EPISODE 6.52 - “The Forgotten Planet”
written by Travis Cannon
Commander Rhiana Keras straightened her back as the Fierce Talon dropped out of warp. She looked over at her executive officer.
“Report?” she asked in a firm tone, yet still calmly.
Subcommander Stelam glanced down at the terminal before him. “Coordinates match with those retrieved from the so'jan destroyers,” he said, grinning slightly.
“So this is the planet we seek?” Rhiana inquired, standing up, eyes bolted to the image on the visual screen before her.
Stelam inclined his head. “If our translation of the so'jan language is correct, it is the mythical planet of Yoth,” Stelam said.
Rhiana narrowed her eyes at the image of the planet, a yellow sphere floating in the blackness of space.
“Mythical?” she laughed. “What do the humans call it?”
Stelam cocked his head in a moments thought. “The Fountain of Youth, I believe.”
“Yes,” Rhiana nodded. “Takaram mentioned the myth to me.” She paused for the beat. “Apparently the humans once believed in a spring of water which held the secret to eternal life.” She turned back to the image of Yoth. “Perhaps the myths were based on fact.”
“Most legends are, Commander,” Stelam said, stepping up behind her. He leaned closer, so that the rest of the bridge crew would not hear. “Should I inform the Tal Shiar?”
Rhiana shook her head. “We should investigate first.” She stepped back to her command chair and paused over it, turning to face the visual screen. “Pilot!” she ordered. “Take us into orbit.”
Three days later...
Captain Benjamin Kelsoe stood in the center of the mess hall, many of the crew had showed up for this ceremony. Part of him was surprised that he did not know some of them by name. But he shook that off. After all he was their captain, not their friend.
He turned to Commander Tuff, who was standing beside him, holding the small box with the new pip. Tuff extended his hand, and Kelsoe took the box and opened it slowly.
“Mr. Zimmer,” he said looking up at the helmsman standing before him, all smiles. “For your actions during the Battle of Minark and its aftermaths, and in accordance with recommendations from the ship's executive officer, I hereby promote you to the rank of Lieutenant, Junior Grade, with all the rights and privileges thereto.”
Kelsoe picked up on the pip between his index finger and thumb hand stepped up to Zimmer, while handing the now empty box back to Tuff.
“It's been a long time coming, Mr. Zimmer,” Kelsoe spoke softly so that only the helmsman could hear him as he pinned the pip on Zimmer's collar. Kelsoe then stepped back and extend his hand. “Congratulations, Lieutenant.”
Zimmer took Kelsoe hand and shook it.
“That was fun,” Burt said, leaning against the bar area.
Kelsoe eyed him suspiciously. “You were there?”
“Of course,” Burt said. “Tucked away in the back. You'd think I miss this?” Burt indicated Zimmer and a group of Pioneer crew celebrating at a table in the corner of the room. Off to the side Tuff and Valdez were shooting pool, with Braxis watching and making recommendations.
“You always did like a party,” Kelsoe said, pickup up his glass and raising it. “Can I have some more, Sam?”
The friendly bartender Sam came over and swapped the glass with a clean and full one. Kelsoe nodded his thanks.
“So,” Burt said, taking a swig of his own drink. “How are things between you and Sarah going?”
Kelsoe sat down on the bar stool. “We really haven't had that much time alone since Minark, Connor,” Kelsoe said. “If you'd remember, I was in some sort of...”
“Mental breakdown is what they called it with me,” Burt said. “You know, maybe Calok did something to me too?”
“Come on, Connor,” Kelsoe raised his eyebrows. “I thought you were going to stop making excuses.”
“Hell no, man,” they clinked their glasses together. After they drank, Burt step his empty glass down on the counter and leaned forward, serious. “I'm serious, Ben... how are things between you two?”
Kelsoe shrugged. “I don't know.” He hesitated, not used to dealing with his emotions towards a women. It had been some time since he had let himself feel that way towards a to any woman. “Sarah and I... we've always had a connection. I felt it the first time and stepped aboard the Skyfox as her XO and the last time we meet before Minark.”
“You've got the hots for her, man,” Burt said, slapping him on the back.
Kelsoe furrowed his brow. “Lusting over some one is not the same thing as love, Connor.”
“Well you could have fooled me,” Burt said. “But when you two locked eyes in the briefing room... hell, man... there was more than just lust in your eyes.”
Kelsoe leaned back. “I don't know what to say, Connor.” He took a drink. “With Calok out there and whatever the hell it is he did to me... I don't know what to think.”
“What does Sarah say?” Burt asked.
“She agrees,” Kelsoe said. “She thinks I need time to recover from whatever it was that Calok did to me.”
“What the Doc say?” Burt questioned.
“That I appear normal,” Kelsoe said. “Whatever it was that Xojo did, with Tracy's help, it seems to have worked.”
“Well that's good, isn't it?”
Kelsoe shoulders shrugged. “I hope so.” He took a final swig from his glass and set it down on the counter. His commbadge chirped. “Kelsoe, here.”
“Captain,” came Truman's voice. “I'd like you and Captain Burt to report to command and control on the double.”
Burt rolled his eyes.
“Sure thing, sir,” Kelsoe said. “We're on our way. Kelsoe out.”
Tyson Calok stood prone over the body before him. His latest victim had yielded quickly and spilled his guts, literally and figuratively. The cell stunk of decay and death, and the walls were smeared with the green blood of his victim. The door hissed opened and Commander L'mar stepped into the room, averting his eyes from the corpse.
“I presume you got what you required?” L'mar questioned.
Calok's eyes glowed deep red in the dim lighting. “All that I required... and more.”
Admiral Truman stood in the center of command and control, beside him was the Romulan subcommander Pardek, the Empire's liaison officer aboard Deep Space Five.
Burt gave Kelsoe a look that he knew meant that his friend was not happy to see a Romulan. However, Kelsoe knew that since his recovery, Tellening, along with Burt, Riganoff, and Ambassador Spock had made headway with the Romulans in negotiating an alliance against the Coalition, and that whilst he was returning to Deep Space Five, the Federation and Romulan Star Empire officially signed documents cementing that alliance. The fruits of their labor would be the downfall of the Coalition and hopefully the beginning of peaceful relations between the Empire and the Federation.
