Mission 20: BLINDSIDED
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effected upon publication of this mission by the ship’s Captain ipso facto.
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This mission may not be reproduced in any form without
the express, written authorization of STARSHIPS OF THE THIRD FLEET.
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
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.
"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,
"Communications, lock on to that beacon. Transfer
coordinates to helm. Pyrebon, as soon as you get the coordinates:
A moment later, Pyrebon called over his shoulder,
"Coordinates locked in, Captain. Going to Warp 8. ETA one hour, 15
"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."
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
"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
"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
"Ten minutes to intercept, Captain." Pyrebon
"No other vessels except the Silo in the
"Red Alert! Security, 10 minutes."
"We’re ready, Captain."
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, 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
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
"Captain?" it was
"Go ahead, Commander."
"Vessel secured. I’m beaming six to Sickbay and 12
more to 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
"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."
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.
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—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
"Carry on, Lieutenant."
The viewscreen lit up as the Silo
disappeared in a flash of phaser fire.
"Helmsman, set a course for Starbase Flying
"Course laid in, Captain. Speed?"
"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 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
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 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.
"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
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!"