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|December 28 2010, 04:14 PM||#1|
Dec Challenge: Jericho Spawn
It was the last place in the universe anyone would want to be. People did not come to this place by choice. They came by necessity. Sometimes by accident. Sometimes it was the only option open to them. For some it was a refuge. For some it was a hiding place. For some it was a stopover. For some it was a hellhole they could never escape. For most it was the edge of the Frontier. They knew it to be the beginning of the Border Lands, that wild and chaotic region of space that knew no government and knew no rules. For some this place then was a vestige of civilisation and law and order. In reality it was a miasma of criminals, refugees, hard luck stories and wild adventurers.
“Welcome ... to Jericho Station ... cough ... hack ...agh!” The cragged Ferengi coupled over in haggard coughing, hacking up an undesirable sight which he deposited at the feet of a black clad Vulcan female and smartly dressed Cardassian male. When he was quite finished he smiled through gnarled yellow teeth and whistled a breath of vile air at his passengers at the airlock.
The Vulcan woman closed her eyes and nose to the sight and onslaught. She turned to take in the sight in front of her. The dark and dank surrounds of the frontier outpost known as Jericho Station. One of the Federation Alliance’s furthest and most far flung outposts. Judging by the interior, a dull and dreary claustrophobic foreboding presence to many of the place’s first time visitors,
She noted a rather casually uniformed lieutenant come bounding up to them. “Lovely, Phlegm. Just lovely.” The enthusiastic lieutenant beamed a very warm smile at the visitors to the station. His face was unshaven and his hair straggly and he very much cut the rugged hunk. As an aside for the Ferengi to overhear he told the visitors, “Never mind our lovely friendly neighbourhood Ferengi. I think I’ll make a better tour guide than he.”
Stopping from picking his nose the hairy eared Ferengi harangued, “Eh! What about giving me a tip?”
Despite herself, the Vulcan pass remarked. “I suggest you take avail of a bath.”
“A pity that pretty mouth of yours is so smart. Bleedin’ Vulcans. We were best being rid of the lot of you!” He looked as though he were going to spit on the Vulcan who looked upon him as though he were a disgusting bug.
“Phlegm! Take your credits and go.” Phelgm greedily grabbed at the handful of gold pressed latinium coins and quick as a flash squirrelled them away under his cloak. He did not bother to wave them goodbye but tossed the last of their crates out of the airlock hatch and closed the door without ceremony to them. Dale assisted the quiet Cardassian to pick up the pieces of luggage. He offered an apologetic appeasement to the travellers. “I must apologise. He’s rather an acquired taste. However, there are not many that will brave the journey out as far as the Border Lands.”
“Our flight was uneventful.” The statement implied that the bravery of the Ferengi could be questioned. Knowing Phelgm as he did, Dale Garrow did doubt it but did not doubt the man’s greed, thus motivation for making the perilous journey.
“That I gathered by your making it here. Trust me, if it had been eventful we would never have heard of you again. By and by, my name’s Dale Garrow. I presume you are ...”
“To presume would be a breach of security lieutenant.”
“Then by all means identify yourself.”
Her look was haughty and her tone echoed it as she awaited for him to pull out the security padd check. Into it she directed her clearance code. “I am Dr. Ajshea, Starfleet security code Shrika-3-4-C-7-Omega-6.” Garrow himself held the device aloft carelessly. It seemed protocol was not a priority despite the claims about how dangerous this region of space was.
The Cardassian spoke. “I am Braham Oses. Starfleet security code Detla-9-Epsilon-4-2-8-Shrika.” His voice was courteous and soft and yet held your attention. “Are things really that desperate out here?”
Shrugging the items he carried into a better position, Dale explained good naturedly. “That they are. Pirates, smugglers and slavers, bounty hunters, rampaging Klingons, skulking Rommies, the ... ahem ... the Union Forces.” Dale looked carefully sideways at the Cardassian lest he had trampled on any potentially political animosity. There apparently were none by the stoic expression the Cardassian bore. The thought crossed Dale’s mind that perhaps the Cardassian was as amenable as he seemed or perhaps the Vulcan woman had a greater impression on him. Dale’s voice which had been light and breezy numerating the many dangers that were out in the Border Lands turned cold and serious as he added a final, “and of course ... them.”
The change in tone and the gravity of his words did not seem to affect the slim striking Vulcan. “Have there been any confirmed sightings? Until then all manner of talk about ‘them’ is pure speculation.”
“Oh don’t me wrong a fair share of the rumours about them are just that – rumours! It helps to keep the fringes of the Alliance that little more wild and helps the pirates and slavers and warlords to have their way and keep control. With our resources spread so thin policing this region of space is not exactly high on the agenda.”
