EPISODE 2.11 - “THE REMOVAL” - Part Two

written by Travis Cannon

The teams -

Team Alpha:

Team leader - Commander Carey Larson

Pioneer team member - Crewman Backers

Independence team members - Lieutenant Foster and Ensign Wilson

Revolution team members - Crewman Quinn and Lt. Commander Louis

Team Beta:

Team leader - Commander Robert Tuff

Pioneer team members - Ensign Kavoc and Crewman Manon

Independence team member - Lieutenant Carr

Revolution team members - Ensign Williams and Lieutenant Hanson

Captain Benjamin Kelsoe sat in his chair, has Dr. Braga scanned the medical tricorder over his head. Stream was belting out of the tactical station. Craig was helping Tracy off the floor, he briefly placed his hand on her cheek and rubbed her face smoothly. She then rushed into his arms, tears filling in her eyes.

“Ensign Soto, report!” Kelsoe demanded, as Braga injected a hypospray into Kelsoe's neck.

Ensign Soto pulled himself up from behind the security station and looked down at the console.

“The docking clamps for Team Beta's shuttle have malfunctioned,” Soto said. “We've got approximately thirty-two percent of the Revolution's crew.”

“Captain Dickens?” Kelsoe inquired.

Soto looked at his console and shook his head.

“Negative,” Soto said.

Kelsoe lowered his head and closed his eyes. The Jefferies tubes door opened and Burt crawled out. Burt got up and rushed over to Kelsoe.

“What are we going to do, Captain?” Burt asked. “There is no way that Braxis can defend himself with just a shuttle craft against that Destroyer.”

Kelsoe looked up.

“Connor,” he said as calmly as he could. “We're not the only ship with shuttle crafts. We'll have to use one of the Independence's shuttles.”

Connor looked up at the view screen. Through the wreckage of the Revolution, the Independence could be seen. Kelsoe stood up.

“Ensign Carson,” Kelsoe said. “Open a channel with the Independence.”

“Aye, Captain,” Tracy said. “Channel opened.”

Captain Barbara Hessman appeared on the screen. Her bridge was dark and had steam floating around the ceiling. She looked down at Kelsoe.

“Captain Kelsoe?” Hessman inquired.

“Captain Hessman,” Kelsoe explain. “Team Beta's docking clamps are malfunctioning. I would like to beam them over to use one of your shuttles.”

Hessman thought.

“Alright,” Hessman said. “But my shuttles don't have the sensor blocking devices installed yet.”

“Then we'll just have to live with it,” Kelsoe said.

“Then we will,” Hessman said, and turned around and gave an order.

Kelsoe turned around to speak with Burt.

“Connor,” Kelsoe said, “Get to transporter room one.”

Burt nodded and made his way for other the Jefferies tube hatch. Kelsoe turned to Soto.

“Ensign Soto,” Kelsoe said. 

  “Uh, yes sir?” Soto said looking up from his console.

“Begin repairs on turbo-lift one,” Kelsoe said.

“Aye, sir,” Soto said.

Kelsoe turned back to Hessman.

“Once the team is ready we'll beam them directly to you're shuttle bay,” Kelsoe said.

“We'll be ready,” Hessman said. “I suggest that as soon as we get the second team away that we head towards Ka'al.”

“I concur,” Kelsoe said.

“Good,” Hessman said. “Hessman out.”

The screen went back to showing the still burning wreckage of the Revolution. Kelsoe closed his eyes and turned away. He looked at Tracy.

“Tell Starfleet to get a salvage crew out here,” Kelsoe said.

“Yes, Captain,” Tracy said.

Kelsoe turned to Craig.

“Team Beta is ready for transportation,” Craig announced.

“Make it so,” Kelsoe ordered.

“Team Beta has successfully been transported into the Independence's shuttle bay,” Craig said.

“Good,” Kelsoe said turning to towards the helm. “Mr. Zimmer, sit course for Ka'al, maximum warp.”

The shuttle craft came out of warp over the moon of Ka'al, the So'jan home planet. Braxis steered the shuttle gently around the dark side of the moon and stopped. He turned around and looked at Commander Carey Larson.

“We should be able to wait here without detection,” Braxis said.

“Good,” Larson said, making his way up to the front of the shuttle craft. He sat down in the co-pilot's seat. “That was some good piloting.”

