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Star Trek: Horizon - Saq'coc by Ruben Hilbers

Chapter One

The Inventive dropped to impulse.

"So far, so good." Powell said. They had arrived in the Igo Theta system.

Powell sat in the command chair and O'Dell was at the Conn. The rest of the bridge crew were cadets.

"Starbase four-two-three ahead, sir." O'Dell said.

"Onscreen."

The viewscreen blinked to show a Spacedock-class station. Most of the structure wasn't finished and the place was being swarmed by Work Bees.

"Cadet Ramirez." Powell said.

The cadet at engineering looked up.

"Yes, commander?"

"Tell me what you know about this base."

"The construction began a week ago, on Stardate 55605.0. It should be finished around Stardate 55630."

"And how can this Starbase be built that fast?"

"Because it is modular, and all the modules were already done. So all you have to do is take the modules from storage, move them to the site and put the base together."

Powell nodded.

"Go on, Cadet."

"When completed, the base will have four docks. It is a Spacedock-class station, of size one."

"Is that the biggest or the smallest?"

"The smallest, each dock will be big enough to hold a single Miranda-class starship. Nothing bigger, but with the right pilots you could probably fit two Oberth-class ships per dock."

"Thank you, cadet."

"Sir." O'Dell said. "We've reached the wormhole."

"Take us in."

Space around the ship changed as the wormhole blossomed into existence. It was green instead of the familiar bleu of the Bajoran wormhole. Then the ship went in.

Archer looked out the window. He was off-duty at the moment and enjoying the view from his quarters. Horizon was the last ship to go through the wormhole. He could see its green walls forming outside. Then there was a minute jolt as the ship entered. Dorian was driving, so the ship would make it across just fine. The bell rang.

"Come."

Eric Powell came in.

"Hi, Pete."

"Hi, Eric."

"So, what's on your mind?"

"The R-16 nebula, I have trouble putting it out of my head."

"Join the club."

Powell sat down.

"What that Reman commander did was so…."

"….Borg?"

"Yes, fanatic and pointless."

"The Remans hate the Alliance."

"So did and do we."

"But we know where to draw the line. Hate is a bad thing, and that most never be forgotten. The Remans of the mirror universe have become what they hate. Mindless conquers, blinded by hated and greed."

"I guess you're right, and so was Admiral Janeway. We did what we could and we know that, but that doesn't help a damn."

"Thank heaven it doesn't, because if it did, we'd be Vulcans. In the end it will help, but not until we've processed this."

The ship jolted again.

"We're through." Archer said.

They looked at the stars.

"They don't looked that different from those at home."

"They do to me." Powell said. "I've been to this quadrant before, remember."

"Those weren't pleasant day for you ."

"No, they weren't."

"Then let's go write so new memories of the Delta Quadrant for you."

Powell smiled.

"Yes, let's do that."

Then they were of to the bridge.

Gary Rogue studied the station on the viewer.

"It looks old."

His brother answered from Tactical.

"It is old, a K-class station. The same design as K-7."

"Then why is it out here?"

"I believe I know why." O'Rill said.

The chief engineer was at one of the aft stations.

"Well?"

"Ablative armour. After it turned out to be a success on starships, Command wanted to use it on Starbases. But the paint on the bases turned out be a problem ."

"What kind of problem?' MacWright asked.

He was next to O'Rill at another aft station.

"It chemically interacted with the armour, rendering it useless. But the K-class stations have different paint. Normally, the paint for stations was made on Earth."

"But this class was used at the edge of the Federation."

"Exactly, and to cut down costs the paint was made on a colony close to the Klingon border.

I think it was Earth Colony Seven. This had the result that the colour was the same, but the composition was different."

"So the armour sticks to these old stations. Hail the station."

A Bajoran in a Starfleet uniform appeared.

"This is Captain Reys Darren, CO Starbase Delta-One. Welcome to this corner of the universe, Horizon."

"Thank you, Captain Reys." Rogue said.