They started threading their way through the bustling promenade. Neon lights and orange spots illuminated the thoroughfare in a macabre almost gloomy light. The many soiled and uncouth residents of the vicinity only adding to the destitute impression the station was having on the two travellers. The two strangers were both being cast at the least dubious looks by those they passed by. And outright hostile looks by the others. In particular, murderous looks were given to Ajshea who walked on oblivious to the hostility she engendered.
A little cagey at the attention they were garnering Braham stated, “I had thought the Federation Alliance was beginning to make a concerted effort to do so.” He gave the intimidating looks a thin smile but feared that perhaps someone would act on revenge and lash out at Ajshea.
“Maybe in more important and profitable places than Jericho, Dr Oses. Welcome to the frontier. You left civilisation behind you by a long mile. And heck going by the recent feeds, civilisation isn’t that pretty.”
Striding ahead, the Vulcan reprimanded, “Our purpose here is not to make idle chat or make speculations about the political strife in the inner core.”
Braham apologised on her behalf. “Excuse Ajshea, Mr. Garrow. She is eager to see the station commander and be underway with our mission.”
“Perhaps you would let me lead the way then.”
She stopped short whirring round on the lieutenant. “I assume that the commander is on the command level. Therefore, following the directional signs will suffice.”
“Ah well ... he is not exactly on the command level.”
She raised a withering eyebrow at him. “Then where is he?”
“He is only a level up on Bazaar One.”
“That like this level is a venue for commercial enterprises, entertainment, salacious activities and drinking establishments is it not?”
Garrow looked discomfited as he had to explain the curious whereabouts of the station’s commanding officer. “Well Bazaar Two is aimed for a more shall we say downmarket crowd. Bazaar One has a more ‘discerning’ clientele.”
The sarcasm dripped off her tongue. “How reassuring it is to know that the commander is discerning.”
“Yeah.” He trailed off into nervous laughter thinking that only reason the commander was on Bazaar One was because he had recently won big in the casino. A profit the station commander was quickly ploughing through in the more expensive establishments of Bazaar One instead of his usual haunts on Bazaar Two.
“Take us to him then forthwith.”
Dale was perturbed at the idea of interrupting the Commander in the middle of whatever more discerning activities he might be engaged in. “Would you sooner not be brought to your temporary quarters?”
“We intend for the temporary quarters to be very temporary. In fact we intend to have no need for them. Our arrangements were made well in advance and we expect the fullest co-operation for our mission. If it is too much to expect to be met by the ranking officer on the station I can at least assume that the matter of our mission arrangements has been met.”
“Ah ... as to that, I do not wish to speak for the Commander.” Dale nervously sidestepped the issue doubtful of any such efficiency on the commander’s part. “This way please.”
She sniffed with an evident air of dissatisfaction.
* * *
The Willing Wench brought another sniff of dissatisfaction from the Vulcan as they stood outside it. The garish blue and purple neon lighting did little to create the impression of an upmarket establishment for a discerning customer. She voiced that opinion loudly before they entered.
“It is more discerning not for the soft furnishings but rather for the ... ahem ... attentive ... the erm quality ... the looks of ...”
Oses smiled thinly but honestly as he tried to appease Garrow. “Please Lieutenant do not discomfort yourself from explaining. We do not seek to cause you embarrassment.”
“Nor is there a need, it is clear that this is a brothel of some kind, a rather dubious kind. The male of a species is truly a pathetic specimen.” Her contempt was clear and under her breath Dale heard her mutter something along the lines of ‘unbridled passions’.
Dale ignored the woman and entered into the bar and after looking around approached a figure. “Ahem. I was wondering where Commander Anthbek is?”
The voluptuous landlady of the establishment trailed off from laughing and giggling in the lap of drunken Bolian. “Oh Mr Garrow. It has been awhile since you’ve paid me a visit.”
Garrow blushed and gave a furtive sideways look at the two who accompanied him. “Heh! I guess my Starfleet pay check doesn’t stretch to such luxuries Lili.”
“Tut, tut.” She stood up from the Bolian’s lap and came up to him, grabbing the lapels of his open uniform jacket. “We should always treat ourselves – the joy is always worth it.” She gave the two strangers an appraising look. “I see you haven’t brought me any willing customers. What’s the deal Dale?”
“A matter for the Commander. An urgent matter.”
“He has other pressing matters on his mind and body at present.”
“Out the back?”
“Of course Dale, I like to run a discrete establishment.”
“This is ridiculous.” The Vulcan woman rolled her eyes and stepped towards the entrance that led ‘out the back’. Lilli quickly stepped in front of her, arms out declaring the way blocked. Ajshea arched a disapproving and irked brow at the woman’s actions.
