PRELUDE: SHADES OF THE PAST. . . OR THINGS TO COME:
At first there was nothing.
But then he noticed the steady beating of is heart. Still with the darkness, he felt things prodding him. Fingers and cold objects brushed against his exposed skin. Panic overwhelmed him. He struggled for his first breath of air. It came to him in a painful rush, which filled his weak lungs with life.
After a series of gasps, he felt the habit returning to him.
'OPEN YOUR EYES...'
Something inside of him spoke. His eyelids opened and images in bright colors burned in his retinas. He tried to squint, but realized something was forcing his eyes open.
He struggled for mobility, to find himself constrained.
He opened his mouth to speak, but nothing happened.
'OPEN YOUR MIND....'
The voice said next. Alex struggled even more to no avail. As his vision began to clear, he began to see objects, and shapes in motion before him.
'OPEN YOUR MIND....'
He struggle feverishly because he knew all of it was wrong. This was not to good place he usually would come.
'OPEN YOUR MIND....'
He tried to scream, but he had no voice. He had no freedom.
'OPEN YOUR MIND....'
More voices joined in. It was a universal voice, the thoughts of a thousand beings.
He opened his mind, and reached out with a thought of curiosity. "Who are you?"
'WE ARE LEGION....YOU...ARE LEGION'
His heart stopped when he realized who 'It/They' were. He tried to close his mind, but it was too late. 'It/They' had already entered and were at work. He could feel a million mental fingertips caressing his brain, molding his thought patterns into something different.
"Please....don't hurt me!" he mentally lashed out
The intruders showed no pity. 'PAIN IS IRRELEVANT...'
Then all at once, it stopped and there was once again darkness. Alex could no longer hear is heart or his breathing. Everything had changed.
The voice(s) commanded, and Alex felt a need to. The voice(s) was no longer terrifying, but more commonplace. It was the voice(s) of oneness.
Alex felt his lips move.
He opened his mouth and spoke: "RESISTANCE TO FUTILE. . ."
Alex woke up in a frightening spasm. He jerked the covers from his bed and violently swung in the air. As he began to realize he was dreaming, his urgent sense of action turned into fatigue. He sat up, huffing greatly, trying to calm down.
"Never again..." he whispered to no one; frightened that the inner voice(s) would answer him, like it did in the dream .
Like it did three years before.
ACT1: FOR THE CAUSE
BEGIN: First Office's Log: Mia Gan-An'War recording . . .
It's been a three days since we agreed to join Admiral Porter's PROGRAM. Alex and I have been working around the clock on repairs to the Helix and estimate we'll be space-worthy in under twenty-four hours. Tash has been away retrieving needed supplies and information for the refit of our databanks.
Our situation (being thrown back in time and altering the timeline), has been a lot to take in for us. Although we've accepted it, fighting the Borg in our timeline has done nothing but make us weary of what was to expect in this 'improved' timeline. The Borg are still out there and I'm sure they'll try again.
Off the record, although the Admiral seems to have the best of intentions, I still don't trust her. There seems to be more than what the surface shows. It is apparent she is more interested in our ship than us, probably waiting for the right time to seize it. I've been wondering if sharing our Borg technology would be beneficial to this Alpha Quadrant. But there's still so much we don't know yet. . .
And then there's Kyle, our 'newest' member. His files say he's a host for a Trill symbiote. There's a lot of information which was deleted from his file. It's going to take a few months of work, but I should be able to recover it all. He seems to walk on the fence, but he's gonna have to fall on someone's side soon. Who's side will it be? More importantly, how many sides are there to choose from?
Mia entered the transporter room to find Admiral Porter and Kathy Brooks already waiting. Five minutes before, they were informed that Tash and the Starfleet team he was assigned to, had just pulled into transporter range. The Starfleet officers were intently whispering, but quickly stopped when the Vulcan was in ear distance.
"You're late." the Admiral commented.
"Very perceptive." Mia answered nonchalantly. "I caught one of your engineers trying to open a conduit in a non designated area. He ended up with third degree burns on his right arm from the automated defense systems." She almost smirked, but held her composure.
"Wait a minute..." Kathy Brooks intruded. "You specifically said it was safe for our people to get in there and help with repairs."
"I said the designated areas in need of repairs were safe. I also told you to inform your crew that non designated areas would be unsafe to venture; let alone tampered with."
The Admiral stepped forward. "I hope you're not accusing my men of something illegal?"
"No." Mia replied. "I just didn't know that using the class-seven laser torch on Galvanian Plate Armor, in non specified work areas was part of Starfleet operations..." with that she walked to transporter chief, her smirk starting to surface. "Energize..."
The Chief looked over toward Admiral Porter who gave him the green light. In a matter a seconds, Tash and three Starfleet officers appeared on the beam pads.
"How'd we do?" Mia asked her brother who was already off the pad and coming toward her, digging in his bag. He came out with a brown quartz-like crystal which glimmered in the track lighting.
"Jackpot." Tash replied with a smile. "They were just where Lucani left them. We got about seventeen good-size crystals; about fifty years worth for the holodeck and medical systems. I'm gonna run them to engineering and start the refining process."
As he left the transporter room, Kathy Brooks stared at the crystals. "I don't recognize those rocks."
