USS Tamerlane

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PostPosted: Sun May 31, 2009 5:54 pm 
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Location: Charleston,WV,USA
Nova Trek: Altered Lives

Tales from a timeline that no longer exists

What has gone before....

Aboard the FSS Constitution at the start of it's two year trial run, Lt.Ben Finney left a circuit open to the ship's atomic pile. Lt. Janet Tamera Kirk came on shift, found and closed the circuit minutes before the ship would have blown up. The resulting reprimand prevented Finney from ever gettig a command of his own and he began plotting his revenge against Kirk.
Years later, aboard the FSS Enterprise, now- Captain Janet Kirk was charged with the negligent death of Lt.Commander Finney during an ion storm. but the evidence had been faked and Finney was found to be alive. Sentenced to the Tantalus Rehabilitation Colony, he used his formidable computer skills to escape- and once free, he hacked into the Starfleet data base, where he proceeded to download everything he could find on Captain Kirk- including her medical information and mission logs, which included information on an entity known as the Guardian of Forever.
Using the Guardian, Finney went back in time and planted evidence- retina scan and fingerprints- framing Cadet Kirk for trying to break into the Program Control Room for the Bridge simulator that was to be used for her Kobayashi Maru Test the next day. But Finney hadn't planned on Kirk being in Riverside,Iowa that night attending her mother's birthday party- with fifty eyewittnesses.
The Academy's Investigating Committee examined to case for two years and was never able to reconcile the evidence with the facts. Their final ruling was "Inconclusive", leaving a cloud of suspicion hanging over Kirk and her career- which, had the effect of ending said career before it could begin, forcing her to resign and giving Finney the apparent victory.
Two years later, The Constitution left on her two year trial run with Lt. Finney on board- and no Lt.Kirk. The circuit to the atomic pile was left open- and this time, there was no one to come in after Finney and close it. As a result, the ship exploded- killing all 429 on board- including Finney.
Not knowing the cause of the explosion- none of the flight recorders survived the matter- anti matter explosion triggered by the atomic pile's detonation- Starfleet placed the Constitution program on indefinate hold, relying on a modified and updated Daedalus-class to fill the resulting gap.
To many, this made Starfleet- and the Union- look weak and vulnerable. Now, six months after the loss of the Constitution, the quadrant was a riskier and more dangerous place than it had been four years earlier....


Last edited by mdbruffy on Mon Jun 01, 2009 1:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sun May 31, 2009 5:58 pm 
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Episode One: The Joining

The Orion-class freighter Enterprise didn't look like much, compared to the larger, corporate barges that hauled dried goods across the Federal Union of Planets. She was only two decks tall, consisting of a cockpit, Captain's and First officer's cabins on the upper level. A short ladder climb brought you down to the deck of the cargo hold- the largest interior area of the ship. Off the cargo hold, were the Security Hold, storage room for medical and food supplies (There were no Starfleet food replicators on board) and an empty room that could be pressed into service as another crew cabin or used for storage. To the back of the cargo hold- the rear of the ship, that is- was the hatch to the shuttle bay- more of a shelf actually, since it was barely large enough to hold a single Luminence-class scoutship bearing the name James T.
These were the obvious features of the Enterprise. These did not include the Starfleet surplus phasers mounted fore and aft- same for the force field generator- all purchased at Cygnet XIV, as surplus when the Constitution -program was suspended. It was here that the Enterprise's owner also aquired the ship's A.I.-- which allowed the vessel itself to act as crew when neccessary, as well as her warp engines, which were capable of a top speed of Warp Six. All of which went into creating a ship that was more than capable of standing up against any common raider it might encounter.
At the moment- and for the last four years- only one person has called Enterprise home- and that was her owner and captain. She was human, age 22, red, rust-colored hair in a kind of shagg cut that reached to her shoulders, she had the kind of athletic build that a human female managed to keep well into her senior years. Her name was Janet Tamera Kirk. At one time, a senior Starfleet Cadet until all that idiocy forced her out four years ago. Since then, thanks to her uncle- Admiral Franklin Fitzpatrick- she's owned and operated the Enterprise and managed to make a living hauling cargo and living by no one else's rules but hers.
For now, she was to be found in her cabin. Said cabin was located to the right of the cockpit hatch.coming from the cargo hold. It was small compared to Starfleet staterooms. As you entered, a bunk with storage units above and below, was built in to the left hand bulkhead. A small cubicle of a restroom occupied the right-hand corner. Once past that, you'd see a two-screen work station. This made up the Captain's cabin of the Enterprise and at the moment, said Captain was engaged in one of the few duties she had to see to." Ship's Record, Stardate 4956.3. After dropping off that shipment of farming suplies for the colonists on Sierene V, I'm dead-hauling toward Cait in hopes of picking up another load there..."
Turning off the log, she leaned back in her desk chair and for a moment, she simply listened to the sounds of her ship.The hum and low drone were almost impossiable to hear- and disappeared under the cover of conversation, when there was any. She titlted her head slightly. Sounded like the Number Three Warp Manifold needed checked. She'd see to it once they reached orbit. That's not the kind of work you want to try to do in open space- too much chance of being raided while you were making repairs.
It was also one of the draw-backs to a "recycled" ship like Enterprise. You always found yourself trying to stay one step ahead of the next blown circuit.
She could still remember the day four years ago, when she handed the Cygnet XIV authorities the voucher her uncle had gotten her in order to get the work done. Such vouchers were allowed for civilian contractors, but Janet had sworn that she'd never work for Starfleet after the way they did her. "Inconclusive." She nearly snorted as she shook her head. Those idiots on the Investigating Committee didn't even have the nerve to pass a real verdict. They stayed on the proverbial fence right to the end.
At that moment, the intercom on her desk buzzed and the ship's computer spoke in it's programed female tones. "Janet, we're receiving a signal on Starfleet channels."
The scowl on Janet's face was all too clear. "Only one person would dare call me on those channels. Put it through."
One of the screens above the desk soon lit up with the image of her uncle, Admiral Franklin Fitzpatrick, who had been head of Starfleet Operations for the past year. He was in his mid fifties, even though his hair had turned grey some years ago. Janet had to admit that he had a face that some might call the face of a hero- though she knew her late mother's brother would cringe if anyone ever called him that to his face. While it wasn't that classic chiseled look- no rock-hard jawline or anything like that- there was a strength to it all the same. Her attitude softened slightly as she spoke to the only remaining family she had."What do you want, Uncle Frank?"
The Admiral's eyebrows rose in an almost Vulcan manner as he answered." 'Hello' to you, too. Can't I call my only neice once in awhile to just talk?"
Janet met his gaze without hesitation as she answered."Not from your office on Starfleet channels. I told you before, I won't work for Starfleet."
"Jan-"
"You have alot of nerve- "
"Now just a minute, Young Lady. I was on your side back then- and I still am- or have you forgotten who helped you fit out that ship of yours?"
She was quiet for a long moment."Are you calling for you or Starfleet?"
In his office aboard the station offically designated as Starbase One, yet commonly refered to as "Starfleet Command", Franklin Fitzpatrick leaned back in his own office chair as he answered. "Neither. There's a civilian medical research outpost in Sector Nine. They run alot of high-powered experiments which forces them to go through dilithium supplies faster than expected. They'll be forced to start shutting down vital experiments in the next three days without new crsytals."
Janet tilted her head and her eyes narrowed slightly. "And where am I supposed to find these new crystals?"
Fitzpatrick reached off screen to one side of his work station as he replied."I'm sending you the coordinates now. the FSS Horizon'll meet you and transfer the crystals to you for delivery."
Janet watched as the coordinates came up on the other screen."Coordinates received. But Uncle Frank, why is a civilian outpost asking the military for help?"
The man sighed."Because last week their supplier was attacked by a Klingon raiding party. They took every crystal in sight and killed half the personel. Starfleet was the only other source with any hope of re-supplying them anytime soon."
It was Janet's turn to sigh. "Alright- but at my standard rate."
Her uncle nodded."I'll see to it that it's transfered within the hour."
"Anything else?' Janet asked.
He leaned closer to the screen."Are you still flying alone?"
She shrugged."I have Computer."
"Jan-"
"Good-bye, Uncle Frank." As soon as the screen went dark, she spoke once more."Computer, lay in the course to rendezvous with the Horizon - maximum warp."
"Acknowledged,Janet. Engaging now."


