Olympus Mons: A Prelude to War

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction' started by pio1776, Feb 11, 2017.

  1. pio1776

    pio1776 Lieutenant Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2017
    PROLOGUE


    Fairfield Cemetery, Two Saints
    Dunedin, Sirius Binary
    Monday, 25 November 2154

    For the briefest of moments, the only the fluttering of the white flag of the United Earth at half mast was the only thing that could be heard in the otherwise sand baked cemetery on the city outskirts.

    His purplish-blue service dress, now sporting the three solid whitish silver rings of a full Commander on his cuffs, was covered in more medals and commendations than he could count. Only Rear Admiral Stellingatti and Brigadier General Schimpff, the commander-in-chief and deputy of Sirius Command respectfully, rivalled in the amount of ribbons on their chests. His presence here was enough to turn a few heads of everyone as he waited. Not that Ambler Furry paid much attention as he watched a Starfleet chief petty officer raise a bugle to her lips, and began playing the Taps. beside her, seven other non-commissioned officers stood perfectly still, their Holben-Ridley EM-50 Assault Rifles held in white gloves over their chests at port arms.

    Furry had missed out on the funerals of three of his former crew, who were being flown to Earth by the experimental Gagarin prototype, and he had been determined to pay his respects to Lieutenant Commander Ciara Marquette and Chief Petty Officer David Waide, as they too were laid to rest.

    To his amazement, he was not the only one present. Both the Admiral and General Schimpff were present, as was Defence Minister Walker. The remainder were senior officers from Starfleet Communications Outpost 4 and from Sirius Command. Furry was the only crew member of Olympus Mons able to attend, as his ship was tasked to connect with a communications beacon in the local asteroid belt.

    Next to him, Marquette’s former colleagues stood in mournful silence alongside hard looking and sombre faced non-coms and a few officers. The last group reminded Furry of Chief Bashir and pegged them as Rangers, Starfleet’s elite forces.

    He refocused on the solemn ceremony as the head of the honour guard ordered the seven crewmen to fire in salute, catching a few off the civilian dignitaries off balance as they visible winced with each shot; raising their EM-50s high three times and firing low yield electromagnetic bolts across the cemetery. Soon after the bugler finished her mournful song, and the memorial came to end.

    *
    Furry nodded once to the Admiral’s adjutant and turned, before making a quick beeline for the vehicle bay without as much another word. Besides, it was not as if he knew any of them.

    “Commander Furry?” a woman blocked his path, flanked by a cameraman.

    Furry slowed. “Miss Watts,” he nodded in greeting.

    “Commander, do you have a minute to answer a few questions?” the reporter asked.

    “Maybe some other time,” he said, sidestepping the reporter. Not that he was avoiding the press, he just wanted to be back with his ship. Funerals were never his idea for the best locale to be rubbing shoulders with bureaucrats, journalists and politicians. At least not when his own ship was elsewhere. Nodding to her, he finally made it to the limousine Sirius Command arranged to take him back to the communications beacon deep within the Cook Strait Belt.

    Stepping inside the limousine, letting out a low breath as the chauffeur closed the door, but did not reenter the car. It was then that Furry realised he was not the passenger.

    “Commander Ambler Furry, I presume?” the other man said.

    “That depends on who wants to know,” replied Furry appraisingly. The man wore a Starfleet service dress with Commander rings on his sleeve cuffs, and the mission patch on the left upper arm depicted him as belonging to Sirius Command Communications.

    “Commander Kieren Lee,” the other man introduced himself, leaning over to offer his hand while placing an A-4 sized padd aside. “Commanding Officer, Starfleet Comms Beacon Station Four.”

    Furry shook hands with Lee, and sat back in his seat.

    “I understand that your ship has docked with my station earlier this morning,” Lee went on in an attempt to strike up a conversation, and smiling despite the fact Furry was now looking out the limousine’s window.

    “Have you seen this morning’s headline?” Lee picked up the padd so that Furry could see, just as the chauffeur slid into the driver’s seat. “Archer ought to be a politician or something. Check this out . . .

    “. . . ‘Even in the awful aftermath of Earth's last great war, a war in large part based on the confrontation of them by opposing ideas, oppressive or atavistic, the ideas endured and prevailed. Buoyed by the optimism and expanded horizons that followed our First Contact, with our first extraterrestrial friends from Vulcan, they flourished into the basis of planetary peace and prosperity and of Earth's worldwide government’,” Lee read, and snorted.

    “You don’t approve?” Furry looked back at Lee.

    “Doesn’t matter if I do or don’t, Commander,” said Lee. “I’m just impressed with Captain Archer. He succeeded in three years what politicians and diplomats had been trying since we made contact with the Vulcans back in the day.

    “Now look at us? A settlement on every moon and planet we’ve stepped foot on, playing peacekeeper to two of the biggest players in the region, and now . . .” Lee shrugged. “I’m an intelligence officer, Commander. Captain Archer and Enterprise changed the paradigms, for better or worse depends to be seen. That Vulcan you caught at the outpost, she’s going to be our first true test.”

    “Test?” Furry raised an eyebrow, frowning. “And she’s Vulcanoid, Commander. It’s a little prematurely to be laying blame on the Vulcans at this stage.”