“It's nice to see you again, Subcommander Pardek,” Kelsoe said, remembering not to shake hands. Like their Vulcan brothers, Romulans preferred not to be touched, but on rare occasions they sometimes shook hands. Pardek was not among that select few.
“Captains,” Pardek said in his nasal voice, raising an eyebrow in his standard arrogant Romulan way.
“Sir?” Kelsoe turned his attention to Admiral Truman.
Truman nodded and snapped his fingers. Lieutenant Baines appeared from behind holding data padds. The young lieutenant handed them to the captains, who examined the contents.
“What's this?” Burt demanded.
“Survey reports,” growled Truman, disapproving of Burt's tone.
“If so, I don't understand them,” Burt asserted.
“That's because their Romulan, Connor,” Kelsoe said, scrolling through the text and data. “It appears to be garbled, missing pieces of data.”
Pardek nodded. “Very astute of you, Captain. Takaram did say that about you,” Pardek paused. “However I was unaware you could read Romulan.”
“I don't...,” Kelsoe paused.
“Another side effect,” grumbled Truman.
“Ah, yes,” Pardek nodded. “You were tortured by Mister Calok and the traitor L'mar.”
Kelsoe lowered his eyebrows in silence. “Yes, somehow they must have implanted the Romulan language into my head.”
“L'mar was a geneticist, Captain,” Pardek asserted. “Perhaps the program that Mr. Calok installed in your brain was of Romulan design.”
The captain shifted. He felt unease with his mind being compared with a computer. And he certainly did not like the hint that the program was of Romulan design. He knew from Starfleet Intelligence reports that the Tal Shiar experimented with mind control techniques.
“Right, right... computer, mind, same thing,” Burt said, easing the tension in the room. “But what the hell does this survey report say? Admiral, do I really need to be here?”
“No,” Truman's gravely voice almost hid his sarcasm.
“This report appears to have been a data burst from a warbird in the Oralian sector,” Kelsoe said, skimming the text. “Let's see... the IRW Fierce Talon.”
“Correct,” Pardek said.
“Again, I ask why do we care?” Burt demanded.
“Because three days ago we lost all contact and communications with the Fierce Talon,” Truman explained, irritated with having to deal with Burt.
“We have a problem, sir,” the Romulan colonel spoke immediately as he entered the room.
The general sitting behind his desk looked up, and waved his aide away. “Leave us,” he said.
The colonel waited patiently as the aide left the room.
“What is it, R'mor?” the general demanded, the contempt in his voice hard to ignore.
“Our operative in the Oralian sector,” R'mor spoke quickly.
“We've loss contact.”
The skin below the general's right eye began to twitch. He stood slowly. “The Tal Shiar does not lose its operatives, Colonel.”
“I'm aware to that, sir,” R'mor stressed. “But this was no ordinary loss of contact.”
The general grimace. “Explain.”
“General Kassus, sir,” R'mor said. “We believe he was abducted by Tyson Calok and the traitor.”
General Kassus stood tall, his noble upbringing clear. “Then we must act quickly.”
Colonel R'mor nodded. “And what of the missing warbird?”
Kassus merely grinned. “Who said anything about a missing warbird, Colonel?”
“So we're going to Yoth, is that it?” Burt inquired as he and Kelsoe left the briefing with Truman and Pardek.
“Yes,” Kelsoe said. “We do our duty, Connor. Beside, the commander of the Fierce Talon... she's Takaram's former first officer.”
“And why should we care?” Burt asked.
“We're allies, Burt,” Kelsoe said, frustrated. “For heaven's sake, you were there.”
“Yeah, but I didn't like it,” Burt said. “It reminded me of the Venka Treaty signing; We put our hearts into it, and the other side just fakes it.”
“Come on, Connor,” Kelsoe was really getting frustrated. “The Romulans are not all that bad. They fought the Dominion with us.”
“Yeah, but only because they had something to gain... or lose,” Burt asserted. “In the end, that's all they really care about; Themselves.”
“As do most people,” Kelsoe added. “And Pardek did have a point.”
“A point?” Burt repeated. “About what?”
“Did you even bother to look over the survey report?” Kelsoe demanded, holding up the padd.
Burt furrowed his brow. “Come on, man, you know I can't wrap my head around all that techno babble.”
“And to think you graduated with honors,” Kelsoe said. “The point of the whole thing is the location where the survey report indicates the Fierce Talon was.”
“Oh and where was that?” Burt questioned.
“The lost planet of Yoth,” Kelsoe said.
“Yoth?” Burt said, raising an eyebrow. “Never heard of it.”
“You know, you should really had pay attention during history class,” Kelsoe said. “The planet of Yoth was rumored to be the source of immense power.”
“So, we have lots of power,” Burt said. “It's not like we're in some kind of energy crisis.”
“Not that kind of power, Connor,” Kelsoe said, gesturing with his arms. “More of a spiritual kind of power.”
“Spiritual?” Burt sounded skeptical.
“I know it sounds odd, but there are many historical references to Yoth amongst many of the Oralian cultures,” Kelsoe said.
“And how do you know this?”
“Julian,” Kelsoe said.
“Right, your brother, he's what an archeologist?” Burt asked.
“Yes,” Kelsoe said. “Why do you think I'm so interested in the subject myself.”
“So you and the Brooke boy had something in common,” Burt said. “Go figure.” He paused. “So what did Julian have to say?”
“Well, according to him,” Kelsoe explained. “Yoth appears in all Oralian cultures. It is always referenced as a source of power. A power so awesome and powerful that to control it would literally make one immortal.”
“Immortal, as not dying?” Burt pondered.
“Precisely,” Kelsoe said. He paused as they arrived at the nexus of the station. “Perhaps I should contact Julian and see what he's knows.”
“Right,” Burt said. “I'll just go to the Stefansson and make arrangements to disembark. Fifteen hundred sound good?”
“On the other side?” Kelsoe said.
