EPISODE 4.35 - “SECURITY THREAT”
written by Travis Cannon
Captain’s Log - Stardate 58186.63:
The Pioneer has been ordered to report to Deep Space Five. I must say that is has been a long time since this crew has been given the opportunity to really have good shore leave, especially among common sights such as DS5. I have been told by Admiral Dutton that because of the extensive knowledge that my crew, especially my security staff, has of the this part of space the Pioneer will play as the security team to monitor and protect the representatives from the worlds of the Oralian Sector. All species, from the Tealuians to the Kobal will be in attendance. I have been told that even the So’ja have been invited, though their government respectfully declined. After what happened with Ensign Zimmer and the Venka Nebula, I don’t blame them for refusing to attend. However, on a personal note, I am looking forward to seeing Admiral Anton again.
The table was round, just as Admiral Anton had requested. Harold Anton slide his hands across the polished surface of the table and sat down in the chair that would be his at the conference. Behind his chair was the flag of the United Federation of Planets. Anton shifted around in the chair, looking around the table, each seat was label for their respected representative. Anton looked across the table where there was a place label for the So’ja Ambassador. Though Anton, himself, did not expect the So’ja to appear, including the fact that they declined the invitation, Anton felt that it might be a good idea to still have a seat for them. It was a good gesture that Anton hoped the other representatives would notice.
The door opened with a hissing sound and Captain Benjamin Kelsoe walked into the room.
“Captain Kelsoe,” Anton said standing him, greeting Kelsoe.
“Admiral,” Kelsoe said with a nod.
“Well, what do you think, Ben?” Anton inquired.
Kelsoe looked around the room and nodded in approval. Kelsoe noticed the seat for the So’ja and looked up at Anton.
“A gesture of good faith, Captain,” Anton said. “The So’ja may not want to talk, but I want the rest of the sector to know that the Federation cares about peace.”
“That’s a good idea,” Kelsoe said. He paused and stepped forward. “But can we really expect peace from the So’ja Coalition? I think not. The So’ja are a dictator ship that has been kept calm over the years, but this resent event involving the Venka Nebula is not a good sign.”
“Yes,” Anton said, nodding. “I have been meaning to speak with you on that matter.”
“I may sound like a broken record, but I believe that Ensign Zimmer is a fine young officer,” Anton said. “Despite what happened in the Venka Nebula, I believe you’ll find him to still be as reliable as ever.”
“The So’ja can’t be trusted, yes,” Kelsoe said. “But I won’t let my hopes fade away. Dr. Kesar and the Resistance bring hope to the equation.”
“Yes, they do,” Anton said. “I only wish the Rigusians could attend this conference, but we must not allow the So’ja Coalition to know that the Rigusians and Starfleet have been in contact.”
“The So’ja will send operatives to watch the conference and see what occurs,” Kelsoe said. “My Chief of Security has been briefing the station’s security staff on all we have learned about the Oralian Sector.” Kelsoe paused and thought for a while. “Will Grace Mul La be in attendance?”
“I’m afraid not,” Anton said. “The Tulop won’t be able to stand the light, but I’ve agreed to send him the transcript of the conference, per his request.”
Kelsoe nodded and took a deep breath.
“I’m sure Admiral Dutton would like to see me, so I’d better be going,” Kelsoe said.
Anton nodded. “Fine. If its no trouble I’d like to meet with the Pioneer’s security staff. I’d like to hear their first hand observations in person.”
Kelsoe nodded. “I’ll arrange it.”
The Admiral and Captain exchanged nods once more before Kelsoe left. Anton turned back to the table and leaned against his chair. This conference was going to be a big event for the Oralian Sector and he wanted to make sure that it went off with out a hitch.
Commander Robert Tuff stood in the office of the station’s chief of security, Lieutenant Albert Buerk. He paced the room, waiting for Buerk to arrive. One wall was a window, looking down at the main nexus of the station. Everyone had to pass through this section to go to another. Tuff stood by the window and looked down. He saw Ensign Rick Soto and Crewman Stackhouse enter from the far right. Not far behind them was Ensign Tom Dunn. Tuff watched as they walked through the crowd and left the central nexus through the right exit.
“Commander Tuff, I presume?” came a voice from behind him.
Tuff turned around and saw Lieutenant Albert Buerk, a thin man with short hair. Buerk extended his hand and Tuff shook it.
“You’re younger than I expected,” Tuff said.
“And you’re tall than I expected, Commander,” Buerk said.
Buerk stepped around his desk, looking down and shifting through the data pads on his desk. He looked up.
“How has the Pioneer been for you, Commander?” Buerk asked.
“It has been a rewarding experience,” Tuff said.
Buerk nodded. “I may say that I found you decision odd.”
Tuff shifted himself to fully face Buerk.
“How so, Lieutenant?”
“Well,” Buerk said, hesitating. “You were the First Officer of the Clark, where you not?”