    Lee just looked at him. “Is it?”
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2017
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  2. pio1776

    pio1776 Lieutenant Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2017
    CHAPTER ONE



    Passenger compartment . . .
    Limousine, en route to Moana Rua Fleet Station
    Dunedin, Sirius Binary

    “I’d like to think so,” intoned Ambler, as the limousine pulled away from the cemetery, and their chauffeur wordlessly started to warm up the three pairs of thrusters that lined the limo’s hull.

    “Despite the fact that we can’t even go have a decent crap without the Vulcans having to know about it, they’ve done more good than bad,” Furry turned to face Lee squarely, while both officers heard the distinct whine of thrusters as the limousine lifted off. “Earth is now united for how long now, twenty-four years? You and I are living in what may as well be the golden age of the human race.”

    “And what do you call the attack by the Xindi last year?” challenged Lee.

    “An unfortunate attack by a hyper paranoid race,” replied Furry, feeling slight pressure in being pressed against his seat as the limousine picked up speed at angle aimed to take the small passenger vessel out of Dunedin’s atmosphere. “You a fan of history, Commander?”

    “Depends on the history.”

    Furry gave him a tight smile. “Classical antiquities.”

    “So, Rome, Julius Caesar and all that?”

    Furry nodded. “Was thinking more along the lines of Athens.”

    “What about it?”

    “Athens was the poster child of enlightenment for a very long time, it was where democracy was born and some of the early philosophers called Athens home,” said Furry. “It wasn’t without its enemies, of course. Sparta, Persia and a few of the other city states along the Greek Peninsula. It withstood them all, even Rome. In fact, despite being assimilated into the Roman Empire, much of its culture became ingrained as second nature, even to this very day.”

    “Your point?”

    “Thanks to Archer and his crew, we’re in the midst of history making events,” said Furry. “We have weathered the Xindi, and we will face whatever that Vulcanoid woman and her friends have in store for us.”

    Lee just harrumphed, and the two lapsed into silence while their ride raced towards the Cook Strait.
     
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  3. pio1776

    pio1776 Lieutenant Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2017
    *

    Their destination appeared just ahead, a crescent-like structure--much like the ones aboard a Neptune--that was anchored to an asteroid the limousine’s computer identified as 2110-Delta-552. Antennae were situated on the station’s northern and southern poles, and Furry could make out another structure on the asteroid itself.

    “Isn’t that a sight,” he mused.

    Lee nodded. “Part of the mechanism that ensures information flows freely between Earth and the outside universe,” he then said while their chauffeur requested landing clearance from someone aboard the station.

    “And a front for Starfleet Intelligence too, huh?”

    Lee shrugged, and glanced earnestly at Furry. “I’m sure the Athenians had their network of spies too, Commander.”

    Furry stared back at him, just as their limousine started to dock.

    “Of that I have no doubt,” he then said, and waited to disembark.
     
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  4. pio1776

    pio1776 Lieutenant Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2017
    CHAPTER TWO


    Starfleet Communications Station 4
    Attached to Asteroid 2110-Delta-552
    Cook Strait, Sirius Binary
    Wednesday, 27 November 2154

    Commander Ambler Furry briefly looked away from the various screens, and glanced down at his hands. He was squeezing the bill of the old brown baseball cap with both hands, folding it really. When exactly he had started doing that, he was uncertain.

    “Who would have thought we’d have ourselves a Vulcan,” mused Commander Kieren Lee from where he stood.

    Furry looked over to the man, and frowned despite himself.

    “Who would have thought that Starfleet Intelligence was operating in plain sight,” Furry countered, still annoyed with the situation. It has been five days since Chief Bashir’s team had captured the infiltrator, and seven days since that fateful away mission that led to the death of his executive officer, shuttle pilot and chief of the boat. Not to mention the destruction of the Thalassa and the Andorian passenger-liner due to making contact with alien drones.

    Since then, he had been given a task force and responsibility of hunting down whoever it was that hitched a ride in the remaining drones that crashed into Dunedin. Furry had done that, even if the infiltrator handed herself over moments after sending a message to a set of coordinates unfamiliar to both Starfleet and the civilian authorities of Sirius Binary. Now he and his ship were here, docked to a communication beacon station deep within the Cook Strait.

    Lee never took his eyes off the interview being conducted by two other station staff, while two heavily armed Starfleet Rangers watched silently. “The beacons need to be maintained, Commander,” said Lee without a hint of emotion, “and what better way to do that than by having highly trained personnel.”

    With a shake of his head and slapping the cap against his palm, and then proceeding to put the baseball cap on, Furry regarded Lee. Not there was much to see. Like him, Lee wore the purplish-blue one piece flight-suit, but without a departmental stripe across his chest, no rank and definitely no mission patch like Furry or the other members of his crew. “Who just happened to be highly skilled intelligence officers in their own right?” he asked sardonically.

    “Exactly,” replied Lee without responding to the bait.

    “I think you’ve beaten her enough,” Furry stated, nodding to the window that overlooked the interrogation room.

    “The Vulcan?”

    “The prisoner,” amended Fury. “We have no way to determine if she is in fact a Vulcan, or do I need to remind you that there is more than one Vulcanoid species.”

    “Tell me, Commander, how are we to get her to talk otherwise?” Lee looked at him sideways. “The Vulcan hasn’t uttered a word since you brought her here.”

    Like Furry had a choice in the matter, as the orders to dock with Asteroid 2110-Delta-552 came directly from Mission Control. “Perhaps you should try ‘please’ next time, Commander,” replied Furry and reached for the comm, which linked him to the interrogation room. “Two-One and Two-Ten, they had fun with her long enough. Secure the prisoner and take her back to the brig.”