“On the other side,” Burt nodded.
Dr. Julian Brooke woke to the chirp of the computer terminal that had been installed in the tent. He shifted in the makeshift bed, trying not to wake Lilly. He grabbed a shirt and pulled it over his head before pushing himself out of bed. He made his way across the tent to the computer interface display.
He clicked the button to activate it.
“I didn't wake you did I?”
Julian smiled. “It's all right, Ben. How you doing?” He was slightly surprised to see the face of Benjamin Kelsoe, his brother - by adoption, staring back at him.
“Better,” Kelsoe said. “How's Andres Rae?”
“We making new discoveries every day,” Julian said. “They'll have to rewrite the history books!”
Kelsoe smiled. “And Lilly? How's that coming along?”
Julian looked over his shoulder and his lover and grinned. “Couldn't be better.”
“Good,” Kelsoe said. He pursed his lips, as if he was hesitant to continue. “We've been given an assignment by Admiral Truman, kind of confidential.”
“It involves the Romulans.”
“High, then,” Julian nodded. “Something about it troubling you?” He was wondering why Ben had called at such a late hour.
“Yoth,” Kelsoe suddenly said. “Do you remember the stories?”
Julian thought for a moment. “Yeah, if you compare them to the stories from early Earth they sound similar to something out of the Garden of Eden and Fountain of Youth myths.”
“What if they aren't a myth?” Kelsoe asked.
“I'm probably not suppose to tell you this,” Kelsoe said. “But your my brother, and I need you council.”
“The Romulans lost a warbird,” Kelsoe explained. “But before it became lost it sent out a data burst. I've been examining the data and from what I've been able to tell it implies that the warbird had found a planet located in the spot the myths said Yoth would be.”
“How can that be? Ships have searched those coordinates for years looking for a planet.”
“I don't know, but the warbird definitely found a planet,” Kelsoe said.
“And the advice?”
“More your thoughts, really,” Kelsoe paused for a beat. “The myths... they spoke of a power, immense power. Spiritual in nature, but power.”
“Do you think the legends are true?”
Julian looked away for a moment, thinking. “Possibly, maybe, I don't know. I'd prefer some proof. Some evidence. Something I can see and touch.”
Kelsoe nodded. “You still have the Atlantis watching over you two?”
Julian gave a nod in the affirmative, and then intending why Kelsoe asked.
“I'm not sure,” Kelsoe assert. “But I may require both your and Lilith Adar's expertise before this mission is over with.”
“Just give the word and we'll be there, both of us,” Julian stressed.
His brother gave him a nod. “Will do. Thanks for listening, Julian. Kelsoe out.”
The screen flashed to the standard transmission terminated image with the blue Federation seal. Julian stood for a moment, pondering over the idea of a real planet called Yoth and wondered if the legends were true. After the moment passed he returned bed, just in time to cozy up next to Lilly.
“Was it necessary to kill him?” L'mar inquired.
“His mind was weak,” Calok asserted. “He could not handle a full probe.”
Around them the bridge crew of the Revenge went about their tasks, seemingly not there. Calok shifted in his command chair and looked over at L'mar.
“Are you feeling sorrow for the lost of a fellow comrade?” Calok asked, the sarcasm in his voice clear.
“No,” L'mar stated flatly.
“Come on!” Calok egged on. “A fellow Romulan. A green blooded. Once a living being now a sack of flesh rotting in the cell where he died.”
“Tyson, please!” L'mar insisted. “You know where my loyalty lies.”
“Your right, I do,” Calok said leaning back, the ridicule and mockery in his voice gone, replaced by the serious and thoughtful speech of a highly intelligent being. “You're mind is not weak like his.”
L'mar lowered his eyes, he had not known Calok had probed his mind. He had believed there had been no need for that, but apparently Calok's paranoia knew no bounds.
“Corporal,” Calok called out to the helmsman as he stood up. “We'll be making a detour, Commander L'mar will provide you with the coordinates.” He stepped down from the command dais. “I'll be in my quarters... meditating,” he spoke quietly to L'mar. “Call me when we arrive.”
L'mar gave a curt nod of acknowledgment and Calok left the bridge. The Romulan Commander took a deep breath and swore he felt the mood on the bridge lighten once Calok had entered the lift. He gave the corporal the coordinates, then stepped up on the command dais and planted himself in the command chair.
“This will do,” Rodney Brickenhouser said out loud as he reviewed the text on a padd before handing it back to a staffer. “Take this to the Council Chambers. Tell the clerk to insert it for discussion during the next session of the council.”
The staffer nodded and left. Brickenhouser walked past his secretary, ignoring her attempts to speak with him.
“I don't want to be disturb, Helen,” he said and walked right into his office.
He didn't notice the man sitting behind his desk until he had closed the door behind him. For a moment Brickenhouser merely stood there with a slightly confused looked on his face.
“Yes?” he inquired a bit nervously. “Can I help you?”
“Are you always this nervous, or does it just come out when I'm around, Rodney?” came a familiar sing-song voice of a man Brickenhouser had known in his youth.
“Tolleson,” Brickenhouser grumbled, dropping his shoulder bag on the couch and crossing the space between the door and the desk.
“You didn't think we'd forget about you, now do you?” Tolleson said, standing up. He was wearing a Starfleet uniform, with the rank of commander.
“I see your going for the Starfleet look now,” Brickenhouser said, eyeing the uniform. “Looks brand new.”
Tolleson adjusted the top half by tugging it down. “As I matter of fact it is.”
“And you made yourself a commander,” Brickenhouser noticed. “How quant. What's next, a little song and dance before the magic show?”
The perfectly groomed man stepped out from behind the desk. “Just checking in. We do that, you know. Keep an eye on our operatives.”
“Operative?” questioned Brickenhouser, as he exchanges placed with Tolleson. “I'm not your operative. Maybe once, but that was in the past.”
“No one never leaves our employment, Rodney,” Tolleson said. “You of all people must know that. After all, if it wasn't for our assistance, Korvin Mot would never have been elected.”
“Well it turns out he's not as easy to control as we once thought,” Brickenhouser said. “He listens to other people, takes their advice. I'm only his chief of staff.”
