The Star Eagle Adventures: EVS3 - Homecoming

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction' started by CeJay, Jan 8, 2017.

  1. CeJay

    CeJay Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2006
    Back Then


    With the help of his tricorder, Elijah had been able to track down a surprisingly large stockpile of antiviral medications and other drugs to a warehouse located not very far from the hotel, but on Dez' insistence they had detoured to the seat of the local government instead, seeing what they could glean from the officials in charge of theses seemingly disastrous policies which exposed a large swath of the population to fend for their own against a deadly virus for which a cure seemed to exist.

    The administrators they encountered were more than happy to meet with two representatives of the Federation, and were courteous and helpful, at least so far as to get them seen by somebody who had some real influence.

    That somebody was a man called Horas Rah, currently serving as the chief alderman of the local province they were staying in.

    “I’ve read about Rah,” said Dez quietly as they were being led towards his office. “He was one of the leaders of the rebellion against the government, practically a folk hero amongst the people. Probably just the man we need to talk to about this.”

    “If he was so important, how come they put him in charge of a small seaside province half a world removed from the center of this planet’s power?” Eli asked.

    Dez had no response to this but the answer to this mystery became a little more apparent when they stepped into what looked like a workshop of sorts—not an office, as they had expected—and came face-to-face with Horas Rah.

    His most obvious feature was his youth. Handsome, by human standards, tall, square-jawed but also unlikely to be a year older than Eli. If he had indeed been a hero in this world’s revolution, it hadn’t been for long, which of course also must have meant that he had distinguished himself from an early age, and doing so very rapidly. Dez didn’t miss a certain intelligence in his bright, green eyes which seemed put him slightly apart from most Yurans they had met.

    He was also clearly a hands-on kind of a leader, his sleeves rolled up, he was working along with other men and women on a large device of sorts, outfitted with numerous pipes and what looked like pumps and cylinders.

    “Mister Katanga, Mister Sigus, welcome, welcome,” he said with a beaming smile as he turned towards his guests. “We are very much honored that you have come to our world, and this very province to enjoy all we have on offer.”

    “You have a beautiful world and a great province here,” said Dez, “great people too from what we’ve seen.”

    He nodded with a certain pride. “I am glad that you have been enjoying your stay here and I would very much like to take the opportunity to talk to you in a more … appropriate setting about your stay,” he said. “We’re all a little busy working on our latest project here but I’m sure I can take a few minutes to talk to you,” he added, pointing at the machine behind him that was still being tended to by a small army of workers and engineers.

    “What is it?” Eli asked with curiosity.

    He beamed, obviously proud of his accomplishment as he turned to look at it. "This is a prototype salt water filter. We are hoping to build dozens of these and place them near the ocean to provide fresh drinking water to most of the province." He turned back to his guests, allowing them a moment to look over the machine. "If you'd like to follow me, there is an area nearby where we can talk in private." Rah led the two off-worlders out of a workshop and into a currently empty rest area with tables and chairs. He poured each of them cups of water and handed them out. "Here, please have a taste."

    Dez took a sip with Eli watching and when he didn’t immediately keel over dead, he followed suit.

    Dez nodded. “Very refreshing.”

    "Yes," he said, "you may even taste the faint hint of the added minerals the prototype infuses into the end product to fortify the immune system and general health and well-being."

    “I’m relieved to hear that you are so concerned about your people’s health seeing how that is the reason we’ve come to see you,” said Dez.

    “Is that so?”

    Dez nodded. “We have encountered a few people who have been indirectly affected by the Crimson Flu and since we are both working in the medical field, this has piqued our interest.”

    "In fact, you could say we are somewhat surprised that visitors haven't been made aware of this health issue before hand," interrupted Eli, "considering it is a serious pandemic affecting a significant percentage of the population."

    Horas Rah nodded slowly, his facial expression pained. “Very sadly so. But let me assure you that as long as you stay within this immediate area, you are completely safe.”

    “That’s not actually why we are concerned, Alderman,” said Dez. “We understand that there is a vaccine available. One with a very high rate of effectiveness, even to already infected patients. But it is not being made available publicly.”

    Ras turned his back to the two men for a moment.

    “Is this true?” Eli practically demanded.

    “I would be lying to you if I told you it wasn’t,” he said, still not facing them directly.

    “People are dying out there,” Eli said, doing little to hide the frustration he felt over this. “And from what we have learned, it is even more difficult to obtain the vaccine if the infected person is associated with a certain religious group or if their standing in society is not high enough.”

    Rah very slowly turned back around. “You must understand, these are difficult times for all of us. We have just emerged from a century of oppression by a government whose primary purpose was to enrich itself and a few selected individuals but cared little about the common good of the people. We fought long and hard to bring about change and it cost us dearly. Not just in those who gave their lives for the cause of the people but also in vital infrastructure and technology. Many of the most basic systems to ensure our people’s welfare were destroyed when the government realized it was about to lose control and adopted a scorched earth policy. They wanted to make sure that when they were gone, we had to start over from scratch.

    That is the unfortunate reality of the situation we find ourselves in and it means that we all have to make sacrifices while we slowly but surely rebuild our broken world.”

    Eli looked at the man as if he had spontaneously grown a second head. “So what? You are saying this is sanctioned policy? That you are content with withholding life-saving medicine to the people?”

    Rah quickly shook his head. “Of course I am not content with this. My heart bleeds for every single Yuran who succumbs to the Crimson Flu and many of my fellow colleagues feel the same way.”

    Dezwin exchanged a quizzical look with his friend before he considered the young official. "I am not sure I understand. You claim that you don't like this policy, that most in your new government don't, and yet you withhold the vaccine to those who need it the most. Why?"

    "Despite what some would have you believe, our supply of the vaccine is not limitless and its production is difficult. It must be strictly rationed. The Crimson Flu is a disease affecting this entire planet, not just my province."

    Eli nodded. “I can understand that. What I don’t understand is why you make it so difficult for people who are in dire need for it to obtain it. Why are certain segments of the population considered less favorably when rationing the vaccine?”

    Horas Rah looked at the two men as if the answer to Katanga's question was inherently obvious. "First and foremost we must secure the long term survival of our people and our society as a whole. In these difficult times, we cannot afford to consider the well-being of individuals. Our priority must be the entirety of the Yuran people. As such the vaccine must be made available to those members of the society who play the greatest role in securing its future. That means our architects, our engineers, our scientists, our policy shapers and our peace officers. All those people without which our society would collapse."

    Elijah Katanga’s dark face noticeably reddened at hearing this. “And everyone who doesn’t fall into the category you have deemed to be vital to your society is considered expendable, is that it?”

    “Expandable?” he said and then shook his head. “No. But certainly less valuable. And trust me some of the people who occupy the halls of planetary power have even more extreme views on this matter with which I strongly disagree. It is one of the reasons why I am working very hard to improve my own station and to one day be in a position to affect real change in planet-wide policy myself. I want to make sure Yura will one day be able to make a significant contribution to the intergalactic community and take its place among the many societies reaching out towards the stars.”

    Eli couldn't believe his ears. "I'm not sure that you'll make it very far with those kinds of beliefs. And if you don't consider your current system extreme already, God help the people of this world once those other folks you mentioned get their way."

    "How is any of this any better than what your old-regime practiced?" asked Dezwin. "From everything you have told us all you have done is replaced one form of government tyranny for another. What was the point of this war if in the end, only a select few prosper?"

    Rah looked downright disappointed. “I see you still do not understand that we are trying to secure a better future for all our people.”

    “Oh, we understand all right,” said Eli with obvious disdain. “It’s a great new future you’re all working towards. Except for those thousands, probably millions of people you left behind on the way to this great new future and who will never get the chance to see it because somebody in power decided that they were not important enough save.”

    “I don’t expect you to understand what my people have been through over the last hundred years or so. I don’t expect you to like what we are forced to do in order to heal as a people but I do expect you to respect our ways and leave your moral judgments and politics back in the Federation where everything is handed to you on a golden platter and where struggling for survival is a purely intellectual concept.” Rah’s tone had taken a harder edge now. “Don’t presume that the two of you can come here and judge my entire people because the way we have decided to run this world offends your sensibilities.

    Nobody made you come here, you’ve chosen to visit this world for our great hospitality and its natural beauty. So if you cannot enjoy it without restraining your moral outrage and self-righteous indignation, I am more than happy to arrange transport to take you back to your precious Federation.”

    “I just want to be clear about one thing,” said Eli. “You were considered a hero among your people during the war, is that right? The very same people who trusted you to bring real change to this world.”

    “And we did,” he said angrily. “And part of that change is to make difficult decisions others are unable to do. To decide whose life is more valuable than somebody else’s and act accordingly. For the common good of all of Yura.”

    Eli nodded slowly as if the truth had finally sunken in. "I know of quite a few so-called leaders on my world who used a very similar argument to justify very similar decisions. For what it's worth, for the common good of all of Yura, I sincerely hope that you will never be in a position to lead anything more significant than this province. And should this world be unfortunate enough for you to succeed in becoming its leader, the lesson I would impart on you from the history of my own world is simply this: Those people I mentioned you remind me of, it never ended well for them."

    Rah just stared at the human with a blank expression.

    "I think you are right, Alderman," added Dezwin. "I think perhaps it was a mistake for us coming here. And as long as you continue to propagate these self-destructive policies, we'll be doing everything we can to convince anyone else in the Federation to book their vacations elsewhere." He continued before Rah could respond. "Don't worry about showing us out, we know the way. Have a nice life." With that Dezwin grabbed Eli's arm and pulled him along as he made a beeline for the doors. Of course, his friend offered little resistance, just as eager to put as much distance between him and this so-called hero as possible.

    “What a totally insufferable jerk,” Eli said once they had left the building and then stopped to look at his friend. “I can honestly not believe half the things this fool was blabbering about. In fact, I think it made me physically ill just listening to that man talk.”

    “You and me both.”

    Eli considered him carefully. “Well, we did what you suggested and we talked to the powers that be, for all the good that did. Now what?”

    “Now?” the Trill said. “We go find that warehouse where they keep that vaccine.”
     
  2. CeJay

    CeJay Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2006
    Now


    She took a deep breath of fresh ocean air, once more surprised how much more invigorating it was compared to the atmosphere she breathed in daily on board a starship. Like many Starfleet officers, she had simply gotten so used to it that the only time she truly noticed the difference was when she was faced with the real thing. Even the holodeck couldn’t do it justice.

