Children of the Lesser Gods
TEASER: THE HUNT IS AFOOT
"I'm here to see Marla, Daughter of Ghaul." Alex Garrett called out forcefully to the Klingon guard. "She's expecting me."
After an intensive staring contest, the guard told him not to move and made his way over to the female warrior drinking and laughing with her entourage. He quickly whispered in her ear and her attention drifted toward Garrett. She quickly motion for her people to leave her alone, and for Alex to approach.
"Greetings, Marla." Alex called out. "It is an honor to speak with you."
"Sit!" she replied, violently sliding a mug of blood wine at him.
Alex gulped down the drink, the overflow spilling onto his chest and pants.
"When I received the transmission from K'Lones, he said that he owes you his life! He says you are a battle-tested warrior, and that I should offer you assistance on some quest!"
Alex looked confused. "I was told that K'Lones would be here, too."
Marla slammed her mug. "Well you have just me! I hope that is not a problem, human?"
"No." he replied. "If K'Lones sends you, then you must be from a strong house of warriors." He smiled. "I am honored to received your assistance."
"Very well then. What is the mission? I was told that it concerns the war with the Dominion?"
Alex chose his words wisely. "In a way. The assignment is to find a child."
Marla looked puzzled. "A child? You need Klingon help to find a child?"
"Not just any child. My employers feel he is special. He could possibly be the key to a hidden power. If he falls into the hands of the Dominion, it could be most embarrasing for the Klingon / Federation / Romulan Alliance. "
"I see." The Klingon woman thought for a second. "I will give you three men! No more! They are honorable warriors and will serve you well in your quest for this… child."
"Thank you." Alex said as he finished his blood wine. He handed her a message pad. "Here are some instructions. I will be leaving here tomorrow morning. I expect them to be ready."
With that Alex stood and started leave.
"Alex Garrett?" Marla called out one last time.
"What's is it?"
"This child. What do you plan to do with him when you find him?"
Alex turned and gave her a cold stare and a fiendish grin. "I'm going to kill him."
ACT 1: FROM THE MOUTH OF BABES
MISSION LOG: CAPTAIN MIA GAN AN'WAR RECORDING…
We are currently in orbit of Maxis-7- a Bajoran settlement, formed by refugees who left Bajor before the Cardassian Occupation. Our current mission seems to be a simple escort assignment. We are scheduled to transport a 5 year old boy, worshiped by the settlers as a prophet, to a rendezvous with an unknown luxury starcraft in three days, where he will partake in an ancient right of passage. Apparently, he is to have a spirit vision with an Orb of the Prophets.
What the significance of it is, we don't know. What Starfleet and Section 31 get out of this deal, we are not sure. But, judging from the fact that Team Helix has been given the assignment, I have to speculate that this mission won't be as easy as it seems.
Kyle and Eric are readying to beam down.
Just outside the Bajoran settlement, two figures materialized in a farming field.
Kyle and Eric expected to find a busy network of settlers, harvesting for the coming winter, but what they found was devastation. The farmland was scorched with black patches, obviously made from intense phaser fire. Off in the distance, they could see multiple smoke patches rising for the settlement's epicenter.
"Kyle to Helix…" the Trill warrior said after he tapped his comm-badge.
"This is Mia. Go head, Away Team." His Captain's voice called back.
"We have a situation. The settlement's been attacked. Obviously, someone beat us to the punch. Eric and I will proceed on foot. I recommend we go to 'Yellow Alert' until we can confirm that the enemy is gone."
"Acknowledged. I'll have Ian do a sensor sweep, and Jann will ready sick bay for any casualties."
"Acknowledged. Kyle out."
Within ten minutes, they had made it into the settlement and cautiously maneuvered through the empty streets. Although it looked bad from a distance, they found out that only a few houses were burning and the majority of the settlers were already doing reconstruction.
As Kyle and Eric found their way to the main street, they were intercepted by a tall Bajoran man, carrying a large metal staff.
"Identify your intentions!!!!" he said, wielding the staff in an aggressive posture.
Kyle stepped forward. "There's no need for that. We're friends." He put away his phaser. I'm Kyle K'Nar and this is Eric Beckett. We were sent here to escort…"
"…escort the chosen one?" the man finished the sentence excitedly.
Around them, the townspeople gasped and started to whisper among them.
The tall man, put away his staff and reached out his hand. "I am the Caretaker, the child's guardian. I am sorry for the rude welcome, but as you can see, we're at a disadvantage."
"What happened?" Eric asked.
"A team of mercenaries. They came looking for the boy." The Caretaker said as he led the others through the city. "It was a human and three Klingons. They beamed down and interrogated the people. But we resisted. We managed to kill the Klingons, but their leader escaped."
"Why were they looking for him?"
"I do not know. But we did not give him up." He smiled. "We told them that he had already gone in search of the orb."
"But he didn't?"
"No." The Caretaker said as they all entered a small clearing full of injured people. "We hid him from them. He is there."
Kyle and Eric looked out among the people until they located a small child walking amongst the wounded people.
"You be good now." The child said as he placed his hands on a man's shoulder.
"What is he doing?" Eric asked the Caretaker.
"He is healing the people, injured in the attack."
Sure enough, every time he puts his hands on a person, they suddenly seems to appear invigorated.
"He's some sort of faith healer?"
"He is the Chosen One."
"Great." Kyle said, almost sarcastically. "Is he ready?"
"For the journey?" the Caretaker turned to them. "Yes, we are ready."
"Yes. I am the boy's guardian, and I will accompany him on his journey. It is our way."
"Fine with me." Kyle said tapping his commbadge. "Kyle to Helix. Standby, four to beam up on my command."
As the Helix left Maxis-7 and pushed to maximum warp, the important guests were treated to tours of the ship. The child, who hadn't said a word since he came aboard, was taken to his quarters afterwards. The Caretaker, on the otherhand, wanted to experience a lot more…
"Simply amazing…" the Caretaker whispered in astonishment as the doors to the holodeck closed behind him. He stood in awe, as massive reptiles walked and ran past him. "And you're saying that all this… isn't real?"
"Yep. Just photons and forcefields." Ian replied walking from entrance into the fake sunlight.
"It's from Earth's Prehistoric Period. Our previous Captain was a history buff. He loved this time period."
"I see. And where is he now?"
Ian sighed. "He died two years ago. Assimilated by the Borg."
The Caretaker lowered his voice. "Unfortunate."
"Yeah." said as a giant brontosaurus bent down toward him. He grabbed a giant shrub and fed the dinosaur.
"Be careful! The beast could bite off your arm!"
"Not really. The computer activates safety protocols, which prevent the holograms from doing any harm."
Just then, Ian's comm-badge springs to life.
"Mia to Ian."
"Ian, here." He responded.
"We're coming up on the rendezvous coordinates. We need you on the bridge."
As they exited the turbolift, and preceded to the guest quarters, the Caretaker gave Ian a quick overview of his beliefs and why the child was so special.
"Our religion tells of the messiah being born. He would have the capacity to lead our people into the golden ago, and establish Bajor as the center of the universe. The books say that he will be born incomplete."
