Outpost Delta: Tales from the Border Service

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction' started by BrotherBenny, Feb 20, 2017.

  1. BrotherBenny

    BrotherBenny Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Aug 3, 2005


    FCS Time Bandit
    Federation Cargo Authority-Registered Y-class Freighter
    The Delphic Expanse
    Star Log: February 7, 2163

    Andy Hillstrand cursed the gods from every race he could think of as the Osaarian held a small, scimitar-style blade against his neck. Outside the ship the worst ion storm he’d ever encountered raged on oblivious to the battle going on inside. Hillstrand dared not move since he knew how sharp those bladed weapons were and he was in danger of losing his life if he didn't provide the privateer with an answer he liked.

    'What was the question again?' he asked, stalling.

    The scimitar pressed into his neck and drew a bead of blood. 'Where are the Royal Marbles of Tirex III?' the Osaarian asked, for the third and final time, through a cigar.

    Hillstrand swallowed. 'Never heard of them.'

    Just then another Osaarian strode onto the bridge holding a silver case. He opened it and scrunched his face as a deathly scream pierced the air. He held it open for two seconds and then closed it again, glancing at his superior for orders.

    'You've never heard of them,' the Osaarian replied. 'Then what did you think you were stealing?'

    'Can you move the blade?' he asked and pointed at his neck which was now dripping freely.

    The Osaarian wiped the blade on Hillstrand's tunic and flipped it in the air. 'Speak.'

    'I was asked to steal a case from a diplomat. I had no idea what was in it. What are those things anyway?'

    The Osaarian holding the case picked Hillstrand up using his free hand and brought him to eye-level. 'The Royal Marbles of Tirex III,' he growled. 'Are you deaf?'

    'Put him down, Pojar,' the Osaarian ordered.

    Hillstrand found himself sitting on his rump as he was dropped and looked up at the aliens on his ship. 'What are you going to do with me now?'

    The Osaarian glanced his companions and grinned. 'We'll leave you to the mercies of the ion storm.'

    Hillstrand jumped up in alarm. 'You can't! My ship's no match for this storm. It's a death sentence.'

    'Which is exactly what you have on your head. It's safer this way,' the Osaarian patted him on the shoulder and then turned to his companions. 'Let's go.'

    The three of them, and the case, vanished in pillars of light. Hillstrand sighed as he watched the forward screen, saw the vessel move away, having no trouble maneuvering through the ion storm. He reached the pilot's console even as the first groans of his ship's hull reached him and he reached for the old-style comm system he'd installed before he decided to ply his trade in the former Delphic Expanse. Although the region was so-called because of the spatial anomalies and thermobaric clouds, all of that had been taken care of almost a decade ago, but the name stuck and the largely unexplored region was a prime space for freighters like his.

    The mike sputtered to life as he called out. 'This is the Time Bandit to anyone who can hear me. I'm trapped in the ion storm and I've just been attacked by Osaarian privateers.'

    It was a moment before a response reached him, garbled as it was by the storm. 'Time Bandit, this is the Cornelia Marie. What is your position?'

    Hillstrand breathed a sigh of relief and relayed his position. 'You're a life saver, Phil.' He relaxed and sat in his chair just as the proximity alarmed blared. 'What the hell?'

    He looked at the instrumentation and his eyes widened in alarm. This time there was nothing that anyone could do to help him. The Osaarian ship fired a photon torpedo that pierced the fog of the ion storm as if it wasn't there and slammed into the aft bulkhead, vaporizing the engines and tearing the ship apart. His last conscious thought was that the privateers would never be held accountable for their actions because this region of space was patrolled by the Starfleet Border Patrol Service, a group of officers who were rumored to be less than stellar in aging ships leftover from the war that ended almost two years ago.

    USS Vigilant
    -class Border Patrol Service Cutter, NCC-57
    Fourth Squadron Operations Area, the Delphic Expanse
    Star Log: February 9, 2163

    ‘We’re approaching the last known coordinates of the Time Bandit, Commander,’ V’Han, the Vulcan helmsman, called out.

    ‘Activate the viewer and let’s see what we have,’ Commander Chalikoth th'Naars ordered and watched the viewscreen activate, immediately seeing the debris field that represented what was left of the Y-class freighter. ‘Is there any evidence of the ion storm the Cornelia Marie said passed through here?’

    ‘Yes and no,’ Lieutenant Ghiroh answered as he peered through the sensor hood at the science station. ‘There are a lot of residual charged particles but it’s hard to tell whether they’re from the alleged ion storm or the destruction of the freighter.’

    ‘Who has the technology to manufacture an ion storm?’ Lieutenant T’Rin asked from the tactical station.

    ‘I don’t think it was manufactured,’ Ghiroh said, looking up and turning to face the others. ‘I think it’s one of those weird phenomenon that ships have logged since the Enterprise dismantled the Delphic Expanse a decade ago.’

    ‘Confirm the evidence of the ion storm and transmit it to Outpost Delta,’ Koth said. ‘Coordinate with engineering and bring the wreckage aboard. We’ll drop it off at Outpost Epsilon next week when we go in for resupply.’

    ‘Aye sir,’ Ghiroh said and headed for the turbolift, wondering if they’d ever be rid of the Osaarians.

    ‘V’Han, once we’ve retrieved the wreckage, set a course for Tirex III.’

    ‘Would it not be more logical to retrieve the Marbles from the privateers?’ the helmsman asked.

    ‘We are,’ Koth told him. ‘The Osaarians will try to sell them back to the Tirexa, who’ll pay anything to have their royal treasures back. We will be there to stop them.’

    Koth watched the viewscreen as distant shimmers of light heralded the beaming of the wreckage into a cargo bay. He hoped that they would be able to recover the bodies as well, as many as possible anyway, to provide some small measure of closure to their families back home.

    ‘Commander, Commodore Stevens has acknowledged our report and forwarded it to Admiral Leonard at Border Service Command.’

    ‘Where it will conveniently be forgotten, along with all of the others,’ Koth muttered, thinking that the admiral did nothing but find ways to get back to the regular fleet as though the Border Service was something less.

    It was hard work for sure, but patrolling the fledgling Federation’s borders was absolutely necessary, especially considering the enemies that Starfleet had made during their not-always-successful explorations. Koth had never wanted to be an explorer. He’d always wanted to be on the front lines of a battle, like most Andorians, and the Border Service gave him the opportunity to do just that.

    Outpost Delta
    Command Headquarters, Fourth Squadron Operations Area
    The Delphic Expanse
    Star Log: February 10, 2163

    Outpost Delta’s command center had two levels. The lower level was where all of the operational work took place and the upper level had the commanding officer’s state room, the briefing room and a security communications room. Commodore Elias Stevens climbed the stairs to the second level and gained access by the dual-layer security system consisting of both a retinal scan and biometric scan. He entered the room and strode over to the display screens above a large multi-function terminal manned by a single crewman. The room resembled an astrometrics laboratory and in essence it was exactly that, but the occupants of the room kept tabs on everything that occurred in the Delphic Expanse, including the political situation as it developed with new colonies and the shifting allegiances of the races that the Enterprise discovered.