    It was so much more remarkable when combined with her surroundings, the wide-open and colorful ocean and islands that made up the Great Barrier Reef. She had never been to this place before, and she wasn’t quite sure why she had never made time for this during her academy years on Earth.

    Then, of course, there were many things Tazla Star had never made time for, which was surprising perhaps considering her symbiont was over three-hundred years old, and standing at the bow of the small trawler as it gently glided across the calm sea, she found herself regretting some of the choices she had made which had kept her away from places like these.

    “Enjoying the view?”

    She turned to look at Michael Owens who had emerged from the pilothouse, like her, dressed in casual wear, a loose shirt and shorts, very much befitting their surroundings. "Absolutely. I’m glad I decided to come along. Didn’t realize what I was missing.”

    He nodded with a smirk. “It’s only going to get better once we dive in.”

    “Shouldn’t you be at the helm?” she said with a smirk.

    “Auto-pilot. You mentioned you wanted to talk. We have some time until we get to Osprey Reef.”

    They sat down together on the deck, letting their feet dangle overboard and for a brief moment Tazla felt like a child again sitting on the dock of a lake she had frequented when she had been younger and dreaming of the stars, instead of sitting next to her commanding officer. She watched the azure-colored water rush by her bare feet. “I’ve been thinking about the Yuran request.”

    “The apology they’re demanding? I don’t blame you; it’s a rather silly and immature request. Childish really.”

    She smirked, looking up at him. “Maybe, but we weren’t much older than children back when all this happened so perhaps it is appropriate.”

    “Yes, you were all much younger back then. But it was a long time ago and one would think you have all grown up and matured quite a bit since then. You and Elijah and certainly this Horas Rah who is so insistent that you issue an apology.”

    “It’s odd,” she said. “When I look back at it now and through the eyes of Star who has seen and experienced so much over its many lifetimes, it all feels so distant and inconsequential. Dezwin wasn’t even joined with Star yet back then.”

    “And yet thanks to Star they have become your memories, too, haven’t they?”

    She nodded. “Yes, they have.”

    “I suppose you could always argue that Dezwin Sigus was a different person, certainly back then and before the joining. I’m sure you cannot be held accountable for what he did before he became one with the symbiont.”

    “Something tells me that Horas Rah doesn’t care for that distinction. Besides I am not the one to shirk away from responsibility or abandon my friends on the count of a technicality.”

    Owens offered her a smile. “No, I didn’t think you were. It doesn’t change the fact that this whole thing is nothing more than a private grudge by a clearly prideful man unable to let go of the past.”

    “You almost make it sound as if I shouldn’t be going through with it?”

    Michael Owens looked towards the horizon for a moment before responding. “It’s your decision, Taz. Yours and Katanga’s. I can’t order you to apologize for the mistakes of your youth. Hell, if I did, I’d have to issue a few dozen or so myself.”

    “But Starfleet wants this to happen?”

    “I don’t have to tell you that the Federation is not in the greatest shape,” he said, even though one could have been forgiven to think otherwise judging purely by their current surroundings. “It will take us a long time to recover from this war, and a number of enemies and even allies are going to look to test and challenge us over the next few years. If you forgive the pun, the blood is in the water. And as much as I hate to admit it, we will need trading partners like Yura II and the resources they can offer us now more than ever.”

    “You’re getting a lot of pressure from Command over this, I take it?”

    “Let’s just say I had the pleasure to converse with enough politicians and senior officials on this matter over the last few days that will last me a lifetime.”

    Star considered that for a moment as she kept her eyes on the beautifully clear surface below where she was certain she could see entire schools of fish zigzagging across the reef.

    Owens put a hand on her shoulder. “I know this isn’t easy, Taz, and I’m not going to put you in a position to pressure you one way or the other. I’ve come to learn to trust your instincts. It took me a while to get there, but I’m confident enough to know that you’ll make the right choice in the end.”

    She uttered a little laugh. “Not sure if that confidence is making this easier or harder on me.”

    He clasped her back good-naturedly. “We both knew being my XO wasn’t going to be easy,” he said and stood. “Now, come on, we’re almost there. We need to change. And I can’t think of a better way to get a fresh perspective on things than a good long dive.”
     
  3. Dulak

    Dulak Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2007
    Location:
    Pacific NW
    Hey Cejay,

    Glad you see you still writing. Let me catch up on some reading (a few years behind), then I can comment intelligently, or reasonably so.

    But I did notice "porch marked hull" way back at the beginning. It kind of took me out of the story "pock marked hull" perhaps. Dang auto-carrot.
     
    CeJay likes this.
  4. CeJay

    CeJay Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2006
    Good spot. Fixed that.

    Also, good to see you around here again. Hopefully, you too get the chance to get back into the writing game soon.
     
  5. CeJay

    CeJay Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2006
    Back Then


    The whole thing had been entirely coincidental and had certainly not been planned in any detail beforehand and much later when both Dezwin Sigus and Elijah Katanga had been formally deposed by officers working for Starfleet's Judge Advocate General, that had been exactly the testimony they had given. Of course, by that point, that fact had not been much of an excuse at all.

    They had arrived outside the warehouse which Eli’s tricorder had pinpointed as a locations containing a significant amount of antiviral agents and had observed the oval-shaped building for hours, during which it became more and more apparent that the warehouse served as a major medical distribution center judging by the great amount of activity consisting of transport vehicles entering and leaving the facility.

    Perhaps even more interesting was the fact that movement of the Crimson Flu vaccine was particularly high; a great number of vehicles transporting this crucial agent were seemingly constantly on the move to destinations unknown.

    Eli suspected—even though there was no way of knowing for sure—that their visit to Horas Rah had spurred this sudden redistribution of resources, perhaps in an effort to move it away from prying off-worlder eyes who had developed a sudden and unwelcome interest in the way the local government was handling this medical crisis.

    Eli was also the first to notice the pattern each vehicle followed and the opportunity it allowed. Every single transporter, all of them large and heavy wheeled vehicles pulling long white trailers, rolled up to a checkpoint, stopped there and with the engine left idling, the drivers and sole occupants left the vehicle to enter a nearby shack where they stayed for nearly two full minutes, possibly to complete paperwork or perhaps confirm their route.

    When they finally reemerged, they quickly returned to their transporter, stepped back into the driving cab and promptly drove off. During those couple of minutes, the vehicle seemed to be left entirely unattended with nothing at all standing between the unguarded vehicle and the main road.

    “Do you have any idea how many Starfleet regulations we would be breaking?” Dez had said when Eli had suggested they take advantage of this obvious security loophole. “Not to mention local laws. I’m fairly certain they don’t look kindly on grand theft auto around these parts.”

    “It’s obviously not a major concern considering how comfortable they are leaving a transport filled with medical drugs just standing there for minutes on end. I’m beginning to think they want somebody to come and take it off their hands,” he had countered. “Besides, I’m okay breaking a few laws if it means saving people’s lives.”

    Dez had tried to think of a counterargument; after all, he had been the voice of reason so far, preaching restraint and reverence to alien cultural practices. And yet the idling vehicle simply standing there, less than fifteen meters away, just waiting to be taken, was too inviting a target.

    So once they had confirmed the latest transport was indeed filled with large amounts of the antiviral agent, the two of them took off as soon as the driver had predictably left the vehicle and disappeared inside the checkpoint.

    They found the doors to the driver’s cab unlocked and they slipped inside with Dez sliding behind the main controls.

    “Now what?” Dez asked as he looked over the various buttons and levers arranged around the pilot seat.

    Eli shot him a disbelieving look. "I thought you could drive these kinds of things?"

    The Trill shot his friend a blank stare. “What gave you that idea?”

    “I don’t know, maybe the fact that you constantly talk about helping out on your parent’s farm back home? Operating the equipment.”

    “Well, I’m sorry but this looks nothing like the harvester that we have back on our farm,” he said and glanced around the cockpit, trying to find something that looked familiar.

    Eli activated the medical tricorder he had brought.

    “This is not a patient to diagnose, Eli, this is a machine.”

    He waved him off. “It’s all the same when you get down to it.”

    "No, it's not. This is entirely—"

    Dez stopped in midsentence when Eli leaned over and pressed a button on the instrument panel which promptly activated the vehicle’s engine and brought the entire console to life. He aimed a smug look in his direction. “You were saying?”

    “Lucky guess.”

    Eli smirked. “That and it’s the biggest, brightest button on the entire console.”

    A large display projected on the windshield gave visual instructions on how to operate the vehicle which was immensely helpful, including which lever released the brakes, which one to use to engage the throttle as well as highlighting the control stick to determine the driving direction.

    “It’s just as I said, they want us to take this thing,” Eli said as he watched the directions playing on the screen.

    The driver who must have heard the engine of his own transport turning on came running out of the checkpoint building, shouting angrily.

    Eli hit another button on the console which locked the doors to the cab and the driver began to angrily bang against the window when he was unable to open it.

    The two hijackers looked at the upset Yuran for a moment. “Of all the crazy things we’ve ever done, I think this ranks at the top of the list,” said Dez.

    “Top three, at the very least,” said Eli and then, ignoring the furious driver, turned back to look at Dez. “You know, it’s not too late to call this off. I’m sure we could still get away with calling this a cultural misunderstanding.”

    He considered that for a moment, shooting one last look at the man outside insisting that they opened the doors before letting his eyes wander back to the screen and the controls. "We've come this far, might as well take it all the way now. Besides, I'm starting to think that maybe this isn't so different from our harvester after all. I always really liked driving that beast." And with that, he released the brakes and applied the throttle which caused the vehicle to set in motion. He gently manipulated the control stick and found the heavy transport responding smoothly to the change of direction and within moments he had it turning down the main road leading away from the warehouse.

    It wasn’t long until he was comfortable enough with the controls to increase their speed until the driver who had started after his own, commandeered vehicle gave up trying to chase it. Not soon after the entire warehouse had disappeared from sight.

    “Cultural misunderstanding,” Dez said, uttering a sarcastic laugh. “Yeah, right.”

    Eli shrugged. “It did get us out of that thing back on Vulcan.”

    “Barely.”

    “I don’t think this is any worse.”

    Dez shot him a disbelieving look, taking his eyes off the road and very nearly steering the transport into a ditch before he could quickly readjust. "Are you serious? Vulcan was an innocent schoolboy prank compared to this."

    Eli nodded after a moment. “I guess you’re right. This right here could land us in prison.”

    Dez frowned. “Thanks for reminding me.”

    "Hey, it's for a good cause."

    “I’m sure a lot of crimes start out that way. Small comfort when we are sitting in a jail cell, staring at the bare walls.”

