope said, a jaunty smirk inching pushing up his hairy cheek. The salt-and-pepper haired doppelganger smiled in similar fashion. The only thing distinguishing them was that Hope wore a white, long-sleeved V-neck tunic and gray pants whereas Fear was dressed in a brown excursion jacket, of the style preferred during that time in Starfleet’s past. Hope found it ironic that both factions of their species could feel so differently about the same things.
Hope thought that the first contact between the Federation and their kind had been a wonderful thing. Others had tried to exploit their kind, their world, or their system and had paid the price for it. But the crew of Terrell’s Starship Pacifica in particular and Federation in general had only sought peace and coexistence with their kind. Though the Calderans were been isolationists they hadn’t completely been hermits and they had used their shape shifting abilities to learn as much as they could about potential threats. Hope didn’t consider the Federation to be among that number. Yet Fear felt otherwise even after a century of peaceful relations with the Federation. The humans had respected their wishes to be left alone…and least until recently.
But Hope couldn’t blame them for being proactive to shepherd the course of the massive wave of immigrants that would soon arrive. And Hope had to admit that he preferred allowing the Federation to steer them away from their space as best as possible, if for no other reason to inflame the xenophobes to take to the stars to attack interlopers.
Fear rolled his broad shoulders, the beige jacket pulling tight across his pectoral muscles. He shifted his head, his eyes narrowing. “There,” he pointed. The device was pinched between two rocks on the lip of the outcropping. The device was oblong and deep orange colored, with something ominously blinking within it, like spouts of flame.
“Do you have any idea what it might be?” Hope asked. He waved his hand in the direction of the device, mimicking a scanning device. His fingers twitched as they absorbed the data, but he couldn’t make sense of it. Whatever was inside was extremely powerful.
“It’s dangerous,” Fear said, as if reading his mind. However Hope knew that Fear would never break such a taboo among their kind. Once one assumed a singular form, they were given privacy for their thoughts. “We must extricate it from our planet. Hurl it back into space.”
“So that it can destroy some other hapless starfarer?” Hope asked, aghast.
“Better them than us,” Fear shrugged, “Besides you know that there are few innocent creatures who dare to traverse our space. Mainly those seeking someplace to hide.” Hope shook his head in disgust, ashamed that a man wearing his face and speaking with the voice that he had chosen would say such awful things. “If they set this weapon off it might be the best thing for us.”
“How so?” Hope asked, perplexed. Fear’s form changed again, becoming shorter, yet thinner, decidedly more curvaceous, his skin lightning in coloration. Carefully coiffed jet black hair didn’t hide Fear’s now tapered ears. Hope’s comrade had taken on the guise of Terrell’s first officer, a woman of the Vulcan species. She wore a blue-gray tunic, with a high, dark blue collar. Fear spoke with a dry, inflectionless voice.
“If the weapon is activated it could be a decisive deterrent to anyone, including the droves that might pour through the subspace corridor or flexure.”
Hope stepped back. “Are you serious? How many humanoid lives do you think our isolation is worth?”
“Our continued existence is worth everything,” Fear said, countenance completely devoid of emotion.
“This is too extreme, even for you,” Hope said, “We don’t know what the purpose of this device is. We must take it back to the others and discuss this as a group.”
Fear shook his head, “We are not taking this weapon back to the group. That’s exactly what they might want us to do.”
“They? To whom are you referring?” Hope said, looking around, his tone half-joking, half-flustered.
“I see that you and your side have never been able to make the hard decisions,” Fear glowered at him, pointing a finger that took on a dagger tip. Though her voice was flat, her skin flushed a shade of green. Unbeknownst to the Pacifica crew the Calderans had studied them down to the molecular level and could turn themselves into perfect replicas of them. “If your faction had its way we would have been under the thumb of the humans a century ago.”
“You know that is a falsehood,” Hope rejoined, though with no rancor. He knew that Fear could occasionally be the melodramatic sort.
“If you will not save our kind, I will!” He said, shifting again so quickly that the silvery flying creature had taken to the air before Hope could blink. Legs, with sharp talons formed as Fear took hold of the device, yanking it free from the outcropping.
“What are you doing? Get back here!” Hope shouted, looking up as Fear pushed himself higher. “Where are you going?” He screamed again, as wings sprouted from his back. He took flight, but it was too late. Hope had changed again, melting over the device, his form taking on the blocky design of one of Pacifica’s shuttles.