    ‘Commodore, what can I do for you?' asked the Starfleet Intelligence operative who ran the tactical array.

    'Bring the Tirex Sector up please,' he answered and stared at the logo on the screen. 'What does that mean?'

    The operative looked up and smiled. 'It is a reference to an intelligence-gathering outfit from the twenty-first century. It stands for Multiple Threat Assessment Command, usually shortened by Starfleet Tactical to MTAC.'

    'MTAC,' he echoed as he watched the operative manipulate the controls.

    The Tirex sector appeared on the screen and showed the locations of the two nearest border cutters, the Diligence and the Vigilant. The Diligence was on a milk run delivering supplies to the three colonies in the area. The Vigilant was still chasing down the Osaarian privateers which had been plaguing the sector for months.

    'Zoom in on the coordinates where the ion storm was allegedly located and overlay the map of spatial anomalies that Admiral Archer put together while he was in command of the Enterprise.'

    The operative entered a series of commands and brought up the relevant area. ‘There doesn’t appear to be anything there.’

    'Have the computer track straight lines in all directions from that area and check to see if there are any unusual phenomenon reported along them. I sincerely hope you find nothing.'

    'The computer is tracking now,' the woman said. 'It will take a few minutes.'

    'Thank you, Lieutenant...Sorry, what was your name?'

    'Sandra Rhodes, sir.'

    Stevens nodded and looked up as the computer repositioned the view on the screen to a point almost a light year from the ion storm. Rhodes touched a few keys and another point appeared several light years away in another direction. 'There are your spheres, Commodore,' Rhodes stated. 'The ion storm was at the intersection point, just like the anomalies that the Enterprise crew encountered. I'll enter the coordinates for them and encrypt the file. Will you be speaking with Admiral Leonard about this?’

    ‘I have no choice,’ Stevens answered and asked, ‘Is this the most secure room on the outpost?’

    'Yes sir, it is.’

    ‘Open a real time channel to Earth, Border Service Command. The admiral can no longer ignore this.’

    ‘The channel is open, Commodore. I’m awaiting the encryption confirmation from the other end.’

    The false starscape on the screen was replaced by the Border Service logo and then the unhappy mustachioed visage of Admiral Daniel Leonard. ‘Is there a problem, Commodore Stevens?’

    'Yes sir, there is. I have preliminary evidence of new spheres forming in the Delphic Expanse. The spatial phenomena that the locals have experienced, as well as those from our own vessels leave no other explanation.’

    Do you have visual evidence?’ the admiral asked.

    ‘Not yet, no, but the computer analysis…’

    …Is not enough for me to authorize additional vessels to be assigned to that sector,’ Leonard interrupted. ‘Until you have proof, visual evidence, there’s nothing I can do.’

    ‘I need something more than a single Daedalus and a handful of obsolete Sarajevos and Bonchunes to patrol these sectors and keep the communication buoys operational, not to mention clearing asteroids and making milk runs to the colonies.’ Stevens protested.

    'What do you mean one Daedalus? You have two,’ Leonard countered. ‘What happened to the other one?’

    ‘The Wendigo is on patrol. The Banshee was critically damaged six months ago preventing an asteroid from destroying a pre-warp civilization. It’s sitting in a dry dock at the fifth squadron repair and refit station.’

    There’s your answer, Commodore. I authorize you to repair the Banshee. Return it to service and staff it with the personnel available. If you need additional people to replace them, that I’ll provide, otherwise I do not expect to hear from you again unless the Federation is in imminent danger. Leonard out.’

    ‘Asshole,’ Stevens muttered and looked at Rhodes. ‘I guess I need to talk to a couple of captains.’

    USS Vigilant
    -class BPS Cutter, NCC-57
    The Tirex System, the Delphic Expanse
    Star Log: February 12, 2163

    ‘Commander, I’m reading weapons discharges in orbit of the third planet,’ T’Rin stated. ‘The Osaarian privateer is taking heavy fire from the Tirexa Defense Force cruisers.’

    ‘Hail the lead cruiser,’ Koth ordered.

    ‘Channel open.’

    ‘Tirexa Defense Force, this is the Starfleet Border Cutter Vigilant. Be advised, the Royal Marbles are likely to be on board the vessel you’re firing on. Cease fire and allow us to investigate.’

    This is no concern of yours, Starfleet. This is an internal matter. Stay out of it,’ the bright orange face of the Tirexa captain said, it’s gills and fins undulating fiercely.

    ‘You requested our assistance in retrieving the Marbles. What changed?’

    That was a different government,’ he told them. ‘The Tirexa Theocracy now rules this world. The Royal Marbles are a holdover from an ancient time. They are worthless to us.’

    ‘The Royal Marbles contain the souls of the Ancestors,’ T’Rin interjected. ‘Is it logical to condemn your people’s history like this? Would it not be more appropriate to retrieve them and be hailed as saviors?’

    ‘Commander, that ship won’t last much longer,’ V’Han said. ‘Their shields are buckling.’

    Lies! Those screams are not ancient souls, they are tormented ones. Prisoners from the ancient times kept as a warning to the crooks of today. They are of no consequence, just as the exiled heathens are of no consequence to us,’ he added and cut the channel.

    ‘Commander, I’m detecting eleven Tirexa in a cargo bay on that ship. Their lifesigns are weakening,’ Ghiroh called out as he peered through the sensor hood.

    ‘Can we beam them aboard?’ Koth asked.

    We can seal shuttlebay 1 and beam the water up too, but the transporter will likely burn out being overtaxed like that.’

    ‘Do it! We’re heading to the refit and repair station after this anyway, so we can take care of it then,’ Koth ordered. ‘V’Han, move us into position above Osaarian ship and extend these fancy new shields around them.’

    ‘Aye sir,’ the helmsman said as Ghiroh ran for the turbolift.

    The Vigilant moved into position and took the weapons fire meant for the Osaarians. The Tirexa cruisers moved into different vectors to attack the cutter at its weakest points.

    Less than thirty seconds later, T’Rin reported, ‘Shuttlebay 1 has been sealed and transport has begun. I would question how the Tirexa Defense Force obtained the schematics for this vessel but I believe I know the answer.’

    ‘T’Rin, I told you we’d deal with that later,’ Koth countered as the ship shook from the continual weapons fire.

    ‘Shields are down to eighty percent,’ she reported and Koth growled.

    He touched an intercom panel on him armrest an asked, ‘Ghiroh, what’s taking so long?’