"Congratulations, you ‘re the first to get it right."

"And how long have been in command of this station?"

"Since Stardate 55592, the day they towed it here. Today is 55612, so I've been at it for twenty days now."

"It's a miracle the station stayed together for that long." Freddie muttered. "The databank says this used to be K-2, it's one-hundred and twelve years old."

Reys had heard the comment and said.

"Don't let the outside fool you, ensign. The hull has been repaired by modified Borg nanoprobes, metallurgically this station is brand-new. And the inside has already received twenty days worth of upgrades. We're working around the clock, seven days a week."

"Sorry, sir."

Reys turned his attention to Gary again.

"What's your first target?"

"Ocampa."

"Good luck, Delta-One out."

"Conny, you know where we're going."

"Course ready at warp six."

"Take her up."

The Horizon leaped into the deep.

The planet ahead was called Regula Delta III. It was class-L. Powell got out of the command chair.

"O'Dell, put us into orbit."

"Aye, commander."

The ship followed the order.

"A'Zuro, what are your readings?"

"No humanoids or animals, just plants."

"Scan for meat-eating plants?"

"None, I checked."

"Good, it wouldn't look nice on our record if our first away team ever was eaten. Powell to Dovz."

"Dovz here."

"You're clear to go, there's nothing dangerous down there as far we can see."

"Thank you for your permission, captain."

"Just beam down already, Powell out."

A'Zuro nodded.

"They're down on the planet, sir."

"Keep an eye on them."

"Aye, commander."

Powell sat back down.

Dovz looked around. The team was standing in the middle of a grassy field. Counting Dovz, there were four members in the team. The other three were Ensign Sanchez, Ensign Wallace and Cadet Enrique. Enrique was a security officer.

"Now what?" Sanchez asked.

"Let's start with tricorder scans."

The team pulled out their tricorders and got to work. Wallace walked south about ten meters, then his tricorder began to beep.

"I'm picking up traces of a ship." He said.

"Where?" Dovz asked.

"Underneath the surface, about one kilometre south and sixty meters down."

"Why didn't the ship see it?"

"It's small and there is a sensor jamming field around it. But this close it's useless."

"Let's have a look. Phasers on Heavy Stun."

"Aye, captain."

They got underway.

"Our team is gone!" A'Zuro blurted.

"What!?"

"They just vanished of my screen."

"Powell to Dovz."

"Dovz here."

"Where are you? You're not on sensors."

"We're under some kind of jamming field. But it doesn't appear to affect communications. We'll leave the channel open so you can track us."

"Just be careful."

"We will."

Powell sat and waited.

 

Chapter Two

Ocampa was green and bleu, instead of the massive yellow it had been when Voyager was there.

"I'm picking up a station in orbit." Freddie said. "It s armed with one laser and one spatial rocket launcher, but it appears they only have two rockets. Nothing dangerous."

"Hail it." Gary said.

The screen soon showed an Ocampan man with blond hair and green eyes.

"I am governor Enok, leader of the ruling council of Ocampa Prime. Who are you?"

"I am Captain Gary Rogue of the Starship Horizon. We're from the United Federation of Planets?"

"Voyager's Federation? You created the wormhole?"

"Yes, that Federation. And no, we just stabilized it."

Enok nodded.

"I see, what brings you here?"

"Exploration, we have been sent to continue the job Voyager began. But last time we were here your planet was almost uninhabitable. Now it's lush and green."

"Yes, things changed after 2376. Kes did this after she came home."

"How?"

"She infused herself into the planet by means we do not understand."

"Where are the Kazon?"

Enok took a step aside and Gary spotted a flower in a pot. The governor pointed to the flower.

"This is the Kesla flower. It grows all year and makes the Kazon ill. They were forced to leave, but they could still attack from orbit."

"Which is why you got the station."

"Exactly."

Ogawa gestured to Gary.

"One moment, governor. Mute audio."

"Done." Freddie said.