PERSONAL RECORD, STARDATE 4956.5. THE MORE I THINK ABOUT THIS DELIVERY,THE LESS I LIKE IT. WHAT KIND OF RESEARCH COULD A CIVILIAN MEDICAL OUTPOST BE RUNNING THAT USES UP DILITHIUM LIKE THIS? A DILITHIUM CRYSTAL HAS AN EXTREMELY LONG LIFE-SPAN. UNDER NORMAL CONDITIONS, A HANDFUL OF CRYSTALS SHOULD HAVE LASTED FOR DECADES.
SOMETHING DOESN'T ADD UP...

Seated in the Enterprise's cockpit, Janet turned off the log and looked out the viewport.Then she glanced around her. She had to admit the cockpit was somewhat small- it was certain that it would never be taken for a Starfleet bridge. There were four seats all together- two at the flight console and two behind them.The flight controls took up the console in front of her with monitors for the ship's status mounted beside the passenger seats behind her. It was tight quarters. You either sat down, stood in one place or left- there was no room for anything else. But it was an original part of the ship and it had proven less expensive to repair and upgrade than to replace.
All of this had no sooner passed through Janet's mind,than Computer spoke up."Janet, the Horizon has just entered scanning range. It should be in visual range in two mintues."
Soon, as predicted, the Horizon came into view. A collection of basic shapes- a sphere in front, a large cylinder behind and slightly below, with two longer and narrower cylinders above and behind, connected to the larger one by two thin rectangles- this was the standard arrangement for the Daedalus-class and since the loss of the Constitution six months ago, it was the primary ship class of Starfleet.
Studying it as they drew closer, Janet had to admit it didn't look like much- certainly not the kind of ship you'd expect to be capable of defending a third of the quadrant from all the varous threats the universe could throw at it.
She shook her head and reached for the communications section of the console."This is the cagro ship Enterprise to FSS Horizon, come in."
"Horizon here, Enterprise."
"Standing by to receive your shipment of dilithium for the Sector Nine medical research outpost."
"Understood. Sending transporter coordinates now."
There was a 'bleep' from the console and Computer spoke up."Coordinates received, Janet. Ready for transport."
"Understood," the redhead replied as she rose from her seat. After leaving the cockpit, a short walk and a climb down the ladder, brought her to the deck of the cargo hold and the cargo transporter set off to one side. "Enterprise to Horizon ," she called as her hands moved over the transporter controls,"Energizing."
On the platform, a sparkling,shimmer took on form and soon solidified into a Starfleet storage container labeled for dilithium storage use. "Enterprise to Horizon. The dilithium's on board. I'll be leaving for the outpost momentarily."
"Acknowledged, Enterprise- and thank you for your help. Horizon out."
Janet raised an eyebrow at that- not used to politeness from any Starfleet rep other than her uncle. "Computer, engage course for the medical outpost in Sector Nine- warp six."
"Acknowledged, Janet. Course is laid in and engaged."
After shutting down the transporter console, Janet turned to a nearby wall mounted storage unit and took out a scanner. It wasn't as powerful as a Starfleet tricorder, but it was good enough to do the job.She aimmed it at the storage container and studied it's readings. "Military grade dilithium. The best there is."She turned off the scanner and returned it to storage," But that's to be expected coming from Starfleet stores."
Leaving the container on the platform- no point in storing it for so short a trip-Janet returned to the cockpit and her own thoughts as the ship continued on course. But no matter how she looked at it, this thing just didn't sit right with her.

It seemed as if little or no time had passed when Computer broke in on her thoughts. "Janet, the medical outpost has just come into scanning range, But there's something strange."
The ship's captain and owner leaned forward in her seat. "Strange how?"
Function lights shifted as the computer processed the information it had."I can't scan the interior of the outpost."
"Hold station."
"Acknowledged. Now at station-keeping."
"Put me through to Uncle Frank." It was only a minute or so later that the small communications screen on the console lit up with the Admiral's image. Janet didn't waste any time with pleasantries. She jumped right to the point. "Alright, Uncle Frank. What are you not telling me?"
The confusion in the male's voice was also clear on his face. "What are you talking about?"
"I'm at the outpost,"Janet told him."They have a jammer that's blocking my scans- I can't scan any deeper than the outer hull."
Fitzpatrick slowly shook his head."I wasn't told anything about that."
His neice sighed. "Military grade dilithium deleivered in a round-about-way to a 'medical research outpost' with a military level jammer to block unwanted scans. What does that sound like to you?"
The Admiral cursed softly. "Damn it."Then he met his neice's gaze. "Be careful, Jan. If that is some kind of "black ops" set-up, they won't want you to see any more of than neccessary. I'll start digging at this end and see what I can find out."
Janet's expression softened from anger to concern for her uncle."Just don't get yourself killed doing it."
"That goes both ways. Out."
Once her uncle's image faded from the screen, Janet's thoughts turned in a different direction. "Computer, from now on, unless our transporter is in use, I want the shields up at all times- full power."
"Understood, Janet. Shields are now up."
"Hail the outpost."
Whe the screen lit, Janet had to blink. The human face staring back was one she hand't seen in over four years- not since the day Academy security escorted Janet from the bridge simulator. Amanda Stevens and Janice Rand had been the only other cadets on the scene- the boys hadn't arrived yet. Amanda still looked as Janet remembered her. A head of raven black hair that framed her face as it fell to her shoulders along with eyes that were always bright and alert- the kind of eyes that made you wonder what was going on behind them."Amanda." Janet nodded to the screen."You're a long way from the nearest starship."
"Janet. It's been awhile."
"Almost five years. I was told this was a civilian medical operation. What's Starfleet doing here?"
Janet's former classmate shrugged her uniformed shoulders and the collar pips announcing the rank of Lt.Commander showed up against her gold colored uniform."There's some research going on here that could have military applications- if it's used. Starfleet wanted someone here to act as a liaison and keep them informed of the outpost's progress.
"Now, what can we do for you?"
It was the redhead's turn to shrug. "Uncle Frank hired me to bring in your dilithium."
Amanda nodded."Yes, we were told a civilian freighter would be making the delivery." She looked down and back up."I'll send you the coordinates to beam it to."
There was an alert going off in the back of Janet's mind. Call it instinct or something else, but something was telling her to grab the opportunity while she could."I've never seen a medical outpost before. Mind if I beam over for a quick tour?"
Amanda's momentary hesitation was clear even as she answered. "No- of course not. Come on over. I'll meet you when you arrive."
"I'll bring the dilithium with me,"Janet responded. "Be there in five minutes. Kirk out."

