ST: Independence - "Cui Bono"

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction' started by Dnoth, Jan 17, 2010.

  1. Dnoth

    Dnoth Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2006
    Location:
    In the illusion, but not of it.
    Author's Note: Ok, the only way I'm going to get back into writing is to post something. Then, I have an audience to worry about.

    I've haven't been writing for several months, so if you are not familiar with
    Star Trek: Independence, it is part of the United Trek Universe and takes place post-Dominion War. Independence is a Steamrunner class ship. Many of my stories have a Section 31 story arc, including this one. It is the 17th installment of the series.

    I hope you enjoy it!

    *****

    “L. Cassius ille quem populus Romanus verissimum et sapientissimum iudicem putabat identidem in causis quaerere solebat 'cui bono' fuisset”.

    “The famous Lucius Cassius, whom the Roman people used to regard as a very honest and wise judge, was in the habit of asking, time and again, 'To whose benefit?'” -- Roman orator and statesman Marcus Tullius Cicero

    *****

    PROLOGUE

    Stardate: 54607.4 (10 Aug 2377)
    Kaleb Sector, near the Romulan Neutral Zone
    Unregistered Smallcraft

    “Come on, come on.”

    Clayton Easton desperately viewed his sensor display. He was traveling at warp 8.794, as fast as his limited vessel could go. The cramped cockpit was made humid by his sweat. The engines had been redlining for several minutes. His one saving grace was that he got a head start. The pursuer out matched his speed by far. If they got within weapon’s range before he reached the Steamrunner’s sensor range, it’d be over in a fraction of a second.

    The light-skinned human made minute adjustments to his course, shaving a tenth of a second here, a eighth there. It would be close.

    His opponent would not be detected by his savior. There were only a handful of sensors in the quadrant that could see the threat.

    The enemy was gaining. At this rate, he’d be little more than carbon molecules floating in space.

    As a last ditch effort, he broadcast on an emergency channel. “Starfleet vessel, Starfleet vessel: my warp core is about to go critical,” which wasn’t far from the truth. “Please rendezvous as soon as possible!”

    The response came, after what seemed like an eternity. A confidant, female voice informed him, “This is the Federation starship Independence. We have received your mayday and are on an intercept course. Confirm.”

    “Confirmed,” Clayton quickly replied.

    The icon that represented the Starfleet ship began moving toward him. Good, he thought. They must have gone to maximum warp.

    His rival, shown on his display as a simple, red dot, continued. They wouldn’t let him go easily, but were they willing to fight Starfleet over him? He didn’t think so…he hoped not. If he was wrong, this whole race would be for nothing.

    Easton’s hands became clammy. The controls were slippery as a result.

    Intense seconds became unbearable minutes. There was nothing left to do but to play this contest out.

    The hostile would be in weapon range in seconds. He would, in those same seconds, be within the Independence’s sphere of protection.

    ‘Surely, they wouldn’t destroy a starship over me. I’m not worth the attention that gets. Right? God, let me be right.’

    He was now in weapons range. He was dead. Ironically, he had provided the perfect cover story for his own death to Starfleet.

    “This is the Independence. Prepare for emergency transport.”

    All he could do was hold his breath. There was probably a phased torpedo heading his way, right now. He felt the tingle of the transporter.

    *****

    Supplemental
    USS Independence, MainBridge
    Kaleb Sector

    Captain Sintina Aurelia watched as the small vessel exploded into a fireball on the main viewer. Her eyes met her first officer’s, Karim bin Nadal. She didn’t hold out much hope.

    It was Karim that asked the question, “Transporter room, did you get the pilot?”

    There was a moment of stillness on the bridge.

    “Yes sir, we have him.”

    Before they could break out into a smile, another voice interrupted the transporter operator, “Captain, you must raise your shields! Call for a red alert!”

    Sintina scrunched up her jet black eye brows and almost had a look of amusement on her face. She began, “This is Captain Aurelia. Why…”

    “Please captain, now!”

    She looked to bin Nadal for his opinion. He gave a shrug of the shoulders. The Latina threw up her hands, “Hey, why not?” She said rather calmly, “Red Alert.”

    Immediately, the lighting changed and the ship came to a defensive stance.

    She turned to the Andorian security chief, “Lieutenant, would you be so kind as to escort our visitor to my ready room.”