“Thank you,” Braxis said and turned towards the sensors console.

“Any sign of the So'ja Destroyer?” Larson inquired.

“The So'ja Destroyer is no where in sensor range,” Braxis said. “Then again the Destroyer has a masking device to shield itself from our sensors.”

“Someone's working with the So'ja,” Larson said. “Someone told them that we were coming.”

“Perhaps they saw it as an obverse move,” Braxis said, turning back to Larson and raising his eyebrow. “After all the Captain did call it a suicide mission.”

Larson chuckled and nodded in agreement.

Independence has released the shuttle and has matched our course and speed,” Zimmer informed Kelsoe. Kelsoe nodded and sat down in his chair.

“How long till we reach Ka'al?” Kelsoe asked.

“Within less than an hour,” Zimmer said.

Suddenly the lights on the bridge started to flicker. Kelsoe tapped his comm badge.

“Joanna, what's going on?” Kelsoe demanded.

“We're losing warp power,” Joanna said. “I don't know what happened. Perhaps one of the disrupter beams hit one of the engineering decks. I'm sending a crew up now.”

“Damn!” Kelsoe said. “Mr. Zimmer, drop out of warp. Ensign Carson, inform the Independence of our current state. Craig, get down to main engineering and help Joanna.”

“On my way, Captain,” Craig said heading for the Jefferies tube hatch.

“Ensign Carson,” Kelsoe said. “Send out a coded transmission to Braxis. Team Alpha must begin. It shouldn't take Team Beta that long to shut the shield station down.”

A beep chimed on the communication console on the shuttle craft. Braxis pushed the appropriate commands to open it up. Larson lend in closer to hear. A shrilling sound of high pitched beeps echoed through the speakers.

“Argh!” Larson said, covering his eyes.

Braxis stopped the communication.

“This communication is in a coded Starfleet signal wave,” Braxis said typing on the console. “Opening up the appropriate command codes.”

The console screen flashed, “authorization accepted” in bold red letters.

“Commander Braxis,” said Kelsoe's voice. “This is Captain Kelsoe. Team Alpha is ordered to begin its mission. Team Beta will arrive shortly. Proceed with caution. Good luck. Kelsoe out.”

“Well?” Larson said.

“The Captain's orders are to be taken out,” Braxis said. “Moving us into transportation range for the planet's surface.”

Just as Braxis steered the shuttle around the moon, the second shuttle dropped out of warp. The communications beeped and Burt's voice came over on the speakers.

“Hello,” Burt said. “That you all could use a hand.”

“It is nice of you to join us, Commander,” Braxis said. “I suggest you proceed with your mission.”

“Already transported my team over to the space station,” Burt said. “Lining up behind the dark side of the moon to await completion.”

A blue stream of light felled the yellow tinted room for a moment, and then was gone. Tuff stood with a compression rifle in hand. Behind him was Ensign Kavoc who held a phaser in one hand and a tricorder in the other.

“Which way?” Tuff inquired.

Kavoc looked down at the tricorder.

“According to this readings, we should first proceed through the door down the hall,” Kavoc said.

Tuff turned around the looked at his team.

“Expect So'ja resistance,” Tuff said. “Set phasers for kill. We're at war.”

Tuff then nodded to Kavoc to lead the way. They walked slowly down the hall, the lights getting dimmer has the went deeper and deeper into the station. In front of them was a sealed down with a red light gleaming at them. Tuff looked at Kavoc.

“It is locked,” Kavoc said.

Tuff walked up to the door.

“Is this the only way?” Tuff inquired.

Kavoc nodded.

“Shh!” Tuff said, he pushed his way to the back of the team. “So'ja. They're coming down the hall.”

Ensign Williams and Lieutenant Carr positioned themselves in front of Tuff. They prepared the compression rifles. Crewman Manon raised her phaser. Kavoc turned and whispered to Tuff.

“Commander,” Kavoc whispered. “I believe I can unlock the door.”

“Well why aren't you doing it then?” Tuff responded.

Kavoc turned back and began punching the control console for the door, while looking at his tricorder. Soon they could hear the voices of the So'ja coming. Within a minute two So'ja came around the corner.

“Federation!” one shouted, before Ensign Williams shot him with the compression rifle. The other turned and began to run. Manon stepped up and fired her phaser. The red laser beam hit the So'ja right in the back and he fell down dead.

