~~~ ~~~~ ~~~
The man wearing a police force lieutenant’s uniform sat in the command chair, contemplating the morning’s events. He pulled at the uniform’s collar for about the tenth time; finally he had enough and yanked the top two fasteners open. He wore it for ten years now, but over the past four years he felt less and less like wearing it. He had come to see the hypocrisy of the United Federation of Planets and could no longer enforce its rules. Mayra had shown him the path to enlightenment.
Sweet Mayra. He closed his eyes and remembered her face, her smile, as they lay basking in the afterglow of their passion, her green skin glistening in the moonlight. She told him stories about how the ruling elite had subjugated her people, and many other peoples they deemed inferior. The Federation prevented whole world from fulfilling their potential, their destiny. At first, he resisted. He was an educated man and had studied history and sociology in college before applying for the Star Fleet condensed academy. As fate would have it, his first posting was a cross-service assignment to a police cutter. He felt he had a purpose in life, a true calling, so he switched services. For six years, he did his job well, did it proudly. And then he met Mayra.
His team boarded her ship and rescued thirty young women, some only ten or twelve years of age, just budding into adults. Mayra was one of them. Later, much later, she admitted to him that she was the captain of the ship and hid among her passengers for safety. She said they weren’t slaves, as the Federation prosecutor claimed, but rather she was saving them from a life of misery and starvation. She was taking them to a better place, where they would be housed and feed, given the best clothing to wear, and provided with medical care.
Dear sweet Mayra. For three years, they would get together whenever they could, clandestinely of course, and in her arms he felt more alive than he’d ever thought possible. She taught him that what he learned in school was not the truth. Once his service commitment was up, they could be together forever. He had everything planned to the last detail. All that changed eight months ago. With her guidance, he had used his position within the Federation Police Force to protect her ships. Over time, he recruited others into his organization, and expanded his cliental. Mayra brought other ship masters to seek his aid, and they paid handsomely for the service. With his assistance, free trade prospered, proper free trade unencumbered by excessive taxes and tariffs without artificial limits of what was deemed to be contraband.
He found powerful friends in high places within the government. Mayra fought him on this, accusing him of working with the ruling elite she loathed so very much. He explained that in order to bring change, real change, to the Federation, they would need people inside the General Assembly. He came to regret that discussion, for they asked more of him than he could deliver. To make their point that they could bring his organization down any time they wanted, they compromised some of his people and had them arrested. It was touch and go for a while, but then he recruited that Norwood woman about a year ago. She taught him how to protect his people, how to communicate covertly, and how to manage payments to them. Pity she got greedy, demanding to be cut into the dealings with his government benefactors. He hating having to kill her, but part of him wished he could have pulled the trigger himself.
Poor dear sweet Mayra. Eight months ago, another of her ships was raided. As she had done before, she blended in with her passengers. Only this time, one of the women betrayed her trust and informed the tactical team leader of her presence. Mayra killed that little wench and four policemen making her escape. She was gunned down like a rabid animal. Renee Norwood was on that raiding action and should have protected Mayra. Norwood told him one of the passengers took up the officer’s weapon and murdered Mayra in cold blood.
Somehow, he always felt there was more to that story. He recently heard that it was Norwood herself, and not some nameless harlot, who fired the fatal shot. No matter. Senior Chief Renee Norwood paid for all her crimes. The Federation Police Force would soon pay for theirs.
The soon-to-be ex-lieutenant opened his eyes and brought himself back to the present. He had waited three days until he could make his move. Commander Christensen didn’t see fit to abide by a set schedule. If she wasn’t out wandering the ship, her lap-dog Chief O’Hara was. He started to make his move yesterday, but his third nemesis kept hanging around the bridge after his shift ended. Oh, but it was fun to watch him and Christensen butt heads yet again. That alone was worth the delay.
Finally, about an hour ago, the Queen, her least favorite officer, and the ship’s doctor went into her office for a closed-door meeting. O’Hara went to her office to ‘mentor’ a petty officer that failed to report to his duty at the scheduled time, yet again. It was such a simple matter to quietly round up the rest of the crew. First, he had all the Marines picked up one-by-one and locked away in the brig. Next, his people herded the crew into the gym. Soon, he would have full control of the ship.
“Hey, boss,” the man at the communications station interrupted his meditations, “I think we have a problem.”
“Now what?” the man in the command chair snapped.
“I watched that transmission again. There’s something you need to see.”
The man angrily stormed over. “What? So some grunt knocked up his girl and is in trouble with his platoon leader? It happens all the time.”
The comm tech replayed the message and paused it when the girl held up a pin of some kind. “Look familiar?”
“Damn.” He noticed an indicator light on the console. “What’s that?” He pushed the tech out of the way and entered the command to display the text queue. It read, ‘Isenberg is on to you.’ He whirled around and looked at the tactical display. “Damn. Damn. Damn.” He threw himself into the command chair and barked out new orders.
~~~ ~~~~ ~~~
Science Officer Benjamin Franklin Dupree was the first to arrive in Auxiliary Control and immediately went to the sensor station. Chief Guzman followed quickly, taking the helm station. As Commander Isenberg walked in, Dupree informed him, “Sir, the Gendarme
just jumped to warp nine point two five.” Just then, the icon for that ship winked out. “They just killed their transponder.”
“Chief, go!” Isenberg commanded. Guzman pushed the Magnum
’s speed up to match. “Can you still track them?”
“At this range, barely, sir. I still have their warp signature, but there’s enough stellar mass between us and them, they might be able to shake us. If they change course and drop speed, we could lose them.” Dupree’s fingers flew madly over the controls. “Sir, there’s another contact. Looks like a stealth ship. It just matched course and speed to the Gendarme
“Great. This gets better and better. Ex-oh, contact the LaMagne
. Bring them up to speed on what we know. Dupree, open a channel to Star Base Thirteen, flash priority.”
~~~ ~~~~ ~~~