"What's the matter, Alys?"

"All the Ocampa are on the surface, and we're not picking up the underground city."

Rogue frowned.

"That's weird, Freddie, audio."

"You're back on."

"I don't mean to be rude, but where is your old city?"

"It was destroyed when the cave filled with lava. We're scraping by since then, we rent this station from a Talaxian trader."

"Would you mind if we beam down away teams? Maybe we can help "

"Thank you for your offer, but I cannot accept. I‘ll have to discuss it with the council, Enok out."

The screen want blank.

"Do you have the feeling we're missing part of the picture?" MacWright said.

"Yes." Ogawa said "Gary?"

"I think you two are right. I want constant scans of the planet. Watch it like a hawk."

"Aye, captain." Freddie said.

The two Rogues watched the viewscreen and wondered.

The Kazon were dead. Their shuttle had drilled itself into the surface.

"It's a miracle it didn't burn up entering the atmosphere." Wallace said.

The shuttle was in the centre of a crater. Inside they had found two heavily decayed corpses.

"They've been dead for about a month." Sanchez said.

"This thing shows signs of being shot down." Enrique noted. "The Kazon were dead when this craft began its dive through the atmosphere. The life-support failed, they ran out of air."

Dovz shivered and said, "Enrique, were they shot down by other Kazon?"

"No, it isn't the right pattern. This thing was shot down with a plasma beam, but nothing known to Federation science."

Wallace nodded.

"So we have a Kazon shuttle shot down from orbit three months ago by an unknown alien race. Conclusion, the Kazon made a new enemy."

"But this enemy defeated them." Sanchez said. "Which explains the jamming field."

"About that, can you turn it off?" Dovz said.

Sanchez worked her tricorder.

"There, it's gone."

"Powell here, mind if I cut in?"

"What is it, commander?"

"We just got a transmission from Horizon, she's at Ocampa."

He told her the situation at the planet.

"That's weird, send our findings here back to them. And prepare to beam the shuttle back to the ship for analysis."

"Aye, Powell out."

Enok was back on the screen.

"You may beam down whenever you wish."

"Thank you." Gary said.

"But now we must talk about a political matter. It isn't easy for us to ask this, but what are the conditions for joining the Federation?"

Aha. Ogawa thought. There's the catch. They want to join to bale themselves out of their misery. Can't say I blame them.

"I think we'd better talk face to face."

"Of course, I am sending coordinates."

"I'll be there shortly, Rogue out.'

"The coordinates lead to a small settlement." Ogawa said.

"Wait." Freddie said. "I'm getting a message from the Inventive."

Gary didn't even twitch as he heard the news.

"Our answers are on the planet below, let's find them." He said.

Then he was in the turbolift.

The shimmering faded and the team was back in transporter room one. Inventive had two transporter rooms, each capable of beaming seven people at a time. The shuttle was in the one of the ships cargo bays, of which it had three. DeSalle and a team of engineers were working on it. They had buried the bodies of the Kazon near the crash site. In case anybody ever came back for them. Powell was waiting in the transporter room.

"You won't like what we've found. After the shuttle, I told A'Zuro to scan for more wrecks."

"And?"

"Nothing more on this planet, but dozens more in sensor range. All known Kazon settlements in this sector are gone. They weren't defeated, they were slaughtered."

"Do we have any idea how far the destruction reaches?"

"Not yet, we are waiting to hear from Horizon. Maybe the Ocampans have answers."

"Then we're leaving for Ocampa at maximum warp."

"I thought you were going to say that We're already underway."

Dovz had noticed the shifting to warp.

"I'll be on the bridge." She said.

She went to find the nearest turbolift.

The settlement was a collection of tents. Enok stood outside the biggest.

"Welcome, captain."

Now Rogue could see how skinny the poor man was. Powell and O'Rill had beamed down with him.

"This is Lieutenant-Commander Casey O'Rill, my chief engineer. And this is Doctor Eric Powell, my chief medical officer."

