UT10 - Star Trek: Orion - Reunions

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction' started by Bry_Sinclair, Jul 5, 2016.

  1. Bry_Sinclair

    Bry_Sinclair Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2009
    Location:
    The glorious Shetland Isles!
    In celebration of United Trek’s Tenth Anniversary, and to satiate all those who’ve been after a new fix of Star Trek: Orion, I give you “Reunions”.

    This will be somewhat different, as the last time we saw these plucky characters was in 2375 after the loss of the Constellation-Class U.S.S. Orion. This story jumps forward ten years to late-2385 and looks at where the crew is and what they’ve been getting up to over the last decade.

    I hope you enjoy.

    * * * * *

    Chapter One


    Captain’s log, stardate: 62757.3.

    Our charting and survey mission sectors 87099 and 87100 is now complete and has given us a substantial amount of data to analyse. From what my science section tell me, it is ripe with planets of considerable scientific interest—though they seem to say that about everything. I will admit though, the rare times my First Officer allowed me to lead away missions, it was nice to feel real sunlight on my skin again, so I wouldn’t have any problems going back to a few of those worlds for more in-depth study and analysis.

    The crew has performed admirably, not that I’ve come to expect any less from them, though after a month of such intense and rapid work, they’re all looking forward to some R&R once we put into dock. On the crew front, I am happy to add that Lieutenant Texil’Vehn gave birth to his newest litter in the early hours, adding eight to out crew count and bringing his offspring up to twelve—fortunately, larger quarters have been adapted for the Lieutenant’s ever growing family, so I won’t lose such a valued member of my crew just yet.

    On a personal note, I am looking forward to our arrival at DS10; it’s been too long since I caught up with her Captain—among others onboard the station.

    End log.

    * * * * *

    Captain’s Ready Room, U.S.S. Pathfinder
    Dozaria Sector


    The bubbles of the Bolian tonic water popped on his tongue as he took a sip, while the twist of zhess (a citrus-like fruit native to Andoria) added a refreshing sharpness to the chilled liquid. Captain Reihyn smiled to himself as he enjoyed his morning beverage of choice, which, due to the pigmentation of the inhabitants of both planets, had become known as a “blue cocktail” to those onboard who’d served with him for a while—despite being crystal clear. He set the glass down and returned his attention to the report that had been submitted from the planetary science division. With every research mission he’d led, both on the Pathfinder and the Orion before her over the last ten years, it began with a comment about insufficient access to the primary senor array—even though they’d had more time allocated than most of the other science divisions, since planetary surveying had been a key part of their latest mission—before going into the full details of what they’d discovered and what it could mean for the region.

    Reihyn had to admit that geology had never been that interesting to him, barely managing to get through the mandatory classes in the subject as a freshman at the Academy, but even he could see what had gotten so many of the planetary science experts onboard excited—seven different worlds with an abundance of natural resources, untouched and unclaimed by anyone. Had the Dominion discovered even one of them then the war would most likely still be waging today, fortunately for the Quadrant they hadn’t, nor had anyone else it seemed, and being in neutral space beyond what was once the Cardassian Union, then the Federation could easily claim mining rights. Something told him that there were a few onboard who would petition to have that mission assigned to the Pathfinder, only so they could play about in the dirt for a little longer.

    Well no one said commanding a task force flagship would be glamorous, Reihyn quipped to himself. It was a billet he’d been offered two years ago, one that had torn him as it had meant leaving the U.S.S. Orion—not something he’d ever envisioned himself doing. But there weren’t many forty year olds who were given such an opportunity and the Nebula-Class ship offered a lot of potential—some even commented that a few years commanding her and he’d be in with a chance of a promotion to the admiralty, a prospect that held no interest for him.

    The sounding of the enunciator snapped him from his thoughts. He looked up at the door directly opposite his desk and called, “It’s open.”

    The parting doors revealed his First Officer, Commander Natalie Jurex, who strolled into his office. The half-Betazoid was ten years his junior, though looked as fresh-faced and youthful as when he’d first met her after the fateful mission onboard the U.S.S. DeVier, where she had been just one of three survivors and he’d had lost two good crewmembers himself. When he had assumed command of the Orion-II, after the loss of her predecessor, Jurex had been assigned as his new Operations Manager and, for a time, he found it difficult with her onboard due to the memory of what he’d been forced to do that day. But with time, and the patient ear of a good counsellor, he’d managed to work through his discomfort and come to appreciate the young woman for the bright and ambitious person she was.

    She came to stand before his desk and produced a PADD from behind her back. “We’ve just receive the latest intelligence report from DS10, sir.”

    He took the tablet and motioned to one of the chair opposite. Jurex sat as he glanced at the display. “Anything jump out at you, Nat?”

    “There have been a few more ‘incidents’ the Crimson Shadow are either taking credit for or are believed to be behind: a riot and a few instances of civil disobedience, a bombing at an industrial replicator plant, contaminated botanical samples heading to an agricultural colony, all quite low-key if you ask me. Either their running out of steam or support, or else they’re trying to remain in the public eye whilst plotting something bigger.

    “All is quiet from within the Keldon Empire, those energy spikes of recent months seemed to have dropped off. There looks to be some important meeting between a Federation Councillor and a representative of the Cardassian Alliance in the next few days on DS10, though Intel is being tight-lipped on the specifics—no surprise there. Whilst the Detapa Republic have stepped up their patrols along their border with the League of Sovereign Colonies, looks like the two have been having a few stand-offs over the last couple of weeks.”

    “May you live in interesting times,” he muttered to himself as he listened to his XO and read over the initial report.

    “We certainly do, Captain,” she said with a smirk.

    That could well be the understatement of the decade. Since the end of the war, the former Cardassian Union was a hotbed of political upheaval and fallout, with power struggles, assassinations, corruption, and mismanagement happening on almost a daily basis. It wasn’t until late in 2379 when things seemed to stabilise, though even that didn’t last, as within two years the tentative progress they had made fell apart completely, which had led to a unified Cardassia being torn into three new entities: the Detapa Republic, the Cardassian Alliance, and the Keldon Empire. Over the last four years, the three new nations had made more progress individually than they had ever done so collectively, though they were far from being completely stable. The Federation had offered the hand of friendship and support, to which the Alliance clung on for dear life, the Republic accepted when it was of benefit to them, and the Empire batted away, which pretty much summed up what was to be expected from the three.

    “What about the ship? Everything running smoothly, I take it.”

    “Yes sir, latest system status reports have been logged for your review. We remain steady on course at warp six-point-five. ETA at DS10 is in six days, four hours and change. Sickbay also reports that the Lieutenant and his offspring are doing fine, if a little noisy.”

    Reihyn chuckled to himself. “I can imagine it would. I’ll have to get down there and extend my congratulations in person. I’m sure Lieutenant Ngo can get by with one man short for the next few months.”