    The transporter was never designed for this kind of use,’ he protested. ‘I have the water beamed aboard and I’m bringing the Tirexa council members in one at a time.’

    ‘Seventy percent,’ T’Rin interjected. ‘We will need to leave in five minutes.’

    I need more time!

    ‘I’ll do what I can, Koth out,’ the Andorian said and turned to T’Rin. ‘It’s time to fight back. Aim for their weapons only. I just want to disarm them.’

    The Vulcan tactical officer nodded and fired the phase cannons at the lead cruiser’s forward weapon ports. Two explosions caused the cruiser to back off momentarily and T’Rin swiveled the cannons to take out the weapons on the second cruiser. The third moved off to cover the retreat of the others.

    ‘Much better,’ Koth said as the bosun’s whistle sounded. ‘Koth here.’

    I have them all,’ Ghiroh answered. ‘The Emperor Regent wishes to speak with you, and just so you know, Commander, the transporter is fried. I have no idea how we’re going to get them off the ship.’

    ‘One crisis at a time, Lieutenant. Tell them I’ll be right down. V’Han, set a course for Outpost Epsilon. T’Rin, I want Commodore Stevens on standby when I get back up here.’

    A trio of ‘aye sirs’ responded as he stood up and headed for the turbolift.

    Outpost Epsilon
    Command Headquarters, Fifth Squadron Operations Area
    Refit and Repair Station, the Delphic Expanse
    Star Log: February 18, 2163

    Commander Chalikoth th’Naars stared at his ship as the outpost’s engineers swarmed over her. The chief engineer’s list of systems that needed to be repaired was long, and quite a few needed to be replaced. They would be stuck here for several days and he didn’t like that. He could see that the largest dry dock, which held the Banshee, was also a hive of activity, and wondered what was happening to her.

    ‘I need a first officer,’ a voice said from behind him and he instantly knew who it was. Her bioelectric field was unmistakable.

    ‘Captain,’ he replied and they hugged briefly. ‘Are they finally repairing her?’

    ‘They are. There’s a situation brewing and she’s needed, which is why I need my first officer back.’

    His antennae flattened against his scalp and he sighed. ‘I like having my own ship, even if it is a little one.’

    It won’t be the same,’ she told him. ‘The quartermaster has orders from Commodore Stevens and because I was there at the time, I asked him if I could tell you.’

    ‘Tell me what?’

    ‘The Vigilant is being re-purposed as a buoy tender. The weapons are being stripped out. It’s going to be a repair and maintenance ship for the Fourth Squadron.’

    ‘So the only way I’m going to see any action is on board the Wendigo or the Banshee?’

    ‘I need a first officer,’ Gunderson pressed a little harder. ‘If I’m going back out there in a rebuilt ship, I want my old crew. I’m hoping that if you agree to come back, I can get the others to follow.’

    ‘I’ll come back on one condition,’ he told her.

    ‘Name it.’

    ‘I get to lead the occasional landing party. You don’t get to have all the fun anymore.’

    She laughed. ‘Deal. Will you help me get the others?’

    ‘I’ll do my best. Did you hear about the Tirexa Council?’

    ‘I heard you rescued them.’

    ‘They told me they had a colony close by and we dropped them off a couple of days ago. They have requested our, the Federation’s, help in getting their homeworld back.’


    ‘I think someone up the chain is sitting on it.’

    ‘It’s only been a few days.’

    ‘The Commodore told me he pushed it through but Border Service Command isn’t doing their part.’

    ‘It’s no secret that the Admiral doesn’t want the job, I just didn’t think he’d not do it, but maybe there’s a way around it.’

    ‘How so?’

    ‘Leave it to me. I have a few strings I can pull,’ she told him. ‘Now, back to the subject at hand. We have 227 spots to fill, and two weeks to do it in. We need to get started.’

    ‘About that, I think I have some ideas about automation to reduce the number of people we need in certain areas.’

    ‘Which areas?’ she asked, intrigued.

    ‘Weapons, ship maintenance, and engineering,’ he answered.

    ‘How many people can you eliminate the need for?’

    ‘I think I can eliminate approximately forty people.’

    She thought about it and then said, ‘Once we’ve got the senior staff sorted out, we’ll sit down with them and the quartermaster and see what we can do.’

    ‘Let’s get started then.’




    Captain Gunderson and Commander th'Naars try to pull the old crew back together as tensions mount over an old enemy resurfacing while elsewhere in the Delphic Expanse a secretive group with an even more secretive agenda try to turn the locals against the Border Service and the fledgling Federation.
  2. admiralelm11

    admiralelm11 Commander Red Shirt

    Jan 17, 2009
    Vancouver, WA
    Great to have you back, Benny! I really enjoyed this story. It was interesting to see how the Border Service started out and I can't wait to read more.
  3. CeJay

    CeJay Commodore Commodore

    Feb 5, 2006
    An action-packed opening and a great way to set the scene and introduce some of the key players.

    We don't often see a starship commander going back to becoming a first officer, usually its the other way around. But th’Naars didn't put up much of fight over losing his command and taking a step back in his career. In fact he seems to fall back into his old role rather quickly. A good sign for Gunderson and her ship, no doubt.
  4. TheLoneRedshirt

    TheLoneRedshirt Commodore Commodore

    May 22, 2007
    Here and now.
    Great start! It's interesting to read a Border Service story set in a little explored era - the 22nd century. Apparently, the Admiral in charge of Border Service Command during this time period is no better than the one in the late 24th century! :lol: Looking forward to seeing more of Captain Gunderson. Wonder if she's like her descendant?
  5. BrotherBenny

    BrotherBenny Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Aug 3, 2005


    Outpost Epsilon
    Command Headquarters, Fifth Squadron Operations Area
    Refit and Repair Station, the Delphic Expanse
    Star Log: February 20, 2163

    Light refreshments had been laid out in the conference room for those who were involved in the arduous task of filling an entire ship’s roster in less than two weeks, and although only two people were currently in the room, more were expected.

    ‘T’Rin agreed to come back as tactical officer?’ Captain Roberta Gunderson asked.

    ‘Yes,’ Commander Chalikoth th’Naars answered. ‘I spoke with her this morning. Unfortunately, V’Han has to return to Vulcan. She cited personal reasons and has been granted a temporary leave of absence.’

    ‘So we still need helm and navigator officers, a communications officer, chief medical officer, chief engineer, and a science officer to round out the senior staff,’ Gunderson sighed and pinched the bridge of her nose. ‘Any suggestions?’

    ‘I can double as a communications officer should it be needed,’ Koth said.

    ‘No, I need you by my side. I’m having a chair installed just below and to the side of mine specifically for you,’ Gunderson countered. ‘Are there any of the others who would consent to come back?’

    ‘I believe Ghiroh would, but rumor has it he’s been offered a regular fleet berth.’