"The council waits inside."

"Then let us go in."

He whispered to O'Rill.

"Check the place out, see what we could do for these folks."

O'Rill nodded.

She and Powell left, while Rogue went into the tent Four other Ocampans were inside the tent. They were also skinny. Three were male and one female.

"Enok tells me you wish to join the Federation."

"Yes, we do." The oldest of the three males said.

His hair had turned grey, and Rogue suspected that he was eight years old.

"Was the council unanimous on this decision?"

"It was, why do you ask?"

"Standard protocol, there is this a list of question you have to ask. Every captain has to know it by heart."

"I understand?"

"Is planet a democracy?"

"Yes, we were elected after the underground city was lost."

"Do you have any dealings with the Orion Weapon Syndicate?"

"The what?"

"The protocol was made in the Alpha Quadrant, it hasn't been updated yet. The Orions are a group of criminals."

"No, we have not."

"Are you part of a larger government?

Like, for instance, the Haakonian Order."

"We are not, Ocampa Prime is independent."

"That was it."

Rogue extended his hand. The Ocampan took it and shook it.

"Congratulations, you are member one-hundred and fifty-one of the Federation."

The council looked at him in utter bewilderment.

"Is it that easy to join the Federation?" Enok asked.

"No, normally it takes a year of trails and procedures. However, you have been already contacted by Voyager. In 2374, we re-gained communication with the ship. And Captain Janeway sent a report that you were an ideal candidate to join. The Federation ran the captain's recommendation through the process. So all you would have to do was ask and answer the standard questions."

"What happened to Voyager?"

"She found a way home over a year ago. Captain Janeway was promoted to Admiral and most of the crew got promoted as well."

"Janeway is an Admiral?"

"She's my boss, in fact."

"Amazing."

"Ogawa to Rogue."

"Rogue here, talk to me."

"The Inventive is here."

"Understood, out."

"Inventive?" Enok asked.

"Another Starfleet ship."

"Captain, I would like to show you the camp."

"Lead the way."

Enok led Rogue out of the tent.

Powell looked around the camp. They stood on a yellow sand road that went crisscross through the settlement.

"These people look terrible." He said.

"Yes, but the tents somehow manage to look worse."

"I don't get it, this planet produces enough food to feed ten times this population."

"The Talaxians take our food." A new voice said.

Powell turned to see an old man with a beard.

"Why don't you break of the deal?"

"We rent the station, without it we would be defenceless."

"You *are* defenceless, that station is junk."

"That's easy for you to say, Federation. You lived a live in the lap of luxury."

"I'm not dead yet and I've been plugged into the Borg Collective for most of my live so far. So don't come to me with that bullshit."

The old man was silent.

"How much would it take to buy the station from the Talaxian?"

"Much more than you have, Federation."

A Talaxian was standing on the path.

"I am Thar Wys, I owe the station."

"One class-one probe, at that's my final offer." O'Rill said.

The Talaxian laughed. Then a hand grabbed him and threw him on the ground. Rogue pinned the merchant down and shoved his phaser into one of the man's nostrils. The weapon was set to full.

"Accept it or I'll blow your head of."

"Okay." Wys gasped. "I accept."

Rogue planted his elbow in the man's stomach.

"And never come back, understood!"

Then Rogue led the man go. Enok watched the man run away in pure astonishment.

"Are all Federation captains this violent?"

"No, it's just me and maybe one or two others."

The answer didn't see Enok's mind at ease.

The Inventive dove to the left. Dovz had to grab the Tactical station to stay on her feet .

"What are you doing?" She snapped.

"I'm avoiding a collision with a Talaxian Freighter."

"What Talaxian Freighter?"

"The one that just received a class one-probe from the Horizon. It lifted off so fast that it nearly hit us."

"Where did it go?"

"It's on a course for Talax at warp three point eight."

"Let it go, but keep track of it."

"Yes, captain."

The ship returned to her normal orbit.

