Blindsided
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Table Of Contents


Mission 20: BLINDSIDED

 

The contents of the Ship Logs are considered to be a "compilation" under the provisions of Title 17, U.S. Code (known as the Copyright Act): that is, "A work formed by the collection and assembling of preexisting materials or of data that is selected, coordinated or arranged in such a way that the resulting work as a whole constitutes an original work of authorship." As such, it is the property of the ship’s Captain; however, automatic transfer of ownership to STARSHIPS OF THE THIRD FLEET is effected upon publication of this mission by the ship’s Captain ipso facto.

As outlined in Circular 1 (Copyrighted Basics, Library of Congress, Washington DC, USGPO 1989-262-309/12), "copyrighted in each separate contribution to a periodical or other collective work is distinct from the copyright in the collective work as a whole and vests initially with the author of the contribution."

This mission may not be reproduced in any form without the express, written authorization of STARSHIPS OF THE THIRD FLEET.

Prologue

CAPTAIN’S LOG:

The mystery of the Translucien’s death and the destruction of the Candescium crystal have been solved and are finally behind us. I hate to think of what could have happened if the Candescium had ended up in anyone’s hands--and that includes Starfleet’s. We had no idea how dangerous this crystal could have been if unleashed.

We are heading back to Flying Cloud for much needed R&R. I’m proud of the way my crew has handled the last few missions. If anyone needs a rest it is them. I need to…

"Captain to the bridge! Captain to the bridge!" Taryn Redee’s voice filled Lawrence’s office.

The note of urgency in the Communications Officer’s voice made Lawrence flip the off switch on her computer and run for the Main Bridge. This doesn’t sound good! She thought.

The turbolift ride gave Lawrence a chance to catch her breath. The doors opened and she strode onto the Bridge. LCDR McConnell, the Officer-of-the-Deck for this shift, immediately vacated the center seat.

"Report!"

"We received a Mayday, sir." Redee spoke up.

"Play it back," Lawrence ordered as she sat down.

A male’s voice filled the room. "Mayday, Mayday, Mayday! This is Captain Freelander of the merchant vessel Silo. We have been attacked and the ship is on fire! Our locater beacon has been activated. Mayday, Mayday, Mayday."

"Communications, lock on to that beacon. Transfer coordinates to helm. Pyrebon, as soon as you get the coordinates: Warp 8."

A moment later, Pyrebon called over his shoulder, "Coordinates locked in, Captain. Going to Warp 8. ETA one hour, 15 minutes."

"Yellow Alert! " Captain Lawrence punched a button on the arm of her chair. "Security!"

"Lieutenant Commander Mon’Teith here, Captain."

"Mon’Teith, we’re responding to a Mayday from a merchant vessel. ETA one hour and 15 minutes. They indicate they’re under attack. I want a couple of Security Teams armed to the teeth ready to beam over. Secure the ship, get the crew over here, and then I’ll send damage control parties over to put out the fires."

"Affirmative, Captain." Mon’Teith’s voice was as calm as it would have been had the Captain asked her to fix a cup of hot chocolate. A small smile of satisfaction flickered across Lawrence’s face. She punched another button.

"Engineering!"

"Captain?" The gruff voice of LCDR QaS responded.

"We’re headed for a ship that has been boarded and is on fire. As soon as Security buttons up the vessel, I want a damage control team over there to fix whatever’s wrong. Let me know when you’re ready and, as soon as Security has done their thing, get over there."

"Aye, aye, Captain."

Another button. "Medical."

"Commander Natevera here, Captain."

"We’ve received a Mayday from a merchant vessel. There may be casualties. Have Sickbay ready for anything, including burns. As soon as Security has the situation in hand, they’ll beam the injured, if any, directly to you."

"Will do, Captain."

There was nothing left to do but wait. Impatiently, Captain T. E. Lawrence watched as the stars streaked by.

"Ten minutes to intercept, Captain." Pyrebon reported.

"No other vessels except the Silo in the area, Captain."

"Red Alert! Security, 10 minutes."

"We’re ready, Captain." Mon’Teith responded.

The ship on the viewscreen looked like any one of a thousand small cargo vessels which plied the trade routes between Federation worlds. As she stared at the Silo, the hairs on the back of Lawrence’s neck seemed to stiffen. There’s something wrong here, she thought.

"All stop!"

"All stop, Captain," Pyrebon responded.

"Security, go! And be careful, Mon’Teith—I don’t like the looks of this."

"On our way, Captain."

Again, all Lawrence could do was wait. It was in the hands of one of Starfleet’s finest Security officers. She began to fidget.

Less than 10 minutes later, Mon’Teith’s voice came over the speakers. "Captain, the ship is secure. We need the damage control party over here. There’s extensive damage and fire is still raging in the engine room."

"Acknowledged. Engineering, get your teams over now."

"Affirmative, Captain."

"Captain?" it was Mon’Teith again.

"Go ahead, Commander."

"Vessel secured. I’m beaming six to Sickbay and 12 more to the Brig."

"The Brig?"

"This is not a merchant ship, Captain. It’s a smuggler ship. Six women prisoners have been sent to Sickbay and the crew of 12 are headed for the Brig."

Lawrence sighed. It had been such a beautiful day. "Understand. How about the cargo?"

"Can’t get there, Captain. Fires and extensive damage."

"O.K., Mon’Teith, Stand by for damage control teams to beam over." Lawrence said and punched up Engineering. "Commander QaS, deploy your damage control teams."

"Yes, Sir."

It was less than 30 minutes later when LT Ayia Lire, the Senior Engineering Officer, called her. "Captain? Lieutenant Lire here."