    They decided that going on the run, and hiding the shipment away somewhere was pointless, especially considering the vehicle’s large size and slow overall speed. It was only a matter of time until the driver would alert the authorities and they’d catch up with them.

    So instead the plan was to head straight towards the center of town and unload the vaccine right there, spending as much time as possible giving away the life-saving drugs to anyone who asked for them and before the authorities were able to put a stop to it. The idea had been first born when Melna and Derla had told them about the still very much alive local goodwill tradition of handing out food and other necessity to less fortunate people at the town square.

    “Always wanted to play the role of Robin Hood.”

    Dez just shook his head. He had never heard of the fellow.

    The going was slow but traffic was light enough to avoid any unfortunate accidents with other vehicles with an inexperienced driver at the controls.

    Apparently, there existed a rule, written or otherwise, to give transports carrying the official government seal the right of way.

    “Looks like we’re in luck,” said Eli as they approached the city square and noticed the already growing crowds as well as other, albeit smaller transports, assembled there, in the process of handing out food and other supplies. “We’ll fit right in.”

    But this didn’t turn out to be entirely true. The crowd quickly parted for the official vehicle, allowing Dez to steer it almost all the way to the very center of the large square and until they were almost entirely surrounded by a crowd of curious onlookers who had come here in the hopes of securing a few hand-outs. But apparently, a government vehicle was not a common occurrence during these events, certainly not one driven by a couple of off-worlders.

    The crowd had pretty much come to a standstill, with all eyes focused on Dez and Eli as they disembarked.

    “So much about fitting in,” said Dez.

    “What now?”

    Dez didn’t need to think very long. “Just follow my lead,” he said and headed towards the back of the vehicle. “People, listen up. Your new government has decided to make the Crimson Flu vaccine available to all and we have come from far away to assist with that task.” He pointed at the loading doors at the back of the transport and Eli swiftly managed to open them up to reveal crates upon crates of the vaccine stacked inside.

    The crowd looked on skeptically, however, clearly not entirely buying this story. Not until Eli remerged from inside balancing a small tower of boxes.

    Eli grabbed a couple from him and held them out. “Please, if you need the vaccine, or if you know somebody who is suffering from the Crimson Flu, take this and make sure it gets to them.”

    After that it didn’t take long for the first group of Yurans to move up until they were close enough to receive one of the offered boxes, inspecting them carefully and once they were convinced that this was, in fact, the real thing, the excitement quickly swept across the crowd with Eli and Dez hardly able to hand them out quickly enough.

    And yet even at the height of euphoria over this most unexpected giveaway, Dez was impressed how orderly the crowd remained, having feared a mob or violence, the gathered Yurans were mostly just thankful for their sudden change in fortune.

    Eli had spotted a few local peace officers who were clearly not buying this act at all and who had attempted to interfere by attempting to reclaim some of the handed-out boxes. Eli wasn’t having this at all. He built himself up to his full impressive height and confronted them—it helped that Yurans were physically smaller than humans—insisting that the Federation had made a deal with their government for the release of the vaccine and that they had simply not yet been told about this change of policy.

    Dez had to smile at Eli’s impressively convincing performance which caused the peace officers to hesitate and question their own orders, Dez knew it wasn’t going to be enough to prevent from getting shut down, but it was going to buy them time to distribute as much of the vaccine as possible.

    They had almost cleared half the transport when things began to turn.

    The local authorities had called in reinforcements and Dez could spot military-type personnel beginning to stream into the square from all angles, attempting to disperse the crowd as they made their way towards the center.

    For Eli and Dez there was no escape and they backpedaled further and further until their backs were literally against the hijacked transport and they found themselves surrounded by armed and unhappy-looking soldiers.

    “Show’s over,” said Eli.

    Dez nodded. “Yeah, looks like it.”

    Much of the crowd did disperse but many more stayed behind, now cut off from the vaccine by a ring of armed personnel, they seemed curious enough to find out what would happen next.

    “We must be pretty big news,” said Eli. “Look who’s come all the way out here to handle this personally?”

    Dez followed his friend’s gaze to spot Horas Rah emerge from a vehicle and quickly making his way through the crowd, surrounded by soldiers who functioned like personal bodyguards.

    “Time to face the music,” said Eli.

    Rah joined the two off-worlders at the center of the square, took a moment to look over the half-empty transport behind them before he considered them directly. “I’m very disappointed,” he said, keeping his voice low enough to not be overheard by the crowd. “I believed we had an understanding, that I had explained the reasoning for the policies we have in place here.”

    “You explained alright,” said Eli. “Doesn’t mean we had an understanding.”

    “I see. And that gives you the right to violate our laws and take matters into your own hands? I admit that I don’t fully understand the ways of the Federation but I find it difficult to believe that something like this is acceptable where you come from.”

    “Compared to withholding life-saving medication to the people who desperately need it? Yes,” said Dez without hesitation. “Absolutely acceptable.”

    Rah didn’t respond right away, taking another moment to take in the scene Eli and Dez had been responsible for. “I am surprised, for a people who pride themselves so much on understanding and respecting other cultures, that you two would show such blatant contempt for ours.” He stopped Eli from shooting back a response with a raised hand. “What’s done is done, I suppose. Make no mistake, there will be consequences for your actions. But, for now, perhaps we can still mitigate some of the damage you’ve done here today. Just play along,” he said and then before either of them could respond, Rah turned to face the crowd who was watching the interaction between their leader and these aliens with great interest behind the cordon of soldiers. “My fellow friends, what has happened here today was the result of an unfortunate cultural misunderstanding between us and our ways and those of our off-world guests.”

    Eli threw Dez a telling look, mouthing the word he had used earlier himself.

    “I have spoken with them both and they fully understand and accept the errors of judgment they have committed, and have apologized to me personally for what has transpired here today. They understand the great sacrifices that each and every one of us has to make to rebuild our great world after the terrible suffering and pain the old regime has caused us. Please rest assured that nobody will be punished for this, not you and certainly not our valued guests, for what has been nothing more than an innocent misconception which is all but expected when new cultures come together in friendship.

    As an enlightened, caring and progressive society, we are more than prepared to accept the small bumps in the road which will not stop us on our journey to a promising future for all of us." Rah spoke with his arms wide apart, and clearly, like the skilled orator that he was, no doubt part of his role as a freedom fighter had been to work his charm and deliver speeches to rally the crowds.

    He indicated for Dez and Eli to step forward and both did so hesitantly. Dez couldn’t stop feeling like he was being treated like a misbehaving schoolboy, being pulled up by the headmaster.

    "Even though they have both apologized to me for their actions and failure to understand the intricacies of our culture, they have, more importantly, also agreed to apologize to all of you, for violating our most sacred and trusted laws, and I urge you to forgive them for their shortcomings as I have forgiven them," he said and looked towards the two off-worlders.

    Dez and Eli exchanged quick glances and almost as one they shook their heads before Eli took a step forward. "Yes," he said loudly, "we are indeed sorry for what has happened here. We are sorry that you are being asked to live in a society that seems to value your lives so little, that they will purposefully withhold medication. We are sorry that they feel that some people in your society are more deserving than others and that your own leader, a so-called war hero, is just as happy to go along with this all this madness.”

    Rah, beside himself with anger, reached out for Eli’s arm, pulling him back. “That is enough.”

    “And I have his apology right here.” Eli whirled around with his balled-up fist and delivered a picture perfect right hook against the unprepared Yurian who dropped like a sack of stones.

    Dez didn’t remember much of what happened immediately after Eli had knocked out Horas Rah. And nothing at all after the sharp bites of multiple stun guns dropping him and Eli where they stood.

    The next thing he did recall was coming to next to his friend right where Eli had expected them to end up all along.

    Inside a prison cell.
     
  6. CeJay

    CeJay Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2006
    Now


    Their shore leave to the Great Barrier Reef had been interrupted unexpectedly when Owens had received the devastating news about his father’s sudden passing. He had half-heartedly suggested that she stay in Australia, find another guide, and take that dive which he had promised her, but she had seen the change in him straight away.

    She knew little about his relationship with his father, except that they had not been particularly close, he had hardly ever talked about him since she had joined Eagle, and yet word of his death had shaken him noticeably and it was clear that he was no longer thinking about their expedition or her role in it.

    He had left for the ship straight away after she had insisted on taking back the boat herself, even if she didn't know the first thing about piloting a vessel of that type. After some trial and error, she had managed to return the trawler to its home port and afterward had returned to Eagle, no longer in a vacationing mood herself.

    She found Eli Katanga waiting for her in her office.

    “You look awful, Dez. Don’t tell me Australia’s perfect climate doesn’t agree with you.”

    She shook her head as she walked to sit behind her desk. “The climate was just fine. Having to steer a boat into a harbor while trying to avoid ships twice its size is harder than it looks.”

    “I thought you were with the captain?”

    She took her seat and looked up at him. “His father passed away. He got the news while we were out in the middle of the ocean, about to go in.”

    “Oh,” he said. “I’m very sorry to hear that. How is he holding up?”

    “I don’t believe I’ve ever quite seen him like this. It’s really hard to tell but I think he’s hurting. I think he’s hurting and doesn’t want anyone to see it. I suppose it’s too early to tell.”

    “I should get in touch with Trenira.”

    “Eli, no,” she said quickly. “The man only just found out his father is dead, let’s give him some time to grief in his own way before we sic a counselor on him. He might have his own way to deal with this loss.”

    Katanga nodded. “Fine. And I suppose it helps that we are back here instead of somewhere in outer space, hundreds of light-years from the nearest friendly planet. It might help the healing process.”

    “Doctor Elijah Katanga, physician of the human soul,” she said with a small, bemused smile.

    “I’ve been known to heal one or two in my time.”

    “Sure. Am I right in saying that your visit today was not merely to check up on me?”

    “No,” he said and tossed a padd he had brought with him onto her desk.

    “What’s this?”

    “I was hoping you could tell me.”

    She picked it up and looked at its content. It seemed to contain a number of messages he had received over the last couple of days. From what she could tell it was from important Federation officials. She recognized a few names. “Looks like you’re becoming popular in your old age.”

    “Yes, and I don’t care for it. Especially since all these fools are bugging me about the exact same thing. Yura II.”

    She nodded slightly as she read a few of those messages, reaffirming what he was telling her. The Diplomatic Corps was putting pressure on Elijah to issue a formal apology to Yura’s head of state, Horas Rah.

    “Can’t these people get it through their thick skulls?” he said. “This little scumbag is getting exactly nothing from me except perhaps another knock to the head. You told them our position on this, why are they still pestering us?”