    ‘What would make him stay?’

    Koth thought about it for a moment. ‘A promotion to Lieutenant Commander.’

    ‘I can make that work. What about Shalimar?’

    ‘She might, if Carmen DiGarza were aboard.’

    ‘They’re still together? It’s been what, eight years now?’

    ‘About that.’

    ‘Carmen’s a loose cannon, and she’s running her own freighter now. What could I offer her that would make her come back?’

    ‘I’ll talk to her,’ Koth said. ‘I might have an idea for a chief medical officer, but she’s not Starfleet or Border Service. She’s a civilian at the Interspecies Medical Exchange.’

    ‘I thought that was rolled into Starfleet Medical when the Federation was founded?’

    ‘It was decided to keep it independent to make it an attractive offer for independent worlds,’ Koth corrected.

    ‘Talk to her and see if she’s willing. Do you have any ideas for a communications officer? I know that Robert will not be coming back. He joined Starfleet Intelligence.’

    ‘Have you checked Starfleet Academy’s graduation lists?’

    Gunderson furrowed her brow. ‘No, should I?’

    ‘You may not like it, but those that graduate near the bottom of their class often get bad assignments in the regular fleet. There are more opportunities for them in the Border Service, but they are often candidates with social adjustment issues.’

    ‘Misfits and malcontents. Kids who partied hard and barely made it.’


    ‘You’re right, I don’t like it, but I don’t have many options and I’m all for second chances,’ Gunderson looked at the old fashioned analogue clock on the wall and sighed. ‘Is it lunch time already?’

    ‘There are plenty of snacks in here,’ Koth pointed out the mostly untouched food.

    ‘I need something more,’ she said. ‘I’m going to the Andorian restaurant on level 39. Care to join me?’

    He shook his head. ‘Rain check? I want to catch Carmen before she leaves the outpost.’

    ‘Sure, rain check,’ Gunderson agreed as Koth stood to leave. She admired his physique and wished their relationship could go back to the way it had been, before the Banshee was almost destroyed. Their argument, in front of the bridge crew, almost cost a civilization its future and she vowed not to let it happen again, but she did miss him.

    SS Rita Moreno
    Docked at Outpost Epsilon
    Refit and Repair Station, the Delphic Expanse
    Star Log: February 20, 2163

    ‘Now that is a nice view,’ Koth said, looking at a very shapely posterior while the rest of its owner was out of sight in the guts of the helm console

    ‘I’ll slice off your bekh if you say that again,’ a female voice said and Koth instinctively closed his legs, protecting that vital organ.

    ‘Nice to see you too,’ he muttered as the woman backed herself out of the console and stood up, dusting herself off.

    ‘What are you doing here and who let you on board?’ Carmen DiGarza asked, eyeing the Andorian up and down. ‘Still, you look good though.’

    ‘Thanks,’ he replied. ‘The airlock was open. I haven’t seen a soul since I came aboard.’

    ‘Yeah, I should do something about that,’ she said. ‘I can’t seem to keep good people around.’

    ‘Paying them might help.’

    ‘If I could get decent jobs, I would pay them, but half of what I schlep across the sector is barely legal.’

    Koth seized upon the opening offered. ‘I have a job for you.’

    She narrowed her eyes. ‘I’m not giving out sexual favors. Not to you, anyway.’

    ‘How would you like to pilot a Daedalus-class starship?’

    Her eyes lit up. ‘The Banshee?’

    He nodded. ‘Yes or no?’

    She looked around the cramped confines of the tramp freighter. ‘What am I supposed to do with Rita?’

    ‘Lease her out, or sell her.’

    She punched him in the chest. ‘I can make some money on the side. Anyone else is better at this than I am.’

    ‘Does that mean you’re in?’

    ‘Yes, but there’s one problem. I resigned my commission.’

    Koth smiled. ‘When Starfleet was chartered they included a little regulation known as a reserve activation clause. It allows Starfleet, and by extension the Border Service, to reactivate a discharged or retired officer. Consider yourself un-retired, Lieutenant.’

    ‘You know, if I’m going to be flying that bulbous machine through the ass-end of space, I want the best navigator I know to help me do it.’

    ‘Let’s go and find her, shall we?’

    Unknown vessel
    Orbiting an unnamed planetoid
    Somewhere in the Delphic Expanse
    Star Log: February 21, 2163

    ‘The human empire is spreading too quickly,’ the Auditor stated as it watched the projection screen. ‘They will reach our territory within five centuries, far sooner than anticipated.’

    ‘We are going to slow them down,’ the Guardian said. ‘We learned our lessons from the previous incursions.’

    ‘Humans are an impressive species,’ Q told the others. ‘They adapt quickly and improvise well. They’ll stop whatever plans you have.’

    ‘If we pool our resources we can pin them down in this backwater part of the galaxy. They need never leave their little corner,’ the Interloper continued as though the others hadn’t spoken.

    ‘How do you propose we continue?’ the Auditor asked.

    ‘We build a lightyear-wide thermobaric barrier around this galaxy. Their little ships will be no match for such energy,’ the Interloper answered.

    The Auditor used its thoughtwave to adjust the projection on the screen in front of them. ‘The humans will be delayed by a further three centuries. It is still not enough. I invited you all here to provide us with a solution to the human problem.’

    ‘Who are you anyway?’ the Guardian asked.

    ‘We are the Auditors,’ the Auditor told them. ‘That is all you need to know.’

    ‘Why does it matter if the humans reach your territory?’ Q asked. ‘Wherever it is.’

    ‘They are a threat, but our laws prevent us from removing them from the universe. They still serve a purpose…for now.’

    The Interloper laughed and all eyes turned to face him.

    ‘Something amuses you?’ the Guardian asked.

    ‘The solution to the “human problem” is simple.’

    ‘Explain,’ the Auditor said.

    ‘Each one of you represents one of the greatest empires in this sector of the universe, even those who have not spoken,’ the Interloper looked around the thirty entities in the room. ‘Constant harassment from each of you, in turn or in concert, will prevent the humans from spreading too far or too fast.’

    ‘We will reconvene at another time,’ the Auditor said and its thoughtwave returned the entities to their distant parts of the cosmos, except for the Interloper. ‘I did not bring you here.’

    No, you didn’t.’

    ‘Who are you and where did you come from?’

    ‘Where I came from is irrelevant, and you already know who I am.’

    The Auditor was thankful its features could not be seen under its hood for a frisson of fear reverberated through its carapace. ‘Perhaps so. You are a divine being to some species, as we are to others.’

    ‘In a manner of speaking,’ the Interloper confirmed. ‘We will meet again, Auditor. Perhaps next time without an audience of lesser beings.’