Ian tried to tread lightly, when he talk of the child. "I was talking to our medical officer, Jann, and she detect abnormal functions in his brain. Is that why he's…. different?"
"Yes. Like I said, he was born incomplete. But the Orb of Transcendence will complete him."
"Why couldn't they bring the Orb to you?"
"Because there are those, who would like to stop change. The boy is the key to Bajor's salvation, and there are those who don't want to see that happen."
"You mean like the Cardassians?"
The Caretaker paused with a slight grin. "Perhaps."
As they reached the guest quarters, Ian said farewell and headed to bridge.
The Caretaker entered his room to find, the child staring out the small window.
"Lights…" the boy said turning his head and smiling. "Many lights…"
"Yes, young one. There are an infinite number of stars. And soon, they will be yours to play with."
"I like lights." The boy said running to the bed.
And as he laid his head down and closed his eyes, the Caretaker draped a blanket over him.
"Rest child." He whispered. "It will be the last time you dream the world of innocence." He then looked at the window and off into the night's space. "Judgment has arrived…"
ACT 2: SLIPPING INTO DARKNESS
A Helix pulled alongside a massive luxury cruiseliner. It was shaped oddly like a pyramid and seemed to slightly rotate. Tash concluded that the ship seemed to be dead. He predicted that all power and life support was off-line, but he couldn't be sure, due to some type of energy fluctuations of unknown origin.
Three transporter beams luminated the blackened room as the Helix senior staff appeared on what looked like the control deck of the cruise ship. Since they couldn't run any internal scans, protocol dictated that they beam over in space suits, just in case their was not air or gravity available.
Fortunately, gravity control was online, which led Tash to believe the ship was still in good condition.
"Everyone hold their positions." He said as he made his way to command chair.
He scanned the technology. "The universal translator isn't working. This must be something totally alien to us."
"What now?" Kyle asked, walking to the large window, where he could see the Helix positioned.
Mia went to Tash's side. "Let's see if we can use the Tricorder's systems to remotely bring the power up."
"I'll give it a try."
In less than a minute, the room lights sprang to life, as well as the alien systems around them.
"I've reestablished the environment controls. We can take the suits off now."
As Mia pulled the large bubble off her head, she caught the smell of stale air, and a lot of moisture. "What's with the tropical mist?"
"Alien environment, I guess." Tash replied. "It's the closest thing I could find for use."
Kyle nodded and tapped his comm-badge. "Kyle to Helix?"
"This is Ian." The young boy's voice called back.
"The parameter has been established. It's safe to send the kid over."
"Acknowledged. Corann, Eric, and Jann will be beaming over. The Caretaker has offered to stay aboard and help me figure out what happened to that ship."
"Acknowledged. Kyle out."
In a matter of seconds, three more people appeared in the control center.
Eric strolled around the different systems, running his fingers along the smooth edges. "This ship is a marvel." He turned to Mia with a smile. "Where'd it come from?"
"Don't Know." Tash replied, tinkering with one of the consoles. "We can't decipher the language yet. But it's only a matter of time…"
"It'll have to wait." Mia interrupted. "Our first priority is finding the child's orb. We're gonna need to…"
Before she could finish her sentence, her eyes fell on Corann who was accessing one the consoles. The others gathered around him and watched as his fingers raced through the alien file menus like lightening.
"Does he know what's he's doing?" Eric whispered, trying not to disturb him.
"I believe so." Jann said pulling out her medical Tricorder. "Wow. His brain activity has increased 41%. It's as if some type of computer program was automatically engaged in his brain."
"Ball." The child said as he finished his work and pointed at the image on the display. It showed a detailed blueprint of the ship's floorplans, with directions into the lower parts of the ship.
"I guess this is our way to the orb." Tash said. "I'll download the map and we're set."
"O.K., people, saddle up." Mia ordered.
Eric tapped Kyle on the shoulder with a grin. "It's Orb Time."
"So, the two Romulans are from an alternate reality?" the Caretaker said from the Helix's engineering station on the bridge.
"Mia and Tash are actually Vulcan. They were raised as Romulans. And yes, they came from a reality where the Borg conquered the universe.
"They come highly regarded from your superior, Chapel."
Ian smiled. "They're the best."
"So tell me, young Rojeti, Why are you here?"
He sighed. "Kyle rescued me a Jann from the Cardassians. We pretty much owe this team our lives, so we decided to come aboard. Other than that, I don't know. It's been almost ten years since we joined. What else would I do?"
"I understand." The Caretaker responded, taking a break. "My life has been devoted to the protection of the child. Even before he was born, I was told to prepare."
"And what happens after the boy gets the orb?"
"I will sit at his side when he ushers in The Golden Age Of Bajor."
Ian smiled widely. "Cool"
The Caretaker also smiled, but as Ian turned, is grin turned into a glare. "Yes. Cool…"
Team Helix made their way through the endless chains of corridors and access panels of the alien cruise ship. Mia stood alongside Corann, as she led the way to the mystical orb.
"How much longer until we get there?" Eric called out, with a loud echo.
"According to tricorder, we've got another ten minutes." Tash answered. "According to the data Chapel supplied to us, the floor is actually a moving platform, which circles the entire ship. Normally, the trip would've taken us less than five minutes."
Mia was about to answer when a faint sound caught her ears. She stopped in her tracks and motioned for the others to do the same.
"Did you here that?" she asked.
"Here what?" Kyle responded as he came to her side.
"That faint sound." She replied just as a louder sound came from the opposite side to the corridor.
Mia tapped her comm-badge. "Mia to Helix?"
"This is Ian. Go ahead."
"Run a scan for lifesigns. Quickly…"
After a couple seconds.
"I'm reading one more lifesign near your coordinates. It 's about 7 kilometers due…"
For he could finished the transmission went dead.
"Mia to Helix, come in?" tried tried to re establish contact with no success.
Eric turned to Kyle. "It must be the guy who terrorized Maxis-7."
Kyle nodded and they all turned to Mia for orders.
"We change nothing. Proceed as before, but stay alert." She replied.
As they all started to move, Mia looked over to Eric and gave him a slight nod. And as the rest of the pack continued on their journey, Eric slowly began to lag away from the team, until he disappeared into the darkness.
Aboard the Helix, Ian Rojeti ran from station to station trying to localize what was blocking his connection to the team.
"Caretaker." He called out. "I can use your assistance."
"I am here. What would you have me do?" he replied.
"Stand here at the engineer's console. I'm gonna initiate a series of rotation sensor sweeps on the the alien ship. When you see anything out of the ordinary, localize it and isolate the frequency."
"Consider it done."
Ian made his way to the science station and start the sensor sweeps.
"Ball in there!" Corann said excitedly as Team Helix came to a large cargo door. "I want ball!"
Tash went to the door and scanned the lock mechanism. "I can't get a reading on this language. But with the kid's help, I might be able to crack it."
"Make it so." Mia responded.
"I beg to differ." A voice called out from the shadows.
As Kyle went for his phaser rifle, a disrupter beam blew it from his grasp.
"Everybody stay calm." The voice called out again.
"Who are you!" Mia called out to the stranger, who's silhouette was now visible in the shadows.
"Someone who you don't want to mess with. Now do us all a favor, and step away from the kid."