    Star kept looking over the padd, anything really to avoid eye contact with her old friend.

    “You did tell them, didn’t you?”

    Her silence was equal to an admission of guilt.

    “Why the hell haven’t you? We talked about this and we both agreed that this whole thing is ridiculous. That we are not going to bow down to a tyrannical little man who holds decade-long grudges.”

    She finally looked up. “Yes, we agreed that this is ridiculous. But those mining rights are important for the Federation and Starfleet to rebuild our fleet and—“

    “And what? To have a few more starships buzzing around, flying the flag and projecting force to the rest of the universe so that some other bully can come along to challenge us and find out who’s got the more powerful toys?”

    She raised a hand to this. “We clearly have some philosophical differences when it comes to Federation defense policy and I’m certainly not going to argue with you the benefits—or rather the necessity—of having a strong fleet. I know we are never going to see eye-to-eye on that.”

    Katanga took a chair to sit down opposite from Star. “Let me tell you something, we never needed a large fleet back in the day when Starfleet was a true science and exploratory agency. Before it was this quasi-military organization some people insist it has become.”

    Star rolled her eyes dramatically. “Please spare me the good-old-days speech about how Captain Kirk took on the entire Klingon Empire by himself. You like to forget that I’ve seen those days, too, in fact much more of them that you ever did. And I can tell you right now, things weren’t always that rosy back then.”

    “And I’m not saying that they were. I’m not yet that senile that I can only see the past through rose-colored glasses. But you know what I do know for a fact? I know that we did some good back then on Yura II. You saw the messages we got from random strangers afterward who were able to cure themselves of their loved ones because of the drugs we handed out. You remember Derla? She practically wrote me a love letter, asking me to marry her, after she got her hands on the vaccine for her father."

    She nodded. “Yeah, still surprised you didn’t take her up on that offer, actually. You know what I also remember? Ending up in a jail cell.”

    Elijah shrugged that off. “So what? Some of the greatest people in history ended up in jail because of narrow-minds and bigotry. I don’t mind being in the same company as Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King or Nelson Mandela.”

    “Don’t we have a high opinion of ourselves.”

    “So it might not exactly compare. I’m well aware that we spent just three days in that cell before we were released into Federation custody to avoid a diplomatic incident. Which also means we hardly sacrificed anything for doing a great amount of good.”

    “They almost didn’t let you into Starfleet Medical Academy after that stunt. You and Dezwin both received permanent marks on your records.”

    “As I said, almost no sacrifice at all. We saved lives, Taz, that’s what medical professionals are supposed to do, what Starfleet is supposed to do. And I tell you something else, without what happened back then, we would never have come up with the idea to form MAAP. That’s where the seed took root.”

    Star felt like disputing that fact. It was true that after the episode on Yura II, Elijah and Dezwin first thought about a better way of helping non-Federation worlds with their medical emergencies which ultimately led to their successful petition to Starfleet Medical to create a still active and busy agency dedicated to just that task. An agency Elijah had led for many years, coordinating relief efforts to all manner of distant worlds. But she wasn’t so sure if they wouldn’t have gotten there eventually without breaking local laws, assaulting an official and being banned from an entire planet for life.

    "I've done some reading on Yura II and that misguided technocracy they are running there," he continued when Star hadn't responded. "They haven't changed one bit. That pompous dolt Horas Rah just continued the same policies which withheld medical supplies from people not deemed important enough once he gained power. They had fought a civil war for decades and over half a century later, they may as well not have bothered at all. I’m telling you, Taz, I am never going to apologize for trying to save lives. And if I were in that same position again, I wouldn’t do a single thing differently. I’d knock that fool on his ass all over again,” he said and then stood, rapping his knuckles against Star’s desk for emphasis. “You go and tell that to those apparatchiks at the Diplomatic Corps.”

    With that he turned on his heel and left her office, leaving Star to look at the doors which had closed shut behind him as she leaned back in her chair and uttered a heavy sigh.
     
  7. CeJay

    CeJay Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2006
    It couldn’t have possibly been a more public setting, Tazla Star had thought when she looked across the packed Champ de Mars in Paris where at least two hundred people had gathered and not just Starfleet officers, Federation officials, politicians and foreign dignitaries but also an entire crowd of Parisians and visitors from far and near.

    They all stood on the grass, facing the stage that had been set-up there with the iron monstrosity that was the Eifel Tower not far behind it. Star had never much cared for the monument and was generally of the opinion that its early critics had been correct and that this so-called industrial marvel didn’t fit at all into a city so dominated by classical art and architecture.

    It had apparently long since become part of not just Parisian but also human identity and as such, she took care to keep her own criticism to herself, even if in its current setting it only seemed to help to add to her humiliation as it reached into the sky behind her.

    At the center of the stage stood a podium adorned with the official Federation seal and just behind it, at the edge of the podium, six sets of the blue Federation flag and the red and green Yurian banner flapped side by side in the gentle breeze on this sunny French afternoon.

    An exceedingly tall Andorian, the Federation Secretary of Foreign Affairs—Star kept forgetting his name—was standing behind the podium already ten minutes into a long and drawn out speech about the decade-long friendship and cooperation between the Federation and the people of Yura II. President Santiago was not in attendance but Star had been told that he was watching the event closely, along with billions of people all across the Federation.

    She sat on the podium along with other honored guests, even though in her case, honor had very little to do with the reason for her being there. In the chair next to her sat Elijah Katanga, with an expression on his face so neutral, he could have passed as a Vulcan.

    Horas Rah, the Governor General of Yura II, sat at the far end of the stage, watching the Andorian with an arrogant smile and nodding along to a number of his points.

    Rah hadn’t aged very well and looked nothing like the young, energetic man she remembered from Dezwin Sigus’ memories dating back over sixty years ago. He had lost mobility in both his legs and relied on a motorized wheelchair to get around, he looked thin and frail, and if there was any consolation for Star it was the fact that time had not been kind to this man.

    She shook off those thoughts just in time to hear the Secretary speaking her name. “And now I would like to take this opportunity to allow Commander Tazla Star from Starfleet to speak a few words about the people of Yura II and our distinguished guest, Governor General Horas Rah in particular,” he said and looked towards her. “Commander?”

    Star nodded to him but didn't move from her chair. Instead, she glanced towards Elijah by her side. He flat out refused to make eye contact with her, after all, he had made his position on this entire matter very clear.

    The Secretary cleared his throat, his gaze becoming a little sharper at Star’s hesitation. This was not a man used to being kept waiting.

    Realizing that there was no more point in putting this off, Star stood from her chair and pulled at the hem of her stiff white and gray dress uniform jacket before she began to walk towards the podium which suddenly appeared much farther away than it had before.

    Star didn't mind speaking in front of large crowds, a common enough occurrence as a command-level officer, even if the crowds she had faced in the past had tended to be much smaller, especially if taking into account all those people watching this spectacle via live, Federation-wide broadcasts.

    The Andorian offered her a tight smile which communicated his displeasure at her sluggish pace but she ignored him as she took the spot behind the podium he had vacated.

    She looked over the Champ de Mars and the hundreds of people assembled there, all now watching her.

    Just an arm’s length or so before her, invisible to anyone on the other side of the podium, hovered the projection of the beginning of the speech that she was about to give. A speech which had been written for her by members of the Secretary’s staff and whom she had never met before.

    She heard him clear his throat again somewhere behind her.

    "Thank you, Mister Secretary," she began and watched as the words continued to scroll up before her, seemingly in thin air. “And thank you for giving me the opportunity to speak today and also to address our honored guest. Sixty-two years ago, the man who would eventually become my former host, Dezwin Sigus, whose thoughts and memories live on inside my symbiont, had the great pleasure to be welcomed as guests on Yura II along with my friend Elijah Katanga. All the more astonishing considering that the entire planet had been engulfed in a long and costly conflict until only a short time earlier, ending an extended period of suffering and inequality.

    Instead of a war-torn planet with a beaten down populace, we found a people full of joy, enthusiasm, and excitement, friendly and more than willing to accept us as their guests.

    We had the pleasure of meeting Horas Rah, who even then was an influential political figure and leader of a beautiful province, tirelessly working on improving the daily lives of his fellow Yurans, and yet still finding the time to meet and talk to us about the many great things his world had to offer.”

    The pause that followed was by design, as the speech was about to switch gears. Star took more time than had been planned apparently, as the next words on her prompter were beginning to vibrate as if to prod her to continue speaking. She uttered a tiny little sigh before she did so, one she hoped people wouldn't notice.

    “Not everything on our trip went smoothly, I'm afraid to say. In Starfleet we know and understand, in fact, we are taught early on, that different cultures have very different sensibilities. And a young Elijah Katanga and Dezwin Sigus learned an important lesson about such sensibilities when they both foolishly ignored their better judgment and in doing so violated important local laws and customs, causing significant disruptions to the daily life of the good people of Yura. I want to thank Governor General Horas Rah to allow us the opportunity today to speak about this matter, and to give us the chance to express our great … regret over the actions that these two young men took that day long ago.

    This should serve as an example to young Starfleet officers and Federation citizens everywhere that respect for other cultures, for their traditions and their laws should always be our first concern when we find ourselves as guests on their worlds. Youth and ignorance are no excuses."

    At this point, the prompter explicitly stated for her to turn to Horas Rah and Star once again hesitated doing this until the words began to tremble again.

    Rah looked particularly self-satisfied as he closely watched Tazla Star. “On behalf of Elijah Katanga and Dezwin Sigus, I would like to offer our… deepest apologies to you, for the pain and disruption we have caused your people and also to you personally. I would like to reiterate that…” she stopped for a brief moment, the words leaving a sour taste in her mouth. “I would like to reiterate that even though we…. “ Star stopped herself again, unable to look at his face any longer, she turned back towards the crowd which was watching closely, probably even more so now since she was apparently developing second thoughts in the middle of her speech.

    She shook her head. “You know what? To hells with all this. It isn’t right.”

    The Andorian Secretary was at her side in an instance. “Commander,” he hissed.

    “No, not like this,” she said and looked at Katanga who began to nod to her encouragingly. “Yes, we made mistakes back then, I agree to that. Punching a government official in the face probably ranks near the top of those.”

    There were audible gasps coming from the crowd. A few bursts of spontaneous laughter as well.

    “What the hell do you think you’re doing?” the infuriated Andorian said in a sharp and urgent whisper.

