EPISODE 4.38 - “PRIME TARGET”
written by Travis Cannon
The room was deafly dark and cold. The only light was in the center and it was dim and yellow. The table was filled with strange medical equipment and weapons. A two chairs were sitting off to the side. A reptilian alien sat calmly at one end of the table, going through the strange medical equipment. It took out a vile and shook it. He narrowed his eyes and looked at it. The liquid inside was clear. The reptilian alien lowered his free hand, and then produced a needle.
“So’han, you first,” hissed the So’ja doctor.
So’han approached the second chair and sat down. He rolled up the shelve of his shirt and looked grimly at the doctor.
“Hurry up, Ba’fos,” he said with a deep voice. “We do not have much time.”
“Over course,” hissed Ba’fos. “I understand.”
Ba’fos raised the needle and flicked it, letting out a little liquid.
So’han was flicking his arm on the underside of his elbow. A vein was slowly appearing. So’han grinned mischievously at Ba’fos.
“This is a great day for the Coalition,” So’han hissed proudly.
“I believe you, sir,” the doctor said.
Ba’fos lowered the needle and was ready to plunge it into So’han’s vein.
“I most warn you,” Ba’fos said. “This will hurt.”
Ba’fos pushed the needle into So’han’s skin and injected the serum into him. So’han arched his back in pain and screamed. His head bobbed in and out of the darkness. Slowly, very slowly, his face began to change colors, and soon shape. Hair began to grow on the top of his head. Within five minutes his entire physical form had been altered. Ba’fos removed the needle after injecting the entire serum.
So’han took a deep breath and smiled. He stood up and entered the darkness.
“Next,” Ba’fos said.
Another So’ja entered the light and sat down. So’han walked towards the window, where the light from the moonlight filtered through the blinds. Pale flesh could be seen on So’han’s face. He reached up and slowly opened the blinds, allowing more moonlight in until his entire transformation could be seen.
So’han stood by the window, disguised as a human being, and looked out at the Golden Gate Bridge. He grinned maliciously.
Captain’s Personal Log - Stardate 58321.24:
The Pioneer’s refit has gone well. The ship is clean and we have some new additions, including a new science lab and an up to date sickbay, which has made both Dr. Braga and Commander Braxis extremely happy. Starfleet Command has added a Security Command Center in which our new crewmember, Mr. Tolorev will be stationed. Commander Tuff actually likes his new Command Center, which was a surprise to me.
Today is election day, and the crew, as am I, are eager to see the results and find out who the new President of the Federation is.
On a personal note: All the candidates were not to my liking, but they all are capable. I await the results.
Captain Benjamin Kelsoe stepped into the officer’s lounge, which is off of the main nexus of Deep Space 5. Kelsoe looked around and saw Commander Connor Burt, along with Commander Robert Tuff and Lieutenant Albert Buerk standing at the bar, drinking Synthehol. Kelsoe smiled and walked over to them.
“Hello men, how are things going?” Kelsoe asked. “Any news yet?”
“FNN has already called the election,” Burt said, grinning. “They say that Kaenar Korban is going to win.”
“Yeah, but EN says that Laura Bernard has it in the bag,” Tuff said.
“So in other words, nothing yet?” Kelsoe said.
“Bingo!” Burt said, raising his glass.
A view screen on the wall behind the bar was turned on to the broadcast of the Federation News Network. Kelsoe turned and leaned against the bar. Across the room on the big view screen was the Interstellar Broadcasting Station’s broadcast. He noticed that most of the people were watching the IBS broadcast than the FNN broadcast. Kelsoe turned around to the bar and raised his hand, attracting the attention of the bar keeper.
“Bengy my boy!” the bar keeper said with a joyous and jolly voice. “What can I get you?”
“Hmmm?” Kelsoe said in thought. “I think I’ll have different today.”
“Name it Bengy, my boy, and I’ll get it for you,” chuckled the jolly bar keeper.
“I think I’ll have a Root Beer today, Sam,” Kelsoe said. “And could you but a little ice cream in it.”
“Ha, yes siree, Bengy,” said Sam, grinning ear to ear.
Burt leaned over.
“Root Beer with ice cream, eh?” he said. “Why not just order a Root Beer Float? Same thing.”
“Its more fun this way,” Kelsoe said smiling.
Burt sipped his synthehol and smiled.
Half a minute later Sam arrived with Kelsoe Root Beer Float. Kelsoe took it and thanked Sam, who then moved over to talk with Craig and Tracy who had just come in and sat down at a table. Kelsoe turned and leaned against the bar. He sipped his Root Beer and smiled.
“Almost feels like a holiday,” he said.
“Your right there, Captain,” Tuff said. “There does seem to be a holiday mood in the atmosphere here... then again Sam likes to keep it that way.”
“He sure does,” Kelsoe said with a grim. He sipped his Root Beer Float again and watched as the short pudgy bar keeper moved around the tables with a ease and grace the comes from years of experience and practice.
“You vote, sir?” Kelsoe heard Burt ask.
Kelsoe turned and looked at Burt.
“Of course I did,” Kelsoe said. “It’s a right that I’m proud to have and do. It is our duty as citizens of the Federation to vote, because, no matter our cliché it may sound, every vote does count.”