    Jonin Faltyne nodded and proceeded off the bridge.

    *****

    Supplemental
    USS Independence, Captain’s Ready Room
    Kaleb Sector

    The doors parted for Clayton. The captain was a petite, yet athletic looking woman. Her black hair was in a simple pony tail. She sat behind her desk, looking at him expectantly. Her first officer, a Persian, looked back from a chair as he entered.

    Sintina dispensed with the pleasantries. She asked, in a remarkably polite tone, “Why did you have us go to red alert?”

    The door closed behind Clayton and Jonin, whom had not been relieved of his charge, yet.

    The man approached the desk and explained chaoticly, “Because there’s a ship out there. It blew up my vessel, not the warp core. I wonder if they’re still out there? You weren’t fired upon were you? No, of course not. We wouldn’t be talking, if you had. If they know I made it to your ship, they’ll tail us. They might attack still, but I doubt it…at least not directly.”

    Aurelia held up a hand to stop him, “Who is out there?”

    It took a second for him to process the question. To him it was too obvious to ask, but then again, she didn’t know. “The Directorate,” he rejoined.

    “Who?” repeated Karim.

    Clayton stumbled, “There is no actual name for the Directorate. That’s the whole point, they don’t exist. Some people call them the Agency, some call them Section 31.”

    At the mention of Section 31, Sintina pointed an accusatory finger at the commander, “For the love of god, Karim, if you got me sucked in to another goddamn shadow play…”

    He put his hands up, “I haven’t talked to…our contact…for a month. This is news to me.”

    “Admiral Nechayev,” said Easton.

    Shocked, both the captain and the first officer said, “What?”

    Clayton acted like it was old news, and it was to him. He was still breathing heavy, “Section 31 knows she’s a figurehead in the resistance. They know you two have worked for her. That’s why I came to you.”

    “What do you mean?” came for Karim.

    Finally, he took a deep breath, “About a month ago, someone leaked Admiral Nechayev’s name to a 31 agent. I was stationed at Starbase 39-sierra…”

    “Because of me,” interrupted bin Nadal. He was almost talking to himself.

    Clayton paused, “What?”

    Karim sighed, “They know her name because of me.” He attempted to defend himself, “A Chameloid tricked me…”

    There was a short quiet. Then, Easton piped up, “Don’t worry about it. It happens to the best of us.”

    The words didn’t seem to comfort the first officer. Despite that, Clayton continued, “I was stationed at Starbase 39-sierra. I monitored sub-space traffic within the Romulan Empire for the Agency.” He added, as if to redeem himself, “I’m only a low level operative. I’ve never killed anyone or destabilized any government…well, not directly.” He wondered off for a second, then went on, “Anyway, I found out a long time ago the Directorate was overstepping its bounds. A lot of people didn’t like it. So when I was approached a few years ago to help the resistance, I agreed. I mean, they only wanted me to pass on a message there, delete a transmission here.” Again, he became distracted with his thoughts.

    Sintina prompted him, “So let’s go back to the point in the story when you decided to drag us into it.”

    “Well,” he said, “When they found out about Nechayev, they tracked her back to me.” He laughed humorlessly, “I guess I didn’t cover my tracks good enough.”

    Karim chimed in, “Do they have her?”

    “Nechayev?” Easton asked. “I don’t know. I don’t think so. Last I heard she was going to try to stay as visible as possible.” He remarked, “Staying in the public eye is really the best defense against the Directorate.”

    “Will they try to assassinate her?”

    “I don’t know. They may just try to discredit her.”

    Aurelia leaned in and said deliberately, “So, why did you come here?”

    He paused. “Well, you were the closest, friendly ship I knew of.”

    “That was your great plan to avoid Section 31?” Sintina said harshly, “Come to my ship and bring even more attention to us?”

    Clayton bit his bottom lip and looked away.

    “With respect,” began bin Nadal, “Section 31 already knows we’re part of the resistance. It’s not like it can get much worse.”

    ‘Part of the resistance,’ Sintina repeated in her head. ‘Goddamn it.’ But there was no denying it now. She was waist deep in it, probably more.

    END OF PROLOGUE
     
  2. Nerys Ghemor

    Nerys Ghemor Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Glad to see you writing again--and you've got me hooked! I think Aurelia's going to have to reconcile herself to what she's become...commit herself to the cause...if she's going to survive. Once you've encountered 31, it seems to me you're either playing the game (on either side) or you're dead.
     