"They're Takarian Rune Crystals. The Breen use them as emergency substitutions for dilithium. Since the charge is so low, they're not suitable for regular use. One of our Resistance engineers found that if you take three good size crystals and lock their energy expenditure into a continuous loop, the energy degradation falls to less than 0.04% an hour. To conserve dilithium supplies, we outfitted the holodeck and sickbay equipment to run on these crystals." She started to walk out and the Admiral and Lieutenant followed. "They're virtually nonexistent now. But in our time, a Garidian pirate name Lucani told us of a large stash he had on a moon in the Breen system. Five years from now in our timeline, we would've used it up, so I was certain they should still be in place."
"What about your friend? I mean, it's still his stash?" The Admiral asked stopping at the turbolift.
Mia stepped in, leaving her companions in the hall. "The way I see it, we won't be friends for another two years. So, screw him. Deck 5."
The doors close and Cynthia and Kathy began to walk about. The Admiral leaned over to whisper, "I think I'm gonna like that bitch."
Kathy laughed outloud.
"....I thought they weren't suppose to be moved for three days?!" Kyle K'nar said pacing in his new quarters aboard the Helix. He was using a coded frequency to contact his section of the Bajoran Resistance.
An elderly woman filled the comm-screen. "You know our intelligence is sketchy at best. Kira said they intercepted one of our patrols in the Badlands and made their transport quota early." she replied, concern in her tone.
"Where are they going?"
"Tarok Nor. But first they're scheduled to rendezvous with the 5th Order patrol squad half way through. It'll be a 27 hour stopover before they're underway."
"I want my grandson back, Kyle. Ian doesn't have anything to do with all this! He's only a child..."
Kyle pulled close to the screen. "I made you a promise that I'd get him back for you, and I will. There's somebody very special also on that transport. I'll find a way to get them. You have my..."
The entrance bell sounded. "Gotta go. Computer, end and delete transmission record..." Kyle whispered terminating the console's power just as Admiral Porter and Lt. Brooks entered.
"My my..." he said with a grin. "You're coming to see me without a security team? You're either getting brave, or stupid in your old age."
"You know what gets my goat, Kyle?" the Admiral asked. The Trill shrugged his shoulders. "The fact that I believe in your cause, but I don't believe in you."
"Tell me when its suppose to hurt my feelings, so I can try and weep the tears the unforgiven." Kyle smirked.
The Admiral motioned for the Lieutenant to leave the room and Kathy reluctantly did. Porter strolled over and sat beside Kyle who was busy suiting up.
She paused for a few seconds and got serious. "This is one of THE PROGRAM's most important campaigns, Kyle. The reason I'm giving you a second chance is because your motives are good. We both want the same thing...."
Kyle looked back at the Admiral. "Tell me the truth. Why do you want the end the Cardassian Occupation?"
The Admiral smiled. "To help liberate the Bajorans for...."
"Crap." Kyle interrupted. "I don't want a crappy answer."
"O.K. How about 'I can't stand Cardassians'. How about 'I want to see them pay for what they did to my husband and his crew'? Which do you want, because I have a million of them. But all you need to know is that I'm giving you the means to finish the job you and the Resistance couldn't!" She handed him a message pad and walked to the door. "That's your next three mission files, all the access codes and contact information is still current, so you have to walk the others through our operations. And don't forget, I'm gonna be watching you, Kyle. Follow my directions and you'll hit the jackpot. Cross me and I'll consider you an enemy. And you know what I do to enemies, don't you?"
She quickly left to give Kyle time for her words to sink in. He stared at the blank console he was using minutes before. His decision wasn't a hard one.
"Well, so much for the nice approach."
He was about to become the enemy.
As the door to Alex's temporary quarters aboard the Craven swung open, Mia noticed him sitting by the window sipping what seemed to be coffee.
"We should've been on the Helix ten minutes ago." Mia said walking behind him. Alex swiveled around in his chair to face his teammate.
"I don't think their going anywhere without us..." Alex answered. "We have time."
Mia smiled and tapped her comm-badge. "Mia to Tash."
"Go ahead." her brother's voice responded.
"Postpone the launch for another half hour. We have a few things to straighten out down here."
"Understood. But Kyle is pretty impatient to get going."
"Let him wait."
"Understood. Tash out."
Mia found a spot on the couch across the room and laid down. "So, are you gonna tell me what's wrong, or do I have whine to get it out of you?"
"Being the inquisitive man that I am, I tried hacking into the Admiral's personal files to see what I could find."
"And?" Mia waited intently.
"I didn't get much, but i found directory fragments from deleted files, which bared our names."
"That's not the creepy part. The creepy thing is..." he paused, as if trying to make sense of the situation. "...the directory was predated a year ago."
Mia's eyes slightly widened. "Are you saying that..."
"...that the Admiral knew we were coming." Alex finished as he stood and walked to the window.
"It could've been a glitch in th system. But you don't think so, do you?"
"I think PROGRAM isn't exactly what it seems. And it's influence doesn't just stop with The Federation."
"Then what do we do? We could make a run for the badlands; join the Bajoran Resistance or something. I'm sure the Trill guy wouldn't have any objections."
Alex shook his head. "The Admiral's a smart old bitch. She would've thought of that. Right now, all we can do is hide in plain site. We'll have to play along until we can find out what's really going on..."