    Star ignored him and turned back towards Horas Rah whose face had become even paler than it was naturally. “But no apology about this incident is complete without pointing out that what we did was the right thing. Yes, we did it the wrong way, because we should never have had to do it in the first place. That was your job. Looking out for your people and providing them with the medication they desperately require is not just good leadership, it is the absolute least leadership should do. And you failed your people in that regard and should be ashamed of yourself for allowing this to happen, and not sit there and gloat over an apology you have been holding out for over half a decade because somebody knocked you out in front of your own people.”

    The Secretary grabbed Star by the arm even before she had finished talking. “You are done here, Commander.”

    “Yeah, you’re right about that,” she said and allowed him to push her off the podium even while she took in the stunned faces of the crowd, some with large smiles plastered on their faces, some had been unable to keep from laughing while others were petrified. None having expected what had promised to be a dry political speech to turn into a full-blown spectacle.

    Katanga stood from his chair and nodded to her, giving her a big thumbs-up.

    “I’m not going to do it this way,” she said.

    “You already did,” the Andorian said furiously. “You ruined everything, Commander. Rest assured there will be repercussions.”

    “Fewer than you might think,” she said, causing the Secretary to stare at her blankly. But Star turned around and headed towards the edge of the podium. “Computer, end program and show exit.”

    She didn’t even slow down as the large door arch shimmered into existence before her and the heavy panels slid apart to reveal Eagle’s corridor just beyond. By the time she had reached the doors, Paris had already vanished behind her.
     
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  8. Galen4

    Galen4 Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2007
    Location:
    Sol III, within the universe of United Trek
    It's hard to say if Star will say all of that at the real event. I kind of agree with her in this case. Great back story with the Yurans. Can't wait to see how all of this progresses.
     
    CeJay likes this.
  9. CeJay

    CeJay Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2006
    She stepped into Elijah Katanga’s office at oh-seven-hundred twenty hours which had become almost like routine, certainly since Eagle’s last mission and her return to Earth. She carried a cup of coffee for him and set it on his desk in front of him before she took a seat. "Good morning."

    He looked up with suspicion in his eyes. “There’s something you want.”

    She shrugged her shoulders. “Why do you say that?”

    "Because you never bring me coffee. In fact, Dez tended to pull this trick on me whenever he wanted a favor. It was predictable then and it is predictable now."

    “I’m not Dez.”

    He rolled his eyes. “Semantics.”

    “Things change, Eli. Except maybe for you. Still not a morning person.”

    He picked up the mug and began to sip on it very slowly. “You certainly didn’t forget how I like it. Columbian with just a tad of cream.”

    She smiled. “It should put you in a better mood,” she said and then presented three padds she had brought along and placed them on the desk. “And I need you to be, seeing that there are some medical overdue requisition reports for you to sign which Starfleet Medical has been chasing me for days now. Would appreciate it if we could get this out of the way up front." She gave him her sweetest smile.

    He sighed heavily. “See, I was right, you do want something. Fine, let’s get this over with then,” he said and grabbed the padds with his other hand, didn’t even bother looking them over as he added his thumbprint to all three of them in quick succession before looking back up. “Happy?”

    “Ecstatic,” she said and took those padds back off him.

    “I also wanted to talk to you about Yura II some more. I’ve been doing a lot of thinking on that subject.”

    To that Katanga uttered a heavy sigh. “Have you now? For the life of me, I cannot figure out why. I gave you my answer and that's that. I thought we had finally put this thing to bed."

    “We will, trust me, but it’s just been bothering me. Don’t get me wrong, I agree with most of what you’ve said. Horas Rah was in the wrong, still is. Withholding medication is a terrible policy under pretty much any circumstance. If it were up to me, we wouldn’t be signing any kind of treaties with his government until they can demonstrate that they are doing everything within their power to treat their own people humanely. If it were up to me, I would use the full weight of the Federation’s admittedly waning power and influence to ensure that they do. But the truth is, Eli, it’s not up to me, and it’s not up to you, either.”

    But Katanga shook his head. “And maybe that’s the problem. Maybe we are not willing enough to force a change because it’s just so much easier to accept the way things are and tell ourselves that there’s nothing we can do to change them.”

    “So what, you’re going to make a stand? What you’re talking about is a fundamental change in Federation policy which has been in place for nearly two-hundred years.”

    He shrugged his shoulders. “It needs to start somewhere. Why not here?”

    Star stood from her chair. She was not willing to get into a philosophical conversation with her long-time friend. “If this is the battle you want to pick, be my guest. But I won’t be joining you on that crusade.”

    “Instead you’ll bow to the powers that be and publicly humiliate yourself?”

    “I won’t be doing that either. I think I realized that’s not my style,” she said with a little grin. “I’ve managed to talk the Secretary into a written apology instead. He’s even agreed to my wording, with a few minor adjustments.”

    “I don’t care if it’s a public speech with the entire Federation watching or a single-sentence note delivered on the back of a dive-bar napkin. If you want to put your name on an apology, go knock yourself out. But you know my position. I’m not going to sign anything that even hints at an apology to Horas Rah. That’s my stand on this and I won’t change it as long as I draw breath.”

    Star walked towards the exit and then stopped, taking a deep gulp of air and bracing herself for what she knew was coming next. Then she turned back to face him.

    He seemed to be able to tell something was very wrong the moment he saw her eyes. “What did you do?”
    She lifted one of the padds she had given him. “Not all of these were medical requisitions.”

    He stood angrily. “You tricked me?”

    “I made a command decision.”

    “Against my explicit wishes.”

    She took a small step forward. "That's just the thing, Eli, this isn't about you or me, this is about much bigger things. I’m sorry I had to do this, I really am, but your moral outrage is terribly misplaced. Yes, Horas Rah was wrong but you know what? So were we. We signed up to be Starfleet officers, nobody forced us to be. And with being a Starfleet officer there also comes a certain responsibility, no matter if you like it or not. And we are expected to hold ourselves to that standard especially when we don’t agree with the things we come across out there. That’s part of the deal that comes with the uniform.

    I know you don’t care for politics, but we live in a different age now, the Federation has changed more over the last six years than it has over the last sixty. But to be honest, I am not so convinced that it hasn’t always been a very different place than what you thought it to be.”

    He simply glared at her and Star could sense the anger and disappointment he was directing at her without even saying a single word.

    “I’ll always be your friend, Eli, but sometimes I have to be more than that. Sometimes I have to consider the kind of things that you have the luxury to ignore.”

    He nodded slowly but not so much in agreement as in realization. "Yes, you have to be the good little soldier, don’t you? I suppose in hindsight this is all my own damn fault. After all, you've kept reminding me any chance you got that you aren’t Dezwin anymore. That you are a different person now. I guess I just never truly realized that until now.”

    Those words hurt more than she had expected.

    “You’ve got what you came for, Commander. Now kindly leave me be.”

    Star looked at him but he refused to make eye contact and so she did as he had requested and left his office.

    As she stepped out of sickbay, leaving Elijah Katanga behind, she silently prayed that she hadn’t also just walked out of her oldest and most valuable friendship.
     
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  10. Galen4

    Galen4 Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2007
    Location:
    Sol III, within the universe of United Trek
    There's some weighty issues being wrestled with here that are important to consider. Has the Federation changed during the war years? When is it morally correct to withold aid? Is it ever okay to form a relationship with a government whose policies are objectionable? And isn't wrong not to in come cases?

    I have the feeling that Katanga and Star will have a strained relationship from now on. Eagle's crew may never be the same after this.
     
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  11. CeJay

    CeJay Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2006
    Maximum Entropy


    May 2376



    “So I think it would be safe to say that I’m now officially persona non grata at the annual captain’s ball,” said Amaya Donners, sitting comfortably in her chair, leaning way back and with her boots on top of her desk. She was playing with a white baseball, tossing it into the air before catching it again repeatedly. She glanced over to the corner of her ready room where Cosmo, her three hundred pound le-matya was focusing intently on her movements, his eyes seemingly locked in on the way the white ball bounced up and down. “I see the whole thing more of a blessing in disguise, to be honest,” she continued. “No captain in the fleet with an ounce of self-respect would even want to be invited to one of those dress-up, dog and pony shows anyway. I can think of about a hundred and one things I would rather spend my time with than going back there. I mean, who needs that aggravation, anyway, right buddy?” she said and then half haphazardly threw the ball his way. It bounced off the floor just a few feet in front of him and the wildcat effortlessly grabbed it out of the air and quickly began to munch on the ball in its large maw.

    Vej, sitting on the couch lining the wall of Amaya Donners’ ready room, watched the le-matya destroy that baseball with ease for a moment before slowly turning back towards the captain who was now expediently looking his way.

    “I suppose this is the part where you tell me that I was out of line telling Captain Aubrey to stick his opinions where the sun doesn't shine. That I should have handled the entire thing much more diplomatically?”

    The Ullian counselor, wearing a civilian outfit consisting out of a long, tan smock and matching pants which considering that he was not an official member of Starfleet was entirely appropriate, simply shook his head. “No, I was actually just wondering about Cosmo’s new toy. I thought that ball was a present from Terrence Glover.”

    Donners moaned loudly and threw her head back. “Don’t get me started on that jackass. That man is so full of himself, it’s a miracle he doesn’t burst at the seams. How he can be related to Samson is one of the great ongoing mysteries of the universe,” she said, referring to Admiral Glover, Terrence Glovers father, and her one time superior at Deep Space Five.

    “I take it then you ran into him as well at the event?”

    “Trust me, not for a lack of trying to avoid him. It’s like a moth to the flame with that one. I don’t think I can count the times I told that guy to lay off.”

    “Sounds to me you made plenty of enemies. Any new friends by chance? Last time we spoke you were thinking of making amends with Owens.”

    She was clearly not happy hearing that name either. “You know what, I don’t need more friends. I have plenty. I’ve got you and I have Cosmo,” she said, looking at her tamed wildcat which still, after decades in her care, looked more wild than cat.

    The large animal looked up at hearing his name, the baseball pretty much in tatters now.

    “That’s right, I’m talking about you, you big, handsome fellow, you.”

    Cosmo seemed to fathom the compliment considering the way his tapered ears stood up straight, right before he went back to demolishing his new plaything.

    “Exquisite company to be in,” said the counselor.

    Donners shot him a wide smile, her brilliantly white teeth standing in contrast to her dark skin and black hair. “For you, quite right.”

    “Maybe attending that ball was a bad idea.”

    “I told you, it was, didn’t I? I told you it’s the last place I’d be welcomed at.”

    “But is that because they didn’t want you there to begin with or because you couldn’t keep yourself in check long enough to try and get along with people?”

