Rated: E · Fiction · Action/Adventure · #2263479
Episode IV: Part II - Lindsey and Roberts are abducted
Stardate: April 03, 2097
Ensign Roberts Quarters:
“That was the lamest joke ever,” Ensign Sarah Lindsey laughed, mocking the corny story told by Roberts during their previous mission to the planet Vorcia. “I can’t believe you even brought it up,” she quibbled.
Smiling, Roberts scooted closer to his girlfriend, threading his hand and arm between her neck and his bed’s second pillow. He draped his hand over her shoulder and wrapped his other arm around the small of her back, pulling her close. “Well, it was you who was reminiscing about how we met -- and that joke was a part of it,” he added for emphasis.
“It was still lame.”
“I thought you were intrigued,” he replied.
“And I thought you were a nerd.”
“I prefer the term, 'intellectual badass.'”
Sarah cackled. “Shut-up,” she playfully teased. “By the way, how did you manage to get your own quarters? All the rest of us peasants below the rank of Lieutenant are required to share quarters.”
“Lest you forget, I am the BULL Ensign,” Roberts answered. “I’m the senior Ensign onboard the Stargazer, and as such, entitled to my own quarters.”
“You’re FULL of Bull, Mister,” she chortled. Caressing his chin between her thumb and fingers, she rendered a gentle shake, then quickly kissed him.
Embracing, they suddenly drew back, startled by a faint glow of light emanating from the office section of Roberts quarters. The sound of movement pulled them from their romantic daze to full alertness. Roberts immediately sat up, threw his bed sheet off, then swung his torso around. Reaching into the nightstand drawer, he grabbed his fusion laser pistol.
Rising to a sitting position, Lindsey held fast to the sheet in front of her. “What the hell is ...”
Roberts craned his head in Lindsey’s direction, tapping his lips with his index finger before she could finish her question. He turned his head again in the direction of the unknown illumination. Rising from the bed, he was soon joined by Lindsey, now robed and standing next to him, clinging tightly to his arm. Remaining quiet, they cautiously crept in the direction of the connected work area. Entering the office through the opening in the dividing wall, they stopped, both staring in shock and amazement at the source of the light. Roberts lowered his laser pistol.
“Are you seeing what I’m seeing?” she asked in amazement.
“We’ve heard and read so many stories and descriptions. They’re exactly as described,” he replied in a bewildered tone.
“How did they get aboard?” she asked, her expression perplexed.
Exchanging glances, Roberts laser pistol dropped to the floor. The sound of a hollow thud followed, echoing in the now empty quarters.
“Captain, a priority-one subspace message just arrived from Galactic Fleet Command,” Xuriya quietly announced. “Admiral Perry awaits your private audience.”
Foxwell craned his head in her direction. ”Forward it to my ready room.”
“Aye, sir,” she replied, swiveling her chair back in the direction of the communications console.
Exiting the command chair, Foxwell strolled in the direction of the science station. “Beta, please accompany me to my ready room. Xuriya, you have the conn.”
The automatic doors closing behind Foxwell and his first officer, they stood next to the conference table. Glancing upward at the ready room control system, Foxwell reached up and pulled down one of several portable monitors before activating the display screen to begin the Galactic Fleet video conference. A computerized voice announced: “This is a priority one subspace message from Admiral Perry, Galactic Fleet Command to Captain Jon L. Foxwell of the SS Stargazer.” His image appearing, he sat at the head of a large conference table with other senior Galactic Fleet Officers in attendance.
“Greetings, Captain Foxwell and Commander Beta,” he began impassively, a blank expression on his face. “Please have a seat.”
“Thank you, Admiral. It’s always a pleasure speaking with you. Commander Beta and I appreciate your confidence and counsel.”
Admiral Perry rendered a half smile in response. “Captain, your previous subspace transmission confirmed the Stargazer is in orbit around Zeta Reticuli 2.”
“That’s affirmative, Admiral, per orders from Galactic Fleet Command two days ago.”
“And what is Stargazer’s current status?”
“Fully operational and in synchronous orbit. I’ve ordered the hull to remain in a twenty-five percent polarized state for added shielding against the heat and radiation of the yellow dwarf star.”
Admiral Perry paused. He glanced around the meeting room, taking note of his colleagues sitting at the conference table. They were all wearing anticipatory expressions. He turned again in the direction of the monitor. “Do you have anything else to add, Captain?”
Foxwell furrowed his brow. Wary and mindful of the question, he took in a deep breath. “Yes, Admiral. The Stargazer was attacked by an unknown alien vessel just prior to orbital insertion.”
“And the status of the alien vessel?”
Foxwell and Beta exchanged glances. Admiral Perry’s sudden question regarding the destroyed vessel raised a red flag in the mind of the wily starship Captain. Foxwell turned and faced the monitor. “Admiral, with all due respect, my gut tells me you already know the answer.”
Pausing again, Admiral Perry bellowed out, “answer the question, Captain. That’s an order.”
“The Stargazer was attacked without warning. I ordered what I believe was an appropriate response,” Foxwell replied sternly.