    The Auditor looked at the indistinct figure as it dispersed and its thoughtwave darkened to a dangerously obsidian hue. It did not know why the Interloper wanted the humans penned into this galaxy like sheep, but for now their purposes converged, so it shifted energies around and created the wide thermobaric galactic barrier.

    Interspecies Medical Exchange Annex
    New France Colony
    Near the Arachnid Nebula
    Star Log: February 21, 2163

    ‘I will be here if you need to talk,’ Doctor zh’Velas told the patient as she jumped off the bio-bed and walked away

    ‘Yeah, thanks,’ Anna Maria McCoy said as she left sickbay. She wanted to get as far away from the memories of this place as she could, she just didn’t know how.

    ‘Doctor McCoy, please come to the Communications Center. Doctor McCoy, please come to the Communications Center,’ a male voice sounded over the Annex’s public address system.

    She no idea who it could be, having left her entire family on Earth to start a new life in the colonies, far away from the dramas of her ancestral homeworld. In the twenty plus years since she’d turned her back on them, not one had contacted her so she wondered who else she’d made enough of a connection with to make this kind of effort.

    The communications center was basically a room with lots of private booths where people could talk in real time with off-world family. There were rarely more than a few people in there because of the prohibitive cost of doing so.

    ‘You called me?’ McCoy said to the communications officer on duty.

    ‘ID please?’ he asked.

    She handed it over and he put it through the scanner at his terminal. ‘Booth 7, no time limit.’

    Whoever was making contact with her clearly had money to burn and she had to admit, she was curious. She sat down in the booth and activated the vid screen, once again confirming her identity. The IME logo was replaced by an Andorian she thought she recognized, but wasn’t sure. It had been almost five years ago, or was it longer.

    Doctor McCoy, I am Chalikoth th’Naars. Do you remember me?’

    The name rang a bell and she recalled the encounter. ‘I stitched you up after a game of Parrises Squares. That was almost six years ago, wasn’t it?’

    Yes it was. I was impressed with the way you handled the Tellarite team.’

    ‘It that why you called?’



    I need you.’

    ‘Excuse me?’

    I’m a commander in the Starfleet Border Service. We don’t always have the luxury of getting qualified people to fill posts and often have to think outside the box.’

    ‘What does that have to do with me?’

    I would like you to be the chief medical officer on the ship I serve on. It is a Daedalus-class ship.

    ‘That’s over two hundred people you want me to be responsible for?’ she raised her voice. ‘I’m a doctor, not a shepherd.’

    We patrol the Federation border, that’s all.’

    ‘Uh huh,’ she replied, not buying a word of it. ‘Why me? Why not one of a thousand other doctors in the galaxy?’

    I trust you,’ he told her. ‘And you can handle the bullies.’

    ‘Where are you based?’

    ‘Outpost Delta, the Delphic Expanse.’

    ‘Oh, the Delphic Expanse, where all the weird stuff happens, why didn’t you say so?’

    Doctor, are you interested?’

    ‘I need to think about it.’

    You have ten days to get here or we’re leaving without you. Glad to have you aboard,’ he said and cut the channel.

    ‘That blue-blooded ice-dweller,’ she muttered but smiled nonetheless.

    She could get away from the memories here and do some good at the same time. The only issue was Horatio, but they would have to deal with that. A starship was no place for a five year old but she would make it work. She sighed and signaled her acceptance to the Andorian and then went in search of the Annex Director.

    She had a lot to pack and not a lot of time.

    SS Conan Doyle
    En route to Outpost Epsilon

    Somewhere in the Delphic Expanse
    Star Log: February 23, 2163

    Lieutenant Batanides, report to the captain immediately,’ the communication officer’s voice boomed over the intercom.

    Alexander Batanides was in the middle of a strenuous workout but the summons took precedence and he stepped off the treadmill, wiped off the sweat from his head and chest, grabbed his shirt and left the gym. The Conan Doyle looked like a standard freighter from the outside, but on the inside it was completely different. Only one of the cargo bays remained as such while the others had been converted for various purposes. Cargo Bay 1 was the gym he’d just left, bay 3 was a virtual simulator for hand to hand combat and bay 4 was the Intelligence Operations Center, the real nerve center of the vessel.

    This was where Captain Timothy Stiles was typically found and Alexander strode in, still wearing his workout clothes. ‘You asked to see me, Captain?’

    ‘You’re out of uniform, Lieutenant,’ Stiles said without turning as he watched one of the screens that dominated the room. ‘Zoom in on the central tent and enhance,’ he ordered a young woman at the controls.

    ‘Lieutenant Sumak did say “immediately,” sir,’ Batanides countered.

    ‘So he did,’ Stiles agreed while still looking at the screen. ‘Does that look like Rumos to you, Lieutenant?’

    Batanides joined the captain and stared at the close up on the screen. ‘If there’s a scar on his right shoulder, yes.’

    Stiles spared a glance at the sweaty intelligence operative. ‘When did he get the scar?’

    ‘When he tried to kill me four months ago with an ushaan-tor he took from a dead Andorian,’ Batanides answered.

    Stiles smirked. ‘Clearly he was not successful.’

    ‘Neither was I. I was trying to slice off his arm.’

    ‘There’s the scar,’ Stiles said and spoke again to the woman at the controls. ‘Contact the delta team and give them the go order.’

    ‘Aye sir,’ the woman answered.

    ‘Walk with me, Lieutenant,’ Stiles said as he turned to leave the IOC. ‘What do you know about Operation Sphere?’

    ‘Not much beyond the broad strokes.’

    ‘I need to know how much you know, Lieutenant. Tell me about the operation.’

    Batanides nodded. ‘Commander T’Pol and the Enterprise destroyed the Sphere Builders’ network in ’54 and they believed all of the spheres to have been destroyed, but one did not as it had been removed from the network by an unknown race.’

    ‘Go on.’

    ‘An Earth freighter discovered it when humanity began to colonize the Expanse in ’56 and we have been learning more about it and the Sphere Builders ever since.’

    ‘Here’s what you don’t know. It appears as though the Sphere Builders are trying again and thus far two spheres have been discovered.’

    ‘Can we stop them this time?’

    ‘Starfleet cannot spare any vessels at this time so it will be up to the Border Service to stop them.’

    ‘With all due respect, Captain, half of them can barely dress themselves in the morning. How are they going to stop an interdimensional race from taking over the galaxy?’

    ‘With our help. The USS Banshee has been tasked with taking care of the problem. It is currently undergoing extensive repairs at Outpost Epsilon, which is where we are now headed.’


    ‘I have arranged for your Starfleet record to be doctored to show that you are a communications specialist that graduated near the bottom of your class, not because of a lack of academic achievement, but because of discipline problems. You will be assigned as the communications officer aboard the Banshee with the rank of Ensign, and your mission will be twofold. Firstly, you will let us know just how much information the Border Service has about this new threat, and secondly to help them stop it without tipping your hand.’

