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(A few days earlier) USS Thunder “Why didn’t Commander Johnson want you on the bridge?” “He was with me when I tested the Phoenix system. He has hated me ever since.” “But the system has saved thousands of lives in the past six years alone!” The older Mc Ghee looked briefly at the floor as he recalled the events. “I endangered six crewmates while testing the device. I betrayed my Captain and colleagues. In effect I sold a part of my soul for a single innovation.” “Is that why you don’t want to stop Icarus?” “Icarus is too dangerous, Joel. I can live with people not speaking to me because of the Phoenix incident. But I won’t sell the rest of my soul for an invention that will eventually destroy us.” “Do you think they will understand?” “A torpedo appearing out of nowhere? If they don’t understand the danger of such technology then we are lost.” The lift doors opened revealing the bridge of the Admiral’s flagship and while passing the dedication plaque the Vulcan hybrid felt a powerful emotional surge, having never understood why the Admiral chose this line of his requiem speech for those lost during the Klingon invasion of 2389 as the vessel’s motto. Maybe it was one of the reasons for her disposition towards him; betrayal and disappointment hurt more than mere blows. The bridge also held a few select and unknown dignitaries there to witness the event. Admiral Turner was amongst them, however Jaxon saw the first officer was already heading his way. “Commander Johnson.” Acknowledged Jaxon, “It is agreeable to see your career progressing so expediently.” The picture of an angry and inexperience security ensign standing between a commander and incapacitated fleet captain briefly returned to his mind. The event had been a pivotal point in both his own and Johnson’s lives; one man and his career had soared and the other… well in retrospect it was a matter of perspective. The Admiral now spotted the two Mc Ghee’s and approached, wearing a stoic look of indifference and professionalism at meeting her former Chief engineer again. It was nearly perfect. “Mr. Mc Ghee, Joel welcome aboard.” Openly Jaxon nodded calmly to the Admiral, though internally the lack of a warmer greeting didn’t pass him quiet as serenely. “Thank you Ma’am.” Spoke Joel, turning to the viewscreen where a few other vessels were to be seen, “Quite a select group.” “If this works Joel, you and your father will have made history. Signal the station that we are ready.” The young man smiled at her encouraging words while the crew followed the orders. Joel joined his father at the test cylinder set up in the center of the bridge, before he turned back to the Admiral and offered her a Padd. “Ma’am, do you want to initiate the transport?” The western woman smiled at Joel and reached out and tapped the key. The whine of a transporter sounded and the silver tube disappeared in a typical blue swirl. The main screen changed and displayed a research lab and a technician, now holding the test cylinder, his face radiating satisfaction. “Ladies and gentlemen.” Announced Commander Johnson, “You have just witnessed the first subspace transport of an object over a distance of more than half a lightyear. This is the advent of a new age of intergalactic transportation.” Polite applause erupted from the dignitaries on the bridge and Jaxon turned to look at the excited and enthusiastic people. He watched the mix of high ranking Starfleet officers and diplomats congratulating each other. The Welshman turned to Johnson and took the arm of the first officer. “And now for your side of the bargain; send the torpedo. Show them how useless shields will have become.” “That will no longer be necessary.” smiled the Commander, the officer waved to the main screen which had again changed. It now showed a large conference table where more people and most were in heated discussions. Engineers and technicians, Jaxon recognized a number of the faces. “You didn’t show them?” “Many experts have now witnessed your invention. You and son’s name will be recited with Cochrane and Archer. You know schools named after you and so on.” The younger man smiled as Jaxon’s eyes widened upon grasping the magnitude of the deception. It was irrelevant if he stopped, those that had now seen the invention were now aware of the possibility and would hunt for the solution. It was in the nature of an engineer; Icarus had gone public and a cry for this technology would rise. No more week long voyages, no more hauling giga-tons of equipment on massive freighters trudging one lightyear after another. Once the technology was explored and improved, hundreds of lightyears would no longer be a distance for any person to travel. Or any army and their weapons. Stardate: 240004.21 SS Black Raven For Jaxon the Thunder-A still looked as beautiful as the day his choices had forced him to leave her. In his opinion, the thin, darkened strips on her hull, deployment points for the 2nd generation of ablative armor, still marred her pearl white hull. A pang of regret flowed through him, caused by the events of the last 48 hours, but as always the emotion was countered, checked and sent to oblivion as unneeded trash. EVE, the vessel’s holographic avatar, appeared next to the stocky Welshman. “The Thunder is already in the system and is protecting the second station. What are you going to do? They’ll hardly fall for the same trick twice.” The engineer turned to look at her and gave his creation a brief, encouraging smile. “EVE this time you do not have to join me. Once other powers realize the potential of displacement technology… it is simply too dangerous.” The long haired beauty smiled knowingly, she had truly made progress in the last few years of her existence. “We both know I’ll will always follow you.” Her voice was quiet and she looked at the