EPISODE 5.42 - “Monks of Or’pec”
written by Travis Cannon
“On screen,” Mathis ordered.
He turned his head back towards the view screen flickered to an image that made his jaw dropped.
A massive armada of So’jan warships was cruising towards them. Mathis heard Trantulus order the Red Alert. Mathis was dumbstruck. He had never seen such a massive fleet in his entire career.
“We stand our ground, Commander,” Mathis told Trantulus. “No matter what...” he trailed off.
As soon as the first of the approaching ships reached weapons range it slowed. Mathis was too stunned give an order. Suddenly the ship’s three equally spaced fins around its center glowed bright green and converged in the center of the ship’s nose.
“Shield!” Trantulus cried behind him.
A green beam pulsed forward and struck the Apollo right behind the bridge, bypassing the shields. A rumbling pulsated throughout the ship, and a sicken roar engulfed the bridge. Outside the Apollo began to explode all over. Flames and oxygen disappeared into the vacuum of space. The Apollo tumbled out of control and drifted. With a silent boom the dish broke in half and the core explored evaporating the ship and sending debris scattering outward.
The gigantic hybrid warships sailed on as if nothing had stood in their way.
The footsteps of the running officer echoed in the lobby of Starfleet Headquarters as he dashed across the marble floor towards the turbolift doors. In his hand he clutched a PADD. Everyone got out of the way as soon as they say him. Someone standing near the turbolifts held one of them for him. He quickly dived in and gave a thankful nod. The turbolift shot up into the building until it reached the top, where the officer got off and dashed down the hall, knocking over a filling cart sending data pads flying in the air and leaving a disgruntled assistant in his wake. He reached his destination in no time, stopping to catch his breath before he entered the officer of the Starfleet Commander and Chief.
The doors hissed opened and he stepped through.
“My God!” proclaimed Admiral Harold Anton. “What’s the matter, Commander Diggs?”
The Starfleet Commander sat behind his desk talking with the Federation President Korvin Mot.
“Sir!” Diggs blurt out. “Mr. President... news from DS-5.”
He handed the PADD to Admiral Anton, who quickly scanned the text in it. He slumped down in his chair and handed the PADD to the Bolian. President Mot looked down at the PADD with a grave look on his face.
“So it has begun,” he said. “The first battle of the war?”
Admiral Anton nodded. “May God help us all.”
The Officer’s Lounge on DS-5 was packed with starfleet personnel, all stared at the central view screen on the wall. An human anchor was talking, he paused and placed his hand over his hear, receiving a message from the control booth. He lowered his hand and looked directly into the camera, his eyes conveying just an emotion that almost everyone knew it was bad news.
“We have just received confirmed reports that the U.S.S. Apollo, captained by Greg Mathis with 750 officers and over 9,800 personnel aboard has just been destroyed by the So’jan Fleet as it crossed the neutral zone into Allied space.... Repeat; the U.S.S. Apollo has been destroyed by the So’jan Fleet, over 10,000 souls have been lost... our thoughts and prays go out to the families of those brave...”
Connor Burt turned away from the view screen and lean against the bar, looking down at a shot of whiskey. He picked up the glass and through his head back and his swallowed its contents. He placed the shot glass back on the bar and pursed his lips. He raised his hand slightly.
“Sam, another...,” he paused a moment. “A this time make it the real stuff, not this fake stuff.”
“Sure thing, Connor,” Sam, the bartender, said solemnly. He poured another shot glass for Burt, who swallowed its contents down.
“Aaahh!” Burt sighed. “That’s better...!”
Sam began wiping down the bar counter as Burt, shifted up onto a stool.
“War getting you down?” Sam asked.
“No...,” Burt said. “To tell the truth, I always thought we’d end up fighting that damn scalys.”
“Did you now?” Sam said, placing one elbow on the bar counter and leaning forward.
“Sure I did,” Burt defended. “Those damn leather skins never wanted a democracy. They just played acted like they wanted one.”
“I see,” Sam said, leaning back and continuing to wipe the bar counter.
Burt looked at him.
“Oh, nothing,” Sam said. “I just think your covering for what your really feeling.”
“And I bet you’re going to tell me what that is?”
Sam nodded. “Your blaming yourself for Ben’s abduction.”
Burt sat back aghast.
“No I’m not!” Burt protested
“Sure...,” Sam soothed. “Just keep telling yourself that.”
“All right,” stammered Burt, “maybe so, but I still say I knew we’d be at war with the scalys.”
“Whatever you say, Commander,” Sam said grinning. His eyes darted up towards the entrance. He lowered his voice. “Here comes Franco.” Sam then slowly and quietly moved down to the other part of the counter.
Burt turned around on his stool and saw Captain Timothy Franco stepped over towards the bar.
“Have you heard the word, Commander?” Franco inquired in his unbelievable calm voice.
“About the Apollo?” Burt answered. “Yeah, just heard it on the news.”
Franco stood alongside Burt and inclined his head slightly, looking down at Burt, who was slumping on the stool.
“I might our new assignment,” Franco said softly.
Burt shifted and looked up at Franco.
“What new assignment?”
“We’re to go to Paos,” Franco said in his soft, yet firm voice. “There we will petition the Paosian government for permission to visit the monks of Or’pec.”
“Monks of Or’pec,” Franco explained calmly. “Though the Paosians hold the chair of state on Paos, the world is really made up to two separate races that evolved apart from one another. The Paosians, who are more like us and have achieved technological superiority to the Or’pec, who still reside in a somewhat dark age civilization. We’ll cover all this at the briefing.”
