The Burning Claw
First Mate Gedrik’s voice sounded nearly an octave lighter as he addressed the bridge via intercom. “Yes, yes,” he said, in answer to Deoch’s skeptical question. “By seeding the area around the polaric ion torpedo and the star with chroniton particles we hope to heighten the temporal properties of the polaric ion isotopes, thereby causing a temporal rift upon impact.”
“And that’s supposed to do what exactly?” Deoch asked. Ramlo noted that the Venturi captain didn’t even try to mask his ignorance, nor did Gedrik hide the look of exasperation on his face. Though he did strip it from his voice.
Gedrik sigh was almost inaudible. He paused, and began very slowly to re-explain what he had just told the lead pirate.
“So, you’re saying you can create some kind of temporal shift that allows the star’s fuel from the past to bleed into the present sun that’s running out of fuel?” The captain was still disbelieving.
“Exactly,” the first mate replied, with obvious relief. “The chroniton particles will also work to briefly link the two suns together in the same time period.”
“And you Arkenite, do you think this is possible?” Deoch had already dismissed his subordinate.
The scientist swallowed the lump in his throat. He hadn’t expected to be called upon. He nodded as he spoke, “It is theoretically possible.” Gedrik gave Ramlo a withering glare.
“I see,” Deoch said, clearly mulling over his course of action. After a beat, he said, “Who am I to argue with one of homeworld’s best scientific minds and a three-brained Starfleet science officer!”
“I am certain captain that this is a turning point in history, this is when we become legends, and your decisiveness has made it possible,” Gedrik remarked, laying it on thick.
“We’ll get that regulator, and when we do, make sure you can back up everything you just told me,” Deoch warned. “Bridge out.”
His Venturi’s counterparts glare quickly morphed into a relieved smile. “You should be more assured of your hypotheses Mr. Ramlo!” He clapped his hands together, “I can’t believe we are going to do this! That we are going to make history!”
Lt. Ramlo ran a hand over his smooth, three lobed head, clipping one of his pointed ears as he brought it back down to the dull black oblong plasma torpedo. He blinked several times, doing his best to absorb all the possibilities. “Temporal Investigations would probably violate their own rules to go back in time to make sure I never attended Starfleet if I am party to this,” he replied, though his heart throbbed with excitement over the idea. It nearly made him forget that he was a prisoner, stuck in a dim room filled with lethal weapons, with his jailers his only companions.
“Temporal violations be damned!” First Mate Gedrik replied, exclaiming his point with another loud clap.” The tall Venturi was on the opposite side of the torpedo. One burly guard stood watch at the door, the disruptor in the holster on his leg within easy reach.
The Arkenite tempered his delight at the results of their brainstorming session. He tapped his long fingers against the hard casing of the torpedo, remembering what it was, and what it could possibly do. Alone the disruptor torpedo could kill hundreds or thousands, but equipped with a polaric ion warhead, the death totals could escalate exponentially.
“We can’t make this decision,” he said, the warmth that suffusing his cheeks diminishing. “We don’t have the right, the authority to take millions of lives into our hands.”
His smile losing only a little wattage, Gedrik asked, disbelieving, “You can’t be serious!” He exclaimed, throwing up his hands. “I don’t get you Starfleet types. You claim that you live to explore, to find new things, life and civilizations and all that, that you want to make life for the citizens of the Alpha and Beta Quadrants better, and when you’ve found a way to do that, you get all self-righteous.”
“This is a decision we can’t make on our own,” he held his ground, “We should take this to the Federation Council and Venturi authorities.”
Ramlo was rattled by the other man’s full throated, head thrown back, bitter laughter. Once Gedrik was eyeing him again, the reptilian snorted. “We could do that, and while they dithered, Alpha Venturi Major would move one step closer to stellar death.”
“But what we are proposing,” the Arkenite tried one more time, “It could have unforeseen consequences way beyond the Venturi homeworld. What if the experiment goes awry, what if it accelerates stellar death? What if it destabilizes the sun completely? What if the temporal and subspace effects ripple across space?”
“That’s the risk with science,” the other man shrugged.
“How can you be so flippant about this?” Ramlo’s temperature began to rise, and not from enthusiasm this time.
The Arkenite winced as the other man’s claws dug into the torpedo’s finish, causing an unpleasant scraping noise. Gedrik leaned over, nearly head butting the scientist. The Venturi’s eyes bore into him. “I know the sacrifices some have made for science, for the greater good,” he said, his voice barely a whisper, but clear enough for Ramlo to hear and be chilled by its restrained fury. “My wife, my beloved Berae died trying to re-ignite our sun. I can do no less,” he declared.
“This is insanity,” Ramlo refused to back down, despite his growing fears. “This has to be tested first.”
“I assure you it will be,” Gedrik confidently nodded his head, “On Alpha Venturi Major.”