    “Of that I have no doubt, sir.” She paused for a moment, seeming a little apprehensive, which always happened when she tried to switch from work to matters of a more personal nature—though she had done a stellar job of taking on the mantle as his new First Officer two years ago, she still had trouble speaking to him as a person rather than a superior.

    After a moment she shrugged to herself and dove in. “You must be looking forward to getting back to the station. Love over light-years is never easy.”

    No that is the understatement of the decade, he quipped to himself, grinning at the thought as he pictured his fiancés beautiful face. “Nothing worthwhile in life comes easy, Natalie, you’ve always got to work at it.”

    “I’ll remember—”

    She was cut off by the intercom filling the ready room. “Bridge to Reihyn,” came Lieutenant Commander Moq’s deep voice.

    “Go ahead.”

    “Sir, we’ve just picked up a faint distress call. It looks to be Krayan in origin.”

    Reihyn’s eyes locked with his First Officer’s. Like Bajor, Kray had been a world that had been conquered decades ago by the Cardassian Union; strip mined for everything of value, the people had been a race of slaves, whose attempts to resist had been quashed time and time again. When the war ended, their world was liberated and given all the aid the Federation could manage, to the point they were finally starting to stand on their own four feet. Over the eight years he’d commanded the Orion, they’d made dozens of trips to the small backwater planet, given whatever aid and instruction they could, even ferried their First Speaker on a goodwill tour of other worlds in the same situation as themselves, to try and establish some solidarity between the victims of Cardassian oppression.

    “We’re on our way,” he said, rising from his chair and heading for the exit, Jurex behind him.

    Stepping onto the bridge, Reihyn headed straight for ops whilst Jurex stepped up to the upper level where Moq stood at tactical. Before he even opened his mouth the ops manager, the highly-efficient Lieutenant Ngo Tan Due, began.

    “I have confirmed that the signal is Krayan in origin, attempting to lock down its exact origin but it looks to be coming from two-one-seven-mark-zero-four-five. Audio only but it’s heavily garbled, I’m trying to clear it up now.”

    “Could you make out anything?”

    “Just snippets of words, sir, not enough to discern anything of use,” Ngo said, finally looking up at him.

    “As quick as you can, Lieutenant,” he instructed then turned to Lieutenant Essi Taua, the Lothran conn officer. “Drop us out of warp and hold position. Input the approximate heading into the navcomp, standby to correct and engage at maximum warp.”

    “Confirmed Captain,” she stated with a nod of her envirosuit-clad head, being a hydrogen breather the standard M-Class atmosphere of the ship was toxic to her.

    Reihyn turned to the back of the bridge, looking at Jurex and Moq, two officers he’d served with for at least ten years and proven themselves to be exemplary countless times in that period, he was lucky to have such steady presences onboard.

    “No ships or warp trails in the immediate area, sir,” assured the Tellarite security chief.

    “Intel had no reports of unusual activity out here either,” the Commander added.

    He nodded at both of them, just as Ngo’s station chirped. “I’ve gotten the transmission cleared up, sir, putting on speakers.”

    “...is Kray...sport Ol’dana Khes. Ther...ee...xplosi...our engine...lost main...ulsion and env...tems also...off...hear us, we nee...assist...”

    “Can you clean it up anymore, Due?”

    The Vietnamese officer shook his head as he continued to work. “Negative, sir. That’s as good as I can get it.”

    “It sounded like an explosion onboard has crippled key systems.”

    “I would have to concur, Commander. See if our records have anything on the Ol’dana Khes.”

    “Aye sir.”

    “Captain, I have confirmed their heading, co-ordinates routed to the conn. It looks like they’re in a small planetary system, two light-years away.”

    “Conn,” he said, glancing at Taua.

    “On our way, Captain,” she replied tapping the warp activation button.

    “Mr Moq, see if you can raise them, let them know help is on the way.”

    “Aye sir.”

    * * * * *

    Accommodation Section, Deep Space 10
    Yaren System, Lazon Sector


    Jil Sarat, diplomatic attaché to Envoy Marvek of the Cardassian Alliance, stood in quiet the turbolift well aware of the four pairs of eyes that watched her intently. Even though she had only been sixteen when the war ended, she knew that there were many in the quadrant who didn’t like Cardassians, nor would they ever, so she had come to expect suspicion whenever she was off planet. Her way of dealing with it was to keep as low a profile as possible, avoid eye contact and try to keep out of the way of others—after all she wasn’t the one with a security escort.

    The lift slowed and she glanced at the display. It was her stop. The doors parted and she quickly slipped out, a Bolian mother pulled her young son closer to her as Sarat passed them. The corridor was empty so when the turbolfit doors closed, she was able to take a breath. She had hoped that over the last ten years things may have changed, but hate and fear weren’t so easy to recover from. It was the reason she had joined the diplomatic corps, hoping to try and ease some of the animosity, to build bridges and work on establishing better relations. Three years in, after gaining distinctions in political science and sociology, she was still little more than a secretary, running errands and taking minutes—not exactly the kind of thing that changed the galaxy.

    With a sigh she headed towards the VIP section. Marvek was late for a conference call and hadn’t been responding to his comlink, nor was his bodyguard, Glinn Toren. It wasn’t the first time she’d been unable to get in touch with them; they were typically thick as thieves due to their family connections, Marvek having been good friends with the soldiers’ father, and both of them having an over-fondness for kanar. As such she didn’t want to involve station security and have the makings of a scandal on her hands, though the Envoy had assured her they wouldn’t celebrate until after the meeting with Councillor T’Vell—though this wouldn’t be the first time he’d made her such assurances either.

    Maybe I could ask for a transfer, she mused as she walked through the well-lit corridors, which were an inoffensive shade of beige, as were most of the civilian or crew areas, whilst operational sections were typically grey—not that she’d gotten to see many of those areas of the station. She shook her head and cleared the thought, as menial as the work was, she was present when the Cardassian Alliance was making history, though as a witness rather than someone who could shape it, but still it was a beginning. A few years with Marvek and she’d be on course for doing great things herself, after all the man had to retire sometime soon.

    Sarat rounded the last corner and saw that Toren wasn’t standing by the door, which meant the Envoy was either elsewhere in the station or, more likely, they were inside with an open bottle. She got a sinking feeling as she neared the door, wondering what excuse she could use this time for his tardiness—the Representatives back home had heard most of the plausible ones so far, which meant she’d need to get creative, even though they would all know the truth anyway.

    She tapped the enunciator and waited. There wasn’t a sound from inside. She tried it again but was met with the same response. Gods, when did they start this morning? Did they even go to bed last night? The Federation Councillor would be here tomorrow morning, with talks due to start immediately. The Cardassian Alliance needed to strengthen its bonds with the UFP if they were to keep going, with a weak economy base and a limited infrastructure they needed a more robust treaty with the Federation. It would benefit both sides, as a more stable Alliance would help maintain the peace in the former Union’s space, which would give the UFP a stronger partner in regional affairs, as well as opening multiple bases and planets up for Starfleet to have full access to.