“Amen to that, sir,” Tuff said nodding, and raising his glass.
Kelsoe turned and looked down the row at Lieutenant Buerk.
“So Mr. Buerk, who do you think is going to win?” Kelsoe inquired.
Buerk was a little startled to be asked that question by Captain Kelsoe.
“Well, sir,” Buerk said. “I don’t really now, but I would like to see Korvin Mot elected.”
“Mot?” Kelsoe questioned. “Interesting choice.” Kelsoe thought a little longer. “Very interesting. I never really considered Mot.”
“Who did you vote for, sir?” Buerk countered.
Kelsoe was a little surprised to have his question thrown back at him.
“I never had a particular favorite in the front runners, so...,” Kelsoe paused. “I voted for Ultar Vagar of Andoria.”
“Ultar?” Burt said, chuckling. “Doesn’t he sit on the subcommittee of agriculture policy?”
“Yes,” Kelsoe said and paused for a beat. “As I said, I really didn’t care for any of the front runners, but I have to admit that I had never really thought about Korvin Mot.”
Kelsoe and the rest turned toward the view screen broadcasting the FNN. The anchor had just been handed a PADD and looked up at the camera.
“Coming in with barely 56% of the vote to secure a victory in the Presidential Election is Korvin Mot, the representative from Bolarius IX. This has indeed been a tight race, people! Kaenar Korban’s surge happened just a little too late, allowing for an astonishing and surprising win by the newcomer Korvin Mot. The race for the Vice-President is still on, though it looks like Korban’s last minute surge will give him that victory knocking out front runner Laura Bernard from any contention at the Presidential and Vice-Presidential slot... Stay tune for Korvin Mot’s victory speech!”
The officer’s lounge was silent for a while, but then everyone broke into various conversations, mostly the same conversations they we having before the news was announced. Kelsoe turned and looked at the guys next to him. He sipped his Root Beer float and smiled.
“At least Ultar didn’t win,” Kelsoe said smiling.
Admiral Jonathan Dutton sat behind his desk searching threw some data pads in front of him. The door opened with a hiss and Captain Benjamin Kelsoe walked through the door smiling happily. Dutton looked up and frowned.
“What are you so happy about?” Dutton grunted.
Kelsoe made his way over to Dutton’s desk slowly.
“Just glade Ultar Vagar didn’t win,” Kelsoe said, sitting down on one of the chair in front of the desk.
Dutton continued to frown.
“FNN needs to check their sources,” Dutton frowned. “They got my hopes up. Korban was suppose to win, damn it.”
“What about IBS?” Kelsoe inquired. “They called the election, said that Council member Kaenor Korban was a sure thing.”
“Aye, that they did,” Dutton said, eyeing Kelsoe before looking back down at the data pads scattered all over his desk. He picked up one and glared down at it.
“I called you here because we’ve received disturbing news from the Onizuka,” Dutton said calmly.
He handed the PADD to Kelsoe, who took it and looked down at the small print. As he read it Dutton continued to speak, his expression unreadable.
“Captain Keller intercepted the message four hours ago,” Dutton continued. “It was sent to Starfleet Intelligence to see if it was authentic and then relayed here upon verification. I don’t think I have to tell you how disturbing the message is...”
“No,” Kelsoe said shaking his head.
“Here,” Dutton said holding out his hand, gesturing for the PADD.
Kelsoe handed it back to the Admiral. Dutton flipped it around and punched his finger on the top portion of the LCARS display. Suddenly the chilling voice of Tyson Calok could be heard.
“Today the Federation will select a new leader,” the recording paused. “The Federation must be sent a message. Comrades in arms, rise up against the oppression of the saintly Federation, and show the universe that you will not bow down to anyone. I promise you, the oppressed and helpless, blood shall spill this day! You will have a cause and it shall be glorious. I pray that those who hear this message are encourage by what they hear and act, as I have.”
The chilling voice of Calok stopped and Kelsoe looked up at Dutton.
“Blood shall spill this day, what has he done?” he inquired.
Dutton lowered his head, it was finally clear how he felt.
“The Federation colony on Tigon IV has been completely destroyed,” Dutton said. “The Hood, Brittany, and Sarajevo were sent to investigated. Captain Spartan confirmed Calok’s message... Tigon IV has been destroyed. Admiral Anton recalled the Tenth Fleet, and the Marques is now on its way to Bolarus IX with the San Pablo and Malinche to pick up the President-Elect Korvin Mot.”
Dutton paused, just long enough to allow Kelsoe to interject.
“Sir, did the Onizuka transmit the direction from which the message came from?” Kelsoe inquired.
Dutton paused. He rubbed his chin and licked his lips.
“Aye, they did at that,” Dutton asserted. “And believe me, you won’t like it.” He paused before he continued. Kelsoe opened his mouth to speak, but Dutton held up his head, signaling Kelsoe to remain silent. “The message came from Orion territory.”
Kelsoe closed his mouth and nodded. He turned and glanced out the window at the starry expanse of space and then back at Dutton.
“Your right,” Kelsoe argued. “I don’t like that.”