“Sorry hon’ but nobody goes through those doors without gracing my palm with the appropriate coinage.” For effect she extended her hand baiting the Vulcan to pay her so.
Ajshea gave the hand an offended look and wrinkled her nose. The disgust on her face clearly implied that she felt sullied by even being in the presence of the woman. “I will not grace your hand with anything. I have no idea where it has been. I am not your hon’ nor am I one of your pathetically bridled customers. I have no need to avail of the sexual services you ply here. I am a Vulcan.”
“Well hon’ I’ll see you at some point in the next seven years then shall I? I got that you were a Vulcan. The pixie ears and dreadful bowl cut hair do where the most obvious signs until you opened that pretty mouth of yours and I realised you to be a stuck up, sanctimonious, arrogant bitch. Then I knew for sure you was a Vulcan.”
“If I have need to sate my sexual urges I can do so for free. Yours is a tawdry business and I have no need to pay you for any services you have to offer. Now if you will excuse me, I am going to talk to Commander Jorga Anthbek.”
“He would be out back. So it would seem you need to go back there.” Lilli permitted herself a victoriously smug smile.
Ajshea breathed heavily through her nose before stepping back from the woman and the doorway. She looked the woman up and down carefully as if weighing up her chances in a fight. Lilli for her part fingered a small ivory handle blade at her waist whilst she signalled for her doormen to come over to her.
Ajshea carefully considered the situation and took a further step back before she hollered at the top of her voice, “COMMANDER JORGA ANTHBEK!”
Lilli protested as she rounded on the Vulcan. “Now you listen here you pointy eared witch! I will not have you disturbing the peace of my establishment.” From the corridor behind the door a commotion was heard and a lot of cursing to boot.
Oses stepped up to Ajshea and carefully guided her back from the landlady’s ire. The scene was obviously distressing to someone of his demeanour. He wanted to quell the situation but Lilli’s continued screams were not easily placated. The doormen also interjected causing Dale Garrow to now step in and try to restore some order to the ensuing brawl.
“What in the name of all that is cold and holy is going on out here?” From the door stormed a dishevelled middle aged Andorian, almost tripping over his unbuttoned trousers.
In her most conceited voice, Ajshea declared, “Commander Anthbek. I have need to speak with you urgently to matter pertaining to the security of the Federation Alliance.”
“Is that all! I was in the middle of...”
“I do not wish to speak of what you were in the middle of. We will speak. Now!”
Commander Anthbek zipped up his trousers with a sharp tug, implying his patience was run out. He only managed to snag ‘himself’ very painfully. Anthbek bent over in pain as Lilli rushed to attend him. After wincing and crossing his legs, Dale Garrow also came up to his commander.
Again Braham tried to be the pacifier to the disarray. “Or at the most convenient moment for the Commander. The matter is of much import.”
“Now might be the best time to discuss matters as he will surely now be thinking with his brain and not his...”
* * *
|December 28 2010, 04:16 PM||#2|
Ajshea broke from studying the walls of the Commander’s office. “Aggravate the situation? How ever do you mean?”
“I mean to say that our initial meeting with Commander Anthbek did not go well and our mission is of vital importance to derail with any personal animosities. We need his help to even begin our mission. If we are ever to learn about the threat ‘they’ pose we need to be able to secure a vessel and a crew to help us undertake our research and to test our weapon.”
“I am fully cognisant of what the mission parameters are and the necessity of securing a ship and a crew. I am also fully aware that we have orders for the Commander from Starfleet and he will have no choice but to follow those orders regardless of any personal animosities.”
“Be that as it may, it will expedite matters if we can make this meeting go more smoothly and not allow emotional baggage to bar the way to progress.”
“I am Vulcan. I don’t do baggage Braham.”
Recalling the barb thrown by Lilli in the Willing Wench, Oses could not help but look at the woman’s pointed ears. A look caught by Ajshea who cast a withering look at him in return.
The doors parted to permit the entrance of the large framed Andorian. He looked a little less dishevelled than before given the chance to dress properly. However, with his rounded gut and his cautious gait as he walked gingerly to his desk and sat even more gingerly into his chair, he did not exactly impress the Vulcan woman any further on second meeting.
Dale Garrow followed with a large tub of ice-cream and spoon, which he handed to the Commander. Ajshea was about to comment about how she figured he had gained the rounded gut when Anthbek tossed the spoon onto the table and sighed in deep satisfaction and relief as he placed the cold ice-cream onto his crotch area.
“Don’t get too snitchy Vulcan! If it weren’t for you I would not have need for such measures. I want no more smart talk from you or any moral lectures. What I do in my private time is my private business.”
“I shall keep tight-lipped even if you cannot keep it zipped.” She smiled sweetly and gratingly at him. For a long moment he felt the urge to throw the large tub of ice-cream at her.