    She tried one last time, then tapped in Marvek’s door code—she always made sure to memorise it, for times like this. The doors parted and she stepped into the lounge area, expecting to see them there, sitting, slouched or passed out, talking, singing or snoring, but it was empty. Everything was just as it had been the previous evening when she’d left.

    Her brow creased as she looked around. There was a full bottle of kanar on a tray on top of the low table in the middle of the seating area, just as it had been last night, the four glasses right where she’d last seen them. On the desk, the terminal was off and the stack of datapads hadn’t been touched—particulars of the meeting with Councillor T’Vell that Marvek was ‘going to peruse’ when she’d left for her own bed. The sinking feeling she’d had outside deepened, her stomach tightening.

    “Envoy?” she called out. “Envoy Marvek? Glinn Toren?”

    The silence made her heart pound.

    Slowly, she headed for the bedroom, the door to which was closed. As she got closer she noticed a change in the air, she could taste a metallic tang. The doors remained shut when she reached them. Hand shaking she tapped the panel.

    As the whispered open, the smell intensified, like a smack to the face causing her to step back.

    Don’t go in there! Call security! her mind screamed at her, but she stepped forward, into the bedroom.

    Jil Sarat’s scream could be clearly heard in the corridor outside Envoy Marvek’s sepulchre.

    * * * * *
     
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  2. admiralelm11

    admiralelm11 Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2009
    Location:
    Vancouver, WA
    This is really good, Bry! I am hooked. More, please?!
     
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  3. CeJay

    CeJay Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2006
    Great to have these awesome characters back. Also, loving the focus on the post-post Dominion War Cardassia. Looks like politics are going to play a big part of this ... or, if politics fail, armed conflict. Looking forward to find out what it will be.
     
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  4. TheLoneRedshirt

    TheLoneRedshirt Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    May 22, 2007
    Location:
    Here and now.
    Glad you're bringing back the Orion characters and you've started with a bang! A mysterious distress call and Sarat's scream do not portend a typical day at the office. Looking forward to more!
     
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  5. Bry_Sinclair

    Bry_Sinclair Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2009
    Location:
    The glorious Shetland Isles!
    Thank you all, I'll hope to do your expectations justice.
     
  6. Bry_Sinclair

    Bry_Sinclair Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2009
    Location:
    The glorious Shetland Isles!
    Chapter Two


    Nadia’s, The Plaza, Deep Space 10
    Yaren System, Lazon Sector


    “Open the docking bay, here comes the shuttle,” Aleksander Jachim said as he twisted and turned the spoon he held, making a whooshing sound.

    The infant in the highchair squealed with excitement, reaching for the spoon. Jachim evaded Maja’s flailing arms and got the spoon into her open mouth, where she quickly wolfed it down. He held up the bowl for her.

    “All gone. Who’s a hungry little girl today?”

    Giggling from across the table made him look up. Enan Lanali sat watching him with a grin from pointed ear to pointed ear.

    “What?”

    She shook her head. “You know you’re a goofball when it comes to feeding time at the zoo, right?”

    He chuckled. “Yes,” he said simply, grinning back at her. “You used to find it adorable.”

    “Oh I still do, I guess goofballs are just my thing.”

    “You’re only realising this now, after nine years of marriage?”

    Lanali shrugged. “I’ve been busy.”

    Before he could say anything more, Nadia Lowes, the proprietor and head chef of the bistro they were sat in, came over to their table, a wide smile on her face. “Well it must’ve been good,” she said to them, before crouching down beside Maja. “Was that yummy?”

    The eighteen month old giggled and squeaked, smacking her hands on the top of her chair—a definite sign that she’d enjoyed her meal. Nadia smiled at her and looked at the proud parents again.

    “The other two not with you today?”

    Jachim shook his head. “They’d both rather spend time with friends than their own parents; we’re not that embarrassing are we?”

    “I’m not,” Lanali said dryly.

    Nadia chuckled. “Their loss, as I have a batch of Ktarian toffee pastries fresh from the oven accompanied with Bajoran honey ice-cream.”

    “You are a wicked woman, Nadia,” Lanali said, almost drooling at the mention of the pastries.

    “So I take it you’ll be staying for dessert then.”

    Just as Jachim was about to answer his combadge chirped. “Aster to Jachim.”

    “Go ahead,” he replied tapping the pin on his chest.

    “Captain, we have a code Alpha-10,” his new security chief stated solemnly.

    Jachim felt the blood drain from his face. Lanali’s eyes went wide at the announcement, whilst Nadia noticed the shift in mood at the table and quietly excused herself. An ‘Alpha-10’ was a subtle code used for indicating there had been a multiple murder onboard; it wasn’t one that was used very often and one Jachim had never expected he would ever hear.

    “Where?”

    “Civilian accommodation, level two, section J-12. Room 113.”

    He knew exactly which room it was, after all it wasn’t everyday they had a government representative onboard, which made this situation all the worse. “How many?”

    “Two, sir.”

    “Seal off the entire section, I’m on my way. Jachim out.”

    What had started off as a relatively easy day—or as easy as running a starbase on the far side of Cardassian space could be—had just turned into something he hoped he wouldn’t have to deal with. He locked eyes with Lanali, who gave him a single nod. He was needed elsewhere, so dessert would have to wait.

    “I’ll get her to day care, check on the boys, then get up to Ops.”

    He paused long enough to kiss his wife and daughter goodbye, then headed out onto the main thoroughfare, mind racing as to what needed to be done. As he hurried towards the nearest lift he tapped his combadge.

    “Jachim to Ops.”

    “Kincaid here,” his XO replied promptly.

    “Commander, we have an Alpha-10 in the envoy’s quarters. I’m on my way there now, lock down the station and raise shields. No ship is to leave.”

    “Understood,” Kincaid said simply. The man wasn’t one for displaying his emotions, more so than a few Vulcans Jachim had known over the years.

    “Also alert the Councillor’s ship, this could be someone targeting the delegates for both sides of these talks.”

    “Acknowledged. We’ll begin active scans for cloaked ships in the area as well.”

    “Alert me of any developments. Jachim out.”

    He reached the bank of lifts and entered an override code which would give him priority access, though he’d need to wait a few moments for a carriage to arrive. As he did he couldn’t help but think about the newest addition to his crew, security chief Jeremy Aster, the man who would now be leading his first multiple murder investigation. Aster was a smart officer, had had a few of choice assignments including time spent at the Federation Embassy on Qo’noS and, most recently, heading up security onboard the Challenger, but something like this would be a powder keg in an already politically delicate area. Though he didn’t doubt the Lieutenant’s ability to lead the investigation, they would need to be beyond reproach, which would mean calling in experts.

    The turbolift doors opened and he entered. The doors closed and he was quickly heading for the VIP accommodation section, given priority over all other carriages.

    “Jachim to Van Heerden.”

    “Go ahead, sir.”

    “Commander, I want you to contact the Starfleet Criminal Investigative Service. See if they have any field agents near our position who could be made available to us.”