“Five o’clock, sharp,” Franco said with a small smile. “See you then, Commander.” Franco gave Burt a pat on the back and then left the Officer’s Lounge without ordering a single drink.
Sam made his way back over to Burt, who looked stumped.
“What’s the matter, Connor?” Sam asked.
“We’ve just been given an assignment,” Burt replied.
“It makes no sense?!”
“It has nothing to do with the war effort!”
Benjamin Kelsoe gasped.
His eyes opened and he was greet only by a dull gray wall. He slowly sat up and stopped; pain pounded throughout his head. He reached up with a hand and suddenly felt confused. He brought up his other hand and moved both over the top of his head. Something was different, something was missing.
“Oh God... what have they done?” Kelsoe murmured out loud to no one in particular. He looked down at his body and found that he had been stripped of his Starfleet uniform and was only wearing a tattered loincloth.
He took deep breath and his eyes began to fell with tears. The last thing he remember was being trapped to a examination table with Tyson Calok and L’mar standing before him laughing and talking over downloading his memory into a computer. He remembered seeing an expression Calok’s face that frightened more than anything else in his life.
Had they succeeded in their endeavor? Had they extracted the information they needed from his mind? If so, then why was his still alive? These question swam through Kelsoe’s mind at a quickening pace.
Suddenly there came a noise from behind him. At first Kelsoe did not recognize it, but then he remembered the noise. A door opening and closing. Staying seated on the floor, Kelsoe spun around and saw that a tin bowl had been placed on the floor before the door.
Food?! Kelsoe wondered. He slowly inched forward along the floor. The bowl contained what appeared to be some sort of porridge. At first Kelsoe was hesitant, but soon his hunger won over and he dived into his meal, using his hands as utensils.
Somewhere else, Tyson Calok stood staring at a view screen showing Captain Benjamin Kelsoe, half naked in a dark cell, eating a bowl of porridge with his hands. A grin slowly spread across his face.
The entire senior staff sat in the conference room for the first time since Captain Kelsoe had been abducted. They all seemed apprehensive, except Braxis, who was in normal stoic self. Commander Connor Burt on the other hand was highly emotional. Commander Tuff sat next to him and began to regret some of his decision regarding his commanding officer. Across from him he could see that Dr. Braga was also regretting persuading Dr. Coddle to release Burt to active duty. That man was obviously unfit, but everyone in the room, even Braxis, understood his misplaced emotion. All, except their new commanding officer, Captain Timothy Franco, who had just entered the conference room from the bridge.
He smiled calmly.
“Glade to see everyone here on time,” he said in his calm voice.
Franco walked along the table to chair at the head of the table. He could feel a collective uneasiness as he slide into the chair. He leaned forward, placing his elbows on the table.
“I understand that some of you are having a difficult time excepting Captain Kelsoe’s loss, but we have to move on,” Franco said matter of factually. “We’re at war.”
“And what’s this new assignment, then?” blurt Burt. “I has nothing to do with the war! Why are we doing it?! Huh?”
Franco shifted in his chair and inclined his head slightly in Burt’s direction.
“Yes,” Franco responded. “I’m afraid that might be true.” He paused. “To be honest Admiral Truman doesn’t feel that the crew is quite ready for combat duty.”
“Not ready!” Burt interrupted. “That’s a mistake! Out of all the ships, we’re the ones that should be out there! Fighting! In the front lines!”
Franco shifted, it was a move that made some of the other nervous.
“Look, Commander,” Franco said very sternly, finally beginning to show some emotion. “I’ve tolerated your behavior for this long out of respect for Benjamin Kelsoe. He was a good man, a good officer, and a good captain. I regret the circumstances which have brought me here, but I cannot change that. What I can do is do my job. And I expect everyone else to do the same, especially you, Commander!”
Burt slumped down in his chair, and remained quiet.
“Thank you,” Franco said. “Now, on with the briefing.” He paused and composed himself. “At precisely fifteen hundred hours yesterday Admiral Kawamura summoned me to his office. Once there he gave me this assignment. It comes directly from the Federation Council and Admiral Anton.”
“Saying it’s important, Captain,” Tuff interjected.
“Yes, Commander Tuff,” Franco nodded. “According to Admiral Kawamura, the Federation Council considers this mission as a top priority in the war effort.”
Burt look up.
“The war effort?” Braga inquired, before Burt could speak.
Franco nodded. “Despite what Commander Burt may think, how mission is vital to the war. According to the Paosians, whom we have had an extreme amount of contact with since the signing of the Oralian Charter, there is, what they classify, a subclass of species on their world known as the Or’pec. From our standings, the Or’pec are not a subclass, they merely have not achieve a technological status that their sister race the Paosians have.” There was some chatter around the table. “Commander Braxis, would you care to elaborate. As ship science officer, I would think you would know some more about Paos.”
“Indeed,” Braxis said, inclining his head in a slight nod. He turned to the rest. “The Or’pec live at a level of technology that you humans would consider to be from your planet’s medieval time period. Whether they choose to as such or not is unknown. But what we do know is that they may have some information regarding the ancient artifact that we recently found on Andres Rae.”
“The Eye?” Craig inquired.
“Yes,” Braxis nodded. “The Eye of Amon Ra as I believe Captain Kelsoe said it was called.”
“The Eye of Ra?” Joanna said, turning to Braga. “Isn’t that something for Egyptian mythology?”
Braga shrugged. “I’m a doctor, not a historian.”
“I believe your correct in your assumption, Ms. Withrome,” Braxis said.
“You are,” Franco said from the head of the table. “The Eye has been examined by some of our best scientists and they have concluded that it is some sort of device, for what we don’t know.”
