Sicilian Defense
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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.


Monday – 0715 hours – Captain’s Ready Room

An Andorian in a Starfleet uniform strode quickly into the room and stood, ramrod straight before the Captain. His collar pips put him at the rank of commander, but he bore no device to indicate what command he was from. With a curt bow, he held out a glistening silver package. "Captain, I have a priority tasking from Admiral Daniel Evans, 3rd Fleet Commanding for USS PHOENIX. This tasking supersedes all current tasking’s until this priority mission is complete. Please summon your Chief Intelligence Officer."

T.E. took the package and glanced over the markings and wordings – it was all official.

<<<<Starfleet Operations








Agency courier is required by Federation law to demand proof of security clearance by seeing your card 7006. This file cannot be relinquished without such positive proof of identity and clearance.>>>>

T.E. nodded. "Thank you, commander," she said as she tapped the intercom to SMIDGEN, the ship’s intelligence bay. "Commander Seabrook, please report to my ready room ASAP. We have a visitor."

In less than a minute the hatch hissed open and, as Seabrook entered, he gave the courier a curious look, but took a seat. The Captain traded glances with him and then she tore the red seal from the envelope. She tilted the envelope down and a PADD along with digital photographs spilled out onto the table. T.E. picked up the PADD and began reading it.

"Your target is a man known as Don Alonzo, a known terrorist who has joined forces with several human and Orion cartels. Until a year ago, Alonzo was content to ply kidnappings, hijacking and assassinations targeting only other gangs. However, recent events have taken a more serious turn. Starfleet Intelligence has evidence that a secret interstellar cartel, whose existence has only been suspected, is supplying and arming individual terrorist groups as well as providing professional military training."

Captain Lawrence looked over to her Intelligence Officer, expecting to see some expression of recognition in his eyes and her nod, pointing to the image of a middle-aged man with a receding hairline and thick jowls. "I’ve had some dealings with Don Alonzo. He was just small time then, acting as a recruiting agent for both the cartels and the Tal Shi’ar. I once had him cornered, but he fled into Klingon space. I suspect he might have had some further training there."

T.E. looked back to the Andorian. "Is this a…termination order?"

The man shook his head. "No. We’ve located Alonzo’s personal headquarters, a large, well-guarded compound on the asteroid, Reconquista. A HUMINT source has been able to tell us that the compound has three floors and a large basement as well as over fifty mercenary guards, some of them Klingon. Your orders are to capture Alonzo alive."

"What’s our window of opportunity?" asked Seabrook.

"The source says Alonzo will be there only a week and that was a day ago."

T.E. thought for a moment, playing out the scenario. Colonel Horn could fly in a strike team and fifty mercenaries shouldn’t be too difficult for him. She knew better though. "What’s the catch?"

The Andorian smirked. "The asteroid is just inside the Neutral Zone. Stealth is the priority. No further assistance will be provided and no one will come to your rescue. When you have Alonzo, he is to be detained in secret aboard your vessel and no one other than your command staff is to have access to him."

The Captain and Seabrook traded glances again. "Well, she said, we best get underway then."

Tuesday - 0300 – 1000km from asteroid Reconquista. Strike team from USS PHOENIX enroute to the target. Action imminent.

Colonel Lewis Horn grew increasingly impatient at being kept in the dark as he led the marine strike team deeper into space towards a seemingly benign asteroid field. He jinked his Nazgul fighter port and starboard to ensure that no hostile force was creeping up on his team. "This is King Cobra. The area is clear to our six. Keep scanning people. We don’t know what’s out here."

"Cobra Three thinks that this could be a goat rope," the speaker crackled with Tasi Maavasa’s voice that came from the cockpit of the Xanadu assault transport, packed with marines, security officers and specialists from the ship.

"Cool it, Maavasa," Major Kendra Pel said in chastisement from her nearby fighter.

A Highlander heavy fighter zipped up alongside. Horn looked over and could just make out Triana Edwards and Alice McConnell in the cockpit. "This is Cobra Four," said Alice who was manning the electronic warfare suite, "I’m picking up long range sensor pulses from the asteroid. Pulse frequency is low so I don’t think they’ve seen us yet."

"Good," King Cobra said. "Activate the scatter program and power down emissions. We go in quiet and hit the compound on foot." He was about to throttle back when a red light flashed on his communications panel. He flipped the channel over to an ultra low, encrypted frequency. "This is King Cobra, go."

It was the Captain. "This is Firebird Actual. Priority Code Omega Two Niner transmission. Acknowledge."

Something was wrong. Horn keyed his mike. "Firebird, this is King Cobra. I authenticate Epsilon Two Niner Beta. Go ahead."

"Abort present mission. Repeat, abort present mission. Are you ready for new instructions?"

"Roger Firebird Actual. Standing by."

There was a short pause before the Captain spoke again. "Cobras, change heading to Zero Seven Five. Stand by for new briefing, Code Name SICILIAN DEFENSE."

King Cobra snapped the flight stick to the right to take the new heading as did all of his formation. They were well trained, but no doubt curious as to the change.

"King Cobra," the Captain continued, "At 0210 this morning, an armed group seized control of the M/V Azure Sky enroute to New Canton colony, just outside the Neutral Zone. Intell says they have a HUMINT source aboard that has provided information that a human/plant hybrid is aboard and that the unknown group intends to infect New Canton. Do you follow, King Cobra?"

That had to be the Jinkson mutant. What else could it be? "Roger Phoenix Actual. Continue briefing, over."

"The purpose for such action is unknown and it is unknown if this is, in any way, connected to Alonzo. Commander T’Prel’s findings indicate that infection is spread through contact with open wounds or ingestion. Do no allow yourself to be cut or bitten by the mutant."

"I’ve already been there, Phoenix Actual, so understood."

"Direct the science team with you to begin immediate synthesis of DNA countermeasures. Additionally, target vessel has altered course to heading of Two Eight Five, direct course to New Canton, E.T.A. in three hours and five minutes. Immediate action is imperative. HUMINT source indicates twenty to thirty armed individuals with disruptors and explosives. No communication has been received from the group. Security orders have been issued to New Canton. Stand by for mission briefing, SICILIAN DEFENSE."

"Cobras, standing by, over."

"Come to vector Zero Four Five to intercept target at grid coordinates CY 8259. Estimate time to intercept at twenty minutes. Mission objectives as follows: Retake M/V Azure Sky, secure or destroy any and all mutant samples without contamination, rescue HUMINT source and all passengers and crew left on board, determine who is behind this. King Cobra, please acknowledge."

"This is King Cobra. Mission parameters received and understood. Immediate vectors to new target as ordered. Returning to EMCON Delta."

"Phoenix Actual…good luck and God Speed. End transmission."

USS PHOENIX - 0500 – The Nest

Captain Lawrence and Commander Stryker leaned over the map before them as Seabrook drew a line of the PHOENIX position to the asteroid." I think this area is the safest to go in at."

"I don’t have a good feeling about this, Seabrook. I don’t like the idea of our marines on another mission when we need all the help we can get. We have no idea what we are up against." TE took a sip of her hot chocolate.

"Come on T.E., you’ve been through tons of these "no win situations" and came out with flying colors. Let’s get in there and give them bloody hell!!!"

Lawrence smiled at Stryker. She looked at Seabrook, "Let’s do it!"