    ‘How can you be sure I will be chosen?’

    ‘I pulled some strings,’ Stiles said. ‘We’ll dock tomorrow and you will seek out Captain Roberta Gunderson. She’ll be expecting you.’




    While Captain Gunderson tries to find a chief engineer to round out her senior staff, Commodore Stevens receives word from one of the other ships in the sector that a species would like to join the Federation, but only if they can take custody of a dangerous individual who claims to have incredible powers that warp the very fabric of space and time.
    Bry_Sinclair likes this.
  6. admiralelm11

    admiralelm11 Commander Red Shirt

    Jan 17, 2009
    Vancouver, WA
    I like this. Putting together a new crew isn't easy. Sometimes, you have to scrape the bottom of the barrel to get the best. I'm reminded of Baa, Baa, Black Sheep.
  7. BrotherBenny

    BrotherBenny Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Aug 3, 2005
    I hope to have the next episode up by the weekend.
  8. TheLoneRedshirt

    TheLoneRedshirt Commodore Commodore

    May 22, 2007
    Here and now.
    Good stuff, BB. For me, this was the money quote about the Border Service:
    "Starfleet cannot spare any vessels at this time so it will be up to the Border Service to stop them.’
    ‘With all due respect, Captain, half of them can barely dress themselves in the morning."

    Looks like Captain Gunderson and the Banshee will be taking on a spook with a less than stellar opinion of the Border Dogs. Should be interesting!
  9. BrotherBenny

    BrotherBenny Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Aug 3, 2005


    Outpost Epsilon
    Command Headquarters, Fifth Squadron Operations Area
    Refit and Repair Station, the Delphic Expanse
    Star Log: February 25, 2163

    ‘I don’t know how you managed it, getting Carmen and Shalimar back on board,’ Gunderson said to Koth as they met for lunch at the Vulcan café on level 38.

    Koth ignored the looks of disdain from the Vulcan servers, ordered a green leaf salad and responded to the captain’s statement. ‘It really wasn’t that hard. I see you’ve done most of the hard work, filling out the lower ranks of the roster.’

    ‘There were a lot of open spots and a lot of transfer requests. Once I took care of that, I did as you suggested and checked Starfleet Academy’s Officer and Enlisted Nets, looking for those who didn’t do as well as they could have. Some I dismissed out of hand and some I took a chance on. I have ninety officers and enlisted coming from the Academy and its annexes.’

    ‘Who’s left?’

    ‘I still need a chief engineer, and then the rest of the engineering crew. I take it you still don’t have anyone you can recommend for engineering?’

    Koth shook his head. ‘Why don’t you talk to the guys putting her back together? They’ll know her better than anyone else.’

    ‘I don’t want to poach.’

    Koth chuckled. ‘You’ve had over a hundred people reassigned from other ships and outposts in the border service and regular fleet. I think that qualifies as poaching.’

    Gunderson mock pouted. ‘Fine. I’ll talk to them when we’re done. Now would you mind telling me why the servers here don’t like you?’

    ‘You noticed it too, huh?’

    ‘I’m not blind.’

    Koth called one over. ‘V’Dan.’

    ‘What can I get you, Commander?’

    Koth grinned as he speared a forkful of greens. ‘Why don’t you tell the captain what the score was?’

    V’Dan turned to Gunderson and told her, ‘The Borers beat the Sehlats by 17 points to 16.’

    ‘What game?’

    ‘Gridiron football,’ Koth said. ‘The Sehlat’s kicker missed the extra point after a touchdown. The Borers came back with a touchdown, made the extra point, and won the game.’

    ‘Was this here on Epsilon?’ Gunderson asked.

    ‘Level 10, Recreation Center Three,’ V’Dan answered.

    ‘How many teams?’ Gunderson asked.

    ‘Eight, all local players from the outpost’s enlisted and officers. The next game is in two days if you’d like to watch.’

    ‘Who’s playing?’

    ‘The Borers and the Dragons, a human team,’ V’Dan said.

    Koth chuckled and explained his mirth for the captain’s benefit. ‘V’Dan here finds it unlikely…no, what was the word you used? Oh yeah, “improbable” that a human team could beat a Vulcan team.’


    ‘The Sehlats and the Firebirds have both lost to the Dragons this season. In fact, the Sehlats have never won against the Dragons. Right, V’Dan?’

    ‘You are correct, Commander,’ the Vulcan server responded, almost sighing. ‘It is difficult to understand this as Vulcans have superior strength, stamina and strategic minds.’

    Gunderson enlightened him. ‘Humans have fought against superior foes for centuries, and whether it was a foe that had superior numbers, intellect, firepower, or anything else, we have won because we improvised. We rely on strategy and rulebooks to take us as far as possible, then we improvise when it doesn’t work.’

    ‘I see. Thank you Captain, you have given me much to think about. I believe I will speak with the coach about new strategies for when we face the Dragons again,’ he said and walked away.

    Gunderson sat with her mouth open for several seconds until Koth’s expression forced her to close it. ‘He played me.’

    Koth smiled. ‘We’ll see if it makes a difference. The Dragons play the Sehlats in three days.’

    ‘Do you have the schedule memorized?’

    ‘Sure, how else would I know when to watch the games?’

    Gunderson sighed. ‘Finish up. We both have a lot of work to do.’

    Drydock Complex II
    Outpost Epsilon
    Engineering Division
    Star Log: February 25, 2163

    Lieutenant Commander Bryce Addison held the remains of what was supposed to be a Heisenberg compensator, but he couldn’t be sure. It could have been an annular confinement modulator, a diagnostic integrator circuit node, or a flux capacitor. They were all components of the cargo transporter unit that turned a case of stem bolts into slag a few hours ago. Said cargo transporter was also a pile of slag which made determining the cause of the accident that much more difficult. It was hard enough running teams of engineers through long shifts to get the Daedalus-class border cutter back into active service in two weeks when it should have taken six, without accidents like this.

    He touched the intercom on his desk. ‘Addison to zh’Menis, take all transporters offline until further notice. Everything gets moved on grav-carts or by shuttlepod.’

    That will slow us down, sir,’ his assistant replied.

    ‘Don’t I know it? Until we figure out what caused it and if others are affected, we have no choice.’

    I’ll take care of it.’

    ‘Good, and find out why the lights on that heap of junk out there keep flickering in the middle of the night.’

    Yes sir.’

    ‘Addison out.’

    ‘That “heap of junk” is my ship, Commander,’ a woman’s voice said from the doorway to his office.

    He looked up and saw a middle-aged woman in a captain’s uniform. ‘The Banshee is a fine ship, captain, but she’s nowhere near ready to fly.’

    ‘Not yet, but she will be in a week,’ she said confidently.

    ‘She’ll have to be, right?’