“Then why expect the position as Security Chief aboard the Pioneer?” Buerk questioned. “In essence you were being de-promoted with that assignment.”
Tuff looked at Buerk.
“Captain Kelsoe needed a good crew,” Tuff said. “I felt that it was my duty to assist.”
“Ah,” Buerk said, nodding. “I see.” He paused, looking out the window. “I on the other hand cannot wait to get off of this station.”
Tuff looked out the window at the crowd, and then back a Buerk.
“Surely you are kept busy?” Tuff said.
“Oh, yes,” Buerk said, smiling. “I am awfully busy.”
Buerk sat down and gestured to Tuff to do the same. Tuff looked down at the small chair in front of the chair and sat down. Buerk looked through his data pads and paused at one. He looked up at Tuff.
“Do you know a man by the name of Tyson Calok?” Buerk inquired.
Tuff lowered his head as he thought back. Yes, Calok. The name rang a bell. He thought harder and remembered. Calok had somehow had the ability to take over Captain Kelsoe’s body and had attempted to use the Pioneer to have his revenge. He was stop and taken to a Federation Prison.
“Yes,” Tuff said firmly. “I remember him well.”
“Good,” Buerk said. “Because I have some distressing news... Tyson Calok was released from prison.”
“What!” Tuff said in surprised. “That cannot be?!”
“Well it is,” Buerk said. “Apparently he has some friends in high places and he was release. The prison official said that he had been rehabilitated, but I don’t believe one word of that story. No one, especially Calok, and become rehabilitated after what he did.”
“Do you know where he is now?” Tuff inquired.
“No,” Buerk said. “As I said, he has friends in high places.”
“That is very distressing news,” Tuff said, lowering his head deep in thought.
Buerk sat there for a while, allowing Tuff to think. Finally Tuff looked up.
“This seriously jeopardizes the conference,” Tuff said.
Buerk nodded in agreement.
“As I have told Admiral Dutton,” Buerk said. “However the Admiral feels that the conference must take place if there is to ever be peace in this sector.”
“Admiral Dutton is right about that,” Tuff said.
“Then our mission is clear,” Buerk said. “Prepare Deep Space Five for the conference and...”
“Protect the representatives,” Tuff said. “Their safety is crucial to the success of the conference.”
Buerk nodded and picked up a data pad, handing it to Tuff.
“This contains the entire list of representative, their arrival time, the quarters, and departure time are also listed. You may find this useful in your preparation,” Buerk said. “And of course, feel free to ask any of me or my staff for assistance if required.”
Tuff nodded. “Yes, yes,” Tuff said. “But I think it might be easy, faster, and better if we worked together, despite the fact that Admiral Anton has named me the head of security for the conference.”
Buerk smiled at this.
“I have to admit that I was a little angry that you were selected over me,” Buerk said, beaming. “After all, I am the chief of security for this station. I thank you.”
Captain Benjamin Kelsoe stood in his ready room looking out the window at Deep Space Five. The Pioneer was dock on the lower section, but he could still see plenty of the station. Kelsoe gripped his hands together behind his back and sighed. It had been a long time since he had been to this station, and he was not happy about his return. The conference was going to be trouble, he could feel it. Something just did not seem right. What made things worse was that he could not explain it.
The door chime chirped, interrupting Kelsoe from his thoughts. He turned to face the door and said, “Come in.” The doors opened and Commander Tuff stepped into the room. Tuff held a data pad in his hand.
“Captain,” Tuff greeted his commanding officer with a nod.
Kelsoe nodded in reply and stepped over to his desk.
“What have you got, Commander?” Kelsoe inquired as he reached his desk and turned around to face Tuff.
“I’ve spoken with the station’s security chief,” Tuff said. “And we’ve begun the preparation for the representatives.”
“Good,” Kelsoe said, nodding.
Tuff handed Kelsoe the data pad and Kelsoe took it.
“The representatives will have quarters in section seven of the station,” Tuff said. “ Lieutenant Buerk has already assigned some of his people to that section.”
Kelsoe nodded as he listened to Tuff.
“The conference will take place three days from now, so we have sometime to catch up,” Tuff said. “Buerk’s team is way ahead of us. I don’t know why Admiral Anton insisted on having us, but we are here. It would have been nicer if we were told about this assignment earlier, but oh well, what can you do?”
“Anton told me that he feels safer having us here,” Kelsoe said. “He didn’t say why, but I could guess.”
“He trusts us,” Tuff said.
“Yes,” Kelsoe said. “He has been our commanding officer and knows what we can do. I trust him, as well. What about this Lieutenant Buerk?”
“He can be trusted,” Tuff said. “He takes his job very seriously and I believe that he is more than capable of handling the situation.”
“You should tell him that,” Kelsoe said, and then smiled a little. “Trust me, it will make him feel better.”
Tuff nodded. “Noted.”
“How is your team doing?” Kelsoe inquired.
Tuff shifted as he thought. “Alpha team is already on the station. Ensign Manon has her team in place. I have yet to speak with Beta team.”