Once transport was complete,the first thing Janet noticed was that the outpost didn't look like any Union outpost she'd ever seen. Where as the Union's standard method of construction hid most of the technology in the bulkheads, in this case, pipes and conduits ran all over the place and the decks were actual sections of grating instead of a solid surface. The whole thing had a kind of bunker-feel to it, oppressive and a little paranoid.
The second thing she noticed was Amanda and the two Starfleet security guards standing on each side of her.
The third thing was the tricorder in Amanda's hand."Checking me for viruses?" Janet asked over the unit's well known warble.
Only Amanda could see the device's viewscreen and it's transmitted image of the portable scanner in Janet's left jacket pocket and her communicator in the one on the right."She's clear," the Lt.Commander stated - making certain to turn the tricorder off before handing it to one of the guards.
"Do you always greet visitors with a security detail?" Janet asked.
Hoping Janet's scanner was doing it's job, Amanda shrugged."There are some areas on board that require a high level of security."
Janet tilted her head slightly as two technicans with anti-grav units came for the dilithium."This place is starting to sound more like a military base."
"It is-"Amanda paused, almost deliberately, Janet thought, then continued."It is a civilian medical research outpost. That's all it is."
Janet met her gaze for a moment as the technicans left with the dilithium. Then Amanda waved a gold sleeved arm down a branch corridor. "Shall we?"
Janet glanced at the security guards as they started off." If this place is as civilian as you say, then why the guard dogs?"
Amanda glanced at her as she answered."Even in this day and age, there are such things as industrial secrets- secrets no one wants revealed. Not only do we act as liaison for Starfleet, we also provide the outpost's security needs as well."
The red head glanced around, seeing more corridors branching off and force fields sealing off various labs and work areas. "Does that include a military level jammer to block scans?"
Privately, Amanda sighed in relief. "You noticed it."
That had not been a question. Janet turned to face her."It was damn hard not to."
Their gazes met for a brief moment, then Amanda turned down another corridor. This one had work areas too, but there were also more labs- and one was in use. An Orion female was strapped down to an examination table and in obvious delirium. Two technicans stood nearby in enviromental suits taking scans and readings. Janet took an involuntary step toward the force field- only to be stopped by one of the guards. She turned to face Amanda.
"A volunteer," the Lt.Commander told her."Some of the diseases being researched here cannot be truely examined by computer alone. Live subjects- "
Janet stepped toward her and the outrage in her voice was clear."Why don't you stop lying? This is an R&D base for bio-weapons- something every planet in the quadrant has outlawed- Even the Klingons won't use them!"
Amanda met her gaze firmly- she had to with security present. "It's Starfleet's duty to protect the Union."
"Not by committing Genicide!"
The raven haired female sighed."You're not in Starfleet."She tapped a finger against her own chest."You're not seeing the reality. The Orions are just the latest. We have to be prepared to act."
Janet's eyes narrowed. What was going on here? She didn't know. But she did know one thing."You're right. I'm not in Starfleet- and for the first time in my life, I'm glad of it. Because if you're what Starfleet's become, Then I don't want anything to do with either of you."
Amanda sighed in honest frustration. "I'm afraid it's not that simple. If you had just beamed the dilithum over, you could've left and everything would have continued as planned. But you had to beam over."
Janet stared at her as if she were crazy."If you think I'm going to let you turn me into one of your "volunteers", you're sicker than I thought."
The two security guards raised their phasers.
Amanda looked at both of them, and then turned back to Janet."You're not seeing things clearly. You don't have any choice."
"The hell I don't," Janet replied. "NOW!"
A second later, she was gone in a sparkle of transport.
Amanda shook her head. She was forced to play things out. "Damnit! Launch the fighters! Stop her!"

Aboard Enterprise even as the ship was pulling away from the outpost, Janet was reaching the cockpit."Computer set course for Cait- maximum warp. Open a channel to Uncle Frank and send him everything we got from the scanner. He'll know what to do with it."
"Acknowledged, Janet. We have company- two one-man fighters from the outpost."
"So much for being a 'civilian' outpost,"Janet muttered."Fore and aft phasers on-line." Janet's hands moved over the console with the ease of four years ownership as she spoke."Release phasers to my control. Go to navigation program; Raiders 2-9."
"Acknowledged. Phasers are on line and under your control. NavPro R-29 is now engaged."
As soon as the computer spoke, the ship dove and turned, twisted in her course. Her speed during these manuvers was far less than when she flew straight ahead, but she still moved more like a fighter than a cargo ship.
Both fighters were far newer in their designs than Enterprise. Navigation and targeting systems, weapon control systems- all were state of the art.
Their first salvos missed completely.
"What the hell- ?" Pilot Jenson shook his head in disbelief. "I've never seen a cargo ship move like that."
His senior partner, Pilot Watson, was a sesaoned officer. "Focus on your job."
A moment later, Enterprise showed her teeth- her Starfleet surplus teeth- as two blue beams of phased energy sliced through space and eliminated Jenson and his fighter in a blinding glare.
Watson's voice was heard clearly back at the outpost."Damnit! She's got Starfleet weaponry !"
During this short time, Enterprise had turned as quickly as her bulk allowed and was headed toward Watson and his fighter, firing port and starboard weapons as she came. Both shots grazed his fighter as Watson pulled away- getting clear just as Enterprise passed through where he had been and jumped into warp- leaving both fighter and outpost behind.
In the outpost's command center, Amanda managed to hide her sigh of relief even as she turned to a nearby ensign. "Get Dr.Stone- then put me through to the Director."

STARFLEET COMMAND
Admiral Fitzpatrick had been pacing the office for nearly an hour now, waiting for word from his neice. He had several discreet inquiries in the works as well. No one could have built that outpost without leaving a trail somewhere. As soon as the communicator on his desk buzzed, he practically lunged for it, hitting the switch even as he sat down. He listened to Janet's message and glanced through the scans she'd gotten of the outpost.
Then he went back over those scans again, studied them more closely and as he did so, he could feel his stomach tying in knots as he realized the magnitude of the mess Janet had discovered.
This nightmare had to be shut down- quickly and quietly.
But how?

THE PLANET CAIT
This was a world of forests, open plains, fields of green grass, blue skies,and clean clear water- while at the same time, being one of the most advanced and civilized worlds in the Union.
As Janet brought the James T. down from Enterprise- half of her thoughts were still back on Amanda as the things her friend had said- and the way she had said them- continued to wade through four years of bitterness. With all of that, it wasn't until she'd landed and reached the spaceport terminal that she started to notice a definate lack of people. When she was here a year ago, the place had been over flowing with travelers- and Caitians of all sizes and fur colors. Now.. where was everyone?
Taking her communicator from her belt- she'd left her jacket on the James T.- Janet opened it as she entered the terminal. "Kirk to Enterprise."
"Computer here, Janet."
"Where the hell is everybody?"
"The population is there- in hiding."
The human stopped just inside the building."From what?"
"The crews of three Orion ships in polar orbit."
Janet's eyes went wide in shock. "Why the hell didn't you see them earlier?!"
"The planet's magnetic field in the polar region masked their readings," the computer answered. "It required several scans to clarify the slight aberations I was detecting."
Janet looked around as she moved carefully into the concourse. "Are there any- never mind." She had just spotted an Orion male headed toward another exit. He was leading his prisoner by a leather-like leash attached to a metal collar around her neck. Matching manacles around her wrists were hooked together.
She was Caitian of course. Her mane was a rich brown with golden highlights that reached to her shoulders. Two feline ears stuck up out of it.The tuff of fur on the end of her tail matched of course and the rest of her body- what Janet could see through the rags she wore- was like that of a terran lion-almost the same tawny brown shade.
She wasn't moving fast enough to suit the Orion. He yanked on the lead, causing her to stumble. Moments later, with a flying kick, Janet planted her foot square in the green-skined male's back- slamming him face first into the concourse wall and shattering it's glass-like surface. Even as the male slumped to the ground, she grabbed the Caitain's arm, said,"Come on!" and led her toward the nearest exit.
The male's bellow echoed off the walls- it was all his fellow Orions needed. They began to converge even as Janet and her companion left the building and headed for a collection of hangars and storage buildings. "What the hell are they doing here?" Janet asked as the two ducked aroud a corner."Cait's nowhere near Orion territory."
The Caitian glanced back over her shoulder as they ran." They've been raiding our towns and villages for the past month- killing anyone who resisted."She glanced down."They killed my family."
Janet glanced over at her."How are you still alive?"
"When they first arrived, my father organized a resistance group to fight them," the female said." The Orions ambushed us 2 days ago. One Orion hit me with his rifle. When I woke, I was in an Orion camp in these shackles and my family was dead."
Janet stopped as they neared the end of the alley they'd been passing through and carefully looked around.She then waved to her companion and the two ran across open ground- a landing area- before ducking between two hangars. There was shouting behind them as the Orions continued their search. "Why hasn't Starfleet stopped this?!"
The Caitian shrugged."Ever since their pet project blew up, the whole organization's been acting like it's in somekind of shocked paralysis." She shook her head."I was supposed to leave for the Academy a week ago."
Orion shouts were getting louder. Janet looked around and nodded. "Come on."
"No,"the Caitian said."That way leads to a cul-de-sac." She pointed with both hands in another direction."That way's clear."
"How do you know?"
"During school breaks, I raced flyers on the amateur circuit,"the female answered."I've raced out of this spaceport dozens of times."
Janet nodded and waved a hand in the direction the Caitian had indicated. "After you then."
With a whip of her tail, the Caitian lead the way, but as soon as they stepped out of the alley and into the open they were spotted. "There! There they are! This way!"
"Damn. Come on,"Janet swore as she pulled the female in another direction and took her communicator in hand."Kirk to Enterprise. Lock on with the transporter. When I give the word, transport two to the James T."
"Understood, Janet,"the computer replied." I have a lock on you and your companion."
They ducked around another corner and Janet spotted a door."Here. In here." Once inside, they found that it was the side door of a hangar, which provided long-term shelter for varous scouts and shuttles. Janet glanced around as she spoke."What's your name anyway?"
"M'ress. Yours?"
"Janet Kirk."
An Orion voice suddenly sliced the air."Check that hangar!"
Janet had her communicator open once more."Now- energize."
The sparkle of the transporter effect faded just as the first Orion barged into the hangar.