  3. DarKush

    DarKush Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    Good to have you back in the game. Nice set-up.
     
  4. BrotherBenny

    BrotherBenny Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    BrotherBenny
    and awaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay we go.

    Whoo hoo!!
     
  5. Mistral

    Mistral Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Don't remember this one...Glad to see Sintina again.
     
  6. Gibraltar

    Gibraltar Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2005
    Location:
    US Pacific Northwest
    Great to have you back writing again! :D

    Yeah, just when you think you're out, Section 31 drags you back in!

    Poor Sintina can't win for losing when it comes to those guys. Here's hoping she can steer clear of them, or at least avoid having her ship destroyed by one of their operatives... again.

    Welcome back!
     
  7. mirandafave

    mirandafave Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2008
    Eee gods, The Indy is back - and of course in the thick of it. Somehow they manage to do so with both feet and without meaning to. Like others say, the time is coming for Airelia to pick and side and go with it because either way, she and the Indy are a target.
     
  8. TheLoneRedshirt

    TheLoneRedshirt Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    May 22, 2007
    Location:
    Here and now.
    Excellent prologue! You certainly started off with a bang (quite literally!) and now Captain Aurelia and the Independence find themselves (again) tagged by Section 31.

    As to Mr. Easton, it will be interesting to see whether he's the low-level operative he claims to be. Glad you're writing again - I'm trying to get off hiatus myself. Looking forward to more!
     
  9. CeJay

    CeJay Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2006
    Independence is back. And that means another intrigue-filled spy thriller. It's off to a great start and I hope you manage to give us more soon.
     
  10. Dnoth

    Dnoth Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2006
    Location:
    In the illusion, but not of it.
    Thank you all, for the warm welcome. Let's get it started...

    CHAPTER 1

    Supplemental
    USS Independence, Main Conference Room
    Kaleb Sector

    Less than an hour later, the ship had reduced its state of readiness to yellow alert. The senior staff gathered around the glass table. The stars drifted lazily in the windows.

    Captain Aurelia continued the conversation, “So, is he nuts?”

    Kimula, the Andorian counselor, shifted her expression as if to say, ‘Come on, Sintina. You know better than that.’ She answered, “I only talked to him for a few minutes. That’s not enough time to make a prognosis.”

    “Physically,” began Zo’Kama, the Arkonian doctor, “he’s healthy, though, obviously shaken up. His pulse was still above normal; as were his adrenaline levels.”

    “Frankly,” said Commander bin Nadal, “I don’t know which would be worse: if he’s really who he says he is, or if he’s another attempt to plant an agent on our ship.” He looked around before elaborating, “Thirty-one is going to be on us either way.”

    Jonin had heard the rumors on this ship of this shadow war between secretive factions of Starfleet. For the most part, he had rejected the idea. He was annoyed at how often conspiracy theories were entertained at staff meetings. He felt more practical matters were at hand, “The fact remains we know nothing about this person. He should be confined to quarters, Captain.”

    The Latina nodded, “Agreed.” She added, “Faltyne, find out what you can about him. Search every Starfleet and Federation database you can think of for ‘Clayton Easton.’”

    He confirmed with a tight, “Yes, ma’am.”

    Karim spoke up, “Are you suggesting he is guilty until proven innocent, Captain?”

    She gave him a terse, “Don’t start, Commander.”

    An awkward moment later, the Arkonian physician suggested, “I’ll provide you with a DNA pattern to refine your search, Lieutenant.”

    “Thank you, Doctor.”

    Sintina moved the agenda forward with, “We’re still due in the H’ka system in five days. We need to get back on schedule.”

    The helm officer took that to be his queue. Ensign Weston leaned in, “We’ve only lost a few hours, Captain. I recommend increasing speed to warp six point two.”

    “Alright. Well, since we’re here,” she continued, “we might as well have a mission brief.” She gestured to Karim, “Start us off.”

    The Persian stood and activated the viewer on the bulkhead. He began, “Starfleet has ended our patrol duty along the neutral zone…”

    A soft, unenthusiastic, “yea,” sounded. The staff momentary glanced at its source. It was Lieutenant Tang. He stiffened up a bit once the focus of the room went to him. “Sorry.”

    Muted chuckles could be heard.

