The Wraith Conspiracy
By: QaS

Khitomer Colony
Stardate 13.VIII.2293 (9522.7)

The shuttle DARIUS swung low over a ridge crowned with dark red trees as it headed towards Camp Khitomer. LT T.E. Lawrence stared out the viewport. She marveled at the beauty of the world chosen as a neutral location for talks between the Federation and the Klingon Empire. Deep scarlet shadows shrouded the ridge from the stand of trees, the ridge diminishing as it led to the gleaming white buildings of the colony.

The DARIUS had departed USS CONFEDERATION (NCC-5332) just two hours previously. The CONFEDERATION was part of the Starfleet convoy that had been sent to beef up security at the Khitomer negotiations since ADM Kirk and CAPT Sulu had exposed a conspiracy to derail the peace conference.

LT Lawrence, fresh from her first posting out of Starfleet Academy felt privileged to be able to participate in history-making talks between the Klingon Empire and the Federation. As an officer on the fast track in Starfleet operations, Lawrence was filled with the zeal of diplomacy and the Prime Directive. Although she had never met any Klingons, she was anxious to expand her horizons. As a career officer, she knew that such experiences would build a valuable core of knowledge – regardless if the Khitomer Conference succeeded or not.

Lawrence grinned as she alighted from the shuttle at the Khitomer space port. Klingon and Starfleet security personnel ringed the concourse. She noted a rather sizeable group of civilian protesters at the perimeter. They bore holo-signs protesting the negotiations for both sides. It was interesting to her to see non-Klingons protesting against an accord between Kronos and the Federation.

As Lawrence walked through a cordon of Klingon and Starfleet security, she heard one protester yell "Don’t make a deal with murderers!" The male’s voice stuck in Lawrence’s head as she entered the terminal. As an officer on duty she was immediately met by a Starfleet commander from the diplomatic division on duty at Khitomer.

"Personnel from the Confederation please follow my six," said CDR TPrix.

Lawrence went through a two hour indoctrination into Starfleet’s involvement in the Camp Khitomer negotiations. Since the conspiracy against the talk was uncovered three weeks previously by ADM Kirk, Starfleet was extra vigilant about threats from within the Federation. Ending a century of enmity with a Beta Quadrant culture was a top priority in the Federation.

As Lawrence left the briefing room, she almost collided with a tall, stately male Klingon in full armor. "Oh, excuse me," she said, a bit rattled that her first contact with a Klingon should be so untactful.

The Klingon, obviously a high-ranking officer, looked down at her. He only paused for a moment, but Lawrence detected a distinctly studious attitude.

T.E. proceeded to the main assembly hall. Her orders were to accompany any Klingon official, at a moment’s notice, and ensure their security. She was uncomfortable with the ambiguous nature of her duty, but she knew that it was an important component in her career.

Lawrence stood respectfully, her hands clasped behind her back, in the assembly hall. The Federation president was just finishing a speech. T.E.’s attention was suddenly riveted on a Federation delegate who was calmly seated listening to the president’s speech: he was a dead ringer for the protester she had heard say "Don’t make a deal with murderers!"

She spoke quietly into her communicator. "Ops, this is Lawrence. Please do a security scan on section 14 Alpha." She knew that everyone attending the conference had had to pass strict security protocols, but she was taking no chances. She edgily fingered the grip of her phaser as she waited for her comm. to utter a reply. She casually observed the suspect male who seemed at ease.

As the president turned the dais over to the Klingon ambassador to the Federation, Grek, Lawrence felt a strong hand squeeze her elbow. "You noticed him too," came a deep Klingon bass voice, a matter-of-fact air in his tone.

T.E. looked around and realized she was facing the Klingon she had almost run into earlier outside the briefing room. "Uh, yes," she managed. She turned to face the Klingon respectfully. "He resembles a human who was vocally negative among the protesters at the space port."

The Klingon’s eyes were scanning the attendees like an animal hunting for prey. They briefly met hers, and then continued to dart around. The merest trace of a smile crossed his lips. "I would not want my father’s speech to be rudely interrupted."