"And what if it's bad?" Mia asked.
"Well, remember we have access codes, top secret operations, espionage routines, and illegal actions of every major faction in the alpha quadrant in our fragmented databanks. It's all history to us, but in the here and now; it's all valuable commodity."
Mia smiled. "We could stir up quite a few problems once the data core is back online."
Alex smiled more fiendishly. "Or make a nice amount of latnum. But for now, lets play like nice little soldiers and do what we're told."
In the hour that followed, the newly formed Team Helix had made it aboard and ran their final system checks. Although the ship was only 57% operational, all the main systems were online and partially functional. Alex had assumed his place at command, Tash at navigation and communication, and Mia at security and engineering. Kyle remained in his quarters stating he wasn't fully needed until the action started. Alex knew he had a tuff road ahead with the Trill. He was going to have to win the old man's trust with deeds, not words.
Aboard the Craven, they were readying to depart for earth.
"Admiral on the bridge!" Kathy Brooks said as Cynthia Porter exited the turbolift and headed for the command chair.
"As you were." she said and everyone tended to their posts. "Hail Mr. Garret, please." she ordered easing into the chair was grace and presence.
Alex's face appeared on the front screen. Porter could see Mia in the background shuffling from station to station in preparation.
"We're all set to go, Admiral." Alex said.
"Very good, Captain. You are to proceed to the rim of Cardassian space. Kyle has your mission briefing. We will remain under communication silence, but we have people in the field who will monitor and keep us updated on your progress."
"Understood. Garret out."
Lt. Brooks walked to the Admiral's side. "You do understand that Kyle's got his own agenda?"
The Admiral swiveled her chair around to face Kathy. "That's exactly what I'm expecting to happen. By this time next week, the Helix should have a full crew compliment, thanks to him." she leaned in to whisper. "It doesn't matter if they're 20 or 200 years old. A terrorist fighting a lost cause is an open book. And if you read them correctly, they'll do everything and anything you want them to."
ACT 2: A MATTER OF TRUST
The four-man crew of the Helix gathered on the Holodeck. Since repairs to the conference room were pushed to the minor list, Mia configured the holo-emitters to replicate the Craven's assembly quarters. Kyle searched the computer's subroutines and accessed the mission log. The hologram of space crafted appeared in slow rotation.
"This is the Cardassian 4th Order Transport: Galorma." Kyle started; assuming his comfortable role as military strategist. "Officially it's classified as a passenger transport. Since it's registered as a nonmilitary vessel, it has minor access to cross the neutral zone and other sectors. Unofficially, operatives have leaked out information that it's a modified carrier transporting weapons and military personnel to secret strategic locations."
"Hasn't Starfleet tracked the vessel along it's route?" Mia asked.
"Yes. But they're conveniently known to pass through nebulas, anomalies ....basically anything that screws with sensors."
"So what are we to do about it?" Alex stepped in. "If I remember correctly, the treaty stipulates that Federation vessels can't search Cardassian freighters without probable cause."
"True." Kyle smiled. "But we're not a Federation vessel... at least not officially." He shut down the holo-screen. "Their manifest says they will rendezvous with warships from the 4th Order in twelve hours. During they're 24 hour layover, we'll engage and disable the warships, board the transport and uncover evidence."
"All by our lonesome, huh?" Alex said sarcastically. "That's seems like a tall order for a small ship."
"I've done it with less. And come on, I've read what this ship could do in the records. Hell, the fact that you can fire cloaked is enough to give us an advantage. I thought you guys were hotshots in your reality."
Tash interceded. "That doesn't make us suicidal." he turned to Alex. "But I think it'll work. We can disable the warships by reprogramming the auto-defense weapons to locate and strike key areas on the warships simultaneously."
"How long?" Kyle asked. Tash stared at Kyle for a few moments and then turned to Alex.
Alex grinned. "How long?"
Tash continued. "Six ours. With Mia's help, maybe even sooner."
"Then get to it. That's all people." The siblings stood up and quickly left the room leaving Alex and Kyle sitting across from each others.
They stared at each other. Alex saw this situation coming a long time ago. Basically Kyle's been the man in charge for as long as he can remember. And he probably wasn't gonna take orders from a complete stranger.
"You must be really something, Garret" the Trill host said.
"The way you train your Romulan monkeys to hang on your every word."
Alex felt his eye switch. He tried to hide it, but it was apparent that Kyle knew what buttons to push. "First of all, their not Romulan. Their Vulcan. Secondly, what you saw isn't training, it's trust and respect. Something we've built over the years. And I'd watch what I say around them. They've killed bigger men for lesser things."
Kyle stood up as to intimidate the human. "Did you just threaten me?"
Alex smiled. "Yep." and he started to walk away. Without thinking, he ducked and sidestepped, just missing Kyle's thick-armed lariat swing. On instinct, he was on his feet and sending a kick to the Trill's midsection. But his leg was caught in midair and Alex stumbling backwards, falling over the conference table.
"Nobody threatens me." Kyle said coming for his captain.
Alex had to think quick. "Computer..." he called out. "Garret Workout #7"
In an instant, the conference room disappeared and was replaced by the generic ruins of some civilization. The change startled Kyle, and that was all Alex needed. He sent a double-fisted thrust to the Trill's stomach and up into his chin. He was lifted him off is feet and to the ground.