    Ambler watched as the two Rangers stirred to life and moved forward, giving the two station staffers--who wore identical attire to Lee--pause. Furry smiled, satisfied as the spooks moved away while Chief Bashir and Petty Officer Ford begun to gently uncuff the woman from the metal chair, before gently escorting her out.

    Lee scowled, but otherwise kept his response to a hard look.

    Furry ignored the baleful stare as he rose to his feet.

    “I’d rather we try something else other than using her as a punching bag, Commander,” he then said as he made for the exit.

    Lee just shrugged indifference.


    *

    Furry nodded to the two sentries on duty as he stepped over the lip of the airlock, feeling comforted that the two wore the ship’s mission patch. Feeling the tension in his shoulders and spine ease, he made his way to the ready room. But not before stepping through to the bridge. Upon seeing Vera, the former nursing practitioner-turned-first officer, he relaxed further.

    Vera Hernandez had been the Chief Medical Officer aboard Olympus Mons until seven days ago, when Admiral Stellingatti approved her promotion to Lieutenant Commander and making her the ship’s permanent second-in-command. And all because Furry blurted her name out. Now she sat in the command station, reading something on one of the screens.

    For a moment he was tempted to interrupt, but thought better. Instead, he minutely shook his head when Crewman Teo spotted him and started to announce his presence as protocol dictated, and let the door slide shut behind him. Not there was much to the ready room, just a chair and foldable ironing board-like desk with a computer terminal.

    He eased into the seat and activated his terminal, wondering what was in store for him today. As he called up his electronic mail, Furry’s narrowed as he spied a video recording from his mother. Half tempted to ignore it, considering his mood, another part of Furry was curious.

    “Okay, I hope this damn thing works,” muttered a caramel skinned and round faced woman, all but glaring at the screen. Silver lined through her short bob cut black hair, and Furry thought he saw more wrinkles than the last time they spoke. “Anyway, how are you Ambler? Thought it’s past time I called as it is.

    “Life on a freighter is certainly different, that’s for sure. It reminds me a lot of what your father used to share when you were young,”
    she said and Furry grunted. His father had been a Starfleet non-commissioned officer, one of the first to have earned a postgraduate diploma in microbiology as he made it to Senior Chief Petty Officer.

    Unfortunately, he went missing and was presumed killed in the line of duty somewhere between Uranus and Neptune, chasing pirates. At least that was what the official records indicated, and Furry never questioned the fact, despite no body was recovered. That had been over thirty years ago. In that time, his mum quite her counseling practice and enlisted in the MACOs. That was until four years ago, where she resigned her commission and ran off with some guy who owned a freighter.

    “The good news is that we’ll be seeing a lot of each other soon enough, Amb,” she went on to say. “Josiah has managed to secure a trade route between Ganymede, Dunedin and Andor and we--”

    The chime sounded, making Furry pause the recording.

    “Enter,” he called out, his voice activating the door to unlock and open, and turned to face Vera as she stepped in. “What’s up?”

    “Just wanted to let you know that the prisoner’s aboard and secured in the brig,” announced Hernandez.

    “Good,” replied Furry as he turned back to eye the frozen image.

    Upon realising she was still standing there, he let out a breath and frowned as he eyed her. “Anything else?”

    “Was that your mother?” asked Vera as she nodded at the screen.

    “So she tells me,” replied Furry with a slight smile. “Looks like I’ll be seeing a lot more of her, as the freighter she’s on has a contract to use Dunedin as a staging point to Andor. Don’t know if that’s a good thing, or a bad thing.”

    “Meaning?”

    Furry’s frown deepened. “Meaning that for we know the infiltrator is a prelude to war. Failing that, an invasion against Earth interests here.”

    “Isn’t it that a little melodramatic, Ambler?” asked Vera.

    With bemusement, Furry returned her skeptical look. “I doubt they’re here for the scenery, Vera,” he said and eyed his mother’s frozen image as he thought. “All we know is that a foreign power has sent our friend in the brig. Who that government is or is not is currently irrelevant, as we don’t have much of anything.”

    “And what do you call those bodies in the morgue?”

    “Circumstantial evidence.”

    “A beg your pardon?”

    “Circumstantial evidence, Vera.” Furry made himself comfortable. “Despite what our friends on the station may think, the infiltrator and her dead compatriots may be not be Vulcan after all. They may be from the Rigel System for we know.”

    “Why would Rigel go to such lengths?” demanded Vera, leaning against the bulkhead. “They’ve been making such an effort in establishing diplomatic and trade relations with Sirius only a few short months ago. Why risk that with military action?”

    Furry merely cocked his head. “And the Vulcans?”
     
  5. admiralelm11

    admiralelm11 Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2009
    Location:
    Vancouver, WA
    Interesting. Keep it up.
     
  6. pio1776

    pio1776 Lieutenant Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2017
    CHAPTER THREE



    Iceland-class starship, designation Olympus Mons
    Docked with Starfleet Communications Station 4
    Attached to Asteroid 2110-Delta-552

    Hernandez considered the question as she leaned against the bulkhead.

    “The Vulcans?” she asked slowly, appraising Furry with a practiced eye. He looked tired and had bags under his eyes, which were red rimmed as well.

    She doubted that he had any sleep since the whole assignment started seven days ago.

    She wanted him to rest, but right now was content to indulge him. “What about the Vulcans?”