“You could do more, you know,” Tolleson said, fiddling with a small bust of Admiral Archer on the desk. “We've done it before. During the foundering. We made sure Archer put the section in. Of course he didn't know it, but we made sure it happen.”
“Well Section 31 hasn't done anything for me lately,” Brickenhouser said.
“Oh, but we have,” Tolleson said.
“Oh and what's that?” Brickenhouser demanded.
“We made sure Ambassador Spock was delivered to Deep Space Five without his opposition on Romulus capturing him.”
“Oh come on,” Brickenhouser objected. “Starfleet Intelligence took care of that, not Section 31 one.”
“We have friends in high places, Rodney,” Tolleson assert. “We can do about anything that we put are minds to.”
“Well you failed with Bashir,” Brickenhouser said.
“A mistake with our agent,” Tolleson said. “It turns out he placed too much trust in him.”
“So what are you suggesting?” Brickenhouser asked. “Why the sudden visit? You usually communicate through cryptic messages.”
“Mot needs to take a more active stance on the war,” Tolleson said, bluntly. “He's too soft on so'jan prisoners.”
“I know, I know,” Brickenhouser reassured him. “I've been trying for months to convince him to have the fleet take a more active roll in fighting the scalys. All he wants to do is hold off the wolf. Meanwhile worlds keep falling to the damn bastards.”
“Kaenar Korban needs to be making the decisions,” Tolleson said. “He thinks more like us.”
“You don't think I know that? I tried to convince Bill Jordan to call for a no confidence vote on Mot, but he wouldn't. All this men seem to care about is the peace that will follow after the war. Says we have to think about the future.”
“But that's what we do. Isn't that right, Rodney. We are the only ones who really think about the future. We're the ones who make sure things happen.”
“What?” Brickenhouser was confused.
“The attack on Minark,” Tolleson put forward.
“Yeah, what about it?”
“Starfleet sensors hadn't picked up that energy anomaly that caused them to send that expedition force,” Tolleson explained. “It was us. We maneuvered an operative into place aboard a science vessel in orbit of Andres Rae. We then made sure that that vessel, equipped with intense long range sensors made scans that penetrated the Tealuian frontier. That is how those energy patterns were original picked up and found there way into the hands of Starfleet Operations.”
“Mot needed to see the full strength of the enemy to be convinced that the Federation need to bring more to bear,” Tolleson said.
“Well it hasn't,” Brickenhouser said. “The man's still planning the postwar era of peace.”
“Then he'll have to be eliminated to make room for the vice president,” Tolleson said.
“And how are you going to do that?” Brickenhouser said. “You're assignment is to protect the Federation, not attack it.”
“Mot is a threat to the security of the Federation,” Tolleson asserted. “His politics and policies will result in a Coalition victory.”
Brickenhouser leaned back in his chair. “All right, I know that, and I agree. But isn't wrong to kill him?”
“He's a threat,” Tolleson spoke sternly. “He must deal with it.” He paused for a moment and then continued. “Think of him as a cancer within the body that is the Federation. He may appear benign, but he is far from that.”
“So,” Brickenhouser said, continuing with analogy. “We need to excise the tumor before it begins to spread.”
Tolleson nodded. “Precisely.”
“But how can we do that without violating our oaths?”
“Simple,” Tolleson said. “We have the enemy do it for us.”
General Kassus stood erect in front of the view screen. Colonel R'mor joined him.
“An interesting find, Colonel,” Kassus said. “Where did you find him?”
“He was in a small shuttle craft leaving the So'jan Neutral Zone,” R'mor replied.
“And his injuries?” Kassus questioning, narrowing his eyes on the image of the prisoner.
“From what we've gathered about the current affairs within the So'ja Coalition,” R'mor asserted. “I would have to say it was not done by them.”
Kassus glowered. “Explain!”
“The torture he was subjugated to was Romulan in design, sir,” as R'mor answered he was shocked.
The General merely inclined his head. “Telek L'mar,” was all he said.
“The traitor, sir?”
“Yes, the traitor, blast you!” growled Kassus. “It should be obvious, but if you can see then you are as blind as the old crone I call my grandmother.”
“L'mar tortured him,” R'mor surmised.
Kassus inclined his head in the affirmative. “And it was not for the So'ja, no. It was for that new master he serves.”
“You mean the spawn of evil?”
“Yes,” Kassus said, annoyed with his underling. “Tyson Calok.”
Captain's Log - Stardate 60132.34:
In accordance with Starfleet's orders both the Pioneer and Stefansson have arrived at the coordinates found on the Romulan data burst. We will soon begin our scan of the seemingly deserted planet, hopefully we will find the survivors of the warbird Fierce Talon. At best all we can hope for is returning their bodies to their loved ones. Though the myths around this planet, called Yoth, a planet which was not supposed to exist, renders my mind wild. With luck, the Atlantis will arrive soon with my brother and the mysteries surround this world can be unlocked.
The surround foliage around the temple steps glimmered in blue light, as the away team transported down.
Commander Tuff immediately flipped open his tricorder and began scanning. Braxis did like wise.
“Nothing out of the ordinary, Commander,” Braxis said, examining the reading from his tricorder.
Tuff pointed at the gaping temple doors and gave Lieutenant Gervasio Valdez. Ensign Dunn and Crewman Stackhouse followed the Lieutenant, as Valdez made his way through the threshold. Braxis walked in a semicircle around the temple's opening. Tuff and Crewman Doogan stood nearby, watching the Vulcan. Suddenly Braxis stopped and cocked his head.
“What is it, Commander?” Tuff inquired.
“Highly unusual readings coming from with in the temple, sir,” Braxis reported.
Tuff tapped his commbadge. “Tuff to Valdez.”
“Uh, Lieutenant, having you found anything out of the ordinary?” Tuff asked, exchanging looks with Doogan.
“You can say that, sir,” came Valdez's voice. “Wait...!” there was a pause. “Yes. You're definitely going to want to see this, sir.”
“A what?” Kelsoe asked, leaning on the edge of the operation's station.