Mia caught herself gasping. The stranger's voice was so familiar, yet she couldn't place it. "My name is Captain Mia Gan An'War of the Starship Helix, and this is…"
"I know who you are." The stranger interrupted. "I know you're good people, but what you're doing is wrong. Now, step away from the child, now!"
As everyone stood vigilant, trying to assess the situation, Kyle got wind of who the stranger must be.
"This must be the guy, who attacked the settlers on Maxis-7." Kyle said as turned toward Eric, but then he realized that Eric wasn't there. "Where's Eric?"
"Yes! Where is Eric?" the stranger asked forcefully.
Mia smiled. "Where he's suppose to be."
Eric leapt from the shadows, swinging the butt of the phaser rifle at the stranger. The blow hit it's target with accuracy, causing the stranger to fall lifelessly to floor in from of Team Helix.
Eric, then joined the rest of the team with a big smile. "Well, that was fun!"
Mia patted him on the back. "You see, I told you that nodding move would come in handy some day."
"I stand corrected." Eric replied looking down at his victim. "What is it?"
"I don't know." Mia replied. On the floor, laid a man in some type of metal suit. Mia thought it looked similar to the Breene support suits.
"Got it!" Tash said as the massive door to the cargo bay opened.
"Kyle, Eric… Bring our guest in with us. We'll take him back to Starfleet Security when we leave."
They each grabbed an arm and pulled the stranger up to his feet.
As they entered the giant cargo bay, the lights suddenly flickered on to reveal impressive Bajoran religious décor.
"I guess someone knew we were coming." Eric said as they dropped the prisoner to the floor and watched in awe as Tash led the boy toward an alter, which held a Bajoran sacred contain.
"Ball!" the child started to rejoice,
"No…" the stranger was partially revived. "You.. can't let… him… near it…" he said struggling to get to his feet.
"Shut up and don't move!" Kyle said, training his phaser rifle on him.
Tash helped the boy to the alter.
"No, Kyle!" the stranger called out. "What you're doing.. is wrong! You have no idea! Mia, don't let this happen!"
"How do you know my name?" Mia said as everyone drew their attention to him.
"Ball, I am here." The boy whispered as he opened to container, to reveal a luminescent, pastel orb. He placed his hands on it.
"There no time!" the stranger cried. "You have to stop him!" he violently ripped his helmet off. "You have to kill him!"
At that moment, the air in the room seemed to escape from everyone's lungs.
"It can't be." Mia said with a whimper.
Kyle lowered her phaser and stared at his old friend's face. "Alex? Alex is that you?"
Alex Garrett rose to his feet in defiance. "We can discuss that later, right now we have to…" he stopped in mid sentences as his gaze fell upon the boy at the alter. "By the Prophets, no…"
As everyone turned the alter, the shock of Alex's resurrection paled in comparison to what was happening to Corann.
Kyle tightened his grip on his phaser rifle. "Uh oh…"
"What the…" Ian called out as all the instruments in the control room went crazy.
"What has happened?" the Caretaker asked.
"I don't know. But my guess is it's something bad."
ACT 3: THE ENEMY OF MY ENEMY
"I'm gonna go out on a limb and say, this wasn't suppose to happen." Eric said as the others looked on in horror. The child they had brought, had somehow been transformed into a hideous monster. It's eyes had now turned a deep crimson, which seemed to be luminescent in it's shadowed part of the room.
The sacred orb no longer glowed. Whatever it was that gave it power, was now inside the child.
"What the hell is happening?!" Mia yelled in confusion.
"DESTINY." The thing replied in a deep, ancient voice. "THE PAH WRAITHS WILL BE RELEASED, AND THEY WILL PASS JUDGMENT ON YOU, THE CHILDREN OF THE LESSER GODS!"
"Does this team ever get a normal assignment? 'Cause I'm starting to see a pattern here." Eric whispered to Kyle, who was too shocked to respond.
"Corann, we need to get you help." Mia called out to the thing.
"No!" Alex interrupted. "You still don't understand! There's no such person named Corann. There never was!" He snatched the phaser from Kyle's hands and fired a couple rounds.
The energy beams struck the creature head on, but with no effect.
It turned to Alex and stared in curiosity. "YOU ARE THE ANOMALY." It smiled. "FOR NOW, YOU WILL BE SPARED." Then it frowned again. "THE OTHERS WILL NOT."
It raised it's hands outward toward Mia. "HOLD STILL, CHILD. IT IS THE TIME FOR JUDGMENT."
"Fall back!!" Kyle yelled as he pulled Eric by the shirt and dashed for the entrance.
Mia stared at the creature, almost hypnotized. She wanted to run, but in an instant, she had lost the will to do so in it's crimson eyes.
"YOUR JUDGMENT IS DEATH." The creature said, as powerful photon charges built up in its hands. Two projectiles leapt from his palms and raced toward Mia's frozen body.
Her heart raced as she watched the lethal weapon charges coming for her. She closed her eyes in expectation, but instead, felt a powerful force knocking her sideways.
The two projectiles met the back wall with a deafening explosion, as Alex tackled Mia, knocking her out of the way. They both tumbled end over end, but Alex had total control. He was able to roll up to his feet and fire one last shot from the rifle. The phaser beam passed the creature and hit the podium, causing it to violently explode. The blast knocked the creature off balance.
"Go, go, go, go, go…" Alex screamed over and over, yanking Mia up by her arm and pulling her toward the exit.
"YOU CANNOT ESCAPE MY JUDGMENT!!!" they heard the creature scream, as the blast doors slammed shut behind them.
Alex and Mia stumbled their way through the darkened corridor, until they reached the others at a turbolift junction. Mia fell into Kyle's waiting grasp, while Alex closed the door behind them and used his phaser the weld it shut.
"That should give us some time, but I don't know how long it'll hold." Alex said joining the others.
"Someone please explain to me what the hell is going on?" Jann said nervously.
"Maybe the stranger should explain himself!" Kyle added turning his attention to Alex. "There's no way you can be him."
Tash grabbed his Tricorder and scanned him. "Well, we know he's not a Changeling. With the exception of some unknown biological substances coating his organs, his DNA make up is a perfect match for Alex Garrett."
"A clone?" Jann asked taking the Tricorder and rescanning him herself.
"No." Alex replied. "It's really me. But it's not me. It's all complicated. We don't have time for this." He slaps the scanner out of her hands. "That things name is Nabo. It's some type of Pah Wraith chaos demon, a real nasty one! The Prophets imprisoned him in an orb and buried him on a remote moon, far from the Bajoran system. About the century ago, a Pah Wraith cult migrated and settled to the moon, following some crazy prophecy."
He started to pace, quickly re-tuning his phaser. "They eventually escavated the orb and took it away for safe keeping. The boy isn't real…. He never was. He was a specially constructed to be a host for the Nabo. When the time was right, they would join and he was return to Bajor to free the other Pah Wraiths from the fire caves."
"So, we're fighting Nabo…. Nabo, the Pah Wrath?!" Tash exclaimed. " Please, it's just another one of those hokey Bajoran fairytales!"
