EPISODE 5.46 - “The Boolran Eye” - Part One
written by Travis Cannon
Red light glared across the bridge. Lieutenant Dillon Hellon knelt over the sprawled body of the captain. The bridge shook and Hellon was pulled to the floor. The alarms were sounding, and the computer kept reporting the worsening shape of the ship. Hellon looked back down at the captain and reach down to feel for a pulse.
There was none.
“Dillon?!” shouted Ensign Jenna McCormick from the helm.
“He's dead,” Hellon responded in a whisper.
McCormick, who hadn't heard his response, looked over her shoulder and saw Hellon kneeling over the captain's body.
“Captain Byrd is dead!” McCormick's eyes narrowed.
Hellon looked up. “And Commander Zixx!” He looked around the bridge.
“Dillon!” McCormick shouted, turning her attention momentarily back to the view screen.
“They're all dead!” cried Hellon, standing and placing his hands on his face.
McCormick returned her attention.
“Dillon! Get a grip!” McCormick demanded, quickly giving the bridge a cursory examination.
She gritted her teeth, as the ship shook again from another disruptor blast. Steam began to bellow out from behind the tactical station. Beyond her, Hellon rushed over and entered some commands on the console. As he finished, and dived away, the console burst in a array of sparks and plasma discharges. The ship shook and Hellon leaned against the command chair.
“Dillon, it's now or never!” McCormick shouted. “You're in command.”
Lieutenant Dillon Hellon froze. His eyes fixated on the image being projected on the view screen. A massive egg-shaped ship hung before them. He almost thought, what with the design pattern on the hull, it looked like an Easter egg. The front was glowing red, and all around the barrel light began to flash. Hellon watched in horror as a great ball of pure plasmatic energy came shouting out of the massive barrel, hurling towards the planet Neecko below.
“Dillon!” McCormick screeched. “You need to make a decision NOW!”
“You're bloody well in command, you arse!” McCormick shouted.
Hellon gripped the back on the command chair and swung around it, pausing for a moment as he saw the dead captain resting at its feet. He eased himself into the chair and gripped the arms. Sweat poured down his neck.
“Dillon, God damn it!”
“Right,” answered Hellon. “Er... evasive maneuvers.”
“That's what I'm trying to do,” McCormick replied. “The damn scalys have sent out their small fighters. They're circling us, making pass... taking pot shots at us.... here comes another ONE!”
The ship shook and Hellon tightened his grip on the chair arms. McCormick was pulled forward and her head violently hit the helm console. For a moment of fear, Hellon thought he had lost her too, but her annoyed groaned told him that she was still there. She gingerly pushed herself away from the console. Her hair was all tussled. She looked over her shoulder at him and grinned.
“That was close,” she snapped.
“Watch out!” Hellon shouted pointing wildly at the view screen.
McCormick turned and saw a green blast shout across the screen. She rapidly punched the console in front of her and the ship ducked down, avoiding the blast.
“That was close! If you've been paying attention...!” Hellon started.
McCormick glared up at him. “You wanna drive, Lieutenant?”
He backed down. “No... That's fine. You're doing a wonderful job… er... worthy of song, as the Klingon's say, eh?”
“Enough, Dillon,” McCormick said. “We still have a job to do.”
“Yes... of course, you're quiet right,” Hellon stammered. He looked down at the small control panel on the arm of the chair. He punched the panel. “Transferring all command controls to this panel and the helm console.”
Hellon narrowed his eyes, staring at the LCARS screen. “The holo-projector is down.”
“Obviously,” was McCormick's response.
Hellon looked up annoyed, but continued his examination of the ship's systems. Nothing seemed to be in operation. All major defensive systems were down... expect.... Hellon looked up from the panel. “Deflective Hull Plating is still functioning!”
McCormick shifted the course of the ship to avoiding ramming into a Coalition hybrid ship. “It's never been tested!” she objected.
“It's our only chance, Jenna, and you know it,” Hellon said. “Activating Deflective Hull Plating... now.”
The was a shudder throughout the ship and a grating sound of two metal pieces rubbing together.
The So'jan Admiral Ru'siy stood on the command deck of the Mass Driver vessel, overseeing the planetary bombardment. His orange uniform was crisp and clean. His boots shined. His white sash full of decorations and awards. His leathery skin was more wrinkled than those around him, showing his age. But he stood straight backed and ordered.
“Report, Colonel,” he spoke in a calm and deep voice.
A young so'jan Colonel turned from his post.
“Mass Drivers having full project effect on the capital,” he reported. “All major outlining centered have been laid to waste.”
“Good...,” wheezed Ru'siy, almost smiling. He stretched a thin leather baton in his hands. He looked down at it. “You know, Ruz'fur, in the glory days of King So'mal, I used to be able to whip insolent scourge with this.” He paused and grinned at the Colonel's expression. “Ah, don't worry, Ruz'fur, this is a new age. An age of glory and redemption for a people.” He turned and looked towards the large bay windows, reinforced with force fields and looked down at the planet below. He gripped his leather baton tightly. “Have they surrendered, yet?”
“Negative, sir,” Colonel Ruz'fur replied.
“Pity,” tutted Ru'siy. “Very well, it was their choice. Target the capital building and fire.”
Ruz'fur hesitated. Admiral Ru'siy glared at him.
“Do as your told, Colonel.”
“Aye, sir,” Colonel Ruz'fur responded, returning to his station. He looked out at the planet. “Entering the target.”
“Fire at will, Colonel.”
A bright blast came from the massive vessel as the Mass Driver was propelled down towards the planet. Fortunately for Lieutenant Hellon and Ensign McCormick it was just the thing they needed at that moment.
“Sensors will drop momentarily as the Mass Driver flows by,” McCormick said.
“As good of time to test the DHP,” Hellon said. “Engaging Deflective Plating.”
As before the ship shuddered, but this time no sound followed. Hellon and McCormick looked around in wonder.