“And that’s what we’re hoping there Or’pec know?” Craig asked.
“Yes, Lieutenant Craig,” Franco said. “To be more precise, it’s what we believe the so-called Monks of Or’pec know.”
“Monks?!” Zimmer said from the back.
“Yes, monks, Mr. Zimmer,” Franco said with a friendly upbeat attitude towards the helmsmen.
“So what? We’re going to visit some monks of Paos?” Tuff inquired.
Franco inclined his head slightly in a nod. “Well not exactly.” He admitted. “First we need to seek permission to contact the Or’pec from the Paosians.”
“Um, sir?” Tracy spoke up.
“Yes, Miss Carson,” Franco said, directing his attention towards the communications officer.
“Won’t we be violating the Prime Directive in attempting contact with the Or’pec?” Tracy questioned.
“That’s a good point,” Tuff agreed. “Sir?”
“Well, considering the fact that they live on the same planet as a space faring the race,” Franco explained. “The Federation Council has decreed the Prime Directive void in this matter.”
Burt suddenly spoke up.
“Sorry, sir, but I don’t see the relevance that this artifact has to do with the war effort,” Burt explained.
Franco glanced over at Burt.
“When I said that our scientists had concluded that the artifact much be some sort of device and they we still don’t know exactly what it is,” Franco explained. “I was kind of lying. We do have a slight idea of what this device could be, and if we’re right, it could help us in more ways that we can imagine.”
“Oh and how’s that?” Burt demanded.
Franco stared straight ahead, completely calm, and answered.
“We think it might be some sort of weapon.”
Franco stood up as the view screen changed to show an Paosian wearing an ornamental headdress. He looked just like a human with a dark skin tone. He nodded.
“Do I have the honor of addressing Director Anun Posar?” Franco inquired.
“No,” he stated plainly.
Franco was taken aback by this. “You are?”
“Tunun Blasar, Chief Minister of the Directory,” the man said.
“Are you the one who shall be speaking for your government?” Franco inquired.
“I have the authorization to speak for the Directory, yes.”
“Very well,” Franco said, nodding slightly. He stepped down into the center of the bridge and stared across at the view screen. “I ask permission to beam down and petition for an audience with the Directors.”
Chief Minister Tunun Blasar inclined his head in a nod. “You have permission. I am sending you the transport coordinates.” And with that the communication was terminated.
Franco stepped back. “Okay...,” he paused. “Tuff, Mr. Braxis, and Miss Carson, you’re with me.” He turned and faced Burt, who remained seated. “You have the bridge, Commander Burt.”
Burt nodded. “Yes, sir.”
Franco then stepped up to join the others in the turbolift.
Captain Timothy Franco stood with a straight back in a marble lobby or hall, they were not sure how to characterized the room, but it was no meeting place. It seemed more like a place of gathering before being taken to a place of meeting. There were many others there beside those in Franco’s party. A delegation to the right looked as if they were from the country, another appeared to be more urban. There were even some military looking delegation there, as well as guards posted alongside the colonnaded wall.
Within each niche stood a guard. In the central niche, which had the large doorway, which lead into what could only be described as the central hall of this complex stood four guards, two on each side of the door. In every other niche stood a guard accompanied by a bust of some politician or historical hero. Some of the busts looked really old. Franco stepped over to examine one; Tracy followed him.
“Amazing artistry!” Franco said softly.
“They look almost human,” Tracy commented.
Franco looked over at her and smiled.
“Well, if their is one thing that I’ve discovered in my travels across the universe is that life comes in many shapes and forms,” he said. “But this one, the biped, seems to be the most common, yes.”
Below the bust on the pedestal which held it was writing that had been carved into the stone. Franco pointed down at it.
“Take this writing for example,” Franco said. “It seems strangely familiar, but it is completely alien.”
Tracy squinted at the writing. “It’s not alien, sir.”
“Well, at least not alien from Earth,” Tracy explained. “In my studies at the Academy, one of my professors insisted that we learn not just the languages of the various species in the known galaxy, but also the ancient languages of Earth. He said that having a machine translate for you is not substitute for learning the language itself. He also told us that to understand the language of a planet you must first understand the language of its past.”
“So what are you saying?” Franco inquired. “That this writing here is from ancient Earth?”
“Exactly that, Captain,” Tracy said. “This resembles what was called Linear B, it is the one of the earliest known written language of the ancient Greeks. From the time of the Minoians and believed to be the language spoken during the time of the Trojan War.”
“Amazing!” Franco said. “Look, just below that inscription is another.”
“Yes,” Tracy said. “That’s classical Greek, the language that the 20th Century Greek language was based on.”
“Two ancient Earth languages!” Franco said. “It’s unbelievable!”
“Extraordinary, more likely, sir,” Tracy said. “Can you believe the ramification of this. Two separate worlds developing a similar languages.”
Franco nodded. “This could be quite a big discovery for the history of Earth.” Franco looked around at some of the other niches. “The writing’s everywhere. This must be their language.” He paused and looked back at the bust they were looking at. “Can you translate this inscription?”
“It’s been a while, sir, but I think so,” Tracy answered. In leaned forward, scrutinizing the text. “I believe the Linear B says, This statue dedicated by Funolo Alon. The classical Greek says, Here the Hero of Ponnac, Grand Tribune of the Ol’mac.”
“Grand Tribune of the Ol’mac?” Franco questioned. “Sounds like a title from the Or’pec.”
“Considering that the Or’pec govern themselves by a tribunal, I must concur with that assumption,” came a emotionless voice.