"Excuse me!" Eric interrupted. "I'm guessing you missed the part, where the kid with the big red eyes was shooting fireballs from his hands! I'm not saying I'm an expert, but I'm pretty sure Bajorans normally don't do that!"
"Will everyone please shut up!" Kyle screamed, quickly quieting everyone. He stared at Alex, trying to read him. "If you are Alex Garrett, then what happened in the Borg Artifact when…"
"…when I was assimilated and turned into AXIS?" He walked toward the Trill. "You tried to attack me with a pipe and I willed the ship the shake, knocking you off balance. You beamed out afterwards."
At first, Kyle just stared. He recognized the look in his eyes. "How much do you remember about…"
"..about the reality shift?" Alex had to force himself not to smile. "Everything. I remember everything." An evil grin escaped his lips. "I almost had you in sickbay, aboard that Atlantis."
A breath escaped Kyle lips, when he saw the look on his dead friends face. It wasn't the look of Alex Garrett. It was the superior smirk that AXIS gave him aboard the U.S.S. Atlantis [read Axis Power, part III]
Alex quickly caught himself. "Sorry. Bad joke. I'm still having trouble dealing with the whole matter."
Mia approached Kyle, not taking her eyes off of Alex.
"It's him." Kyle softly said to her with a grin. "By the Prophets, I think It's really...."
Just then, a large pounding, came forcefully from a distance.
Alex quickly gathered his thoughts. "We can finish the interrogation later. Right now, we need to stop Nabo." He grabbed a small message pad from his pocket and tossed it Tash. "We need to split up. Tash, you, Doc, and the new guy, need to head for engineering. Find some way to bring down the shields so we can beam out of here. The rest of us will try and keep Nabo occupied."
"Who died and made you boss?" Eric voiced. "The last time I checked, the lady with the pointed ears was the head honcho..."
"Shut up, Eric." Mia interrupted, turning back toward Alex. "Why are we splitting up? Six bodies are better than three, right?"
Alex took a deep breath. "Nabo's plan of attack is simple. If you cut off the head of the beast, the rest of the body will die."
"Head of the beast, meaning the leader… Me."
"Yep. So while the others work on getting us out of here, we get to play hide-and-seek with the chaos demon." Alex tapped Kyle on the shoulder. "Just like old times, huh?"
PERSONAL LOG: NAVIGATION OFFICER IAN ROJETI RECORDING…
It's been over an hour since we lost contact with the away team. Apparently, some type of distortion wave is preventing sensors from penetrating the vessel, as well as transporter functions. With the Caretaker's help, I'm attempting to localize the phenomenon. If I can find the source of the distortion, I can disengage it.
"Come on, come on…" Ian whispered to himself. "What the hell am I missing?"
His hands ran across the science station's console with swift accuracy. He knew that the only way to help his team was to somehow, deactivate the distortion field. But for some reason, every time he seemed to be on the right track, something in his computations would be inconclusive.
He turned his attention to the Caretaker, who was using the engineer's console to help run sensor scans. "Initiating modified sensor sweep on section 4-B. Are you get anything?"
The Caretaker studied the data. "Inconclusive. The sensors aren't fast enough to determine a definitive pattern." He smiled at Ian. "I am sorry. When It comes to computers, I am quite the novice."
"Hold on a second…" he quickly made his way to his partner's side and took over at the weapons console.
"Did I say something?" the Caretaker ask.
Ian accessed the scans, but found none. He looked up. "I thought you ran sensor sweeps?"
The Caretaker paused. "I… did. I must've deleted them by accident." He smiled again.
"That's O. K. Lets run them again." After a few seconds, the answer revealed itself. "Bingo! It says here, the disruption field is acting on a rotating modulation frequency. We have Borg technology aboard the ship that can neutralize rotating frequencies and render shields inoperative."
"So, you are saying that you, now we have the option of beaming them off the ship?"
"Yes. All we need to do is modify the deflector array and program the nanotech systems to re-augment the…"
Before Ian could finish his thoughts, he felt a powerful blow to his back, which sent him flying over the console, crashing onto the command chair, and into the floor. A sharp pain shot through his spine as he pulled himself up on the navigator's chair.
"By the Prophets…" he called out. "Why?"
The Caretaker, battle staff in hand, stared at the boy with the eyes of the killer. "Because you cannot be allowed to disrupt destiny." He then started to run his fingers over the console.
"What… are you… doing?" Ian said pulling himself into the chair.
The Caretaker didn't answer.
Quickly, Ian converted the navigation console to view what his attacker was doing.
He looked back at him in shock. "Computer Novice, my ass. Your trying to access the 'Self-destruct' systems."
The Caretaker looked up at Ian, his hands still running over the console. "You cannot be allowed disrupt destiny… even if it means my death!"
Ian knew he could panic. He had think 'what would Mia do?' When he couldn't think of the answer, he decided to follow his instincts. Still in pain, he rose from his seat, jumped on the command chair, and catapulted himself at the Caretaker.
Unfortunately, the killer was already ahead of him. As Ian came into range, he swung his staff at the boy's neck, causing him to flip end over end and land on the other side of the room.
At that moment, Ian gasped for breath, as a line of blood flowed down his face. "So much for instinct."
"I am sorry, young warrior." The Caretaker called out. "But destiny has no friends. The will of the Pah Wraiths will be fulfilled."
"Pah Wraiths?" Ian repeated. "Your part of some wacked-out cult?"
"I am a servant of the true gods of Bajor… the true gods of the universe! There will shall be done!"
Ian pulled himself up, using the wall. "Like hell it will. Computer, lockout access to vital systems! Command authorization Rojeti-gamma-9-8-4-echo!"
Just as the Caretaker was finishing his access, all menu functions suddenly disappeared, and were replaced with the words 'COMMAND LOCKOUT' in big, bold, red letters.
He slammed his fists on the console. "Heretic!" he said turning to Ian. "Release control to me, or die!" He raised his battle staff.
"The way I figure it, you're gonna kill me anyway, so the answer is NO!"
The Caretaker grew enraged. He readied his staff into a baseball swing.
But Ian was ahead of him. "Computer, initiate Rojeti Protocols now!"
As he swung his staff at Ian, it passed right through him. The automated transport initiated before his could hit him.
"Catch me if you can, big boy!" Ian yelled as he completely dematerialized.
The Caretaker smiled. The boy had bitten off more than he could chew. "If it is a hunt you want, boy. Then let us go at it."
The Caretaker started to hunt…
The door to the Alien ship's engineering wing slowly pushed outward, as Eric and Tash pulled them apart. As entered the giant chamber they noticed the giant warp core, which was surrounded by a catwalk of computer consoles and technology. Between them, was a metal cavern, which seem to be bottomless.
"Is it just me, or can we fit the helix inside this chamber?" Eric's voice echoed for seconds.
Tash pulled out his tricorder. "You can, with 14 cubic kilometers to spare. This is a marvel of technology."
Jann stared over the catwalk, and into the cavern. "If you don't mind, I'll take the Helix's cramped quarters any day."
Tash made his way to one of the command consoles. He stared at the strange characters on buttons. "I don't recognize this language." He tapped a few buttons and an alien voice rang out. "The universal translator still isn't working or doesn't understand."
"Can you fix it?" Jann said.