    Her look became frostier, clearly not appreciating where he was going with this.

    “You seemed in fairly high-spirits when you left. You said that it would give you a chance to catch up with some of your peers.”

    She had nothing to say to this.

    “It’s him, isn’t it? You thought he wasn’t going to be there, but he was.”

    Donners grimaced before looking into empty space. “He just brings out the worst in me. And every time I think I’m over it and I run into him again, I just want to … I don’t know, scream.”

    “Maya, that happened twenty years ago while you were both cadets. It’s time to let it go and move on.”

    She pierced him with a venomous look. “Don’t you think I know that? And I want to, I really do. But the truth is that he’s never even apologized for what he did. And that’s not even the worst of it. I can handle a cheater and a liar. What I can’t tolerate is that he’s a starship captain. That he became one before I did. That a man with such an obvious character flaw is allowed to wear the uniform and command people. That nobody else seems to see him for what he truly is.”

    “Don’t you think you’re projecting your personal feelings you developed decades ago to the man he is now. People change.”

    She uttered a heavy sigh. “Maybe, maybe not. In any case, you are my counselor. Fix this already, what do I pay you for?”

    “Yeah, I don’t think you have an accurate picture of how my profession works. The first step is positive thinking. Don’t focus on the negative.”

    “Words of wisdom. Positive thinking,” she said with obvious irony in her voice. “That’s how I usually get through my day. I just keep telling myself that today is going to be a great day and that everything’s going to be just fine. You believe that hard enough, it just might come true.”

    He smirked. “Halfway there already. My job here’s almost done. Still waiting for my first paycheck, by the way.”

    “Bridge to Captain.”

    Donners smirked. “Ah, saved by the bell.” She looked towards the ceiling. “Go ahead.”

    “Sir, we have detected an abnormal sensor reading within less than a light-year of our current position.”

    “Source?”

    “Unclear, sir.”

    “Well, we’re here to map the Amargosa Diaspora and this is the most interesting thing that has happened since we got out here. So by all means, set a course for the anomaly, Lieutenant. I’ll be right out. Donners out.”

    She removed her feet from her desk and stood. “Looks like we may finally get some excitement around here.”

    “Careful what you wish for, isn’t that what they say?” he said as he got up from the sofa and followed her out of the ready room.

    “Positive thinking, remember? It’s going to be a great day.”
     
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2017
  12. admiralelm11

    admiralelm11 Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2009
    Location:
    Vancouver, WA
    Interesting. Will we be experiencing time travel or an alternate universe? More, please!
     
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  13. Galen4

    Galen4 Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2007
    Location:
    Sol III, within the universe of United Trek
    I can't wait to see what's in store for Donners and her crew. It's always a harbinger of bad tidings when a starship captain complains about boredom just before discovering an "abnormal sensor reading". :)

    And with such an ominous title, I have the feeling the last run of peaceful stories is at an end.

    Time to buckle up, everyone.
     
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  14. CeJay

    CeJay Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2006
    It was the middle of the night shift on the bridge when Donners and Vej entered to find the burlesque science officer Wayne Daystrom in command.

    The lieutenant had already vacated the center seat, if he had ever occupied it at all, and moved to his station where he tended to feel more comfortable. He shot the captain a brief glance while she walked towards her chair. “It’s an unusual anomaly, Captain, and certainly wasn't there a few minutes ago. We were lucky to catch it at all as we had a full sensor package sweeping that area at the time, otherwise, we would have missed it, I'm sure."

    “An unusual anomaly? That’s a bit vague for you, Wayne, isn’t it?” said Vej as he took the chair to Donners’ left.

    “I’m still running a more in-depth scan,” he said, sounding somewhat defensive. “We should have more momentarily.”

    “Are we in visual range yet?” asked the captain.

    Daystrom nodded even as he continued to study his console. “Putting it on screen now.”

    Donners couldn’t see anything other than the dense cluster of stars which was common in this area of space. “Magnify.”

    The screen shifted but it made little difference.

    “Maximum magnification.”

    Donners sighed and looked back towards her science officer. “Are you quite sure there is suppose to be something out there?”

    “I am definitely reading a disturbance, Captain.”

    “Run a level-five sensor diagnostic just in case. Helm, take us in, let us have a closer look at this supposed anomaly.”

    The helmsman acknowledged and changed course.

    It didn’t take long for Daystrom to chime up again. “It’s not something I’ve seen before.”

    “Strictly speaking there is nothing there to see at all,” said Vej and he exchanged a quick smile with Donners.

    Daystrom either didn’t notice the joke or decided to ignore it. “Readings remain inconclusive but sensors are picking up an increased level of neutrino emissions.”

    “A clocked ship perhaps,” said Donners. “A wormhole?”

    “Both are possibilities but its uneven distribution is unusual.”

    “Cap,” said Vej and pointed at the screen.

    Donners looked up to see that something had appeared after all. A small object was now sitting at the center of the screen, clearly artificial in nature, the metal glinting under the exposure of multiple nearby suns. It seemed too small to be a starship. “Anyone picking that up?” she asked, only slightly masking her annoyance that Vej had been the first to notice it, using nothing more than his eyes, when they were surrounded by state-of-the-art sensor technology which was supposed to alert them of new contacts long before they became visible to the naked eye.

    “Sorry, sir, I’m having trouble getting a clear reading on the object,” said Lieutenant Kuvex, the Kasheeta night-shift operations officer.

    Donners stood and turned to face Daystrom who was still hard at work at his station, his eyes glued to his instruments. “Wayne?”

    He shook his head. “There is nothing there, Cap.”

    She exchanged a quizzical look with Vej, then looked back towards the screen where she received visual confirmation of the object before she turned back to her science officer. "I'm pretty sure there is. If you'd like we can take a vote but I think things would come out my way. Unless you’re telling me that all our eyes are deceiving us.”

    “I am definitely picking up increased neutrino readings in the area but sensors are positive that there are no other objects within ten million kilometers of our position,” he said as he continued to tap away at his station, perhaps hoping to get different results if he just kept changing parameters.

    “We really need to get on the same page regarding things being out there or not,” said Vej

    Donners clearly agreed and turned to consider her science officer again. “Wayne?”

    “Sir?”

    “Look up for a moment.”

    He stopped working and glanced her way.

    Donners pointed at the screen. “Just tell me what you see out there.”

    He looked past her to study the view screen. “There appears to be some sort of small-sized, artificial object approximately two hundred fifty thousand kilometers from our position.”

    She offered him a little smile. “Thank you. Now, what do you think we should do about it, seeing that it isn’t showing up on any of our sensors?”

    The look he offered in response showed that he was at a loss. Wayne Daystrom may have been a scientific genius, a direct descendant from one of the greatest minds in the Federation, but as it turned out, without empirical data, he simply was not able to formulate a hypothesis.

    Donners let it slide. For all his genius, she knew that Daystrom was still a young man and some things could only be learned through experience. She turned towards the helm to find Ensign Najila Ali who was handling navigation during gamma shift. “Ensign, get us closer to that object. Half impulse for now and then reduce speed incrementally as we get closer. I want to approach this thing, whatever it is, real slow.”

    “Yes, sir,” she said and turned her attention to the helm controls.

    "And keep your eyes on that thing. Without a sensor reading, we might not get a proximity warning either. Meaning we have to do this the old-fashioned way and rely on our own eyes.”

    The young woman nodded sharply to communicate her understanding.

    Donners returned to her chair and sat down.

    “What do you think it is?” Vej asked.

    She shrugged her shoulders. "Beats me. A sensor probe perhaps. Could be debris of a larger object. Without a reading, it’s really hard to say.” She uttered a little laugh. “Guess that’s what it must have felt like in the early days of space travel.”

    “Feeling nostalgic?”

    “Not really. Half of those early explorers never got to come home.”

    He frowned. “Sorry, I asked.”

    On the screen, the object was slowly growing in size. But as Donners had asked for a sluggish approach, it took a while for the ship to get close enough to make out any details.

    “Definitely looks like a vessel of sorts,” said Vej.

    Donners nodded. “Agreed. But rather small to be this far out all on its own,” she said and then glanced towards operations. “Kuvex, what’s the nearest inhabitant planet or station from our present position?”

    The Saurian only needed a moment to bring up the requested information. “The nearest Federation outpost is Arkaria Prime which is four point two light-years from our present position. The closest non-Federation world is the Krellonian colony on Piqus VII which is two point two light-years away. There are no other known inhabited outposts in closer proximity.”

    “I have referenced the visual data of the object with our database and it doesn’t match any known configurations,” said Daystrom.

    “In all fairness,” said Donners. “We don’t exactly have a wealth of information on the Krellonians, do we?”

    “That is true.”

    “Do you think it could be one of theirs? A shuttle perhaps?”

    She nodded. “Possible. The Krellonians don’t venture out of their borders much. And why would their ship just appear out of nowhere like this? And is it the cause of the anomalous readings and the neutrino emissions? Those are questions I’d like some answers to.” She glanced towards the gamma shift officer manning the tactical station. “Ensign, hail the object.”

    The Andorian shook his head. “No response, sir.”

    “Alright, open a channel then.”

    “Channel open.”

    Donners cleared her throat. “This is Captain Amaya Donners of the Federation starship Agamemnon to the unidentified vessel off our bow. Please identify yourself and state your intentions.”

    “Message sent, no response,” the tactical officer said after a few moments of silence had gone by.

    “Keep running that, maybe we’ll get lucky. Ensign Ali, what’s our distance to the object?”

    “About thirty thousand kilometers. Give or take a few hundred.”

    “That’s well inside transporter range, I take it we still can’t get a reading on this thing, or who or what may be on board?” the captain asked.

    “No, sir, still not showing up on sensors,” Daystrom said.

    “Alright then, let’s bring it onboard. Najila, get us into tractor beam range, keep it nice and slow. Kuvex, once we are in range, bring it into the main shuttle bay and erect level-eight force fields around it.”

    Both officers acknowledged the orders.

    Vej leaned closer to the Donners at his side. "Is that wise? Bringing it on board when we don't know anything about it?"

    She smirked at that. “Where’s your sense of adventure?”

    “I lost it when you started talking about those early explorers and their success rates.”

    “We are in tractor beam range,” Ali said from the helm.

    Donners nodded. “All stop. Kuvex, bring it in.”

    “Activating tractor beam.”

    On the screen, Donners watched as the azure graviton beam grabbed hold of the object and began dragging it towards them. "Well, at least now we can confirm it's not a mass hallucination."