But Kyle quickly turned the fall into a role and was on feet with a power kick forward; meeting Alex's ribcage.
The Captain's heart fluttered for the second. He didn't realize he'd lost his balance and hit his head on a nearby stone.
Kyle smiled, wiping the dripping blood from his lips. "Now, I may not have been there, but I sure you didn't beat any Borg with stiff moves like that."
"You son of a bitch!" Alex yelled staggering to his feet. "Computer ....Batleth!" The Klingon weapon materialized beside him and in one swift motion, he grabbed it and sent it swinging for Kyle. The Trill dodged the blow and Alex fell past him. As he fell forward, all the pain in his stomach and chest faded away and was replace by humiliation. He could hear his opponent laughing.
He rose to his feet, enraged by the Trill who hadn't even broken a sweat. In a last burst of fury, Alex let out a roar worthy of a Klingon, and raised his weapon. He rushed his opponent.
Kyle was ready. With a subtle flinch of his wrist, a small phaser-type weapon slid out from his sleeve and nestled in his right palm. Just as Alex lunged in mid-swing, he pointed and fired the weapon. The lavender disrupter shot struck Alex in the check and halted his momentum like hitting a brick wall. He flipped end over end out of control. And as he flew by Kyle, the Trill gracefully snatched the Batleth from his hand. Alex fell the ground limp, quickly grasping his chest in pain.
Kyle approached and knelt in front of him. "Nice roar" he said smiling.
"Satisfied?" Alex said with a scratchy voice struggling to get to his feet.
"Not really." he answered. "There wasn't anything to satisfy. We needed to know where each other stands. I think we're done . . . Captain."
"Is that sarcasm?"
Kyle smiled. "No. Just acknowledging the chain of command."
Alex grinned. "Understood." He reached his hand out and Kyle met it for a quick shake. "Maybe you can teach me a few of those moves, old man?"
"Sure thing." The Trill answered on his way out. "Number one, anger is your worst enemy. Don't let it dictate your technique. And two, if you're going to cheat and use a weapon, think: phaser."
As the door close behind Kyle's exit, Alex pulled himself up and walked over to the comm-system. "Alex to Mia."
"Go ahead." her voice answered.
"Log Kyle in the system records and give him level three clearance. And after that, I need you on the holodeck. I think I broke something."
"The holo-emitters, again?"
"No. About two or three ribs..."
Kyle had to stop half way to his quarters to catch his breathe. He didn't want to let Alex know, but his effortless defensive moves took a lot out of him. He had reached the OVER THE HILL stage in his present life. He knew because he'd been there a number of times before.
As he straightened his self up to continue his walk, he sensed someone was following him. He stopped and glanced behind himself. The corridor seemed totally deserted.
"Who's there?" he called out. There was no answer.
When he turned to continue his walk, he didn't see the slender roundhouse kick which struck the side of his head. He was lifted off his feet and thrown into the wall. A series of kicks and punches followed as he helplessly absorbed the blows; covering his face for safety. Just as he began to regain his senses to counteract, he felt the cold touch of metal press firmly against his neck. He thought for a moment to try a Klingon maneuver to escape, but realized it would be a chancy move.
He opened his eyes to find the cold expression of a Vulcan woman almost nose to nose. Mia's stare was almost as frightening as the blade to his neck.
"Let's clear something up, old man." she spoke, her tone was soft yet deadly serious. "The fact that we haven't had a chance set the ground rules on this ship is the only reason you're still alive. There's not much to memorize really. Number one, trust is taken above all else. Betray that and you're considered just as bad as the enemy. Number two, no abuse of your access privileges. You have a problem understanding this, see rule number one. And number three..." she pulled close to whisper in his ear, the knife's blade softly knudging his neck. "This little skirmish was a warning. You ever... EVER put your hands on Alex again, I'll use this blade to amputate every limb, digit, and extrusion on your body, while you watch. Do you understand me?"
When she moved back, Kyle's body fell to the floor. He began to cough violently and gasp for breathe. He looked up at Mia as she walked away.
'She's the one.' he thought to himself.
Without turning around she called out. "I'm going to treat Alex's wounds. As soon as you're fit, come to the medlab and I'll patch you up."
"Under..stood." he forced out between breathes. He had to smile.
Now, the only thing left to do is find out how compatible Vulcans where with Trill Symbiotes...
MISSION LOG: Captain Alex Garret recording . . .
We entered Cardassian space three hours ago, and will be reaching the rendezvous point any time now. Kyle's detailed strategy has been studied and the four of us are ready to engage the enemy. This will be this crew's first nondestructive mission ever? I hope they will perform just as effective in this postwar tour of duty.
"Status report?" Alex asked from the command chair on the bridge.
Tash responded. "We've just entered visual range."
A ragged, adobe colored transport ship was nestled between a horde of Cardassian warships.
"Run a sensor scan." Alex was surprised. He expected only two warships at the most.
Tash ran his fingers along the console. "I'm not reading any unusual readings. The cloak seems to be working.
"Good. Take us in. Position us in the designated area for the initial assault. Where's Kyle?"