“Well? Did it work?” Hellon inquired.
“Checking,” McCormick looked down at her display screen. “Confirmed!” she exclaimed exuberantly.
Hellon smiled and looked down at the control panel on the chair's arm. “Stealth mode is confirmed. Ah! Wait until Starfleet hears of this!” He looked up at McCormick. “Set a course for Deep Space Five, engage at maximum warp.”
“Aye, aye, sir!”
Captain's Log - Stardate 59039.32:
By Earth's calendar it is the year January 15, 2382; and I have just received some terrible news... Velos has surrendered to the Coalition. Last Christmas the Breen took the Beta system, and the Federation has moved forces into both Callian and Dinokian territories, the create some sort of buffer zone between the Breen advance and the rest of the sector. On stardate 58837.13, the Second Najh was forced to sign a non-aggression treaty with the Coalition, allowing So'jan forces to enter Najh territory. And reports are coming in that Neecko has just fallen to the So'ja... nothing is going well. We are losing this war. We need something to go our way, and we need it right now.
Captain Benjamin Kelsoe took a deep breath. He stared out the window at the stars beyond and thought of the many battles and narrow escapes the Pioneer had been involved in since her return to active duty. He thought of his friends on Velos, proud of how long they were able to hold out until they were force to surrender. The M.A.C.O.s and Major James Morgan had been recalled to help with the defenses of their allies, and he was unsure if he would ever see his old friend again.
On the bright side, the past four months proved to be good for getting to know his new Tactical Officer, Gervasio Valdez. The man was young, but he was well capable of his duties. Commander Tuff had settled into his new position as First Officer, and Kelsoe had even received a letter from Connor Burt, telling him that despite his “medical problem” Starfleet Command recognized their need for his expertise in dealing with the So'ja, so he had been assigned as a special consultant to the Starfleet Commander, Admiral Harold Anton, on Inner So'ja Politics. Burt also made a reference to the fact that he also was acquainted with Admiral Ru'mal, the supposed leader of the Resistance, as another reason for reactivation and reassignment.
Things were not going good, and he knew it.
The door chimes sounded and Kelsoe shook his head.
The doors hissed opened and Commander Robert Tuff walked in holding a PADD. He smiled. Kelsoe returned the smile.
“Settling in?” Kelsoe inquired.
“Took me a while to get used to having bigger quarters,” Tuff answered. “But that's a change I can live with.”
They both chuckled.
“What have you got there?” Kelsoe inquired.
Tuff looked down at the data pad. “Sensor reports from the new Breen border,” Tuff said. “Lieutenant Valdez is very punctual with his reports.”
“He seems to be fitting in nicely with the crew,” Kelsoe said, leaning back in his chair.
Tuff nodded. “He was a good fit, aye.”
“So what's there to report?” Kelsoe asked, holding out a hand for the PADD, which Tuff relinquished.
“Nothing much,” he reported. “The Breen have begun fortifying their new acquisitions. Both Beta V and Beat VI have full battalions in orbit, and construction has begun on stations. Braxis' scientific scans show that the Breen have begun mining mineral deposits from the Beta Nebula.”
“It's just random particles,” Kelsoe exclaimed. “What could they get from it?”
“I don't know, sir. We've never found the minerals contained in the nebula to be of any value,” Tuff explained. “However, according to Braxis, some of the particles can be used to power freeze units.”
“The Breen isolation suits!” Kelsoe grinned. “If we knew, we could have establish better relations with the Breen so that they wouldn't have joined with the Coalition.”
“Agreed,” Tuff inclined his head slightly in an nod.
The intercom beeped.
“Captain Kelsoe and Commander Tuff to the bridge,” came Braxis' voice.
Kelsoe looked at Tuff, worried.
“Might be the Breen, or even the So'ja,” Tuff said, as Kelsoe stood and placed the PADD down on his desk.
“Knowing how luck,” he said as they walked towards the door. “It's probably the Callians demanding something ridiculous.”
Captain Kelsoe and Commander Tuff stepped out into the bridge. Braxis stood from the command chair to allow Kelsoe to take his seat. Tuff went over to his chair and opened up the control panel that lay in between his chair and the command chair.
“Report,” Kelsoe said.
“Two unidentified vessels are heading this way. All attempts at communications have failed,” Braxis reported, and then returned to his station.
Kelsoe watched as Braxis returned to the science station. He then leaned over to Tuff. “What do the sensors say?”
Tuff looked down at the control panel. “Just two ships, nothing more. We can't read their warp signatures.”
“Sir, we're coming into visual range,” Valdez said from the tactical station.
“On screen, Mr. Valdez,” Kelsoe said, looking up from the center control panel.
The view screen flashed and showed to dots surrounded by stars in the distance. He narrowed his eyes.
The screen blinked and showed the ships up close.
“I don't recognize that design,” Tuff said. “Braxis?”
Braxis examined the sensor readings.
“Neither conform to known designs,” Braxis reported. “However I am reading what appears to be a coaxial warp signature.”
“Coaxial?” Craig questioned from his station. Kelsoe looked over his shoulder. Craig was examining the data at his station. “Confirmed, sir. Though I don't understand.”
Kelsoe tapped his commbadge.
“Joanna, are you seeing this?” he asked.
“Yes, Captain,” came Joanna's voice. “Definitely coaxial drive, though I am unsure of how that is possible.”
“It has been theorized,” Craig said. “But never placed in practice.”
“If I'm right, the U.S.S. Voyager encountered such a vessel in the Delta quadrant,” Joanna said over the intercom.
“Well, this isn't the Delta quadrant,” Kelsoe said. “And I doubt, even with a coaxial warp drive...”
“Sensors are detecting a strange energy signature,” Valdez interjected.
“Strange? How so, Lieutenant?” Tuff questioned.
Valdez worked quickly at his console. “It keeps fluctuating, sensors are having a difficult time getting a reading.”
“Mr. Craig, bust the sensors using the deflector,” Kelsoe commanded.