Aboard the James T., Janet let out a sigh of relief once the transporter effect released them."Good. Now we've got a breather."
M'ress glanced around at the flight deck- the console,pilot and co-pilot seats, one other seat and a door leading to the rest of the ship. "Where are we?"
"Aboard my scouship,"Janet told her as she set to work removing the manacles and collar. It was easy to do so long as you weren't the one wearing them- otherwise, if the manacles came into close contact with the collar, they released a stun charge strong enough to knock anyone unconcious for nearly an hour. The human tossed the things into one corner of the cabin as she continued."I have a cargo ship in orbit. How long did you say the Orions have been here?"
"A month- that I know of."
Janet sat down in the pilot's seat, one hand coming to rest on the flight console as she shook her head. "Wonderful. There has to be an answer to this. I can't spend the rest of my life watching over one shoulder for the Orion Syndicate and over the other for some shady faction from Starfleet."
M'ress' confusion was genuine to say the least. "What are you talking about?"

PERSONAL RECORD; ADDITIONAL. I FILLED M'RESS IN ON THE PAST FEW DAYS- WHICH OF COURSE INCLUDED UNCLE FRANK'S CALL ABOUT THE DILITHIUM AND THE R&D BIO-WEAPONS OUTPOST GEARED TOWARD ORION GENICIDE.
THAT'S WHEN A POSSIABLE ANSWER CAME TO ME...

Janet turned from her new friend and activated the scout's communications system."Kirk to Enterprise. Beam M'ress on board."
The Caitain's tail- which always seemed to be in motion- twitched. "What are you going to do?"
Janet grabbed up her jacket and turned toward the ship's airlock as she answered. "Guarantee your freedom, Cait's and maybe my own.
"But first, I've got to get captured."
M'ress' eyebrows nearly shot off her head as the Human left the scout. "What?!"


Last edited by mdbruffy on Mon Jun 01, 2009 2:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sun May 31, 2009 5:59 pm 
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Location: Charleston,WV,USA
STARFLEET COMMAND
ADMIRAL FRANKLIN FITZPATRICK'S OFFICE
Seated at his desk, Janet's uncle activated his log as he continued his work."Personal Record:Stardate 4956.6. That neice of mine is something else. Only she would've thought to carry a portable scanner with her when she beamed aboard the 'medical research outpost' in Sector Nine.Once inside the jammer's perimeters , the scanner picked up research labs and a computer core that only major starbases should have. From the looks of these scans, not only is the outpost the origin point for the engineered disease, it also seems to have several decks devoted to the development and construction of the delivery system as well.
"No wonder they were going through dilithium so fast.
"And this girl- Amanda Stevens. I remember her. Same class year as Jan. Her turn in the center seat was only a month later. How'd she end up in this mess? And how involved is she?"
Fitzpatrick turned off the log and turned to another section of his work station. A request for Amanda's personel file soon had the information on his viewscreen."...Graduated six months ago. Assigned to Medical Research Outpost in Sector Nine by Admiral Micheal Turner.' He looked up at that in confusion. "Why would the Starfleet Advisor to the Union President be bothering himself with dilithuim deleiveries and personel transfers?"
The intercom on his work station buzzed for attention and he activated it. "Yes?"
It was his yeoman."Sir, Admiral T'Pel just called requesting your presence."
"T'Pel? Now?"
"She said as soon as you were available, sir."
"Alright, Yeoman. Call her back and tell her I'm on my way."
"Yes, sir."
Upon leaving the office, Fitzpatrick had something of a hike since he had to go halfway around the station. But he soon found himself standing in front of another door with a different plaque mounted beside it:
ADMIRAL T'PEL
STARFLEET INTELLIGENCE
CENTRAL COMMAND
He entered to find himself in an outer office occupied only by a humanoid female with spots that started at the edge of her brown hair and continued down each side of her face and into the collar of her uniform. A Trill. Fitzpatrick had never met one before, but the spots were a definate giveaway. She looked up from her work as he approched her desk."Can I help you, sir?"
"Admiral Fitzpatrick. Admiral T'Pel wanted to see me."
"Yes, sir, Admiral. You can go on in. She's expecting you."
He nodded to her and entered the inner office. As he did so, the only red headed Vulcan he ever met looked up from her work.It was hard to know how old T'Pel was just by looking at her. But Fitzpatrick had known her for over ten years now and knew her to be sixty-seven standard years- which was still somewhat young by Vulcan standards. She held up her hand in a clear signal for silence, then reached over to one side of her desk where she pressed a switch. "A jammer to block out anyone who might be listening," she explained as she came round her desk. "We can talk freely now."
"Why'd you want to see me?"
"You tripped a notification flag when you accessed Amanda Stevens' file."
"She works for you?"
T'Pel nodded and went on to explain."Since you know about Amanda, I assume you also know about the Outpost in Sector Nine?" Fitzpatrick nodded. "At first we did not know what was going on- only that men and materials were being diverted for some project that was not part of any offical program.
"Then our agents began hearing rumors- personel were being approached and interviewed for positions in some 'Top-Secret' project. None of our usual agents were able to penetrate the operation- the only answer was that someone with high-level clearence was running background checks and finding out that they were Starfleet Intelligence.
"The only remaining option was to bring in someone with no ties to us. Amanda had just finished her fourth training flight. Her record showed no ties to any group or affiliation. Everything suggested that she was the one we needed. The details of how I managed to meet with her are of no importance. She agreed to work for me-knowing that nothing could be put on the record. Two days later, she was approached."
T'Pel now stood in front of her desk. As she spoke, she leaned back against it , her arms folded."She's been on the outpost for the last three months acting as their head of security as well as their Starfleet liaison. It was only two weeks ago, that she found the computer records for the research they've been doing."
Fitzpatrick stepped toward her. "So why haven't you shut it down?"
T'Pel gave a very human shrug as she answered."Because we do not know yet who is behind it. Amanda was told, that in an emergency, she was to contact 'The Director'- it was his lieutenant that recruited her. If we move now, this person will only go deeper into hiding."
She watched the human as he stepped away."And yet, you're taking a chance on telling me?"
"We have known each other for twelve years, six months, three weeks, six hours and forty-seven minutes."
He turned and met her gaze. "No seconds ?"
"I have learned to round off figures when dealing with humans,"She replied in a dry tone.
Fitzpatrick smiled and shook his head. Then the smile faded and he tilted his head slightly before he spoke again."I know who's behind it. He had me arrange a dilithium shipment for the outpost." He quickly explained about the call and how he had turned to Janet for the delivery. He then crossed to her work station, tied it into his and showed her the scans Janet had made.
T'Pel studied the scans and then looked to her friend."So who do you suspect?"
"Admiral Micheal Turner."
The red headed Vulcan was silent for a moment."Military aide and advisor to the President?"
Fitzpatrick nodded."It fits. He'd have the clearence to run background checks on anyone, re-route supplies, man-power, finances- all right from the President's office."
T'Pel nodded, then she tilted her head slightly."Coming on top of the loss of the Constitution, this could tear Starfleet apart if we expose this."She shook her head. "And yet, we cannot allow him or that outpost to continue operating."
Fitzpatrick stepped toward her. "Maybe it's time for some maneuvers of our own."
As he explained, T'Pel's eyebrow began to rise.

CAIT
THE CAPITAL SPACEPORT
Hidden between two hangars, Janet watched as an Orion male moved past. Then she stepped out behind him. "You guys are harder to find than a twentieth century cop."
The Orion spun around in shock and his eyes narrowed. This was the one everyone was looking for- They'd all been briefed on what she looked like. But why was she standing out in the open like this? His eyes narrowed in suspicion. "What are you doing, Human? Surrendering?"
"Not quite. Where's your leader at?"
"Ballen is in the terminal building awaiting word of your capture."
"Take me to him."
The Orion tilted his head slightly. This human just refused to act like the prisoner she was. "Why should I take you to her?"
Janet's eyebrows rose slightly. "Her? okay. Because I have information she just might be intrested in."
The Orion carried a disruptor rifle. He now shifted it in his hands as if he intended to use it as a club. "And why not beat this information out of you myself?"
Janet's look of disgust was not in the least faked. "Because you don't know how- and we don't have time for you to learn." She then headed for the terminal building, leaving the male with no choice but to follow.