“Good,” Dutton said, suddenly calmly and with a hint of happiness. “Orders from Starfleet Command, from Admiral Anton himself: I’m sending you to look for Calok. See what you can find, anything that might lead to more information. And we especially want to know if Calok’s call to arms has been answered by anyone.”
“Yes, Admiral,” Kelsoe said standing up. “I’ll notify my crew. We’ll leave in an hour.”
Captain Kelsoe stepped out of his ready room and marched up to the center of the bridge. Commander Burt nodded and stepped aside allowing Kelsoe to stand in the center of the bridge. Kelsoe looked around at the bridge crew and nodded, before resting his eyes on Ensign Tracy Carson.
“Tracy,” he said calmly. “Put me on the ship intercom.”
“Aye, sir,” Tracy said and type in the appropriate commands on her console. “Intercom open.”
“This is the captain speaking,” Kelsoe said. “We have just been informed that the Federation colony on Tigon IV has been destroyed.” He paused allowing the crew to take in this news, because he saw many shocked and gloomy faces on the bridge and assumed that the same was occurring all over the ship. Kelsoe glanced over at Burt and then continued, “Starfleet Intelligence believes that none other than Tyson Calok is behind the attack. We have been ordered to the Orion system to search for Calok, and if possible bring him back to stand trail from this terrible tragedy. I expect each one of you to do your duty. For the time we must put our feelings aside to capture this mad man. I have faith in every one of you. We will succeed. Kelsoe out.”
Kelsoe turned towards Eric Zimmer and nodded.
“Ensign Zimmer,” Kelsoe said. “Take us out, and set coordinates for the Orion system.” Kelsoe turned and sat down in his chair. “Maximum warp!”
The day was sunny and the grass was green. Three young men walked across the grassy hill looking somewhat out of place in their drab and dark clothing. The one in the middle wore dark sunglasses and looked to be in-charge of the little entourage. He stopped beside a water fountain and leaned down to take a sip while his comrades took out devices that appeared to be scanners. The pointed them in the opposite direction.
“Are you sure this is necessary, So’han?” inquired one of the men scanning.
The man drinking from the water fountain straightened up and turned towards his compatriot.
“Enough with the questions, Ru’cal,” So’han said. “We proceed on schedule.”
Ru’cal put his scanner down and turned towards So’han.
“But what of the transmission we received from Central Command?” Ru’cal inquired. “Surely something as happened.”
“Calok’s attack on the Federation colony was part of the plan, Ru’cal,” So’han said, grinning. “I only wish I could have been their to assist in the attack.”
Ru’cal shook his head.
“You long for combat and death to much,” Ru’cal said. “You could have settled down with Na’fa.”
“What do you know about us?”
“I know that you ended your relationship,” Ru’cal said. “I don’t mean to pry, but that was a foolish decision. After all she was the Chancellor’s daughter. You could have been well off.”
So’han squinted his eyes in disgusted. He grabbed Ru’cal and pulled him off to the side, away from sight.
“A So’ja warrior does not desire to escape from his duties,” So’han said, spitting in Ru’cal’s face. “Na’fa represented an unstable element in my mind, I purged that element from my thoughts so that I could service the Coalition with all my heart and mental ability, focus and undisrupted. Any true So’ja would do the same.”
Ru’cal pushed So’han away.
“Don’t question my loyalty, So’han,” Ru’cal said, curling his lip. “I believe in the Coalition as much as you do. I was merely pointing out that if you kept up your relationship with Na’fa you could have been able to advance into the royal court.”
“Bah!” So’han hissed, despite the human appearance, he was truly So’ja. “A true warrior does not seek advance through the court, but through combat.”
“And what if he dies in combat?”
“Then it is a noble end and he should welcome it,” So’han said stepping back. “You question things too much, Ru’cal. One day it shall be the end of you.”
“If we do not question our purpose then we learn nothing,” Ru’cal said.
So’han stepped away towards their companion, who had wisely stayed out of the discussion. So’han looked down at the scanner in the other’s hand.
“Well, Ar’bay?” So’han inquired.
“The distance is acceptable,” Ar’bay said. He turned following the signals coming from the scanner. “That tree over there should provide adequate cover.”
So’han looked over at the tree and over at their target area.
“Good,” he hissed.
He stepped forward placing his hands on his hips and looked over at the podium being set up for the President-Elect’s inaugural speech.
The bridge was silent, more so that it usually was. The only sound was that of the consoles and computer interfaces. Kelsoe looked down at the computer terminal in-between his and Burt’s chair. He wished he could find out what the rest of the crew was thinking. He looked up at the view screen and only saw the moving stars moving past at warp speed. Ensign Zimmer was working the helm console.
Zimmer turned around to face Kelsoe.
“Yes, sir?” Zimmer asked.
“How far are we from Orion space?” he inquired.
Zimmer spun around and typed on the helm console. “At least another two hours, sir.”
Kelsoe nodded. He looked over at Burt, who leaned over in acknowledgment of Kelsoe’s desire to speak privately.
“We’ll need to think of an excuse for entering Orion space,” Kelsoe said.
“You mean you haven’t thought of one?” Burt joked.