“Aye, sir,” Craig said. “Rerouting ship sensors through the deflector.”
“It's cleaning, sir,” Valdez reported. “I'm beginning to get readings... that's impossible.”
“Lieutenant?” Kelsoe inquired, looking up at the new Tactical Officer.
“Sir,” Valdez said, looking up, obviously confused. “Its reading as the same power reading that the Ticonderoga picked up from the Mass Driver vessel.”
“Red Alert!” Tuff ordered.
The bridge immediately became engulfed in red light.
“900 meters and closing,” Valdez informed.
“Tracy, trying hailing them again,” Kelsoe said.
“All frequencies then,” Kelsoe said.
Tracy punched the appropriate commands on her communications console and shook her head.
“Still no response, sir,” Tracy said, shaking her head.
Kelsoe turned and looked at the view screen. The ships were shaped like a diving hawk, they were a deep shade of blue with fanciful designs of many colors all across the hull.
“Sir?” a confused Valdez spoke up.
“Yes, Mr. Valdez.”
“I'm not sure that they are Coalition ships,” he reported.
“Explain.” Tuff said, standing.
“Their weapons haven't been raised,” Valdez said. “And I'm neither have their shields.”
“Confirmed,” Zimmer said from the helm.
“Mr. Craig,” Tuff ordered. “Scan the ship for life signs.”
“Picking up two hundred life signs on each vessel, sir,” Craig said, eyes on his console. He looked up, the shock clean in his face. “None So'jan.”
Kelsoe stood. “Braxis, take a look at those scans.” He walked up to the science station and stood behind Braxis' back. Braxis leaned down and examined the readings on his screen.
“Confirmed, Captain,” Braxis said, raising an eyebrow. “All life sign patterns are unlike any we have encounter so far.”
“200 meters,” Valdez reported.
Kelsoe turned and looked at the view screen.
“Still no response from our hails?” he asked.
“None, sir,” Tracy said from the other side of the bridge.
“Damn,” Kelsoe muttered. He stepped down into the center of the bridge. “Mr. Zimmer, give them a wide berth.”
“Gladly, sir,” Zimmer said typing at the helm.
The entire bridge crew watched as the two ships came within striking distance of the Pioneer and then passed them without so much as a friendly hello.
“They're going to warp,” Zimmer said.
“Power reading increasing... sir, they're off the charts!” Craig exclaimed.
Tuff stepped up beside Kelsoe and they watched the view screen as the elaborate design patterns on the hull seemed to glow for a moment and then the ships disappeared into sub-space.
“Their gone.” Craig leaned forward, his brow furrowed.
Kelsoe turned around. “Perhaps more remnants of these Oppressors that the So'ja are stealing technology from?”
“Yes, Mr. Valdez,” Kelsoe stepped up to the tactical station.
“As they were passing us I detected a slight phase variants,” Valdez explained. “At the time I thought nothing of it, but now, after I've run some examinations of the readings... sir, I believe they scanned us before they went to warp.”
Kelsoe lowered his eyebrows. “Scanned us?”
“Yes, and it appears that they also downloaded our database,” Valdez informed Kelsoe.
Kelsoe's eyes widen and he stepped around the station to have a look for himself. Tuff walked up and waited.
“He's right,” Kelsoe said, bewildered. “They scanned us and download our entire database.”
“Maybe that was their intent,” Tuff said. “A reconnaissance mission, perhaps?”
Valdez nodded. “But not by the So'ja, someone else is interested in us.”
“Could be,” Kelsoe said. “Something is very odd about this. And I'm not afraid to admit it scares the hell out of me.”
“Captain,” came Tracy's voice from across the bridge. “Picking up an incoming communication from Deep Space Five.”
Kelsoe turned around and nodded.
The view screen flickered and showed Admiral Kawamura and Admiral Truman standing in the new intelligence facility aboard Deep Space Five.
“Captain Kelsoe,” Truman said nodding his head. “We need you to report back to DS-5 immediately. We've just received some disturbing reports from across the front lines.”
“What type of reports?” Kelsoe inquired.
“To sensitive to discuss over open channels,” Kawamura spoke up. “You have your orders Captain. Deep Space Five out.”
The channel was closed, and the view screen reverted back to the starry expanse before them. Kelsoe and Tuff exchanged a glance. Kelsoe then turned to Valdez. “Gervasio, transfer all the readings on those two vessels to my ready room.” He then looked at Tuff. “You have the bridge.”
Kelsoe stepped down and entered his ready room. Commander Tuff and Lieutenant Gervasio Valdez looked at each other and then Tuff sighed. He turned around and stepped down into the center of the bridge.
“Mr. Zimmer,” Tuff ordered. “Set a course for Deep Space Five, warp factor five.” He turned around and sat down in his chair as Ensign Zimmer entered in a course. “Engage.”
Somewhere deep within the Palace on Ka'al, Tyson Calok stood amongst a stack of old leather bond books. He was in the So'jan Library of Kings. Everything that the So'ja people had ever produce in written or electronic form was stored in this massive archive. Beside him was an iron table with a computer terminal, where he could bring up the text in a scanned electronic copy, or looked at a typed copy of the original. If he had to give one thing to the So'jan it was their arrogance of the importance of their species which proved quiet useful. Their ego of superiority made them save and protect everything that they created. This archive or library was really a vault of ancient treasures of So'ja past and history. It was in this cave of treasures that Calok had found the manuscript he had been searching for.
It spoke of the Oppressors and the horrors they had done to the So'jan people. Separating family, genetic testing, all very fasinating, yes - but what Calok found most intrigue was the vague reference about an ancient race, rumored to have ruled the sector before the dreaded Oppressors. In So'jan they were called the Cap'ka'vok; roughly translated the Old Ones, or as Calok prefered, the Ancients. It was these Ancients, that slave so'jan and heard their masters speak of. Household servants overheard the Oppressor scum, as the So'ja historians referred to them, speak of a far old race, who's technology they had salvaged, when they left. However, there was no reason given for this sudden departure of the Ancients or why they left so much of their technology behind, allowing the Oppressors to scavenge it and use it into conquering half the sector. Calok grinned at the thought of the destructive power that the Oppressors had. Far beyond just the Mass Drivers he had brought back for the So'jan.