 

Chapter Three

The team left the camp. Enok was still with them.

"Enok, what do you know about the present condition of the Kazon?" Rogue asked.

Enok's looked became grim.

"No much beyond that they have left our world. However, there are rumours. None of which we can confirm."

"Is there anything you can tell me?"

"The descriptions are different in every story, but they do all say the same. Maje Culluh attacked a colony at the edge of his territory. It belonged to another race. They stroke back, massacring most of the Kazon and enslaving the survivors. This race also fought the Trabe."

"And?"

"The Trabe are now extinct. The attackers have not yet shown themselves in our sector, but many believe it is only a matter of time."

Rogue felt hot and cold, but simply said.

"Thank you, Enok."

Then the Ocampa walked away. Powell looked at Rogue.

"Well?"

"Well, I have no intention of sitting here until these mystery aliens show up. The Valdemar can guard the Ocampa if they feel like it. But we're going to find those aliens. Rogue to Horizon, beam us up."

The transporter beam shimmered them back to the ship.

It was night on the Inventive. Wallace was in command, and Warrick was at Tactical. The rest of the crew were cadets. Warrick and Wallace had both read the transmission the Horizon had just sent.

"What do you think, Ensign?" Wallace said.

"It beats staying in orbit."

Cadet Paula Dran'Tho was at the Conn. She replaced Yasmine Samuels.

"Sir." Dran'Tho said. "The Horizon has left orbit."

"Course and speed."

"Out of the sector and into Kazon space at warp eight."

Ocampa was located at the edge of her sector.

"Let's stick with the group today, cadet. Match her course and speed."

"Course ready."

"Engage."

The ship leaped into warp.

"Let's see who shows up."

The ships penetrated deeper into Kazon space

Ship First Uran sat in his command seat. The bridge of the Y'Ran was round and held three consoles. One in front of the seat and two behind. The front one was Conn, the left aft was Tactical and the right was Science. His weapons officer spoke up.

"I am detecting two alien ships. One is familiar, I believe we have encountered it before."

"Life readings?'

"Six hundred and three unknown of various races, one Borg and two of ours.'

Uran nodded.

"It is the same ship. Decloak the ship and hail it."

"First, there is another vessel next to it."

"You heard me!"

The Y'Ran wrinkled into existence.

"Channel open."

Rogue appeared on the viewscreen.

"I am Ship First Uran of the Y'Ran. This is a vessel of the Saq'coc Empire. And who are you?"

"Captain Gary Rogue of the Starship Horizon. We represent the United Federation of Planets."

"Why are you in our space?"

"We heard rumours that the Trabe were extinct and the Kazon had been enslaved. We wanted to know if that was true."

Uran shifted in his chair. He glanced at his weapons officer.

"That is correct, we were attacked by the Kazon in 2374. There was a revolution in our government and afterwards we declared war. It took four years of war, but now the Kazon serve us."

"And the Trabe?"

"The Trabe believed they could the war to gain space. We proved them wrong. Now you have you information, turn around and leave. Uran out."

He looked at his weapons officer.

"They are turning, First."

"Cloak the ship and bring us back to our original course."

"Yes, first."

The Y'Ran turned away.

Wallace had watched the transmission from the command chair. He got up and walked over to Warrick.

"Was that ship what I think it was?" He asked.

"Yes, the Saq'coc are the mystery race that showed up at the R-16 nebula. This ship is identical in shape and size to the ones we saw there."

"Anything new?"

"This time there wasn't a jamming field. I got a partial scan of the vessel."

"Tell me."

"It's a medium explorer with a crew of fifty. Her maximum speed is warp eight point two and her weapons are plasma beams."

"How many?"

"Eight units, the firepower is equal to that of a Federation Type-ten phaser. No other weapons."

"What else?'"

"It is equipped with a cloaking device. The shuttlebay holds two small crafts. That's all I got."

"It's a start, but I want you to analyse the transmission."

"Aye, sir."

Wallace went to the Conn station.