    “Understood,” the communications officer responded.

    “And Commander, I’d like a full list of all ships in dock, including their last four ports, their current flight plan, and anything else you can dig up on them.”

    “You got it, Captain.”

    The channel closed and Jachim was left with just the hum of the lift. He’d secured the station, alerted the Councillor’s ship of a potentially dangerous situation, sought out support for the investigation, and was looking into the ships docked, until he knew more there wasn’t much else he could do. Once his duty was seen too, his thoughts immediately went to his family and their safety onboard. He would do anything to keep them safe, for a time he’d even considered retiring from service in order to stay with them.

    The lift slowed and stopped. He emerged to a corridor buzzing with activity, mostly security personnel, though in amongst the gold collars there were a few teal ones, medical and science specialists with forensics training. A small crowd of civilians and off-duty crew were being held back and directed away from section J-12, their enquiries about what was going on left unanswered.

    As Jachim was let through the crowd, a few of the station’s staff who were gawking made themselves scarce when they spotted him. He couldn’t blame them for being curious, seeing such a major security incident was rare—this had been only the third during the two years DS10 had been operational. As he entered the corridor that led to the Envoy’s quarters he noticed a few of the security guards, including a couple of veteran non-coms, looking pale, whilst one ensign was bent over with their head between their knees.

    Just outside the entrance he noticed a young Cardassian female, dressed in a smart navy suit, she was as white as paper and was visibly shaking. He’d met her briefly when the Envoy had come aboard and quickly recalled her being introduced as Sarat, his aide. Lieutenant sh’Thanar and Chief Lennox were with her, trying to calm her down whilst asking her questions.

    The doors to the executive guest apartment had been locked open, allowing the crew to come and go with ease. As he crossed the threshold the smell of blood hit him. The air was thick with it although the reception room looked spotlessly clean and well ordered, but it was still being scrutinised by the science crew drafted in. They would search every square centimetre of the room, looking for any trace of what had happened or who was responsible. It took him only seconds to scan the faces in the room and see that Aster wasn’t among them, so turned towards the bedroom, the door to which was open as well. From his current angle he noted there were countless pinpricks of red on the warm coloured walls and thick carpet.

    Taking a deep breath of foul smelling air, he headed into the room. He stopped dead in his tracks.

    As bad as he’d been expecting, what he saw was far worse—something he was certain he’d never forget for as long as he lived. The entire room was covered in a fine spray of blood, the bulkheads, ceiling, floor, furnishings; nothing had been left untouched by blood, though the bed was soaked through with viscous, crimson liquid. On top of the bed, both stretched out straight, were two male Cardassians, though he couldn’t tell which one was the Envoy and which was the bodyguard.

    Both men had been flayed. Their bodies were nothing but red raw muscle; whilst above them, covering the opaque viewport, hung their scaly, grey skins.

    Jachim’s lunch lurched in his stomach, but he managed to keep it down, though wouldn’t be eating again anytime soon. Tearing his eyes away from the grotesque scene, he focused on the three officers in the room; Doctor Tenu, Lieutenant Aster, and Lieutenant j.g. Sorus, all of whom looked a little worse for wear.

    He opened his mouth but found himself unable to speak, his mind blank for a moment. Get it together, Alek, he scorned himself. He needed to set an example for the crew.

    “What have we got so far?” he asked, his voice soft.

    Aster turned away from the macabre display; clearly the security chief was as affected by the crime scene as Jachim was. “The bodies were discovered fifteen minutes ago by the Envoy’s aid. He was late for a subspace call with the Alliance cabinet, in conference room ten, so she came looking for him. She found the main room undisturbed, then entered here and found the bodies, then called it into Security. As you can understand, she is very shaken and, as yet, hasn’t been able to tell us much.

    “I’ve got teams checking with other residents in this section, as well as a couple of techs looking over the surveillance footage and sensor logs. So far no one saw or heard anything until Sarat started screaming.”

    Jachim nodded at the younger man. “Lieutenant, given the victims in this case and the ramifications this will undoubtedly have for our relations with the Cardassian Alliance, I’ve asked if the SCIS has anyone they could spare to assist you. It’s not that I doubt your abilities—”

    “It’s alright, sir. I was just going to ask if I could call them in, after all they are the experts, dealing with cases like this far more often than I have.”

    He gave him a weak smile. “Thank you, Mr Aster. If I hear anything from them I’ll let you know immediately, in the meantime however, start digging into their backgrounds—this could be a personal vendetta against one, or both, of them.”

    “Aye sir,” he said and headed out to join the rest of his team.

    Jachim looked between the two men in teal body suits—it may have been a throwback to olden days, but forensics specialists needed to ensure they didn’t unwittingly contaminate the scene or evidence. Whilst Tenu was getting a closer look at the bodies, Sorus was using a holo-imager to capture three dimensional records of the bodies and the room. Not wanting to disrupt his CMO, he focused first on the Tiburonian scientist, who was the designated forensics officer onboard.

    “Lieutenant, is there anything you can tell me?”

    “Not yet, sir, we’ve only just gotten started. What I can discern so far is that everything happened in here, nothing was out of place in the other rooms. Initial tricorder sweeps show no signs of transporter signatures, nor any trace of anyone outside the Envoy or his staff being in the entire suite. Once we’ve conducted a full examination we’ll hopefully have more to go on.”

    “I’d like you to give Miss Sarat a thorough sweep as well, she may be putting on an elaborate act.”

    “Aye sir, I’ll see to it personally.”

    “Very well, carry on, Lieutenant,” he concluded, as Tenu stood straight once again, the Pandrilite towering above most other humanoids on the station.

    “Any initial findings, Doctor?” he enquired, remaining where he stood.

    The station’s senior physician moved closer, his gloved hands smeared with congealed blood. “Preliminary time of death is between 0300 and 0330, if the environmental controls remained constant. I’d also concur with the Lieutenant, both men were killed here.”

    “Cause of death?”

    Tenu looked up at the skins, which were complete, as though they were a suit that had been removed. Jachim followed his gaze, realising what he meant before he spoke.

    “It looks as though they were skinned alive, Captain.”

    “My god.”

    * * * * *

    Cockpit, S.S. Wayfarer
    Docking Bay 2, Deep Space 10


    “All ships, this is DS10 Operations. Please be advised, all departures have been suspended, effective immediately.”

    The authoritative voice seemed ten times louder than the standard comlink, making Diego Ramirez wince as he pulled out the earpiece, though his ear was still ringing. He poked his finger in his ear and wiggled it, trying to ease the officer’s booming message that seemed to echo in his head, frowning as he did so. It was unusual for all ships to be locked down without explanation, which meant that something serious had happened onboard.

    The single entrance opened and he heard a familiar pattern of footsteps come up behind him, followed by a hand on the nape of his neck, which made him tingle as it always did. He looked up at Cameron Barrett, whose smile fell away when he saw the scowl on his face.

    “What’s wrong?”