    Bin Nadal grinned and continued, “Our next mission is a first contact mission. The H’ka system is home to a species that call themselves Vuke.” He brought up a picture of the species. It slowly rotated on the screen. “As you can see,” he went on, “Physically, the Vuke resemble…” He took a moment to consider. “Maybe a Gorn mixed with a goblin.”

    “No, no,” protested Kimula, “More like a Gorn and an Orc. Look at the protruding jaw and they’re build is thicker.”

    Karim conceded, “Yeah, I suppose.”

    Sintina cleared her throat. “Can we skip the comparative anatomy lesson between alpha quadrant races and D&D monsters, please.”

    “Um, yes ma’am.” He returned to the screen and brought up a view of their star system. “The Federation has been covertly studying the Vuke for nearly two hundred years. At which time, they were already sending vessels into their planet’s orbit. Now, they have two colonies within their home system. They don’t have warp drive, but their weapons are…impressive, considering their level of advancement.”

    “How impressive?” asked the tactical chief.

    Karim took a moment to bring up additional information. “Their spatial torpedoes have a yield of about 6.5 isotons; ten percent of our standard photons.”

    The counselor chimed in, “That doesn’t sound so bad. Our shields should protect us with no problem.”

    “Tell her the size of their fleet, Karim,” offered the captain.

    The first officer recalled images of the Vuke vessels. They were primitive looking, with unrefined hulls. The Vuke fleet operates in carrier groups. They have five groups total: one at each colony, two around their homewold, and one in reserve.” He approached the table to emphasize his point. Each battle group consists of a carrier, three destroyers, and 36 fighters.”

    A hush fell in the room.

    The Andorian counselor stated humbly, “Oh.”

    “I don’t understand,” came from Weston, “I thought it’s Federation policy not to make first contact until a culture develops faster-than-light travel.”

    “In this case, it’s not that simple. You’ll understand in a second.” Bin Nadal returned to his chair, “The Federation has wanted to start formal relations for years, but decided not to, mostly due to their hostile nature.”

    The captain took up the torch, “Vuke culture is centered around the idea that they are superior to all other forms of life. They have a type of galactic manifest destiny mentality.”

    “I read,” added Karim, “That a Romulan scout ship was forced to land there for repairs during the Earth/Romulan War. The Vuke found them, attacked them, and apparently ate them. Only two Romulans were left by the time they could take off again.”

    Zo’Kama surmised, “So they are aware of other sentient lifeforms.”

    “Yes, but they don’t really seem to care. It’s doubtful our first contact would alter their culture much. They would simply see us as another enemy to defeat.”

    “How can you be sure of that, sir?” asked Weston.

    “Because ensign,” interjected Aurelia, “when the Federation first observed their home planet, there were three sentient species living on it.”

    A chill entered the room.

    Finally, Faltyne asked, “So why make contact now? What’s changed?”

    Aurelia rejoined, “They’ve come down with some sort of disease. Starfleet Medical is unimaginatively calling it ‘H’kan Plauge.’ Two percent of the entire Vuke population has died in the last year.” The captain rested her elbows on the table and elaborated with a sigh betraying her disagreement over Starfleet’s assessment. “Command believes now is the best chance we have of earning some good faith with the Vuke and making first contact at the same time.”

    The Asian science officer commented, “They’re less likely to bit our hand if it has a cure for this plague in it.”

    “That’s probably more of a literal statement than you think,” observed Weston.

    Sintina looked up to the Arkonian, “Doctor, it’ll be your job to deliver that cure.”

    “Starfleet Medical doesn’t already have it?” she asked, a bit surprised.

    “No, they haven’t been able to get a sample of the disease to study, yet.” She added, “It is…assumed by Command that the Vuke might also be more receptive to another reptilian species assisting them. That’s part of the reason why Independence was chosen for this mission.”

    The Arkonian huffed half-indignantly, “Let me get this right; all I have to do is make contact with a hostile species, get them to let me have a specimen, analyze the disease, create a cure – or at least a vaccine, all without provoking a conflict.”

    Sintina nodded straight-faced, “Yes, that about it.”

    Zo’Kama began rubbing her temples.

    “That’s the spirit, doctor!” joshed the captain.

    The first officer changed the subject, “Captain, what about the hostile ship Mr. Easton mentioned?”