"Oh, you’re Ambassador Grek’s son!" T.E. said, impressed. "It’s an honor to…." Her sentence was cut off by the soft beep of her communicator.

"Condition Red, lieutenant!" Lawrence heard. Her eyes leveled on the human male as she withdrew her phaser. In her peripheral vision she could see Starfleet security personnel rushing to her location. The Klingon too withdrew his disrupter and focused on the suspect area of seating. The human male turned his head ever so slightly. Was that a smile Lawrence detected as he seemed to notice their intense scrutiny?

Suddenly, a brilliant whiteness filled T.E.’s eyes and mind. Her mind spun momentarily, and she tried gripping the back of a nearby auditorium chair to steady herself, but failed to grasp it. Must be space dysphasia, she noted to herself, although shuttle transport had never affected her that way before.

Lawrence got a hold of herself, blinked, and noted her surroundings. The Klingon ambassador’s son was gone, as was the male who was the object of their suspicion. Additionally, Starfleet security did not seem to be anywhere nearby, nor on Condition Red.

A bit baffled, Lawrence wandered up the aisle. She could hear Ambassador Grek droning on about Klingon security since the destruction of Praxis, but it seemed distant…somehow unreal. Where had the suspicious male gone?

She reached the portal of the auditorium and stretched her hand out to steady herself. Shockingly, her hand passed through the jamb of the door! To say that T.E. was stunned would be an understatement. She reached out tentatively again. Her hand passed through the bulkhead. What happened to me? Am I a frikkin’ ghost?

She ran her hands down the front of her uniform. She certainly felt solid to herself. She looked curiously at the phaser in her hand. Instinctively, she held it down and fired it. An odd gurgling sound issued from it and small bursts of light resembling sparks, even though it was fully charged. She holstered the weapon and fumbled for her communicator.

"This is Lawrence to Ops," she stated. There was a dull buzzing in response.

A faint voice was behind the buzzing. "Lieutenant? Lieutenant? Lawrence?"

"Yes, this is Lawrence," T.E. responded eagerly, relieved. "The suspect male has fired some sort of weapon in section 14 Alpha, and…." Her relief was short-lived. She realized that the voice over the buzzing comm. was repeating hails to her, obviously not receiving her communication. "Ops, this is Lawrence! Repeat…."

"Do not bother, lieutenant, it is not working," came a deep voice over her shoulder.

T.E. whirled around to face the Klingon ambassador’s son. "You can see me?!!" she exclaimed.

"Yes," the Klingon grunted. "Unfortunately, I do not think anyone else does. Further, I believe at least an hour has passed."

"What?!" Lawrence sputtered. "But, that’s impossible!"

"Indeed?" the Klingon said with a serenity that irritated T.E. "Is this possible?" He thrust his arm out, and it passed through the nearby bulkhead in wraith-like fashion.

"Point taken," she said sullenly, searching for a rank insignia on the Klingon’s armor, "…eh, commander."

"Torg, son of Grek," he intoned.

"Commander Torg," she amended. "I’m T.E. Lawrence." She noted that he was looking around critically. "What is it?"

Torg looked down at her. "The human we both noted is nowhere to be seen. I believe he activated some type of cowardly device when he detected our suspicions of him."

"I’m sure he’s related to the protester at the space port, commander," Lawrence noted further, and you know what that means."

"Yes," he snorted, "it means that there is some sort of conspiracy again at play here. As if the dishonorable collaboration between Starfleet humans and Klingons was not bad enough..."

"I don’t think this human was Starfleet," T.E. asserted, "although I do wonder how he got into this conference."

"Perhaps we can find out something in Ops?" Torg suggested.

As LT Lawrence and CDR Torg walked purposefully along the outer promenade of the assembly hall, Lawrence was startled when she would inadvertently pass through people who were walking by. For some reason, though, as impossible as the circumstances of being a relative phantom seemed, the presence of Torg reassured her that there must be some way out.

When they reached Ops, Torg reflexively reached out to touch the entry pad next to it to open it. Naturally his hand went through it.