“I thought that Alpha team could handle everything for now,” Tuff said. “After all, most, if not all, of the station security is on duty. Lieutenant Buerk is very efficient.”
“Well, it sounds like you have a lot of work to do, Commander,” Kelsoe said.
“I can’t argue there, Captain,” Tuff said chuckling.
Kelsoe looked down at the data pad and his eyes narrowed.
“I see that the Tealuians are coming,” he said.
Tuff nodded. “I’m not happy about it.”
“Have you spoken with Tracy?”
“Yes,” Tuff said. “She said she’d be fine. I told her where the Ambassador and his party was staying and she seemed comfortable with that knowledge. Lieutenant Craig is determined not to leave her sight.”
Kelsoe laughed at this, and Tuff joined in.
“Those two,” Kelsoe said, with a twinkle in his eye. “How long has it been?”
“Almost three years, sir,” Tuff said.
Kelsoe nodded slightly. “It’s been a while.”
They stood there is silence thinking back over the three years. Tuff finally broke the silence.
“Is the Pioneer going to need any security personnel onboard?” Tuff inquired.
Kelsoe shrugged. “I don’t know. At least I don’t think so. I think two should be fine.” He paused for a beat. “We are in friendly space after all.”
Tuff nodded. “I think Ensign Soto and Crewman Doogan will fit the bill, sir.”
Kelsoe nodded. “They’ll do fine.”
“Now, back to the Tealuians,” Kelsoe said, looking back down at the data pad in his hand. “Who’ll exactly is representing them?”
“I believe Ambassador Shitick, sir,” Tuff said. “According to the reports sent by the Tealuian government, he’s very opened minded about peace between the Federation and his people.”
“What about Xojo?” Kelsoe inquired.
“No, nothing,” Tuff said. “According to the Tealuian First Ministry, Xojo is under house arrest.”
“That doesn’t sound proper for what he’s done,” Kelsoe said.
Tuff nodded. “I know what you mean. But from what I’ve been able to gather about him, Xojo has friends in high places. According to Commander Fudwick of the Tealuian Security Ministry, Xojo is related to the First Minister.”
Kelsoe shook his head.
“I don’t trust the Tealuians,” Kelsoe said.
“Neither do I, sir,” Tuff said, nodding. “But they’re not as bad as the So’ja.”
Kelsoe nodded in agreement.
“You have me there.”
After his meeting with Captain Kelsoe, Tuff had gone down to the security control center and handed out the rest of the duties to the remaining security personnel on the ship. He spoke with Ensign Rick Soto and Crewman Doogan about the security of the ship. Soto believed that two was not enough, but Tuff repeat what Captain Kelsoe had said and Soto reluctantly agreed. After his staff meeting, Tuff went back to the station and helped with the preparation.
Over the next two days the representatives arrived. Tuff and his team, along with Lieutenant Buerk’s team, oversaw the protection of the representatives. Tuff had to stay with Admiral Anton for the first part of the day, when Anton would meet the arrivals and official accept their ambassadorial credentials. Tuff had to shake hands with all the ambassadors as they arrive and then he would escort them to their quarters, while Anton prepared for the next ambassador. Tuff was amazed at how precise Anton was in his pronunciation of the traditional greetings in the alien languages. Most of the ambassadors were impressed with this and Tuff could not help but smile. Tuff tried saying hello in Kobalian to Vicka, the Kobalian Minister of State. He messed up on the pronunciation, but she was not offended. She wrapped her arm around Tuff and he lead her to her quarters. Vicka was a beautiful woman, and Tuff had trouble keeping his attention on his duties. But once he thought of his wife and kids, his attraction to Vicka ceased.
Another representative, who was pleased to see Tuff was Rizex, the Nawlo Ambassador. Rizex thanked him again for the crews work on the Nawlo peoples behalf. Tuff gracefully gave all the credit to Lt. Commander Joanna Withrome. Rizex inquired if he could speak with her, so that he could give her his government’s sincere thanks. “I’ll see what I can do,” Tuff had said. Gunthrod, the Callian Ambassador, was cold and silent. He was not in a mood for ceremony and was only attending the conference because it was his duty to his people.
Tiric Fale, the Dinokian Ambassador, arrived with a familiar face. Tuff paused for a moment as he shook the hand of the familiar man. It took him a while, but Tuff soon recognized the chiseled face of Chief Chino Jale.
“Chino?” Tuff inquired. “Is that you?”
The face smiled.
“It is,” Jale said. “It’s been a while, Commander Tuff.”
“It has,” Tuff said, looking up at the Dinokians gray feathered head. “You’ve turned gray.”
“That I have,” Jale said, and his expression turned serious. “I heard about Calok’s release.”
“Its a tragedy that that man is able to walk amongst us again,” Jale said. “If he had stayed on Dinok he would have been executed.”
“That may be,” Tuff said. “But the Federation does not sanction such punishment.”