Both Franco and Tracy turned around to see their pointy ear companion standing behind them, looking done at the writing.
“There must be an explanation for the language’s similarity to that of the ancient people’s of Earth,” Braxis. “That of which I cannot answer at this current juncture, but with further research I might.”
“Yes, that’s, uh, very good, Commander Braxis,” Franco said. “But the question I’m most interested at the present time is why do the Paosians have a statue of an Or’pec hero in their capital building.”
“That is a very good question, Captain Franco.”
They all turned to see the dark skinned Tunun Blasar, the Chief Minister of the Directory, standing before them. Commander Tuff was beside him, who looked confused.
“What have you discovered, sir?” Tuff asked.
Franco gestured to the bust behind him. “This statue is of an Or’pec hero.”
Tuff raised an eyebrow, intrigued. “That’s unusual.”
“You’re telling me?”
“All will be explained in good time,” chimed in Tunun Blasar.
“Yes, yes,” Franco said nodding. “We’re here to speak with the Directory. Lead on, Mr. Blasar.”
Tunun Blasar paused. “I appreciate the effort, Captain Franco, but unlike your species, our surname comes first.”
“My apologies,” Franco said, inclining his head. “Lead on Mr. Tunun.”
Tunun nodded and proceeded out of the room. Franco exchanged a friendly look with his new colleagues and continued after Tunun out into the hallway.
Commander Burt sat in the command chair staring at the blank view screen. He rubbed his eyes.
“Lieutenant, activate view screen,” he commanded. “I’m getting tired to staring at nothing.”
“Uh, yes, sir,” Craig said, punching the appropriate commands into his console.
The view screen blinked to life, showing the starry expansion of space with the blue and green orb of the planet Poas hovering just below them.
“That’s better,” Burt said aloud.
Ensign Zimmer spun around in his chair.
“What are we doing, sir?” he inquired.
“Nothing,” Burt said. “Nothing worth us taking a look at these monks of Or’pec.”
Lieutenant Craig walked down from his station to the center of the bridge.
“I agree, sir,” Craig said. “We should be in the front lines. We know this part of space better than anybody.”
Burt nodded, and raised one hand. “You’ll hear no arguments here.”
“We should be going after the Captain!” Zimmer interjected.
A period of silence drifted across the bridge.
“You’re damn right, Mr. Zimmer,” Burt said. “If it wasn’t for Franco we’d be out there right now looking for the captain. I don’t care what Starfleet Command says, Benjamin Kelsoe is the captain of the vessel, not Timothy Franco.”
Both Zimmer and Craig nodded in agreement. That is when Burt thought of something. It was something that was dangerous, something he’d have to wait for the others to return to discuss. All Burt did at that moment was smile.
Admiral Christopher Truman and Admiral Toshio Kawamura stood side by side a newly restored section of the station. Truman passed slowly around looking at all the equipment and computer terminals.
“So this is where it happened?” he said softly. “The conference room.”
Kawamura nodded. “Yes,” he said gravely.
“And now?” Truman inquired, raising and eyebrow in interest.
“Commander and Control,” Kawamura said. “For the war effort.”
“I see,” Truman said, turning and inspecting the row of officers lined up. Among them was Ensign Tolorev. “Tolorev?”
“I thought you were stationed aboard the Pioneer, as... what was that position called, Toshio?”
“SIR Officer,” Kawamura said curtly.
“Ah yes, Intelligence Representative,” Truman said. “I assumed you were reassigned?”
“Sir, yes, sir!”
Truman glanced over at Kawamura.
“Starfleet Command decided to remove SIR Officers from starships,” Kawamura said. “They felt it gave SI too much access to... well, you know.”
Truman nodded. “I understand. I used to be a Starfleet captain. I wouldn’t want a SI officer aboard my ship. Could be a mole for Starfleet Intelligence.”
Tolorev shift as if he was unease.
“Not that you’re a spy, Tolorev,” Truman said. “Glad your aboard.”
Kawamura stepped forward.
“All right, inspection over,” Kawamura said sharply. “Everyone get back to work. We have a war to win!”
Timothy Franco stood in the middle of a circular room, his officers stood around him. Surrounding them was a crescent shaped table. In the center of the table sat a dark skinned man with a fancy headdress that Franco could only guess was the High Director. The others, and each side of him were no doubt the other members that made up the Directory.
Franco nodded slightly towards the man he presumed was the High Director.
“May I speak, High Director?”
There was a moment of silent. A small hint of doubt crept into Franco’s mind that he had been mistaken.
“You presume correctly, Captain Franco,” High Director said. “I am Anun Posar, High Director of the Paosian Directory.”
“It’s pleasure,” Franco said bowing his head.
“Your audience was accepted by the behest of your President Korvin Mot,” High Director Anun said. “We have no need for formalities, please speak your mind. Say what it is you have come here to say.”
Franco glanced at his comrade and nodded slightly.
“Very well, High Director,” he paused. “The Federation, then, formally asks permission to seek out and speak with the so-called Monks of Or’pec.”
There was an immediate hush among the Directory. The Directory looked amongst themselves and then directed their attention back to the Starfleet officers.
“May I ask why?” Anun inquired.
“We seek knowledge they have of an ancient device,” Tuff spoke up.
Anun turned and looked at Tuff.
“You have not been given permission to speak, Commander,” Anun said.
Anun shot him another stern look.
“We shall over look this insult considering you are unaware of our customs,” Anun explained. “Only the leader shall speak in matters concerning state business, and this is state business.”