“We have much to discuss Commander. We apologise for the urgency for our meeting but our orders from Starfleet are clear. The sooner we can be sorted the sooner we can be underway.”
“That is a most appealing notion Mr. Oses. You both have only been on my station for less than an hour and already you have caused considerable disruption.”
Rolling her eyes, Ajshea rejoined, “I am sure the brothel in question is the source of many brawls and disturbing scenes. I think our presence hardly constitutes anything scandalous to the inhabitants of this ... place.”
Anthbek bristled at her manner. “The very fact that a Vulcan walks the corridors of this station constitutes enough of a scandal in the eyes of many. After the action of Vulcan in the Onslaught I am surprised a lynch mob did not grab you and spare me the pain of ever meeting you.” He turned to Oses before Ajshea could begin to formulate a response. “And having a Cardassian not in Starfleet uniform walking the corridors alongside said Vulcan hardly soothes the passions of the mob any.”
“Our credentials have been verified by your ... security.”
“I am aware of that.” The Commander adjusted the tub of ice-cream as he leaned forward and joined his hands on the table. “I am also aware that Starfleet dropped the ball on this one. Otherwise, I am inclined to believe they purposefully decided to not inform me that I would be hosting a Vulcan aboard my station. Had I known, I would have had you dock secretly and out of sight.”
“Any antagonism towards me based solely on my being Vulcan is unimportant as well as racial and ignorant.”
“Oh I’m sure once people get to know you they don’t want to hang you simply because you are a Vulcan.” The dig either went over her head or she chose to ignore it. “But the fact remains, a good deal of people hold a deep, deep resentment, nay hatred towards any Vulcan.”
“I am able to defend myself from any trouble makers Commander. I also do not intend to be here for very long. If we could get to the crux of the matter of our business.”
“The security and order of this station is my business. The recklessness with how you have paraded yourself about these corridors is a threat to the security and good order of it.”
“I believe you over estimate the hostility of the station’s inhabitants.”
“I don’t doubt it. I doubt they will act upon it themselves however. Instead my biggest worry is that they will try to cash in on your presence. Already there may be bounty hunters en route to bag you. Some will pay handsomely for those pointy ears of yours.”
“Degrading your argument to petty superficial racial physical traits is deplorable and unproductive.”
He continued as if he had not been interrupted. “I’d be willing to hand you over for free and damn the reward. And if it comes to it, I may have to. If the Klingons, Gorn or the Romulans were to come for you in any kind of force, I would have little choice but to turn you over.”
“The notion that Klingons, Gorn and Romulans hunt down and capture Vulcans in revenge is but a scare tactic employed to keep Vulcans away from the frontier and indeed to try to confine them to their colonies.”
“It is no scare tactic. Be sure of that. Your method to deal with ‘them’ in the final days of the Onslaught was to devastate whole solar systems. You used that murderous mantra that the needs of the many outweighed the needs of the few to excuse the obliteration of millions of lives in an instant.” He punctuated his remarks with a sudden sharp click of his fingers.
“The nonsense of not referring to them by name is both superstitious and petty. The Vulcan Academy’s solution to the Onslaught was unprecedented but necessary. It was no excuse but a perfectly valid final solution to deal with the Spawn. Had the Vulcan Science Academy not taken its action the Spawn would have continued to devour systems and eradicate all life within the Alpha and Beta Quadrants. The final solution was radical and unprecedented. But so too was the threat to life unparalleled. The complete and utter destruction of the Spawn Hives was the only means of stopping the Spawn.”
Spewing angry spittle, the Commander railed against the Vulcan’s impassive demeanour as she candidly explained away the immense devastation. “And so what if it cost millions upon millions of lives, destroyed worlds and rendered whole sectors impassable. And let us not forget your mission here goes to show that the final solution has proven far from final!”
“It was a terrible price Commander however we need to focus on the now.” Oses tried to bring the heated exchange of words to an end. He turned in his chair and appealed to Ajshea. “Let us focus on the mission and on the future.”
“You are correct of course, Oses. Commander.”
The Commander gave her a long look. His antennae twitched upwards and pirouetted in agitation. “You wear black eyeliner around your eyes. Does that not mean you are a Redmeptorist? Does that not mean you are sorry for the actions your people took with their final solution?”
“I do and I am.”
“Well you don’t sound terribly sorry with your mealy mouthed words and petty excusing for the mass extermination of life.”
“I do not believe that the actions of the Science Academy were the proper course. I believe that other viable options were available. I do not however apologise for what they did. It is illogical for me to profess sorrow for actions that were not of my doing and beyond my control. It is illogical for me to try to account for their mistakes or for their success in ridding us of the Spawn for so long.”
