Episode III: Part V - Beta is ordered to pursue the fleeing saboteur
Stardate: Dec 14, 2096
“Foxwell to Stargazer.”
“Stargazer, Beta here.”
“Beta, the colony’s transporter just completed an activation cycle. Have sensors picked-up any anomalies in the last 60 seconds?”
“That’s affirmative Captain. A matter stream was detected at approximately 30,000 kilometers, just prior to de-cloaking of an Eridani warbird at the same distance and heading. We have the warbird onscreen, high magnification.”
Foxwell paced anxiously around the security office. “If memory serves me, that would be consistent with their transporter’s maximum range.”
“That’s affirmative, Captain,” Beta replied," not to mention they are in direct violation of Galactic Fleet Directive 990.105 prohibiting non-earth vessels of any kind from entering into our solar system without specific prior approval or a formally concluded and ratified treaty."
“Acknowledged," Foxwell replied. "We believe an Eridani saboteur surgically altered to resemble a Vulcan just transported to the warbird,” Foxwell explained. "Evidence discovered appears to corroborate he may be responsible for contaminating the colony with the virus, and is now fleeing.”
Beta furrowed her eyebrows. “That would be a reasonable assumption," she responded.
Spinning his chair around to face the Stargazer’s First Officer, the helmsman shouted, “Commander, the warbird is now moving -- she may be preparing to depart.”
Beta stood and positioned herself behind the navigator. “What is their heading, Ensign.”
“Bearing 310 Mark 15.” He quickly turned and craned his head in the Science Officer’s direction -- “the Eridani Star System, Commander.”
Overhearing the conversation, Foxwell exhaled a long breath. Pursing his lips, he angrily tapped his fingers on the control interface in the Security Chief’s Office.
“Well, Captain?” Chief Security Officer Gareth prodded. “What do you plan to do?”
“I recommend you immediately contact Galactic Fleet Command, Captain,” Governor Duelow suggested.
Ignoring both colony officials, Foxwell raised his communicator to his lips. “Beta, on my authority, lay in a pursuit course -- overtake and disable the Eridani warbird should they fail to respond to your hails to stop and turn over the party that beamed himself to their ship. Deploy tachyon subspace transmitters during pursuit as a means of maintaining immediate communications. Use the magnetic grappler and tow their vessel back to Mars. A computer image of the vulcan imposter has been forwarded."
“Acknowledged, Captain." Peering down at the seated navigator and helmsman, orders were given to break orbit and pursue the Eridani starship, now hurtling toward their solar system at faster than light speed.
“Xuriya, open a channel to the warbird,” Beta ordered.
“Aye, Commander, hailing frequencies open.”
“This is Commander Beta of the SS Stargazer of Galactic Fleet Command representing planet Earth. Transporter computer logs on the Martian colony and sensor readings aboard the Stargazer confirm one humanoid transported to your vessel from the planet moments before your departure. This individual is wanted for return to the colony for questioning regarding a viral disease outbreak. You are ordered to bring your starship to a full and complete stop and assist in delivering the party in question to the Stargazer for return to the planet Mars.”
Starring straight ahead at the main viewing screen, the helmsman shouted, “Commander, the Eridani warbird is slowing; they have raised their shields”
“They’re powering-up weapons systems.” the navigator added.
Beta stood. She rendered a quick glance at the helmsman. “Disengage fusion drive — come to a full stop.”
“Full stop, Commander.”
What is our current distance?”
“One hundred thousand kilometers.”
"Let me know the moment they deviate from their present course.”
“Aye, Commander,” both replied in tandem.
Beta sat down again at the command chair. She keyed the Stargazers’s PA System. “Weapons Officer report to the bridge.”
“Acknowledged Commander — on my way,” Lieutenant Warwick replied.
Beta stood again. “Apparently my message was received -- and they didn't like it."
“Alternating his attention between the main viewing screen and the sensor displays on the control panel, the helmsman craned his neck quickly in the direction of the First Officer. “Commander," he yelled, the warbird has fired two plasma energy torpedos from its aft torpedo silos. They are heading directly for us.”