“Pity,” Jale said. “I would have enjoyed seeing that man die.”
Tuff shrugged this off. “Are you with Ambassador Tiric’s party?”
Jale nodded. “Yes,” he said. “I’ve been placed in charge of his protection.”
“Then we’ll be working together, then,” Tuff said.
“I suppose so,” Jale said.
Tuff nodded and turned his attention to the Ambassador, who had just finished his conversation with Admiral Anton.
“If you’ll follow me, Ambassador,” Tuff said. “I’ll show you to your quarters.”
Tuff laid on his couch with his head resting against one of the arms. That first day had been tremendously tiring. He was amazed at the amount the things that he had done in one day. And there were still more representatives arriving. He closed his eyes and took a deep breath. There was a chirping sound from his commbadge. Tuff sat up and leaned over towards the coffee table in front of the couch. He picked up his commbadge and pressed it.
“Commander,” Tuff recognized Buerk’s voice. “I was wondering if you could come over to my office. I have something I need to show you.”
Tuff nodded and spoke. “I’ll be there in a minute.”
Tuff walked into the station security officer’s office and stood in front of the desk. He looked down at the clutter of data pads on the desk and then up at the man sitting behind the desk.
“Lieutenant?” Tuff inquired.
Buerk looked up and smiled. “Yes, Commander, I’m glade you made it.” He gestured towards the metal chair in front of his desk. “Have a seat.”
Tuff nodded, and sat down. He rubbed his eyes and starred at Buerk, who was going through the data pads.
“I’ve just spoken with Chief Jale of the Dinokian delegation,” Buerk said. “And he’s told me about Tyson Calok. When were you going to inform me about this dangerous man?”
“I was busy today, Lieutenant,” Tuff said, half yawning. “I would have told you first thing tomorrow.”
Buerk nodded. “I believe you would have, but such important information as that should have been brought to my attention earlier. After all we are responsible for the safety of over a fifty alien representatives, as well as the Starfleet Commander and his staff.”
“Look, Lieutenant Buerk,” Tuff said standing. “I’m tired right now, and well, I believe that you can handle the situation very well. You do not need me here to oversee any station security changes you want to make based on the new information about Calok.”
“Commander?” Buerk said half-standing.
“Sit,” Tuff said, gesturing with his hand. “Do what you’ve been trained to do and everything will turn out fine. Right now, I need some sleep.” Tuff paused for a beat. “I’ll see you at o-six hundred hours.”
Buerk nodded and watched Tuff leave. He sat back and looked out the window wall at the nexus of the station before turning his attention back to his duties.
Admiral Harold Anton entered the room, with Captain Kelsoe on his right and Admiral John Dutton on his left side. The representatives seated around the round table stood as they entered. Anton nodded towards the representatives, and walked along the side of the table until he reached his spot, in front of the blue banner of the United Federation of Planets. Anton took his seat, while Kelsoe and Dutton took seats next to him. Kelsoe shifted in his seat and looked down at the data pad in front of him. It listed the first day’s agenda.
Anton cleared his throat and stood. He looked around the table and smiled.
“Thank you all for coming,” Anton said. “I would like to welcome you on behalf of the United Federation of Planets to Deep Space Five and the first ever Oralian Sector Peace Conference.” The delegates around the table clapped. Anton nodded and raised his hand to silence them. “I am very happy to see that some many planets are represented here. Our main goal is peace, and it will always be peace. We will discuss a variety of issues, from mining rights to trade. And if we are successful, the Federation hopes that we might be able to form a union among our respective people to create a bond of friendship between all.” Again the delegates and representatives clapped. “Thank you. Thank you.” Anton paused while he waited for the applause to silence. “Now, I’ll like to introduce the man responsible for this conference, Talnoc Lore.”
A side door slide open and a tall gray haired man stepped into the room. Kelsoe recognized him immediately from the file he had seen on the man. Talnoc Lore was a Cresentian, a species in the Oralian Sector who had been very silent for the last couple of years. When Kelsoe first heard that a Cresentian had been responsible for setting up the conference he was a bit surprised. Cresia One was located on the border of what the Federation now called “the Nothingness”. The Cresentians have been involved in trade in the Oralian Sector for quite a while, but this was the first time that the Cresentians had ever taken such a major roll in the Oralian political arena. Most Cresentians were slender with pale skin, though it was darker around the eyes. There noses were flat and long, and there mouths were small with thin pink lips. Talnoc was no exception. His gray hair gave him a distinguish look and apparently many of the delegates present had met or spoken with him before. They all appeared to have a very high respect for him.
Talnoc Lore walked towards one of the corner were there was a small stage with a podium on it. This stage had been designed so that everyone could see the speaker. Along the wall to the right of the podium was a visual screen. It was currently blank, but with a single press on a button on the podium one could so any image that had stored in the conference room’s computer. Talnoc marched up the four steps to the stage and then stepped up behind the podium. He looked down at the assembly of delegates with control eyes and nodded.