    “Why would they be sending infiltrators here?” he asked from where he sat.

    “To destabilise our relations with Andor of course.”

    Furry crossed his arms over his chest, and cocked his head. “Why do that, Vera?” he asked conversationally. “Captain Archer managed to get both Andor and Vulcan talking to one another over Paan Mokar, and both have been our staunchest allies since then.

    “The facts are these, Vera,” he continued, counting off his points on his fingers. “Until the autopsies come through, I’m going with the simple fact that the prisoner and dead are Vulcanoid. Until we know more about their motives, I’m assuming that Dunedin is under threat from a hostile power. Until such a time as we garner a clue, I’m not going to be recommending to Admiral Stellingatti or the Prime Minister that we make this public.”

    “Not go public with this?” she asked.

    He shook his head, and smiled despite his tiredness. “Miss Watts is doing a fine job with her creativity,” said Ambler as he picked up a padd and handed it over. “Doubt she’d believe me, no matter how much convincing it’ll make.”

    Vera took the padd off him, picked a headline and read the accompanying story. “An ‘over alienisation of the migrant population’?” She raised an eyebrow of intrigue, snorted and handed the device back. “Heard similar rhetoric from communiques from the Orpheus Mining Colony on Luna, especially after several Denobulans were hired.”

    “Thought Dunedin would be the last place for such a mentality,” said Furry, sighed and massaged his forehead.

    “This is an Earth colony,” she reminded him.

    Furry just looked at her.

    “When was the last time you slept?” she asked him.

    “Sleep?”

    “Yes. Sleep,” she told him. “It’s what we do for six to eight hours a day.”

    “Oh, that . . .”

    “Yes. That.” Vera smiled. “You haven’t had a decent rest since we first encountered the drones.”

    “Is that you talking as my Executive Officer,” asked Furry as he folded his arms across his chest defiantly, “or as the ship’s former Medical Chief?”

    “Both,” she said.

    “Your point?” he asked.

    “You need rest, Ambler,” she said simply, frowning slightly as she regarded him critically. “If not for yourself, then do it for the crew.”

    Furry considered the request, because he knew exactly that it was just that; a request.

    “The crew . . .” he looked at her. “Huh?”

    “That’s right,” she nodded.

    Furry puffed out his cheeks, and let out a breath.

    “All right.” He straightened. “Six hours, you say?”

    “Six to eight,” she reminded. Encouraged, Vera pressed her advantage. “Six to eight hours. Get some rest, record a letter to your mum, but ultimately hit the sack and get some shut eye.”

    Furry nodded slowly, but still hesitated.

    “I doubt that you’ll be needed for anything,” she said.

    “And what of our Vulcanoid friend?” he asked.

    “Doubt that she’ll be causing us any problems,” said Vera, sighed and shifted her weight from one foot to the other.

    “Commander Lee may disagree . . .”

    “If he does.” Vera just smiled sweetly. “I’m sure Chief Bashir and his Rangers will have something to say in response.”

    Furry grunted in acknowledgement. Chief Bashir and his Rangers had come as a surprise. With one of their killed in the Vulcanoid woman’s initial infiltration of the outpost, he had half expected them to get violent with their prisoner. Instead, they had been exemplary towards her.

    Finally, he ascended.

    “Okay, fine,” he nodded. “Six to eight hours. But no more.”

    She nodded, and watched as he looked back at the screen.

    “Go get some sleep,” said Vera, deciding to conclude her visit. “If we need you, I’ll grab you.”
     
  7. pio1776

    pio1776 Lieutenant Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2017
    Starfleet Communications Station 4
    Attached to Asteroid 2110-Delta-552
    Cook Strait, Sirius Binary
    Friday, 28 November 2154

    Commander Kieren Lee tossed the padd with a flicker of his wrist, and watched as it tumbled onto his desk. The data was there, the Vulcanoid woman in Olympus Mons’s brig was Vulcan. To Lee’s annoyance however, Furry had a point. The woman may be Vulcan, but did she really represent the interests of the Confederacy of Vulcan and the Vulcan High Command? If they did . . . well . . . Vulcan actions over the last ninety years made a lot of sense, especially around slowing down humanity’s progress in war drive technological innovations.

    Now that Enterprise had expanded humanity’s frontier and started forging diplomatic relations with dozens of nonhuman species, and do so without Vulcan involvement. The interesting fact here was that a few of those species the Vulcans knew about, such as the Coridans, Klingons and Andorians, but never bothered to share that data with Starfleet until it was too late.

    “Ops to Commander Lee,” the intercom sounded.

    Lee toggled the comm. “Go ahead, Crewman?”

    “Incoming transmission from Starfleet Command,” the crewman responded.

    Lee frowned. “Starfleet Command?” he asked, wondering who it may be.

    Then again, it could be anyone from Admiral Forrest to Commodore Gardner.

    “Transfer it here, Crewman.” Lee breathed out a sigh of frustration, and resigned himself to a long discussion.
     
  8. CeJay

    CeJay Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2006
    I like how the story's focus has now moved towards the true origins and motivations of the captured attacker. The fact that the Romulans have recruited and conditioned an actual Vulcan for this assault was a stroke of genius since there are still plenty of people in Starfleet who clearly don't trust the Vulcans one bit, even after all the work Archer has done.

    History tells us that by the time they figure out the truth, it will likely already be too late.
     