A shaft light cut across his face as he was reading. He looked up annoyed to see Commander L'mar, the Romulan, and Xojo Manjala, the Tealuian, stepped across the threshold of the door and into the room.
“Yes?” he asked, annoyed at the interruption.
L'mar inhaled deeply before he spoke.
“The Breen data you requested has arrived,” L'mar answered. “I believe you will be quiet pleased. It has many reference about an race called the Boolran, whom the Breen have encounter across their borders. These Boolran refer to a god who descends from the heavens in a powerful chariot of gold.”
“This sounds like the First Ones, does it not, Tyson Calok?” Xojo inquired.
Calok grinned. “Yes. I have heard of such description of the First Ones' vessels: Powerful chariots of gold that descend from the heavens. But only three were rumored to exist. One was the mothership of the First Ones, the second was the flagship of their council, and the third was controlled by their most senior member, the oldest of the First Ones.”
“It also gives a name,” L'mar said. “According to the Boolran testimony, this god called his people the A...”
“Do not speak their name! Never!” Calok growled. “For a name is a powerful thing, and theirs' more so. They are the oldest of the oldest. They have powers beyond description, beyond all thought and imagination. Their minds are a powerful thing. Stronger than mine, and those of the monks of Joc-Duloc, whom were taught by the First Ones back in the time before time. And though they learned the mental abilities of their teachers, they could never fully master it. As I cannot master it. Only those of the chosen genetic pattern of the First Ones can control that power.” He paused for beat. “Unfortunately I am not one. The First Ones did not see the human race as a worthy candidate for genetic manipulation.”
“Then you are not alone,” L'mar said. “Neither mine nor our friend Xojo Manjala's race were given this gift.”
Tyson Calok glared up from his readings. “The Monks told a story that the First Ones, beings of such powerful minds, could hear their very name spoke on the lips of being light years away.” He paused, deep in remembrance. “Even across the great void in between galaxies, they could hear people praying to their name. The power of the First Ones should feared, my friends. Only those who have learned the secrets, as I have, shall be able to keep them at bay until it is time to call them forth to cleanse the galaxy of all those who are not worthy of their holy gift.”
L'mar and Xojo both remained silent for a time. Finally L'mar got the courage to speak to his master.
“Then you would like the data presently?”
“Yes,” Calok said, returning to his books. “Bring it at once... oh, and Commander L'mar.”
“Summon him now.”
“Yes, Tyson,” L'mar bowed his head. And then gestured to Xojo to come with him. As they exited L'mar leaned over to Xojo and whispered. “With ever passing day I grow more fearful of our colleague's powers.”
“As do I, friend,” Xojo concurred. “As do I.”
“Captain Kelsoe, Commander Tuff, please come on in,” Admiral Truman beckoned them over. Kelsoe and Tuff both exchanges looks before stepping over to the admiral. As they neared the noticed a familiar face.
“You have got to be joking?” Kelsoe said as he came face to face with Commander Peter Bradford of Starfleet Intelligence.
“I believe you know Commander Bradford,” Truman said. “He has come to investigate this new ships on the behalf of Admiral Pavoc, I would expect him to be treated with the respect due a member of the intelligence community.”
“Of course, Admiral,” Tuff said, inclining his head and hesitating before shaking hands with Bradford.
Bradford smiled wirily. “Good to see, too, Commander,” Bradford said sardonically. “And you, Captain Kelsoe. Bit a rough going there, but... ah, yes... I see you've recovered.”
Bradford returned with a curt nod.
Out of the computer banks the exhausted figure of Admiral Toshio Kawamura emerged. “I see you all have arrived then, good. Come with me.”
They followed the Admiral down a series of computer terminals manned by Starfleet Intelligence personnel. Kelsoe and Tuff stayed close together, feeling some what alarmed at the number of intelligence operatives they say packed into the room that had once been ground zero of Tyson Calok's terrorist attack on the Oralian Peace Conference. Kawamura halted in what seemed to be the central nexus of the entire operation; a circular dais, with railing along the side and several chair placed in a small half-circle surrounded by control panels made up the command center of the operation. Kawamura climbed up into the command center and took a seat in the central chair. He motion for the rest to do the same. One by one, they all climbed up into the command center and took a seat. Commander Bradford, however, remained standing, leaning against one of the outer railings.
“Strange ships seen in the night,” he began the conversation. “That's what the boys back home are saying.”
“Are they, now?” Tuff inquired.
“Yes,” Bradford said, raising his eyebrows. “Ships that light up with all sorts of colors and then vanish from sensors. The crew of the Valdemar are calling them phantom ships.”
“When did the Valdemar encounter them?” Kelsoe asked.
“Judging from your reports, about the same time as you did, Captain,” Kawamura said. He paused. “Odd things they are. Shifting in and out of sensor analysis, but staying just long enough to scan and download.”
“Yes, download,” Bradford repeated. “That's why I'm here, sirs. Starfleet Intelligence wants to know what exactly these ships are downloading, and how much.”
“Well, it downloaded our entire computer database, Commander,” Tuff said, narrowing his eyes.
“So they copy the computer database and leave, without a word?”
“That's what they seem to be doing,” Kelsoe said.
“But what of this strange similarity to the Mass Driver vessels that the So'ja are using?” Truman questioned. “Is there a connection?”
“In technology, yes,” Bradford said, his hand on his chin. “But I doubt that there is any other connection.”
“And how do you reckon that, Bradford?” Kelsoe demand.
“Simple, Captain,” Bradford smiled sardonically. “Starfleet Intelligence knows well that Tyson Calok... you remember him, don't you Commander Tuff, the one who penetrated your security grid to bomb this very room.”