Kelsoe need not response. He was not in a joking mood and Burt saw that immediately and his smile vanished.
“We could tell them that we are transporting medical goods to the Vingosa,” Burt said.
Kelsoe nodded. “That’s not a half bad idea, Connor.”
“Thanks, Ben,” Burt said, smiling again. “But to be entirely truthful, the Vingosa could use some medical supplies right now. I’ve heard that some sort of outbreak has occurred on Vingos.”
“It still is a good idea,” Kelsoe said.
Kelsoe turned his head in the direction of Operations.
“Yes, Lieutenant Craig?” Kelsoe said.
“I’m picking up some unusual signals coming from our stern, sir,” Craig reported.
Kelsoe stood and turned around.
“What exactly makes them unusual, Lieutenant?” Kelsoe inquired.
“Sir?” Craig said looking down at his console, then looking up. “They like anything I’ve seen before.”
Kelsoe turned and pointed at Braxis.
“Braxis, take a look at them,” Kelsoe said.
“Aye,” Braxis said. “Transfer sensors to science station.” Braxis paused as the data transfer occurred.
Kelsoe walked up to the science station and stood behind Braxis. Burt stood up and slowly stepped into the center of the bridge. Braxis hunched over his station as he studied the data.
“Well?” Kelsoe exclaimed.
“Give me a moment, sir,” Braxis said calmly. “Signals are definitely unlike anything on record... wait... picking up a registered signal.” Braxis paused, he almost seemed stunned. “It appears to be So’ja.”
“So’ja?!” Kelsoe said. “Out here?”
“Readings do not lie, Captain,” Braxis stated.
“Yeah, but how can that be true,” Kelsoe said, waving his hands around in the air. “We would have detected them before we even enter this part of space.”
“Sir!” Craig said alert. “We’ve got several decloaking ships.”
“Several!” Kelsoe said turning on his heels. “I want an exact number!”
“Sorry, sir,” Craig said. “The sensors are being jammed. All I can tell is that several ships are decloacking.”
“On screen,” Burt commanded.
The screen blinked and showed empty space. Slowly three ships appeared. They were triangular in shape with three nacelles, each of which came to a point at the front of the ship. Kelsoe squinted and stepped down into the center of the bridge.
“Hey,” Burt said. “Something don’t look right about those ships.”
“Yeah,” Kelsoe said nodding, he looked over at Braxis.
“So’ja and Romulan, Captain,” Braxis said returning Kelsoe’s gaze. “The sensors do not lie.”
“My God,” Kelsoe said, as he saw a whole fleet of those ships appear behind the others.”
“Sir,” Tracy said from her station. “Whoever they are, they’re hailing.”
Kelsoe looked around, unsure what to do. He leaned close to Burt.
“What do you think, Connor?” Kelsoe inquired, softly.
“What have we got to lose, sir,” Burt said. “We might as well find out what they want.”
“Captain?” Tracy inquired. “Shall I put them through?”
Kelsoe looked up and nodded.
The screen blinked and Kelsoe saw a familiar face. It was a Romulan.
“Captain Benjamin Kelsoe, so nice to see you again.”
Kelsoe was taken aback by what he saw that he almost did not speak.
“Commander L’Mar,” Kelsoe said. “I see you’ve been busy.”
L’Mar smiled. “You have no idea, Captain. The business with your clone... it was so dirty, I had to clean my hands somehow.”
“So you joined up with the So’ja?” Kelsoe inquired.
“We,” said a So’ja appearing next to L’Mar, “have offered Commander L’Mar more than his own people. He is now one of us.”
“And who are you?” Burt said, stepping up next to Kelsoe.
The So’ja narrowed his eyes and grinned.
“Admiral Da’note of the Third Order,” he said. “I’m surprised you don’t remember me. But Ba’gee works in mysterious ways.” He paused. “I’m afraid you have stumbled onto our little secret, Captain. It was not intentional, but it happened. I’m sorry to say that I can’t let you go, if word reached others about our fleet, there would be war without end.”
“What does it matter!” Burt said. “War’s coming, anyway.”
“Commander!” Kelsoe said grabbing Burt’s arm.
“No,” Da’note said, raising his hand. “It’s all right, Captain. Your first officer is right, war is coming. It is just a question of when. But not right now. The So’ja have no interest in external matters. This fleet is for internal matters.”
Da’note turned and looked at L’Mar, who nodded.
“However, I can’t let you spread word about our fleet,” Da’note said. “I am sorry about this, Captain. I always considered you a valued opponent.” Da’note turned to his left, said something in the So’ja tongue, and the communication link between the ships was broken.
“Captain, I’m picking up weapons,” Tuff said, from his station.
“To late!” Burt yelled.
“All hands, brace for impact!” Kelsoe shouted.
A green beam shot out of the pointed end of the So’ja-Romulan ship, aimed at the Pioneer’s left nacelle. The nacelle buckled and shattered. Kelsoe watched as he saw the enemy ships move around his ship and disappear, except for L’Mar’s ship. It stayed.
“Their hailing, sir,” Tracy said.
“Open and channel,” Kelsoe said.
The view screen blinked and Kelsoe saw the face of Commander L’Mar.
