Rated: E · Fiction · Action/Adventure · #2276044
Episode IV: PART IX - The Hybrid Room is destroyed
Stardate: April 04, 2096
Returning a surprised stare, Foxwell blurted out, “What is this ... a joke?”
“Vulcans never joke,” Utek replied sternly, her brows tightly furrowed. “Order your away team to hand over their weapons ... NOW,” she demanded, the tall Greys moving closer.
“NOT without an explanation,” Foxwell fired back. “Away team ... maintain your position. Do NOT lower your weapons,” he shouted, maintaining eye contact with the Vulcan Commander.
“Illogical, Captain. We outnumber you two to one.”
Feigning a nervous chuckle, Foxwell said, “I admit I don’t know as much about Vulcans as I probably should, but one thing I do know is ... they don’t have a sense of humor."
Utek maintained the same blank expression. “Nor do we bluff.”
“Which is why you’d better have a good explanation for this, Commander,” Foxwell angrily retorted.
Moving behind the Galactic Fleet Captain, Utek walked slowly until she re-emerged in front of him. “What you know and have been told about the Greys is true,” she began.
Foxwell cocked his head to the side. “What do you mean? Explain.”
“It is correct the Greys are in a reproductive bind on their home world. And it is true human abductions have increased; they view humans as temporary incubators, abducting select members of the human race for removal of sex cells, embryos, and fetuses ... for the purpose of hybridization.”
Beta cautiously approached the Vulcan Commander. “Why humans ... and why the increase in the number of abductions?”
"The growing number of abductees is linked to an increase in atmospheric green house gases on Earth. However you wish to view it, hybridization has become necessary for the long survival of both species,” Utek answered.
Beta turned in Foxwell’s direction. Captain, I …
Raising his hand, the starship Captain continued to gaze at Utek.
“May I continue?” she requested.
Foxwell leaned forward, his curiosity aroused. While dubious of Vulcan motives and beliefs, he was aware of their reputation for honesty, with exceptions such as survival, or to maximize a positive outcome or minimize harm. Could this be one of those exceptions, he thought. He decided to give Utek the benefit of the doubt … at least initially. “Go ahead,” he told her.
Utek slowly paced. "Earth authorities and the majority of its inhabitants are aware surface temperatures continue to rise due to climate change. Climate accords and geo-engineering projects have failed to resolve the effects of global warning. The Greys are producing hybrids that can better withstand the rigors of a warmer Earth."
“And by coincidence the Greys as well," Beta pointed out, "by preserving the part of their DNA that's carried by the temperature-tolerant hybrids."
“My colleagues and I understand the plight of the Greys and Humans,” Utek continued. “It is only logical that we support efforts to resolve the issues that threaten both species.”
Foxwell pulled a face. “The Greys save themselves and the human race, and gradually takeover the Earth through assimilation. How convenient,” he scoffed.
Unfazed by Foxwell’s sarcasm, Utek continued her explanation. “As a result of their violation of the Greada Treaty, the Greys are aware they have lost all credibility. They believe an explanation from a representative of the Vulcan Science Council would be more plausible.”
“Is this part of a greater Vulcan conspiracy?” Foxwell pointedly asked.
“It is not, Captain,” Utek assured. “Only the Greys and a handful of my colleagues with the Vulcan Science Academy are aware of these findings. The argument is twofold: The Greys can no longer successfully procreate, and Earth is warming exponentially and dangerously, calling into question its future habitability."
Unmoved by Utek’s explanation, Beta craned her head in Foxwell’s direction. “Captain, I’m completely onboard with Galactic Fleet’s edict that we destroy this facility. What is happening here is a clear violation of the Greada Treaty of 1954 … notwithstanding everything else we've uncovered”
Utek pivoted in Beta’s direction. “You overlook the fact that you are in no position to do anything." Casting a glimpse at Foxwell, she reminded him, “You and your away team are trapped. We ... not you, are in the driver’s seat ... as humans are so fond of saying.”
You mean you were in the driver’s seat, a voice was heard shouting in the background. The sound of laser fire was suddenly audible, originating from both ends of the circular compartment. On both sides of the cornered away team, the tall Greys dropped to the deck in unison with a wide beam burst of laser fire, revealing Lindsey on one end, and Doctor Rivera on the opposite side. Startled, Utek spun around. With her back to Foxwell, he moved toward her. Lowering his laser rifle, he delivered a knife hand strike to her carotid artery. No effect. She immediately wheeled around, countering with a Vulcan nerve pinch to the base of Foxwell’s neck. Falling unconscious to the deck, she stepped back and aimed her phaser at his upper torso.
“Utek,” a loud shout was heard. Using her powerful bionic legs, Beta propelled herself toward the Vulcan officer, slamming her into the adjacent bulkhead and knocking the phaser out of her hand. Both struggling, Utek broke free. She reached for and grabbed Foxwell’s dropped laser rifle. Raising the weapon above her head, she intended to use it as a club to strike Beta with a fatal blow.
And then the scream of phaser fire could be heard, followed by a coruscating, sparkling whirlpool of color and light. Utek was beginning to dematerialize, her own molecules being drawn into the vortex around her. Her body disappeared ... she was gone.