“I apology for my officers lack of knowledge regarding your customs, High Director,” Franco said, shifting slightly. “But he spoke the truth. We seek knowledge they have regarding an ancient device.”
“How could they have such knowledge of a device that only peoples like us can create and operate?” Anun asked. “They are inferior beings.”
Franco shifted. He was being to feel nervous.
“We have it from good authority that the monks of Or’pec have the knowledge we seek,” Franco said calmly.
“Sorry, but that is not good enough for us,” Anun said. “What is this device you speak of? Why is it so important to you?”
“We are at war, High Director,” Franco said, as stern as you could. “We believe that this device may hold the key to helping achieving victory.”
“We know all about this war of yours,” Anun said. “And we care not for it. The So’jan are an inferior race, they shall never achieve any victory over the superior races. You are obviously an inferior race since you need such a weapon to defeat them.” He paused. “Your request is denied.”
Franco stood still. Beside him Tuff was ready to exploded. Franco sensed the tension in the air.
“Not wait a God damn minute!” blurted Tuff without thinking.
“How dare you!” Anun bolted from his seat. “We here are the sacred and the blessed of Pelops. It belittles us to speak with such an inferior species.”
“Human may seem inferior, sir,” Braxis spoke up. “But they are not. Not species is superior to the other.”
Anun glared at Braxis.
“Quite machine!” Anun said, narrowing his eyes. “Any race that denies such is inherently inferior. Pelops made us and we will not allow such blasphemy be spoken in his temple.” Anun turned towards the guards. “Execute them immediately.”
Franco glanced at Tuff. Tuff tapped his commbadge.
“Emergency transport!” Tuff said.
Franco and the Starfleet officer immediately disappeared in a ray of blue light.
“Inferior my ass!” Tuff growled. “Can you believe those people?”
Franco sighed and nodded. “I know. I’m not glade to say I’m surprised and disappointed. I thought that they would have helped us.”
They were standing in the captain’s ready room. It still had Kelsoe’s things. Command Burt sat behind the captain’s desk in Kelsoe’s chair.
“They think their superior?” Burt said with a smirk. “If their so enlightened why is it they couldn’t stop us for transporting you up?”
Franco shrugged. “Who knows?”
“What was it he said?” Tuff said. “Blessed of Pelops?”
Franco nodded. “Yes, that’s what he said: Pelops.”
“Pelops?” Burt said, furrowing his brow.
“Yes,” Franco said. “I mythological hero from Greek mythology. He one the first chariot race at Olympus and was believed to be the father of all the Peloponnesians in ancient Greece.”
“How can an Earth myth exist on an alien planet?” Burt inquired.
Franco looked out the window at the planet below them. “That’s what I intend to find out.”
Captain Russ Pravelt was sitting in his ready room aboard the excelsior class Federation ship U.S.S. Saladin. The replicator hummed quietly and a mug of hot coffee appeared. Pravelt was reaching over to picked it up when the communications intercom began to beep.
“Yes?” Pravelt called to his communications officer on the bridge.
“Message from Deep Space Five, sir,” the communications officer said.
“I’ll take it in here,” Pravelt said, moving his personal computer console screen towards him.
The screen flashed to life and showed Admiral Christopher Truman standing it what appeared to be a newly built command center.
“Admiral,” Pravelt nodded in recognition as he sipped his coffee.
“Captain Pravelt,” Truman said, very official. “We’ve picked up some interesting transmissions coming from Tulop. Knowing that the Apollo was recently attack around that part of space, Starfleet Commander is getting a bit worried. We want you to check it out and report back.”
Pravelt nodded. “I’ll have my helm officer set course immediately, sir.”
“Oh, and Pravelt,” Truman said. “Be sure you come back to us. We don’t need another Apollo.”
“That makes two of us, sir,” Pravelt said.
Truman nodded. “Get to it then. Truman out.”
Pravelt took one more sip of his coffee before putting back in the replicator for recycle. He then called his CONN officer via the intercom and told him to set a course for Tulop.
“Have you got the coordinates, Mr. Braxis?” Captain Franco asked, standing with his head slightly tilted down towards the transporter control console.
Braxis raised an eyebrow. “As accurate as I can make on the details provided by Starfleet Command.”
Tuff, as well as Tracy, stood down on the transporter pad loading backpack with equipment for analysis. The doors opened and in walked Ensign Tom Dunn and Crewman Stackhouse holding a secure carrying case. Tuff looked up.
“Yes, sir,” Dunn said, as he and Stackhouse placed it down on the transporter pad.
“That’ll be all,” Tuff said. “Ensign Manon’s in charge until I get back.”
“Aye, sir,” Dunn nodded. Dunn and Stackhouse then promptly left the room.
Back up at the transporter control console, Braxis was running through his computation one last time. Franco turned and looked over at Commander Burt, who had been standing silently in the back.
“Something wrong, Commander?” Franco inquired in his calm and relaxing voice.
Burt shrugged. “I don’t know, sir. Is this legal. I mean, it ain’t by the book, and you said that you were a by the book kind of guy.”
“Sometimes we must bend the rules to do the right thing, Commander,” Franco said. “The Paosians obviously are hiding something from us...”
“Or they’re just plain rude..., sir,” interrupted Burt.
Franco sighed. “Their stubbornness has lead to this decision. I was given strict order to attempt... attempt... to get permission from the Directory and if I failed in such an endeavor to go along with the mission as ordered.”
“So you’re just following order, is that it?” Burt inquired.
Franco stood there for a moment.
“I have finished by computations, sir,” Braxis informed them. “I believe that the coordinates will transport us just outside the Or’pec village.”