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  9. pio1776

    pio1776 Lieutenant Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2017
    CHAPTER FOUR

    Iceland class starship, designation Olympus Mons
    Docked with Starfleet Communications Station 4
    Asteroid 2110-Delta-552, Cook Strait, Sirius Binary

    As she sat in the captain’s chair, Vera checked the time on one of the screens that protruded from the left armrest. It was early Wednesday morning, and Furry had been sleeping for almost seven hours. Even Vera managed to get some shut eye, and had only moments ago shooed Patterson off to bed.

    Not that there was much going on. Oly was still docked, making it appear to the rest of the universe that she was assisting in repairs. Not that her engineering department was sitting around, with Lieutenant Bishop taking the opportunity to tweak a thing here and there aboard the ship.

    “Commander.” It was one of the Rangers, manning the communications station.

    Tearing her eyes away from the small screen, Vera turned to him. “Yes, Mr Ford?”

    “Incoming transmission from Sirius Command, system wide.”

    “System wide?” she asked, intrigued and nodded to the main viewer. “Let’s see it and pipe it through the whole ship.”

    Ford did so, and she turned just in time to see a tired looking Admiral Stellingatti.

    “My fellow terrans and citizens of the Sirius Binary. We, along with our brothers and sisters in Alpha Centauri and Sol have suffered a great tragedy. As of three hours ago, Vice Admiral Maxwell Forrest, the Chairman of the Starfleet Command Council was killed along with forty-two others from Starfleet and the United Earth Diplomatic Corps.

    “Until further, until a new Chairman is appointed to oversee the Starfleet Command Council,”
    Stellingatti was saying, “All system and individual unit commands are to be go to DEFCON Three readiness. All leave for Starfleet and Military personnel is hereafter cancelled.”

    “Well that sucks,” someone bemoaned.

    “Knock it off,” she then heard Ford say, and smiled despite herself when silence returned to the bridge.

    “Ma’am,” the Ranger assistant team leader then addressed her. “We’ve got orders.”

    She frowned and turned to regard Ford at Communications. “Let’s hear them, Mr Ford?”
     
  10. pio1776

    pio1776 Lieutenant Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2017
    *

    Lee sat back in his chair, yawned and stretched before refocusing on the screen that--until a moment ago--held Rear Admiral Gardner’s stern image. It wasn’t every day that a mere Commander got a call from the head of Starfleet, especially when that Commander in question technically claimed to be something he was not.

    A part of Kieren wanted to feel honoured for being singled out like this by Gardner, especially so soon after taking over as the new head of the fleet. The other part of him felt ill at ease, largely because he knew that the quiet distrust the crew of the Olympus Mons held towards him would deepen. Not that it mattered.

    He let out a sigh, and reached for the station’s intercom.

    His Command Chief, the senior most NCO, answered straight away.

    “Get Hendricks and Owens to meet me by the docking berth,” instructed Lee, and turned the comms off.

    And with that, he rose to his feet.
     
  11. pio1776

    pio1776 Lieutenant Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2017
    CHAPTER FIVE


    Iceland class starship, designation Olympus Mons
    Docked with Starfleet Communications Station 4
    Asteroid 2110-Delta-552, Cook Strait, Sirius Binary
    Not long after . . .

    With two of his own people flanking him, Lee made his way towards the docking clamp that kept Olympus Mons attached to the space station. Up ahead were two guards, one of whom being a Starfleet Ranger. Lee slowed, knowing their reputation, and presented himself to the armoury rating instead.

    “I need to see to the prisoner,” he told the rating.

    The young crewman looked back, and narrowed his eyes at Lee. “She’s not to be disturbed,” he said with a degree of authority, only to falter when Lee frowned. “Captain’s orders.”

    “Naturally,” replied Lee in a forced flat tone.

    Lee then produced a padd from his one-piece flighsuit, and handed it over. “Guess my orders supercede yours.
    “Please feel free to wake your captain,” Lee went on, “and while you’re at it, secure the prisoner for immediate transfer to this station.”

    *
    Vera happily accepted a cup of coffee and was taking a tentative sip as she caught Ford’s frown.
    “Problem?” she asked.

    “You could say that,” grumbled Ford as he looked up. “Commander Lee’s outside the docking berth, demanding that the Vulcan be transferred over to him.”

    Vera looked at Ford with a puzzled expression. “Come again?”

    “The spook wants the Vulcan, ma’am.”

    Vera thinned her lips, and almost corrected Ford that the prisoner was Vulcanoid. However, the medical tests being done by Barb and the station’s own medical personnel identified the prison as Vulcan, right on down to the inner eyelids.

    “The hell he does,” she replied while getting out of the command chair.

    With cup of coffee still in hand, Vera then started for the exit, only to stop and regard Ford. “Where’s Chief Bashir?”
    “Downstairs in Tactical,” offered another crewman.

    “Ask him to join me at the airlock please,” instructed Vera them and turned back to Ford while he cleared his throat.
    “Something on your mind?”

    “Shouldn’t we wake the Captain?” he asked.

    “Not yet.”

    Ford frowned. “Ma’am . . .”

    “This is the first time he’s had a decent amount of sleep, Mr Ford,” she explained, and smiled briefly at the Ranger. “And besides, the Commander’s just a sour loser for having the prisoner here. I can handle him.”

    Ford looked unconvinced, but managed to keep his mouth shut as he demurred her with a quick nod. “I trust your judgement, ma’am,” he said. “Just be careful.”