“Commander!” Truman interjected.
“Yes, sorry, sir,” Bradford said as if he was oblivious of his actions. “Leave mistakes in the pass... sorry.” He took a breath. “As I was saying, we know that Tyson Calok is working with the So'ja, how far that relation goes, we don't know. But what we do know is that before he escaped Tyson Calok submit to a full medical and psychological examination by Starfleet Medical at the penal colony on Rizac V. What they found amazed them. It would seem that somewhere in between his time working for the Cardassian on his blood feud with the Maquis leadership and the time he was arrested on Dinok, he acquired powerful mental abilities... not to mention a new set of eyes.
“His neural readings were off the charts - everything, every organ in his body, seemed to be at the peak of its capable performance. Areas of the brain that are never used are. His entire brain is working - operation beyond the known laws of reason! The average human brain does not work half as hard as it would appear Tyson Calok's does. The man is the next stage of human evolution, but his psyche is seriously messed up...”
“Was that the counselor's professional diagnose?” Tuff interjected.
“I'm summarizing, Commander,” Bradford responded. “As I was saying, Admirals; what we have here is nothing short of a psychopath bent on God knows what, and right now he's working with the enemy.”
“I believe we already knew most of that, Commander,” Truman said in his gravely voice. “But what I really want to know is the connection you've implied between Calok and this new occurrence of strange, unexplained ships.”
“I was just getting to those, sir,” Bradford said hastily.
“Really?” Kawamura leaned forward. “Then by all means don't stop, Commander... you're on a roll.”
Bradford narrowed his eyes, reading the sarcasm, and then continued.
“As you pointed out previous, sir,” Bradford said, smiling - trying to curry favor. “The new ships have a technological similarity to the Mass Driver ships. It has long been believe amongst the intelligence community that the Mass Drivers, the weapons themselves, and the ships that carry them, are not that of the So'ja.”
“We know that already!” Tuff interrupted. “Mul La told Admiral Kawamura that.”
“Yes,” Kawamura said, nodding. “Grace Mul La of the Tulop informed us that the Mass Drivers are part of the arsenal of an extinct alien race known only as the Oppressors.”
“Oh, then you already know... I see,” Bradford slumped back.
Kelsoe and Tuff could not help but smile at seeing Bradford humiliated.
“However,” Bradford cheered up. “I doubt he told you of how the Oppressors got that technology.”
“Does it matter?” Kelsoe asked.
“Yes,” Bradford said. “I think it does.”
“Oh does this relate to Tyson Calok, Commander?” Kawamura inquired.
“I'm getting to that, sir,” Bradford said, inclining his head. “The Oppressors acquired all of their technology after an even more powerful race abandoned the sector. SI has managed to acquire some information about this prior race through some covert operations into Breen space.”
“Breen space?” Kawamura brow furrowed. “Who authorized that? Certainly not Admiral Anton.”
“Let's just say that a sub-division of SI that does not have to report to the Starfleet Commander did some reconnaissance on our favor,” Bradford replied.
“Section 31...,” muttered Truman.
Bradford shrugged. “They do the dirty work that Starfleet refuses to do.”
Truman and Kawamura exchanged a glance. “Continue,” Kawamura said.
“After analyzing the said data, SI has come up with the name of these ancient aliens,” Bradford said, then pause. “Well, it's not really a name, but a title. They are called the First Ones... Wait! I know what you're going to say, but I'm coming to it. Tyson Calok claimed to have studied at the mythical planet of Joc-Duloc. Well, according to Breen documents, many aliens races along their borders with the Oralian sector have many myths and legends about a place that held the knowledge of the ancient race that had departed this plane of existence, leaving their worldly goods behind for the people of Joc-Duloc to explore and examine. I believe that Joc-Duloc is a real place, and that is where Tyson Calok learned where all the left over Oppressor technology is. It Tyson Calok alone who has provided the Coalition with the Mass Drivers and Oppressor technology.”
“Interesting theory, Commander,” Truman said, nodding slighlty. “What do you think, Captain?”
Kelsoe shifted in his chair, uncomfortable with what he was about to say.
“Though I hate to admit it, but I think Commander Bradford might be on to something,” Kelsoe said and turned to Tuff. “Commander.”
Tuff nodded, and leaned forward. “Back when the Pioneer was transporting Calok from Dinok to Rizac V, we noticed the same strange thing about him as well. In fact...”
“He managed to take over my body,” Kelsoe blurted out.
Tuff froze with his jaw half opened, in mid-sentence. The others looked at Kelsoe with curious and questioning expressions.
“I don't know,” Kelsoe explained. “It was strange. One moment I was talking to him and the next moment I found myself in the brig. He had switched bodies with me. Somehow his powers allowed him to move his consciousness from his body to mine.”
“This is very disturbing information,” Kawamura said. “Why have I not been informed about this.”
“At the time,” Kelsoe spoke. “Starfleet felt it best to suppress such information. Someone in a high position found the idea too scary to be known publicly.”
“Understandably so,” Bradford said. “But we knew.”
“SI knew all along?” Kawamura ragged. “Then why, when Calok escaped and bombed the conference, did not one think to inform the head of operations.”
“We did, sir,” Bradford said. “At that time the head of operation in the Oralian sector was Admiral Dutton.”
Kawamura held his breath.
“The clone,” Tuff said.
“Yes, I... I see,” Kawamura continued. “But then why did Starfleet Intelligence neglect to inform me when I took command?”
“Er... slight oversight, sir.”
“All yes,” Kawamura said, spiteful. “This is all very good!”
“Sir!” Bradford protested. “We are at war! We felt it best to contain such information within the ranks of those who need know, and at the time it was agreed amongst all parties that you did not need to know, sir.”
“Well, I do know, Commander,” Kawamura stated. “Can this be detected?”