Running footsteps were heard and three more So'ja came around the corner. One ducked back and fired is disrupter, which hit Ensign Williams. Williams fell down and Lieutenant Hanson stepped up the fill the gap. Tuff set his compression rifle to vaporize. He aimed at the So'ja hiding behind the corner of the way and fired. The burst of red light, a terrible scream, and now more So'ja hiding behind the corner. The So'ja had them pinned against the wall. Tuff turned to Manon.

“Have Williams beamed back to the shuttle,” Tuff and and pushed his way back to Kavoc.

Manon tapped her commbadge.

“Away team to shuttle, one to beam back,” Manon said and watched as Williams' body was transported back to the shuttle. She then stood up and fired her phaser at an approaching So'ja. The So'ja fell backwards, onto another So'ja, who's disrupter went off and hit Manon's arm. She screamed and dropped to her knees.

“Hurry Kavoc,” Tuff said and then turned around to she Manon hit.

Tuff pushed his way forward and vaporized the So'ja that hit Manon.

“Sir!?” Manon said in pain.

“Don't worry, crewman,” Tuff said. He tapped his communicator. “Tuff to shuttle, one to beam back.”

Manon was transported out of the station.

“I have it, sir,” Kavoc said.

The red light switched to green and the door slide open.

“Come on!” Tuff shouted. “Everyone into the control room.”

Tuff took out a disrupter grenade and threw it. The disrupter grenade exploded and caused the hall to collapse. Tuff had enough time to watch the So'ja soldiers get trapped before he went through the door.

Inside the control So'ja technicians raised their hands as Tuff and Team Beta ran in.

“Which station operates the shield for the palace?” Tuff inquired.

Kavoc raised his tricorder.

“That one,” Kavoc said pointing.

Tuff raised his compression rifle and fired. The console exploded.

“What are you doing here?!” came a So'ja voice and was followed by a disrupter beam hitting Lieutenant Carr.

“The shield is down,” Braxis announced. “This should not take you that long. I am pin pointing the location of President Ba'l. The room in which he is in as anti-beaming force fields set up. I'll have to beam you in two room away.”

“It well have to do,” Larson said standing up.

“Energize,” Larson ordered.

Braxis pushed the transportation button and blue light filled the shuttle craft.

Commander Carey Larson and his team materialized inside a dark chamber that was total covered in some sort of silk like substance. Larson turned to Crewman Backers and nodded towards the opening. Backers approached the opening and peer out. He turned back and was about to saw it was clear when a blue disrupter beam struck out and hit him. Backers vaporized were he stood. Larson back up.

“Oh shit!” he said. “Watch yourselves! There's a So'ja hiding in the other room with a disrupter that vaporizes.

Lieutenant Foster took out his tricorder and scanned the next room.

“Uh, sir?” he said.

“What is it?” Larson snapped.

“The next room is complete filled with So'ja warriors,” Foster said.

“Alright,” Larson said. “Crewman Quinn, take a disrupter grenade and throw it into the room. Set timing for four seconds.”

“Aye, sir,” Quinn said a took out the disrupter grenade, set it for four seconds and looked back at Larson for the command.

“Now!” Larson hissed.

Quinn pushed the trigger and threw it into the next room. After an elapse of two seconds a blue burst came and screens from the other room came. Larson pointed at Ensign Wilson and Lt. Commander Louis, then gestured towards the next room. Wilson and Louis tucked their compression rifle in and ran in. Larson, Quinn and Foster followed. They were forced to engage in hand to hand combat with the So'jan warriors there. Luckily the disrupter grenade killed of half of them. Quinn was hit in the gut with a sharp knife and was promptly cut in half by the So'ja warrior. Who then moved on to Louis. Louis used the butt of his compression rifle and hit the So'ja in the head. However it had no effect.

While Louis fought the So'ja, Foster and Larson cleared the way of all the other So'jan. One So'ja was able to fire out a disrupter before he fell down dead. The disrupter hit Foster and he was vaporized. Larson turned and fired his compression rifle, which he set on vaporize, at the So'ja warrior attacking Louis. He hit the So'ja right in the back and the warrior was vaporized in a burst of red light. Louis dropped to his knees with a large gash across his belly. Larson tapped his commbadge.

“Larson to Braxis,” Larson said.

“Braxis here,” came Braxis' calm voice.

