Rated: E · Fiction · Action/Adventure · #2267393
Episode IV: Part IV - Foxwell assembles an away team
Stardate: April 04, 2097
Holding each other in a comforting embrace, the two traumatized Stargazer crew members sought to console one another. “Are you okay, Sarah?” Roberts asked. He stepped back, resting his hands gently on her shoulders as he anxiously scanned her face.
Teary-eyed, Lindsey returned his sweeping glance with an equivalent look over. “Where are we? What do they want with us?” she muttered, so traumatized she could barely speak.
They looked around, taking in every detail from the cold metallic floor to the drab gray ceiling and walls. The soft lighting combined to create a dreary atmosphere and feeling that something traumatic had occurred, with only vague traces of memory struggling to surface.
“I don’t know …. maybe their ship, maybe on their world,” Roberts guessed, scanning the barren and empty compartment. Spotting another opening on the opposite side of the large and foreboding hollow they eerily occupied, he placed his hand under her elbow, guiding her in the direction of a small portal in the bulkhead.
“Why did they leave us here? Where did they go?” she whimpered. Quietly walking across the glossy floor, Lindsey turned to look at Roberts. Meeting her gaze with his own, he could tell by the expression on her face she was frightened.
“We’re not hanging around to find out,” Roberts replied in a reassuring tone. Leading her to the small hatch, he stooped down and cautiously peered out the exit. Pushing away and standing upright, he turned toward Lindsey. “There’s a passageway extending in both directions. We’ll go this way,” he said, pointing toward his left. Taking hold of her hand, he stooped down and leaned forward, allowing his six foot frame to more easily fit through the opening. Lindsey followed. Barely six feet high and three feet wide, they traversed cautiously down the narrow passageway approximately twenty yards, barely illuminated by what appeared to be a lengthy run of fiber optic lighting before arriving at another small hatch, this one fitted with a sealed door. Two indicator lights, one green and illuminated, the other red but off were visible on the bulkhead several inches above and to the right of the hatch, with a small, silvery knob underneath each light. Roberts surmised the illuminated green light confirmed the door was locked and sealed, with a possible pressure or temperature differential on the opposite side. “Looks like we’ve run head-on into that proverbial fork in the road, Roberts quipped.
Lindsey looked around nervously. She was in no mood to appreciate any witty remarks. “What do we do now?”
"We take it,” Roberts sighed. Feeling a wave of apprehension, he glanced upward, gazing at the lights and shiny smooth button under each, hesitating momentarily before pushing the pearly colored nub underneath the darkened red light.
Pacing around the ready room, Foxwell stopped, then wheeled around. “The following personnel will comprise the away team: myself, Beta, Doctor Rivera, and Lieutenant Warwick. Lieutenant, you will select two additional security personnel.”
Turning in the direction of Chief Engineer O’Donovan, he continued, “Chief, you will remain aboard and take the conn.”
Looking over his chosen away team members, Foxwell resumed his instructions. “All of you will arm yourselves with fusion laser pistols and proceed to the hanger bay. Doctor Rivera, you will also bring a standard away team emergency medkit. Anything else will have to be provided by the Vulcans based on mission destination and specifics, considering they are responsible for final briefing information." Foxwell looked around. “Any questions?”
“We’ll meet in the hanger bay no later than 1550 hours ... dismissed.”
Returning to the bridge accompanied by Chief engineer O'Donovan, Foxwell stood next to the helmsman and navigator. Exchanging glances with both, he asked. “Any further communications from the T’Vahl?”
“Other than their initial acknowledgment, just a standard message confirming both starships are traversing on a parallel course at one quarter impulse power,” the Navigator replied.
“Both vessels are within visual range,” the helmsman added.
“Onscreen ... starboard sensors,” Foxwell ordered.
Strolling closer to the main viewing screen, Foxwell gazed in amazement at the the Vulcan starship. It was a cone-shaped design with "wings" on either side of the forward hull. There were three engine pods, separated by 120°. Capable of planetary landings, Foxwell recognized the T’Vahl to be a multi-purpose science and surveillance vessel, lightly armed and capable of warp speed.
"Interesting design," the chief engineer commented.
“Intriguing color,” Foxwell added. The rich copper hue provided a compelling contrast against the dark background of intergalactic space. Completing an about face, he turned to his Chief Engineer. “The Stargazer is yours.”
“Aye, Captain,” he acknowledged. “I’ll take good care of her.”
Offering a reassuring smile, Foxwell patted the shoulder of his Chief Engineer as he continued in the direction of the Science Station. “Beta,” he muttered softly, a subtle reminder it was time to make their way to the hangar bay.
“Ready, Captain,” she replied. Entering the last of several commands into the science station’s interface control panel, she stood and followed Foxwell into the bridge turbolift. Depressing the elevator master switch, Foxwell leaned toward the com-panel. “Hangar bay,” he uttered, the turbolift beginning its trek through a vertical and horizontal system of turboshafts connecting key sections of the Stargazer.
Removing the palm of his hand from the button, the red light illuminated, A soft hissing sound followed. “As I suspected,” Roberts mumbled, noticing the green indicator light was now off.
“What do you mean?” Lindsay asked, anxiously craning her head in different directions. She couldn’t shake the feeling they were being watched.
“A slight pressure difference ... but why, I don’t know."
Following the seal breach the door loosened and partially cracked open. Moving his hand from the knob to the door, Roberts gave it a slight push, the door slowly rotating open. Sensing the hatch was an egress to a larger room, he cautiously poked his head inside. What he saw shocked him to the core. He quickly pulled back into the passageway.
Caught off guard by Roberts reaction, Lindsey placed her cupped hands over her nose and mouth.
He took a quick breath and turned around, his back making contact with the bulkhead before sliding slowly downward to a sitting position on the deck. Exchanging his curious expression for one of intense startlement, he slowly exhaled.
“What is it?” Lindsey shouted, dropping her hands and looking Roberts in the eye.
Tilting his head back and staring blankly at the overhead, Roberts searched his own memory. “Remember all the hype regarding the Greys and their purported 'agenda?’” He paused. “I mean all of it ... since childhood,” he continued.
Lindsey rendered a puzzled look. “You mean ... about abductions?” she muttered in an uncertain tone.
“I mean everything we’ve ever stumbled across regarding these beings ... from childhood until our own encounter and abduction,” he reiterated.
She flashed Roberts a frenzied look in response. "Vaguely ... I mean ... I don’t know,” she stuttered.
Roberts sat back and exhaled deeply. “Then have a look ... see for yourself,” he told her, tilting his head toward the small hatch.
Feeling overwhelmed, Lindsey moved painstakingly toward the glossy metallic door, stooping down and slowly pushing it further open. Extending her head through the door opening just enough to view the inside of the chamber, she immediately recoiled, pulling the hatch back against the hatch frame. Jolted, she turned around, her face ashen.
Roberts stood. Placing a reassuring hand on Lindsey’s shoulder, he gently turned her face toward his, their eyes meeting. “Everything rumored about the Greys is true,” he told her. “That room, that chamber ... whatever you want to call it ... everything in there proves it.”
Still reeling in shock, Lindsey’s eyes drifted back in the direction of the closed hatch.
“Dear God in Heaven,” she mumbled.
Click to read Episode IV Part V "Star Voyagers: "THE GREY CONSPIRACY""