    “Ops has cancelled all departures.”

    “What? Why?” Cam asked.

    Diego shook his head. “I don’t know, they’re not saying.”

    Cam scowled. “We need to leave today if we’re to make it to Delavi for that job, couldn’t you pull a favour with Jachim and let us get away?”

    “If I know the Captain, he’ll have been the one who issued the order, and I doubt no matter how many favours I tried to cash in he’d never let us go.”

    “Damn,” Cam muttered, perching himself on the edge of the inactive engineering console behind Diego. “Well, let’s hope this is just some sort of drill and they’ll let us out of here sooner rather than later.”

    “We can but hope,” he said, not feeling all that hopeful—there was something about the announcement from the station, something that made him think there was something very wrong going on. “If we don’t get out, there will be other jobs—ones that don’t involve working for the Delavite. You’d think after decades dealing with other races, they’d at least consider improving their hygiene,” he added, trying to sound more upbeat than he felt.

    Cam only gave him a small smirk.

    “Since we’re going to be here for a little longer than expected, why don’t we go back to the station and have lunch?”

    “I’m not hungry,” his husband replied, his grey eyes darkening. He pushed off the console. “I’ll go and let Tava and the others know about the delay, maybe get that hiccup with the sensor array seen too. Enjoy your lunch,” he said as he stepped back through the hatch on the aft bulkhead.

    Diego’s frown deepened. Cam had been a little tightly wound since they’d arrived at DS10 three days ago, which was unusual as he typically enjoyed their stops at the starbase—especially when they had the chance to meet up with Diego’s former shipmates and their growing family. This time however, he’d barely left the old Ju’day-Class ship. It worried him.

    Enan might know what’s going on and when we’ll be able to get away, he mused, deciding to try and track down the stations operations officer, if only to give Cam some peace of mind.

    * * * * *

    Bridge, U.S.S. Resilient
    En Route to Deep Space 10, Lazon Sector


    Well what next? Captain Tabitha Archibald (“Archie” to all those who knew her well) asked herself.

    What should’ve been a straight forward task to transport Councillor T’Vell to DS10, where she would be involved in some confidential talks with special envoy from the Cardassian Alliance, was turning into one seriously fluxed up assignment. They had been contacted less than an hour ago, told that there could be person (or persons) unknown plotting to derail the Federation Councillor’s mission, though offered nothing more than that. Figuring it best to err on the side of caution, she had ordered their shields up and placed tactical on high alert, whilst also slowing them down to warp four—just in case they were instructed to turn back.

    This had, of course, caused the elder Vulcan to come to the bridge in search of answers—which Archibald and her crew simply didn’t have. She’d even hailed the station and gotten the XO, Commander Kincaid, onscreen to try and placate the Councillor. Unfortunately, he hadn’t been cleared to provide them with any further information, but that he would have Captain Jachim contact them as soon as he was free. She had assured T’Vell that once that call came through, Archibald would make sure she was in the loop.

    Unimpressed the VIP had left, and peace had momentarily been restored, until SCIS Headquarters had been on priority subspace demanding to speak to their other passengers. As they were heading out to the far side of the former Cardassian Union, the Resilient had also been asked to ferry a trio from the Starfleet Criminal Investigative Service to the Volnar Colony, to give the law enforcement officers there a crash course in their techniques and protocols.

    "Problem Captain?” Lieutenant Commander Dedix, her Denobulan first officer, asked quietly, leaning over their shared console so as to not be overheard.

    “Just remembering that, once upon a time, Intrepid-Class ships were once considered state-of-the-art.”

    His impossibly large smile spread across his tanned face. “We can still fly rings around some of those newbie classes.”

    “That may be so, but they’re not stuck on the interstellar taxi duty.” She was feeling flustered, which would lead to her getting antsy, then annoyed, if she didn’t work off some of her pent up energy. “I’m going below. Contact me as soon as we hear anything from DS10.”

    “Aye Captain.”

    Archibald rose to her feet and headed to the turbolift next to tactical. Whenever she started feeling like this, she made a point of personally dropping in with the department heads, checking up on their status. The unannounced visits were both a way for her to burn off some repressed energy and inspect what was going on.

    Before the door sensors could register her approach, they swished open and for the second time that day a passenger emerged onto her bridge, which brought Archibald up short. I had to jinx it by asking the question, didn’t I?

    Unlike the lavishly dressed Councillor, the woman who now stepped onto the deck was in a simple but smart, light grey suit, which complemented her bright blue skin. Archibald hadn’t spent any time with the SCIS specialists, just the customary meet and greet in the transporter room, though she easily remembered the team leader and criminal profiler.

    “Special Agent Myza,” she began, plastering a polite smile on her face, “is there something I can do for you?”

    The Benzite tilted her head to the side, her large eyes narrowing slightly for a moment. “Captain, I’m sorry to interfere in shipboard operations, but we must reach DS10 as quickly as possible.”

    “Excuse me?”

    “My team and I are needed on the station. Once we are underway, I have been given permission to brief you with what I know so far.”

    “What about the Councillor?”

    “Her safety is, of course, a priority, but our mission is of vital importance. As soon as we are in range, my team will take a shuttle over to the station and you can withdraw to a safe distance.”

    Archibald paused a moment to process what she was being told, before turning towards the viewscreen. “Ensign, take us to maximum warp. XO, have engineering pull out all the stops and get a shuttle prepped for launch.”

    As both officers confirmed her orders, Archibald gestured towards her ready room and followed the investigator towards her office, feeling annoyed, perplexed and intrigued in equal measures.

    * * * * *
     
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2016
    CeJay and Gibraltar like this.
  7. TheLoneRedshirt

    TheLoneRedshirt Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    May 22, 2007
    Location:
    Here and now.
    Wow, seems like everyone is having a bad day. The murder of the two Cardassians was particularly brutal, either an act of incredible rage or someone wants to send a message. Looks like all leaves are canceled and the hunt for the killer(s) has just begun. One can only that this isn't the beginning of a wave of murders!
     
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  8. Tribble puncher

    Tribble puncher Captain Captain

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2012
    Location:
    Washington, OK
    Between you and TLR, Starbases aren't very safe places to be. ;)
     
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  9. Bry_Sinclair

    Bry_Sinclair Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2009
    Location:
    The glorious Shetland Isles!
    Just you wait :evil:
     
  10. admiralelm11

    admiralelm11 Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2009
    Location:
    Vancouver, WA
    Starbases? Safe? They're stationary and easy targets. Give me a maneuverable starship any way. I like where the lives of the former Orion officers are going, Bry.
     
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  11. Kuri

    Kuri Lieutenant Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2016
    Hey hey! @Bry_Sinclair Finally I get to dive into an Orion adventure. Just read the first section of the first chapter so far. Your crew looks very interesting. Your on-bridge dialogue is very authentic. Can't wait to see how this one develops. Reihyn is an interesting name. Where'd that come from?
     