"Go ahead, Lieutenant."

"We can’t save her, Captain. Too much structural damage and the engines are about to lose containment."

"O.K., Lieutenant Lire. Inform Commander QaS to abandon the vessel and get back to the PHOENIX immediately. You’ve obviously done all you can."

"Aye, Sir. I’ll pass the message to Commander QaS. Lire out."

Lawrence turned to her Assistant Operations Officer, LTJG Wendy Carlisle. "Carlisle, when all our personnel are clear of the ship, take it out."

"Phasers targeted, Captain. As soon as all our personnel are clear, destroy the target."

"Medical, Captain."

"Medical, Captain—Commander Natevera here."

"Update me, Commander."

"Minor problems with a couple of the females, Captain, but I want to keep them a couple of hours for observation. The other four refused medical care and, after a careful examination, I’ve released them. Commander Hawk has assigned them quarters and they were escorted there by Security. Three of the crewmembers had minor burns and I’ve treated them and sent them back to the Brig. There are no serious injuries, Captain. I’m standing down the emergency medical teams."

Lawrence nodded, and then realized that the Chief Medical Officer couldn’t see her. "Excellent, Commander. Keep me informed of any changes. Captain out."

"Captain, the vessel is abandoned. Permission to fire phasers?"

"Carry on, Lieutenant."

The viewscreen lit up as the Silo disappeared in a flash of phaser fire.

"Helmsman, set a course for Starbase Flying Cloud."

"Course laid in, Captain. Speed?"

"Cruising."

"Cruising speed, aye. Estimated time of arrival, 22 hours, 55 minutes."

Lawrence slumped in her command chair for a moment, gathering her thoughts. "Now," she said to no one in particular, "let’s just see what in the hell is going on." She stood up. "Commander McConnelll, you have the deck and the conn."

"This is Commander McConnell, I have the deck and the conn."

The story was believable. The women had been crewmembers of a brand new yacht on its shakedown cruise. Well, Burgess Johannsen certainly had a knack for finding beautiful crew, Lawrence thought as she questioned Vanda Doss, the last of the six. I suspect that their "other duties as assigned" would not be suitable for young children.

"Thank you, Ms. Doss. I appreciate your cooperation." Captain Lawrence stood up and offered her hand. Vanda shook the captain’s hand.

"Thank you for rescuing us, Captain. It was quite an ordeal, I can assure you that."

Lawrence smiled. "Well, you’re safe now. Just relax and enjoy the ride to Starbase Flying Cloud."

When the Captain left, Vanda sat on the edge of her bed and stared at the door. ! Bitch, she thought to herself. I’m going to enjoy the ride, but I doubt if you will. For a few minutes she turned into her normal form… A Jirzzaque!

It was 0330. It’s time, Vanda said to herself. The biological low tide for humans. She stood up and left her quarters. As she passed the quarters of the other five females, she stuck her head inside and said the same word to each of the women: "Now."

She quietly made her way down to the Brig, passing just a couple of people in the corridors. She politely nodded to each of them. She reached the door to the Brig and looked quickly around. She was alone. She reached up to her necklace and opened the clasp. Twisting the end of the chain, she drew out a long, thin metal wire. Wrapping the ends around her hands, she entered the security office. The officer on duty was leaning back in his chair, his feet on the console. As he turned his head in response to the noise of the door opening, Vonda slipped the garrote around his neck and pulled hard. His hands went to his throat but it was too late. Moments later, he slumped in his chair, dead.

Vonda took the pass from around his neck and waved it at a reader panel on the console. The doors to the cells opened and 12 men filed out.

Captain Freelander bared his teeth in a feral grin. "Good work. Have you sent your message?"

Vonda shook her head.

"Do so now."

She reached up and squeezed the earring in her left ear lobe. "Done."

By then, each of the men was armed with phasers from the weapons locker that was opened by the same card that opened the cell doors.

"Time to go." Captain Freelander said softly. Seconds later, the Brig was empty except for the body of Ensign Jon Brady.

On the Main Bridge, Captain Lawrence had just poured herself another cup of hot chocolate and was walking back to the Command Chair.

"What the--?" LTJG Gabby Leroux, the Communications Assistant exclaimed.

"Gabby? What’s going on?"

"Captain, there’s been a transmission from inside the ship!"

"Where?"

"The Brig!" Gabby had a frown on her face. "It was a five millisecond, subspace burst, omni-directional."

Lawrence wasted no time. She punched the comm. button on her chair. "Security Alert! Security Alert! Security to the Brig! Security to the Brig!"

"Holy shit!" LTJG Wendy Carlisle, the Assistant Operations Officer, cried out from her console.

"What?"

"One, two, three—no four! Four ships inbound at high warp speed, encircling formation." Wendy gulped and looked at Captain Lawrence, a horrified expression on her face. "Identified as Jirzzaque. ETA 10 minutes."

Lawrence closed her eyes. This isn’t happening! It just isn’t happening!

"Gabby! Grey Lady Down protocol. Now!"

LTJG Leroux spoke quickly into her throat mike, her fingers flying across the keypad in front of her. She then lifted a protective shield which covered a red button on the communications console and pressed it.

Two things happened. First, a communications torpedo erupted from one of the ship’s torpedo tubes and flashed into warp drive on its way toward Starbase Flying Cloud; second, the ship began to send out an emergency message on every Federation emergency channel. It would repeat until physically turned off.

At the same time Gabby was instituting the Grey Lady Down protocol, Captain Lawrence’s voice echoed throughout the ship. "Red Alert! Red Alert! This is not a drill. Red Alert! I repeat, this is not a drill!"