“Talk about having your cake and eating it! That is a pile of crap!”
Ajshea was about to indignantly remonstrate with Commander Anthbek when the doors to the office burst open and a voice declared, “Oh Georgie!”
The party swung their attention in the direction of the seductive voice. From the doorway, outlined in the spilling light, a leather clad leg and boot propped itself on a short bar stool. The silhouette showed a figure that was strong and toned. At the fulsome hips a pair of holstered pistols hung. At her shoulders a fur trimmed black leather jacket with an outrageous animal print did little to distract from the effusive head of tightly curled hair that played free and flowing.
She stood proudly and with an allure with her hands on her hips. Even with her face in shadow it seemed evident that she was grinning, nay preening at the attention she garnered.
“Tabatha ‘Don’t call me Tabby’ Katherine Chase.” She stepped into the office as she declared herself, extending a hand as she neared them. “Most pleasing to make your acquaintance.”
Looking at the extended hand as if it were something radioactive, Ajshea refused to shake it and instead ignoring the introductions went straight to asking, “Why would I call you Tabby?”
Under his breath Jorga Anthbek sarcastically whispered, “Vulcans, don’t you just love them?”
“Indeed,” Tabatha declared smiling widely and placing her manicured nails on her hips, “why would you call me Tabby?”
Ajshea persisted. “Indeed why?”
“Why indeed?” Tabatha shrugged in return.
Ajshea informed her brusquely, “You raised the issue in the first instance.”
Tabatha winked and smiled as she answered, “Only to avoid the matter becoming an issue.”
“Which obviously failed.”
“Not really. You know not to call me Tabby now. Click, click.” She made guns out of her pointed fingers as she made the noise and winked simultaneously with it.
“This woman is wasting our time. Is there a purpose for her permitting her being here and interrupting this meeting?”
Tabatha pretended offence. “Well nice to meet you too.”
Jorga forgetting the spectacle of Tabatha stood in the midst of his office said declaratively to the Vulcan, “Tabatha earns a right to be here. You needn’t pull military protocol on me, as you are only a civilian yourself Miss Ajshea.”
Again, indignant, Ajshea started, “I am a ...”
He stated roundly, “I’m well aware of what you are.”
“Andorians have always been known to be belligerent. I see that you live up to that reputation.”
Jorga snarled, his antennae quivering in barely controlled rage, “You think me belligerent? You haven’t seen me belligerent Vulcan. You may be a Redemptorist Vulcan but it holds no clout with me. The black eyeliner around the eyes is but make up. It does little to make amends for the crimes you committed in the name of logic, expediency and supposed mercy.”
“I will not stand here and ...”
Oses stepped in again and tried once more to placate matters. He stood now to try and gain both of their attentions. “Commander Jorga, we all have difficulties with what has passed. Our mission is what is vital. What can and may save the future.”
Somewhat aggrieved at being forgotten and cast aside, Tabatha Chase o’ed in fascination. “Sounds fascinating. Do tell.”
Oses’ scales would have blushed at his indiscretion. The situation was not what he was use to. “I cannot. It is a classified matter.”
Tabatha tousled the bangles of curls before closing one eye to size them both up and pointed a long slender finger at each of them. “You’re civilians are you not?”
“Yes. We are. But with a mission brief from Starfleet.”
“Starfleet conducting missions out on the Border Lands?” She cocked a leg and leaned on one hand on her hip as she looked at the two of them surprised at such exoticness wrapped up in two rather serious figures. Though it she reprimanded to herself it shouldn’t have been too unexpectant considering that most Cardassians within the Federation Alliance stayed to their own territories unless actively serving in a Starfleet role. As for the sight of a Vulcan, especially one so striking and sensuous wandering about the Border Lands, Tabatha was just bowled over. “My, my, how very much more interesting.”
“Yet none of your business.” Ajshea stood now to assert her command. She turned to Jorge seated still behind his desk. “Commander, any issues you might have with me are insignificant in light of our mission. It behoves you to set aside any resentments and focus on the mission at hand. Let us begin by ridding ourselves of the presence of this woman and consider the details in private and secret.”
“That won’t be possible.”
“Oh Georgie. I love it when you stick up for me. However, you can go play nice with these people and I’ll see to other business I have on Jericho before we discuss your little proposition.”
“The matter of your proposition is the matter of the mission we speak of.”
“Oooo... do tell.” Tabatha smiled with a curious inkling and yet at the back of her mind was a nagging concern.
Ajshea must have begun to make certain logical assumptions too as she pressed of the commander, “Clarify.”
Jorga lorded it over the Vulcan happily as he set the tub of ice-cream aside. “What? Did you expect to get a starship and a crew from my meagre supplement and swan off into the Border Lands?”