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  12. Bry_Sinclair

    Bry_Sinclair Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2009
    Location:
    The glorious Shetland Isles!
    Rigel IX.
     
  13. CeJay

    CeJay Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2006
    Something most foul is afoot and the search for one of possibly more killers is under way. The political ramifications are quite interesting as well, this is clearly no isolated incident. I appreciate a story with some intrigue. This promises to deliver quite a bit of that.
     
  14. Bry_Sinclair

    Bry_Sinclair Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2009
    Location:
    The glorious Shetland Isles!
    Crap, need to deliver it now :lol:
     
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  15. Gibraltar

    Gibraltar Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2005
    Location:
    US Pacific Northwest
    Fantastic stuff! Lots of drama happening on all fronts as everyone converges on the station to uncover who or what is behind this tragedy. I'm loving the look into the futures of the original Orion crew, and all the changes a decade can bring.
     
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  16. Kuri

    Kuri Lieutenant Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2016
    @Bry_Sinclair Finished the rest of chapter 1. Fine cliffhangar! Skullduggery is afoot! And with Cardassians, I think I know where the blame will fall...:klingon:
     
  17. Count Zero

    Count Zero Make our planet great again! Moderator

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2005
    Location:
    European Union
    Yep. No pressure, though. ;)
     
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  18. Kuri

    Kuri Lieutenant Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2016
    @Bry_Sinclair Hi me again. I read chapter 2 so im up to date now. You've put the pieces, ships, and characters all in place for an intriguing murder-in-space plot. Nicely done, and I look forward to the conclusion. I was quite interested in what a space csi team would be capable of - like using tricorders to scan for transporter beams. I guess they still use dna testing? i dunno. it must get much more complex with all the alien species...

    Im replying on ipad while traveling now so sorry for formatting. ill be back!:cool:
     
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  19. Bry_Sinclair

    Bry_Sinclair Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2009
    Location:
    The glorious Shetland Isles!
    Chapter Three


    Operations Centre, Deep Space 10
    Yaren System, Lazon Sector


    Stepping off the turbolift, Jachim found the operations centre to be alive with activity. The facility was circular in design, with stations on the outer bulkheads, then two rings of consoles facing in towards the command table; every single post was manned, junior officers and non-coms darting between them with PADDs. Everyone knew about the Alpha-10 alert, though not all would be privy to the full details.

    Jachim noted that Lanali wasn’t at her post yet, though knew that she would be seeing to the kids, so he wouldn’t be overly distracted worrying about them, whilst at the central station, where he and Commander Kincaid typically worked from, he spotted two other key officers who he’d be relying on heavily during this incident; Lieutenant Commander Kara Drezner and Lieutenant Nezra, both of whom were as busy as the rest of the crew—whilst both would be getting busier.

    As he approached the table, Lieutenant Commander Van Heerden caught his eye so he diverted to speak with the communications chief.

    “Captain, I’ve heard back from SCIS. They had a team onboard the Resilient that was heading to one of the outlying Bajoran colonies; they are being dispatched here to assist with the investigation.”

    “When will they arrive?”

    “The Resilient has gone to maximum warp, so they’ll be here within a couple of hours, sir.”

    “Excellent. Please inform Lieutenant Aster and make all the necessary arrangements for them, including unrestricted computer access.”

    “Aye sir.”

    Jachim quickly moved to the command table and looked at the three officers who stood there. “Status.”

    “All ships have been locked down, sir, though there are some who are already lodging complaints and demanding to know why,” Kincaid began.

    “We need to try and keep as much information contained as we can, at least until we have some actual leads to pursue.”

    There was a sudden shift in the other officers, which told Jachim that things weren’t going to go the way he wanted. It was Nezra, his diplomatic officer, who finally broke the bad news to him.

    “The Cardassian Alliance know already, sir.”

    “What?”

    The three officers looked between themselves for a moment, then back at him, though Kincaid continued after the Denobulan. “We don’t know how it got out, but just minutes ago we were contacted by the Alliance Representative Council, demanding to know what has happened to their Envoy and who is in custody for the crime.”

    He pinched the bridge of his nose, feeling a migraine coming on. He knew that given the seriousness of the crime that they wouldn’t be able to keep it quiet for very long, though he’d hoped to have been the one to inform the Alliance—so he knew exactly what information they’d been given and assure them they were doing all they could.

    “They are insisting they speak to you, Captain,” Nezra added.

    Taking a moment to order his thoughts, he opened his eyes again and looked first at Drezner, the stations strategic ops officer. “Commander, alert all starships in the immediate area, inform them we may be in need of the services—especially the Pathfinder, we have to make sure the task force flagship is at the forefront—then carry out a full tactical assessment of Alliance forces in the region; I want to know what kind of threat they could pose to us.”

    Drezner nodded. “Aye sir. Last report put the Pathfinder six days out, though they were just at warp six.”

    He turned to Kincaid. “XO, you and Van Heerden need locate where that leak came from and plug it. The last thing we need is for more information to get out into the public domain.”

    “We’ll see to it, Captain.”

    “Lieutenant, we’ll speak with the Representative Council.”

    Nezra gave him a nod. He gestured to his office, where they would be able to speak with the Cardassians in private, away from the manic bustle of ops. From his quiet office, Jachim could open a priority channel to the leading body of the Cardassian Alliance, though was still uncertain of what he would tell them. Once they reached his desk he sat down and paused a moment.

    “What’s your opinion of the Alliance, Lieutenant?”

    The Denobulan didn’t answer right away, taking time to put her thoughts in order. “Of the three groups to emerge from the collapse of the New Union, the Alliance is definitely the most progressive. However, it is wise to remember that they are still Cardassian, with all the pride and paranoia they are well known for. Though they were wanting stronger bonds with the Federation, an incident like this will test their real place on the political spectrum—if they are truly looking to move away from what their people are known for, or if they will fall back into their old ways.

    “Envoy Marvek was one of the old guard,” she continued. “He sided with the Alliance due to negative personal and familial connection with the leaderships of both the Republic and the Empire, but he was by no means a great lover of the Federation. He may not have been a Representative, but his place as a special envoy and advisor gave him a lot of power in the government, so his voice carried weight. His murder, on a Starfleet installation, may be taken as a sign by those he was closest too on the Council—depending on just how many that is, we could be in the middle of a major interstellar incident.”

    “So, what happens from this subspace call could well change the political landscape of the quadrant.”

    “Yes sir. No pressure.”

    He gave a single, humourless laugh, then opened the comm system. The response to his communiqué was almost instant, with the emblem of the Cardassian Alliance filling the large display on the bulkhead adjacent to his desk. He stood, moved to face the monitor, his hands clasped behind his back, Nezra standing quietly to his side.

    The emblem was replaced with the stern, scaly, grey face of a middle-aged Cardassian man, one Jachim knew from multiple intelligence and news sources, though had never spoken to before, the leader of the Alliance, Chief Executive Kioll Garan. His posture stiffened a little more, given the man he was addressing.