“One to beam up,” Larson said.

Larson watched as Louis was transported away. Larson stayed crouched down on his knees for a while to catch his breath. He wiped the So'ja blood from his forehead and got up. He stepped up to the control console in front of the final door. He was about to attempt to open it, when he heard a disrupter charge. Larson turned around and saw Braxis. He had picked up a disrupter from one of the dead So'ja hands.

“You may need help,” Braxis said. “I have treated Lt. Commander Louis. His injury was merely superficial. He'll be fine.”

“Can you help me with this locking console?” Larson said.

He stepped aside and Braxis moved forward. Braxis looked at the console and began to punch the padded button on it quickly.

“I believe I can unlock the door,” Braxis said.

In the distance they heard an alarm sound.

“Well, now they know we're here,” Larson said.

“Why do humans' have to state the obverse?” Braxis said.

“Who cares?!” Larson said. “Finished yet!?”

“Almost there,” Braxis said. “Give me a few more seconds.”

A So'ja warrior rushed into the room before Larson could fire. Larson raised his compression rifle and whacked the So'ja on the head with its butt. The So'ja fill and Larson turned the compression rifle around and fired.

“Done,” Braxis said.

The was a hiss of steam from the door's edges and it opened. Braxis and Larson slipped into the room, the door closing behind them. The next room was dark, with only one light, which beamed down on a torture chair. Sitting, gagged and tied to the chair was Ba'l. He had gashes along his scaly face. Blue blood was spread all over his face.

“President Ba'l?” Larson said looking at Braxis.

Braxis took out his tricorder and aimed it at the So'ja.

“I believe so,” Braxis said.

“Is he alive?” Larson asked.

“Yes,” Braxis said, “but he requires medical attention. We should get him back the shuttle immediately.”

Larson turned around to face the door, just as the So'ja on the other side began to pound on it. Larson quickly turned back to Braxis.

“Hold on,” Larson said. “We've got the shut down the transport exhibitor. What where is it?”

Braxis turned his tricorder away from the injured Ba'l. Ba'l slowly opened his eyes and let out a scream.

“Oh good!” Ba'l said. “The Federation has come to rescue me.”

“Shh!” Larson said. “Be quiet.”

“President Ba'l,” Braxis asked. “Do you know where the transport inhibiter controls are?”

Larson was helping Ba'l out of the chair. Ba'l pointed and bloody friend towards a yellow console to the right. Braxis stepped over to the console and scanned it with his tricorder.

“Give me a minute,” Braxis said. “I believe I can deactivate the transport inhibiter.”

“Well don't take all day,” Larson said looking at the door.

The So'ja on the other side had gotten a welder and were welding a hole in it. Larson took out a phaser and handed it to Ba'l. Ba'l took it reluctantly.

“It's set for kill,” Larson said.

“I can't kill another So'ja,” Ba'l said. “It's immoral.”

“I don't have time to hear what is right and wrong, Mr. President,” Larson said. “Those other So'ja aren't going to let you leave.”

The door fell down and Larson fired his compression rifle, which he had set on vaporize. The first So'ja to entered was vaporized in a blast of red light and a horrible scream.

“Braxis!?” Larson said as two more So'ja entered the room.

Larson shot one, who vaporized. The remaining one shot Larson in the leg with his disrupter. Ba'l stepped up and fired the phaser. It hit the So'ja warrior, who fell down unconscious. He looked down at Larson and noticed his expression.

“I can't kill,” Ba'l said.

Larson clutched his leg.

“Braxis!?” Larson said. “It's now, or never.”

“I've got it, Commander,” Braxis said tapping his comm badge. “Braxis to Lt. Commander Louis, three to beam up.”

Three So'ja dashed in the room.

“Freeze!” screamed one of the So'ja warriors.

Blue light illuminated the room as Braxis, Larson and Ba'l were transported.

“What!?” the So'ja screamed. “Fire!”

They fired their disrupters, but it was too late. Ba'l had been rescued. The So'ja warrior in charge lowered his disrupter and turned to his subordinates.

“Someone is going to pay dearly for this,” he said.

The two shuttles, flanked by the Pioneer and the Independence floated out of orbit of the moon of Ka'al. As the left the Kal'sa, the So'ja Destroyer, de-cloaked behind them. Onboard Maj Da'note looked towards his pilot.