Janet spotted Ballen as soon as she entered the building. She was standing by the Customer Service desk in an Orion flightsuit that did absolutely nothing to hide every curve of her body. If Janet had taken time to consider it, she might've been a little envious. With curves like that, any male in the universe would have considered her a dream come true.Raven black hair full and flowing, reached below her shoulders and moved freely as she moved, suceeding when combined with her green skin, in actually enhancing her exotic look. She turned as they approached with the grace of a dancer and took Janet in with a single glance. "You are the human that freed the slave?"
"The name's Janet Kirk. I have a proposition for you."
Ballen watched this red headed Human closely."What kind of proposition?"
Knowing this would be a hard sell, Janet took a deep breath."You free all the Caitians you've captured and never return to Cait- in return, I'll give you vital information."
The green-skined female's eyes narrowed."What kind of information would be worth that much?"
Janet let it fall. "Information that could save your race from extinction."
Ballen studied her for a long moment- then shook her head. "No deal till I hear more."
The Human nodded. "How about a bio-weapons outpost geared toward Orion genicide?"
Ballen's eyes grew slightly wider at that. "And you know where this outpost is?"
Janet glanced around as she answered."I do. You can have it's location after you agree to our deal."
Ballen studied her closely once more. She knew the Human had to have something else up her sleeve. Why else would she be so forth coming with this? Yet, if she was on the level, it was something Ballen couldn't afford to pass on. "If you are lying Human, there will be no place in this galaxy where you will be safe." She reached over to the service desk where a communications device had been sitting and activated it. "Ballen to Task Force, release the Caitians- all of them. Transport them back to the surface immediately."
One voice replied. "Commander, that'll leave our holds empty."
Ballen nodded even though the distant crewman couldn't see her. "I know, but we may have come across something more important." She met Janet's gaze as she continued."If we've been lied to, we can always come back later. Ballen out." She spoke to Janet as she shut the device off. "You will come with us...Kirk- until I am certain you are telling the truth."
"May I call my ship?" Janet asked. "Order it to follow?"Ballen nodded and Janet took her communicator from her jacket pocket."Kirk to Enterprise."
"Computer here, Janet."
"I'm with an Orion female named Ballen. She's the one in charge around here. We'll be going up to her ship in few moments and heading back to the Outpost. I want you to recall the James T. and follow- but stay out of the Orions' way. Be ready to beam me back when I call."
"Understood."
"Kirk out." She looked to Ballen as she returned the communicator to her pocket. "Ready when you are."

PERSONAL RECORD, STARDATE 4956.7. WE BEAMED UP TO BALLEN'S FLAGSHIP- AN ORION FRIGATE- A FEW MOMENTS LATER. IT WASN'T LONG AFTER THE LAST CAITIAN HAD BEEN RETURNED TO THE SURFACE, THAT HER THREE SHIPS AND ENTERPRISE BROKE ORBIT.
AS I LOOKED AROUND BALLEN'S COMMAND DECK, I COULD UNDERSTAND WHY THERE WERE SOME IN STARFLEET THAT WERE NERVOUS ABOUT THE ORIONS. THEIR TECHNOLOGY IS ALMOST A MATCH FOR ANYTHING STARFLEET HAS. ON THE OTHER HAND, WHIPPING OUT AN ENTIRE RACE IS NEVER AN OPTION.
IF ONLY IT WAS POSSIABLE TO MAKE THOSE PEOPLE SEE THIS MORE CLEARLY...

Aboard Enterprise M'ress had made her way to the cockpit and was now seated in the pilot's chair, taking in the spread of instruments in front of her. Control lights blinked and the computer spoke. "Intresting."
"What is?" M'ress asked.
"When Janet went aboard the bio-weapons outpost, she took a portable scanner with her that allowed me to scan past the outpost's jammer. The scanner is still in her pocket and still functioning."
M'ress' eyes widened as her tail wipped about behind her. "What's it getting?"
"The entire lay-out of the Orion frigate- and something else."
"What?"
"If these scans are to be beleived, I am detecting surgical and bio-chemical alterations throughout Ballen's body."
M'ress leaned forward in her seat." Are you saying she's not an Orion?"
"Yes."
"Contact Janet."

Janet looked around Ballen's command deck as her communicator bleeped. She quickly took it from her pocket. "Kirk here."
"It's M'ress. Can you talk?"
The human looked around, seeing Ballen involved in running the ship. "Yes- but keep your voice down."
"Your scanner's been on all this time," M'ress whispered. "Ballen's not an Orion. Computer's having a hard time trying to figure exactly what she is. Get out of there as quickly as you can."
Janet glanced over at Ballen and the momentary confusion was clear on her face." Understood. But I don't think she'll pull anything- at least until we reach the outpost. Whatever game she's playing, she has to maintain her cover as long as possi-" Janet stopped in mid sentence, then shook her head. "Damnit. That's what she meant.
"Computer, when we scanned the outpost earlier, did you get any scans of Amanda?"
"Affirmative."
"Pull up her readings and stand by. Kirk out."

STARFLEET COMMAND
THE OFFICE OF ADMIRAL FRANKLIN FITZPATRICK
He looked up from his work as the door buzzer went off. "Come." He watched as the unit slid open to allow Admiral Micheal Turner to enter. Turner was only a few years older than Fitzpatrick, but the lines in his face and his receeding hairline made him look far older. "Well, what rates a visit from the President's Office?"
Turner got right to the point. "Why did you switch the Third fleet's maneuvers from Sector Eight to Sector Nine?"
Fitzpatrick shrugged. "Because Sector Eight has an ion storm moving through it."
Why not Sector Seven then?"
Janet's uncle leaned back in his desk chair."Too close to the Klingon boarder. They'd see it and assume we were preparing for war."
Turner stepped closer to the desk. "But you know there's a medical research outpost in the middle of Sector Nine."
Fitzpatrick nodded. "That's what you said. But I checked both civilian and Fleet starcharts and they show nothing in that sector- not even a rogue asteroid."
The President's military advisor turned away and waved that off. "Then your charts are out-dated."
Fitzpatrick shook his head. "No. I downloaded the most current copies this morning. I don't know where your dilithium went,"He lied,"But I will once my neice calls back."
Turner spun back to face him."I order you to cancel the maneuvers."
"Why?"
Turner's frustration was begining to show in his tone. "I don't have to explain myself to you."
But Fitzpatrick wouldn't budge. "You will if you want the maneuvers canceled. Half the ships involved are already in transit."
The military advisor stared at Fitzpatrick for a moment as if in shock. "Damn it, Frank! You have no idea what's going on!"
"So tell me."
"I can't- it's classified."
Thanks to Fitzpatrick's doing, the office door had remained open. Now, from where she'd arrived in the outer office after receiving word from Fitzpatrick's yeoman of Turner's arrival, T'Pel quietly stepped into the room. "Then, since I am head of Starfleet Intelligence, you can tell me."
Turner backed away from both of them as Fitzpatrick came behind his desk."Why don't we tell you ?" her friend suggested. Fitzpatrick didn't wait for Turner to answer. "When the Constitution exploded, it made the Union- and Starfleet- look weak in the minds of races like the Klingons and the Orions. At least that's what you thought."
The President's advisor looked from one to the other."It does make us look weak- like we're not capable of doing our jobs anymore. The Orions have been carrying out raids deeper and deeper into our territory for months now."
Fitzpatrick's own brows came together in growing anger. At one time, he had considered this man a friend. "So instead of bringing this imformation to the attention of Starfleet Command, you decided to deal with it yourself!
"You illegally appropriated funds and materials for your own little outpost- then staffed it with researchers who sole purpose was to create an illegal bio-weapon geared toward the total destruction of the Orion Race!
"My god, Mike..." Fitzpatrick turned away in clear disgust.
Turner stepped toward him- almost pleading with him to understand. "We have to strike first- especially when we don't have ships strong enough to defend us. Removing the emeny is the only option left!"
T'Pel shook her head and her red hair bounced about her shoulders. "Illogical. Such an action will not remove enemies- it will only create new ones."
Fitzpatrick turned back toward Turner and his tone was sharp. "If you use that damn thing just once, you'll alienate half the quadrant! Bio-weapons can not be controled. eventually they affect the user as well as his victim- why the hell do you think everyone agreed to outlaw the damn things?"
T'Pel's voice remained vulcan calm as she spoke."Admiral Micheal Turner, you are under arrest for illegally supporting an action that was in direct opposition to the Union's best intrests and for supporting the use of outlawed technology."
In a practised blur of motion, Turner had a personal phaser in his hand."No. I took actions that were neccessary to protect the Union! I won't be sent to some damn penal colony for doing what was right!"
Fitzpatrick glanced in T'pel's direction, then shifted his position- forcing Turner to follow his movements. "Put it down, Mike. No matter how it goes, too many people know now."
Turner shook his head. "No!"
A moment later,his head twitched to one side and he slumped into unconsciousness as a result of T'Pel's nerve pinch.
The two friends exchanged glances over the unconscous form as silence settled over the office.