Tash looked concerned. "I don't know." He tapped a few more buttons, and the alien voice repeated. "I'll have to use the tricorder to extrapolate some theories on the computer functions. Then construct a hypothesis on the safest operation to this facility."
"In other words, you're gonna guess?"
Tash loathed how Eric simplified his sentences. "Yes. I will guess."
With his vision slightly blurred from the blow to his head, it took Ian longer than expected to reach the fifth-level conduit junction. Every once and a while, he had to wipe the stream of blood from his face to keep his sight clear. He knew he was in trouble. He was the only person who could save the away team, and he had psychotic priest hunting him down.
After making sure the Caretaker wasn't nearby, he made his way to the control panel alongside the junction. He quickly pulled off the wall, revealing a series of circuits and flickering currents.
"Now, if I can just remember how Tash taught me to cross-patch the communications systems…
"How are we doing?" Eric ask Tash near the warp core.
"I don't know how we are doing, but I'm having no luck understanding this thing. This technology doesn't follow any known patterns of consistency. Everything's totally randomized."
"Well you need to think of something." Jann responded from the entranceway. "There's no telling what Mia and Kyle are into…."
"Ian to away team, come in…" a voice called out to them.
Tash tapped his comm-badge. "This to Tash. Go ahead."
"Tash! We're in deep trouble. You got to keep that kid away from the…"
"Too late." Mia added. "He's transformed in to something evil. He's bent on killing us."
"The same with the Caretaker. He's banged me up pretty good. He wanted to blow up the ship the keep you guys from escaping, but I locked out he controls."
"Good job." Tash felt hopeful. "I presume you've been working on the transporter problem?"
"Yeah! There's a disruption field acting on a rotating frequency. That's why it's hard to get a lock on you guys. But I figured out how to cut through the field."
"Great job" Tash replied with a smile. "Listen closely, I need you to access the Borg system's universal translator and scan this ship's computer matrix. The language isn't in the standard translator."
"Give me a second. I'm working from a hot-wired conduit controller…."
Jann and Eric glanced at Tash in amazement.
Tash smiled. "I taught him that."
"Got it. I' m transmitting the data to your tricorder. It might take a few seconds. The distortion field is still pretty.."
Suddenly, their transmission link went dead.
Tash repeatedly tried to reestablish contact. "Tash to Ian…."
There was no answer.
"How much of the data did you get?"
Tash checked his tricorder. "A little more that half. But I believe it's enough for me to figure out the controls and disable the distortion field."
Jann grew worried as her thoughts drifted back to Ian. "I hope he's all right…"
"Did you think you could hide from me forever!?" the Caretaker cried has he swung his battle staff at Ian face. The blow sent the boy into the air and falling to the corridor's floor.
"No. Just long enough to send my team what they needed." As he shot his enemy an angry smile, he noticed that all the bruised areas that had gone numb minutes before, were flaring with pain again. He pulled himself to one knee.
The Caretaker studied Ian patchwork on the Helix's systems and grew enraged. He pointed his battle staff at the junction, and a disrupter sprang at it. The console exploded on impact.
"All that does not matter." He said as he approached Ian, who was now being supported by the wall. "By now, the vessel has been occupied by Nabo, and your friends are minutes away from being consumed by the fury of the Pah Wraiths!"
Ian tried to crawl away, but the killer quickly grabbed him by the hair and started to pull him up.
"Your friends are as good as dead, and you are completely alone, at my mercy. What could possibly save you!?"
Ian knew he had to act fast. "I would have to bet on my friend, the Great Equalizer?"
With all the strength he had left, he sent his forearm between his attacker's legs.
The Caretaker screamed in pain, release his grasp on the boy.
Ian new he had to go. He then sent a double-fisted uppercut to the killer's chin, which sent him falling backwards.
Ian pulled himself to his feet and dashed for the nearby turbolift.
Unfortunately, the Caretaker was lightening quick.
Just as the door opened to the turbolift, the Caretaker managed to grasp his battle staff and aim it at his prey.
Ian managed to jump into the lift, just as the doors were closing, but not before a disrupter blast sprang form the battle staff. The blast caught him in side. The boy screamed in pain as the door slammed shut.
"Victory is mine." the Caretaker said as his stood and briskly walked toward the turbolift. He expected to see a dead Ian Rojeti laying the elevator floor. But when the doors opened, he was shocked to find there was no body. He looked up and saw that Ian had escape through the emergency door in the roof.
"Nimble prey." The Caretaker said to himself. "You have the spirit of a Cardassian."
"You know, the day this team gets a normal mission assignment, I'm probably gonna die from shock." Eric called out to Tash.
"You're starting to fit into our group more and more, kid." Tash replied, as he tried to access the alien controls.
"Seriously?" Eric smiled.
"Yeah." Tash glanced up for a second. "You're starting to annoy me just as much as the others."
Just then, his comm-badge communicator sprang to life. "Mia to Tash."
"Tash here, go ahead."
"I need some good news, right about now."
"I got a transmission from Ian. Apparently, he found a way to cut through the distortion and send me the data to decipher the alien language."
"That's qualifies as good news."
"Unfortunately, the transmission died before I could get all the information. I think he could be in trouble."
"That qualifies as bad news. You're thinking what I'm thinking?"
"The Caretaker's been busy. But Ian's a tuff little bastard. He'll find a way to stay alive. What's your status?"
"The think we're safe for moment. We doubled back to the command center. If the kid finds us, we can use some extra help."
Tash looked over and saw Eric and Jann give him a nod and head for the door.
"Hold tight, the cavalry is on the way."
"Mia out." She finished as she turned to Kyle and Alex, who were busy trying to seal all the possible entrances.
Without thinking, she found herself walking to Alex to give a report. She thought if was pretty funny how, even after two years, she had fallen into her former habits. The man who looked and acted like her deceased friend, could be an impostor. But still, she wanted to rely on him.
She quickly turned to Kyle. "Jann and Eric's on the way to give some assistance. It should take 'em about ten minutes to..."
Before she could finish, she caught a flash of a crimson blast out of the corner of her eye.
She acted on instinct. "Incoming!!!" she screamed as she felt her chest meet the cool room's floor. The two energy beams struck a command console causing it to shatter on impact.
As all three of them cautiously scanned the area, their sights focused on a vague figure standing in the shadows.
Kyle crawled across the room to Mia's side. "I'm gonna hazard a guess, and say that ain't Eric and Jann."
"PRETENDERS." the demon child called out as stepped from the darkness. "IT IS TIME FOR JUDGMENT'S VERDICT."
Following behind Kyle, Alex found a position on the otherside of Mia. "I'm gonna have to vote: not guilty."
Mia smiled for a moment. It was just like old times. The two men in her life, wisecracking and laughing as they faced one danger after another.
"I'm sure he's gonna want an appeal."
The Caretaker had found the trail of blood running through the corridors on Deck-2 five minutes ago. In anticipation of a trap, he preceded through the halls with caution. On the outside, Ian Rojeti seemed to be a fragile youth, pretending to be as tuff as his companions. But deep down, the boy seemed to have a warrior's spirit. It would be a great honor to be the one that ended his lift.