"Hmmmph!" he growled. "Do we wait for someone to go in or out?"

A sly smile crossed Lawrence’s lips. "Follow me, commander." She held her breath, and walked into the hatch, passing through it with no physical sensation. She ended up in the center of Ops, although no one noticed her presence. Torg followed immediately.

Unfortunately, entering Ops proved easier than accessing data from Klingon and Federation security. Torg tried to access data from security cams to see if the origin of their plight got recorded – his fingers had no effect on the key pad.

T.E. was equally frustrated trying to access hour to hour security logs from several PADDs. She did note that an hour had passed since she and Torg had "become" wraiths.

Finally she heard Torg’s commanding voice resonate in the room, calling her name.

"Find something?" Lawrence inquired, going to his side.

"A PADD with security notes," Torg said, indicating a Klingon device on a desk.

Torg, of course, went to pick it up. He uttered a frustrated growl. "Nuq daQ!" he cursed. Then he composed himself and pointed at the data. "This notes our security alert." He looked squarely at T.E. "And that nothing was found in section 14 Alpha.

"Naturally, because he must have disappeared with us -- wherever we are," Lawrence fumed. "But Klingon and Starfleet security must be trying to locate us; I heard it on my communicator."

As she held it aloft, Torg rubbed his chin. His forehead ridges seemed to furrow. "Indeed? And your comm. device relies on subspace to carry transmissions?"

"Yes," T.E. confirmed, catching the intent of his remark. "We must be in some sort of subspace "pocket." But how did we get here?"

Torg ignored the question, a thoughtful look on his face. "If previous conspiracies that were foiled relied on dishonorable tactics such as disguise, what would the logical alternative be?"

T.E.’s face lit up. "To carry out a plot invisibly."

"Or cloaked, and we know that we are not cloaked," Torg rumbled.

"Do you think that we merely are a side effect of some device meant to help carry out a plot to sabotage the conference?" T.E. postulated.

Torg nodded. "What other reason could there be for this?"

"If he’s in the same state we are, that means we’re the only ones who can stop him," Lawrence said frowning.

"I doubt he meant to activate whatever device he used in the auditorium, so I am surmising we forced his hand," Torg proposed.

"If that’s the case, we have time to find him," Lawrence said. "I’m sure he suffered the same temporal displacement we did." She frowned again. "I wonder what technology he used to enter subspace."

"We can ascertain that after we find him," Torg said. "Does your tricorder still function?"

"I haven’t checked," T.E. admitted, withdrawing it. "I don’t see how it could." It certainly felt solid enough. "Well, I’ll be…." The readout was very faint, but the lieutenant could discern that it was indeed scanning. She assumed it was not scanning real space. She initiated a scan for any other subspace pockets similar to the one she and Torg were trapped in. A gentle beep indicated the completion of the scan.

Torg looked at her expectantly.

The lieutenant smiled. "I think we’ve found him, commander."

Torg looked at the tricorder results. "That would appear to be directly in front of the speaker’s dais."

As Lawrence and her Klingon companion broke into a brisk walk through the door and out onto the promenade, T.E. looked at Torg. "Think you’ll recognize him, commander? We won’t be able to discern who is and isn’t in our "condition.""

"Oh, I will know the p’tagh, lieutenant," Torg assured her. "And I will snap his neck like a twig."

Lawrence smiled. "Fine. But, let’s wait until he gets us back to normal."

As Torg and T.E. entered the assembly hall, their heads swiveled back and forth looking for the human male. An Alpha Centauran official neither of them recognized was speaking to the attendees.

"There he is, commander!" Lawrence exclaimed, pointed towards the front of the auditorium. "He’s in the front row of the aisle right before the dais!"

Torg barreled down the aisle towards the conspirator with T.E. right on his heels. She was making final checks on her tricorder data and was about to suggest to the commander to slow down when the Klingon warrior launched himself at the wraith conspirator.

The man, crouched over a small octagonal device filled with blinking displays, looked up over his shoulder, mildly startled. He laughed as Torg hit some sort of shielding around him. Torg grunted loudly as he bounced noticeably off of the shield, landing hard on the floor, practically at T.E.’s feet.