THE ORION TASK FORCE
PERSONAL RECORD, STARTDATE 4956.84. WE'LL REACH THE OUTPOST ANYTIME NOW. AS I WATCH BALLEN INTERACT WITH HER CREW, ALL I SEE IS AN ORION FEMALE DOING HER JOB.COULD THE SCANS BE WRONG? IF THEY'RE NOT, THEN WHAT THE HELL IS SHE? THE SCANS COULD BE SHOWING ANYTHING FROM GENDER REASSIGNMENT TO A SPY. SHOULD I MAKE AN ISSUE OF IT OR LET IT GO?
RIGHT NOW, I DON'T HAVE ENOUGH INFORMATION TO BASE A DECISION ON. BESIDES, SHE'S CLEARLY THE ONE IN CHARGE AROUND HERE AND IF I'M GOING TO GET AMANDA OUT OF THIS MESS ALIVE, I'M GOING TO HAVE TO WORK WITH HER...

Janet glanced around the command deck once more and then stepped toward the green-skinned female. '"Ballen, there is one favor I need to ask."
The non-orion's eyes narrowed. She knew something would come up. "And what is that?"
"There's one person aboard the outpost that I need to get out before you destroy it- a friend that told me what was going on."
Ballen shook her head. "You can leave after we have confirmed that you have told us the truth- not before."
"You'll be sending a boarding party to the outpost, won't you?" Janet asked.
The raven haired female nodded. "Of course- with enough explosives to destroy everything on board."
Janet nodded. "Let me go with them. We can find her and she can lead us right to the research that needs to be destroyed. Then we can all go our seperate ways."
Ballen thought about it for a long moment, before finally nodding.
Janet wasted no time as she took her communicator in hand. "Kirk to Enterprise. Listen up..." She then went on to explain what was going to happen.
"You're crazy!" M'ress replied. "That outpost'll open fire as soon as we're in range- and the Orions'll shoot back!"
The computer chimed in then. "Janet, ducking and running from Raiders- even fighting them off- is one thing. But I don't have the navigational programs needed to fly in and around Orion ships, fighters, the outpost and all the exchanges of fire in order to get close enough to guarantee a transporter lock."
Janet sighed and the frustration was clear in her tone. "Now you tell me."
Aboard Enterprise, M'ress' tail twitched in agitation. "I can do it."
Her communicator was closer to Janet's mouth in a second. "A cargo ship is a hell-of-alot more involved than a flyer! You'll be dealing with alot more than two seats and an engine!"
M'ress returned her frustration in equal measure."Your computer just said it couldn't do it and you're going to be busy. Do you have someone else in mind?"
Janet could only shake her head. "You get one scratch on the hull and it's coming out of your pay. Kirk out."
M'ress reached for the communications switch- then tilted her head. "What pay?"

On the lead Orion frigate, a crewman turned toward his commander. "Ballen, the outpost has just come within scanning range."
Janet turned to the female."You won't be able to scan it's interior. It has a jammer that blocks all attempts."
"She's right," the same crewman reported."We can't scan past the outer hull."
Another crewman spoke up then. "We are being scanned."
Ballen nodded. "Sound battle Alert. Bring weapons on-line." She turned to someone standig behind Janet."Torlen, take Kirk. You'll both in the first boarding party."
Janet turned to face the being- aand hesitated, for this was the same male she'd kicked back on Cait. He shook his head. "Don't worry human." Then he laughed. "You fight like an Orion!"

Aboard the outpost, the command center was in chaos as the staff responded to their uninvited guests. "Dr.Stone, the Orions are surrounding us!"
Dr.Samuel Stone was in his late fifties and a strong supporter of Admiral Turner's views. It had made sense then to put him in charge of the outpost.
Someone with some command experience might have been a better choice. Standing at his work station, his hand came down on the intercom. "Stone to Stevens. Amanda where are our damn shields?"
Ten decks down, in Engineering,three crewmen lay stunned on the deck- with Amanda standing over them, phaser in hand and the maintance panel to the shield generator open. Several circuits inside were already dark. She activated a nearby intercom. "Stevens here. Don't worry about it, Doctor. I'm working on it now. Out."
She then changed the setting on her phaser, took aim on the open panel and fired- destroying connections and making sure the shields never worked. She then activated the intercom once more."Stevens to Stone. I found the problem. there's been a massive overload in the shield generator.
"There's no way of getting the shields up."
She left Engineering on the run as Stone's voice came over the PA system."This is Dr.Stone to all personel. We're about to be boarded by Orion slavers. Prepare to repel invaders!"
Five decks up, Amanda left the turbo lift, headed for her security office- only to stop at the sight of several poeple beaming onto the station.Most were Orion- then Amanda sighed in relief at the sight of Janet."It's about time you got back."
"Didn't know I had a deadline,"the red head replied. "Where's the research stored at?"
Amanda pointed. "Down this corridor- same as the labs you saw." With that, she led the way at a run.

In the cockpit of a certain cargo ship, M'ress was studying the flight console- and was totally lost. This was nothing like the flyers she used to race. "Computer?'
"Yes, M'ress?"
"I need some quick orientation. I point- and you tell me what it is."
"Understood- but it better be a short lesson. The Orions are firing on the outpost and it's shields are down."

Things shook and rattled along with the thunder of Orion disruptor blasts striking the outpost's hull. Everyone knew it wouldn't be long before things started blowing up on their own.
Amanda finally brought the group to a halt and pointed left and right. "These are the labs- they have to be destroyed if nothing else is."
Torlen looked through one of the viewports and saw the same Orion female Janet had seen a few days ago- only now, she was coverd in sweat and far too weak to move. "By all the gods- "
He started for the lab's airlock door- and Amanda grabbed his arm." It's too late for her. If you go in there, you'll die as well. The plague they've designed destroys the immune system. Then, while every disease you can think of attacks the body, it goes striaght for the brain." She looked toward the viewport as she went on. "She's lapsed into a catatonic state. If nothing else happens, she'll be dead by this time tomarrow. Even the cure won't help if it's been over eight hours."
The outpost rocked, systems shorted and a ceiling support beam inside the sealed lab fell on the treatment couch, killing the female laying upon it. It took Janet's sharp tone to get the Orions moving again."Torlen, set your explosives." he met her gaze for a moment with a blank one,then blinked,nodded and began issuing orders to his men. Janet then turned to Amanda. "Where did you say the research was stored ?"
Her friend pointed to the end of the corridor. "We can use that office to call it up."
The red head nodded. "let's do it then."
They headed in that direction, only to stop at the sight of a four man Starfleet security detail coming round the far corner. Janet barely had time to shout a warning and shove Amanda to the ground before the shooting stared."We've got to get past them!"
Amanda looked at her like she was crazy as Union phaser beams and Orion disruptor blasts flew over their heads. "How without getting our heads blown off?!"
"You have the authority here,"Janet reminded her. 'Use it!"
Amanda stared at her for a moment more, before turning in the direction of the Starfleet forces."Cease Fire! I'm Lt.Commander Stevens! Cease Fire!"
The male in charge of the detail waved for his men to stop firing and stepped into the open. "Commander?"
Amanda spoke as she and Janet stood up and approached. "These men are volunteers, Lieutenant."
He looked at her, then at the Orions standing behind her and Janet and then back to her."If they're volunteers, then why are they armed?"
The two females traded glances and Janet shrugged. "Good question."
As if her remark and been the signal, the two females attacked the detail with every fighting technique they could bring to bear. When it was all over, four security guards lay sprawled on the deck. Janet wiped stray hair back out of her face and turned to Torlen." Do it!" As he and his men set to work, she turned to Amanda. "Let's go."
The outpost rocked again and the explosions were louder. Amanda glanced at Janet." Those explosions were inside."
Janet nodded as they reached the door. "We're running out of time."
Once the door was open they ducked inside and Janet watched as Amanda went straight to the work station and started digging.The outpost rocked and the lights flickered. "What took you so long to figure it out?" Amanda asked as she worked. "You used to be quicker."
"Four years of turning my back on an organization that turned it's back on me,"Janet replied with a clear edge to her voice.
Amanda glanced over at her, then back at her work. "Guess I can't blame you for that." Two data discs emerged from the console and she grabbed them both. "One for Torlen and one for us."
The outpost rocked again more violently and this time when the lights went out they stayed out- replaced by emergency lighting. A moment later, Torlen had the door forced open."The charges are set."
Janet took one of the discs from Amanda and handed it to him as she spoke. "Get your men together. We'll beam out to Enterprise and then beam you back to the task force from there."She took her communicator in hand as they headed for the corridor. "Kirk to Enterprise. Now."