He made his way to the end of the hall, he saw that the trail of thick blood passed through the entrance of the holodeck. It was apparent the boy was using holograms as cover.
"A valiant effort, young one…" he spoke to himself. "But the hunt ends here."
He tapped the entrance controls.
"THE HOLODECK IS UNDER SECURITY LOCKOUT, UNDER ORDERS OF IAN ROJETI…" the computer sounded.
The Caretaker smiled as he went to work on the control panel. Contrary to popular belief, he was very fluent in Federation technology. He quickly bypassed a few subsystems and gain access.
The doors thundered open to reveal a lush, green vegetated environment. He could hear the sound of animals and water and life circulating around him as he entered. Immediately, he knew where he was: the Prehistoric Earth Simulation. He enjoyed it the first time Team Helix brought him here, but he couldn't stand around to take in the scenery. The boy was somewhere close, and he had to finish the hunt.
"Young one!" he called out. "You have put up a valiant effort for survival. You are possible the most persistent prey I have ever come across. But the game is over. The hunt must come to an end."
As he walked through, he gently ran his battle staff through lush bushes, in hopes of revealing his prey's hiding place. "You should not fear, Ian. The blast from my battle staff is painless and efficient."
"Judging from the fact that I took one in the gut a few minutes ago, I'd have to disagree with you." A voice called out from behind a patch a boulders.
The Caretaker used his staff to vault over them to find Ian propped under a tree and bleeding profusely.
"Look at you…" the attacker said with a smile. "You losing blood quickly. It's apparent you won't survive the hour."
Ian grimaced. "Great. So why don't you and your staff just leave me along to die in peace?"
The Caretaker shook his head. "I am a merciful hunter. I will put you out of your misery, child." He watched as Ian seemed to slip in and out of consciousness. "Why did you call out to me? It is obvious you wanted to die before I could find you."
"Not exactly." Ian replied, opening his eyes wide. "You were actually taking too long. I needed to get you in position."
The Caretaker grew alert. "Position? For what?"
Suddenly, as if on cue, the trees to the left of them violently parted, to reveal a midsize dinosaur sniffing the area.
"You see, raptors have a keen sense of smell. And I knew all this blood I'm spilling would bring real quick."
The raptor quickly caught the blood sent, but its eyes fell completely on the Caretaker.
He ignored it. "Your attempts to frighten me are pathetic, child. They are just holograms. They cannot harm me."
Ian gave him a sinister smile. "That is, unless the 'safety protocols' were disabled."
The Caretaker froze in shock. He glanced back at the raptor, who was now readying himself in a strike position.
"And unfortunately for you, Caretaker. Raptors also like, challenging prey…."
As he raised his battle staff to fire one last disrupter blast at Ian, raptor struck with precision accuracy. It jumped at the Caretaker and caught his torso in it's jaws. The hunter screamed, more in defeat than in pain as Ian watched the dinosaur make a meal of his killer…
That was at the moment he caught a second raptor ready to pounce at him.
Kyle wiped the blood from his eyes and tried to focus on his attacker. He could only see shapes-- individuals being thrown around the control center. He vaguely remembered that it was Mia's idea for all of them to attack at once. Unfortunately, the child decided to make him an example.
"Kyle!" he heard Mia call out. "We can use some help over hear!"
"Keep your ears pointed, boss!" He replied. "I'm getting my second wind!"
Mia readied herself and focused on the demon child who was now occupied with Alex.
"WHY DO YOU FIGHT DESTINY, CHAOS BRINGER?" the child said as Alex kept his distance, on the opposite side of a workstation.
"Sorry." He replied. "I don't believe in destiny. I've been down that road, and it ain't for me."
The boy/creature tilted it's head in curiosity. "BUT YOU ARE THE ANOMALY. YOU HAVE BEEN TOUCHED BY THE AXIS POWER. YET, YOU ALLY YOURSELVES WITH THESE… FAKERS."
Alex noticed Mia creeping up on the kid from behind, wielding a metal rod.
"They're my friends." He said with a smile. "Friends stick together."
Mia swung her weapon at the kid's head, but the child sent a backhand slap that reached her, first. The blow sent the metal rod from her hands and her tumbling end over end, until hitting a wall.
Kyle positioned himself alongside Alex as they readied to pull a group attack. But that was before the child's hands started to glow bright orange.
Kyle's snarl turned into a look of worry. "Uh oh."
Tash feverously made his way back and forth between the many control stations in the alien engineering room. He had partly memorize the alien symbols and had a pretty good idea how to proceed. His only concern is not accidentally blowing up the ship.
After he formulated a possible command code, he slowly typed in the alien symbols and stood back to watch what happens.
Suddenly, the lights and control panels sprang to life.
He smiled from ear to ear. "Damn, I'm good. Better yet, I'm friggin' spectacular!"
He made his way to the main control system, then uploaded the universal translator from his tricorder.
"Here goes nothing. Computer?"
After a few beeps and pops, a female voice, similar to the Helix, called out. 'ONLINE!'
"Disable the dampening field and transport all lifeforms listed in your modified database to the Helix."
As the alien transporter washed over him, he had to pat his self on the back one more time.
As Eric and Jann reached the door to the command room, they could hear the ruckus occurring inside the room.
They quickly charged their phasers.
"Remember.." Eric said. "...choose your shots. We got to make them count until Tash can figure out a way to…"
The alien transporter signatures washed over them.
Just as the child was about to use it's secret power at the only two Helix members left standing, transporter signals washed over the people in the room.
"Yes!" Alex cried out in relief…
…until he realized he was the only person not transporting.
"This doesn't look good." He whispered to himself as the child power charges sprang to life and hit him in the chest. He upward blast pulled him off his feet, crashing into the ceiling and then falling backwards onto a chair.
The demon child elevated over an obstructing console and floated down in front of Alex, who was just now gaining his senses. He looked up at the child, who now had his arms folded in defiance.
Alex smiled a bloody smile. "You know, kid. That 'prophecy of evil' stuff is looking pretty good right now. Let's talk about this and…."
The demon child screamed in anger. "DO NOT PATRONIZED ME!!!!!"
It pulled Alex from the ground and tossed him to the otherside of the room.
Meanwhile aboard the Helix, five individuals materialized in the ship's emergency transport bay. With the exception of Tash, everyone else pulled their battered bodies from the floor.
"I'm a pure genius!" Tash screamed as he started to help the others to their feet.
Mia was the first to notice the problem. "Wait a minute. Where's Alex?"
Tash hurried to the transporter controls. "O.K., maybe not pure genius." He starts to check the transporter logs to solve the problem, while the others went into action.
"Computer, where is Ian Rojeti and the visitor?" Jann called.
'THEY ARE BOTH ON THE HOLODECK." It replied.
"You think the Caretaker knew?" Eric asked coming to her side.
"He had to!"
Mia called out to them. "You two grab some phaser rifles and head to the holodeck."
"Permission to use extreme measures?" Jann ask as she jogged for the exit.
"Granted." Mia replied turning her attentions to the others.
"Tash, figure out where the hell Alex is! Kyle your with me. We have to be ready to blow that ship once Alex is safe."
They quickly headed for the bridge.
