On the fifth day of their stay on lotia, both the
prospective and the present Commanding Officers of the DILIGENCE were in
attendance at the signing ceremonies. This was Captain Thalkar's last official
act as an officer of Starfleet. He was leaving for a lucrative civilian career.
It was rumored that the blue-skinned Andorian had purchased a partnership
interest in a trading conglomerate he adquartered somewhere in the Rigel System.
Captain Sullivan had just left his first command, the USS CODY NCC 594, in orbit
around lotia. His able first officer would be taking the CODY back to Starbase
S1 where the new skipper was to take command. Captain Sullivan's orders? He did
not know. His only orders were to board the DILIGENCE after the ceremonies, take
command, and immediately digest the contents of a message delivered by a
ABOARD THE DILIGENCE
Less than a hundred people in all the Federation knew
the name of the project, let alone it's ramifications. Now another knew! Captain
The turbolift hummed in the background as it delivered
the new Captain to the bridge. He read once again the message delivered by the
courier minutes ago....
BACKGROUND: Two years ago, in one of the most daring
raids ever undertaken, a prototype sensor array under a development contract
with the UFP, at the Cameron Naval Facility on Deneb V, was taken. At the time
of the raid, project officials, in progress reports to Starfleet Command, had
indicated the project was on time with an estimated completion date in 2307.
In less than thirty minutes, the array and ninety six
scientists and engineers employed at the facility had disappeared. An additional
181 had been massacred.
Files at Starfleet indicate that, should the system
operate according to specifics detailed in the UFP contract, it would make Dr.
Daystrom seem like a designer of children's computers. The doctor himself called
it a quantum leap forward!
All those missing as well as those massacred in the
raid had signed isolation contracts. These contracts called for noncommunication
with the outside world during the duration of the contract. Because of the
top-secret cover placed on the project, and the remoteness of the facility,
Starfleet had believed the operation to be relatively secure. Following the
loss, they have continued the secrecy cover.
Recent reports from our intelligence operatives in the
Rigel system have included items in their reports indicating that "something
big" is about to happen in the system. Nothing firm, just a certain urgency
rumbling along just below the surface.
YOUR ORDERS. CAPTAIN SULLIVAN: Effective immediately
upon taking command, you will set course for the Rigel System at best warp.
Imperative that the DILIGENCE be fully capable of taking care of all
contingencies. Upon arrival, search for and interdict all shipping within a
radius of five parsecs, with particular emphasis given to the Federation side of
Rigel. Should any evidence concerning the missing personnel or the prototype
sensor array be uncovered, confiscate the vessel, imprison the crew, and notify
The ssshhh of the turbolift doors announced the new
Captain to the bridge crew. Without hesitation, Sullivan stepped to the center
seat and spoke. "Leuitenant Boulay, plot a course for the Rigel System. Mr.
Moore, take us out of orbit. Commander Donati, I wish to see you in my ready
room." With those orders given, he turned and retraced his steps to the
turbolift with CDR Donati in close pursuit....
As the two entered the briefing room, the new captain
opened the conversation with, "In light of the fact that Starfleet has not seen
fit to order a first officer aboard, my newness as this ship's Commanding
Officer makes my job extremely difficult. Your records indicate that you have
been aboard for a considerable period of time. You are the ranking officer
aboard. You will act as my first on this mission. As such, you must know certain
Saying that, the Captain sat down at the conference
table and withdrew a sheaf of papers from his portfolio. The top sheet, a
summary of that which followed, was titled "The First Confederacy ". Two ticks
down was the name of the author, Dr. Ramona DeGarcia Silvia, followed by her
position, "Professor Emeritus, Rigellian Institute for the study of Evolution".
The preface indicated that after a good many years research by the doctor, she
has finally nailed down the last piece of documentation required to verify the
existence of an evolved sentient life form in our midst, one that could prove
deadly to the Federation as well as her enemies.
Bo Donati began to read ... Far past the frontier of
the UFP, far beyond Deneb in Subquadrant one north, lies several star systems
inhabited by a sentient life form unknown to all, even in the upper echelons of
the Federation. I have named them the First Confederacy (FC), for their form of
government. Their present state of evolution exceeds ours by about three
millenia. For over four hundred years, they have been watching the "uncivilized
ones" on the far edge of the Orion arm. This watch has been with increasing
uneasiness, as one after another, the fledgling spacefaring worlds ventured
further and further from their own domains. As they have found with other young
civilizations, their ability to manage technology does not always keep abreast
with technological break throughs. As any such crisis could possibly impact
their world, the FC took steps to insure their security.
I believe that, for many years, the FC has placed
personnel in many key positions at Starfleet, Starfleet Academy, the UFP, and
many science and business organizations. It is also likely that similar
placements have been made in other alien societies. I have recently completed
documentation of one such "placement": Dr. Thaddius T. Achnar, professor of
United Federation of Planets History (A required course at the Academy). During
his tenure at the Academy, I believe he has implanted suggestions in the minds
of selected cadets who possibly might become pivotal Starfleet Officers. This
programmed conduct can be activated if and when it becomes necessary. My
research on Deneb V, on Rigel IV, and on Sol III supports my postulate that they
are among us! Further, it is my considered opinion that The Commodore of
Starbase 27, the military officer in charge of the Quantum Leap
Program and several Starship captains have been
programmed to do their bidding, when and if needed. All the disclosures and
charges made in this statement can be corroborated by data in the body of my
work. I have come to you today with this information for I fear that we are
perilously close to becoming a vassal world.
When Donati looked up from his reading of the summary,
Captain Sullivan took it as a signal to continue his conversation. "Our
consulate at New Dallas on Rigel IV received a copy of the doctor's work a week
ago. She was supposed to speak out on it yesterday. She has disappeared without
a trace. Starfleet Intelligence is convinced that the FC exists. Some of her
work is duplicated in their files."
The Captain continued, "If all this is true, You are
the best selection I could make as my "First". Because of your origins, I'm
pretty sure that you aren't one of Dr. Achnar's proteges. I'm not that sure
about myself. This briefing has been recorded. You are to store this manuscript
in the safe storage in your quarters. If any action on my part during this
mission could be construed as irregular, you are to take command." With this
understood, the Captain adjourned the meeting and departed for his quarters. It
had been a long day.