Seated in the Pilot's seat, M'ress took a deep breath. "Alright, Computer. It's time to get this race started. Stand by to transport."
"Acknowledged, M'ress."
There was an increased hum of power as the engines kicked in and then the Enterprise shot into the fray- ducking in and around frigates and fighters while diving clear of phaser beams and disruptor blasts- all under M'ress' guiding hand.

Janet, Amanda and Torlen grabbed for support as the outpost rocked to the most violent explosion yet. Amanda glanced at the ceiling then to her companions. "That was main power lines. That means we only have about five minutes till the core itself blows."
But as they neared the point where they'd left Torlen's men, they found a new security detail standing over their bodies. At the sound of their approach, one of the guards turned and shouted."More of them! Open fire!"
"Use stun!" another guard shouted."They've got Lt.Commander Stevens!"
Damnit,"Janet swore. "Back to the office- Now!"
They got back to the office and Torlen got the door closed just as the first stun burst struck. Janet had her communicator in hand once more. "Kirk to Ballen."
"Ballen here."
"The charges were found- but the outpost is about to blow up on it's own. Keep pounding at it."
"Understood, Ballen out."
"Kirk to Enterprise. M'ress where the hell- "
The transporter effect faded just as the door was blown out of the bulkhead.

As Enterprise pulled away from the outpost, there was a blinding, glaring explosion and then the outpost was gone. Aboard the cargo ship, three beings arrived on the cargo transporter platform. Janet and Amanda quickly left the platform and Janet spoke as she stepped over to the control console."Alright, Torlen, let's get you home. Make sure you give that disc to Ballen."
"I will," the Orion replied. "And Kirk? It was good fighting beside you."
Janet nodded in reply, brought the console on-line and a moment later, Torlen was gone. By then, M'ress had reached the guard rails on the level above."Everything alright?"
The red head sighed and nodded. "It is now."
Amanda nodded toward the feline female."Who's she?"
Janet waved a hand toward the Caitain. "My First Officer."
M'ress' ears twitched in surprise. "Since when?!"
The ship's owner actually checked the time on the transporter console before she answered. "A half hour ago- if you want it. It's a faster promotion than you'd get in Starfleet."
The Caitain tilted her head slightly to one side as her tail wiped about behind her as she thought it over for a moment. Then she nodded."ALright- you're on."
Amanda turned back to Janet. "So now what?"
Her friend nodded toward her new first officer."First, we go back to Cait so M'ress can get some decent clothes. Then we'll take you back to Starfleet Command. In the meantime, we'll call Uncle Frank and fill him in."

The Orion task force was on it's way home. As for Torlen, as soon as he arrived back aboard Ballen's ship, he headed straight for her cabin. Now, she answered the door buzzer and watched as he entered. "How did it go?"
Torlen stood before her desk, the data disc in his hand."Kirk, her friend and I made it out. The others are dead." He handed her the disc. "The research for the plague and it's cure."
Ballen stood up in surprise as she accepted the disc. "How did you- ?"
"Kirk." He shrugged. "I guess she wanted us to be able to recognize and counter it if it should surface again some day."
Ballen met his gaze for a moment, then turned toward the viewport positioned behind her desk. As she did so, she laid the disc down- her hand brushing a control Torlen would never see. On the far side of the cabin, the eyes of an erotic stature- actually custom-built targeting sensors- began tracking Torlen. "Did anyone else know you had this?"
He shook his head as the targeting sensors locked on. "No. No one."
Ballen actually relaxed with that bit of news. "Good. the Praetor 'll be pleased."
This confused Torlen even as weapons began their build up toward firing. "'Praetor'? I don't- " Two disruptor beams lanced out from the statue's eyes and struck Torlen down in mid sentence. He was dead by the time his body hit the deck.
A female hand hit an intercom switch. "Ballen to Medical."
"Bomek here."
"Send a litter team to my cabin. Torlen has died of wounds he received aboard the outpost."
"Understood. they're on their way."
"Ballen out." After turning off the intercom, she reached over and picked up the data disc. Ballen then glanced down at the body and a slight smile came to her face as she spoke. " Don't worry, Torlen. You will be remembered for helping to preserve your race-
"- for the Romulan Empire."

PERSONAL RECORD, STARDATE 4956.9. UPON CONTACTING UNCLE FRANK, WE FOUND OUT THAT THINGS HAVEN'T EXACTLY BEEN QUIET AT HIS END OF THIS MESS. ADMIRAL T'PEL WAS WITH HIM WHEN WE CALLED, WHICH ALLOWED EVERYONE TO BRING EVERYONE ELSE UP TO DATE.
ADMIRAL TURNER'S RECORDS HAVE BEEN SEIZED AND MORE ARRESTS ARE EXPECTED ONCE THE REST OF HIS CO-CONSPRATORS ARE DISCOVERED. I'VE GOT A FEELING THIS MESS IS GOING TO CREATE ALOT OF VACANCIES IN STARFLEET COMMAND- AND COMING ONLY SIX MONTHS AFTER THE DESTRUCTION OF THE CONSTITUTION, IT'S NOT GOING TO MAKE FOR VERY GOOD P.R. EITHER.
WE SHOULD REACH CAIT IN A FEW HOURS- PROVIDED NOTHING ELSE POPS UP IN OUR WAY....

EPILOGUE; ONE WEEK LATER
The Orion homeworld was a brown and green ball, ice caps at each end- both smaller than Earth's- with a scattering of lakes of various sizes instead of anything approaching the size of an ocean. In orbit around this world, was a brand new Orion frigate fresh from the dockyards- and in it's commander's cabin, sat Ballen. It wasn't her ship though. While she was in command, it actually belonged to the leader of the Orion Syndicate named Maket.
At the moment, Ballen's attention was on a section of console none of the ship's designers ever laid eyes on. She watched as the highly secretive device ran through it's codes and passwords before completing the connection it was trying to make. As an image formed on the screen, she bowed her head. "Praetor."
The leader of the Romulan Empire returned her nod- and Ballen knew a great concession when she saw one." Ballen. I have read your report. How soon can you have the plague ready to be released into an Orion colony's atmosphere?"
"My Praetor, I propose that such measures may not be needed."
He tilted his head slightly. "Explain."
His top agent took a deep breath and did so. "Since my return to their homeworld, Maket has been very lavish in his praise for the 'Hero of the Orion Race'. Not only has he promoted me to command of his personal ship, he has requested my presence every evening for somewhat...intimate visits."
The Praetor's eyebrows rose at this. "And you were able to respond?"
She shrugged. "The training and indoctrination were quite complete. He suspected nothing- infact he is quite enamoured of me."
The male on the screen lifted his head slightly."Can you push him to the next level?"
Ballen nodded. "Without even trying. If I show him enough devotion and loyalty, we'll be married before the year is out. As his wife, I'll be able to stear him toward certain trade agreements with the Empire. Then if something should happen to him, no one will begrudge the grieving widow if she should turn to our number one ally for support- say in the form of Protectorate under the Romulan Empire?"
The Praetor nodded."Very nice and neat and nothing the Union can interfer with. Proceed as you've outlined- and Ballen? I hope you'll come to like married life."
The being seated in the command cabin of Maket's frigate shrugged."I beleive I will be able to tolerate it until, as the Humans say, 'Death do us part'?"
The Praetor's laughter echoed off the bulkheads even as his image faded from the screen.