"THIS IS NOT THE PLANS OF THE PAH WRAITHS." The demon child spoke to a beaten Alex Garrett. "IT IS FORETOLD THAT YOU WOULD BE THEIR WITNESS AS THE UNIVERSE BURNED. YOU WERE TO BE THE SALVATION."?
Alex, in his weakened state, managed to prop himself on the wall. "Disappointed? Get in line. You sound just like my father. He forced me to join Starfleet and when I didn't live up to his expectations, all I got was talk was what I was suppose to be."
"YOUR FATHER DID NOT KNOW WHO YOU WERE, CHAOS BRINGER. YOU ARE THE…."
"The one who is destined to blah, blah, blah… I get the idea!"
"BLASPHEMISE!" the child screamed as he hand-handed Alex, sending him falling lifelessly to the floor.
Mia and Kyle reach the bridge to find it in shambles. They figure out the Caretaker attacked Ian. Mia tries to bypass Ian's lockouts.
Mia and Kyle made it to the bridge and quickly tried to access the weapon's controls.
"Something's wrong." Mia said confused. "I'm locked out!"
"It's Ian." Kyle replied running from station to station. "The Caretaker must've been up to know good. It looks like he managed to lock him out before he did any damage."
"How do we get back in."
"Give me a minute." Kyle said with a grin. "He didn't use the Borg encryption program, so this should be easy…"
"Is that [cough, cough] all you got?" Alex mumbled as he pulled himself along the floor with his arms. "The great Nabo, can't finish off a human?"
The demon child placed his foot on Alex's back, slowly applying pressure. "THE ONLY REASON YOU LIVE, IS BECAUSE OF THE PROPHECY. BUT I'M STARTING TO SEE THINGS YOUR WAY. MAYBE YOU AREN'T THE CHAOS BRINGER. MAYBE YOUR ARE AN IMPOSTURE WHO NEEDS TO DIE."
"That's the spirit." Alex said with a chuckle, as he noticed a phaser laying a few yards away.
He had to think quick.
"This doesn't make sense!" Tash screamed as he ran countless diagnostics on the transporter systems. "There's not reason he shouldn't have beamed over with us!"
He slammed his fists on the console and made his way to one of the circuit chip panels.
"Mia to Tash." A voice called from the comm systems.
"This is Tash?" the frustrated Vulcan replied.
"What's your status?"
"I've run tests on the system and us… I'm still puzzled. I can't figure out what happened in the transport."
"So we lost his signal?"
"No, no. He never made it into the pattern buffer. My guess is he's still on the alien ship."
Mia's voice grew impatient. "Then get a lock on him and try again!"
"I tried that! But I'm not getting any recognizable life signs from the ship! It as if he's not…." At that moment, something sparked in his brain.
He knew he had all the information he needed. But he was too close to see it.
"Tash are you there?" Mia called again.
"I'll get back to you." He said turning off his comm-badge.
He quickly grabbed his tricorder and started to download the information into the computer.
Alex did his best to try and stall the demon boy from killing him.
"Answer a question. Why me? Who picked me to be in this mess?"
The child smiled. "YOU PICKED YOU."
Alex pulled himself closer to the phaser.
"DID YOU ACTUALLY THINK YOUR TRIP BACK IN TIME WAS AN ACCIDENT? YOU WERE MEANT TO ALTER HISTORY AT WOLF 359. YOU WERE MEANT TO BE TURNED INTO AXIS AND WARP REALITY. AND YOU ARE MEANT TO HELP THE PAH WRAITH DESTROY THE PRETENDERS, AND SET THE UNIVERSE AFLAME."
Alex reached out, his fingertips barely brushing the phaser. "But if they destroy everything, who will worship them? How can they be Gods with no one to praise them?"
The boy turned and walked to the window. "I DO NOT QUESTION THE WILL OF THE PAH WRAITHS. THEY ARE WISE. THEY ARE OMNIPOTENT!"
"They are… stupid!" Alex called out as he reset the phaser for maximum charge.
"Damnit, Tash! We need Alex off of that ship now!" Mia called out over the comm-system as Tash reset the transport system.
"I need a few more seconds! The reason Alex didn't transport is because of that strange residue coating his internal organs! The computer didn't recognize it, so it didn't see him as an organic lifeforms." His fingers raced over the controls. "I'm reconfigure the transporter systems for a custom beam over! Stand bye!"
"YOU DARE QUESTION THE POWER OF THE PAH WRAITHS?" the screamed in rage.
Alex tried to keep himself conscious. "That seems to be the case, big boy!"
The child stared at the phaser and laughed. "AFTER ALL YOU'VE SEEN OF MY POWER, DO YOU STILL THINK THAT YOU CAN KILL ME WITH THAT THING?"
"No." Alex said with a smile. "But the Kostamojin states that, while you're in human form, you're vulnerable to a lot of human frailties. You're impervious to phaser beams, huh?" he pointed the phaser away from the kid and at the large viewing window. "Let's see if spatial decompression and lack of oxygen fall under the same category!"
The child's eyes grew wide. "BUT IT WILL ALSO DESTROY YOU! IF YOU BLOW THE WINDOW, YOU WILL ALSO DIE AN EXCRUCIATING DEATH!"
Alex took a deep breath as he started to feel the transporter signal tug at his body "Sorry kid!" he fired at the window. "Been there, done that!"
The window shatter outward by the blast and the demon child was sucked out so fast, he seemed to disappear instantaneously. Everything and anything not bolted down exited through the window, leaving Alex's partially dematerialized body to disappear in the empty control room.
Alex appeared in the transporter bay in midair and then fell with a 'thud' to the pad. He glanced up at Tash, who letting out a big exhale.
Alex smiled as he clenched his heart. "Have I ever told you I love you, Vulcan?"
Tash quickly tapped his comm-badge. "I got him!"
'ACCESS GRANTED.' The computer called out, as Kyle hacked into the computer, and release the command codes.
"Hold on!" Mia yelled.
As the Helix turned a full 180 degrees and pushed into warp, set left behind a single quantum torpedo, which streaked for the disserted alien ship. The projectile raced past the body of the demon child and directly at the large engineering facility.
The last thing Nabo saw, was the alien ship's explosion coming to engulf his entire body…
Phasers in hand, Jann Jaxa and Eric Beckett, watched as the massive door to the holodeck quickly slammed open to an empty room.
"Ian!" Jann nervously called out as she hurried to his body lying in the corner. Quickly taking out her tricorder, she scanned her friend feverously.
"That's the first emotional outburst I've ever seen from you, Doc." Eric commented with a smile.
She looked up at him. "Shut up and find the Caretaker!" she yelled at him.
Eric flinched. "Ouch, I guess that would make two."
She checked her scan readings. "No vital organs damaged. It looks like disrupter lacerations, and the blast went through him and partially cauterized the wound. But there's still a lot of blood." She whispered to herself.
"That's because I'm bleeding." Ian turned to look at her with a painful grin!. "That's what a disrupter blast does to you."
"The Caretaker's handiwork?" Eric asked as he came to their side.
Ian nodded in agreement. "Apparently, my hospitality wasn't the greatest. He filed a complaint."
"Where is he now?"