“Sorry for that, Captain,” L’Mar said. “Da’note can be quite unreasonable at times... oh, and I hope your President survives what’s coming. Good-bye.” L’Mar smiled mischievously and ended the link. The view screen returned to a view of L’Mar’s ship. It hover there for a time before moving off and rejoining the rest of the So’ja fleet.
Kelsoe turned and looked Burt.
“Hope your President survives what’s coming?” Burt said, confused. “What the hell is that suppose to mean?”
Kelsoe looked around. “What would the So’ja want to do to the President-Elect?”
“Kill him,” Tuff offered from his station.
Kelsoe’s eyes opened wide. “That’s it! They plan on assassinating the President-Elect!” He tapped his commbadge. “Kelsoe to engineering. Can we manage warp speed?”
“Yes,” came Joanna’s voice. “But we can only travel at half the speed we normal could have. Their attack took out our left nacelle.”
“Very well,” Kelsoe said, nodding. “I need the best possible speed you can give me.” Kelsoe turned and walked over to his chair. “Ensign Zimmer, set a course for Earth.” He sat down. “Engage!”
“How are you this evening, Mr. President?” Admiral Anton said as he had a glass of Romulan Ale to his companion sitting in the chair across from him.
“Thank you... you know, I don’t think I’ll ever get used to being called that.”
“It took me a while to get used to being called Admiral,” Anton said. He took a sip of the ale.
The President-Elect took a sip of the ale and looked up, surprised.
“Is this Romulan Ale, Admiral?” he inquired.
“Yes,” Anton said, smiling. “Look, I not its illegal, but what can I say?”
Korvin Mot nodded. “Interesting taste to it.”
Anton smiled. “Yes, sir, it sure does have that.” He sipped the ale again.
Korvin Mot set the glass down and leaned back in the chair. He looked over at the window looking up at the skyline of San Francisco. He turned and looked back at Anton.
“You know, Admiral,” he said. “I never really expected to be here. I never thought I had a chance at winning the election. I didn’t even want to run.”
Anton nodded. He sipped the ale and placed it down on the glass coffee table in front of him. “The best kind of leader is one who does not seek power, but has power thrust unto him,” Anton said.
“Oh? And where did you hear that?” Korvin Mot inquired.
“I believe its a Klingon proverb,” Anton said. “I think that they people like it that you decided on holding the inauguration ceremony in Golden Gate Park. Hell, I know it eases the minds of some of the other brass knowing that Starfleet well be able to secure your safety easier. After all the ceremony’s being held in our own backyard.”
“Yes, yes it is,” Korvin Mot said. “I only hope that I am the right person for the job.”
“Don’t worry,” Anton said, leaning forward. “I think you’ll do just fine.”
The Pioneer sped through subspace at warp 5. It was not exactly what Kelsoe had hoped for, but it would have to do. After entering warp the communication systems had gone done. Kelsoe was agree with himself for not giving the order to send a message to Earth earlier.
Presently Kelsoe sat in his ready room look out at the stars fly by. He held his head cradled in his arms. He knew that the So’ja government would not dare to assassinate the leader of the Federation, that would certainly risk open war. But then again, the So’ja now had a better fleet; one that Commander L’Mar of the Romulan Star Empire assisted in creating. There was not doubt that those ships had Romulan technology mixed with that of the So’ja. Kelsoe could tell just by looking at them. Those ships were now a lot more powerful than anything that So’ja had had before.
The door chime sounded.
Kelsoe looked up and blinked.
The door opened and Commander Burt walked in.
“Captain,” Burt said, nodding.
Kelsoe nodded in response.
“Joanna’s working her ass off, sir,” Burt said. “The left nacelle is giving the engineering teams hell.
“I need that nacelle operating at maximum efficiency as soon as possible,” Kelsoe said. “Tell them to double their efforts.”
“Sir,” Burt object. “Their already working overtime. Hell, Joanna’s pulling shifts. She hasn’t rested in nearly seven hours.”
Kelsoe looked up at Burt. “Then that’s her choice, Connor.” He stood up. “We’re not dealing with something small here, Commander! If it is the So’ja that have planned this then you know as well as I do that they want back down. They’ll see it through to the bitter end.”
“I know, Captain,” Burt said. “I just wish they weren’t so damn aggressive.”
“And now this thing with L’Mar,” Kelsoe said. “Adding on Calok, wherever the hell he’s at! This is turning into a crappy day, Connor. One hell of a crappy day.”
Burt stood there in silence. Kelsoe shook his head and turned his back to Burt.
“And to make matters worse, you’ve been hiding something from me,” Kelsoe said.
“What? No, sir... Ben, I would never hide anything from you,” Burt said.
“Really?” Kelsoe said turning around. “Then when were you going to tell me that Starfleet’s offered you the commander of the Saratoga?”
“I didn’t tell you, Ben, because...,” Burt explained. “Because I turned it down.”
Kelsoe raised his eyebrows.
“You turned it down? Why?” he inquired.
“I don’t know,” Burt shrugged. “I’m just not ready for a command of my own. I like my life here on the Pioneer. Hell, what would you do without me, huh?”