“Good morning,” he said in a very powerful voice. “I believe you all know me.” He paused, and then continue taking the silence as a yes. “I thank you all for coming to this historic event in our sector’s history. What we do here will very likely effect the future of our planets and homes. I thank the Federation for providing this facility out of which we will conduct this conference.” Talnoc pressed a button on the podium and the visual screen lit up to show a map of the Oralian Sector. “This is what we will be talking about. Our homes, our lives. As Admiral Anton has already told you, we are here to find a way to keep peace. First thing on the agenda after this introduction you will be broken into small groups, each group being comprised of neighboring planets - the mission of which will be to discuss and come up with issues that are relevant and important to each planet and system. Now I will begin by talking about the main issues at hand...”
The conference had been adjourned for the day and Kelsoe was hungry. He walked through the main nexus of the nation, heading for the lounge, but was stopped by a security officer who told him that Commander Tuff wished to speak with. Kelsoe nodded and gestured for the young security officer to led the way. Kelsoe soon found himself in Lieutenant Buerk’s office. The office had been transformed and now had took desks. A new, but smaller, desk had been moved in an pushed up against the opposite wall. A visual screen on a mounted surface had been brought in and placed in front of the window wall. The screen currently showed a bird’s eye view of the station with numerous yellow, green, blue, and red dots moving all over the place. Tuff and Buerk were standing in front of the visual screen, intently watching it.
“Commander?” Kelsoe said after he stood there for a while.
Tuff turned around and smiled. “Captain, thanks for coming.”
Kelsoe looked around the place.
“I see you’ve settle in,” he said.
Tuff laughed lightly. “A little, sir, but its nothing like the Pioneer.”
Kelsoe nodded. “So what is the situation, Commander?”
Tuff halfway back to the visual screen. “The blue dots represent Federation personal, like yourself. The yellow represents our security team. The green dots represent the representatives and their delegates. And...”
“The red are the unknown?” Kelsoe interjected.
“Yes,” Tuff said smiling. “We’ve got at least two men in every hallway, six in the nexus.”
“Both our teams are working well together,” Lieutenant Buerk chimed in. “Along with the units that Commander Tuff has told you about, we have two officers assigned to each Ambassador.”
“Two for two shifts,” Tuff said. “One take o-zero to twelve hundred, and second takes twelve hundred to twenty four hundred.”
“Each has a twelve hour shift, huh?” Kelsoe said.
“Precisely,” Buerk said.
“Isn’t that a little too much to ask of our people?” Kelsoe inquired.
“I admit that it could get tedious, but it is necessary,” Tuff said.
“Beside, we just don’t have the man power we really need,” Buerk added.
Kelsoe nodded. “It will have to do then.”
They stood there in silence for a while and then Tuff spoke up.
“So how was the first day?”
“Long,” Kelsoe said. “Talnoc Lore is a brilliant man, he spoke for the majority of the time, really just an introduction to the conference. Tomorrow the delegates will be split into groups for half the day to come up with issues to discuss, then in the afternoon the discussions and debates begin. And those will continue into the third and fourth day. And on the fifth day, Talnoc will speak again, probably for the whole day. The Federation hopes that the Oralian Peace Union charter proposed by Talnoc today will be sign at the end of the conference. We can only hope nothing bad happens.”
“Don’t worry, sir,” Tuff said. “We’ve got our eyes all over the station. I’ll keep a lid on anything that could be dangerous.”
Kelsoe nodded. “I don’t doubt that.” He paused. “Well, if you excuse me, I’d like to get something to eat.”
“Right, sir,” Tuff said.
Kelsoe turned to leave.
“See you in the morning, sir,” Tuff said.
Kelsoe nodded and left.
Commander Tuff walked into the security office and immediately walked up to the view screen placed in front of the window. He stared at all the red dots. He shook his head. He turn and saw Lieutenant Buerk slouched in the chair behind his desk. Tuff turned and walked over to the side wall, where there was a replicator. He cleared his throat and heard Buerk stir behind him, saying, “I’m up! I’m up!”
“Java blend - double strong, double sweet. Hot.” Tuff said and the computer hummed. A steaming cup of java coffee appeared and Tuff picked it up by its handle and sipped it. “Ah, yes. That’s good.”
He turned around and looked at Buerk, who was blurry eyed. Buerk combed his hair back with his hands. Tuff stared at him and sipped his coffee.
“In late?” he asked.
Buerk nodded. “I often spend nights at the office.”
Tuff grabbed his metal chair, which had wheels, and steered it over to the center of the small office. Once he had it in the position he wanted he sat down. He sipped his coffee again and looked up at the view screen.
“We’re still having problems with the reds,” Tuff said.
Buerk looked up, his hands folded across the table top. He yawned as he nodded.
“Yes,” he yawned.
Tuff looked at Buerk. “You look... tied.”
“It’s been a long couple of days,” Buerk said.