    ‘I’m glad we’re on the same page. Let me introduce myself,’ she said and extended her hand. ‘Captain Roberta Gunderson, captain of the Banshee.’

    He shook it and replied, ‘Lieutenant Commander Bryce Addison, overworked engineer.’

    She laughed and he couldn’t help but smile. ‘Do you know why you’re working your people so hard?’

    ‘Someone told me that ship had to be ready in two weeks and I needed to make that happen, no excuses,’ Addison answered.

    ‘But they didn’t tell you why?’

    ‘No, ma’am.’

    ‘I assume you know the story of Expanse?’

    ‘Xindi attack, Captain Archer saved the world, I watched the news.’

    ‘Here’s the scoop, Commander. The aliens that pulled the strings on the Xindi, the Sphere Builders, are back and Starfleet can’t spare any capital ships what with building the Federation and all, so we have to stop them.’

    Addison nodded and pressed the intercom again. ‘Zh’Menis, you there?’

    Yes sir, is there a problem?’

    ‘Remember those upgrades we talked about?’

    The ones we didn’t have time to install and weren’t a priority?’ the Andorian asked sarcastically.

    ‘Yeah those. They just got bumped to the top of the list.’

    That’ll put us three days behind schedule, especially without transporters.’

    ‘You let me worry about that, Addison out.’ He looked up at Gunderson and told her, ‘She’ll be ready.’

    ‘I actually came here to ask you a question.’

    ‘Am I going to like it?’

    ‘Maybe, maybe not.’

    ‘Go ahead.’

    ‘Since you know more about the Banshee’s refit than anyone else, would you consider becoming her chief engineer?’

    Numerous thoughts log jammed in Addison’s brain but only one managed to squeeze out. ‘Huh?’

    ‘Not the answer I was expecting.’

    Addison tried again. ‘I’d love to. I’ve always wanted starship duty but I found that my talents were best utilized repairing and rebuilding them.’

    ‘Well, now a starship needs you more than the outpost does,’ Gunderson said.

    Addison chuckled. ‘My answer is yes, Captain.’

    ‘Great, now comes the hard part. I need a full engineering contingent.’

    ‘I know just the people.’

    ‘Send me their jackets so I can push through the transfer requests.’

    Addison grinned and said, ‘You’ll have them by the end of the day.’

    ‘Thank you, Commander. I’ll be meeting with all senior officers as soon as they have all arrived. I’ll let you know when that is.’

    ‘Thank you, Captain. I appreciate the opportunity.’

    USS Wendigo
    Daedalus-class Border Patrol Service Cutter, NCC-232
    Fourth Squadron Operations Area, the Delphic Expanse
    Star Log: February 26, 2163

    Captain Amaya Vashtee stared at the data slate in front of her and reread the information for the umpteenth time, still not believing the contents therein. Her executive officer, Commander Peter Robinson, stood by her side waiting for her reaction, as he had been for the last twenty minutes.

    ‘You’re sure this is accurate?’ she asked him.

    ‘Yes, ma’am,’ Robinson replied. ‘The translation is accurate. We ran it through every algorithm we have.’

    ‘They call him the Corsair and they claim he has the ability to warp time and space,’ she paraphrased. ‘They also claim he’s a dangerous criminal, responsible for thousands of deaths, and they want to join the Federation so we can take him off their hands.’

    ‘That about sums it up, Captain.’

    ‘Who exactly are “they,” Commander? I don’t see a name for them in the translation. Remind me where this came from again?’

    ‘We’re not entirely sure who they are, ma’am. The data file was delivered to our people when we docked at Reichenbach Station a few hours ago. I only got the report an hour ago and I wanted to have more before I came to you.’

    She sighed. ‘Start at the beginning, Commander.’

    ‘A few hours ago, we docked at Reichenbach Station to transfer materials to the colony on the planet below. Our people were handed a box with two crystals by the security team. They had been given the crystals by a Baradin courier. What he told them is on the data slate. Our personnel brought the crystals back to the ship and Lieutenant Ashanti is working with Lieutenant Sodek to create an interface for the crystals.’

    ‘What is this wording here?’

    ‘That isn’t Baradin, Captain. It’s another language and one we don’t have a record of.’

    ‘They’re pictograms, Commander, and I do recognize them. They were on the obelisk at the ruins on the Mexico Nuevo colony world. The science team there had translated part of it, and this I believe was “Keepers of Light and Shadow.” You might want to contact them for the cultural significance of that.’

    ‘I’ll send them a communication as soon as we’re done.’

    ‘If I remember what I think I do from the obelisk, the Keepers’ homeworld is deep inside the Expanse, possibly even deeper than the Enterprise went,’ Vashtee said and moved to the intercom on the wall. ‘Ensign Baumgartner, set a course for the center of the Expanse. I hope to provide you with something more specific soon, Vashtee out.’

    ‘Captain?’ Robinson asked.

    ‘Trust me, Commander. This is important. Right now, you need to contact Mexico Nuevo and I need to go and help Ashanti and Sodek with the crystals.’

    ‘Aye sir,’ Robinson replied and headed out of the captain’s office.

    Vashtee walked into the adjacent room, opened a drawer, and withdrew a device that was cylindrical in shape with two handle-like protrusions. She pressed a sequence of buttons on the device and activated a holographic projection. ‘Show me everything on the Keepers of Light and Shadow.’

    The device did as she asked and information scrolled down the projection faster than the human eye could read, but it was enough to make Captain Vashtee sigh. The Keepers were as their name suggested, keepers for something or someone that would return. People that had once taken over the galaxy in another timeline.

    ‘Show me a person known as the Corsair.’

    The device complied and a figure that looked to be human appeared, standing on the bow of a sailing ship in space. Numerous notations appended the sailing ship, including an acronym that caused an instant headache, bring back memories of a long time ago.

    USS Wendigo
    Daedalus-class Border Patrol Service Cutter, NCC-232
    Fourth Squadron Operations Area, the Delphic Expanse
    Star Log: March 1, 2163

    ‘Captain, we’re approaching the coordinates,’ Ensign Baumgartner called from the helm.

    ‘Slow to sub-light speed, and give me full long range scans,’ Vashtee ordered, and stared at the planet on the viewscreen. It was an earthlike world, multiple continents in brown and green surrounded by a beautiful blue ocean.

    ‘There are no vessels in the vicinity,’ Lieutenant Sodek announced from the tactical station.

    ‘There are no lifesigns on the surface,’ Lieutenant Ashanti added from the science station. ‘There is however a single power source. It is located on the ocean, near one of the northern landmasses.’

    ‘Let me see it.’

    The viewscreen imaged zoomed in on the largest of the northern landmasses, to the eastern coastline, where a sailing ship could be clearly seen. Although all of the sails were unfurled, it was clear the ship was not moving by wind power, or anything else. It was stationary.