Mia, answered from the tactical station. "I reached him a couple minutes ago. She should be on his way."
As if on cue, the entrance doors slid open and Kyle entered the bridge moving a little slower than usual. Alex had to take a second glance at the Trill. There were multiple bruises on the his face and arms, and a bandage on his neck.
Alex smiled. "I didn't know I did so much damage in our little squabble?" he said swiveling his chair forward nonchalantly.
Kyle smiled. "I guess you don't know your own strength." He glanced up at Mia, who's expression was as cold as he remembered. "I see we've made it. Have the phaser systems been scripted?"
"We're set." Alex replied. "All the data you supplied was entered. Mia and Tash will engage the systems as soon as we're set up in the transporter bay. Let's go. Mia's got the bridge."
As Alex and Kyle left the bridge, Mia transferred tactical controls to Tash's systems and made her way to the Captain's chair. "I don't like where this is going. Keep a transporter lock on Alex. If there's any trouble, get him out of there."
"What about Kyle?"
"Hmm... I guess him too, if you have the time. But don't make it a priority..."
Alex and Kyle positioned themselves on the giant transporter pad situated in the middle of the bay.
"Remember..." Kyle said. "As soon as we beam over, we'll drop gas canisters and find cover. The toxins will only effect Cardassian DNA and should spread through the entire ship. This will give us enough time to find was we need."
Alex nodded and then tapped his comm-badge. "Team 1 to Mia. We're set down here. You make the call."
On the bridge, Mia ran her fingers along the command console. "Scanning for shield frequencies." She accessed the computer directories full of the untested Borg technology they have incorporated into the ship's defenses. The most useful the bunch, had to the 'Shield Scanners', which enables them to extrapilate a ship's shield frequency, allowing them to penetrate them with no problem.
"Frequencies confirmed." Tash responded. "Initiating program: K'NAR 7 2 5 1." her Vulcan sibling relayed over the open comm-system. "Execution in 5 seconds."
The four Cardassian warships didn't know what hit them. Without warning an intricate web of phaser and photon torpedoes appeared from nowhere, striking the ships at vital points. With no no shields to protect them, and weapons unarmed, they suffered massive damage across the board. They began to slowly drift out of position.
As the Helix decloaked and passed the transport, it fired an aft torpedo into it's navigational array. The impact sent the ship slowly drifting in circles. From it's port side, a series of small distruptor guns returned fire, but were met by three more torpedoes which ripped the weapons from their foundation. By the time the assault was over, the transport was dead in space.
That's when Tash watched his console's display go crazy. "Something's wrong." He tried to access his controls to no avail. "The program's executed commands hidden in the subroutines! I'm locked out!"
Mia stood in defiance. "Damnit, Kyle!!"
The hidden program took over the ships controls and started to go after the damaged ships. The auto-phaser systems went crazy, unleashing a fury of shots across the ships like a hail storm. One after the other, the erupted in a blaze of hellfire leaving nothing but small fragments of what use to be powerful warships.
"Oh God!" Mia screamed. She ran to her brother's side. "Stop them from transporting! Block the damn transport signal!"
Tash shook his head. "Too late. They're already on their way, and we still don't have access to the controls!" he slammed his fists on the console. "He's shut down everything!"
"I don't give a damn what you have to do, regain control of the ship! Rip out the conduits if need be. We've got to get Alex out of there!" she screamed as Tash ran for the turbolift.
Mia walked to the forward view screen; which displayed the Cardassian transport in full view. She felt like kicking herself for not trusting her instincts. She didn't trust the Trill from the very start. And now, after the Borg attack , after The Assimilation Wars , after all they've been through it could very well end with the stupid act by a stupid relic of a soldier.
"Mia, we got trouble." Tash's spoke from her comm-badge. "There's a level 3 security shield erected around the bridge area. I can't get access to any of the sensitive areas."
"Then get back up here. We'll have to try something else." she replied as she took her seat at command once again. She stared toward the viewscreen, but pure anger was clouding her vision. "Old man, you are Dead....dead......d...." Suddenly, the long range sensors started to go crazy. She could guess that the three unidentified ships racing for their position weren't going to be friendly. "...dead."
According to Kyle's records, they were suppose to materialize in the cargo bay holding the illegal weapons. They were to verify the cargo as Cardassian weapons and seize the ship for Starfleet inspection. But as their transporter beams began to dissipate, Alex realized they were in main engineering and surrounded by a crew of Cardassian troops. Panic set in as he watch them reach for their weapons.
"Get down!" Kyle screamed grabbing Alex from behind and tossing him over a large bulky appliance. He could almost feel the heat from the disrupter beams as they whisked passed him, just missing his head as he followed Alex for cover.
Alex the grabbed his phaser and boosted the setting to kill, but Kyle grabbed his wrist.
"Save your energy." the Trill said as he reached for one of the gas canisters. He tossed it at the enemy, and watched it as it was met by a stray disrupter shot. The can exploded in the mist of fine crystals and quickly spread throughout the room. At first Alex didn't think it worked. But then the Cardassians started to scream in agony. They clutched their face and started to squirm frantically. By this time Kyle was quickly on his fleet. With a Klingon blade in his hand, he systematically went to each Cardassian, quickly slitting their necks with a fluid motion which could only be taught by experience. Within a small minute, the siege on Engineering was over..