“And there’s still two more days of the conference after today,” Tuff said and sipped his coffee.
Buerk squinted at the screen. “I’ve been monitoring the calls between surrounding ships and the station...”
“I don’t know,” Buerk said. “But I would have to saw that something’s no quite right. Well... I don’t know. Everything seems fine, but something just does not... I don’t know.” Buerk yawned again.
“What you need is a nice shower and breakfast,” Tuff said.
“You’ll get no arguments from me there,” Buerk said, smiling. “But I can’t leave, not now. I can’t place all the burden on your shoulders.”
The door chime chirped.
“Come in,” Tuff said, swirling around on the chair and standing up.
The door hissed opened and Chief Chino Jale stepped into the room. Tuff noticed that his gray feathers had been trimmed. He was dressed in a simple Dinokian military uniform and his eyes were wide.
“Commander Tuff,” he said with a big smile.
“Chino,” Tuff said. “Welcome to the Security Office.”
Buerk stood up. Tuff gestured towards Buerk.
“This is Lieutenant Albert Buerk, Chief of Station Security,” Tuff introduced the two.
Jale and Buerk shook hands.
“You have done well here, Lieutenant,” Jale said.
“It’s nice to finally meet you in person, Chief,” Buerk said. “I’ve heard quite a bit about you, sir. Among the Dinokians who have come to this station, you are in high regard.”
Chino Jale permitted himself a small grin.
“I just do my job, Lieutenant,” Jale said.
A short pause of silence followed.
“So, what can I help you with, Chino?” Tuff inquired.
Jale turned back to Tuff.
“I thought I could offer my services,” Jale said.
“Great timing,” Tuff said. “Lieutenant,” he turned to Buerk. “I think that you can now spare some time for a shower and breakfast.”
Buerk nodded. “Yes. Yes, of course. I’ll be on my way.” Buerk quickly ducked out of the room, leaving Chief Chino Jale and Tuff alone.
Jale slowly stepped over to the visual screen. He turned back to Tuff, who was sipping his coffee. Jale’s hands were crossed behind his back.
“I assume that the red dots are for unknown persons,” Jale said.
Tuff looked confused.
“How come every can tell that?” Tuff asked. “Is my color code system that obvious?”
Jale boomed a deep laugh, and Tuff joined in. After the laughter subsided, Jale spoke:
“It is good seeing you again, Commander.”
Tuff nodded. “Same here, Chino. Same here.”
Admiral Anton and Captain Kelsoe sat at a table in one of the sub-conference rooms. They had just finished a long day of talk, and Kelsoe was glade that it tomorrow would be the last day. A door hissed and Kelsoe looked up, just in time to see Admiral Dutton walk in. Dutton nodded and stepped over to Admiral Anton.
“Group A just finished,” Dutton said, chuckling a bit.
Anton looked up.
“Late,” Anton said. “So what did Shitick have to saw to Talnoc?”
“Shitick and Talnoc got into a huge debate,” Dutton said. “That’s the reason why I’m so late.” Dutton paused to reflect on the past couple of hours. “Boy, it was stimulating. I mean, just to be in the same room as Talnoc Lore is invigorating. That man is a geniuses.”
“That he is,” Anton said, nodding.
Dutton stepped away and walked over to a replicator.
“Coffee - black, two cubes of sugar,” Dutton said.
A coffee mug materialized and Dutton picked it up. He stepped back to the table and sipped from the mug.
“So, who are we waiting on?” Dutton inquired.
“Captain Anthony,” Anton said.
Dutton nodded. “I forget, when did Anthony get assigned to the command of this station?”
“Not that long ago,” Anton said. “I think it was a couple of weeks after we decided to hold the conference here.”
Dutton nodded. “Yes, I remember.”
The door hissed. They all turned and saw Captain Curtis Anthony standing in the doorway. Anthony was a tall slender black man, who was known for his causal manner and his interest in interplanetary politics.
“Just had an interesting talk with Lieutenant Buerk,” Anthony said. “It seems that the Tealuian delegation as requested that they be allowed to leave.”
“Leave?” Anton huffed.
“That’s right, Admiral,” Anthony said, stepping into the room. The door hissed closed behind him.
“What about the reports on Calok?” Kelsoe asked, leaning forward. “Did Lieutenant Buerk have anything to say about him?”
“No,” Anthony said.
“Do we even know where Calok is?” Dutton inquired.
“Not in this system,” Anthony said. “That’s for sure. We’d know if he was close by.”
“I hope so,” Kelsoe said.
“Captain?” Anton asked, turning to Kelsoe. “In your report, didn’t you say that Calok had some sort of telepathic ability?”
“Yes,” Kelsoe said, nodding. “For a time he control my mind, sir.”
“This is troubling,” Anton said, looking away. “We need to step up security for tomorrow.”
“So is the Charter going to be signed?” Anthony inquired.
Anton looked up.
“Yes,” Anton. “The Oralian Peace Union will be formed.”