“Follow them closely,” Da'note said, “out of sensor range.”

“Yes, Maj!” the pilot said.

Da'note turned to face the leader of the So'ja Coalition, Chancellor Ar'kon. Ar'kon was an older So'ja, with gray eyes. He ware a purple toga with gold braces. Ar'kon smiled his lizard teeth.

“The humans must not escape with Ba'l,” Ar'kon said.

“No, my ledge,” Da'note said, bowing at his knees. “They will not.”

Ar'kon nodded and smiled wider.

“Contact Admiral Ru'mal,” Ar'kon said. “Tell him to bring the Da'gi back to Ka'al. I want him to deal with those who let the Federation take Ba'l.”

“I do as you command, Chancellor,” Da'note said bowing and left the bridge to go to the communication station.

After traveling for some distance, Captain Kelsoe deemed it safe to finally bring the shuttles back on board. Kelsoe stood on the bridge, facing Lt. Craig.

“Prepare to lower shield and let the shuttles in,” Kelsoe said.

“Aye, Captain,” Craig said. “Lowering shields.”

“Captain!” Soto cried. “So'ja Destroyer de-cloaking off the port bow.”

“On screen!” Kelsoe yelled as he turned to face the view screen.

Kelsoe saw the massive Destroyer. It dwarfed even the biggest Federation ship.

“Are the shuttles back in?” Kelsoe said.

“Not yet,” Craig said. “We've got to buy them sometime, Captain!”

“I've got an idea,” Kelsoe said. “Ensign Carson, hail them.”

“Yes, sir,” Tracy said, and opened a channel. “They're responding.”

The screen blinked and Kelsoe saw Maj Da'note. Da'note nodded slowly.

“Captain,” Da'note said. “What a pleasant surprise. May I inquire why you have President Ba'l aboard?”

“He's not aboard,” Kelsoe said. “At least not yet.”

“He'll be aboard soon enough,” Da'note said. “Ba'l's death is now required.”

“What?” Kelsoe said, “I thought Chancellor Ar'kon wanted to keep Ba'l alive.”

“I did, Captain,” Ar'kon said stepping into the frame of the view screen. “Unfortunately, the Federation's actions have forced me to rethink his death. I now find that is has to be. He can give you to much information. Plus...” Ar'kon paused and sarcastically made it look like he was crying. “He... he has killed a fellow So'ja.”

“No doubt in self defense,” Kelsoe said.

“That's not an excuse!” Ar'kon hissed. “So'ja don't kill So'ja.”

“Oh, So'ja don't kill So'ja, eh?” Kelsoe said.

“Correct,” Ar'kon said. “It's simply not done.”

“If it's not done, Chancellor,” Kelsoe said slowly, to make sure that Ar'kon would hang on every single word. “How did you come to power? Did you simply say, look I have more guns than you?” Kelsoe voice continually got louder. “Did you point out you had the Destroyer? Did you just threaten each other until someone had a better response? So'ja do kill So'ja, Chancellor, and that's a fact!”

“I've heard enough from dur'jak'n!” Ar'kon said and the transmission was abruptly canceled.

Kelsoe turned back the Craig.

“Did we get them?” Kelsoe demanded.

“Yes, Captain,” Craig said. “They are safely inside the shuttle bay.

“Raise shields,” Kelsoe ordered.

“Aye, Captain,” Ensign Soto said. “Raising shields. Shields are on at maximum power.”

Kelsoe turned to Zimmer.

“Mr. Zimmer, set course for Deep Space Five,” Kelsoe said. “Maximum warp.”

“Yes, Captain,” Zimmer said, turning back to the helm control station and punching in the commands. However before the Pioneer could safely move away from the So'ja Destroyer it opened fired.

The Pioneer rocked under the disrupter blast.

“Report!” Kelsoe said.

“Direct hit to the warp cells,” Ensign Soto said.

“Sir, we can't go to warp without the warp cells being operational,” Zimmer said.

“Yeah,” Kelsoe nodded, “we're sitting ducks.”

Kelsoe tapped his commbadge.

“Kelsoe to engineering,” Kelsoe said.

“Joanna here,” Joanna said.

“Joanna, how long do you think it will take you to fix the warp cells?” Kelsoe inquired.

“I don't know, sir,” Joanna said. “I'm tell waiting for the full report from Kavoc and Gregg.”