“A hibernation chamber,” Tuff said. “At least, from what we can translate from the writings on the terminal, that's what this civilization called it.”
Kelsoe and Craig looked at one another, amazed. “Is there anyone in them?”
“Affirmative, captain,” came Braxis' voice. “From my calculations, I believe there two be at least half a million the chamber below.”
“Half a million?!” Kelsoe was indeed shocked. He turned to Tracy. “Contact the Atlantis, and tell them to step on it. We may need those archeologist sooner, rather than later.”
Tracy nodded, and turned back to her communications station to do just that.
“Any signs of the Romulans?” Kelsoe inquired.
“Not yet, sir,” it was Valdez this time. “I have Dunn and Stackhouse searching the nearby structure, but nothing yet.”
A beep came from the communications console. “It's the Stefansson,” Tracy said.
Kelsoe gave a nod. “Open a channel.”
“My away teams just given me a preliminary report, Ben,” Burt said. “Man, their some crazy stuff down there. They found a chamber with over half a million dudes in cryo.”
“Same here, Connor,” Kelsoe said. “Any sign of the Romulans on your end?”
“No, not that I'm disappointed or anything, but I have a feeling some one was pulling our leg,” Burt said. “I don't this is that planet of Yoth.”
“Why do you say that?” Kelsoe asked.
“Well, for one thing, where's the water?” Burt said. “I thought Yoth was supposed to be something like the fountain of youth, or something.”
“It is,” Kelsoe said. “And from the state of cities down there, I think its safe to say something happened to cause the civilization to collapse.”
“I don't think that's what happened, sir,” came Braxis's voice over the link.
“Brax!? Is that you!?” Burt cried out. “Whassup man?!”
“Er, yes, Captain Burt, it is I,” Braxis said. “Everything is, as you always like to say, cool.”
“Cool as in cold, sir,” Braxis interjected. “The hibernation chambers are emitting freezing temperatures.”
“Well, they don't call them cryo for nothing, Brax,” Burt said.
“Indeed,” Braxis continued. “However, I believe that the internal temperatures of the chambers are on the rise.”
“Can you confirm that?” Kelsoe asked, turning to Craig.
Craig examined his sensor scans of the chamber in question and gave his captain a nod. “Confirmed, sir.”
“Do you know when this people will thaw out, so to speak?” Kelsoe asked.
“Soon, captain. Very soon.”
Ru'kon recoiled as the bronze door to his cell creaked opened. He was rushed by guards who grabbed him and hauled him out into the dimly lit corridor. Again. Again to the interrogation chamber, he thought. He entered the room and was strapped to a chair. The prison doctor, with a white clock and optical lens over one eye, turned and grinned with yellow stained teeth.
“Open your mouth. Now!” he growled, saliva oozing out of his mouth as his spoke.
When Ru'kon did not comply, the guards grabbed his head, and force his jaw open. The doctor did not hesitate. He immediately drained the contents of the vial in his hand into the Senator's mouth. Within seconds everything went black.
Ru'kon opened his eyes again, he found himself laying on the floor of a clearer and more well lit cell. He looked around, the rags he had been wearing had been replaced with a pale green inmate jumpsuit. He looked around and in the door way, dressed, as usually in his military best, was Major Admiral Isen'ko.
“Senator,” he hissed. “Nice to see you finally wake up.”
“Admiral,” Ru'kon spoke in a hoarse voice. “What...?”
“You need water,” Isen'ko said, blinking. “Guard!”
Ru'kon squinted as he saw a guard appear with a tin mug. Isen'ko took it and paused. For a moment, Ru'kon thought that the Admiral was going to spit into the cool liquid, but instead, he merely placed it on the floor next to him.
The Senator reached out, picked it up, and savagely drank as if the water was the nectar of the gods.
“Good,” Isen'ko said, crouching to Ru'kon level. “You need to keep your strength up, if you are to survive the trial.”
“Trial?” Ru'kon questioned after taking a breather from his long gulp.
“Yes,” Isen'ko hissed. “King Ar'kon has decreed that you shall stand trial for treason.”
“Treason? And who's idea was that?” Ru'kon asked, but it was more of a demand.
“Admiral Da'note felt it would better serve the cause,” Isen'ko answered.
Ru'kon shifted, unnerved. What was this about a cause?
Isen'ko looked over his shoulder, as if checking to ensure no one was in earshot. He then stepped through the threshold of the door into the cell.
“Ar'kon's reign will be short,” Isen'ko said. “It has been clear from the very start that he was not the right man to rule our people. King So'mal knew this even before Ar'kon married the Princesses Sr'gi. Besides, your family has a better claim to the throne than Ar'kon, who is only related through marriage.”
“What are you saying?” Ru'kon pleaded.
“Ar'kon shall be overthrown once the people see him kill a member of the royal family, especially one with a high ranking in the Senate, and a well like amongst the populace.”
“What about the accusations you made during my arrest?”
“A necessary evil,” Isen'ko said. “For Admiral Da'note plan to work, it must appear as if Ar'kon has lost all his faculties and has gone insane.”
“He is insane!”
“But the people do not know His Majesty as you and I do,” Isen'ko explained. “Which is why it is necessary to let them see the light.”
“What were at those coordinates!” General Kassus demanded of the prisoner.
The human coughed off blood after a guard struck him on the jaw. His gray hair was shaggy, and sported a large nasty scare across the left side of his face, from his brow, through his left eye (which had gone pale and dead with cataract), to the top of his cheek.
“Answer me!” growled Kassus.
The human began to chuckle softly. Kassus sneered in irritation. “The coordinates you gave us, where did they lead?”
The human kept his mouth shut.
“You think beating information out of you is the only method we can use?” Kassus asked, and then gave a nod to the guard, who struck the human again, this time in the gut. “Hold him!”
Kassus stepped back and R'mor entered the room as the guard restrained the human prisoner. The human's remaining working eye caught sight of the device in R'mor's hand and he began to struggle. Kassus grinned.
“You recognize the mind probe, don't you?” Kassus questioned. “Telek L'mar used it on you, didn't he?”