    Ethan Windslow, the chief engineer, spoke slightly out of turn, “We do have evidence that Section 31 has interphasic cloaking technology. If there is a ship out there using it, there’s no way we’ll know it.”

    “Interphasic?” queried Jonin.

    The chief engineer explained, “A normal cloak simply bends light around an object. An interphasic cloak pushes an object slightly out of our reality; rendering it invisible. It also means matter and energy from our universe has no effect on it.”

    “So,” conjectured Faltyne, “a phaser beam would pass right through it?”

    “That’s right.”

    Aurelia had seen too many things to dismiss Easton’s testimony. She said, “If there is a ship out there. I want to be able to detect it.”

    “But, Captain…” Windslow began to protest.

    “Find a way, Commander. I don’t want to be caught flat-footed by Section 31 again.”

    Ethan bit his lip, nodded slowly, and responded, “Aye ma’am.”
     
  11. Nerys Ghemor

    Nerys Ghemor Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Hmm...quite the First Contact challenge we have here!

    Oh, and an interphasic cloak? All I can say is, do NOT let the Dominion from my contest entry this month get hold of this detection method!!! (I really look forward to seeing what they come up with to find it, though...)
     
  12. mirandafave

    mirandafave Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2008
    Ok, so make peace with the natives, cure the natives, evade S31, but at the same time be able to spot an interphasic cloak, figure out the truth of what Clayton claims, pick a side, come out smelling of roses.

    Sounds like the usual for the Indy. Oh and this is before you throw in the twists and madness. Oh boys ... this is gonna be fun.
     
  13. Gibraltar

    Gibraltar Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2005
    Location:
    US Pacific Northwest
    Ooof. Indy’s assigned to a highly complex and dangerous First Contact mission, with probable Section 31 complications thrown into the mix.

    Well, if it was an easy task they wouldn’t have assigned Independence to deal with it, would they? ;)
     
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2010
  14. CeJay

    CeJay Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2006
    Good to see that we get a B-plot here as well. Or is it the A-plot. No matter, it sounds like quite a challenge and that usually translates into a terrific story. Can't wait to see how these guy will mess this up ... I mean, be triumphant.
     
  15. DarKush

    DarKush Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    Nice adding of a new layer to the story. I liked how Jonin wasn't into 'conspiracy theories'.
     
  16. Dnoth

    Dnoth Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2006
    Location:
    In the illusion, but not of it.
    Thanks everybody. It's really starting to churn in my head now...

    CHAPTER 2

    Stardate: 54608.1 (11 Aug 2377)
    USS Independence, Visitor’s Quarters
    En-route to the H’Kan System

    Counselor Kimula didn’t mean to judge him, but by contemporary standards, Clayton Easton was a rather unimpressive specimen. He was fidgety as well.

    “Counselor,” he said by way of greeting.

    The Andorian smiled warmly, “Mr. Easton. How are you doing?”

    “Oh…oh, as good as to be expected I suppose.” He sat down on a couch near a windowless bulkhead. “I…I um, was never cut out for this stuff. I was just a civilian comm. traffic router when the Directorate approached me.” He laughed humorlessly, “I’m not even in Starfleet.”

    Kimula sat down gently on the other end of the couch.

    Easton continued, “I guess I was just the right guy at the right time.” He sat silently for a moment. “Maybe 31 thought I was too pathetic to worry about. I was…am…quiet, unassuming. I never had much of a life.”

    Kimula encouraged him to continue, “Tell me more about yourself.”

    He shrugged, “There’s not much to tell. I grew up on Proxima Colony. …had a very normal childhood. I got into subspace communications and I’ve been traveling around from job to job ever since.”

    Kimula sensed a loneliness about him, “Married?”

    “No,” he said, simply.

    It was time to get off that subject, she decided. “What did 31 have you do?”

    “Not much. I just monitored communications and sent them along to different relays.”

    “What type of communications?”

    Clayton seemed a bit more comfortable with this conversation, “Mostly inter-Imperial comm. traffic within Romulan space.”

    Kimula moved her body to a more informal position, “So, why did you accept Admiral Nechayev’s offer to work with her?”

    “Well,” he sighed, “It started during the Dominion War. I became curious about the people I was working for, so…I started monitoring the Directorate’s communications as well.”

    Being a communications officer as well as a counselor, Kimula immediately asked, “How did you get their security protocols?”