floor uncomfortably for a moment before continuing as she harked her sensors “The Thunder is hailing.” Jaxon nodded briefly at her response, though he didn’t show his relieve that she was staying with him. “Raise shields and prepare weapons.” There was a brief chirp as the avatar complied, “Put the Thunder through.” USS Thunder Commander Johnson looked up at the sensor officer awaiting his report. “It’s the Black Raven, just dropped from high warp.” The main screen changed cycling through zoom ranges as the sleek black ship of the former Starfleet officer was focused on. That Mc Ghee had somehow managed to create a cascade that destroyed one of the two prototype stations had taken everyone by surprise. The admiralty was less than pleased that 50% of eight year’s hard work had been lost because one of the researcher’s had gone amok. “Hail him..” Johnson’s tone was bitter. He had also just spent a grueling quarter-hour with Admiral Turner while she expressed her displeasure at tricking Mc Ghee during the presentation. The dark haired Welshman appeared and Johnson saw less youth in the Human-Vulcan features, “Mr. Mc Ghee, lower your shields and prepare to be boarded. You are under arrest for treason, destruction and theft of Federation and Starfleet property.” “I will not comply. I’m here to destroy Icarus. My arrest can be subsequently arranged.” “We are here to protect this facility and I doubt you will fire upon the Thunder.” “My only target is the data core and the transmitter array.” “The data cores have been secured and are aboard the Thunder. Your little rampage ends here.” “A real shame. Then you leave me without a satisfactory choice.” Said Jaxon and looked briefly at the floor, “EVE?” “Jaxon?” “Execute program Omega Icarus and cut the com link.” Even as the image of the Welshman faded and Johnson realized diplomacy had failed, he still noted the tone of sadness in the man’s voice. “He’s charging weapons!” “Battlestations!” he cried, “Call the Admiral to the bridge!” SS Black Raven The small dark vessel shot fore as EVE flew curves while twisting upwards swiftly as the Thunder’s phaser strips lit up again. The orange beams reached out for the speeding Raven and the smaller craft shook as the shields tried to absorb the attack. “Shields holding.” Reported EVE The Vulcan hybrid stood typing at his holographic display, occasionally swaying as the Raven spiraled, danced and shook around the heavier and slower Thunder. “Keep the shields up, the weapons hot and the com array online.” Commented Jaxon. “Torpedoes incoming.” “Evasives! Jaxon one alpha. More power to the engines! Get a lock on those torpedoes!” The Raven pulled sharply to port as the four blue sparkles shot across the distance separating the two adversaries. Her phaser’s still lancing out to retreating ship, the Thunder followed in hot pursuit while the Black Ravens own weapons finally joined the fray attempting to pick off the incomingquantum’s. On the command deck, Jaxon held on to his station as two torpedoes found their mark, the others falling to EVE’s targeting scanners. “Why the hell did I let Parker convince me to install three more tubes?!” growled the part-Vulcan as he compensated for the damage. “Progress?” “I can’t lock onto the data cores. They are constantly rotating the frequency. ” reported EVE Jaxon swore at the news. It meant that Starfleet was aware the datacore held the only set of plans for the Icarus project that they still had open access to and they were ready to protect them. The small craft rocked again as more phasers hit, launching another series of alarms and sirens. Jaxon got up growling in anger while he looked at his tactical display. EVE had got some distance between them and Jaxon saw a possibility and issued a litany of commands. “New course heading 234 mark 12. Prepare all torpedoes, target port shield generators. Detonate 1000 kilometers before impact. Retreat pattern Beta. Transporter commands to me. Execute. ” Pulling a high speed curve, the Raven swiftly turned on her follower and hit full impulse as she bore down on the Thunder. Moments beforehand a spread of six photons left their tubes and shot towards the white hulled vessel. As expected the opposing helmsman pulled his ship away from the source of danger, and moments later the Raven pulled up sharply in the other direction, her rear cannons opening fire and destroying her own missiles. Seeing the enemy shields briefly falter, Jaxon exploited the advantage and initiated the transport while the shield were reestablished. USS Thunder Jaxon felt the confinement beam release him and he briefly checked the equipment that had been transported in on his person before he left the observation room. The bridge of the Thunder was still in disarray as Jaxon ducked in though the rear door, seeing his own ship pulling away on the main screen. “Tractor beam.” Yelled Johnson as he helped the Admiral up. Seeing an unused station and ignoring everything else, Jaxon took a device from his belt and dived forward, slapping it onto a console before landing and crawling under the empty station. “INTRUDER ALERT!” bellowed a well-known voice. A stray phaser beam singed the wall behind him while Jaxon typed at the computer on his wrist. With the handy device supplying him with an uplink, he downloaded the program into the system and then threw his weapon over the console; as if he had ever stood a chance of storming the bridge. “I give up. You have won.” Said Jaxon standing up slowly with raised hands. Jaxon found himself swiftly surrounded by burly security officers, their phasers trained on him. The already tall men were then eclipsed as Parker stepped up to join his former brother. Honorable brown eyes conveyed a mix of fury, disappointment and sadness. “Firing on a fleet ship.” He growled, “What have you become?” “We don’t always get to choose, Colonel.” The