The human nodded.
“Good,” Kassus leaned back, “now we are getting somewhere.” He glanced up at the guard, who immediately released the human. “Now, Dr. Adar,” Kassus said leaning down to the prisoner's level. “Tell us about the Oppressor home world, and this time, I'd prefer the real coordinates.”
The two starships, the Pioneer and the Stefansson had been joined by a third, a science vessel called Atlantis. All three ships sat in orbit around the yellow planet of Yoth.
Kelsoe stepped into the transporter room with Tracy Carson at his side. He watched as Dr. Braga, along with a medical team beamed done to the surface to make a more detailed medical scan of the hibernation facility. He turned to Ensign Kavoc. The young vulcan stood behind the transporter control terminal awaiting the captain's orders.
Kelsoe gave him a nod.
The transporter pad hummed to life and three figured materialized.
“Ben!” Julian Brooke practically jumped down from the pad to give his brother a hug.
“It's good to see you, Julian,” Kelsoe said, returning the hug. “And you, too, Lilly, it's been a while.” He shook hands with Dr. Adar and a mini-hug.
The third person stepped down from the pad and extended his hand.
“And you must be, Captain Day?” Kelsoe said, noticing his liquid black eyes. “Betazoid, right?”
“Last time a checked,” Captain Percival Day grinned. “So I hear you have a mystery for us to solve?”
Kelsoe turned to Tracy, who handed him a padd. “My communications officer has downloaded all the text we've found in the temple and surrounding areas. She's done her best to translate them, but the language is dead and very obscure.”
Lilly took the padd from Kelsoe and examined it. “Very good, Ensign,” she said to Tracy. “Very good.” She turned to Julian, holding out the padd for him to see the screen. “See that part there, Julian,” he indicated in the affirmative and she continued, “According to this the hibernation chambers you've found are approaching the end of their cycle.”
“Which is why we must hurry,” Kelsoe indicated the transporter pad.
“I know you two are not blood related, but I can tell you're brothers,” Lilly said, as the five of them stepped up onto the transporter pad.
Kelsoe looked over at Kavoc.
“Report!” Calok demanded as he entered the bridge, and took the command chair, after L'mar vacated it.
“We've reached scanning range of the planet Yoth, Tyson,” L'mar said. “I have the corporal at sensor taking readings.”
Calok punched a button on the arm on his chair that activate the intership communications. “Colonel Ba'dal to the bridge.” Calok turned to L'mar. “What do the sensor's show?”
“Corporal?” L'mar asked the so'jan officer for the report. He waited as the so'jan transferred the data onto a padd. With the padd in hand L'mar returned to the command section of the bridge, giving the padd's contents a cursory glance. “Three Federation starships are in orbit,” L'mar said. He hesitated before continuing. “One of them is the Pioneer.”
“Kelsoe's ship,” Calok said, leaning back in his chair. “He's cleverer than I thought.”
“Surely the programming hasn't worn off?” L'mar asserted.
“The programming I activated after Minark was not my only one,” Calok said. “I just wanted to show him the power I have over him.”
The lift doors hissed open and Ba'dal emerged.
“Ah, Colonel!” Calok grinned mischievously. “How are the upgrades I ordered coming along?”
“The Engineer was not pleased,” hissed Ba'dal. “So I terminated him. Major Gor'tak has been promoted.”
“Gor'tak?” Calok cocked his head. L'mar leaned forward and whispered into his ear. “Ah yes, Gor'tak, the one with the eye patch.”
“Yes,” Ba'dal nodded. “That is him.”
“And what does Gor'tak think of my upgrades?” Calok questioned.
“He feels they are a vast improvement over what we had, sir,” Ba'dal replayed.
“Good,” Calok turned his attention away from the Colonel. “Go back to engineering, and have the Major focus his energy on the cloaking device.”
“Telek,” Calok looked up at this Romulan comrade. “You should accompany him, after all, the cloaking device is of Romulan origin, and I'd like it to be operational before we arrive in system.”
L'mar inclined his head. “Yes, Master.”
“The Beast!” Lilly Adar exclaimed.
“What?” Kelsoe and Julian Brooke turned around at the same time.
“Over here!” Lilly waved her hands in the air.
Kelsoe and Julian walked over. Tuff and Valdez, with Tracy and Captain Day, waited by mosaic on the other side of the room. They walked through the colonnades in the center of the temple, they reminded Kelsoe of the columns found in Egypt around Luxor. Took his flashlight and shone it up towards the stature Dr. Adar was standing in front of.
“What have you found, Lilly?” Julian asked as they arrived at the foot of the immense statue.
“This statue,” Lilly said, stepping back and gesturing up towards the face. “Look at it. Doesn't it remind you of something.”
“Looks like a jackal,” Kelsoe said.
“Yes...?” Lilly egged on.
“Anubis!” Julian said.
Lilly nodded. “Exactly. The Egyptian god Anubis. But according to the inscriptions here - which your communication officer's translations helped with considerably, by the way - indicate that the Yothians called him the Beast.”
“That's it, just the Beast,” Lilly said. “And when you read more of the inscription it speaks of a great deluge which occurs ever ten years, as a mark of the Beast's influence on the world. They almost make references to things I would more closely relate to the Fallen Angel or Satan from Earth mythologies.”
Kelsoe stepped back and looked up at the jackal face. “Could the devil have been real?”
“Well Kirk and his crew encountered Apollo, as well as Kukulkan, the Mayan god,” Lilly said. “So it is conceivable that some of the gods and divine beings from Earth's many mythologies may be based on real lifeforms.”
“If so, then human kind encountered aliens long before the Vulcans made first contact,” Kelsoe said.
“Captain!” Valdez called from behind.
All three spun around to see the Lieutenant running towards them. “We just got news from Commander Braxis and Dr. Braga,” he said. “The chambers have opened, and the... the inhabitants are demanding answers.”
Kelsoe nodded. “Caring on with this, Lilly... Julian.”
Julian and Lilly Adar nodded.