SHIP'S RECORD,STARDATE 4966.7. WE'LL BE ARRIVING AT STARFLEET COMMAND IN ABOUT FIFTEEN MINUTES. WE'LL DROP AMANDA OFF, TOP OFF OUR SUPPLIES AND MAYBE STOP IN TO SEE UNCLE FRANK BEFORE HEADING OUT ONCE MORE...

Seated at the work station in her cabin, Janet turned off the log as the computer spoke. "Janet, since it appears that M'ress will be staying on board, should I give her full access to the ship's systems?"
The red head nodded. "Yes. With her racing experience, she might have some ideas for the engines- which reminds me, we still need to take a look at the Number three warp manifold. Let's try to do that before we break orbit. Also, give M'ress full access to the business records. I want her to know she can check them anytime she wants."
"Yes, ma'am. we've just received a signal from your uncle. He asks that all three of you come to his office once we've acheived orbit."
"Did he say why?"
"Negative."
Janet sighed. "Alright. Make sure that M'ress and Amanda know."
"M'ress is in the cockpit, Amanda is asleep and Starbase One has just come into visual range."
Leaving her cabin, Janet turned right in the short corridor and reached for the switch to the cockpit hatch. Slidding it open, she found M'ress seated in the pilot's seat- where she's spent most of the flight from Cait. "You all right?"
The Caitian nearly jumped out of her seat. She glared at the Human as she drew near."You scared the hell out of me."
"I'm surprised you have any left,"Janet replied."What's got such a hold on your attention that you didn't hear the hatch?"
M'ress nodded toward the forward viewport and the sight of Starbase One steadily growing larger as they drew closer. Her voice was a near whisper. "I've never seen a space station that big before."
Janet leaned forward to take a better look. "You might as well start getting used to it. From what I've heard, they're all this big."

Two hours later, the intercom in Admiral Fitzpatrick's office buzzed for attention. he glanced over at T'Pel where she stood nearby as he answered it. "Yes?"
"Your neice and her friends are here, sir."
"Send them in."
The three females entered and Amanda's gaze went to the Vulcan. "Admiral."
T'Pel nodded in greeting. "You accomblished your mission with great sucess, Lt.Commander. We here at Command, had been unable to conceive of a method of destroying the outpost without revealing some kind of Starfleet connection."
Amanda nodded toward her friend."The credit goes to Janet, ma'am. I was just hoping for a ride out of there before all hell broke lose. I didn't know she was going to bring in the Orion Cavalry!"
T'Pel turned to the other red head in the room. "And the Orions remain unaware that the outpost had Starfleet connections?"
Janet shrugged. "They never asked- and I never offered."
The Vulcan nodded- satisfaction as clear on her face as it could ever be."Then I think we can consider the matter closed except for a few minor details.
"Lt.Commander Stevens, now that you have some idea of what Starfleet Intelligence is about, would you be willing to continue as one of my agents?"
Amanda glanced at Janet and M'ress before she answered. "As long as I continue to answer directly to you, Admiral."
T'Pel nodded. "Very well. I shall see to the formal paperwork. "She turned to her fellow admiral. "Franklin?"
Janet watched her uncle as he turned to the desk and picked up an actual folder containing hard copy print-outs which he then handed her. "T'Pel managed to pull a few strings last week."
Janet glanced at the Vulcan, then at her uncle. "What kind of strings?"
He indicated the folder. "Read it and find out."
She opened the folder and began to read- then she stopped and looked up at each admiral in turn. "This is the transcript of a review board hearing."
Fitzpatrick nodded. "Why don't you skip to the summary?"
Janet turned to the last page and began to read aloud."...In conclusion, it is the decision of this Review Board, that the investigating committee erred in their judgement of stardate of 4723.5, in which they stated that their findings concerning Cadet Kirk's part in the break-in of said program control room was inconclusive.
"It is clear to this Review Board that it would have been impossiable for Cadet Kirk to be both at the Academy and in Riverside,Iowa at one and the same time.
"Therefore, it is the conclusion of this Review Board, that person or persons unknown used cadet Kirk's biometric profile to gain access to said program control room for reasons unknown. Cadet Kirk should be considered the victim of this action- not the perpetrator and the veridct of "inconclusive'" should be replaced with a verdict of "Not Guilty".
Janet looked up from the transcript and met her uncle's gaze with one of near disbelief. Fitzpatrick nodded in understanding. "I know. It took four years- but it's better late than never."
She slowly nodded and spoke as she looked down at the print out once more."True."She looked to T'Pel. "I am grateful, Admiral. But it doesn't answer the questions of 'who' and 'why'- and it doesn't reinstate me, either."
T'Pel nodded as she stood like most Vulcans- with her hands behind her back."As to the questions of 'who' and 'why'- those are answers which- after four years- we may never have. As for reinstatement, I beleive you can be of more use to Starfleet- and the Union- as a free agent."
Janet stared at her for a moment, glanced at M'ress, then back again."You want us to be operatives? Agents?"
The Vulcan gave a slight shrug."When I processed the request for the review, I called up your record. After reading it, I have no doubt that your sense of right and wrong will lead you into situations we at Starfleet Intelligence know nothing about."
Fitzpatrick cleared his throat as he leaned against his desk."You've been on your own for four years now, Jan. Do you really want to put on a uniform and start jumping to someone else's orders now?"
Janet traded glances with M'ress and Amanda as she stepped away in thought."All I've ever wanted was to be in Starfleet- to serve the greater good." She turned back to face her uncle. "Now you're telling me that I can serve the greater good better by not joining?"
Fitzpatrick sighed. "If this were six months ago, I'd hand you the uniform myself. But it's a different universe now."
T'Pel nodded. "Your uncle is correct. With the destruction of the Constitution and the indefinate suspension of that program,Starfleet and the Union are in a position they have never been in before.
"Empires, factions, organizations that would never have considered moving against us- will now consider doing just that, thinking that we don't have the strength to stop them."
She stepped over toward trhe office viewport as she continued to speak. "In one respect, Admiral Turner was correct in his assessment. we do need to make the first move.- but not by extermination or genicide." She turned to face the others. "Moving first means gathering information on our enemies. Finding out who they are and how they are organized. How advanced are their plans and do we have time to counter them?
"The process of gathering information can be just as important as knowing which end of a phaser to point at the enemy. It can also be the most dangerous. Those that gather information tend to have short life-spans.
"If you decide not to join us in this endeavor, I will not fault you."
Janet turned to M'ress. "What do you think?"
The Caitain shrugged. "In a way, it sounds more important than serving on a starship. You're already captain of your own ship. If you join Starfleet, what are you then? Just another crewman, right?"
Her human friend sighed. "I can't argue with anything any of you have said. There's also the little detail that most of starfleet will never read this transcript. Even if I were reinstated, I'd still have to deal with the same hostilities I would have had to deal with four years ago." She sighed once more and nodded."Alright. It's a deal."
Janet looked to M'ress once more. "Let's go before we end up smuggling the Klingon Chancelor to a meeting with the F.U.P. President."
Fitzpatrick raised his hand toward her. "One more thing, Jan- a cargo run if you're intrested."
She looked at him like he was crazy."After the last one? What is it? Smuggling Romulan ale to Vulcan?"
Her uncle glanced at T'Pel and smiled gently."No. A small colony on Seriann in the Durianous System. The colonists miscalculated how long it would take to make the trip and now their power supplies are running out."
Janet took a step toward him and her look was filled with frustration. "Damnit. It's never easy with you is it?"
M'ress looked from one to the other. "Where is the Durianous System?"
"Half a light-year from the Romulan Neutral Zone,"Janet told her.
"Ouch."
Janet met her uncle's gaze. "You keep this up, and I'm going to raise my rates to include combat pay." Then she sighed." Where's the stuff at?"
"Cargo Hold Nine,"He answered.
Amanda spoke up then. "I know where that is. I can show you."
"After you have done so,"T'Pel stated,"Report to my office for a formal debriefing."
Amanda nodded and as the three females left the office, Janet shook her head and M'ress noticed."What's wrong?"
Janet sighed. "Just thinking about how crazy the universe is. I keep hoping it'll start making sense some day- but I guess I'm just dreaming."


END


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