    Vashtee sighed. ‘Prep shuttlepod one for launch. I want a full MACO squad on board.’

    ‘Tight quarters, Captain,’ Commander Robinson stated. ‘Is that necessary?’

    ‘Trust me, Commander. The Corsair is not to be taken lightly.’

    ‘You were able to interface with the crystals?’ Robinson asked.

    ‘And then some,’ Ashanti muttered but said nothing more at the captain’s glare.

    ‘Am I missing something?’

    ‘No, Commander. The Lieutenant spoke out of turn,’ Vashtee answered, this time earning a glare from the science officer. ‘I will lead the boarding party.’

    ‘Captain, Starfleet regulations specifically forbid the captain…’

    ‘This is the Border Service, Commander,’ Vashtee interrupted. ‘The regulations are guidelines at best, and this one I shall ignore in this instance. Ashanti, I want you with me. Commander, you have the ship.’

    ‘Captain, two people and a MACO squad?’ Robinson pressed. ‘If he’s that dangerous?’

    ‘Trust me, Commander.’

    ‘Aye sir, I have the ship.’

    Vashtee and Ashanti entered the turbolift and as they headed to the shuttlebay, Ashanti said, ‘Captain, with all due respect, you shouldn’t have kept him in the dark.’

    ‘He doesn’t need to know who I am, and you shouldn’t know. I only let you know so you could help me.’

    ‘But you could be of so much use to us, help us navigate the future.’

    ‘Too much future knowledge is dangerous,’ the captain said. ‘The Corsair is not so much dangerous as he is unknown, and that sailing ship is too powerful to fall into the wrong hands.’

    ‘There’s something else you’re not telling me, isn’t there?’

    ‘There’s a lot I’m not telling you, Lieutenant, for your own safety, the safety of this crew, and that of Starfleet and the Federation. You have no idea of the triumphs and disasters you will all face in the coming centuries.’

    ‘So tell us, prepare us!’

    ‘I can’t and I won’t. Don’t make me regret telling you what I did, and bringing you along.’

    ‘Aye sir.’

    The doors opened to the hangar deck where shuttlebay one was located and the two officers joined the MACO squadron by the doors at the end of the corridor.

    ‘Colonel Shepherd, glad to have you with us,’ Vashtee said as they entered the shuttlebay. ‘Briefly, this mission is to board a sailing ship, locate any living souls and retrieve them. If there are any deceased, we’ll send another team. Understood?’

    ‘Yes sir, are we likely to encounter hostiles?’

    ‘Possibly, but the individual that owns the ship is known to be difficult to deal with, but we want him alive.’

    ‘Understood, Captain. Alpha team, you heard the Captain. Stun only.’

    Lieutenant, confirm pre-flight and take us down,’ Vashtee ordered as she entered the shuttlepod and strapped herself in

    Aye sir,’ Ashanti said, as she too strapped herself in and watched as the MACO’s attached themselves to the hooks on the bulkhead.

    Shuttlepod One
    Surface of unnamed planet
    BPS Fourth Squadron Operations Area, the Delphic Expanse
    Star Log: March 1, 2163

    Ashanti had landed the shuttlepod on the shore a hundred yards from the beach and the MACO’s hauled out an inflatable raft and oars. The raft self-inflated and the seven of them set off toward the ocean and the sailing ship beyond. It took almost an hour to cross the water and the MACO’s threw a rope ladder over the railing that buried itself in the planking. Colonel Shepherd ascended the rope ladder first, and the others followed. When Captain Vashtee set foot on the sailing ship she felt a tugging at her mind and buried it beneath layers of psychic shielding.

    ‘Alright, we’ll search the ship in two teams,’ Vashtee said. ‘Colonel, pick two of your team and go with Lieutenant Ashanti. You will search the bow sections. The rest of us will search the stern sections. This is a relatively small vessel, so communication shouldn’t be an issue. Call if you find something.’

    ‘Aye sir,’ Ashanti said, though she didn’t think it was wise to split up. Shepherd picked a man and a woman, O’Neill and Carter, to go with their team. The other two, McKay and Jackson, went with Vashtee.

    Vashtee took the lead, her hand resting on her phase pistol the entire time. She was not going to let the Corsair catch her unawares. The ship may have looked small on the outside, but inside it seemed a lot larger. Jackson and McKay both noticed her alertness and brought their weapons up, looking left and right with each step they took. The first room they found was a cabin, but there was no evidence of habitation, and it was too small to the Corsair’s personal cabin.

    There were over thirty cabins on that deck, all as empty as the first. At the midpoint of the ship there was a ladder and they climbed down to the next deck. This deck was open plan and contained barrels and crates. A cursory examination revealed perished foodstuffs.

    Vashtee found what she was looking for on the next deck and called the others to join her.

    ‘What the heck is that?’ Ashanti asked and pointed her scanner at the…whatever it was

    In front of them was a freestanding console divided into six segments with a power source that looked like a vertical warp core running through the center of it.

    ‘It’s much more than that,’ a disembodied voice stated to Ashanti’s unspoken thought.

    ‘Who said that?’ Ashanti asked as the MACO’s pointed guns in every direction.

    From behind a wall, a man walked toward them and introduced himself. ‘I am the Corsair.’

    ‘Hold your fire,’ Vashtee ordered as the MACO’s swung their weapons in his direction.

    He narrowed his eyes at her, searching her soul. ‘I did not think to see one of my kind again, Explorer.’




    Captain Vashtee and the Corsair discuss the Keepers of Light and Shadow while Captain Gunderson and the crew ready the Banshee for launch. Elsewhere, events are set into motion which will have repercussions for centuries.
    Bry_Sinclair likes this.
  10. admiralelm11

    admiralelm11 Commander Red Shirt

    Jan 17, 2009
    Vancouver, WA
    I like this! Especially the inclusion of Stargate and Doctor Who in this story. More, please, Benny!
  11. Bry_Sinclair

    Bry_Sinclair Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Sep 28, 2009
    The glorious Shetland Isles!
    A very interesting story you have here, with some great characters.
  12. TheLoneRedshirt

    TheLoneRedshirt Commodore Commodore

    May 22, 2007
    Here and now.
    Interesting and well-written. I never followed Stargate or Dr. Who so the references escape me. Is Amaya Vashtee related to Ensign Maya Vashtee of the Bluefin?
  13. BrotherBenny

    BrotherBenny Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Aug 3, 2005
    Now what would give you that idea?
    TheLoneRedshirt likes this.
  14. TheLoneRedshirt

    TheLoneRedshirt Commodore Commodore

    May 22, 2007
    Here and now.
    Just a wild guess. But is Captain Vashtee Maya's ancestor or descendant? :wtf:
  15. BrotherBenny

    BrotherBenny Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Aug 3, 2005
    You'll see ;)