Fear immediately activated his facsimile impulse engines and punctured the atmosphere. Hope didn’t even try to catch him. Instead he rode the currents back to the others. They had much to discuss.
Captain’s Ready Room
“Enter,” Captain Redfeather looked up from her data padd, unable to hide her surprised expression. “Helen?”
“Permission to enter captain?” The woman asked, as prim as her formal stance. Wyoma nodded.
“Of course,” she said, putting the padd down and gesturing toward either of the two chairs facing her desk. “Have a seat.”
“Thank you,” the blond woman replied, sitting on the edge of her chair, hands in her lap, the picture of nervous comportment.
Redfeather leaned back in her chair, to hopefully make the woman feel more at ease. “Something on your mind Helen?”
The woman rung her hands, a grimaced expression on her face. Indecision did not suit her. Wyoma thought of something encouraging to say, to hopefully help her friend out, “A’nurd thought you did a great job down in Engineering.”
“Yeah, well you know it’s my first love,” she smiled nervously.
“Engineering your first love? I thought that was…” the captain paused, snapping her fingers in an effort to jostle her memory, “a guy named Erik from the Academy.”
“Rydell,” Norrbom cracked, “Let’s not go there.”
“Whatever happened to him?” The captain asked, her curiosity piqued.
“Who knows,” Helen said, “I once heard a saying about sinking the boat once you get to the other side, you know, about learning to let things go. Well, when I was finally able to sink my boat, I just wish Erik had been inside it.”
“Ouch,” the captain winced, but Helen chuckled, her anxiety receding.
“Captain, I-I’ve been a real jackass lately,” she admitted. The captain wanted to nod in agreement, but kept an impassive expression. “And-and I just wanted to apologize. I’ve just been so bitter, so angry about things, that sometimes I think the galaxy is out to get me. And I was wondering what side you were on when this thing with Donar went down.”
A gasp escaped the captain’s lips before she could reel it back. “Oh my God Helen, did you really think that? About me?”
Norrbom looked miserable, but she affirmed the question with a nod. “It’s not all the time, but I do have my dark moments. And lately the darkness has been edging out the light. But when I saw you stand up to Sullivan today, I knew how wrong I had been about you. You’re still the same friend I’ve known, person I’ve respected.”
Wyoma smiled, moisture forming in the far corners of her eyes. She wanted to reach out to Helen and squeeze her hands, but she wasn’t sure if it was enough trust had been reestablished for such a gesture. “Thank you Helen. That is a lovely thing to say.”
“I know now that you aren’t just going to roll over for the higher ups, that you still have our backs.”
The captain nodded, more than a little stung that Norrbom could ever think otherwise, but with her being so close to having Helen back, Wyoma didn’t want her bruised ego stopping their rapprochement. “I know you would never knowingly jeopardize this crew to further your career,” Helen added, “something I knew all along, yet things have gotten a little hazy as of late.”
“You know I am here if you ever need to talk, Dendron too, all of us really,” the captain offered.
“Oh, I’ve probably peeled back Dendron’s antennae from time to time after getting worked up,” Norrbom smiled. “And he’s done the best he could with me, but it takes time you know?”
“Yeah,” the captain said, remembering her own conversation with the counselor. And he had said something to the same effect. “So, are you okay with Mr. Donar as the first officer now?”
In less than a nanosecond, Helen’s open expression closed. Her eyes hardened and her lips formed a thin line. “No,” she shook her head, “He’s dangerous. I can’t fault you for your decision, I know it wasn’t done for ulterior reasons, but that doesn’t mean I have to agree with it.”
The captain frowned, and then sighed, “I can’t control how you feel, but I do think you need to accord Mr. Donar the proper respect.”
“I,” she paused, grinding her jaw, “I can do that. So long as he does the same for me.”
“Has he not?” The captain didn’t mean to challenge, but she had heard nothing of untoward behavior coming from the Angosian.
“No, not to this point, though I’m not so sure after our elevator incident,” Helen’s eyes gleamed with a hint of her old naughtiness. “He asked me my opinion and I gave it to him, both barrels.”
The captain smacked her head, “Oh boy, and he’s still standing?”
“I guess so,” Norrbom remarked, not completely happy about that.
“Then Donar really must be a super soldier,” Redfeather remarked.