“Our mission was cleared by Starfleet Command.”
“Yes it was cleared. The specifics of it were not. As the commanding ranking officer in the region it befell me to make it as practicable as possible. To that end, meet your skipper!”
* * *
|December 28 2010, 04:17 PM||#3|
In the same breath Tabatha also declared, “Excuse me Georgie but I haven’t agreed to anything.”
The two of them began protesting at Anthbek over each other. Tabatha continued in a toying mood to begin. “Money up front I always say.”
While Ajshea continued ranting, “This is a Starfleet mission. It cannot be compromised by being subcontracted to some dubious civilian cargo hauler.”
As she picked up on the accusation cast by Ajshea, Tabatha addressed the Vulcan, “I am not some dubious civilian cargo hauler. I am Tabatha Katherine Chase, the finest starship captain you are ever likely to meet.”
Ajshea was unimpressed with any such claims as she forged on with talking over the woman. “I resent a vital mission of extreme importance and my being farmed out to some rank amateur with a penchant for dressing ludicrously and scandalously. Perhaps she should look for gainful employment on Bazaar One!”
“Rank amateur! My ship is the fastest most well armed in the quadrant, it could turn circles around anything Starfleet has to offer. I made the Denobulan run in...”
“Shut it the both of you!” The two women stopped short at the loud bellow from the Commander. The silence lasted only a moment before they started speaking again.
“Bazaar One!” She looked for an instant offended before turning on Jorge. “You were visiting Lilli’s again Georgie.”
Ajshea tried to score one more point. “I am mistaken. Apparently, Bazaar One is for more discerning customers.”
“Oh psst Georgie.” Tabatha announced. “I kinda like ears here. She’s feisty. I like feisty.”
Gaining her approval disgusted the Vulcan. “I like professionalism, a degree of decorum and someone who exudes authority.”
Before Tabatha could continue the tit for tat, Jorge interjected, “I don’t give a damn. I need to get you off my station as soon as! As for you Tabatha – don’t call me Georgie. You know I hate it.”
“Yes, but you don’t say that when you introduce yourself, so how is a person to know.” She winked in turn at him and then at Ajshea. “Anyway, her protests are all mute until such time as you can convince me of whatever your harebrained proposition is. Money talks after all.”
“I do not believe someone motivated by profit is going to be of use to our mission.”
At this, the quiet Oses spoke up. “I must profess Commander Anthbek that I am uncertain that is a viable option. The mission itself is quite likely perilous and open ended, requiring a long term commitment and investment that will require a dedicated and purposeful crew. Meaning no offence to Miss Chase.”
“That’s right, I’m not married.” She patted his posterior and ran her fingers through his slick jet black hair. “Though he makes a point about our deal Jorge, the danger and peril not so much an issue, in fact it kinda excites me. But the open ended nature makes it sound like an ongoing contractual affair. Which could become a bit of a bore. So, I think I might pass up on this one. See ya!” She wagged her fingers as she started leaving the room.
“Tabatha! Their mission is to find the Spawn.”
She stopped at the doorway. She turned slowly. Shocked and incredulous at what the Commander had proclaimed. The playful tone in her voice was dropped. Instead her voice was grave. “Are you serious? You intend to simply go off looking for them! What? Do you all think it some sort of safari hunt deal? Let’s jaunt about for a bit and hope we trip over one of them.”
“Let me explain the particulars to you. Alone. If you will excuse me.” He bid Ajshea and Oses to leave the office. Ajshea wanted to protest but Oses firmly led her out into the general gallery area that looked down to a level below wherein the lay the hub of Jericho’s station controls.
The curving gallery corridor was lined with other offices and a conference room with a number of stairs leading down into the circular command hub. At one time it was cool, glass lined and light. Now it was a grimy run down station centre with other priorities than the aesthetics of its interior.
At the doors to the Office there were a number of torn upholstered seats for visitors. It seemed that Tabatha Chase was not alone. Both Ajshea and Braham looked at the motley gathering before them. A mouselike creature that stood at waist level wore gun belts and a brown leather waistcoat along with a grimy pilot leathercap with holes for his large mouselike ears. Neither Ajshea nor Braham had seen a Weelom in person before and it was a startling sight to take in as the mouse paced the corridor in a foul mood speaking animatedly with another crewmate.
The Reptilian Xindi looked bored at the expositions of his miniature friend, his countenance worn thin. “Nesqhuim! Shut your trap before I do it for you.”
The mouse retorted angrily in a high pitched squeak as he jumped up onto a seat to gain a better height on the Reptilian. He pointed angrily with his hand and his tail, which was wrapped around a sandwich of some kind. “Derga it is alright for you! I am offended! Do they not know that I am ... oh hello!” He bowed in the direction of Ajshea and Braham. He then brought his tail up to his mouth and nibbled on the sandwich.