Uran tapped his fingers on his armrest.

"Full stop."

The ship halted.

"Weapons First Inor, prepare both fighters for launch. "

The weapons officer looked up.

"But we are not in battle, First."

"I know that! But something about that alien Ship First was so cursed familiar. Have you completed analysis of their signal?"

"Yes, First."

"Good, inform me."

"I believe the Ship First or ‘Captain' of the alien vessel is one of us. And that his Weapons First is the other."

Uran squinted.

"Do you realize what you're saying?"

"Two officers out of the Imperial Fleet must have defected to the Federation."

"That was what my mind was telling me. And if that is true, then we must find out how. I want the fighters to monitor that ship's every movement."

"Aye, First."

Two minutes later, a pair of smaller ships ventured into space. They jumped to warp.

Rogue got out of the command chair. He tapped his combadge.

"Captain to all senior officers. Report to the conference lounge at once."

Then he headed down the Jefferies tube. It took about five minutes for all the officers to get there.

"Ladies and gentlemen." Gary began. "The identity of our mystery race is now known. And the picture isn't pretty."

Ogawa raised her hand.

"If you know something we don't, spit it out."

"Okay, most of you took history lessons at Starfleet Academy, right?"

People nodded.

"What do you know about the Farosians?"

"That they had an empire that spanned large parts of the Delta and Beta quadrant. The Klingons found ruins of the Farosians at the edge of their space. But they developed a device similar to the Genesis torpedo about three thousand years ago. It destroyed them in the end."

"Exactly, the device was triggered a civil war. But that's not all, the Aquans know things about the Farosians the Federation doesn't. "

It clicked in Powell's mind.

"You're descendants of a group or survivors."

"Yes." Freddie said. "All Aquans are."

Gary continued the story.

"Some of the Farosians saw the disaster coming. They left and colonized Aqua Victory Prime in 613 B.C. And it appears that those who survived here after the war became the Saq'coc. Which translates to English as ‘The race of great strength.' And I have a hunch they want their old empire back. The Kazon were only the beginning."

"Did the Farosians own any Federation worlds?"

"No, but they did own large pieces on the Romulan and Klingon Empires."

"What do we do now?"

"We'll have to watch our back and tread carefully. These Saq'coc are probably just like the Farosians. Evil, untrustworthy and power hungry. That was all, dismissed."

The officers filed out.

Fighter one kept close to the alien ship, with fighter two trailing behind it. Inor was leading the mission himself in Fighter One's cockpit. He looked at Ryse, his co-pilot, and said.

"Have you found anything?"

"Negative, sir. The ship has not sent any transmissions."

"Then hack the computer."

"It is too well guarded, I believe it would take the resources of a Transform-barge to break through."

Then alarms began to scream.

"The cloak is failing!" Ryse blurted. "They are emitting a pulse that is disrupting the system ."

Inor looked at the readings.

"Tachyons, the bastards!"

Then the Fighter rocked under weapons fire. It plummeted back to sub-light speeds.

"Warp drive is off-line." Ryse said.

"Cloak off, battle condition."

The two ships wrinkled into existence.

"We are being hailed."

"Onscreen, let's see what he has to say."

Gary was going to let them have it.

"Channel open." Freddie said from Tactical.

"Hello, you Saq'coc bastards . We know who you are, because we used to be a part of you."

The Saq'coc wanted to say something, but didn't get the chance.

"The two of us are descendants of those who left before the Farosians fell. But we have changed, we are no longer like you. And make no mistake, we will tell the Federation what you are. I know what you want, but be warned. We and our allies will be ready for you, Horizon out."

Freddie cut the link.

"Conny, resume our old course. Ogawa, get the night-shift up here."

"Aye, back on course." Collins said.

"Aye, night-crew it is."

Then Gary stepped into the turbolift.

Inor watched the screen in pure amazement.

"The ones who left before? How is that possible? Every schoolchild knows that they all died before finding a suitable planet."