“Good,” Franco said, ignoring Burt’s question. “The monastery is within walking distance of the village.”
Franco stepped down into the transporter pad, followed by Burt.
“Well, sir?” Burt inquired.
“We’ll go down and investigate,” Franco said. “You’ll stay and here and if the Paosians start asking question, stall them for as long as you can.” He turned his attention to Tuff. “Is everything ready, Commander Tuff?”
“I believe so, sir,” Tuff said scratching the area just above his mustache.
“Mr. Braxis, if you will,” Franco said.
Braxis stepped aside from the control console, allowing Ensign Kavoc to take his attention.
“You have command, Commander,” Franco said to Burt, as Burt stepped back up to the control console. Burt acknowledged with a nod of his head. “Beam us down, Mr. Kavoc.”
Kavoc tapped his console and within moments Captain Franco, along with the rest of the landing party, was gone.
“Strange how it is that he knows not what he has done,” Commander L’mar said staring at the view screen showing the bald and unconscious Benjamin Kelsoe.
Next to L’mar was Tyson Calok, who stood there with a wicked smirk on his face.
“It does not matter what he does or does not know, Romulan!” Calok responded. “All that matters is that his information be accurate.”
As Calok said this Da’note, the So’jan Admiral, entered the room through a side door.
“So far the information as been of use,” Da’note said. “The fleet passed safely through the neutral zone and into Federation space.”
L’mar raised an eyebrow. “So it is true.”
Da’note looked confused.
“We’re heading for Tulop?” L’mar said.
Da’note felt uncomfortable.
“Yes,” Da’note said. “We are. But that is none of your concern.”
“It is our concern!” Calok said, raising his voice.
His red eyes began to glow. Da’note shrank back.
“You would not have been able to destroy the Apollo if it was not for our help,” Calok explained as a parent would to a child. Calok turn his back to Da’note and stared at the screen. “Tulop won’t be as easily defeated, scaly!”
“Do you?” L’mar interjected. “Every time your forces have ever engaged the Tulop in battle you have lost. Are you so confident now that you border on hubris?”
“No,” hissed Da’note, becoming defensive. “The So’jan are a warrior race! We can handle anything those winged freaks can muster!”
Calok closed his eyes.
“When do we reach Tulop?”
“In two days,” Da’note answered.
“Then that’s when we’ll see if my faith in your kind was misplaced.”
“I believe we’ve reached the village, Captain,” Braxis stated.
“Stating the obvious, Commander,” Franco said, as their party slowly entered through a low stone archway and the brought them into a village with houses made of mud and straw with thatched roofs. As the main road went further into town the houses became more elaborate, with some made of stone with wood roofs. It felt as if they had traveled back in time to the Dark Ages of Earth.
“What was the villages called, again?” Tuff asked.
“Nurmon,” Tracy answered. “The people living here are mainly made up of the Nurmonian tribe of the Or’pec people.”
“Which Lord rules over them?”
“I believe it was Nargoth,” Braxis replied. “According to the source we had aboard the Pioneer, he is one of the more unpleasant tribunes.”
“Then let us hope we do not encounter him,” Franco said. “We need to find the monastery.”
Tracy pointed ahead, above the roof tops.
“I see what looks to be a chapel spire over there.”
“Then let’s head in that direction,” Franco said.
Their party began moving due south in the direction of the chapel spire. As they did so, Tuff looked around nervously.
“Where are all the people?”
“Most likely at mass,” Braxis responded. “According to our sources, the people of the Or’pec attended religious ceremonies once a day at the Hour of Heltar.”
“Hour of Heltar?” Tuff questioned.
“Translated into our time, roughly between thirteen and fourteen hundred,” Braxis explained.
Tuff nodded. “So that’ll explain why this place seems like a ghost town.”
“Come on,” Franco called back. “Enough talk. We need to find that monastery.
The party made their way through the narrow streets and through a couple of allies before entering a large square before an impressive celtic looking church. Franco stood back in awe.
“Amazingly like the Celtic Churches in Ireland and Northern France,” he awed.
“Yes, Captain,” Braxis concurred. “Most fascinating.”
A bell began to chime. The wooden doors of the church opened and out poured a vast mass of peoples, all dress in what appeared to be medieval clothing to the eyes of the Earth born among the party. They were glimpsed early on by a child, who noticed Braxis’ ears and screamed. The multitude stopped and all turned to see what the child was so afraid of. Her mother quickly ran up and grabbed the girl, pulling her away from the strangers. A loud commotion aroused among the others, but quieted done when a man dressed in a black robe, who looked very much like a friar from the Tales of Canterbury.
Their sources had been correct. Unlike the Paosians, the Or’pec were a light skinned people, who very much looked like those of northern Europe.
The friar made his way through the throng and approach the newcomers.
“Who be ye, strangers?” he inquired.
Franco stepped forward.
“I am Captain Timothy Franco of the Federation starship Pioneer,” Franco said. “We come here in peace.”
“Ye come in peace, ye say?” the friar looked suspicious. “Why be ye with a pointy eared devil?”
“My friend is no devil,” Franco assured the friar. “He is a member of a race known as Vulcans.”
“And ye be a Vulcan, too?” the friar asked. “Be ye friend deformed?”
“I am human,” Franco said, gesturing towards himself. “My friend is Vulcan.”
“I what be with the ridges on the woman’s nose?” inquired the friar.
“She if Bajorian,” Franco responded. “We mean you no harm.”
“As ye said before,” acknowledge the friar. “Why, then, have ye come to our village?”
“We seek knowledge from the wise monks of your people,” Franco stated.