    For the first time, Clayton grinned, “It took me a few years, but I broke their code.” His pride was unrestrained for a moment. Then, he continued, “Slowly, I learned more and more about their operations. They had an operation to discredit a Romulan Senator. They’ve been using cloaks for years. They even had an agent in the President’s cabinet.” He shook his head, “And I don’t know how many assassinations they executed during the war.” Clayton looked up, “I may not have the courage of a Starfleet war veteran, but I couldn’t help these people.”

    “So,” concluded Kimula, “When Admiral Nechayev approached you, you accepted.”

    “I didn’t know Admiral Nechayev was behind it at first, but yes.”

    Kimula forced a smile, “It sounds like you could teach me a lot about subspace communications.”

    Clayton returned the gesture, “If we get out of this alive, I’ll teach you all you want to know.”

    *****

    Supplemental
    USS Independence, Main Engineering
    En-route to the H’Kan System

    The matter/anti-matter reactor pulsed outside of Commander Windslow’s office in Main Engineering. Lieutenant Jonin Faltyne, science officer Tang Zian, and he were brainstorming.

    Jonin stood, cross-armed against the bulkhead, “I don’t suppose tracking their plasma exhaust is an option.”

    Tang sat across from the chief engineer. “Both the Romulans and Klingons have been capturing their exhaust while under cloak for decades. I doubt 31 would make that mistake.” He thought for a second, “What about a tachyon scanner?”

    “No,” rejoined Windslow, “A phased vessel would have no effect on tachyons.”

    “How about sending out an anti-proton beam?” inquired the security chief.

    “No,” Ethan Windslow stood and began to pace. “An anti-proton beam can be neutralized by adjusting the resonance frequency of the cloaking device. Starfleet Intellegence knows that, and if they know that, so does 31.” His frustration rose, “Besides, we’re not talking about a conventional cloak. We are talking about a fundamental change in the matter and energy of a ship at the quantum level. Normal tricks aren’t going to work!”

    The room feel silent.

    “Have you talked to this Easton character?” asked Jonin. “He said his sensors could detect the enemy ship.”

    Windslow nodded with a smirk. “He claims he stole one of 31’s specially outfitted shuttles. He says he doesn’t know how the detector works.”

    “So he says,” commented Tang.

    The security chief had been aboard ship a few months now. In that time, he had heard several people talk about Chief Engineer Ethan Windslow. Most of the talk revolved around his actions and inactions during the war. Windslow once held the rank of captain. He was convicted of abandoning his troops and covering up his actions. In truth, Jonin shared the misgivings of others. Faltyne was himself a prisoner of a Cardassian insurgent group known as the Crimson Shadow. Luckily, people never gave up on him and he was rescued. Windslow’s subordinates weren’t so lucky. The Andorian pushed aside his personal opinions for two reasons: despite whatever he had done, Windslow was still a superior officer; and Jonin prided himself as being a professional. However, in all the complaints he had heard about the man, he never heard a criticism of the commander’s engineering expertise. So, he felt like he was asking the obvious when he said, “Did you find anything useful in the wreckage?”

    “No, most of the ship was vaporized in the blast.” Windslow sat back down. “I don’t know. Maybe if we research more about the Pegasus Incident, we’ll get some insights.”

    The Andorian’s antennae curved inward, “The Pegasus Incident?”

    “It’s something Karim once told me about. An admiral, named Pressman, developed the phasing cloak almost 20 years ago on his ship, the Pegasus. It was presumed lost when the ship exploded, until the Big E found the ship seven years ago. At which time, Captain Picard attempted to expose the plot; only to have Starfleet Intelligence cover it up … as best they could, anyway.”

    Tang asked, “What happened to Pressman?”

    “According to bin Nadal, he was forced into early retirement.”

    “That’s it?” came from Jonin.

    “As far as I know,” confirmed the commander.

    The Chinese officer shook his head, “Not much of a punishment for violating the Treaty of Algeron.”

    Faltyne stood up straight, “You should contact the Enterprise. Maybe their chief engineer took scans of the device.” Not only was the suggestion practical, he decided, but it would also give some type of confirmation of all this talk of Section 31.

    Windslow’s face perked up.

    The Andorian added, “Well, wouldn’t you?”

    *****

    Supplemental
    USS Independence, Chief Medical Officer’s Office
    En-route to the H’Kan System

    The head nurse, Ensign Juan Guerrero Macías, popped his head in the open doorway, “Doctor, do you recommend I give Crewman R’grek axonol or merfadon pre-op?”