Welshman’s voice was quiet and subdued. “Don’t hide behind words Mr. Mc Ghee.” came a sharp voice. Two blue eyes with their yellow corona fixed on Admiral Turner as she joined the group surrounding the intruder. Jaxon noted that Toni also had a phaser aimed at him even though he had surrendered and six other weapons were still following his every move; never shy to get her hands dirty. “G’day Ma’am.” The flag officer looked at her former Chief a moment before holstering her weapon and giving an exasperated sigh. “Colonel if he moves.” Then the flag officer turned away to her tactical officer. “Understood Ma’am.” growled the giant Marine, “Was there any reason for you betraying us again?” “Affirmative.” Confirmed Jaxon. His wrist computer chirped and the hybrid looked up at Parker “ You know Hannibal, sometimes you lose and sometimes the others win.” “What’s that supposed to mean?” “It means that you shouldn’t have let old friendship from dragging me from this station.” The inconspicuous device he had attached to the screen lit up and began to flash and force field appeared separating the Marine and security detail from the ex-engineer, “EVE shut them out of the system.” While commotion broke out amongst the bridge officers, phaser fire harmlessly struck the wall of energy as Jaxon turned to the console and his fingers began to work. Hannibal tried his weapon twice more before angrily striking opaque field that protected the renegade engineer. “I’d be careful Hannibal, a ruptured EPS conduit on the bridge could injure or kill us all.” Said the hybrid without looking, his voice was calm and the incessantly entered commands created a concerto of beeps and chirps as his hands danced over the keys. Various stations on the bridge began to shut down creating more cries as the officers tried to coordinate their efforts against the onslaught Jaxon and EVE unleashed on the systems. After every station and light source had died away, Jaxon still worked on, his face illuminated only by his station, set in concentration as he added the needed command lines. “Mr. Mc Ghee step away from that station, that is an order.” Admiral Turner’s voice reverberating in fury. “I apologize for the ruse Admiral but I cannot comply.” His hands continued bringing up screens and entering commands, “Speaking of lies, Admiral have you heard of subspace shield mechanics?” There was a moment’s pause. “What is he talking about Commander.” Another pause followed, before the Admiral spoke again, her voice now able to cut glass. “Commander I expect an answer.” “Standard shields cannot be projected into the subspace plain, they become unstable.” Admitted Johnson. “You’re saying that this technology …” she fell silent. “Yes Admiral, it can teleport through any known shield from 100 million kilometers distance.” Confirmed Jaxon, he paused briefly and looked through the darkness to where he thought the Admiral stood, “Imagine the Klingons or Jem’hadar able of dropping troops or bombs without even entering the system.” He looked at Hannibal and then briefly at the floor, “I won’t take responsibility for that. It will lead to war and the blood will be on my hands.” “If this is true then we can no doubt find a solution.” “That’s not the point Admiral. We shield ourselves, the enemy bypasses them. We counter that, they find something else. The technology is too dangerous it has to be destroyed.” The Welshman appeared to be finished with his work as he stopped his typing and turned to face the bridge staff. Some were still trying to bypass the force field, others had stopped and had accepted there was little they could currently do. With a few last keystrokes the lighting on the bridge came back on and a timer appeared on the stations. “What happens now Jaxon.” Asked Admiral Turner after eyeing the diminishing numbers. “A computer virus is blocking the system, once the timer hits zero Admiral you and your staff will have full control over the Thunder again. Until then you can only read the data on your screens. Of course that will be too late to save the Icarus transmission array. I am sorry that I used my knowledge of her systems to exploit them.” “The destruction of the array won’t stop Starfleet exploring the economic possibilities of the technology.” “Commander Johnson, you are confusing military with economical possibilities. The data core has been transported to the Raven and EVE is currently erasing it. My son cannot reproduce it, explain it to a high ranking bunch of officials, yes, but not reproduce it. The Icarus project now only exists in my head and that is also my cue.” “You know Icarus will follow you wherever you go.” Growled Johnson. “Only what exists can be hunted Mr. Johnson.” came the even reply, “EVE, transport.” The Welshman vanished in a swirl of light. A moment later the force field, now devoid of the control device, collapsed with an electrical crackle. Those closest dived for the station the renegade engineer had employed against them, in the hope that it still functioned. A moment later the main screen lit up and the angle showed Jaxon apparently busy working a few consoles. “Admiral, please look after and guide EVE.” The whine of the transporter rang out and a crate materialized on the bridge. “Ma’am he’s headed directly for the station.” Reported the helmsman, “Shields and weapons are offline. The tractor beam is still out. Ma’am …I can’t stop him. ” “Jaxon don’t.” called Admiral Turner. “He won’t.” breathed Johnson as he realized. “He will.” Confirmed Parker, “You said yourself Icarus will follow him.” “… oh and Ma’am, please tell Joel. ‘I had to buy back a piece of my soul.’ It was an honor. Mc Ghee o…. ” The transmission ended as the screen went blank before a blinding light lanced over the assembled officers. Lt Cmdr. Jaxon Mc Ghee Chief Engineering OfficerUSS Thunder NCC 70605Embassy Duronis II