The inhabitants of the hibernation chambers were not what Kelsoe had expected. Commander Braxis looked over when the captain and Lieutenant Valdez arrived. The expression on his Vulcan face said it all. Despite his resistant, the science officer looked overwhelmed.
“It is agreeable to see you here, Captain,” Braxis said in traditionally vulcan fashion. “Dr. Braga is presently examining the their leader.”
“So the Yothians have awaken,” Kelsoe said.
“They prefer not to be called that, Captain,” Braxis said, raising an eyebrow. “They call themselves Youths.”
“Youths?” Kelsoe questioned.
“Yes,” came a high squeaky voice. “That is what we are called.”
Kelsoe looked down to see a small four foot rodent-like creature, with a small round face and two small ears, higher that a humans, that were covered in a soft brown fuzz. Despite its appearance, Kelsoe could not get over the child-like quality to the creature.
“Hello,” Kelsoe knelled to look at the Youth eye to eye. “I am Captain Benjamin Kelsoe of the Federation starship Pioneer.”
“Molelink, Chief Magistrate of the Youth Delegacy of the Greater Ha'n Supremacy,” the little rodent spoke.
Kelsoe offered his hand, but the Magistrate ignored it.
“Why have you waken us?”
“Yes!” Stammered Molelink. “We had just began our hibernation when you're presence triggered a premature activation.”
“I'm sorry,” Kelsoe said. “That was not our intent.”
“In the name of the First Ones, are you mad!” aggravated the small rodent. “The Great Deluge is nearly upon us, and here you are waking us up.” He shook his little head in disbelief.
“We were unaware that anyone inhabited this planet,” Kelsoe said. “We've come in search of a missing ship and her crew.”
Molelink narrowed his rodent like eyes. “You seek a missing crew, do you?” Kelsoe nodded. The small rodent took a deep breath. “Follow me, flesh-sack and I shall assist you... then you must promise to leave and allow us our slumber.”
Kelsoe gave a nod. “We will.”
“Fine, good. Follow then. Follow and lead. Lead and follow.”
Tyson Calok sat impatiently in the command chair aboard the Revenge. On the view screen was locked on the planet Yoth and the orbiting Federation starships. He had begun drumming his fingers on the arm of the chair. A chirping noise came from the arm chair console. He looked down and pushed on of the button.
“L'mar, sir,” came the Romulan's voice. “The cloak is active. You may use it when you wish.”
Calok grinned. “Excellent timing, my friend. Excellent timing.” He switched off the intership communications and turned to the corporal setting at the helm. “Corporal, lock in a course for the planet, and engage the cloaking device!”
“That is all I know,” Felix Adar pleaded with his captors.
General Kassus exchanged looks with Colonel R'mor. “And the planet you previously claimed was the Oppressor home world?”
“It is called Yoth,” Adar said. “For centuries it was believed to be a lost planet, but I found it. It is a desert like planet, or at least that is how it appears. The cities look to be in ruin, but again, that is only how it appears. The planet is inhabited by a race called the Youth. Their small rodent like creatures, whose very appearance radiates a child-like quality. You see, their cities appear in ruins because every ten years the entire planet covered in a deluge. Every ten years; from some random place on the planet and spring erupts sending a cascade of water across the planet's surface. There is no scientific or geological reason for it to do this, but it does. After I spent some time amongst the Youth, I discovered that they held a belief in the First Ones as deities. And like most religious they had a concept of a heaven and an hell. But their devil... their devil...,” he paused, as if the mere mention of this being was placing him in rapture.
Kassus nodded to the guard who shook Adar to his senses. “Continue,” the general said.
“Their devil was like no other devil I have seen in all mythologies through out the universe,” Adar said. “It was real!”
“Yes,” Adar said. “The flood, it was not caused by God, but by the Devil. The Beast! He left his mark on the world and the world suffered because of it. And this Beast, I believe him to be the origin of all other devil beings within the sphere of this galaxy. He must have been one of the First Ones. A fallen angel.”
Kassus throw back his head and laughed.
“I believe you are getting you Earth religious mixed up with our studies, Professor,” Kassus chuckled. He turned to R'mor. “See that his mind is wiped before we send him on his way.”
“Wait!” Adar cried as the guard grabbed a hold of him. “I have more information to give you!”
Kassus turned around and glared at the human before him. “If it is about the Romulans you tricked me into sending to Yoth then I'm listening.”
Adar waited for the guard to release him before continuing. “You may laugh at my theories, but believe me when I say the Beast is real. The scar upon my face... it was from him that I received it.”
The General looked at R'mor and then back at Adar. “Go on.”
“What I told you to do,” Adar said slowly, apparently unsure whether or not he would still be alive after he finished. “The gateway I mentioned... it was no the true gateway to the Oppressors.”
Kassus snarled. “You lead us into a trap?!”
“You wanted the secrets of Oppressor technology for yourselves,” persisted Adar. “And not just for the Romulan people but for you, the Tal Shiar. How could I entrust such a knowledge onto such a clandestine organization?”
Before anyone could stop him, Kassus was on Adar like a raving animal. Colonel R'mor and the guard had to pull him off. After settling down, Kassus pushed R'mor away and glared down at Adar. He breathed hard through his nostrils, attempting to calm down.
“Be thankful you're memories will be erased, Professor,” Kassus said before storming out of the room.
“Dead?” Kelsoe inquired.
“It appears so,” Magistrate Molelink said looking down at the small terminal before him.
Commander Braxis and Lieutenant Valdez stood behind their captain.
“Are you absolutely positive?” Kelsoe asked.
“As I said earlier,” Molelink tried to explained, very hottily. “My people were about to begin a long slumber when you interrupted our hibernation. Hence most of our primary sensory system had been shut down. There was no guarantee that it would work so quickly.”
“Well is there anything else we can do?”
“You can pray, Captain,” Molelink said. “Pray to the First Ones to help you find your Romulan friends.”
Kelsoe exchanged looks with Braxis and Valdez.
“Curious,” Braxis said, cocking his head.
“We made no mention of Romulans,” Braxis stated.
All three turned to glare at Molelink. The rodent grinned, nervously.
“Yes, well,” he stammered, he turned back to the terminal. “Systems are working fine! Yes! All in working order.”