Ryse looked at him.

"Every schoolchild has been lied to, so that none of us would ever think of leaving. Brainwashing, pure and simple."

"How do you know that?"

"The government might be able to destroyed and suppress evidence, but they can never suppress gut feelings."

"Don't say things like that, if the Special Police finds out…."

"They'll what?"

"Who knows what horrible things they will do to you? They are relentless, merciless monsters."

"You are taking a risk, the warp drive is back on-line."

"I'm setting course back to the ship. The mission is over."

The Fighters turned and returned to warp.

"Do you think Uran knows?" Inor asked.

"I think he does, but he's not letting it show. He fears the Special Police as much as we do."

"As he should." A new voice said.

A third Saq'coc was standing in of the back on the cockpit. He was wearing a simple grey jumpsuit. Inor looked at the window in terror. A ship was holding both fighters in a tractor beam. It was a grey cylinder-shaped vessel.

"Agent Yoris, Special Police. We have been tracking your ship since it left the Y'Ran. And recorded some very interesting conversation."

Inor's heart sank.

"Oh, no."

"O, yes. And you two have plenty of explaining to do."

Then the three of them dissolved into a transporter beam.

 

Chapter Four

Warrick watched the screen and cursed.

"What's wrong?" Wallace asked.

"I just checked Voyager's records on Regula Delta III."

"And?"

"See for yourself."

Wallace walked to the science station and called up the information.

"Damn." He said. "Are you sure this is the right file?"

"Yes, I checked twice."

"From class-D in 2371 to class-L in 2378. There's only one explanation. The Saq'coc have re-discovered their Genesis device."

"That's probably how they defeated the Kazon."

"I want this information relayed back to our ships and Delta One, and I mean yesterday."

"Yes, sir."

"You have the bridge."

"Where are you going?"

"To tell the captain."

"Good luck."

"Thanks, I'll need it."

Then Wallace left the bridge.

Eric Powell sat down in his office. He activated his work console and checked his messages. There were two. One was from engineering, and said the broken temperature regulator in sickbay's hydroponics area was fixed. But the other one was more dramatic. It was from Earth. He frowned.

"I don't known anybody on Earth. Aside from Admiral Janeway, but she would just call me."

He checked the sender.

"San Diego mental clinic, Doctor Paul Frasier."

He opened the message. A young man with a dark beard and blond hair looked back at him.

"Hello, doctor. I know you don't know me, but that's not important. We are treating an Andorian patient named Thas Inco. I have assessed his state of mind. However, the protocols here demand that two doctors review a case before treatment. The problem is that all the doctors of at the facility are on holiday. I was hoping you could help me out. All the patients records are attached to this message. Thank you for your time end recording."

The screen blinked off. He pulled up the case.

"Let's see what we have here. Head of the Valkyrie Cooperation….rented ship…went insane. Ship was….SS Severn."

He read the file again to be sure.

"They really did drive him mad."

He wrote his recommendation then shut the console down.

"Pff, what a day."

"Hello, uncle Eric. What are you doing?"

Erica Powell looked at him. She had come to live with Powell and Ogawa.

"Nothing, I'm done. How was your day?"

"Fine, I guess."

Eric left his seat.

"Is something wrong?"

"Yes, there aren't any other children on the ship. I've got nobody to play with."

"O, sweetie, why didn't you say anything?"

"You were all so busy."

He picked her up and put her on his neck.

"Have you ever been to a holodeck?"

"No."

"Well, there's a first time for everything."

He marched out of sickbay.

Dovz looked at Wallace. They were sitting in her quarters. Dovz was the only one who had quarters, the rest of the crew had bunks.

"Are you sure?"

"We checked and double checked."

"Have you send…"

"Yes, we already did. All the info we have on the Saq'coc so far has been delivered to HQ."

"Damn, this is not good."

"We don't know how long along they did this. And the matrix does seem stable."

"There is no spoon." Dovz muttered.

"What?"