There was a hush among the throng assembled. The friar looked around at his flock and then back at Franco’s party.
“Ye outsiders, come with me,” the friar said. “We must speak in closed quarters away from the innocent.”
The crowd parted, creating a passage back into the church. The friar lead the way, followed by Franco and his party. They went into the church, where the friar closed the doors.
The church was amazing, right out of a medieval chapel. Behind the altar was a huge stained-glass window that looked just like those in the churches of Earth. The stained-glass window depicted a hero defeating a great enemy.
Franco stared at it in awe.
“An extraordinary piece of art,” he exclaimed. “What is it depicting?”
“Ye be outsiders?” the friar inquired. “Not from the Or’pec or the Paosians?”
“Correct,” Franco said. “We are from the stars, from a planet called Earth.”
The friar nodded. “We do not get much off-worlders traveling to our villages seeking the monks. The Paosians wish them not to know of us. They think we be stupid because we chose to live as we do.”
“Chose?” Tuff inquired, looking around the church.
“Yes, chose,” the friar said. “We know of the technology that the Paosians have. They think we are ignorant in the ways of such things. In thinking so, they are the ones who are ignorant.”
“Why do you chose not to live with technology?” Franco inquired. “Surely in times it can help?”
The friar nodded. “At times it is hard. It is a temptation that we must resist all our lives. We chose to resist because of our faith. Helios tells us that technology will corrupt us, and we obey. We do not want to be corrupted. Once outsiders came to our world to corrupt our people. All peoples are Paos are the people of Pelops. He helped mold our people into a benevolent and wise race. But one day outsider came and began corrupting us. That is when Helios, depicted in the window, came and drove the evils away and brought salvation to part of us. That part, the one that was saved, became my people, the Or’pec. The corrupted by outsiders became the Paosians.”
“Does their corruption have anything to do with skin tone?” Tracy inquired.
Franco and Tuff turned to look at her.
“Just wonder?” Tracy said. “Racism is common among some worlds more than others.”
“No,” the friar said. “We are not haters of skin. They are. We are one race, but because of the great divide amongst our people we Or’pec have lost the genes to have dark skin. It is most depressing. To have everyone look the same is not what Pelops had wished. And it still saddens the benevolent Helios.”
“Helios?” Franco questioned. “On our planet we know Helios as the Greek Sun god.”
“Yes, sun god,” the friar nodded. “Helios is the sun god. Do ye know him?”
“We know of him,” Franco replied. “You see, on our planet, an ancient civilization known as the Greeks worshiped many gods, among them was a sun god called Helios.”
“I see,” the friar said, smiling. “Helios must have visited your world a long time ago then.”
Franco shrugged. “Maybe. He is not the only ancient deity who we have discovered was real. More than fifty years ago our people discovered the god Apollo on a planet. Before we had encountered him we thought he was nothing more than a myth.”
“Yes,” the friar said. “We know Apollo. He is one of which Helios warned us about.”
“He is one you need not worry about anymore, then,” Braxis said. “Fifty-five years ago, our people put an end to his power.”
The friar’s brow furrowed. “Ye people stopped Apollo?”
Franco nodded. “Yes, it was done by one of our most decorated officers, Captain James T. Kirk.”
“This Kirk must be a saint if he could put an end to one such as Apollo,” the friar said.
“I’m sure Kirk would appreciate that,” Franco said.
“Especially being called a saint,” Tuff said, jokingly.
Franco and the others, except Braxis (of course), chuckled.
“I should like to meet this Kirk,” the friar said. “One who could defeat an immortal is one I would like to met.”
“He is dead,” Braxis said in his stereotypic unemotional vulcan way.
“Oh, I am sorry to hear that,” the friar said. “Did he die in his fight against others such as Apollo?”
“No, his death is kind of complicated, and a little of topic,” Franco said. “We have come here seeking the monks.”
“As ye said before,” the friar said. “And I see ye mean what ye say, and ye can be trusted, seeing as ye people have fought and defeated the an evil before.”
“So you’ll take us to the monks?” Tracy inquired.
“Yes,” the friar said, smiling. “I shall.”
The friar lead them done a dark underground tunnel. He held a torch in his hand to light the way, while the Starfleet officers all had their wrist-lights on.
“Ye technology is quite impressive,” the friar said. “Surely ye be blessed by Pelops, as well.”
“It’s what the ancient Greek believed,” Franco said, half-joking.
“Then they would be right,” the friar said. “Ye appear not to be corrupted by technology as the Paosians have become.”
“We like to this so,” Tuff said, grinning.
“Only much further?” Tracy said, who was remembering the last time she had been in a cavern.
“Not must further.”
Just as the friar promised they sudden came into a wide opened cavern. On the opposite end of the cavern, carved into the rock, was an elaborate archway, with a colonnade and a pediment. It looked much like the Petra Treasury, except more Greek in origin and design, added with a few celtic symbols such as the spiral designs on the columns and the images of celtic christian symbols that Franco was amazed at seeing carved into the rock of an alien world.
“Welcome to the Monastery of the Ancients,” declared the friar. “This is as far as I am allowed to go. Ye must what here and a monk shall come. So long, peoples of Earth, Bajor, and Vulcan. May ye find what ye are seeking.”
The friar bid farewell and returned the way they came. Tuff looked around.
“We wait here?”
“That’s what the man said,” Tracy said. “What do we do, sir?”
“We do as we are told,” Franco said. “We have already angered the Paosians, let’s not offend the Or’pec.”
“Approaching Tulop, sir,” the helmsman said.
“Slow to impulse for planetary orbit,” Captain Russ Pravelt commanded.