"I was, uh, just going to warn you about his shield," she said quietly.

Torg snorted as he rose, staring at their nemesis with both fists clenched, as the members of the audience listened to the speaker placidly. "What kind of shield is it?"

Lawrence squinted at her tricorder, trying to make out the readout. "I don’t know. I’ve never seen this kind of shield configuration before." She hit the keys and looked at him. "It seems to be using subspace to form some sort of multi-phasic layering of energy around him."

"Can you do something with that?" Torg demanded, gesturing to her tricorder.

Lawrence was frenetically manipulating her tricorder which beeped and chirped weakly in response. "I’m analyzing the structure of the shield. If I could program my tricorder to emit a small magnetic pulse…"

The saboteur continued working his device, occasionally looking at Torg and T.E. in amusement, believing himself secure in his shield.

Torg’s voice rumbled ever more urgently. "Lieutenant, if that technology he is using is what sent us here, then he is most likely planning to send this whole assembly hall on a one-way trip."

"All right, all right!!" Lawrence said. "Maybe…!" She tapped an input key with finality and looked up. To hers and Torg’s surprise, the multi-phasic shield shimmered then collapsed.

Torg lost no time on words. His Klingon blood was boiling. The startled, slightly frightened look on the saboteur’s face only heated Torg’s rage more. With a vicious backhanded punch he sent the male flying across the front aisle of the assembly hall. The saboteur’s hand clawed the air as he tried to reach his device which was still lying squarely in the aisle. Lawrence deftly kicked his hand out of the way. "Oh, no you don’t!"

Just as T.E. was about to move forward and secure the technology, Torg pulled the male into the air by the back of his coat. "P’tagh!" he said.

"Commander, no!" Lawrence exclaimed vainly reaching to save the device, all too late. Torg slammed the human to the floor – directly on top of the device, smashing it.

By this time, Torg’s warrior heart had overridden all self-control. He punched the saboteur so hard that his body crashed against the seats that lined the aisle. That elicited a shocked reaction from the delegates seated there, who could suddenly see the combatants. As Klingon and Starfleet security teams ran up, the Alpha Centauran delegate on the dais demanded testily, "What’s going on!!"

Torg, holding the prone saboteur by the collar, and T.E., holding the remnants of the device, merely looked at each other with satisfaction.

Camp Khitomer
Stardate 14.VIII.2293 (9523.4)
LT T.E. Lawrence, personal log

The plot that Commander Torg and I foiled at the conference ended up ironically having nothing to do with the negotiations between Kronos and the Federation. It was an attempt by an Alpha Centauran terror cell to silence a hated political opponent who happened to be speaking at the conference. Since the main conspirator died from the beating administered by Commander Torg, Starfleet will have to do a lot of research into the weapon he developed to know how it worked in conjunction with subspace.

When T.E. went off duty, she was invited to CAPT Evans’ quarters for a couple of belts with some Federation representatives to the peace conference.

"Quite a terrifying weapon that you uncovered, lieutenant," said Verena Marti, one of the Federation’s chief delegates. "We’re all grateful you and Commander Torg stopped the plot."

CAPT Evans handed T.E. a scotch. "Especially because of the implications of what such a weapon could do to large numbers of an unsuspecting populace," he added.

T.E. nodded, thoughtfully sipping her drink. "Banished to subspace like some sort of ghost." She frowned and turned to the captain and other officers present. "If that hotheaded Klingon hadn’t destroyed the weapon…" She waved her hand in frustration.

Ms Marti smiled. "Ah, lieutenant, you must learn about Klingons. I have been negotiating with them for some time now. They are a proud race, rightfully so, and honor runs deep within them." She uttered a brief laugh. "But, they don’t have a penchant for philosophizing." She was thoughtful a moment. "I’ve actually grown quite fond of them."

"That’s the Klingon way, T.E.," Evans chuckled, "you’ll just have to get used to it."

T.E. shrugged as she drained her glass. "Well, after this assignment, I doubt I’ll run into Klingons very often."