    Zo’Kama didn’t look up from the padd she was reading immediately. She seemed uncharacteristically distracted and anxious. Her tan scales were a shade darker today. Finally, she acknowledged the nurse, “Huh?”

    Juan repeated, “Axonol or merfadon for R’grek?”

    “Oh, merfadon works better on Tellarites.” Then, she returned to her reading.

    He took another step in, “What are you reading?”

    The Arkonian exhaled deeply, “It’s all the information the Federation has gathered on the Vuke.” She added, tongue in cheek, “I thought it’d be a good idea to study up on them since I’m going to be making first contact with them.”

    “And?”

    She plopped the padd down, “And they are a vicious race; as blood thirsty as the Klingons, and as intelligent as the Vulcans.”

    “A dangerous mixture,” he commented.

    She began a rant, “And of course, Command believes that just because my race and this race are both exothermic, we stand a better chance of surviving the encounter.”

    “Well, since you’re both reptilian…”

    She cut him of testily, “What? Because we’re both reptilian, we’ll get along? That logic doesn’t work too well with you mammalian species.” She rounded her desk, “Even among humans there was conflict and war.”

    The Brazilian nodded.

    “I fear there is still much misunderstanding between reptilian species and mammalian species.”

    Juan frowned. He knew there was a pinch of truth in what she said.

    She continued, “I can’t count how many mammalians have pulled back when I approach them, even to help them. There are humans on this ship – supposedly an advanced species – that refuse to be treated by me.”

    The only thing the ensign could offer was, “It’s not right, Doctor.”

    She made a low, grumbling sound. Then, sighed. “I’m sorry, I’m…I’m just a bit overwhelmed lately.”

    “That’s understandable,” he rejoined, “The captain has put you under a lot of pressure on this mission.”

    She placed a welcoming hand on Juan’s shoulder and smiled. Then, she returned to her chair, “I’ve been under pressure before. I’ve done triage under fire. To tell you the truth, I’d rather be doing that than dealing with inter-galactic politics.” The Arkonian took a moment to center herself. “I will be able to adapt.”

    Juan recognized, the last comment was more to convince herself than anything. “I’m sure you will, Doctor.”
     
  17. mirandafave

    mirandafave Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2008
    Oh I loved this three little scenes. They start at tackling the problems - the issue of our informer's honesty and story checking out; figuring out the means of defeating the cloak and great nod back to the Peagasus incident- Nice bit of continuity; and tackling the medical problems - only we get to learn a lot more about Zo'kama and the prejudices/first reactions she has faced by virtue of being a reptilian. Good stuff.
     
  18. BrotherBenny

    BrotherBenny Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2005
    Location:
    BrotherBenny
    I'm loving where we're going, and I cannot wait to see what happens when we encounter the Vuke, and S31
     
  19. Nerys Ghemor

    Nerys Ghemor Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2008
    Location:
    Cardăsa Terăm--Nerys Ghemor
    I wonder, though--would contacting the Enterprise about the Pegasus incident be a dangerous tip-off to 31? Oh, and another incident they might want to look into would be whatever occurred in "The Next Phase." There, stuff DID start getting detected from one phase to the next (though it was overloading phasers). Or you could flood the space in that area with anyons and see if it helps...

    Zo'Kama's bit was really cool to read--she WAS right to call Starfleet--and Macías out on their assumptions.

    Heck, even the Cardassians get the "reptilian prejudice" thing, and at least in my own writing, they're therapsids, not true reptilians any more than they're true mammals.

    From what I read of Zo'Kama, though, I think I'd be willing to be treated by her. Something tells me she probably has a good bedside manner with her patients. (Which some humans have a problem with!)
     
  20. Gibraltar

    Gibraltar Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2005
    Location:
    US Pacific Northwest
    The mystery deepens, but I find myself wondering if Easton is everything he purports to be. A double-agent is always a possibility where Section 31 is concerned.

    Zo’Kama is rightfully cautious about this First Contact, given what is known about the Vuke and their warlike tendencies. And I have to agree that the idea that a fellow reptilian will be more successful at bridging the cultural divide between the Federation and the Vuke seems pretty flimsy. Oh, well… time for the good doctor to suck it up and get it done.

    Great stuff!