The view screen snapped into focus on an impossible sight, and a voice from my past spoke in a way that I knew could only be for me. My vision was blurry even with my ocular implant, gripping the console with the view screen I did my best to focus on the voice.
“David! I need you to focus! Sta……. “The voice faded away I couldn’t stop my head from swaying with disorientation.
Trix? Where am i? What happened?
I tried to stand from the console, but a set of straps held me down. Why am I strapped in? The memory was fuzzy, but I had the vague recollection that came back slowly. I was on a mission for Star Fleet Intelligence, Merch…..Merchant was defecting. That’s right, my source a merchant on a Valcarian planet wanted to defect and wouldn’t deal with anyone else but me. Which explained the shuttle, I must have been going to collect him. Wait what happened to Merchan……ohhhh. I remember now, the rendezvous with Merchant did not go as planned. It had been a set up and I was greeted by Valcarian soldiers with kill or capture orders. Thankfully they had more of a mind to capture than kill, otherwise I might not have made it out. My escape was concluded when I jumped back in my shuttle and took off as fast as I could. The cloak! I must make sure the cloak is up or a Valcarian patrol craft can intercept me!
Undoing the straps, I grimaced as one of the straps brushed the side of my head and I felt a twinge of pain. That shouldn’t have hurt so much, touching the side of my head again I felt the moist feeling of blood and looked at my fingers. The sight of the bright red blood on my own fingers was not exactly comforting, especially considering how easily the tips of my fingers had become completely covered.
Walking over to the piloting console clumsily I checked and breathed a sigh of relief. I had apparently had the good sense to engage the shuttles cloak. Slumping down into the pilots chair I took another breathe and realized it was becoming harder to breathe. Something wasn’t right. Looking over to the command console I found the reason why, the life support was damaged. Levels put it as still functional but less than optimal. Enough to live but not enough to keep a clear head.
The voice made me stand from the pilot’s seat reflexively and my head swam. I took a step to try and regain my sense of balance and fell to the floor. I knew that voice…..that was Trixx. There was not a chance that the female Rodulan could be on or in contact with the shuttle. The last I had heard she was commanding a small Science vessel somewhere in the Gamma Quadrant. I was set to be reassigned to that region so I could be closer to her, but first I had to close out things here in the Expanse. Which meant dealing with the Merchant.
“David!” looking over to the console I had been strapped in at before I saw her face with the trademark black eyes indicative of Rodulans.
“I need you to focus! Take a deep breath and slow everything down, just like I told you what do you need to know? What do you need to do?”
Right, what do I need to know? It would probably be good to figure out where I am, looking around the shuttle the obvious answer was apparent. I’m on the shuttle, but where is the shuttle? Doing my best to get back into the pilot’s chair with my head giving the least amount of protest I looked over the readouts. Cloak….life support (still damaged)…..engines….navigation! That’s what I want to see, now where am I? Pressing few commands, a fair bit more difficulty than I would prefer I finally got a three-dimensional display to appear in front of me. Looking at the display my vision blurred again, the floating icons becoming a jumble of colors. Closing my eyes for a minute I sat in the pilot’s chair until I felt a little bit better and opened my eyes again. At least I’m out of orbit, still a good way from where I need to be though. I set the ships navigational computer take me back to federation space as fast as it could while staying under cloak at warp 3.5. I tried to do the mental math to see how long it was until I got back, the thoughts just wouldn’t come together.
Computer, how long until arrival at destination? A moment of silence passed, and I feared the computer was damaged until came back breaking the silence.
“Seventeen hours and twelve minutes”
Computer, set auto pilot and engage. The computer chirped an affirmative and the navigational display disappeared replaced by the viewscreen with the disorienting sight of passing stars. Looking away I thought to myself. That’s what I needed to know, now what do I need to do? Maybe do something about this bump on my head. Computer, activate EMH.
“No such program exists on this shuttle” That is right, this is purpose built SFI shuttle. EMH probably wasn’t high on the list when it was built. Looks like I will just have to suffer through until I reach some where a bit more friendly. Closing my eyes again to try and regain my focus so I could see clearly but just as soon as I tried to reopen them, I found I was drifting comfortably to sleep.