“Acknowledge,” Kelsoe said. “Inform me when you know what has happened. Kelsoe out.”

Kelsoe turned around to Craig.

“Can you try and block any other disrupter blasts?” Kelsoe inquired.

“Uh, I don't think we have to worry about any disrupter blasts,” Craig said.

“Why, Lieutenant?” Kelsoe inquired.

“The So'ja ship has sent out two shuttle pods and are preparing to board us,” Craig said. “Sir, I think they plan on boarding us.”

“Can you destroy them, Mr. Craig?” Kelsoe inquired.

“I can't get a lock,” Craig said. “Their Destroyer has sent out some strange wave distortion that is messing with our sensors.”

“Captain,” Ensign Soto said. “The shuttle teams are trapped in the shuttle bay.”

Kelsoe turned to Soto.

“Get working on it!” Kelsoe ordered.

Dr. Chase Braga stood in the middle of cargo bay one, attending to the Revolution's injured crewmen. The medical team was with him. Braga was walking past injured crewmen, scanning them with his medical tricorder, and telling his assistants what to do. Braga past one man and stopped.

“Doctor?” the medical assistant inquired. “What should we do for him?”

“Nothing,” Braga said motionless. “He's dead.”

Braga paused for a moment and closed his eyes.

“Beam his body to the ship's morgue,” Braga said a moved on.

Braga looked at his next patient. He was a tall human male of African-American decent. Braga scanned him.

“There appears to be nothing wrong with you,” Braga said. “Why are you still here?”

“I can't leave them,” said the man.

“Who?” Braga inquired.

“The people you're helping,” the man said.

“Oh,” Braga nodded, “Why?”

“I'm the first officer of the Revolution,” he said.

“Oh,” Braga said, “I'm sorry, Commander.”

“I know how had this is for you,” said the commander. “Loosing your father. He was a great man.”

Braga closed his eyes for a moment and then nodded.

“Thank you,” Braga said. “He was.”

“You may carry on, doctor,” the commander said. “If I can assist, please let me know.”

“I sure would, Commander...?”

“Benison,” the commander said.

“Right,” Braga said. “Follow me.”

Braga and Benison presided down the line of injured crewmen.

“Commander!” one crewman yelped out.

Benison dropped to his knees.

“What is it crewman?” Benison asked.

“Did we do it?” the crewman asked. “Did we stop the So'ja?”

Benison hesitated and then said, “Yes, crewman, we did. Now get some rest, that's an order.”

“Aye, sir,” the crewman said, “Thank you, sir.”

The crewman closed his eyes and the medical tricorder sounded an elongated beep. Benison looked up. Braga's long face told him. The crewman was dead. Braga signaled to an assistant to beam the body to the ship's morgue. Benison got up and lowered his head.

“What's the matter?” Braga inquired.

“I lied to him, doctor,” Benison said. “We haven't stopped the So'ja.”

“Listen to me,” Braga said, putting his hand on Benison's shoulder. “You did the right thing.”

Suddenly the computer's alarm went off.

“Intruder alert,” the computer said.

Braga tapped his commbadge.

“Captain, what's going on?” Braga asked.

“The So'ja have boarded the ship,” Kelsoe said. “Security teams are on their way.”

“Okay, Captain,” Braga said.

After a couple of minutes the Jefferies tube's hatch in the corner of the room hissed opened and Burt crawled into the room. He stood up and walked over to Braga.

“Dr. Braga,” Burt said. “They've over ran us. We need you at the front.”

“Okay,” Braga said and started to follow Burt to the Jefferies tube hatch.

Benison grabbed Braga's arm.

“What about my people?” Benison inquired.

“Don't worry,” Burt said. “We've got holographic projectors in this cargo bay.”

“We do?” Braga inquired.

“You still need to be fully briefed,” Burt said. “Computer.”

The computer beeped in reply.

“Activate the EMH program,” Burt said.

The EMH appeared.

“Please state the nature of the medical emergency,” the EMH said.

“We've got wounded, doctor,” Benison said and instructed the EMH towards the injured crewmen.

Braga followed Burt into the Jefferies tubes.

Crewman Jeri Manon was crouched behind a broken panel that had fallen off the hallway wall when the So'ja had fired their disrupter beams at her and missed. Beside her was Ensign Kavoc and Commander Tuff. Tuff leaned around the panel and fired his phaser. Tuff leaned back and nodded at Kavoc.