He leaned back in his chair as the view screen showed the stars slowing and the planet of Tulop appear before them. His eyes narrowed. “That’s odd? Enhance image.”
A light appeared.
“I believe someone is coming, Captain,” Braxis reported.
Franco and the others turned to look at the archway. The light became more distinct and soon a hooded figure in a black robe appeared.
“Ye be the outsiders the friar of Nurmon told of us of?” inquired the monk.
“Yes, and a presume you are a monk of Or’pec?” Franco retorted.
“Ye...” the monk coughed and his voice changed slightly. “You are correct.”
The monk straightened his back and removed his hood, revealing a bright face of breathtaking beauty. Franco raised his arms to shield his eyes, as did his comrades.
“What’s this?” Franco demanded. “I face of pure light.”
“Sorry,” said the monk.
The light dimmed to the point were the face they were now staring at was throbbing with a white glow, and a facial structure was barely visible.
“You are not Or’pec,” observed Braxis.
“You are correct, Vulcan,” said the monk.
“Are you Helios?” Franco inquired.
“No,” the monk said. “I am his representative to outsiders. Helios does not appear to anyone who is not Or’pec. You may call me Pyrois.”
“Pyrois?” Tracy said surprised.
“Miss Carson?” Franco asked.
“Pyrois was the name of one of the four horse that pulled Helios chariot across the sky,” Tracy explained.
“Ah,” Pyrois said. “You are familiar with the myth we have planted in the Or’pec.”
“No,” Franco corrected. “It is a myth from our planet of Earth, from the ancient Greeks.”
“The Greeks?” Pyrois thought. “Ah, yes, I remember them. Our kind looked after them, but they forgot us, so we left.” Pyrois paused, the throbbing of the light pulsed for a bit. “You must be humans, then.”
“Yes,” Franco said. “Though my communication officer is only half. Her father was human, her mother was Bajorian.”
“The Bajorians!” Pyrois seemed to smile. “Yes. The Prophets look after your people.”
Tracy was taken aback. “Yes, that is correct.”
“We know of the Prophets,” Pyrois said, “Though they are not as old as my kind.”
“Who are your kind?” Franco inquired. “We have never encountered them before.”
“Oh but you have,” Pyrois said. “The fact that you know my name and the myth that Helios saw fit to create. Your kind has encountered my kind. But as of present, no, we have not encountered one another.”
There was a pause in the conversation.
“You must have helped Helios drive out the outsiders?” Tuff said.
“Yes, I did,” Pyrois said. “As did my three brothers in arms. The evil ones wished to corrupt all of Paos. They only succeeded in half.” Franco and his team remained silent. “You never wondered how the ancient Earth language came to be on Paos?”
“Yes, of course we did,” Franco said.
“It was us, of course. It is our language that we gave to the Greeks, and then gave to the Paosians and Or’pec,” Pyrois explained. “The Paosians will never intrude on the Or’pec in fear of bringing forth the Four Horsemen of Apocalypse. They do not want to anger Helios, you see. They act as if they do not believe, but they do.”
“Why is that?” Tuff inquired.
“They are ashamed that they were lead astray by the evil ones,” Pyrois explained. “They are so ashamed that they cannot admit they made a mistake and were mislead.” He paused, and appeared to chuckle. “Well, ego also prevents them from admitting their mistake.”
“What is it you want?” Franco inquired.
The throbbing light of Pyrois’s glowing skin seem to subside and they saw what appeared to be a frowning face.
“Helios tells us to go back,” Pyrois said. “The device which you carry is not ready to be used. Not by children. Your race is too young to understand the Eye.” Pyrois’s mood seem to soften a bit. “Though the Consistorium believe that it is best to keep the Eye in your care until such time that we deem it is ready for use against the evil ones.”
“You know what we are facing, don’t you?” Franco inquired. “The entire Oralian sector is under threat by the So’ja Coalition.”
“We know,” Pyrois said, he began to glow again. “The Consistorium has spoken. Go back. When it is time to begin our relations, the Four Horsemen will come and you shall be given access to the Monks of Or’pec and their vast knowledge of the wonders of the ancients.” He paused for a beat. “As for now, leave and do not return.”
Pyrois raised a hand of pure light and wave it in the air. There was a bright burst of white light and the next thing Franco and his landing team knew they were back aboard the Pioneer in the transporter room.
Ensign Kavoc cocked his head slightly.
“Fascinating,” Kavoc said. “Sirs, how did you beam back up?”
Franco looked at Tracy, Tuff, then Braxis, and then back to Ensign Kavoc.
“I don’t know, Ensign,” Franco said. “But whatever it was, it is beyond our understanding.”
“At least for know, sir,” Tuff said softly, rubbing his cheek with his right hand.
“Where the hell did they come from?” cried Captain Russ Pravelt aboard the U.S.S. Saladin.
“Don’t know, sir,” said the Saladin’s tactical officer.
“It appears that they are bombarding the planet,” the operations officer said.
“Picking up Tulop refugee ships attempting to flee the planet, sir!” the communications officer called from his station.
“Confirmed,” the tactical officer reported. “Picking up refugee ships.” She paused, checking the read out on her console. “Two enemy ships have broken off from the main fleet to pursue.”
“Raise shields, and bring us in-between the So’jan warships and the refugee ships!” Pravelt commanded.
“Enric,” Pravelt called over to his communications officer. “Send all our data to DS-5. Tell them that Tulop as fallen to the enemy.”
Pravelt leaned forward. “All right, let’s shows these scaly bastards what we’re made of. Fire!”