“What about the Tealuians?” Dutton inquired.
Anton thought for a while.
“Let them go,” he said, shrugging. “We really don’t need their support.”
Dutton nodded. “That we don’t, sir.”
Kelsoe turned to Anton.
“Is that wise, sir?” Kelsoe inquired. “Peace would be easier if the Tealuians were involved in this union.”
“The OPU consist of non-hostile peoples,” Anton said. “The Tealuians are hostile. I don’t blame them for wanting to leave.”
Kelsoe nodded. “Whatever you say, sir. But I’m concerned.”
“Talk with Commander Tuff, then,” Anton said. “See if you can become unconcerned.”
Kelsoe nodded. “Yes, sir.”
Dutton had placed his coffee back into the replicator to be reprocessed. He now stood beside Captain Anthony, near the door.
“If you don’t mind, sir,” Dutton said to Anton. “I’ll accompany Anthony to tell the Tealuians they can leave. I’d like to say goodbye to Ambassador Shitick.”
Anton nodded and Dutton and Anthony left. Kelsoe stood and walked over to a visual screen on the opposite wall. He punched the console and an external visual of the station was brought up.
“Look at all those ships,” Kelsoe said.
Anton stood up and slowly walked up behind Kelsoe. He nodded.
“All different,” Anton said. “All constructed by different people.”
Kelsoe turned and looked at Anton.
“Something seems wrong, sir,” Kelsoe said. “Why would Shitick leave. He has been a big proponent of peace between our two governments.”
Anton shrugged. “Perhaps his government has called him back. Whatever the reason, it does not effect tomorrow.”
Kelsoe nodded. He reached out and turned the visual screen off. He turned complete around and looked at the table. “I can’t believe the conference is almost over.”
“The talks seemed to go back quicker than I expected,” Anton said. “But I believe that they were effective.”
Kelsoe could not help but nod. “Well, tomorrow will tell us how effective they were.”
“I agree,” Anton said firmly. “Let’s hope that everything goes as expected.”
Tuff sat in the officer’s lounge on Deep Space Five with a glass of synthesized alcoholic beverage, meaning the drink had the flavor and texture of an alcoholic beverage but was nothing of the sort. Lieutenant Buerk sat across from him sipping some Earl Gray tea. Tuff was able to get Buerk to admit that the only reason he drank the stuff was because Jean-Luc Picard did. Tuff sipped his drink and looked across the small uniform table at Buerk.
“Day Five,” Tuff said, smiling a bit.
“It’s been a long couple of days,” Buerk said. “Hard to believe it will be all over today.”
Tuff nodded and sipped his synthesized beverage.
“According to Captain Kelsoe, Talnoc Lore is going to oversee the signing of the Oralian Peace Union charter today,” Tuff said. “Peace in the Oralian Sector? I don’t know?”
Buerk put his tea cup down and cocked his head, confused.
“What do you mean?”
“The So’ja did not attend the conference and the Tealuian delegation has already left,” Tuff said. “I don’t think any peace union can stop those two.”
“The So’ja Coalition is a military dictatorship,” Buerk said. “Surely the So’ja people realize this.”
“They may,” Tuff said. “But right now they have done nothing to stop the Coalition’s cruelty.”
Buerk looked confused. He shook his head.
“I don’t understand how they can allow themselves to be obsessed by the Coalition.”
“Well, for one thing,” Tuff said, trying to explain. “Not everyone shares the ideals of the Federation.”
“That much is true.”
Through the corner of his eye, Tuff say Captain Kelsoe and Admiral Anton leave the lounge. Tuff quickly drank the rest of his drink.
“We better get to the security office,” Tuff said. “I believe that today’s conference is going to begin.”
Captain Kelsoe stood next to Admiral Anton and Admiral Dutton. Captain Curtis Anthony was also attending the conference’s final day. All of them were in their dress uniforms for this historic moment. Talnoc Lore had just entered and the conference room was filled with applause and cheering. Talnoc nodded to his colleagues in gratitude. He went around the table and shook each hand. When he came to the Federation delegation, he stopped and spoke a bit with Admiral Anton, before moving on. Kelsoe noticed that Admiral Anton was smiling. It was a wide, beaming smile that was contagious.
Tuff was staring at the view screen. He shook his head. Something did not seem quite right. He turned around and looked over at Buerk. Buerk was reading up on some reports that a Starfleet aide had just given him. Tuff turned back to the view screen and looked at it.
“Computer,” Tuff said. The computer beeped in response. “Magnify the conference room, section three.”
The computer responded with a beep and the image closed in on the conference room. The dots representing the people were fuzzy. Tuff squinted as he stared at the screen.
“Computer, clear up the image,” Tuff said.
Talnoc was finishing up shaking hands with when the door opened up and a Starfleet aide stepped in. He looked around the room and then briskly walked over to Admiral Dutton. He handed Dutton a data pad, which the Admiral looked down at. Dutton nodded and then turned to Anton. They spoke briefly and then Dutton left the room with the aide. Kelsoe leaned closer to Anton.