    Vera cocked her head, but otherwise said nothing as she left. For a long second, Ford watched the now closed airlock door, and frowned as he turned to see Barb still standing her. “Go wake the Captain,” he instructed.

    “Why?” demanded Barb. “Boss Lady said to let him sleep.”

    Ford considered reminding Barb about the embassy bombing and the attack on the outpost could be related, but knew that she didn’t much care about such things. Instead, he merely forced a grin. “Call it a gut feeling, Barb,” he said. “Go wake him.”
     
  12. pio1776

    pio1776 Lieutenant Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2017
    CHAPTER SIX


    Iceland class starship, designation Olympus Mons
    Docked with Starfleet Communications Station 4
    Asteroid 2110-Delta-552, Cook Strait, Sirius Binary
    Not long after . . .

    They met in the threshold, and Lee almost likened it to no man’s land as he, Owens and Hendricks got into a staring competition with the two sentries.

    “You going to let me pass?” Lee demanded.

    “We’re waiting on Commander Hernandez,” the Ranger said.

    Lee frowned. He met Hernandez, albeit briefly. She was competent, practical and intensely loyal to her captain and the men and women who served under them. In any other circumstance, Lee would have appreciated such traits.

    But not today.

    “As much as I appreciate the chain of command as the next person, Petty Officer,” Lee addressed the Ranger, “Step aside.”

    “With respect, Commander,” the Ranger adjusted his grip around his EM-50, “I don’t answer to you.”

    Lee frowned, but kept his distance. The last thing he wanted was to get into a shooting match with Rangers, even though his own orders clearly stated that he could. Permission he may have, but he had managed to work alongside the regular Starfleet to obtain his objectives. Just as equally, Lee was not going to start now.

    Fortunately for the Ranger and the Olympus Mons armoury specialist, Hernandez came into view.

    “Commander Lee?” she addressed while taking stock of the two sentries.

    “Commander Hernandez,” Lee replied. “I believe you heard the communique from Sirius Command?”

    “The embassy bombing on Vulcan?”

    Lee nodded.

    “And you’re of the impression the embassy bombing and our prisoner are interlinked in some way?” she queried, though it came across as a statement.

    Once more, Lee nodded. “I have my orders, Commander.”

    At which point, the Ranger passed over the padd. “Admiral Gardner, ma’am.”

    Vera took the device off the Ranger, activated it with her thumb and read its contents.


    From: RADM S.W. GARDNER, Chairman, Starfleet Command Council
    To: CDR K. LEE, CO, Starfleet SWORD Team 4
    CC: CDR A. FURRY, CO, UES Olympus Mons NC-44
    CC: RADM A. STELLINGATTI, CINC, Sirius Command

    Considering latest events on Vulcan, and the attempt of infiltrating Dunedin by covert means by Vulcan forces, you are tasked to obtain additional information from the prisoner currently in the custody of Commander Ambler Furry.

    Any and all information obtained is to be forwarded directly to myself and Rear Admiral Abraham Stellingatti.

    You are therefore given authority to extract information from the prisoner by any means necessary, the only criteria being that the prisoner remain alive.
    ****

    “SWORD?” demanded Vera as she held onto the padd.

    The Ranger, now accompanied by Chief Bashir, blinked.

    “I thought SWORD was a goddamned myth,” the Ranger said as he looked questionably at his team leader.

    “It’s not,” the chief warrant officer said, and turned to address Vera. “Ma’am, the minute a SWORD unit is identified, the identifier tends to have a very short life span afterwards. They are blacker than black, and answer directly to the United Earth Security Council. The Commander could have just as easily stormed our ship and we would be powerless to stop it, and end up dead in the process.”

    “The Chief has a point, Commander,” said Lee and eyed her. “We have our orders, so let’s play ball.”

    The Ranger petty officer gave the other sentry a dubious look. “Playing ball with make belief,” he said in wonder, “who would have thought . . .”
     
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2017
  13. pio1776

    pio1776 Lieutenant Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2017
    CHAPTER SEVEN


    Starfleet Communications Station 4
    Attached to Asteroid 2110-Delta-552
    Cook Strait, Sirius Binary
    Saturday, 30 November 2154

    Furry scratched the side of his nose, and glared at the two officers in the office with him.

    Not that it was his office per say, but Commander Lee seemed to have taken a step back from being an antagonistic asshole to a team player, and had offered the office to Furry for the interim.

    “Remind me if I’m wrong,” he addressed the two officers carefully, “but just because she’s biologically Vulcan, we are going with the assumption that she’s acting outside the interests of the Vulcan High Command. Correct?”

    “So it seems,” conceded Lee, nodding to the electronic data device in Furry’s hand. “Administrator V’Las has provided Starfleet Command with information on a terror group, the Syrrannites. Not much is said. Still, with Enterprise now the only thing standing in the way of an all out war between Vulcans and Andor, we got to make sure.”

    “No argument there,” agreed Furry, meaning it.

    “Except when I attempt in interrogating the prisoner,” replied Lee with an annoyed tone.

    Furry shrugged in response. “That’s because my idea of an interrogation differs from yours, Commander,” he said, eyed the padd and sighed as he tossed it back on the desk. “Nah, this doesn’t make sense. If there’s going to be a war, neutralising Dunedin doesn’t make a hell of a lot of sense in the large scheme of things. We’ll be the only friendly port of call for the Vulcans, why destroy us?”

    “Because their logic dictates it,” offered Vera.

