Rated: E · Fiction · Action/Adventure · #2289191
Episode V: Part II - Ragel arrives and demands custody of Gella
Stardate: Sept. 16, 2097
Engulfed in a centuries old civil war, civilization is on the brink of total collapse. Neither side is agreeable to any peace overtures nor any idea of compromise. And so the world wide conflict continues, with unrelenting attacks and counterattacks that are interminably and tragically destroying the planet -- adding to the growing roster of billions who have already perished.
B'alosian Ruling Council:
“Sources have confirmed the traitor Gella is aboard a Galactic Fleet Battlecruiser of Earth origin, and is presently en route from Vulcan to B'alos,” a member of the ruling counsel reported.
“We must dispatch Administrator Ragel immediately,” another member of the counsel urged.
“Yes … yes, agree,” the remaining counsel members mumbled, nodding in the affirmative and exchanging glances with one another. “Summon Ragel and prepare for a briefing.”
Captain's Ready Room / SS Stargazer
“Now that the introductory formalities are concluded, perhaps you can enlighten my first officer and I as to our new mission orders,” Foxwell politely demanded, glancing back and forth between Chu’lok and Gella.
Sitting in tandem at the oval table in the ready room, the Vulcan and B'alosian exchanged a hurried look. “Shall I?” Gella offered, appearing eager to brief the Captain and his first officer seated on the table’s opposite side as to the reason for their presence aboard the Stargazer.
Chu’lok rendered an approving nod.
“Very well,” she replied, her demeanor growing more serious. Turning her attention in the direction of the captain and first officer, she began by thanking Foxwell and Beta for their hospitality.
“Our pleasure. Now, let’s get on with it. Why are you two here?” Foxwell asked bluntly.
Gella took a deep breath and sighed. “B'alos has been embroiled in a civil war for hundreds of years, Captain. Reactionary forces have sought to destroy us and assume control as the majority ruling party.”
“Reactionary forces?” Foxwell said, echoing her words.
“Us? Who is us?” Beta asked, a curious expression appearing.
The companel emitted a hailing signal.
“Sorry for the interruption, Captain,” Xuriya broke in, “but sensors have detected the presence of an unknown spacecraft. It appears to be in pursuit of the Stargazer.”
Foxwell paused, then looked around the room. “On my way.” Exchanging glances with Chu’lok and Gella, he voiced a perfunctory explanation. “Please excuse the interruption; we’ll continue this discussion at the first opportunity. Please remain in the ready room until further notice.” He pivoted in Beta’s direction. “Please accompany me to the bridge.”
Exiting the ready room onto the bridge, Beta retuned to the science station and began reviewing data from the ship’s sensors. Standing next to the command chair, Foxwell stared at the main viewing screen. “Switch to aft viewer,” he ordered.
“Aye sir,” the helmsman replied.
“Eighty thousand kilometers and closing rapidly” the navigator responded. “Still no visual, even at extreme magnification.”
Foxwell spun around. “Beta, I need a sensor status.”
Focused on the displays, the first officer responded in a loud voice. “Sensors confirm a small, shuttle-sized craft, capable of warp speed. It appears to be coated in an unknown material rendering it detectable only to our sensors, which explains no visual contact.” She turned and locked eyes with Foxwell. “Whoever or whatever it is, they can outrun us, Captain.”
Appearing flustered, Foxwell resisted the fleeting notion of his anticipated discussions with the Vulcans about warp technology. If only we …
“Xuriya,” he yelled out, breaking his train of thought. “Hail the alien vessel … all channels.”
“They’re closing fast,” the helmsman shouted.
“All decks, Condition Red,” Foxwell yelled, the alarm sounding throughout the Stargazer. He wheeled in the direction of his weapons officer. “Lieutenant, polarize the hull plating; prepare to fire aft energy torpedos.”
“Any response to our hails?” Foxwell bellowed, glancing at his communications officer.
“No response, sir.”
“Weapons officer … status.”
“Hull polarized at one hundred percent,” Warwick confirmed. “Aft torpedos locked and ready to fire. Distance ten thousand kilometers and closing.”
Beta swiveled her chair and stood. “Captain," she yelled out. "Sensors confirm pursuit by the alien vessel has ceased. Aft viewer now confirms a faintly visible debris field. The craft has disintegrated.”
Foxwell walked back and sat in his chair, staring at the rear viewer. “Helmsman, disengage fusion light drive. Come to a full stop.”
“Aye, Captain. Full stop”
Wheeling around, Foxwell re-directed his attention back to his science officer. “Explanation?”
“None, Captain. The vessel’s forward momentum and deceleration occurred simultaneously with destruction of the alien ship.”
The bridge turbo elevator doors opened abruptly with their usual swoosh. “Perhaps I can explain,” a loud voice was heard, a male humanoid approximately six feet tall of medium build exiting. He walked confidently onto the bridge, his hands lightly clasped behind his back. With closely cropped silvery white hair, he was donned in the same identical off-white one-piece jumpsuit Gella was wearing. His face portrayed an uncanny, reddish tinge.
The weapons officer brandished his fusion laser pistol, pointing it at the uninvited intruder. Caught totally off guard, everyone on the bridge stood and gawked at the sight of the unknown humanoid from another world.
“Everyone … remain where you are,” Foxwell ordered, discreetly tapping a security alert button on the command chair’s control panel. “Secure from Condition Red” he shouted into the companel. He turned in the direction of the unexpected visitor. “How did you get aboard?”
“I am Ragel,” the alien announced, ignoring the question. “I am Chief Administrative Officer on the Board of Political Traitors from the planet B'alos. You have onboard your ship an escaped prisoner, Gella, from my planet who fled after being arrested and charged with treason. I am here to take custody of the fugitive and return her to B'alos to stand trial.”
The turbo elevator doors opened. Four security officers hurried onto the bridge, fusion laser pistols in hand. Foxwell stood and faced the alien intruder. “And I am the commanding officer of this ship. I am the final authority regarding what happens aboard the Stargazer.” He inched closer, locking eyes with B’alosian intruder. “There will be no bounty hunting or self-appointed vigilantism on board this ship … is that understood?” he announced in an uncompromising tone.
Ragel bowed his head, then let out a deep breath, his hands still clasped behind his back “I absolutely agree, Captain,” he replied in an apologetic tone, a half-smile crossing his lips. “That’s exactly why I have been authorized by the Board of Political Traitors to …”
“Everyone aboard the Stargazer, including visitors ... are under my command,” Foxwell interrupted. “You will both be returned to B’alos, each of you to your own people. Thereafter you can plead your case to the proper authorities on your planet.”
Beta pivoted in Ragel’s direction. “Neither Vulcan nor Earth have extradition treaties with B'alos,” she chimed in. “Therefore your claim and the rights of the accused require due process only to the extent that we return you safely to your home world, without judgment.”
With an exasperated sigh, Ragel reluctantly accepted the explanations given by Foxwell and Beta. “Very well,” he grumbled. “Then I would like to go on record that I accept your decision ... simply because I have no other choice … and under protest.”
“Duly noted," Foxwell replied.
“May I see her, please?” Ragel requested.
Foxwell gave a contemplative look. “I’ll allow it on the condition you remember you are a guest aboard the Stargazer, and are subject to my authority and the rules and regulations of this starship."
The alien humanoid rendered a confirming nod. “With your approval, Captain.”
Foxwell wheeled around. “Beta and Lieutenant Warwick will accompany us to the ready room. Security team personnel will remain on the bridge. Xuriya, you have the conn."
Click to read Episode V Part III "Star Voyagers: "THE B'ALOSIAN PARADIGM""