Foxwell fell back on the cold metallic deck, having arched himself upright just enough to fire the Vulcan commander’s dropped phaser.
Beta stood and walked quickly toward her semi-conscious commanding officer. “Captain, are you alright?” She reached down and helped Foxwell to his feet just as Rivera and Lindsey arrived.
“Doctor ... what are you ...” he mumbled, slurring his words. “What the hell are you doing here? I ordered you to report back to the T’Vahl with Lindsey and Roberts.”
“I arranged for Roberts to be transported to sickbay aboard the T’Vahl, he explained, “with specific medical instructions to their Chief Medical Officer. Lindsey pleaded with me to remain behind and take cover, and to provide additional back-up if needed. That’s when we noticed Utek demanding you and the away team drop your weapons, along with the tall Greys materializing behind her. We set our lasers on stun, and quietly approached from both ends. As soon as I heard Lindsey shout, we both fired simultaneously.”
Foxwell exhaled a long breath. “Well, that’s one out of two,” he muttered.
Rivera twisted his head slightly, a confused look appearing. “Say again, Captain?”
“My laser pistol ... I ordered you to take it before we were transported over here, remember?”
Nodding, a slight smiled crossed Rivera’s lips. “There is another reason Lindsey wanted to remain behind, Captain.”
“Go ahead, I'm all ears,” Foxwell replied, his face twisted in a painful contortion as he massaged the trapezius nerve bundle in his neck.
Lindsey quickly briefed the Captain regarding the living embryo belonging to her and Roberts, confirmed by Doctor Rivera.
“It's doubtful their embryo has been hybridized," Rivera continued. "The Greys only took possession of it several hours ago, during Lindsey’s examination."
"That would be a reasonable assumption," Beta chimed in.
Foxwell nodded. “Thank the stars for that." Expressing a sympathetic gaze, he assured Lindsey the cylindrical tank containing the living embryo belonging to her and Roberts would receive the highest priority.
“Working with the Vulcan medical staff, I believe we can safely return their embryo back to her uterus, allowing it to develop full term," Rivera assured.
“And what say you?” Foxwell asked, turning in Lindsey’s direction.
Lindsey's expression was soulful. "That's what I want, Captain ... and I’m sure the father would agree.”
Foxwell turned and gazed at Rivera. “Out of all the tanks, it’s the only living specimen whose identify is known. Make sure that it's properly tagged.”
“Already taken care of."
Motioning to Utek’s Chief Engineer with a quick wave of his hand, Foxwell ordered him to make contact with the T’Vahl. “Confirm coordinates with your transporter room, then beam the unconscious Greys to the planet’s surface, minus their weapons. Following their transport, I want all functional cylinders transported to the T’Vahl’s hangar bay. Do this immediately. We need to be out of here before whoever is in charge of these napping Greys figure out what's happened."
“Understood,” the Vulcan Engineer replied, moving away from Foxwell and confirming his communication link with the T’Vahl. “Transporter room, confirm my position and lock onto all Greys in the immediate vicinity. Beam to the planet's surface ... without their weapons."
"Acknowledged," the transporter control officer replied.
"Set the remote detonator's timer for one minute after the last cylinder is transported. I will give the order for those of us who remain to be beamed back to the T’Vahl during that sixty second interval.”
Foxwell looked around. Shouting, he ordered: “Away team ... remain close by and stay alert until we are beamed back aboard the T’Vahl.
“Aye Captain,” they mumbled and nodded.
Having only moments before transported the unconscious Greys to the planet’s surface, the process of beaming the developing hybrids began, to include the unaffected embryo belonging to Lindsey and Roberts. In rapid succession, every cylindrical tank containing a live embryo or fetus dematerialized. Converted into sub-atomically de-bonded matter, the particles were streamed into individual pattern buffers where they remained briefly before re-materializing and arriving at their destination aboard the Vulcan starship..
The Vulcan engineer returned and approached Foxwell. “Transport of all functional tanks complete, Captain. The T’Vahl acknowledges the transports were successful.”
“Excellent,” came the reply, followed by a pause. “Uhm, I don’t believe your name was ever conveyed to me,” Foxwell awkwardly mentioned.
“Vulyk … Major Vulyk,” the Vulcan chief engineer answered.
“Got it ... and thanks again, Major," an appreciative half-smile appearing.
Quickly approaching Foxwell and Vulyk, Beta announced: “Detonator set for sixty seconds, Captain.”
“Very well,” Foxwell replied, reaching for his communicator. He flipped the antenna open.
“T’Vahl, Strojok here.”
“Captain, this is Foxwell. Prepare to beam the away team back to the T’Vahl ... on my order.”
“Acknowledged,” Strojok replied. “I am present in the transporter room. Be advised sensors are detecting a large presence of humanoids moving in two directions toward your position. Estimated time of arrival ... one minute. Give the command to beam aboard when ready.”
“Understood,” Foxwell responded. Looking around, Foxwell shouted once more to the away team: “Everyone, listen-up ... prepare to beam back to the T’Vahl.”