“Why wasn’t that in your report?”
“Perhaps to facilitate a more transparent discussion,” Foxwell answered. “May I ask why I wasn’t informed of the presence of the alien vessel?”
Admiral Perry exhaled an exasperated sigh. “Hear me out, Captain. The Stargazer was ordered to the Zeta Reticuli Star System to investigate increasing reports of alleged human abductions here on Earth by the Greys. Initial investigation appears to support those allegations. Earth sightings of UFO’s/UAP’s have increased, along with cattle and another animal mutilations. The ship you destroyed was an auto piloted AI decoy, specifically designed to sense and preclude abduction activity. The decoy was placed into orbit around Zeta Reticuli 2 several days ago by the Vulcans at our request in anticipation of the Stargazer’s arrival.”
Seeking clarification, Foxwell asked, “Abduction activity? You mean abduction of Stargazer personnel?”
“That is correct, Captain. Destroying the decoy has rendered that capability ineffective. The energy emission directed at the Stargazer was specifically engineered to fully polarize the hull plating. It was not hostile fire. Unfortunately, a programming error occurred which prevented the transmission of a message notifying the Stargazer of its intentions prior to the plasma discharge. Per the Vulcans, the Greys have the ability to penetrate solid matter, along with anything they wish to bring or depart with, but not a starship hull polarized at maximum power. Your entire crew is now susceptible to abduction by the Greys.”
Turning in the direction of Foxwell, Beta muttered, “Captain, I recommend you immediately order the Stargazer to condition yellow, and increase polarization to 100%.”
Foxwell nodded. He moved toward the nearest com-panel and keyed the Captain’s chair. “Bridge, this is the Captain.”
“Bridge, Xuriya here.”
“Xuriya, go to condition yellow. Increase hull polarization to maximum level.”
“Aye Captain." A momentary pause. "Condition yellow in effect ... hull polarized at 100%.
Foxwell spun around and returned to the video monitor. “What are your orders, Admiral?”
Admiral Perry stood and proceeded around the conference table, stopping next to his senior tactical officer. “Admiral Kelsing,” he called out. “Will you please enlighten Captain Foxwell regarding his new mission orders.”
Admiral Kelsing craned his head and smiled. “My pleasure, Admiral Perry.” Adjusting his conference table video monitor and referring to a star map, Kelsing began: “Captain Foxwell, you are to break orbit around Zeta Reticuli 2 at the conclusion of this briefing. You will assemble an away team and proceed at light factor 2, bearing 045 mark 17 toward the constellation Cetus. There you will rendezvous with the Vulcan starship T’Vahl, currently in synchronous orbit around its star, Tau Ceti."
Foxwell pulled a surprised face. “Did I hear you say ... a Vulcan starship?"
Kelsing turned and faced his monitor. "Yes, Captain, you did," the Admiral clarified. "Captain Strojok of the T’Vahl will open a hailing frequency and make initial contact when the Stargazer is within 30,000 kilometers. You and your away team will follow his instructions from there. Any questions?”
Foxwell shook his head. “No questions, Admiral. Your orders are clear.”
“Good luck, Captain,” Admiral Perry chimed in, Foxwell’s display screen turning dark.
Silent, Foxwell thoughtfully eyed the blank screen, returning the monitor to its stowed position. Taking in a deep breath, he pivoted in the direction of his science officer. “What is our time of arrival to the constellation Cetus?”
Referring to a star map monitor, Beta entered the information provided by Admiral Kelsing. “Tau Ceti is a solitary G-class star in the constellation Cetus. At light factor 2, it will take approximately 12 hours.”
Foxwell nodded. “Remain here and conduct a data base search for all information regarding the Greys, then schedule a meeting of all department heads.”
The companel emitted a hail.
“Ready room ... Foxwell here.”
“Captain, this is Chief of Security, Warwick. My apologies for the interruption, but it’s urgent I speak with you. My assistant Chief and I are on the bridge, just outside the ready room.”
Foxwell exchanged a quick glance with Beta, then turned and voiced his reply into the companel.
The hiss of the automatic doors confirming their entry into the ready room, Foxwell wheeled around. “What is it Chief?”
“It’s regarding Ensign Roberts and Lindsey,” Warwick answered, a concerned expression appearing.
Foxwell exchanged a worried look. “What about them? Has something happened?”
Warwick sighed. “They’re nowhere to be found, Captain.”
“What do you mean, ‘they’re nowhere to be found?'" Beta cut in. “We’re on a starship ... where would they go?”
“Neither showed up for their duty shift,” the assistant chief of security replied. “Their immediate superiors contacted security. We checked their quarters, then conducted a ship wide search ... nothing.”
“And the remaining crew?”
“All other crew members are present and accounted for,” Warwick answered.
Foxwell turned and ambled toward a viewing portal on the opposite side of the ready room. Staring through the portal at the hot ball of glowing gas the Stargazer was orbiting, he quickly spun around.
“The Greys have them.”
Click to read Episode IV Part III "Star Voyagers: "THE GREY CONSPIRACY""