Captain Kelsoe froze for a moment. He felt a sudden urge to speak and tell them something. Deep down in his subconscious something was telling him to say something that he did not want to say. He fought it, but could not resist.
Bradford opened his mouth to speak, but Kelsoe interjected.
“There is no need to worry, sir,” Kelsoe said. “While I was held by the So'ja, I was able to overhear the conversations that Calok had with his associates. He has no desire to help the So'ja in their war... all he cares about is finding these First Ones. He's become obsessed with it.” He paused for a beat before continuing. “If there is one thing I have learned about Calok it is this: Tyson Calok does not fight other people's battles. He is out there for one person, himself.”
Tuff, surprised at Kelsoe's interjection, nodded.
“I would agree with that assessment, Admirals.”
Kawamura gave Bradford a questioning look.
Bradford grinned. “That precise reason you were not informed, sir. Calok would only seize someone's body and mind if it suited his purpose and right now, as much as he may need the So'ja and they need him, he is still a human. He fought against the Maquis, granted it was on the Cardassian side, but he would not help in the destruction of his own race... maybe some people he doesn't like, but no, not the entire race.”
Both Admiral Kawamura and Admiral Truman lowered their eyebrows in bewilderment and let the conversation end.
Somewhere far away, in a dark room, all alone, Tyson Calok smiled.
Admiral Da'note stood in front of a massive desk, which was filled with scrolls and letters - reports from the front lines. He looked across the room where a bust of Ar'kon stood. He sneered. Damn politician!
He returned his attention to a data disk that had been given to him by one of his aides. He stepped over to the console along the wall and slipped the disk into a tray and then pushed it closed. There was a slight hum and twirl noise and soon the console screen flickered to visual documentation of the current invasion of Neecko. He grinned to himself as he saw the images of the devastation, and ruined cities. A sudden beep from the console control made him jump. He was so fixated on the destruction caused by their weapons, he had forgotten to watch from the call he had been waiting for.
Da'note immediately stopped the playback of the invasion, and pushed a button on the central console. The wall screen flashed and flickered for a moment before a distorted image appeared on the screen.
“Adm....note....can....me?” came a gurgled voice.
Da'note rammed his fist on a lite up button off to the side.
“Corporal,” he hissed. “The transmission is distorted.”
Through the speakers and scratchy static voice replied.
“So, sir,” came the Corporal's voice, his fear of the Admiral evident in his vocal tone. “Fixing now.”
The image cleared and soon Admiral Da'note was face to face with a chest full of medals.
“Ah, Admiral Ru'siy,” Da'note said, sneering. “So nice of you to call... I assume you have reason for the delay?”
Ru'siy nodded. “Of course, Supreme Admiral,” Ru'siy said. “The Federation has been made aware of certain details that we would rather wish be silent.”
Da'note's eyes narrowed.
“I'm securing the line,” Da'note commanded. “I suggest you do as well.”
Ru'siy turned to his right and punched the commands into his station, his gaze then returned to Da'note. “Done.”
“Which details do you speak of?” Da'note questioned.
“Tul'Bou, Admiral,” wheezed the old soldier. Ru'siy's brow lowered. “I believe how lines of communications have been compromised.”
“Ick'ta!” cursed Da'note, he then took a deep breath. “Continue, Admiral.”
“According to some of the scouts sent out,” Ru'siy asserted. “Federation starships have been encountering strange unexplained vessels that bear similarities to the Mass Driver vessels in technology and power systems.”
“Are the Mass Drivers working?”
“Yes, everything is operation at optimal efficiency,” affirmed Ru'siy.
“Good,” huffed Da'note. “Then we need not worry of the Tul'Bou.”
“You have a differing opinion, Admiral?”
“My opinion is not that which matters, Supreme Admiral,” Ru'siy responded.
Da'note squinted at the screen.
“Done to the main business, enough of this foolish intrigue,” Da'note sneered. “Sometimes you allow your imagination to get the better of you old fool. No secure line was needed for this! The Tul'Bou never leave they home. They fear the wrath of their god.” Da'note chuckled. Ru'siy remained silent. “Speak, then faar'kon, tell me of the invasion.”
Admiral Ru'siy nodded, always the soldier. “The capital city has been completely decimated, along with several outlining cities. We have begun the major ground offensive. And as ordered, licked signals in Federation space leading them to believe that Neecko has completely fallen.”
“Have you located Grull yet?” he asked.
“The High Lord of Neecko has not been found as of yet, Supreme Admiral,” Ru'siy explained. “He may be among the dead in the capital city. We have not yet fully gained enough control of the planet's surface to search for him.”
“Then double your efforts, Admiral,” Da'note hissed. “I want Grull to sign the treaty declaring Neecko a protectorate of the So'jan Empire!”
“As always, Supreme Admiral, I obey,” Ru'siy said saluting.
“Contact me when you have him, Da'note out!” snapped the Supreme Admiral.
Da'note slammed his hand down on a bright red button and the communication link was terminated. He then punched the controls on the console and brought up the visual playback of data disk. He scanned through the images until he arrived at the on flight recording of the orbital bombardment.
“Let's see the capital in flames!” he muttered to himself.
Kawamura sat behind his desk, distracted. He looked off into space, staring at that in-between place between each star, gazing at the vacuum, the void. His jaw moved as if he was chewing something, a habit he picked up when he was a captain whenever he became uncomfortable or nervous. The current situation he found himself in now was anything but normal. He longed for the days when he could retire to his summer home in the remote mountains of Japan and visited the Shinto temples to seek guidance. However, at the current juncture, he could not do that.
Across from him, sitting in the pulse chair opposite the desk, was Admiral Christopher Truman who, too, was deep in thought. Truman crossed his legs and looked up at his colleague.
“Ancient races, mythical planets!?” Truman declared. “This is not what I was expecting. What is Bradford thinking?”
For a while Kawamura did not answer.
“He's right, you know,” was his response. “There are things far older in this universe than you and I.”