"Forget it, what do you suggest we do now?"

"Good back to the planet and do an in-depth study. We have to start somewhere."

"Do it, but run Tachyon scans on the way over. And sound yellow alert when we enter the system."

"Yes, ma'am. Should I inform Commander Powell or will you?"

"I'll take care of it."

"As you wish, ma'am. Good night."

Then Wallace was gone. Dovz returned to her bed.

"It's times like I wish I'd gone into botany."

Then she fell asleep.

Ship First Taroc hated working for the Special Police. His ship had been a cargo ship, but then it had been boarded by the SP. He cursed them inwardly. They had turned his cargo bay into a torture chamber. He heard the screams through the bulkhead. Then something snapped in him. He looked at his command centre. It was identical to the Y'Ran's. Taroc steamed to his weapons first.

"Weapons First Ayor, where are the SP-officers and how many are there?"

"That is classified, First."

It was a measure taken by the SP to keep the people afraid of them. Nobody knew how many SP-officers there were. Taroc grabbed Ayor by his shirt.

"Now you listen to me, the Xorva is my ship. Tell me or you end up on the wrong end of an airlock."

"Nine, six of them are in the cargo bay."

Taroc pushed Ayor away from his console.

"What are you doing?"

"What I should have done a long time ago."

He beamed the two prisoners to sickbay. Three SP-officers stormed onto the bridge.

"What do you think you are doing?" One of them asked.

Taroc drew his weapon. His crew hesitated for a split-second, then joined him.

"You will be court-martialed for this!"

"Maybe, Ayor?'

"Yes, First."

"Gather all the SP-officers and put them on a shuttle."

"You will pay for this!"

Then the officers were escorted out.

Ogawa paced in front of the door to Rogue's quarters. Then she finally had the courage to ring the bell.

"Come."

Ogawa stepped inside. Rogue was sitting behind his desk.

"Do you have a minute, sir?"

"Sure, Alys. What's on your mind?"

"I don't know if I've done the right thing by accepting the job of first officer."

"Am I driving you stir crazy already?"

"No, it's Erica."

"You mean the fact that he's the only child aboard?"

"Yes, it's making her unhappy."

"Sit down."

She sat at the other side of the desk.

"Well." Rogue said. "What do you suggest we do to fix this?"

"We have to get more children aboard."

"Alys, no offence, but where would we put them? We are not a Galaxy-class ship, the Horizon doesn't have the facilities."

"But we have rooms marked for future expansion, it could be done."

"Yes, but a lot of people on this ship have families back home. We would have to choose who to bring aboard and who not. Imagine yourself in their position."

"I'm sorry, sir, you're right. I just want my girl to be happy."

"Like any mother should."

Then the com interrupted.

"Wallace to Rogue."

"Rogue here."

"We just caught something on the bridge that you might want to see."

Rogue turned on his work console.

"Patch it through down here."

"We'll do, Wallace out."

The console now showed images recorded by the sensors. A grey-cylinder shaped ship dropped out of warp. It ejected a smaller version of itself.

"Looks like a shuttle." Ogawa said.

Then two beams shout out of the large cylinder. There was a flash as the smaller craft exploded . After that, the large cylinder cloaked.

"What was that?"

"I don't know, but it can't be good."

The screen went black.

"Something is going on inside the Saq'coc Empire." Rogue said. "And whatever it is will very like affect us."

Ogawa got up.

"I'd like to go back to my quarters and think all of this over."

"Sure, dismissed."

Ogawa walked out.

Ocampa appeared on the main screen. Wallace ordered the Horizon back to full impulse. He paced the bridge a couple of times. Then he settled in the first officer's chair.

"Something's not right here. But I can't put my finger on it."

"Nothing on sensors, cloaked or uncloaked." Ensign Verne said.

"Then put us into orbit."

Ensign Xerry nodded from the Conn.

"Aye, sir."

The Horizon locked into orbit.

 

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Last modified: 10.04.12
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