Derga stood against the wall with his arms folded. “You our potential clients?”
Braham inclined his head. “It would seem so.”
“There has been no deal made.” Ajshea pointed out.
“I am Braham Oses. You all work with Captain Chase.” He pointed in the direction of a third person shuffling along at the end wall engrossed in his thoughts.
Nesqhuim jumped off the seat and extended a hand by way of introduction. “May I introduce to you our engineer, Ellioh Hex.”
Oses approached the daydreaming Trill warily as he talked to himself absorbed in his own ramblings. “Pleased to meet you Mr Hex.”
The Trill came to, startled as if only now becoming aware that the corridor was filled with others. He extended a hand to the proffered and shook it effusively. His smile was wide and mad looking with the ebullient joy of making contact with another being. “Hex. Em ... ah ... yes ... Ellioh ... Ellioh Hex, yes Ellioh that would be it. Sometimes I forget. Never the minding. Heh. Did Tabatha enquire about the equipment I require?”
Nesqhuim shrugged and smiled benignly. “He’s a little ... batty.”
The Weelom explained good heartedly, “Well he has lived for almost nine hundred years. Old age has to catch up at some point.”
Braham seemed a little troubled by this and pressed further. “In what manner?”
A new voice volunteered the truth not. “Sometimes Hex forgets that he is Ellioh. He gets lost in his memories and past lives. However, with that said, when he is in the here and now he is like an almighty genius with the engines.”
“Oh.” He turned to look at the new figure. She was a Caitian of medium height. She came up to them and gave Nesqhuim a little rub under his chin with her claw. He squirmed at the gesture and puffed up indignantly however clearly enjoyed the attention. Ajshea refrained from making mention of a cat and a mouse.
“I’m Meetra Ros, gunner on the Effervescent Cascade.”
“That is the name of your ship?” Ajshea asked appalled.
Aggrieved Nesqhuim jumped back up onto a chair and faced the Vulcan. “And what of it? The Effy is renowned for its speed and agility! I would not deign to squander my skills on anything less.”
Ignoring the disturbance between Ajshea and Nesqhium, Oses asked of Meetra, “How often do his episodes interfere with his ability to do his job?” He hoped that Ajshea did not overhear the particulars. He also hoped the answer would be reassuring.
“Rarely in a crunch situation.” She tried to reassure. “Rarely.”
Suddenly the klaxons on the station rang out and the lights dipped to a flashing red hue. Dale Garrow bounded up the stairs from the command hub to the parting doors of the commander’s office. “Commander, perimeter sensors have detected the arrival of a Romulan scout ship!”
“This is Federation territory.” Ajshea informed them all.
At the doorway looking at the visage of the Romulan scout on the viewscreen with a concerned grim on his face, Anthbek informed her, “And those cannon phasers are a passport for him to travel where he wants to.”
“This is ridiculous.”
“This is your fault! No doubt someone has decided to cash in the reward for your Vulcan head. They’ve come for you.”
“I will not permit it.”
“You don’t have a say in the matter.” Tabatha Chase was gathering her people and steering them away from the gathering. “And just where do you think you are going?”
She smiled playfully. “It’s obvious that you have your hands full here Georgie. I’ll leave you in peace and be on my way. Sorry I couldn’t be of any assistance. Must dash. Important business to attend to.”
“What you mean is, that there is a new Romulan warrant for your arrest and you want to sneak off before they register your presence. No ball Tabatha.”
“It was all a misunderstanding! Unpaid fines, speeding tickets and a legitimate transaction they’ve misconstrued as theft.” Shrugging her shoulders she played it innocently. “Bye now!”
“I don’t think so Tabatha.”
“You’re hardly going to hand me over to the Romulans. Like she said, this is the jurisdiction of the Federation-Alliance. They cannot arrest me.”
“Again – those cannon phasers make for a compelling argument. Unless ...”
“Unless what?” She asked, hands on hip.
Ajshea cut in. “I demand you safeguard me in order that I can undertake my mission.”
“Unless you agree to the terms of the proposition and take these people on their way and help them to complete their mission.”
“Instead of surrendering myself you want me to choose suicide instead.”
Dale intervened. “Scout is within weapons range. It is transmitting the standard seeker message.”
“The Romulan Star Empire seeks retribution and justice for the war crimes perpetuated by the Vulcan people. Surrender all Vulcanoids to our military or face summary punishment for obstruction of justice.”
“Their mission is vital.” Anthbek declared over the repeating message. “I chose you Chase because you are the only person I know who can carry them all the way and bring them back. We need to know if the Spawn are mustering their strength and determine a means to stop them that does not require the same final solution as last time.”