Pivoting in Beta’s direction, Foxwell issued the order: “Start the timer.”
“Timer enabled ... sixty seconds and counting,” she yelled.
Elevating the tone of his voice, Foxwell looked around again. “Away team, prepare to beam aboard the T’Vahl. Raising the communicator to his lips, Foxwell yelled: “Beam us aboard ... now.”
Back onboard the T’Vahl, the transporter officer craned his head in Strojok’s direction. “Captain, I’m having difficulty acquiring a lock on the away team ... some kind of interference.”
“Increase transporter signal strength. Can you identify the source?”
Working the backlit touch panels, the transporter officer craned his head in Strojok’s direction. “Affirmative, Captain. Sensors confirm transmission of kelbonite waves from the planet’s surface.”
Strojok nodded in acknowledgment. “Very interesting,” he mumbled, furrowing his thick eyebrows. “Kelbonite results in a scattering of the transporter’s annular confinement beam, resulting in sensor interference and preventing a transporter lock. Fortunately, it doesn’t prevent weapons targeting.”
“Captain, do you …”
“Origin?” he thundered, cutting off the transporter officer. “We have less than a minute to beam the away team back to the T’Vahl.”
“Ship’s main sensors have identified a specific sector in the Northern hemisphere.”
“Acknowledged,” Strojok mumbled. “Forward the exact coordinates to the main fire control computer on the bridge. Inform the weapons officer to prepare to fire quadium torpedos on my command.”
A pause. “Weapons officer concurs, Captain. Fire control system locked onto target coordinates.”
Another pause. “Captain, the bridge confirms the target has been destroyed.”
Strojok yelled out: “Transporter status?”
“I have a lock ... transport in progress.”
A haling signal from the bridge.
“Stojok here ... go ahead.”
“Captain, this is conning officer. Sensors confirm a series of explosions throughout the facility below the planet's surface."
“Acknowledged. A search and destroy mission on the part of the Greys would now be a logical response. Remain alert."
Hunched over the control panel, the transporter officer suddenly stood upright. “Captain, the Stargazer away team has been successfully transported to the hangar bay.”
“Excellent. Contact the Stargazer immediately. On my authority order the conning officer to engage their cloaking device ... then engage ours.”
“Acknowledged, Captain.” Pivoting in Strojok’s direction, he added, “all personnel accounted for … with the exception of ... Commander Utek.”
The transporter officer returned a blank stare. "None, Captain."
Stardate: April 05, 2097
T’Vahl Ready Room: Strojok, Foxwell, and Beta present:
Briefing and counter-briefing complete, Foxwell sought to clarify Strojok’s knowledge or collaboration subsequent to admission by Utek.
“I can assure you, Captain,” Strojok began, pacing uneasily around his ready room, “I was completely unaware of Utek’s involvement in this conspiracy. I will complete my report and forward it to the Vulcan authorities and Galactic Fleet Command. You are welcome to review the report before it is submitted.”
Foxwell rendered a confirming nod. “It’s never a win when there is a loss of life,” he replied sorrowfully, referring to the death of Utek, “but I’m still puzzled as to a more precise motivation behind her actions.”
“There will be a thorough investigation upon our return to Vulcan, to include detaining and questioning the other scientists involved,” Strojok assured. He turned and gazed at the Galactic Fleet Officers. “Utek was a model officer, dedicated to her career and the rightness and purity of logic. Her devotion was admirable,” he added, a stoic expression appearing.
Beta exhaled a thoughtful sigh. “But her actions were not logical; not in this instance.”
“I would have to agree,” Foxwell added.
“Perhaps your science officer would care to elaborate,” Strojok prompted, his facial expression morphing into one of curiosity. “It's my understanding her brain is comprised of a ..."
“Half my brain,” Beta cut in, clarifying.
“Beta neutronic labyrinth emulator,” Strojok slowly continued, “capable of superior reasoning. Reason vs logic. Perhaps her explanation will be persuasive. I am eager to hear that ... or her theory.”
"With all due respect, Captain,” my first officer is under no obligation to defend or clarify her opinions or findings, nor is she required to satisfy your curiosity. This isn’t a formal hearing or inquiry. She is also my science officer. I trust her knowledge and judgment explicitly.”
Beta pivoted in Foxwell’s direction. “Captain, your continued confidence in me is inspiring; nevertheless, I feel compelled to respond.”
“And that’s why you’re my first officer,” Foxwell said. “However, let’s save that exchange for another time." He turned and faced Strojok. “What’s the status of the cylinders and the developing humanoids?”
His expression deadpan, Strojok glanced at Foxwell. “The initial report confirmed the cylinders and occupants were received undamaged and unharmed, respectively. The process of coupling the cylinders to a central life support system is complete.”
“Excellent news,” Foxwell replied, Beta nodding in agreement.
“Perhaps you and your first officer would care to accompany me back to the hangar bay?” Strojok proposed.
Smiling, Foxwell politely extended his arm.
“Lead the way."
Click to read Episode IV Part X - "Star Voyagers: "THE GREY CONSPIRACY""