    “Captain,” Daystrom spoke up, sounding excited. “I am starting to get readings from the object now. It is seven point three meters long, three point two meters wide and two-point six meters in height. It is composed of different types of duranium alloys. I also read low powered warp and sub-light engines as well as a life support system.”

    “Life signs?”

    It took the science officer a moment longer to determine this but once he did, he began to nod. “Yes, sir. One bio-electrical signature confirmed. Humanoid, possibly human, but it is weak and irregular,” he said and looked up. “I think the occupant may be injured.”

    “Bridge to sickbay, prepare to receive a possibly injured humanoid from an unknown vessel. Full quarantine procedures. Signal when ready and we will beam our guest directly to sickbay,” Donners said, glancing towards the ceiling.

    “This is sickbay, acknowledged. I will summon Doctor Ssesar-Rass and let you know when we are ready to receive the patient,” the on-duty nurse responded.

    Only a few brief moments later Kuvex turned from his station to glance at the captain. “Sir, the vessel is secured in the main shuttle bay. Force fields are in effect as to your orders.”

    She nodded.

    “Sickbay to bridge, we are ready down here.”

    Amaya Donners stood from her chair. “Kuvex, get the transporter room to beam the occupant directly to sickbay,” she said and then to Daystrom: “You probably want to get a better look at that ship. Meet an engineering team down there and let me know what you find. For now, I want scans and external observations only. Don't try to enter the vessel until we know more about it."

    Daystrom nodded and got out of his chair, already summoning engineering for assistance as he headed for the turbolift.

    "You coming?" said Donners, shooting a sideways glance at Vej.

    The counselor stood and nodded “Consider my sense of adventure rekindled.”

    “Great day and we’re only getting started,” she said as she made a beeline for the secondary turbolift.

    Vej followed her closely. “You’ll keep saying that and you’ll jinx it, you know.”
     
  15. Galen4

    Galen4 Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2007
    Location:
    Sol III, within the universe of United Trek
    Alrighty, then. Now we have a strange ship / object coming onboard. I always love Trek stories that start this way, being a science fiction buff. I wonder...will there be an occupant within this thing? Where did it come from?

    Also liking Donners' crew. I've read about these characters before, but it will be fun to see them embroidered in a mystery like this one.
     
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  16. CeJay

    CeJay Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2006
    Sickbay was a hive of activity.

    Doctor Rass, the green-scaled, Selay chief medical officer with her cobra-like shaped head, was calmly delegating a whole flurry of nurses and medical technicians while she stood next to the occupied bio-bed performing a number of scans on her patient.

    A single, armed security officer was posted by the door, a standard precaution when beaming onboard an unidentified individual, even one who required treatment.

    Donners was not able to get a good look at the patient straight away with all the movement around the bed and she felt it prudent not to get any closer in order to avoid interfering with the work of the medical professionals.

    She and Vej remained close by the doors and for a moment simply watched on as these men and women were diagnosing and administering treatment under Doctor Rass’ guidance and direction.

    It was obvious that they were getting a handle on the situation. The patient had arrived in poor condition apparently but from what Donners was able to gather, it was no longer life-threatening and recovery appeared likely.

    Once things began to quiet down somewhat, she took a small step forward. “What do we have, Doctor?”

    Rass turned her head ever so slightly towards the visitor. “Ah, Captain, I did not see you there.”

    She nodded understandingly. Her primary focus was her patient, she couldn’t fault her for that.

    “Human male, approximately sixty-five years old. Initial signs point towards exhaustion, possibly brought on by high levels of stress and malnutrition. With the appropriate treatment, he is likely to make a full recovery.”

    Donners couldn’t deny that this surprised her somewhat. The galaxy tended to be far too large to come across another random human, particularly outside of Starfleet and this far from an inhabited Federation colony. Stranger things of course had happened.

    While she was not able to see his face, she did notice him stir slightly, seemingly coming back around. She could see him reaching out and grabbing hold of Nurse Xolani Nyembe’s wrist.

    “Where am I, what is this place,” he practically croaked, still weak and sounding confused.

    Nyembe offered the man a sympathetic smile. “You are on the Starfleet vessel Agamemnon. In sickbay. Can you tell us your name?”

    “Starfleet?”

    Nyembe nodded. “Yes. You are going to be all right. What is your name?”

    “My … name?”

    There was something strangely familiar to this man’s voice, Donners was certain she had heard it before. She took another step closer to be able to see past the medical team surrounding him and froze instantly.

    She hadn’t seen that face in ten years and he looked significantly slimmer and more haggard than the last time she had come across him. His black and silver hair was trimmed shorter but his hawkish facial features were impossible to forget.

    “Security to sickbay on the double.”

    All eyes turned towards Donners with a mixture of surprise and disbelieve. After all, it seemed rather unlikely that this man, in his currently dazed and exhausted state was posing much to a threat to anyone, and certainly not one that the current occupants of sickbay, including one armed guard, couldn’t handle.

    The guard present did not hesitate and quickly stepped up to Donners, awaiting further instructions.

    “Captain?” Doctor Rass asked, her limited facial expressions were not quite able to mirror the puzzled looks of her colleagues but her eyes made it clear that she was just as surprised.

    But Amaya Donners didn't react to any of this; instead, she kept her steely focus on the man still lying on the bio-bed. He didn’t appear entirely certain what was happening around him either, it seemed he was still trying to get to grips with where he had found himself or, for that matter, what his own name was.

    After a few more quiet seconds, the door to sickbay opened and two additional armed security guards entered.

    Donners spoke without looking their way. “Take this man to the brig at once.”

    That caused a few more surprised gasps by the medical team who had still not been offered an explanation for their captain’s unexpected behavior.

    Rass took a defiant step forward. “Captain, I must protest, the patient is still in my care and is not ready to be discharged. Besides, he has shown no signs of posing a threat to anyone. Certainly not in his current condition.”

    The security team hesitated for a moment, looking back at Donners for confirmation.

    “You have your orders,” she said sharply and then glanced back at the chief medical officer. “You are free to administer any additional treatment in the brig under armed supervision.”

    The security guards grabbed the confused man and dragged him off the bed, having to steady him as he was quite clearly unable to walk under his own power.

    “Captain, this is not—“

    “This man is a mass murderer, Doctor. I will not tolerate his presence anywhere other than a secured area and behind a force field. If you have any objections to this, note them in your log,” she said and watched the man being hauled out of sickbay.

    As soon as the doors had closed behind them, she turned around and chose a different exit to make a prompt departure, leaving behind a startled doctor, counselor, and medical team.


    * * *​


    It wasn’t until the third chime that Amaya stopped in her tracks, after having seriously endangered the carpet of her ready room from her incessant pacing, and shot the entrance an annoyed look. “Alright, come in.”
    The door panels parted to allow Vej to enter. He did so slowly. “I was just about to call a medical emergency.”

    “The more likely reason for somebody not answering their door is that they do not wish to be disturbed.”

    He stepped all the way inside so that the doors closed behind him. “That can’t be it, after all, who wouldn’t want to talk to a counselor?”

    “In case you haven’t been able to tell, I am not in a joking mood.”

    Vej offered a small, serious nod, acknowledging her obviously poor disposition. In fact, even Cosmo was practically cowering in the far corner of the ready room, knowing to stay well clear of his mistress when she was in one of her moods.

    “So we picked up some sort of criminal in the middle of nowhere,” he said carefully. “Funny, he didn’t strike me as the dangerous type.”

    “You of all people should know that looks can be deceiving.”

    “I tend to see more than most people.”

    She shot him a dark glare. “You read his thoughts?”

    The Ullian quickly shook his head. "Of course not. You know my policy on this. Not without explicit consent. But spending a lifetime as a telepath, not to mention being a fairly decent observer of humanoid behavior, has given me at least a little bit of insight into the nature of the people I encounter."

    “Please, even you can’t judge a book by its cover after just a few minutes,” she said and walked over to her desk. She picked up a padd and practically flung it Vej’s way.

    The counselor very nearly fumbled the device, before he had a firm grip on it and was able to study the content. “Doctor Westren Frobisher,” he said and looked up. “The name sounds familiar.”

    “Keep reading.”

    And so he did. "According to this, he—along with his research partner—worked on a dark-matter transporter device, designed to be able to transport people and objects over vast spatial distances. However, looks like the technology was abandoned when an experiment ten years ago failed and led to the death of—“ he stopped reading and looked up. “Doctor Matthew Owens?”

    Donners was leaning against her desk but refused to make eye contact with the counselor, her gaze instead directed towards the window and looking into the emptiness of outer space. “That’s right. Michael Owens’ brother.”

    “The same man you dated during Starfleet Academy and with whom you had a major falling out when you found out that he had cheated on you with another woman.”

    “To be precise, he cheated on her with me.”

    “I stand corrected. But I still don’t understand why the death of Matthew Owens would make this man, who you have decided could not be treated in sickbay over the objections of your chief medical officer, a dangerous mass murderer.”

    She stood away from the desk and looked straight at Vej. “Because, what that file you have there fails to mention, is that Westren Frobisher, disregarding all safety procedures as well as orders to cease his actions, caused the death of over two-hundred thousand people when his experiment failed disastrously.”

    To that Vej's eyes opened wider and he went back to look at the padd to see if he could find any indication of what she had claimed.

    "Don't bother trying to find any reference to this in the official reports as Starfleet decided to cover the whole affair up. But look-up the freak atmospheric anomaly on Sentaka XII which led to half a continent being practically baked alive, and you will find that it took place at exactly the same time as Frobisher’s failed experiment half a sector away.”

    “I remember that. They talked about that incident for months on the newsnets without ever providing a satisfying theory for the cause of that disaster.”

    Donners uttered a little humorless laugh. “Yeah, there was a cause alright. And he’s sitting in our brig. And the reason I know this is because I was there when it happened.”

    “You were on Sentaka XII?”

    She shook her head. “No. I was on an inconsequential and uninhabited planet light-years away. Frobisher and Owens ever only suspected a danger to the departure point. As it turned out, it was the destination that was in real danger.”

    “I … I honestly don’t know what to say.”

    “Yeah.”

    Vej looked back at the padd but when that offered no further insights into this situation, he looked around the room for a moment, obviously trying to put the pieces together. “What is he doing out here?”

    She shrugged. "Who knows? Starfleet took him into custody after that incident but he managed to escape some time after and has been on the run ever since. Officially he had only been charged with the murder of his colleague Matthew Owens, so obviously he wasn't as much of a high-profile fugitive as he should have been. Maybe he's been working on another experiment. Maybe that's what our sensors picked up out here."