“Captain on the bridge!” The words startled me, and I reflexively called carry on. Looking around I saw I was lying on top of a towel on the beach on Risa in a pair of board shorts and a PADD on my chest. I must have dosed off while reading.
“Good Morning Captain” said a voice that clearly was putting more emphasis on the captain part of things.
You know you seem more excited about that than me I said in reply.
“Well its not very often that I get to call you that, ever since I was posted at DS9 I’ve had to make do with subspace messages and Holo exchanges. “
It does have a nice ring to it I said with a bit of enthusiasm, my career in Starfleet had been a different one. Starting out in intelligence with a stint as a Tactical officer and then back to Intelligence. It had even taken me a year longer than normal to reach the rank, a fact I was reminded of every time I saw myself in a reflection. My hair still had most of its color, but I could tell my hairline was beginning to recede just a little. My companion on the beach however had aged beautifully, she had all the charm of her younger years when I first met her and had gained at most one gray hair. Which I liked to bring up jokingly from time to time.
Aren’t up for promotion soon?
“I am, its bittersweet thing though”
“It comes with an assignment to the Gamma Quadrant, which means I’ll be farther away. Which means that outings like this is less likely to happen when there is a worm hole between us. “
I smiled at the thought, not because I didn’t want to see my favorite helmsman again. Because I had a surprise, I pulled a few strings and got my own assignment to the Gamma Quadrant. It wasn’t on the same ship, but it would be a lot closer than current circumstances. And besides Star Fleet Intelligence wasn’t just sending me out of the kindness of their hearts, it seemed they had a new listening post they wanted me to get off the ground.
You know I have been meaning to talk to you about that. Do you remember Jaynes friend Yartane? I made a few subspace calls and he was able get me on an assignment in the Gamma Quadrant on Cearious IV.
Trixx laid down next to me on the towel and looked at me with slightly concerned. “I don’t want you to do this for me if it hurts your career. “
Don’t worry, SFI doesn’t promote ship captains. They promote what they like to call organizers, this will be a step up from running the intel lab on DS26.
My companion smiled at me and moved the PADD off my chest so she could get closer. “I’m happy to hear that, how long until join me on the other side of the worn hole?“ She gave me a sly look that hinted at something we both enjoyed, and I couldn’t help but smile back.
Couple weeks, tops.
The dream subsided and I awoke in a brightly lit room with row of tables on the far wall, I was in the center seated in a chair. My arms and legs were held in place by force fields I could not see, an attendant was doing something with a set of tools I could not see. Looking at the rest of the room in closer detail I could see it was built in a cube shape with a doorway of some kind to my right. The wall to my left was bear and plain colored in the same pattern as the rest of the room. The attendant had not noticed me yet and I was hardly inclined to draw any unwanted attention to myself until I figured out where exactly I was. Testing each limb, I confirmed that I was trapped in the chair. None of my limbs budged so my options were extremely limited, however my vision was not as hard to focus, and I could breathe easily. Wherever I was at least It had working life support. The doors slid open and a Valcarain walked in the room. An evil smile played out across his face and I did not like the look he gave me, a few of the hairs on the back of my neck started to tingle.
“Mr. White Knight himself! I was worried those lackies would botch the trap I had so masterfully set, but lucky for them they managed to damage your shuttle before you tried to escape. I would have killed them if they had failed. I’m told you had a nasty head wound at the time so i understand why you didn’t notice the damage from your failed attempt at running caused a flood of tachyons that was easy to spot. But I do hope you’ll forgive me If use real names since we know each other. It has been a long time though hasn’t it, ten years at least? I do hope you’ve not forgotten me.”
Sover, the Valcarian assassin I saved from a certain execution by the Caraadains. I had heard you escaped from that penal colony, though I am curious how you convinced your countrymen not to execute you.
“Don’t think I’ve forgotten that, I wouldn’t be here today without you. But I do hope you understand….i will not be returning the favor. “