    “Oh please,” Furry snorted, “logic can be skewed.”

    “What do you suggest?” demanded Lee.

    “We talk with our friend in the brig,” said Furry as he rose to his feet.

    “And if she doesn’t want to talk?” challenged Lee.

    Eyeing the intelligence officer, Furry pinched the bridge of his nose with his index and forefingers.

    “If that’s the case,” he then said, not taking his eyes off Lee, “then we’ll just have to persuade her.”

    Vera went to her feet. “Ambler . . .”

    “Yes?”

    “Please tell me you’re not considering what I think you are,” she said, though Vera sensed Furry had made up her mind.
    Her captain stopped and eyed her sadly.

    Finally, he went for the door.

    “We have a prelude to an undeclared war on our hands, Commander,” Lee said simply, nodded and followed Furry out.

    *
    This time there was no need for the extra guards.
    T’hai was back in her chair, her wrists and feet chained to its metal flame. Her face was tinged with greenish hues, bruises from previous interrogations with Lee and his men. The intelligence officer--or whatever he claimed to be--sat opposite and faced her with a scowl.

    “We know you’re Vulcan,” declared Furry as he showed her the padd he held. “Your medical revealed to us that much. What we don’t know is whom are you aligned with?

    “We have our suspicions, of course,” Furry went on as he walked around to where Lee sat, and placed a hand on the Commander’s shoulders. “My friend here thinks you’re part of some clandestine Vulcan endeavour to undermine humanity.

    “Personally,” Furry smiled at her, “I think that’s just crazy.
    “Sirius is too strategically important. If Vulcan was to get into a shooting war with Andor, they would need a safe harbour.” Furry stopped and cocked his head. “Actually, come to think of it, it’ll would make a hell of a lot more sense for Andor to go after Sirius and Dunedin.”

    T’hai just stared at him, but didn’t offer anything else but a blank look.

    “I don’t think she heard you,” grumbled Lee from where he sat.

    “Oh, she heard me all right, Commander,” countered Furry as he walked around, noting that she was following him with her eyes.

    Now next to her, Furry placed one hand on her shoulder and the other on the metal table. “I know you’re here to confuse us, and you’ve managed quite well. For the better part of a week we had no idea if you were a pure blooded Vulcan or a Jelna. Now we know, same goes for your dead friends. Well, one was definitely a Jelna. Question is, who are you working for.

    “Care to share?” asked Furry, and barely managed to step back when T’hai headbutted his nose.

    “Oh . . .!” hissed Furry, grabbing his now bloodied nose as he stumbled.

    “I believe that was a response, Commander.” Lee chuckled.
    Furry glared at the man.

    “Glad this amuses you,” grumbled Furry as he turned back to regard T’hai. “Alright, fine. “You want to act tough?” he demanded of her. “We can arrange that.”

    Lee just grinned at her . . .
     
  14. pio1776

    pio1776 Lieutenant Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2017
    Tellarite freighter
    Entering the periphery of the Cook Strait Belt, Sirius Binary
    Roughly same time . . .

    Nondescript and yet sporting a battered hull, the freighter jumped out of warp some hours ago. Its friend-or-foe identified the freighter as Tellarite, belonging to that species’ Mining Consortium. The interior of the rectangular superstructure however resembled nothing like it appeared, with the bulkheads lined in dark green coating, neither did the crew for that matter. Not that there was a way to know of its true purpose.

    For that purpose alone, the legate in command was thankful.

    Despite the system’s importance to the humans, only Dunedin was of any value due to its location so close to two Andorian Empire worlds. The fact that it also was a literal stone throw away from the Romulan homeworld, even along astronomical distances, was cause for alarm. The legate shook his head and studied the information T’hai had forwarded, his attention on an asteroid the humans classified as 2110-Delta-552. From the translations he had been given, the legate understood that the communications station equalled to much the same as its surface counterpart; an interceptor of communiques.

    For the reunification to be a success, Vulcan’s allies had to be made deaf and dumb.

    “What’s our estimated time of arrival, Sub-Commander?” the legate asked of the man next to him.

    “Another few days, Legate,” the freighter’s captain.

    He then turned to the woman next to him. “Are your people ready, Centurion?”

    The woman nodded, and the legate smiled with little humour. The troops aboard, and those aboard two other reconfigured freighters, were the last of the Teth Koros--numbering just on 950. They had been gathered from all corners of the Empire, and many of whom recalled from assignments far afield.

    “Very well,” the legate said as he straightened. “Notify me the minute the other ships are in position. We will strike as one.”

    The sub-commander snapped to attention, and slapped his right fist over his chest. “As we are the Teth Koros!” he then recited the response.
     
  15. CeJay

    CeJay Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2006
    Things are getting heated and not just in that interrogation room. The embassy bombing is a clear act of war in case there was any doubt that something bad was brewing. Too bad that Starfleet still doesn't have a clue from where this threat is truly coming from.

    And as for the one person potentially able to provide this information, she won't surrender anything willingly. Furry is already on record for condoning any acts of torture to extract information but I wonder how he feels about "enhanced interrogation". I sense a poignant moral dilemma coming up. How far are you willing to bend or even break your own ethical standards in order to potentially prevent a war? Guess we'll find out.
     