    He nodded slowly. “You might be right. So what happens next?”

    Donners seemed stumped by that question, clearly, in all her anger over stumbling across Frobisher, she hadn't even considered her next move yet. “I suppose we’ll have to head to the nearest Starfleet outpost, Arkaria Prime, and hand him over to the authorities there.”

    "That makes sense," he said and returned the padd to her desk before heading towards the doors. He stopped just short and turned around again. "According to Doctor Rass, he has been asking to speak to you?"

    “Absolutely not.”

    “I can understand why you wouldn’t want to.”

    “He’s a murderer.”

    “There is that.”

    She shot him another dark look. “What else is there?”

    “It just strikes me that you have been avoiding the people who have caused you anger and anguish. From a purely therapeutical perspective, I think it would be good for you to face these issues head-on.” He continued when Donners offered nothing but a blank stare in response. “You asked me earlier today to earn my pay as a counselor. Well, if you want my professional opinion, go see this man, you don’t have to talk to him, but at the very least, look him in the eye and stand your ground instead of internalizing all your anger and your frustrations.” With that Vej turned and left the ready room.
     
  17. Galen4

    Galen4 Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2007
    Location:
    Sol III, within the universe of United Trek
    Yikes. Frobisher sounds like a mad scientist type, but as usual, there are two sides to every story.

    Still, a dark matter transporter accident that's already caused one disaster should be enough for Frobisher to abandon the project or at least try it someplace where no one is likely to get hurt.

    Odd that Starfleet would have covered up the disaster, however. I suppose there's more to that as well.

    Looking forward to more!
     
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  18. CeJay

    CeJay Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2006
    Against her own better judgment, Amaya Donners decided to follow Vej's advice after all and visit Frobisher in the brig. She wasn't entirely sure what her counselor thought this would accomplish but she had to begrudgingly admit that he was at least partially right. She did have a lot of anger boiling inside of her. But as far as she was concerned, that anger was entirely justified. And how could it not be? After all, Frobisher had been responsible for the deaths tens of thousands of people through his actions. There was, as far as she was concerned, no emotion more appropriate than furious anger when considering Westren Frobisher.

    If anything, perhaps she had to prove to herself that she was able to face this murderous and despicable man without losing control of herself and her emotions. She was a Starfleet captain after all and an entire ship and crew depended on her ability to make levelheaded and rational decisions.

    She took a deep breath before entering the detention complex, determined to not let her emotions get the better of her which was particularly difficult since, for her, his actions had also had a profoundly personal meaning. She had been right there for all of it. Maybe could have even prevented the ensuing disaster if only she had seen through his false confidence much sooner than she had.

    The heavy doors opened with a loud pneumatic hiss and she found all cells empty except for one. And even though she had purposefully taken her time before coming down to this place—four hours had passed since he had first come aboard—she found that Doctor Rass was still with Frobisher in his cell, along with two of her nurses. They had moved an entire biobed and a few medical devices into the cell with him and were still treating him for whatever injuries he may have suffered.

    Even worse as far as she was concerned, the protective energy field which kept prisoners confined was deactivated and none of the five armed security guards were on high alert, each with their weapon holstered, including the two officers inside the cell with Frobisher and the medical personnel.

    “I gave clear orders to have the prisoner confined,” Donners said sharply, trying to suppress her irritation which was quickly beginning to well up again after she had done so well in trying to control it.

    The Selay doctor turned to face her. “The patient is not a threat to anyone in his current condition. Particularly not while in a cell and surrounded by armed guards.”

    Donners was certain she could hear a hint of indignation in her voice even while her unexpressive Reptilian facial features didn't provide many indications of her general disposition.

    She took a small breath to calm herself before she spoke next. “What is his condition?”

    “Stable for now. He was suffering from severe exhaustion brought on by a number of factors we have not yet been able to determine,” she said. “He is likely to recover if we continue with the current treatment regime.”

    The implication was not so veiled even to her hears. In other words, had they done nothing, and left him to his devices in the brig as she had wanted, he would have been in a far poorer condition. Donners was not able to work up any kind of regret or second thoughts over her orders.

    She looked past the doctor to glance at the man on the bed. He was, without doubt, the same man she had met while she had been the chief engineer on the Columbia ten years ago and whom she had assisted with his experiment which had led to such disastrous consequences.

    He looked weak—frail, in fact—and nothing quite like the energetic personality he had been back then when he had practically glowed with the excitement of making his life's work a reality and enshrining his name in the history books. He was conscious but his glassy stare seemed directed into nothingness.

    She quickly cast off any doubts that this weak man who was little than a shadow of his former self would pose any serious challenges to her self-control. “I would like to speak to the prisoner alone. Give us the room, please.”

    “I do not recommend this, Captain,” Selay said. “He is still very weak and requires supervision.”

    "Fine, I'll be here supervising. Stay close by, if his condition worsens in any way, I make sure to call you," she crossed her arms over her chest to underline her firm stance on this.

    Rass apparently realized that there was no arguing with the captain on this and before checking the medical instruments monitoring Frobisher one last time, she collected her staff and slowly turned towards the exit. But not before shooting Donners one last, piercing glare, no doubt to try and communicate her displeasure with her orders of late.

    Donners all but ignored her doctor and looked towards the guards next. “Reactivate the force field and leave us.”

    There were, of course, no objections of any kind from the security personnel which did as requested and then headed out to leave Donners alone with Frobisher safely ensconced behind a nearly impenetrable wall of energy.

    Once everyone had left, she took a few small steps closer to the cell, carefully studying the prisoner on the bio bed. “You asked to see me,” she finally said without preamble and with a tone which left no doubt to her general annoyance.

    It was only now that he seemed to have noticed her presence. He turned his head slightly in her direction. “You … you are the commander of this vessel?”

    “Captain Amaya Donners.”

    “Thank you … for coming.”

    “Formerly of the starship Columbia.”

    Frobisher climbed out of his bed, probably not a wise decision since he nearly collapsed to the floor had he not steadied himself quickly. Donners, of course, made no move whatsoever to try and assist him in his struggles to keep upright.

    “I wish to thank you for your assistance so far,” he said and looked around the cell as if only now realizing where he found himself. “And of course I understand your need for … caution.”

    “This is where you belong.”

    He nodded absentmindedly before he glanced back at her, taking a few, awkward steps closer. “There is another favor I must ask of you and it is imperative that we waste no time.”

    “You don’t recognize me?”

    He looked her in the eye. “I have to apologize, my journey has left me somewhat disconcerted. I think much more so than I had anticipated. My memories seem out of sorts in a manner of speaking. I am having difficulties grasping all of them at present. I can remember some things clearly and others are seemingly floating just on the edge of my awareness.” He continued when he noticed her blank expression. “I have no doubt everything will fall back in place with time but if there is one thing I am certain of, it’s that time is not something we have in any abundance.”

    “You are Westren Frobisher, you don’t deny that?”

    He shook his head. “No. I think you are right. That is my name.”

    “But you don’t remember me? How about the Columbia? How about Sentaka XII,” she said that last name with particular intensity.

    Frobisher shook his head. “No, I’m sorry,” he said and turned away, rubbing his forehead as if trying to jog his memory.

    Donners wasn’t buying any of this. She was not going to accept his attempts at trying to use amnesia or some sort of insanity defense to get himself out of his responsibility. "Periphocles IV means nothing to you? How about a dark-matter accelerator or the name Matthew Owens?"

    He froze suddenly at then turned back to her. “Matthew? Yes.”

    “He was your colleague.”

    He nodded. “Yes. And a friend.”

    “You killed him.”

    His face turned to an expression of confusion and then outright denial. “No.”

    “Yes, you did, Doctor. You killed Matthew and many more people. And I was there when you did. And now you just happen to appear out of nowhere, light-years from anywhere of consequence and you have conveniently forgotten all about your crimes.”

    “Please, listen to me, whatever you think I am —“

    "Oh, I know exactly who and what you are, Doctor. And I will make certain that you will never be able to hurt anybody ever again. You may not be publicly held accountable for what you have done, but I will guarantee that you will pay nevertheless. And that is the only thing I have to say to you," she said and then turned and headed for the exit.

    “If we don’t act, thousands, perhaps even millions of more lives will be at risk."

    Donners stopped but kept her back to him.

    “Whatever you think of me, what I may or may not have done, I plead with you to put that aside for just a moment,” he said, his voice sounding desperate now. “Something is happening, something terrible, something that could change the face of the galaxy as we know it. There is a small chance that we can still influence events that may already be in motion, but I will need your help to do so and we don’t have much time. Please.”

    She turned around very slowly.

    “We are in the Amargosa Diaspora, yes?”

    She was tempted to tell him nothing at all, to not give him the satisfaction, but in the end, she responded with the slightest nod.

    “Good, good. We must be near the original coordinates. About four light-years from Arkaria Prime?”

    “What is this threat you are talking about?” She couldn’t help herself. She was after all still a Starfleet officer and no matter how much he despised this man, if there was even a kernel of truth to what he had said, she couldn’t afford to ignore him.

    “I think we are close. Very close. I need you to take us to spatial coordinates...” he paused for a moment, trying to remember the correct figures. “Four-two-three mark one-one-two mark five-one. I assume your vessel is capable of high warp, in which case it should take us less than three, maybe four hours to reach that destination."

    She uttered a little laugh which had nothing to do with any genuine amusement. “If you think I’m going to take you anywhere other than a prison planet, you are even more insane than I thought."

    “Four-two-three mark one-one-two mark five-one, Captain, please.”

    “What’s at those coordinates?”

    “I cannot be entirely certain. Maybe nothing at all.”

    She crossed her arms again. “That’s not even close to good enough.”

    “If there is nothing there, I’ll do whatever you ask. I will admit to whatever crimes you believe I have committed. I will publicly confess and offer no resistance to whatever you wish to do with me. But if you find something at those coordinates, we are in a greater amount of danger than you can possibly imagine. And doing nothing will seal our undoing.”

    Donners considered this for a moment, studying him intently and the way his eyes were pleading with her. It had the opposite effect on her. She felt nothing but disgust. "I've heard enough. There is no deal to be made here, Frobisher. You are a mass murdered whether you admit it or not and you will be made to pay for your actions." She whirled around on her heels and promptly headed for the exit.

    “Four-two-three mark one-one-two mark five-one,” he yelled after her. “Four-two-three mark one-one-two mark five-one, Captain. All our lives may depend on you getting us there in time.”

    She heard his desperate plea even after the heavy doors had closed behind her, sounding very much like the madman she had always known he truly was.