Ian pointed to other side of the empty holodeck, where a bloody mound of clothing lay.
Eric walked over to examine the mound, but quickly backed away from the smell. "He seems to be 6 and half feet too short. What happened to him?"
The kid smiled with a hint of uneasiness. "Excuse the bad pun, but I'd have to say… he bit off more than he could chew…"
Eric smiled at first, but his expression slowly turned into a puzzle frown. "I don't get it…"
EPILOGUE: ICE SCULPTURES
MISSION LOG: CAPTAIN MIA GAN AN'WAR RECORDING…
We are currently cloaked and heading back to Federation space to rendezvous with Starfleet's 7th fleet for boarder defense duty. With the death of Corann and the Caretaker, I have the unfortunate duty of filing the report with Section 31. Did they know about the plot concerning the Pah Wraith demon? Did they plan to sacrifice the child to gain some type of unholy weapons technology? Or was it all a horrible coincidence?
I'm pretty sure we'll never really find out. But right now, my attention is turned to another crisis. There's a chance my prayers to the Prophets has been answered, my best friend may be back.
With the exception of a recouping Ian Rojeti in sickbay, the rest of Team Helix sat, gathered on the bridge, intently listening to Alex Garrett as he recapped his experiences since being transformed into AXIS.
He told of the alternate reality that only he and Kyle could remember. How an alternate version of Eric Beckett fought with the crew of the Timeship Atlantis to stop him from destroying reality.
He told them of being separated from AXIS and cast out of the alternate reality, only to be revived by a religious cult on the planet of Bajor. How a kind priest named Rynelle nursed him to health and trained him to be their warrior of justice. And how he was told to kill the child, Corann to prevent the demon Nortocon from being raised.
"And that's the whole ball of wax, guys." Alex finished with a fatigued sigh. "I know it sounds crazy. Hell, it's still all crazy to me. I don't how or why, but I've been given a second chance."
Mia quietly stood and slowly walked toward Alex as the others looked on. She ran her soft fingertips along his face and stared into to eyes.
"If there's anyone in hear who would know Alex…" she spoke softly. "…it would be me. We shared…."
"…everything." He finished her sentence with a grin. "When I was back on Bajor regaining my strength, the priests their told me that my health could've gone either way. They said that whether I lived or died rested on my determination to get well."
He took Mia's hand and put it in his. "I had to find something… anything to focus on. Some goal to help me get well. And then one day, it hit me."
"What was that?" Mia said softly to him.
Alex grinned. "I remembered… you still owe me three bars of latnum from that 'strip-domjot' game we played when we her guarding the Vulcan Ambassador on Deep Space Six."
Startled, Mia pulled herself away from him for a second. She suddenly felt a hint of frustration welling inside her.
"You cheated! You cheated and you know it! When I had to sneeze, you tampered with the wheel and…" she stopped in mid sentence and watched the familiar smirk on Alex's face. It was the look he had always given her, when he managed to get under her skin.
At that moment, she started to cry. There was only one person in the universe who could anger her in a fraction of a second.
"Alex?" she said in a whimpering voice. "Alex Garrett?"
Alex smiled. "Don't change the subject. Where's my money?"
Mia savagely embraced him with a hug that nearly winded him. "By the Prophets, it is you."
The others stood and gathered around them. With the exception of Eric, they all knew that if Mia excepted him as the real Alex Garrett, then there was no doubt it was him.
After Mia released him from a massive bear hug, he turned to hug the rest of the team. For two years he dreamed of this moment. A moment when he would be reunited with his friends… his family. But he dismissed it as wishful thinking.
Now as everyone greeted him and welcomed him back into the fold, Mia made her way to the Captain's chair.
"What are you doin', boss?" Eric said, turning his attention away from the festivities.
"The only thing left to do." She accessed the command console. "Computer. This is Captain Mia Gan An'War."
'ACKNOWLEDGED' The Helix's automated voice replied.
"Release all command codes and privileges to Alex Garrett, authorization 3-3-5-4-2-gamma."
The computer processed the request. 'DO YOU COMPLY, ALEX GARRETT?'
"Mia, what are you doing?" Alex asked.
"The right thing." She responded with a smile.
"I didn't expect this. I don't know if I even want this. It's your team."
"No. I've been minding the store, while you were away. Team Helix is, and will always be Alex Garret's unit. Now, stop stalling…."
Alex looked around the bridge and saw the acceptance in their eyes. At that moment, he wanted to cry, maybe show them how much he loved and missed them. But that was out of the question. He had to show his strength and confidence.
That's the commanding officer's duty…
"Computer, I comply." Alex answered with a smile. "I'm home…"
EARTH: 12 HOURS LATER…
If Sorann wasn't a Vulcan, he would be feeling fear and apprehension at this time. As he walked through the corridors of Starfleet command, into the highly classified west-wing, he clutched his message pad with sweat palms.
He was scheduled to give Section Chief Walter Chapel the mission briefing on Team Helix, and he wasn't going to like it.
When he entered Chapel's office, he found the human wearing civilian clothing and immersed in some type of athletic activity.
"Come in, Sorann. Have a seat. I'll be with you in a second." Chapel said not taking his eyes off of his task.
"May I inquire what you are doing?" the Vulcan asked.
"Oh, it's an Earth sport called golf. It's suppose to exercise calm nerves, hand-eye coordination, and skill." He tapped the ball for a put, but it went too wide and rolled under his desk. "Crappie game. Now I remember why I don't play it."
He dropped the golf club and sat behind his desk. "You have the Helix report?"
"Yes, Sir." Sorann replied.
The Chief picked up an uneasiness in his voice. "Vulcan, why am I getting the feeling I'm not going to like this?"
Sorann was expressionless. "Because your feelings are very accurate." He handed Chapel the message pad. "Mia's team picked up the child and rendezvoused with the cruise ship, as expected."
"Did the child merge with the orb, as expect?"
"Did they discover and confront Alex Garrett as expect?"
"Did they kill Alex Garrett, as expected?"
Sorann said nothing, but the look on his face told Chapel everything.
"Did they…. Capture Alex Garrett for interrogation?"
The Vulcan said nothing.
"Then what the hell happened?"
"Apparently, Captain Gan An'War relinquished command to Garrett."
"What!!?" Chapel said standing. "What the hell was she thinking?"
Sorann picked up the golf club and placed a ball on the floor. "It seems we underestimated Garret's power of persuasive." He putted the ball and it rolled smoothly into the cup. "He was persuasive enough to win the allegiance of the entire team, I believe."
"So…" Chapel sighed. "…where does that leave us?" He glanced up at his confidant, who appeared to be more interested in golf. "Come on, Vulcan. Grace me with some of that pure logic, you spout."
"Well, logic dictates that if Alex is the threat Section 31 believes him to be, then he needs to be eliminated. Logic also dictates, if Team Helix is under his command, that they, too are a threat."
Chapel wiped his face. "And if Team Helix is a threat…." His eye met Sorann's. "…they too, have to be eliminated."
Eric Beckett's got a secret,
and Section 31 will do anything
to stop him from telling...
...even destroying Team Helix
IN THE 2 PART ADVENTURE:
'Cry Havok / And Let Slip The Dogs Of War
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.|
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