“The Admiral has a call from home,” Anton said.
“Couldn’t he had told the aide that he was busy?” Kelsoe said. “I mean, I would have been more polite to stay for the signing of the charter.”
“According to Dutton, it’s important,” Anton said. “Don’t worry, Ben. Everything’s going as planned.”
Kelsoe nodded. He sure hoped that was true.
Tuff gasped as he stared at the screen. He did not know if what he was seeing was correct or not.
Buerk looked up, and his mouth dropped. He stood up.
“Is that what I think it is?” Tuff asked.
No response. Tuff turned and looked back at Buerk, who was in shock: Eyes wide and jaw dropped.
Buerk shook his head as he regained his focus.
“Is that an unauthorized person in the conference room?” Tuff said pointing at the screen.
“That what it looks like,” Buerk said, stepping out from behind his desk. “The computer should have notify us immediately.”
Tuff looked back at the view screen. “Well something’s not right.”
“Computer?” Buerk said. The computer acknowledged him with a beep. “Are there any unauthorized people in the conference room.”
“Negative,” was the computer’s response.
Tuff and Buerk exchanged looks.
“Something’s differently not right here,” Buerk said.
Tuff had already turned to his temporarily desk and had grabbed his phaser.
“I’m going done there the check it out,” Tuff said. “Either the computer’s laying, or that person somehow got in without us knowing.”
“I’ll come with you,” Buerk said, picking up his phaser and tapping his commbadge. “Security meet me in front of the conference room, section three.”
“...and now our children can rest soundly knowing that we care about them,” Talnoc Lore was saying.
Captain Kelsoe and Admiral Anton were standing behind Talnoc.
“Today we take the first step into an everlasting peace between our peoples. Today is your day!”
The room erupted in applause. Kelsoe and Anton clapped as well. Kelsoe noticed Chief Chino Jale standing up and applauding with the Dinokian Delegation. Kelsoe could feel the excitement in the air. Out of the corner of the eye, he say some one move towards the door. Kelsoe turned his head and saw the back of that person as the left the room. He suddenly got a bad feeling in his stomach that something was going to happen. And that it was going to be bad.
Tuff and Buerk walked briskly through the nexus towards the conference room. Tuff had his phaser out and ready for trouble. A small security team was a pace behind him and Buerk. Tuff could see the door to the conference room over the heads of the people walking around. He saw the door open and close. Tuff began to walk faster. Buerk and the security team quicken the pace to match his. As the sea of people parted in front of him, Tuff stopped in shock with who he saw standing in front of him.
Talnoc Lore and Tiric, the Dinokian representative, stood side by side over the unsigned Oralian Peace charter. Tiric was smiling. Talnoc Lore glanced up at Admiral Anton and smiled.
“Ambassador Tiric,” Talnoc said, returning his eyes to Tiric. “Will you do the honors of being the first to sign this charter.”
“With pleasure,” Tiric said smiling.
The room erupted in applause. Chief Chino Jale walked behind Tiric and nodded. Kelsoe saw him say something to the ambassador and then smile and applaud with the rest the delegations.
And that’s when Kelsoe heard it. A low humming noise coming from the table below the charter. Kelsoe turned and looked around franticly. His gaze leveled on Anton. He heard it, too. They both glanced back at the group crowding around the charter.
“Ambassador!” Kelsoe said running forward.
Kelsoe ran with all his might. He jumped into the air. In midair the humming suddenly stopped and everything seemed to become to become still. Then a loud blast filed the room and Kelsoe was blinded by a bright light. He felt extreme heat as he was thrown backwards into the air. He hit the wall and slide down to the floor. Kelsoe opened his eyes and saw a big ball of flames engulf the room. Screams and cries for help could be heard as the fire blast kept spreading.
The station shook and Tuff almost lost his balance. The door to the conference room was suddenly burst apart. It went flying up into the nexus. Tuff looked up as it arched through the air. In the background he could people screaming. He returned his gaze to Tyson Calok, and saw the him smile.
“Today I have my revenge!” Calok cried with a maddening voice
“Fire!” Tuff heard Buerk said.
Calok’s gaze quickly shifted to Buerk and Calok pulled a strange looking device from his coat and fired. A green blast came from it and struck Buerk in the chest. Buerk went flying backwards.
Tuff quickly aimed his phaser towards Calok. Calok smiled.
“Sorry, Commander, not today,” Calok said.
He brought his wriest up and press a button on something the resembled a wriest watch. Green transporter light engulfed Calok and he was gone before Tuff could even fire his phaser.
Tuff ran forward towards the conference room and stopped at the entrance. He heard cries, coughing, and screams for help. Smoke and flames filled the room. Tuff coughed as the smoke bellowed out from the center of the room. He stepped back and could hear frantic shouts behind him.
“Who’s down! Who’s down!”
To be continued...