    “I am Captain Aleksander Jachim, commander of Deep Space 10. On behalf of the Federation, I wish to extend to you—”

    “Your empty platitudes will not suffice, Captain. I demand to know what has happened to our diplomatic envoy. There are those in the Council who have highlighted that his assassination was carried out well before Councillor T’Vell arrived, so that she wouldn’t be in danger or implicated in his killing.”

    “Chief Executive, I hope you are not insinuating that this was something that was ordered by one of the Federation Council’s most senior members. Our investigation has only just begun, but I can assure you that we are putting every resource available to us into this crime. We will uncover the perpetrator and their motives, and we will bring them to justice.”

    Garan’s scowl deepened. “I am yet to be placated by your empty words. I demand a contingent from our security forces be included in the hunt for the murderer.”

    Jachim had wanted to keep the Alliance out of the investigation itself, but to deny his request would cause more problems than it would solve. Though if their roles were reversed, he knew that Starfleet would want their own investigators on site.

    “Given the Envoy’s position and the nature of his presence here on the station, it would be only logical to share the caseload. Your security force will be working with my own onboard the station, as well as outside experts we are requesting—given the seriousness of the situation.”

    “They are already underway and will arrive in twenty hours,” Garan hissed, showing he’d never had any intention of taking ‘no’ as an answer.

    “Very well, Chief Executive. I’m assigning my diplomatic officer as our liaison, she will keep you and the rest of the Representative Council apprised of all developments.”

    Garan sneered before he cut the channel. The abruptness was like a slap across the face, but it was better than he’d expected. Part of him had been ready for a declaration of all out war over the murders—even if the Alliance had no hope of winning such a conflict.

    With a full-blown migraine now stabbing at the back of his eyes, Jachim perched himself of the edge of his desk. He looked at Nezra, who looked just as disheartened as he felt. Everyone who worked in, and beyond, the territory of the former Cardassian Union hoped that the Alliance would be a real force for change in their cultural psychology, but that obviously wouldn’t happen overnight. Until the killer was caught, this would hang over all their heads, with the potential to drastically alter everything the Starfleet task force was working for.

    “Lieutenant, keep in close contact with Mr Aster and keep me in the loop with what you tell them. I want them to have all pertinent information about the investigation, but make sure to have it confirmed from all sources; I don’t want any speculation or supposition.”

    “Of course, sir,” she said with a nod, then headed for the exit and her own office.

    Though DS10 was intended as a beacon of hope and peace for the region, she was also well-armed and more than capable of handling whatever the Alliance could muster to throw at them, but he didn’t want to resort to violence. Calling in reinforcements was more for the safety of all sides, to keep a fire fight from beginning, whilst having the Pathfinder on site would show everyone in sensor range just how seriously they were taking things.

    Plus, he’d also get the full support and backing of the task force commander and his former Captain and good friend. Standing shoulder-to-shoulder with Reihyn again would be just like old times.

    * * * * *

    Officer Accommodation, Deep Space 10
    Yaren System, Lazon Sector


    It had taken Enan Lanali far longer than she’d liked to have tracked down her two sons, eight year old Koen (named in honour of Mecell Koen, who’d died before having a chance to truly live) and six year old Orun, though she was relieved to find them in the quarters of Lieutenant Rachel Somersby, playing with their mutual friend, Alistair. Not only were they together and not out roaming the corridors, but the lieutenant’s husband, Marcus, was a former Starfleet Marine who would ensure their safety, no matter what. The retired staff sergeant had seen the look in her eyes and known something was wrong, though knew it was better not to ask. He had told her that he wouldn’t let them out of his sight until she or Jachim came for them, even offering to collect Maja from day care should it be needed.

    Without knowing more details about the Alpha-10, she didn’t know who, if anyone else was a target, or what was going on, but the knowledge her children were all safe was her primary concern. Of course, Jachim was second on that list of priorities, but he was a grown man (not to mention a Starfleet Captain) so knew how to look after himself, even if he would be putting himself in the middle of the situation. Though he too would be worried for them, sometimes he had to put his duty first. With her family taken care of, she could focus on her job as well—though typically, as station operations officer, she wouldn’t have anything extra to worry about during such an incident.

    She was heading for the bank of turbolifts, when one opened and she was startled to see a familiar face. Diego Ramirez saw her approach and held the lift open for her, the friendly smile curling his lips never quite reached his eyes.

    “Thank you, Chief,” she said as she stepped into the lift—though long since retired, there were some habits that could never be shaken.

    “My pleasure, sir.”

    She smiled warmly at him, as he too suffered from the same problem she did. Though it was always nice to see her former shipmate, who was in port every few weeks, she suspected that this wasn’t a social call.

    “Do I need to ask the purpose of the visit, not that you ever need a purpose of course.”

    “Have I become that transparent?”

    “Well this isn’t the best time and I suspect you’ve been caught in the middle of it.”

    He nodded. “We’re been told that no ships are being permitted to leave, though aren’t being supplied any further information. I was wondering if you knew how long this lockdown would last? Cam is eager to get on to the next job we have lined up.”

    “Ops,” she instructed the lift, which hummed as it travelled to the central core of the station in order to ascend.

    Seeing as how she didn’t actually know any details, she had nothing to tell him, and although he was once Starfleet his retiring from the service meant he was no longer cleared for confidential information—which he knew and wouldn’t expect to be told anything he wasn’t privy too as a private citizen.

    “I’ve been seeing to the kids, so don’t know anything, I’m afraid. All I can tell you is that there has been a serious security matter onboard.”

    “How serious are we talking here?”

    “Very,” was all she said, letting her tone carry the full weight. “Until it’s resolved I don’t see anyone going anywhere, so you could be stuck here a few days.”

    He looked a little disheartened on hearing that. He sighed. “Well there goes my hope of calling in a few favours.”

    “Out of luck there, I’m afraid.”

    “Is there anything I can do to help out?”

    “I don’t know, Chief, at least not unless you’re thinking of re-enlisting.”

    “I think I’ve done my time, besides I always did find the uniforms a little too tight for me.”

    She gave him a soft laugh. “If I hear anything about when ships will be allowed to depart I’ll let you know, I’ll also make sure you’re at the top of the list.”

    “Thank you, sir, that’d be appreciated.”

    The lift slowed as it neared the operations centre, but before the doors parted she turned to give Ramirez her full attention. “Diego, I’d recommend you get back to the Wayfarer and ensure she is secured, just to be on the safe side.”

    He gave her a single nod. “I will. Stay safe.”

    The turbolift stopped and opened onto chaos, officers and crew buzzing about, talking to one another or calling out information across the centre. Except for when the station had originally gone online, she’d never seen the place in such a state. She left the lift and cast back one last glance at the former chief of the boat, before the doors closed and he was taken back down below.

    Trying not to think of her children, Alek, Ramirez and Barrett, she shifted her focus onto what she would need to see to until the crisis was resolved. In the seconds it took her to reach the engineering station, she was already organising a checklist of all she’d need to either do herself or have her staff see too quickly—though she would make sure to stress that none of them were to be alone.