“You expect me to agree to take the Effy and my crew into the Border Lands in search of monsters. It’s suicide I tell you Jorga.”
“Scout is on approach to the station. It is beginning sensor sweeps.”
“Put the shields up to try and buy us a little time and interference.” He looked at Tabatha and Ajshea. “I know this is not what either of you wants but trust me when I tell you that it is your only option. It is also the best option. Believe it or not you offer each other the best chance for survival.”
“Let me get back to my ship and I can try and make a run for it Georgie.”
“I’ll transport you there but only if you agree to take them with you.”
“Damnation!” She stomped her foot. She gave her fellow crew a questioning look. Nesqhium squeaked while Meetra shrugged. Hex was lost to his thoughts but Derga nodded slightly. The alternative was better than facing a Romulan prison sentence. “Ok, ok, ok. I agree. Now let us go.”
Dale tried to point out, “But the Romulans will know we helped them. As it is they’re demanding we lower shields.”
“Not to worry Dale. We will tell the Romulans that Tabatha took hostages and we had no option. Get your gear together Garrow.”
“Taking a Vulcan and a Cardassian hostage won’t carry much clout with the Romulans. Even taking you will stretch their understanding. However, it’s a Starfleet mission.”
“Oh goodie. A parting gift. You are too kind.”
Anthbek corrected her. “I need someone I trust along with them. Just so Tabatha doesn’t decide to dump them on the next available rock. Sorry son. This could be dangerous but the fate of us all depends on the mission’s success.” Nodding his head he pelted towards a storage cupboard and started filling a rucksack.
Ajshea gathered her own equipment cases. “Are you sure about this? The mission is too important.”
“I am.” He intoned solemnly. “Beam them to the Effy.”
Tabatha stood alongside Ajshea in preparation for the transportation. The pensive Vulcan looked appalled at her presence. “Cheer up ears. It’s going to be an adventure.”
“Whatever you say ... Tabby.”
* * *
|December 29 2010, 07:16 PM||#4|
Re: Dec Challenge: Jericho Spawn
And I'm sure I'm not the only one who really wanted to slap Ajshea at one point or another.
This is an interesting alternate universe which you managed to establish quite well with the relatively few words you had at your disposal. The Vulcans being hunted by others races for their 'logical' but devastating solution to a major threat is a very plausible scenario, I thought.
The whole thing reads like the beginning of a much bigger tale, a pilot, in which a bunch of very different characters will have to work together to achieve a common goal. I wonder if you are planning to revisit this world in the future.
|December 30 2010, 02:07 AM||#5|
Location: Sector 001
Re: Dec Challenge: Jericho Spawn
"I suggest you surrender. Kes does not have a stun setting!" (KingDaniel)
Ad Astra :: Star Trek Fanfiction Archive
|December 30 2010, 02:12 PM||#6|
Re: Dec Challenge: Jericho Spawn
USS Sutherland, Lexington, Gibraltar, Bluefin, Independence, Dauntless, Eagle, Dark Territory all dock here www.unitedtrek.org
|December 30 2010, 07:34 PM||#7|
Re: Dec Challenge: Jericho Spawn
As to whether there will be any more to this story setting - I don't know - I do have ideas for it but gotta concentrate on Kestrel for now. But might keep this in the back pocket.
|December 31 2010, 03:00 PM||#8|
Location: Gul Re'jal is suspecting she's on the wrong space station
Re: Dec Challenge: Jericho Spawn
Ajshea was infuriating with that arrogance of hers. A complete opposite of the calm and very diplomatic Cardassian. Anthbek was yuck! and Tabby was...err...she's commanding a starship? I imagined an empty, blonde babe
|December 31 2010, 07:52 PM||#9|
Re: Dec Challenge: Jericho Spawn
Seems Ajshea engendered the want to slap her face gene in a lot of people! Hee, hee. Yes - deliberately so she was placed with our more calming Braham Oses. As for Anthbek - he is pretty grotty for sure, no wonder Jericho isn't so up to scratch with him in charge.
But! I don't think of Tabatha - don't call her Tabby! - Chase as an empty blonde! She commands her own starship - albeit not a pretty Starfleet one - one she works, survives and succeeds with some degree of notoriety in a very wild and dangerous place. So she is at the least smart, I like to think she is also sassy, cunning, resilient and other things. And I didn't imagine her with blonde hair either - I guess I can imagine her with striking red hair, or green or purple. But I doubt she is an empty blonde! LOL.
Thanks again for reading. Appreciate the taking time to do so.
|January 1 2011, 01:47 AM||#10|
Location: Gul Re'jal is suspecting she's on the wrong space station
Re: Dec Challenge: Jericho Spawn
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