As Alex came from his hiding place, he saw that Kyle was already at the room main control systems.
"What the hell just happened?" Alex asked. He looked down at one of the Cardassian bodies near him and saw that Kyle's actions with the blade weren't necessary. The corpse face seemed to be eaten away by something. He quickly looked at the other bodies and saw the same thing. "Kyle, what the hell was in that canister!? What the hell did you do!?"
Kyle acted like he didn't hear the question. His was busy loading the other canisters into the ventilation system. "We got side tracked." he finally answered. "I had to improvise."
Alex approached him in rage. "Somehow I don't believe that!!!"
"I'm sorry you feel that way. But now's not the time to quarrel." he finished his work with the ventilation system, and then brought up a schematic of the ship. "The canisters contain a chemical called Ogun-17. It's a metagenic weapon design for Cardassian DNA by a friend of mine who's being held prisoner on board. I've sent it throughout the ship. They'll spend most of their time trying to limit the exposure, which will give us enough time to finish the mission." he switched the schematic view. "We're gonna need to split up. According to the computer, what we're looking for is in medlab and storage quarters. I'll take storage. When you find the cargo, beam back to the Helix."
"Damnit Kyle, you screwed us. . ."
"This isn't the time or place, Kid!" Kyle replied as he headed for the door. "I'll explain everything once we're back to the ship. Now go!" With that, the Trill disappeared into the darkened hallway. Alex reluctantly followed. ...."
Aboard the Helix, Mia and Tash worked feverishly get control of the ship. The unidentified ships turned out to be Cardassian warships on an intercept course. With only 10 minutes until contact, they tried everything to bypass the security lockouts put in place by Kyle's nanoscripts.
"Bingo." Tash said calling Mia over. "I've found a diagnostic subroutine that's unprotected by the lockouts." he looked up at her. "A back door!"
"How long is it going to take, little brother?" she asked.
"I don't know. I'm gonna have to follow the subdirectory paths to wherever they lead and then double-back to the central system."
Mia felt hopeful. "Do what you have to. Our first priority is to get the transporters back online."
"What about navigation?"
"We'll regain everything else once that Trill bastard with his access code back on board. Believe me, it's the only reason he's gonna live long enough to escape..." ...."
ACT 3: ON CUE
The Cardassian medlab was one of the few areas that was quarantined quick enough the keep the gas from entering. Dr. Malaan, the Chief Medical Supervisor nervously watched out his window as the small unknown warship circled their transport like a hungry vulture.
"How can this be!?" he yelled, tossing the medical instrument he was holding. Who was crazy enough to attack them with a number of warships surrounding them? And how could each and every ship have been destroyed by the ship barely larger than a shuttle.
"I must... must follow procedure..."
He quickly left his office and hurried to the treatment area, where only one person lay waiting for him. A young, battered bajoran boy was strapped onto a table. Malaan loomed over his body with a hint of disappointment. He had to go through twelve Bajoran test-subjects before he could find a suitable prisoner for his experiments. There was an inner strength in Ian's fifteen year old frame. A strength which helped him withstand two days of torturous genetic testing.
"We were so close, weren't we?" he spoke to the boy's shivering body. "All I needed was another few days and I would've found the right combination for the mind control chemicals. But it seems we're under attack, and you know what that means? Protocol stipulates that in the event of a siege, all prisoners are to be terminated." he slowly ran his hand up the boy chest until it was firmly around his neck. "I know I should just evaporate you, put you out of your misery. But I've always wanted to kill someone up close and personal. Watch the life drain out of them..."
Just as he began to squeeze tightly, the entrance way swung open. Alex rushed in the find the doctor and his patient. He looked at the doctor's frightened face and then the lifeless body on the table. "Get away from him!!!" he shouted with conviction.
The doctor stumbled back into the wall. "I sorry! I wasn't trying to..." before he could finish, Alex fired a phaser shot which struck the Cardassian in his torso. He tried to let out a scream, but his body was already being disrupted from the inside-out. In less than a second, he was nothing more than a fine mist.
An explosion rocked the ship and caused Alex to stumble forward toward the kid. "What the hell?" he said startled. The Bojoran child's eyes had rolled inside his head and his body was shaking radically. Alex quickly started to pull the electrode and needles from his skin, with every yank the boy flinched. He checked for a pulse. "Come on Kid! Don't give up yet!"
Suddenly his combadge was active, again. "Mia to Alex, are you there?"
Alex responded. "Mia! Two to beam directly to the med-lab! Hurry!"
Just as Alex pulled the kid off of the table, he felt the tingling sensation in his stomach. He pulled the kid close and watched the Cardassian Med-Lab disappear from around him and the Helix's med-lab appear in it's place.
Save death, there was nothing else in this universe that could've been done to Dr. Jann Jaxa. She had been subjected to violent attacks from nearly every Cardassian on the transport. Now her battered body lay huttled between a pair of storage containers while three Cardassian soldiers searched for her. She knew they were going to kill her.
They had to before they could leave.
"Check that corner! She can't be too far." one of them said gesturing for the other two to search the opposite side of the room. "Jann! Come out! We'll make it painless! One quick shot and it's all over!"