Kavoc leaned over and fired. He slumped back down.

“I hit one, Commander,” Kavoc said.

“Good,” Tuff nodded and jumped up and fired.

His phaser's laser shot out and hit the hand of a So'ja warrior, who as a result dropped his disrupter. Tuff bounced back behind the panel.

“Sir,” Manon said. “This panel can not take much more disrupter blasts before it brakes apart.”

“If Braxis and Commander Larson and make their way through the Jefferies tubes to the other side of the So'ja, then we won't have to hid behind this panel much longer,” Tuff said.

“Sir,” Manon said, “Shouldn't we be using the compression rifles.”

“It's too risky,” Tuff said. “We may hit a vital ship system.”

“Well, I think it is risky,” Manon said and picked up a compression rifle and set it to vaporize.

Tuff looked at Kavoc for help.

“I am forced to agree Crewman Manon,” Kavoc said. “It is the only logical way to get us out of this. Our mission is to rescue President Ba'l. However now I see you're logical in hitting a vital ship syst...”

“You Vulcans talk to much,” Manon said and popped up from behind the panel and fire five shots, which were followed by five high pitch screams. She stood up and straight and smiled.

“All clear, Commander,” Manon said.

Tuff and Kavoc stood up.

“She has done it, Commander,” Kavoc said.

“I see that Kavoc,” Tuff said.

Braxis and Larson came behind the corner with their phasers raised. They were followed by Burt and Braga.

“Wo!” Tuff said. “It's only us.”

“Nice work, Commander,” Braxis said to Tuff lowering his phaser.

“Actually,” Tuff said hesitantly. “It was crewman Manon who did it.”

“Good work, crewman,” Braxis said. “It was a logical course of action.”

“What?” Burt said from behind Braxis. “Logical! She could have been killed. I mean, five So'ja! Come on!”

“To quote a wise Vulcan, 'The needs of the many out weigh the needs of the few or one',” Braxis said.

Braga nodded.

“I'd better get back to cargo bay one,” Braga said.

“Now that the So'ja are gone, you can go back the regular way, doctor,” Burt said.

Braga nodded and took off. Burt turned back and looked at crewman Manon.

“That Captain will hear about your bravery, crewman,” Burt said. “Now let's get the other So'ja.”

“Captain!” Craig said, “The So'ja ship is breaking away.”

“What? They're leaving their own people behind!?” Kelsoe said. “On screen!”

The screen showed the mighty So'ja Destroyer turning around.

“Mr. Zimmer, can you plot their course?” Kelsoe asked Zimmer.

“Negative Captain,” Zimmer said. “Sensors are still off-line.”

They watched as the So'ja Destroyer went into warp. The communications station beeped. Tracy responded to the beep and turned towards Kelsoe.

“Captain,” Tracy said. “They've captured the remaining So'ja and are taking them to the bridge. And engineering reports that the Warp Drive is back on line.”

“Good,” Kelsoe said and sat down in his chair. “Mr. Zimmer, set course for Deep Space Five.”

“Course set, Captain,” Zimmer said.

Kelsoe raised his hand, extended one finger and gestured forward.

“Engage,” Kelsoe said.

The Pioneer, along with the Independence hovered along side Deep Space Five. Kelsoe was siting in his ready room recording his log.

Captain's log - supplemental: The crew really pulled together on this one. We were able to safely transport President Ba'l the rest of the way to DS5 without any interference from the So'ja Coalition. One thing I fear, however, is that we have just made a powerful enemy. The So'ja may seem a little behind by Federation standards, but I believe we will see a lot more of them. Before I consider this mission complete, one more thing must be done.”

Now Kelsoe stood in the mess hall, with a few other of the crew members gathered there. Kelsoe stood with his hands behind his back and Burt and Braxis on either side of him.

“For her bravery and courage in a time of need, and her continually devotion to the preservation of the Federation, I, as Captain of the Federation starship Pioneer, here do promote crewman Jeri Manon to ensign,” Kelsoe said. “Crewman.”

Jeri Manon stepped up and Kelsoe turned to Burt. Burt handed him the officer pip. Kelsoe turned with the pip in his hand and pined it to Manon's uniform.

“Congratulations, Ensign,” Kelsoe said.

He stepped back and everyone in the mess hall applauded and cheered for Manon.