“And where are the Romulans?” Kelsoe demanded.
Molelink looked up at the humans and the vulcan. “I only read two, and they are in the Temple of the Beast.”
“General!” R'mor came rushing into the general's office. He held up a padd, and General Kassus dismissed his aide. R'mor waited for the aide to leave, then handed the padd to Kassus.
“What is it now, Colonel?” groaned Kassus, becoming tired to these interruptions.
“Adar's been released, he will not remember any of his time here,” R'mor said.
“I don't understand, sir.”
“Understand what, Colonel?”
“Why you let him go?” R'mor questioned. “What if he had lied to us again?”
“He did not,” Kassus said. “After serving the Tal Shiar so long, I can tell.”
“But he didn't give us any coordinates,” R'mor objected.
“Precisely why I know he did not lie,” Kassus said. “The man truly does not know the location of the Oppressor home world... however, he suspects it.”
“The Gateway is the key, Colonel,” Kassus said with a wicked grin. “The Gateway!”
“Over here, Captain!” Braga called out from the darkness.
Kelsoe and Braxis ran in the direction of the doctor's voice. Valdez and the two security personnel followed, with the rodent-like Molelink amongst them.
“Some lights,” Kelsoe ordered.
Commander Tuff and Julian appeared with Federation survival lanterns that illuminated the vast chamber before them. The room was large, filled with the same columns as the statue chamber. Kelsoe, his brother, and his crew rushed over to the far side of the chamber, where Dr. Braga and Dr. Rhell were examining two Romulans.
“It's her,” Braga said. And after the quizzical look from Kelsoe added, “Rhiana Keras, Takaram's former first officer.”
“And who's this?” Kelsoe asked the Bolian doctor.
Rhell scanned the Romulan officer's identification tags. “Subcommander Stelam, the Fierce Talon's executive officer.”
“She's coming to, Captain,” Braga said, helping his patient set up.
“What is going on?” Rhiana questioned, a little dizzy.
“I'm Captain Benjamin Kelsoe of the Federation starship...”
“Pioneer, yes I know,” Rhiana said. “Takaram speaks very highly of you.”
She looked around at all the faces around her and singled out of one. “What is that filth doing here!?” she demanded.
Kelsoe followed her gaze and found out that it fell on Molelink. The rodent merely grinned nervously.
“I can explain!” he trembled. “You see, Romulans come to planet and wake us up, just like you. They ask questions, sacrilegious questions to be sure, but questions! We tell them what they want to hear and they open the doorway. Not our fault! Not my fault! They wanted to! We did not force!”
Kelsoe turned around and for the first time noticed the large circular ring-like gateway behind the two Romulans. It almost appeared to be part of the wall. “What is that?” he asked, looking toward the Youth Magistrate.
Molelink shook his head. “Blasphemy to speak its name! We merely call it a Gateway.”
“And where does this Gateway lead?” Braxis inquired, scanning the strange dark metal the large ring was made of.
“Not where I was told it did,” Rhiana said, standing up with the assistance of Braga.
“What's going on over here?” called a voice from behind. Kelsoe turned to see Lilly Adar coming out of the shadows with Captain Day in tow. The Betazoid captain stopped when he say the Romulans.
“We found our missing crew, I presume?” he inquired.
“What's left of them,” Braga said.
Rhiana turned and knelled beside her first officer. She looked up at the Bolian doctor. Rhell felt her stare and looked up.
“He is fine,” Rhell said. “Though he may not wake up as quickly as you did.”
The Romulan commander nodded and stood up slowly, glaring at Molelink.
“He knew what would happened,” Rhiana said, pointing at the little rodent. “He knew and would not tell us.”
“It appears he does that very often,” Kelsoe said looking down at the rodent.
“Please, please, do not look at me that way, Captain,” squealed Molelink. “We only try and prevent the release of He who the First Ones imprisoned here.”
Kelsoe looked confused and Rhiana informed him that the Magistrate had made the same proclamation to her and her crew.
“Captain,” Tuff said softly, nodding over towards the gate.
Kelsoe turned to his to see what Tuff had saw. Dr. Lilly Adar was holding a flashlight up to a part of the ring, Braxis standing nearby.
“There's that symbol again,” Lilly said. “Julian come and look at this!”
Julian exchanged looks with Kelsoe before joining his colleague and lover over by the Gateway.
“Do you see it?” Lilly asked pointing to a specific section of the ring.
“The circle with overlaid V,” Julian nodded. “But this one is different somehow.”
Lilly shone the flashlight on it and reach out to touch it.
“No don't!” cried Molelink. He bit the hand of Doogan and pushed away from the security personnel. The little rodent darted between the legs of the Starfleet officers and dived at Lilly. But it was too late, she had already touched the symbol.
“No!” the rodent moaned in a religious fervor.
Everyone jumped back at the symbol of the circle with the overlaid V lit up. It glowed bright white and then faded to dark red. It began to pulsate. As it did so, the entire ring seemed to emanate with the same dark red glow. And then with a kawoosh, the middle of the ring burst into a vortex that looked like liquid magma.
Kelsoe stumbled back and nearly tripped over Molelink as the rodent ran from the chamber. The ground began to quake and Kelsoe thought he could hear Tracy over the comm-link. There was another burst of light and everyone was thrown backwards. The room was bathed in a dark red. Kelsoe held up an arm to shield his eyes. He squinted at the twirling puddle of lava in the center of the ring and watched in amazement as a form emerged from it.
“Free,” a deep dark voice growled. “I am free!”
The figure that had emerged from the vortex seem to ignite on fire and with in second vanished. Moments later the room was plunged into darkness as the ring seemed to shut off, the swirling red vortex disappearing.
L'mar stood beside Calok as they watched the temple shudder and quake. The Romulan felt uneasy, and wanted to beam up to the cloaked Revenge, but his master's resolve held firm.
From within the temple came the growls of a creature and then suddenly it was gone. Commander Telek L'mar cocked his head towards his human comrade and shivered as a twisted grin spread across his face.
“The Beast has awaken!”