“Damn right,” Truman's gravely voice showed signs of wariness. “Treasures of unlimited and unimaginable power - both for good and evil - still await us out in the void of space.”
Kawamura inclined his head, touching his chin slightly with his right hand.
“And that is what I'm afraid of, Chris,” Kawamura said. “It is times like this that I wish I was still back in Japan with my grandchildren.”
Truman nodded. “I feel that way sometimes, as well. I haven't seen my family in a while. This war has gotten in the way of a lot of things. I just don't like seeing this paranormal... whatever it is... get involve. If there is something strange going on, I would have to agree with Bradford that Tyson Calok is in the middle of it all.”
Kawamura looked up and nodded. “Yes, the man does seem to like to be in the thick of things.”
“That he does.”
A chirp from the door drew their attention.
Lieutenant Albert Buerk came into the room.
“Sir,” he said excitedly. “Sorry to interrupt, but you told me that you wanted to be notified the second that the Ares returned.”
“She's back?” Kawamura said, half standing.
“And the mission?” asked Kawamura.
“Was it a success?” Truman finished.
Buerk looked away for a moment in thought and then returned the Admirals pleading eyes.
“Sort of, sirs.”
The So'jan Senator Ru'kon and his entourage were proceeding unaccompanied down one of the inner passageways of the central complex of the imperial palace. A colonnade, on each side, was attached to the hall. Above them was a long steep ceiling with which ended in small skylights scarcely as big as a data pad.
A sudden noise from one of the darkened niches caused the group to stop. Ru'kon glared into the shadowy niche and grimaced. The form of Tyson Calok emerged from out of the shadows.
The human grinned.
“Senator Ru'kon, how nice to see you,” Calok said interrupting the conversation that Ru'kon was having with his chief attaché, Bark'o.
The Senator glared at Calok.
“What do you want?” demanded Ru'kon, who gestured for Bark'o to step back and join the rest of the entourage standing patiently behind him.
Calok smiled to himself and took Bark'o's place by Ru'kon's side. The group continued on with a new member. As they walked Calok gazed up at the columns, each with intricate designs etched into the stone face. Calok grinned mischievously.
“How mighty your people once were, Senator,” Calok spoke aloud. “Now... look at them! Fallen from grace, groveling and crawling on this stomachs, seeking help from a lowly dur'jak!”
“Do not speak our tongue!” Ru'kon burst out.
Calok grinned and put his arm over the Senator's back and held him tight. As they walked, Calok leaned his lips over to the Ru'kon's ear.
“I do whatever the damn hell I want, scaly,” Calok hissed into the Senator's ear. “And you will listen to me. You will obey me!”
Calok released Ru'kon and the two continued walking in silence. Ru'kon gulped and spoke up.
“I ask again, what do you want?”
“Ah to the crux of the matter, always playing ball,” Calok's eyes twinkled. “I like that!”
“Speak?” an irritated Ru'kon implored.
“Very well, you stuffy old cretin!” laughed Calok, who then suddenly stopped in place, holding out an arm to halt Ru'kon.
His eyes then glowed and he became most serious. Ru'kon's heart beat faster. He had never witnessed the red glow of Tyson Calok's eyes in such a manner.
“I have sent for some one,” Calok spoke, his voice with a strong note of authority and power. “This person must be welcomed by you personally and kept company with until I send for him. You will do this, Ru'kon. You will obey.”
Ru'kon stumbled and stuttered. “I obey.”
There was a sudden piercing pain in his forehead. He let out a cry and when he opened his eyes Tyson Calok was gone. He turned around, bewildered, and saw that whatever had been done to him had effected his entourage as well. Bark'o looked up dazed and confused.
“We do as we are told, Bark'o,” Ru'kon spoke. “We obey.”
Lieutenant Dillon Hellon and Ensign Jenna McCormick sat patiently in an interview room. Hellon leaned over to McCormick.
“Why are we in an interrogation room?” he asked.
“I don't know, Dillon,” she said in return. “Maybe your little stunt is going to have us court marshaled.”
The door hissed opened and into the windowless room, stepped Commander Peter Bradford and Lieutenant Albert Buerk. Buerk smiled at the two officers, but Commander Bradford merely glared across at them.
From an adjoining room Admirals Kawamura and Truman stood with Captain Kelsoe and Commander Tuff observing the “interview.”
Bradford pulled up a chair and sat down at the table across from the two Ares officers.
“So,” Bradford began, his tone as serious as ever. “You managed to escape the Bombardment of Neecko without getting noticed. It just so happens that all of your crew, your captain and first officer, were killed in the escape... was that it?” He chuckled sardonically. “Am I supposed to believe that you two escaped merely by luck or mere happenstance?”
“We used the DHP,” Hellon responded defensively.
“The what?” Buerk asked.
Bradford went rigid. He tapped his commbadge. “Admirals?”
In the observation room, Admiral Truman leaned forward and pressed the intercom button on a panel near the view screen.
“We all have sufficient clearance Lieutenant,” Truman said, his voice full of authority. “Continue.”
Kelsoe and Tuff exchanged glances.
“What's the DHP?” Kelsoe inquired.
“Just listen, Captain,” Truman said with a wink. “I think you'll like what you have to hear.”
Back in the interrogation room, Bradford was tense. He had not expected this. He had not been informed that the Ares had been equipped with the experimental Deflective Hull Plating, a state of the art protective and stealth material that could completely cover a small ship. It has been adapted from the advance technology that had been found attached to the starship Voyager upon its return home.
Peter Bradford shifted in his chair at Hellon and McCormick recounted the events that lead up to their escape and success in the test of the DHP. But Bradford was pleased to find a flaw.
“What took you so long to get back then?” he demanded, leaning forward, bearing his teeth like a wolf.
“It was only the two of us,” McCormick responded. “No Starfleet ship can run with only a crew of two.”
Bradford was forced to agree. At this point Buerk took over and went over the specifics of the escaped. He seemed most impressed with them. Bradford was not. He sneered at them.