She could see the entrance just ten feet away from her hiding place. And when the door slid open, her first thought was that more soldiers were joining the hunt. But instead of a Cardassian, and series of short disrupter beams blasted into the room. She heard the Cardassian scream and try to return fire, but it was over before it started.
"J.J.!!!" she heard a familiar voice call out. She frantically started to push containers around her away just as Kyle cautiously entered the room.
"Kyle!!!!" she screamed and stumbled toward him. She used her last bit of energy to fall in his arms. "You said you were coming for us. You did... come..."
He smiled, "You know I always keep my promises."
"Ian!" Jann suddenly remembered her friend. "We gotta get Ian before they..."
"It's already being taken care of." he finished just as the transporter signal activated.
Unlike Alex and Ian, Kyle and Jann materialized on the Bridge. When the transportation sequence finished, Kyle found himself face to face with Mia and a hand phaser.
"I can explain..." he started
"I don't care what you have to say!" she rushed him with a right hook which sent him stumbling backwards and pushing Jann aside. "What you need to do is deactivate the lockouts before the Cardassian patrol reaches. . ."
Just then, the ship quaked with a strong impacted. Everyone reached for something to brace themselves.
Tash who was at his station held on to his seat. "I got two Kelvin Class warships on an attack run!" He tried to access the controls and then slammed his fist on the console in frustration. "We need to do this now!"
Another series of blasts rocked the ship. The forward view screen showed the two fierce warships quickly approaching.
"Kyle!" Mia yelled.
Kyle was already on his way to the nearest terminal. "Computer delete program: K'NAR 7 2 5 1! Authorization: Kyle-0-0-1-3 Mark-7."
Instantly, the console systems sprang to life and Tash accessed navigation. "I'm gonna try and reinitialize the warp engines. Mia I need some time!"
"I'm on it." she replied heading for the tactical console.
Jann, riddled with fatigue, went to Kyle's side. "Take me to Ian?" she asked. With a nod, Kyle grabbed her hand and they headed for the exit.
"I need that help now Mia!" Tash yelled as another wave of shots from the Cardassians threatened to tear the ship apart. "I need 30 seconds!"
"I get you that, and then some." she replied, reconfiguring thee auto-phaser systems. "The deflector array is shorting out. I can't get the shields stable."
Tash jumped up and ran to her side. "While I was I looking for a way in the lock out, I think I got access to some of the experimental systems." he took over the controls. "Yes. It's some type of alternative shield mechanism."
Mia took Tash's spot at the helm. "Sounds good to me! I'll try and keep them off of us! Hold on!"
With warships coming at them for in front and back, Mia pulled the Helix into a fierce nose dive, gracefully dodging the orange beams rising from their attackers.
"Brace for impact!" Just as the warships regrouped to follow, Mia fired three torpedoes past them and into the transport vessels. It exploded close enough to disrupt other ships and knock them off course. One other ship which had circled around the others was now in hot pursuit. A perfect shot on one of the Helix's nacelles sent the ship in to a tailspin.
The power systems started to flutter. Mia assessed the damage. "That took the warp drive off-line! We're gonna have to fight our way outta this one."
The Helix came to a halt just as the three Cardassian warships surrounded them.
Mia looked back for her brother. "How we doin'?" The bridge lights dimmed for a few seconds and the hum of the deflector systems rumbled to life. "What did you do?"
"It's this . . . Meta-Shield." Tash smiled with grin. "It's reconfigured deflector. I mean actually- physically restructuring the modules into. . . something else." he tried to find an answer. "It has to be some of the Borg-mecha that's . . . ."
Suddenly, the Cardassians ships started to aggressively attack the Helix. The ship rocked back and forth making is hard for Tash to monitor the shields effectiveness. "Shield down to eighty percent......"
The communications systems exploded and caught fire. ".....sixty-seven percent!"
The viewscreen shattered and sparked with fire "...forty-two percent!"
Mia grabbed the extinguisher, but lost it when the ship shifted from another blow.
"....forty...... forty-eight percent?" Tash stared at the console in disbelief. He repeated the task make sure it was correct.
Another blow rocked them, but this time it wasn't so severe.
Tash started to smile. "What the... shields at eight-nine percent! The deflector array is somehow... absorbing disruptor energy and.... converting it to power itself!"
"Borg-Tech!" Mia said, smiling as another blast is barely felt. "Ya gotta love it!"
But then Tash's grinned turned to a look of concern. "Uh oh. We may have a problem."
"What now, little brother?"
"Shields are at 100% but the stupid thing's not shutting down! I getting feedback across the board!" his console exploded and became laced with electricity. "Stay away from the panels!"
Mia stood up and felt the ship begin to vibrate frantically.
Although they couldn't tell, the biggest change was happening outside the ship. As the Cardassian warships pounded their ship, the circular protective shield turned blazing white and sizzled with electricity. The Cardassians must've got a hint to what was happening because they broke off their attack and started to retreat. But it was too late. The white-hot sphere suddenly expanded outward in an incredible explosion which stretched over fifty-thousand kilometers. The warships were instantly engulfed. Their shield was no match as the plasma shield swallow them entirely along with anything else in it's path.
In a matter of ten seconds, the incident ended as suddenly as it began. The blank void of space was quiet. Red hot cinder wreckage, littered the area, and in the middle sat the Helix untouched.