  16. pio1776

    pio1776 Lieutenant Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2017
    Got me excited to write the next piece tomorrow, thanks CeJay. :techman:
     
  17. pio1776

    pio1776 Lieutenant Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2017
    CHAPTER EIGHT



    Starfleet Communications Station 4
    Attached to Asteroid 2110-Delta-552
    Cook Strait, Sirius Binary

    Furry wasn’t sure what he felt, disgust most likely as he watched Barb wheeled in a trolley with an assortment of equipment that ranged from hypersprays, syringes and a few other things that he was at a loss as to their purpose. Upon seeing Chief Bashir enter fully armed and armoured, and take up station by the door, Furry looked a question at the warrant officer.

    Not that a satisfactory answer came from Bashir.

    “The Chief and his team are predominantly scientists, medics and communications specialists,” Lee offered as a means of explanation, and ignoring the sharp look Furry gave him.

    “And here I thought you would know, Commander?” Lee queried happily. “Rangers are a versatile lot, Commander. Starfleet’s been using them from day one to help expand humanity’s understanding of its surrounding space. A necessity really, considering how much our Vulcan allies have set us back.

    “Young Barb here is an expert in many forms of medical care, from acupuncture to the state of the art,” Lee want on smugly. “She’s also a damn good interrogation technician, probably the best.”

    “And that’s supposed to make me feel any better?” replied Furry.

    Lee shrugged. “Just be grateful she’s on your side.”

    Furry wasn’t sure what he thought of that. This was not the fleet he had signed on for. He shook his head, and watched as Barb methodologically went through each item, almost as if she was cataloging each and every item by touch.

    “Want me to look at your nose, skip?” asked Barb as she glanced up at him.

    “No thanks,” replied Furry, shaking his head.

    “Looks broken, skipper.”

    “It’s all good,” reassured Furry, feeling his nose. “I’ll get Vera to check on it later.”

    “You’re the captain,” she intoned and turned back to the instruments.

    Furry grunted, falling silent as he watched Barb pick up a syringe, grabbed a bottle of clear liquid and grinned at the Vulcan woman. In turn, Furry resigned himself to what had to be done.
     
  18. pio1776

    pio1776 Lieutenant Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2017
    *
    “Let’s start with something simple,” announced Lee from where he sat, after Barb injected the clear liquid into the other woman’s arm.

    The fact that Bashir had to hold the Vulcan’s head still had not been lost on anyone, least of all on Furry.

    “What is your name?” asked Lee.

    Nothing, the Vulcan just stared at him.

    “Surely you have a name, Vulcan,” stated Lee, and gestured at himself. “My name is Kieren, and that there is--”

    “Ambler Furry,” T’hai said, eyeing Lee straight on.

    “Yeah.” Lee sniggered. “The guy you headbutted.”

    “Not helping,” grumbled Furry, annoyed. Then again what was he bothered with more, the fact that he was letting Lee have his interrogation, or the fact that his nose may be broken? Or was it that he was seeing the two Rangers in a different light.
    Lee just grinned at him, and then turned his attention back to her. “So you know who we are,” he went on, “What is your name?”

    “T . . .” she started, and frowned.

    Barb nodded to herself.

    “Tura--” again the Vulcan hesitated, her almond eyes becoming unfocused as the drug started to take effect.
    Lee merely nodded to Barb, who applied another dosage.
    “Look at me,” Barb the instructed. When nothing happened, the petty officer slapped the Vulcan.

    “What is your name?” Barb then demanded.

    “Tur--” once more T’hai hesitated.

    “Your name!” demanded Barb, slapping T’hai’s cheek.

    The Vulcan desperately looked as if she was fighting inside. “Turaan.”

    Barb exchanged looks with Lee, before finally settling on Furry.

    “Just get on with it,” said Furry, sighing and shook his head.
     
  19. pio1776

    pio1776 Lieutenant Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2017
    *
    His jaw relaxed as the door slid shut behind him, as well as his posture as Furry welcomed the seclusion that the ready room offered. Then, making sure the door was locked he rested against it and swore.

    “Goddamnit!” he cried out, letting out the frustration and anger while sliding down the door.

    The Vulcan woman’s interrogation had lasted a good five hours, until Furry put a stop to it.

    The information obtained had been invaluable, even if cost Turaan--T’hai . . . or whatever the Vulcan’s name was--a few fingers and one of her inner eyelids, which was removed expertly by Barb.

    With a deep and defeated sigh resonating through his entire being, Furry swallowed the bile that threatened to overcome him and willed himself to get up.

    As he reached for his desk, the door chime sounded.

    “What?” he snapped, his emotions in turmoil.

    “Captain?” It was Vera.

    Ambler was tempted to tell her to let him be. This was not the time for a lecture on ethical boundaries where it came to torturing someone for information. Or maybe it was? A part of him mused, and he glanced at the door. “Enter,” he managed to croak, and watched as the slid open to show Vera.
    For a second, she just stood there; seizing Furry.

    “Your nose . . .” she gasped, and instantly went for the ever present medkit in Furry’s ready room.
     
  20. CeJay

    CeJay Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2006
    Looks like they went all in with the torture session. And from the sounds of things, it was one that would have made the Tal Shiar or the Obsidian Order proud. I wonder how the fledgling Starfleet, with its high moral standards, will overcome this apparent set back to its own moral standards. How will Furry for that matter? And what about the information they've obtained? Is it truly as invaluable as Furry thinks? After all it is well documented that intelligence obtain through torture is unreliable. Considering how we already know that the war is coming, no matter what, perhaps this maxim remains true.

    Heavy stuff.