“You think you did pretty good, don't you?” demanded the intelligence agent. “You think you're in for a promotion, for bigger and better things. Well, let me tell you, your not.”
“Enough Bradford!” came Truman's voice. The Admiral had entered the room. “I'm coming off the wolf.”
Bradford glared back at the Admiral.
“We've heard what we wanted, and I don't think their So'jan spies or clones,” Truman said.
“Clones, sir?” Hellon inquired.
“Those blood samples we took of you after you disembarked,” Buerk said, jumping in. “We had the medical lab examine them for certain indicators. You came back clean. Pure human, both of you.”
“Thanks, I guess,” McCormick said.
“Sir?” Bradford inquired standing up.
“The Ares has been tested and it looked like this new Covert Class ship works,” Truman said, exchanging a glance with Tuff. “Plus, news has just come in from Captain Patrick Savoy of the Crazy House, they've picked up an unexpected guest who claims to have information about these strange aliens vessels being spotted throughout the sector. I've recalled the Crazy House, and we're going to hear what this visitor has to say.”
“That's enough, Lieutenant!” Truman ordered. And then looked back at Hellon and McCormick. “I want you two to get some shut eye, because we're going to need you skills with the Ares shortly. If what this alien is bringing the information I hope he is, then we are going to need the Ares.”
“I've found it!” shouted Calok with glee.
L'mar and Xojo Manjala looked up from the scrolls they were reading. All three of them we deep in the archive vaults of the So'jan library. Calok red eyes glowed deeply with the magnificence of his discovery.
“It's the bloody Tul'Bou!” Calok grinned, holding up the scroll.
L'mar shook his head. “I don't understand.”
“The Eye, you fool!” Calok snapped. He stood, trembling with excitement, the sight feared both L'mar and Xojo, fore Calok was capable of anything. “The Breen documents I request kept referring to a race of skull heads. In other words, Tul'Bou!”
“No, sorry, I still don't follow,” L'mar said, continuing to shake his head.
Calok glared at him, the force of which made L'mar shrink down.
“If you translate the So'jan word Tul'Bou precisely, it means... skull face!” Calok declared gleefully. “Don't you see, the two are one and the same. And this scroll! God this scroll! It holds the answers, the finale pieces in the puzzle I have been piecing together for so long. The makers of the Eye, the people who held it, the people that those damnable monks would refuse to speak of! They were right in front of my eyes the entire time, right here in this wonderful scroll.”
“Tyson?” L'mar urged.
“The Breen only encountered this skull faces, but the So'jan once knew of their location!” beamed Calok, the sight was horrifying; a man that evil smiling away was indeed a scary thing. And then Calok's brow lowered, his eyebrows tightening. “Prepare a ship, L'mar. You and I are going to pay our respects to the creators of the Eye... and if we are lucky, they might just tell us where to find it.”
Senator Ru'kon stood pensively near the arrivals terminal in the transport station located just outside of Ka'fa. Tyson Calok's visitor was arriving and there was no sign of the host. Ru'kon turned expectantly towards his retinue. From a side door came his chief aide. Bark'o ran across the marble surface, and took a moment to catch his breath.
“Well?” Ru'kon inquired.
“He's gone,” breathed Bark'o. “Tyson Calok has left Ka'al with Commander L'mar. They've left no messages of where or why they have left.”
“Ick'ta!” cursed the Senator in his native tongue. “What am I to do with his visitor?”
“Entertain him, sir,” Bark'o said, bowing.
Ru'kon glared at his aide, confused and angered.
“You said we should obey him,” Bark'o said submissively.
“Yes,” relented Ru'kon, feeling sorry for the hurt he had put on Bark'o. “I did say that. And obey we shall, for there is nothing else we can do.”
A pang sounded, announcing the new arrivals from the orbital shuttle. Ru'kon shifted and looked to the arrival area. The attendants opened up the gate and went through their procedures, checking the passengers disembarking from the shuttle. Finally the passengers started to appear. Most where what he had expected, So'jan politicians and diplomats returning from a second conference with the Breen. But then his eyes caught the sight of pink flesh.
He groaned to himself internally and watched at a human, about six feet tall with gray hair and a bushy beard emerged from the crowd. Ru'kon signaled to Bark'o, who immediately rushed over to take the man's luggage. Then, with no haste, Bark'o returned with the human visitor. Ru'kon narrowed his eyes, scrutinizing the man's appearance. He looked rather unkempt, rather normal for a human, Ru'kon thought. But there was something about this human's face that unnerved him. He did not look like the type of person to be associated with Tyson Calok.
Bark'o and the human arrived.
“I believed I've been summoned,” barked the man.
Ru'kon glared at him, displeased with the man's attitude. But Bark'o was right, they had to obey Tyson Calok, even if he was not present on Ka'al. Ru'kon bowed deeply.
“I am Senator Ru'kon of the So'jan,” Ru'kon said in his most stately voice. “Welcome to Ka'fa, the eternal capital of my people.”
The man smiled. “Yes, I've been here before, back when you we're still a republic. Nothing seems changed, though.” He paused for a beat. Ru'kon was about to speak, when the man interrupted. “You should work on that,” he said. “You said you were a senator, right?”
“Yes,” Ru'kon affirmed.
“Right, then where is Tyson Calok?” the man snapped. “I demand to see him.”
“You are expected,” Ru'kon informed him. “Tyson Calok asked if I would keep you occupied until he summons for you.”
“Did he now?”
“And where might he be now?”
“Now?” repeated Ru'kon. “At the moment we don't know.”
The man grinned. “Just like Tyson. I knew him as a boy.”
“Did you know,” Ru'kon became suddenly interested. “Pardon, but I didn't get your name.”
“Oh sorry,” the man stuck out his hand. Ru'kon gripped it in his leathery hand. “Call me Eyota, Dr. Philip J. Eyota.”
To Be Continued...