The comm-system went crazy before Mia could get to her feet.
Without even answering the hail. "Standby Alex." she said. "As soon as we figure this out for ourselves, well let you know."
Tash found a working console and ran system checks. "The warships are destroyed. Virtually everything except impulse and life-support is fried. We're in bad shape."
"Yet oddly, I don't mind right now. What the hell did you do?"
"I don't have a clue. But i think our new shield wasn't a shield at all. One minute, the deflector dish was converting the photon energy from the weapons fire for the shield, the next minute, it let it out in one big burst. Not bad for our first mission, huh?"
EPILOGUE: THE HEAR AFTER . . .
"First, I'd like to say I'm sorry." Kyle spoke as he stood in front of Alex, Tash and Mia on the bridge. It had been almost an hour since they left Cardassian space, with nothing to show for the mission but a badly injured kid and a field doctor; both currently members of the Bajoran Resistance, and ship almost reduced to scrap. "I altered the Admiral's original assignment and hacked the computer systems. I didn't mean for it to get as hairy as it did."
"That's no excuse!" Alex yelled. "On this ship we run on trust and respect! If you abide by those rules than there won't be a place for you in this crew!"
"Wait a minute!" Mia jumped in. "There WON'T be? He's still one of us?!"
"He did what he had to do, Mia." Alex replied. Kyle was surprised by the Captain's support. "Wouldn't you have done the same for any of us?"
"That's not the point. He's a rogue, Alex! He doesn't know what teamwork is! He'll get us all killed!"
"That's not true." Kyle stood up for himself. "I didn't know if I could trust you. Admiral Porter's not on my 'favorite people' list. I couldn't entrust the lives of my people with others I didn't know." he walked to Mia so they were eye to eye. "Ending the Cardassian Occupation is my life. Those two people in medlab are my family. Another reason I needed to get them away, is to enlist them as part of this crew. Jann's one of the best field doctors I've seen in all my lifetimes, and Ian's already flown combat missions. He's the perfect person to pilot this ship. If you give me. . us another chance, I guarantee you won't be sorry. Please Alex. . ." He turned to the others, hoping to spark some sympathy. The Admiral was right. Alex and his team did have what it takes to make a difference and he wanted to be a part of it.
Alex stood and walked to Kyle. "I don't approve what you did . . . but I can understand it. I'd like to give you another chance, but everyone needs to be in agreement. I do nothing without the full support of my crew."
Instantly Tash nodded in agreement. "As long as he keeps his fingers off my subsystems, I can live with it."
And all eyes fell on Mia who was had already started making her way toward Kyle. "I don't like you. I don't like how you handle things. I think you're a danger to everyone around you. But I trust Alex's judgment and I'll go along with anything he says. But listen to me good. All I need is one good reason and I'll take you out; end of story. Are we clear?" Kyle nodded and quickly left the room.
Alex, Mia and Tash sat in silence for taking in the quiet of the moment.
"So, what now?" Tash said.
"We have a crew compliment of six." Mia answered. "That's the minimum."
"The ship's fried. We won't be combat ready for six month at least. With THE PROGRAM's help, we might be able to fully refit the Helix in under year."
"Good." Alex added. And as he walk to the viewscreen, which was partially working and stared out into space. For the moment they were on the winning side. Somehow, God had dealt them a second chance to make things right. All the pain and hardship of the past seven years had been erased and the bright new future had been put in it's place. But to keep that future bright, they were gonna have to take drastic measures; maybe do things which will brand them outlaws. First agenda, the liberation of Bajor.
"I think it's about time we started making a difference." Alex slowly slid into the captains chair which tilted slightly and propped his feet up. "Tash, take us home... wherever that is."
Team Helix must deal with the new threat
to the Alpha Quadrant, in the two part epic:
Phantoms, part 2
|(EPISODE 4) A new Superpower has been discovered, and their trying to plunge the Alpha Quadrant into an intergalactic war. Now with countless lives on the line, Team Helix and a renegade Klingon out for revenge, have to find away to stop the massacre before it starts.|
|Launched December 2004, TrekFiction.com (Version 1.0) is a readers resource from Trek Writer's Guild. This website is a collaboration between the many TWG/SotF authors and Mediaboy Productions. All stories are original and copyrighted by the respective authors under United States law, as well as every other country that matters. (Including Canada) All graphics are original and copyrighted, either separately or collaborativly, by Mediaboy Productions and/or others as specified. The stories and graphics on this site may not be copied, reprinted, or reposted without express and written permission of the original creators. Trek Writer's Guild is in no way affiliated with Paramount Pictures Inc. Star Trek : Enterprise ( Archer T'Pol Reed Tucker Hoshi ), Star Trek ( Kirk Spock Bones McCoy Scotty Enterprise ), Star Trek: The Next Generation ( Picard Data Riker Worf Enterprise ), Star Trek: Deep Space Nine ( Sisko Dax O'Brian Odo Quark Kira Defiant ), Star Trek: Voyager ( Voyager Janeway Chakotay Tuvok Paris Torres Be'lanna Neelix Seven of Nine ) are property and copyright of Paramount Pictures Inc. These properties are used in good faith by the authors of Trek Writer's Guild, to further the human adventure through positive storytelling.|