Kelsoe cracked a smile.
“Very little, probably,” Kelsoe said. “You’ve been my rock for so long that I could not possibly imagine not seeing you on the bridge at my side.”
Burt nodded. “Maybe, but you really don’t need me, sir. You can handle the ship just fine. Braxis or Rob can do what I do, hell they might even do a better job at it than I do.”
“You do a fine good job, Connor,” Kelsoe said. “I am proud to have you as my exec.”
“Thanks, sir,” Burt said, smiling.
“Look,” Kelsoe said. “The next time Starfleet calls to offer you a ship, talk to me first, before you decide.” Kelsoe extended his hand. “Deal?”
Burt looked down at Kelsoe hand and thought. He then reached out and grasped Kelsoe’s hand and shook.
The line was long and the sun was unusually strong during this time of the year, but it did not stop the crowd from coming out to see the inaugural ceremonies of the office of the President of the Federation. A human dressed in black, accompanied by four others were close to the entrance. He turned to one of his companion and grabbed his arm, pulling him close.
“You sure this is going to work,” he hissed.
“Security won’t detect a thing, So’han,” Ba’fos said, disguised as a human.
“I hope your right,” So’han said.
They reached the front of the line and a Stafleet security guard stepped up to So’han.
“Your license please, sir,” he said holding out his hand.
So’han handed him an ID card. The security guard looked at it and handed it to another guard behind him, who ran it through a machine. It cleared and the security guard handed the card back to So’han.
“Thank you, Mr. Smith,” he said, looking at the name on the card as he handed it back. “Now if you would just step through the arches and proceed through security.”
The So’ja operatives had made it undetected through the security check stations into Golden Gate Park. So’han the others walked to the spot that had been selected for the sniper. So’han turned to Ru’cal, his second.
“The way is clear, I can see the podium quite easily,” So’han said.
Ru’cal looked over his shoulder and nodded. “Yes, the way is clear.” He squinted. “Security appears to be pretty lacks.”
“Don’t let that fool you, Ru’cal,” So’han said. “These humans are quite clever when they choose to be so.”
Ru’cal nodded. He turned to the others. “Ar’bay, Da’kon, follow me.”
Ru’cal went off with those two, leaving So’han alone with Ba’fos, the doctor. So’han stretched his neck. He turned to Ba’fos.
“I’ll be glade when we can get out of these human bodies,” he said. “I miss my scales.”
“Status!?” Kelsoe asked as he came running out of his ready room and down in the center of the bridge.
“Just about to enter the Sol System, sir,” Zimmer said from behind his console.
“Take us out of warp,” Burt said. “Well have to do this on impulse.”
“Aye, sir,” Zimmer said as he adjust the controls.
The Pioneer came out of warp and drifted past Pluto.
“Full ahead, maximum impulse,” Kelsoe commanded.
The Pioneer shot forward.
“And now, without further adieu, President Korvin Mot!” Admiral Anton said and stepped away from the podium clapping.
Korvin Mot appeared from behind the stage and walked up the makeshift stairs onto the platform. He waved at the crowd that had come to see him.
“Approaching Lunar colony!” Zimmer announced as the Pioneer approached the natural satellite of the planet Earth.
“Tuff, Craig, your with me,” Kelsoe said tapping his commbadge. “Dr. Braga, met us in transporter room one.”
“On my way, sir,” came Braga’s voice over the intercom.
Kelsoe, Tuff and Craig walked up to the turbo-lift. The doors opened and the all stepped in. Kelsoe turned around and faced Burt.
“As soon as we’re in orbit contact Starfleet Security, and alert them of what we have discovered,” Kelsoe said.
“Transporter Room One.”
The turbo-lift doors closed.
The crowd in the park cheered and applauded as the Korvin Mot spoke. The security personnel roamed through the audience oblivious to the fact that So’han and Ba’fos where standing amongst them. The security personnel in the back were also oblivious to the fact that there was an assassination team setting up their equipment.
Just outside the security check point four Starfleet Officers and a security detail materialized. One was Captain Kelsoe. Kelsoe turned to Tuff and nodded. Tuff went lead the way, pushing people out of the way. They reached the check point and Kelsoe announced who they were.
“Sorry, sir,” the security guard said. “No one in without identification.”
Kelsoe took out his identification card and showed it to the guard. He looked at it and ran it through the system. The guard took longer than Kelsoe was hoping he would, so he took off through the security check point with Craig, and Braga begin him.
“Hey wait! Your not cleared for acce...,” the rest of the security guard’s exclamation was lost to Kelsoe as he burst into the crowd. Overhead he could hear the voice of the President making his inaugural address. People shouted and cursed as he pushed past them... they were not making could time.
“Clear the way!” Craig shouted, and pushed a young Starfleet cadet out of the way.
Some spectators around to the action began to turn the heads to see what was going on. Kelsoe was in the lead, with Craig and Braga not far behind making a triangle formation.
Up on the stage now-President Korvin Mot stopped in mid-sentence as he noticed a scuffle in the crowd gathered in Golden Gate Park. He looked back at Admiral Anton, who could tell that something was wrong. Anton got up and walked up beside Korvin Mot. He turn to two security guards standing behind him. “Find out what the commotion's about,” he ordered.