    * * * * *

    Bridge, U.S.S. Pathfinder
    Dozaria Sector


    “We are approaching the system, sir,” Taua announced from the conn.

    “Drop us out of warp, Lieutenant,” instructed Jurex from her place in the command arena.

    Reihyn, who stood at the science console on the starboard side, turned to Jasminder Patel. “Full scan, Lieutenant, locate that ship.”

    “Full scan, aye.”

    As they’d approached, their initial scans had shown the system to have just two planets, both gas giants, orbiting an aging star. There were eleven moons between both planets, though long-range scans showed none were capable of supporting life, nor did they seem to contain anything of interest. All-in-all it was a small, uninteresting system, so why a Krayan transport would be there was puzzling. Their database had no records of the Ol’dana Khes, though that wasn’t surprising. The Krayan typically bought ships from other races, lacking the infrastructure needed to build their own, so they couldn’t even hazard a guess as to what size of ship they were dealing with.

    He glanced over at his first officer, who was perched on the end of her chair, eyes closed. Though she was only half-Betazoid, her empathic abilities were sharp and had helped them out several times in the past when running search-and-rescue. Though he didn’t like asking her to use them, as the strain sometimes had a serious affect on her, more often than not she reached out mentally without hesitation or concern for her own wellbeing.

    His gaze shifted to the other occupant of the command area, Doctor Yeema Ad’u, who sat in Counsellor Alahn’s customary place, who had come to the bridge for a first hand update on what sickbay would be dealing with. She too was watching Jurex, concern in her large eyes.

    “Any other ships in the area?” he asked Moq.

    The Tellarite shook his head. “Nothing, sir.”

    “Any response to our hails?”

    “All’s quiet, Captain,” added Ngo.

    Reihyn’s tattooed brow creased. Since receiving the garbled distress call they’d been trying to raise the transport, to let them know help was on its way, and find out more about the condition of the ship, but the ship had remained silent—even her emergency broadcast had abruptly stopped. There were of course many reasons for that, especially if the ship was severely damaged. But still, something didn’t sit right with him.

    “Commander, sound yellow alert.”

    “Yellow alert,” Moq replied without hesitation.

    Panels around the bridge, and throughout the ship, flashed yellow, indicating the heightened status. Shields were raised, weapons placed on standby, non-essential systems locked down, and everyone on duty would be readying themselves for action. It could well be nothing, but he’d rather be overly cautious than reckless.

    The science panel chirped, immediately drawing his attention back to Patel. The young woman looked at the display and entered a few quick commands, scrutinised the readouts for a moment more, then looked up at him.

    “I’ve got a metallic signature in the atmosphere of the first planet, sir. I can’t determine if it’s them, but there is no other indication of any ships.”

    He gave her a small smile. “It at least gives us a place to start,” he reassured her, then looked down to the conn. “Essi, head for the first planet, full impulse.”

    “Aye sir.”

    With a direction to head and a potential target to focus on, he stepped down to the command arena and settled into his chair, turning towards Jurex. “Nat, are you getting anything?”

    She opened her eyes and shook her head. “I’m not sensing anything, though we’re probably still too far.”

    “Don’t push it too hard, Nat, the last thing I need is you hospitalised again.”

    “I’ll try and not over do it, sir.”

    “You better not,” interjected Doctor Ad’u, her deep, husky voice in contrast to her delicate appearance—though most found the Arcadian physician, whose appearance was similar to that of a China doll, odd, she was definitely not someone to be underestimated, as she was a force to be reckoned with.

    Before Jurex could reply, Patel spoke up. “Sir, given our current readings, I’d hazard a guess that the Ol’dana Khes is a reclaimed Chandir Otaalo-Class vessel. Given her internal volume, she could have as many as four hundred aboard—if the Kray weren’t all that concerned about the lack of personal space.”

    Reihyn nodded at his science officer then turned to Ad’u. “Doc, prepare for the worst.”

    “In that case, I’ll need to have shuttlebay two converted into a field ward, and I’d like everyone with a grade three EMT rating and above to report for triage duty.”

    “Done,” he replied immediately, shooting a quick glance at Jurex to make the preparations.

    “I’ll get my people ready and in position,” she said, rising gracefully from the chair.

    The physician quickly exited the bridge, heading below to take the brunt of whatever they would be facing. Even if Reihyn hadn’t served with her for over a decade, he would still have submitted to her experience and authority in the situation—she had seen things he couldn’t even imagine during her time dealing with the injured and the dying during the Dominion War and since. Also, due to the number of times she’d saved his life, she deserved all the respect he could give her.

    Once Jurex had seen to the extended medical facilities, she once again locked her eyes on the viewscreen and concentrated. With every second the Pathfinder drew closer to the silent transport, so it wouldn’t be long before she would start to pick up on thoughts and feelings from whoever had survived. Whenever they faced such unknowns, he always marvelled at how she could seem so detached from her surroundings, focused on her goal, and yet stay perfectly in tune with all that was going on around her. Knowing she would alert him the moment she got even the slightest inkling, he rose from his seat and moved down to ops.

    “Everything ready on your end, Due?” he asked unnecessarily.

    “All transporter operators are at their stations, and I have every available pair of eyes watching the sensor and comm systems.”

    He rested a hand on Ngo’s slim shoulder. “Just what I like to hear,” he said with an encouraging smile, then looked at the junior lieutenant beside him. “Essi, you all set for atmospheric recovery?”

    “I’m afraid it may not be very pretty, sir, cursory scans show incredibly high winds, an assortment of volatile gasses, and EM distortions throughout the planet’s atmosphere; but I’ll get us in and out.”

    “I have no doubt that you will.”

    “Captain,” Jurex said softly, drawing his (and everyone else’s) attention.

    “Commander, are you getting something?”

    Jurex blinked and focused on him, her smooth brow wrinkled. “That’s the thing, sir, I’m not sensing anything.”

    He looked back at Lieutenant Taua. “How long until we’re in high orbit?”

    “We’re four minutes out, sir.”

    “I should definitely be getting something at this range, unless there’s no one left alive onboard that ship.”

    Reihyn’s stomach ached as it tied itself in knots. Something was very wrong, but it wasn’t the prospect of being too late to save four hundred lives. Everything just felt off. Though it didn’t happen often, every once in a while, he’d be plagued by the same sense, and every time he felt it things went from bad to worse—he’d be a fool to ignore it now.

    Snapping back to the conn, he opened his mouth to order an all stop, just as the deck pitched forward. Red alert klaxons screamed as he was thrown forward.

    * * * * *
     
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  20. TheLoneRedshirt

    TheLoneRedshirt Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    May 22, 2007
    Location:
    Here and now.
    Well, it appears things have gone sideways quickly on Pathfinder. Meanwhile, the political intrigue adds fuel to the fire on DS10.

    Maybe Jachim can pause long enough to take something for his headache. I think he will need it.
     
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