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Rated: E · Fiction · Action/Adventure · #2261365
Episode IV: Part I - The Stargazer is ordered to Zeta Reticuli
Part I

Stardate: April 03, 2097 1040 Hours


Captain Foxwell swiveled the command chair away from the weapons officer and back to the main viewing screen, his attention now fixated on the two energy torpedoes advancing toward their intended target.

Foxwell craned his head back in the direction of his weapons officer. “Lay it out for me, Lieutenant,” he yelled.

“Torpedoes are locked and approaching their target at sub light speed ... five thousand kilometers and closing,” Warwick shouted from the weapons console.

“Impact imminent,” Beta announced, her attention focused on the sensors at the science console.

The resulting explosion and fireball were accompanied by a simultaneous release of energy, the result of a subsequent exothermic reaction. The unidentified and targeted alien vessel broke apart, wreckage expanding in a random pattern.

“Sensor readings confirm a debris field,” Beta shouted. “No other vessels or objects detected.”

Foxwell glanced at the com-panel on the command chair before keying the Stargazer’s PA system. “This is the Captain. All departments secure from condition RED. I repeat, secure from condition RED.” He stood and walked in the direction of his First Officer. “Beta, make arrangements for all senior officers to report to my ready room for a briefing in fifteen minutes. The navigator and helmsman will have the conn.”

Beta swiveled her science station chair in Foxwell’s direction. “Aye Captain,” she replied.

Captain's Ready Room:

“Identification and origin of the attacking vessel are unknown, Captain,” Beta answered in response to Foxwell’s question. “The Stargazer’s computer library is devoid of any information subsequent to data provided by our sensors.”

“A targeted debris retrieval operation might provide some answers,” Warwick suggested.

The Chief Engineer sighed, then shook his head. “The risk of biological or radiation contamination makes that option unacceptable,” he cautioned.

Doctor Rivera swiveled his chair in the direction of the Captain. “I concur,” he affirmed. “We don’t know a thing about who they are or where they’re from."

“We don’t even know why they attacked,” Xuriya chimed in.

Foxwell looked around the conference table and nodded. “Our recent experience with the pathogen on Mars rules out retrieval and inspection of any kind." A pause. “Enough said about that.” He turned in the direction of his communications officer. “Xuriya, for the benefit of all present, quote the new mission orders received from Galactic Fleet Command two days ago.”

Xuriya returned a confirming glance. “Aye Captain.” Standing with her Personnel Access Display Device in hand, she held it up and read out loud: Stardate: “April 01, 2096 — To: Captain Jon L. Foxwell — SS Stargazer will cease and desist current operations and immediately proceed to the Zeta Reticuli Star System. You will establish orbit around its star, Zeta Reticuli 2, and await further orders. Confirm via subspace transmission when orbit is established. End of transmission.”

Foxwell looked around the crowded room. “Any questions or comments?”

“We’re just beyond the star’s orbital parameters, Captain,” the weapons officer pointed out. “The sooner we establish orbit, the sooner we’ll find out the reason we’re here.”

“A reasonable presumption,” Beta chimed in.

“Anyone else?” Foxwell inquired.


"This meeting is concluded,” Foxwell declared. “Return to your departments, brief your personnel, and prepare for orbit around Zeta Reticuli 2.” Training his eyes on his First Officer, he whispered, “remain here.”

Beta rendered a confirming nod.

The Department heads rose from their seats, then exited the cramped room in single file, the automatic doors shutting with their usual swoosh.

Beta turned in the direction of Foxwell. “You wish to speak with me further, Captain?”

“Yes,” he said in a contemplative tone, pacing around the ready room and rubbing his chin in a pensive manner. He stopped, then pivoted in the direction of his First Officer. “This entire incident is damn peculiar. Was it an attack?"

“The fact they discharged a plasma energy beam of unknown composition in our direction would appear to confirm that hypothesis,” Beta surmised. “Do you plan to submit a report to Galactic Fleet Command regarding the incident?"

Heaving an exasperated sigh, Foxwell replied, “that’s the normal protocol."

Beta understood the inference. She raised a brow. “What do you have in mind, Captain?”

“Clarification,” he retorted. Darting past his Science Officer, he uttered, "let’s get back to the bridge.”

Following the Captain out of the ready room, Beta took her place at the science station, Foxwell returning to his command chair.

“Navigator, helmsman …. initiate orbital insertion procedures.”

“Aye sir,” they replied in tandem.

Foxwell swiveled his chair in the direction of his communications officer. “Xuriya, forward a subspace message to Galactic Fleet Command; advise the Stargazer is in synchronous orbit around Zeta Reticuli 2."


Standing, he approached the main viewing screen, staring in astonished amazement at the blazing ball of plasma as the Stargazer inched closer toward the giant sphere of super heated ionized gasses.

Sensing the message was incomplete, Xuriya tactfully interrupted. “Will that complete the message, Captain?”

Shaking off his fixation with the celestial orb before him, Foxwell turned and faced Xuriya.

Finish with this sentence: “Awaiting further orders.”

Click to read Episode IV Part II "Star Voyagers: "THE GREY CONSPIRACY"

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