The two guards nodded and left.
“Please, Mr. President, continue,” Anton said to Korvin Mot and then ducked back down to his chair.
In the crowd So’han was beginning to get nervous. He turned and leaned over to Ba’fos.
“Something’s not right,” So’han said, he arched his neck and looked over at the commotion towards the center of the crowd.
Ba’fos shook his head. “I had a feeling that this plan was not going to work. Too many people!”
“Shh, quiet!” hissed So’han, as his eyes watched as the scuffling began to get closer to them. So’han pulled out a small communicator from his pocket. “Ru’cal, come in.”
“Ru’cal here, sir,” came a hissing voice. “What in the name of Ba’gee is going on up there.”
“I don’t know,” hissed So’han, narrowing his eyebrows as he saw a Starfleet Officer push past him. So’han lowered his voice. “Take the shot, Ru’cal... now!”
Suddenly a brash young officer with blond hair grabbed him.
The officer that had just pushed past So’han turned around. So’han squinted as he saw a face he recognized from his briefing on Ka’al with Admiral Da’note. It was Captain Benjamin Kelsoe of the U.S.S. Pioneer. He turned and examined the face of the officer grabbing him more closely. It was Lieutenant Norman Craig, the Operations Officer aboard the Pioneer. So’han muttered a curse in the So’ja tongue.
“What is it, Lieutenant Craig?” Kelsoe asked as came back to them.
“This one,” Craig said, intending So’han. “Was talking into this...” Craig wrestled the communicator from So’han. “He said take the shot.”
Kelsoe took the communicator into his hands and held it up to his eyes. His eyes told So’han that he recognized it.
“This communicator is So’ja technology,” Kelsoe said handing it back to Craig. Kelsoe turned his attention to So’han. “Where’s your team?!”
So’han laughed. “Too late for that, Captain. Your newly elected president is about to be dead.”
Kelsoe turned around and looked up at the podium. The Bolian Korvin Mot was looking over the crowd, oblivious to the fact that there was an assassination plot being conducted at that very minute.
“Hold him,” Kelsoe ordered. “Doctor Braga, your assistance.”
“No problem, sir,” Dr. Braga said, and pushed ahead shouting, “Medical emergency, make way!”
Kelsoe took up a pace behind Braga. They were getting close to the stage and the podium.
Tuff and his security detail had been searching the exterior of the ceremony ground and had were just about to turn and go back to the security check point when Ensign Tom Dunn tapped Tuff on the shoulder and pointed to a group of trees where two men dressed in back were standing. One of them looked up and shouted something. Tuff followed the man’s eyes and saw a sniper sitting up in the tree. The sniper nodded and began to loading his weapon.
Tuff turned back to his security detail.
“All right, let’s do this.”
Kelsoe and Braga were getting closer, but he crowd had begun to get more aggressive. Kelsoe felt that a fight could potentially break out. Suddenly from about them a beam of light shot past them and hit a security guard standing next to the podium. Kelsoe pulled out his phaser.
“Get down!” he shouted and fired it up into the air. The crowd around him immediately compiled.
Tuff fired his compression rifle at the first man that drew out a weapon.
“Aim for the shooter!” Tuff shouted to his security detail. “Take him down!”
Ensign Dunn rolled past Tuff’s right and landed with his phaser pointed up. He fired, but missed the sniper by a couple of inches. But it was close enough to make the sniper fire his weapon prematurely. Tuff looked over his shoulder and saw a blast on the stage. He saw a security guard fall down.
The was a suddenly rush a panic around the stage. People were screaming and running all over the place. Kelsoe ducked past a woman who was grabbing her child and leaped over a elderly man who had fallen during the sudden panic. Kelsoe was amazing at his sudden burst of speed and sheer ability as he jumped up onto the stage just as another beam shot past hitting the podium, nearly hitting Korvin Mot. Kelsoe grabbed the Bolian, who was rather calm for what was happening, and pulled him down to the ground with him. The blaster beams became for frequent and erratic, telling Kelsoe that Tuff was doing his job well.
Suddenly there was explosion to his right which sent him and the President flying into the air. They landed on the ground in front of the podium, alongside Admirals and Council members who had been thrown into the air from the result of the explosion, some of them were badly injure, and those who had been closer to the explosion were dead or dying. Before Kelsoe could get up he found himself and the President surrounded by security. Kelsoe helped the President up and entrusted him into the care of the security personnel, who immediately rushed him off the field to a shuttle that was waiting for them.
Kelsoe blinked, and tried to catch his breath, but the terrifying attack who not end. Suddenly another explosion went off, this one was closer to him and later he would remember that it came from the podium itself. He had seen they very same type of bomb earlier, when Tyson Calok had tried to assassination the members of the Oralian Peace Union.
Kelsoe turned his attention towards the spot where the blaster beams were coming from. It was tree not far from the security check point. He could barely make out Tuff and his security detail battling with the assassins. He saw a phaser beam hit the tree, just above the trunk. An explosion resulted and the blaster shots overhead ceased.