Unfazed, Beta gazed at the main viewing screen. “We’re beyond the effective range of their plasma weapons, Ensign. The energy torpedos will dissipate well before they reach us. That was their answer to our demand for return of the party who beamed aboard, and a warning not to continue our pursuit.”
Arriving on the bridge, Lieutenant Warwick assumed his station at the tactical weapons console. Quickly scanning the interface control panels, he spun his chair in the direction of the Stargazer’s Science Officer. “Weapons station manned and ready, Commander.”
Beta returned to the command chair and keyed the starship’s PA System. “This is Commander Beta. All hands — CONDITION RED. I say again — CONDITION RED.
“The Warbird is moving again, Commander,” the navigator reported, "same heading as before. They are moving at light speed and accelerating,” he continued.
Xuriya turned and gazed at the First Officer. “All Departments report manned and ready,” Commander.
Beta spun the command chair in the direction of the weapons station. “Lieutenant Warwick, energize all weapons systems — polarize the hull plating.”
“All weapons energized and ready. Hull polarized at one hundred percent,” he replied.
Swiveling the command chair back toward the main viewing screen, Beta stood and positioned herself behind the helmsman. “Ensign -- all ahead, light factor one. Gradually increase light speed and close to within 50,000 kilometers -- maintain stationary velocity.”
Beta turned around and walked toward the communications station. “Xuriya, contact the Chief Engineer and the Assistant Chief Medical Officer. Tell them to report to the bridge. Upon arrival direct both to the ready room, along with you and Lieutenant Warwick. The navigator and helmsman will have the conn during the briefing.”
“Making that decision unilaterally is a huge gamble, Captain,” Governor Duelow grumbled, walking toward Gareth’s desk..
“I believe the evidence is sufficiently compelling to justify my actions, Governor,” Foxwell argued. I assume full responsibility.”
Gareth reached for and keyed the his comm panel. “Yeoman, report to the Colony Security Office.”
“Aye, sir. On my way.”
Gareth stood. “We’ll prepare and forward a priority one subspace message for the purpose of briefing Galactic Fleet Command,” the colony Security Chief disclosed. “You’re welcome to review the message before it’s transmitted, Captain.”
“I would like to meet with my Chief Medical Officer,” Foxwell requested, disregarding Gareth’s remark.
“Yes, by all means,” Governor Duelow chimed in. “In the meantime, I’ll personally escort you to your assigned quarters. He turned and looked at Gareth. “Chief, make arrangements for Doctor Rivera to meet with the Captain in his quarters within the hour.”
“I’ve called you here to bring you up to date on our current situation,” Beta announced as she began the meeting. Briefing the Stargazer’s senior officers regarding the decision and subsequent order for pursuit of the fleeing starship, Beta recalled her previous encounter with the humanoid species during the battle of the Eridani Star System in 2092. “The Eridanis consider themselves a warrior race. They are technologically advanced and fiercely territorial. They are hostile to Earth and Vulcan. Tactically, their starships are the equivalent of our own, with the added ability to protect their hull by the use of invisible sectional shielding.”
Lieutenant Warwick nodded. "Like our polarized hull, it would take repeated hits to weaken their shields to the point of failure.”
“That is correct,” Beta confirmed. "Our task is to disable their vessel and tow the warbird back to Mars should they ignore repeated demands to stop and deliver the party in question."
Beta looked around the ready room. “Any questions?”
The Assistant Chief Medical Officer exchanged glances with the First Officer. “The medical department is ready, along with all first aid and triage stations,” he advised.
“Thank you, Doctor.” Turning in the direction of the Chief Engineer, Beta furrowed her eyebrows. “Chief O’Donovan?”
“Engineering is ready, Commander,” O’Donovan replied.
“Excellent. This meeting is concluded. Please return to your departments and brief your subordinates." Beta walked out of the ready room and returned to the command chair.
The navigator swiveled his chair around. "Commander, sensors are picking-up faint activity coming from the warbird -- attempting to identify."
Beta keyed the Stargazer’s PA system. “All hands will remain at their battle stations — maintain CONDITION RED.”
Click to read Episode III Part VI "Star Voyagers: "THE MARS PLAGUE""