However the attack on the ceremony was not over. Suddenly members of the audience turned on the Starfleet security personnel rushing to the scene. A civilian dressed in gray with slick jet black hair who was standing not far from Kelsoe tripped as he was trying to run away. Kelsoe jogged over to the man to help him up, put when the man stood, his hair was gone and replaced by green scales. He turned around and Kelsoe locked eyes with him. Kelsoe saw the yellow reptilian eyes of a So’ja. The So’ja hissed some in its tongue and pulled out a disruptor. Kelsoe jumped out of the way as a disruptor blast shot past him.
Kelsoe rolled on the grass. He stand to stand up when another explosion went off. This one came from the stage again. Kelsoe bumped heads with someone as he tried to stand up again after the explosion. He reached from his phaser, then remembering he lost his in the first explosion. He looked wide eyed at the person who he had bumped into and was revealed to see that it was Admiral Anton.
Anton had a long gash along the side of his face and was bleeding.
“Ben...,” Anton muttered.
“Admiral...?!” Kelsoe said. “Set... I’ll... I’ll get help.”
Anton nodded and compiled. He reached down and handed Kelsoe a small compacted phaser that Anton had hid in his belt. Kelsoe turned around to see a So’ja warrior rushing him. Kelsoe raised the phaser, but the So’ja collided with him before he was able to fire.
Kelsoe and the So’ja collapsed on the grass. The So’ja hissed and cursed as he tried to wrap his hands around Kelsoe neck. Kelsoe slammed his fist into the So’ja’s chin, causing him to jerk back and temporally free Kelsoe from his grasp. He kicked the So’ja off of him and rolled away. He rolled on his chest and looked up to see where he was. He saw the phaser lying a couple of inches away from him. He started to crawl towards it. Phaser rays and disruptor blasts flew over his head as the So’ja assassins and the Federation security did battle.
Suddenly he felt a heavy weight fall onto his back. He did not have to look around to know it was the same So’ja he had just been fighting with. Kelsoe jabbed his elbow into the So’ja’s cursing jaw, causing the So’ja he spit blue blood onto Kelsoe’s neck and back. Kelsoe used his arms to push himself onto his back, sending the So’ja tumbling off. Kelsoe turned and saw the So’ja reaching for a dagger. Kelsoe clenched his hand into a fist and punched the So’ja in the side of the face. The So’ja snarled and spit blue blood into Kelsoe’s face.
Kelsoe’s felt a burning sensation in his eyes. He closed them and could not help but cry out in pain. Kelsoe stumbled up and blinked. He tottered around and rubbed his eyes. And then all of a sudden everything went black.
Benjamin Kelsoe slowly opened his eyes. The room around him seemed to be very bright, so he had squint. He blinked again and then realized that his head ached like hell. He moaned in a pain, bring his hand up to his head, feeling an elastic bandage. He blinked around and squinted, and could just make out someone wearing a lab coat.
“Hello? Where am I?” Kelsoe said in a hoarse voice.
The man in the lab coat turned around and through it’s opening Kelsoe could see that a Starfleet uniform was worn underneath.
“He’s coming to, Admiral,” the man said.
Kelsoe looked over and could vaguely see the Admiral as he stepped forward.
“Thank you, Dr. Weiss,” said a familiar voice.
“Admiral Anton?” Kelsoe said, trying to sit up.
Dr. Weiss came over and assisted Kelsoe.
“Thank you, doctor,” Kelsoe, becoming aware of where he was.
“Hi, Ben,” Anton said, smiling. “Do you know where you are?”
“On Earth,” Kelsoe said. “In a hospital.”
“Right,” Anton said, grinning. “You were hit over the head pretty hard.”
“The President... is he....?” Kelsoe said, suddenly agitated.
“He’s all right, Ben,” Anton said. “If it wasn’t for you I don’t think he would be.”
Kelsoe leaned back. His eyes finally came into focused and he was able to look more closely at Admiral Anton than before. Anton’s face was swollen, but the gash had been healed already, though the skin still showed some signs of being ripped.
“Sir, are you all right?” Kelsoe asked.
“Fine, Ben... fine,” Anton said. “Dr. Weiss says that the swelling well go down in a couple of days. Other than that I only received minor bruises. You, on the other hand, took quite a beating for the nasty So’ja.”
“I take it we were able to push them back,” Kelsoe said.
Anton nodded. “Yes,” Anton said. “Commander Diggs got there in time with some Marines. We took them down.” Anton paused. “And thanks you and your crew we have one of them in custody.”
Kelsoe nodded with satisfaction. “Good.”
“Now, to some business, Captain,” Anton said. “I’ve had Commander Burt bring the Pioneer into Earth Dock One. Admiral Pavoc of Starfleet Intelligence is going to want to debrief you and your crew. So we’ll be needing you to stay here for a while.”
“Enough business for know, Admiral,” Dr. Weiss said, stepping in between them. “Captain Kelsoe needs his rest now.”
Anton nodded, he patted Kelsoe on the shoulder.
“I’ll see you in a couple of days,” said Anton.
Then Admiral Anton and Dr. Weiss left, leaving Kelsoe alone. Kelsoe sighed, closed his eyes, and went to sleep.