Episode III: Part VII - Foxwell thwarts destruction of the Stargazer
Stardate: Dec. 15, 2096
“Cease fire,” Beta ordered. “Status of their nacelles, Lieutenant?”
Pivoting in the direction of the command chair, Xuriya shouted out, “they’re hailing us.”
“On screen, Lieutenant.”
The video portion of the transmission remained scrambled. Audio was sporadic, but still discernible.
“This is Captain Braji. I agree under protest to your demand, Commander,” he angrily replied. “Please provide instructions regarding method of transfer.”
“Via transporter, Captain, directly to our sickbay,” Beta instructed. “You will don the crewmember in a pre-inflated positive pressure biohazard contamination suit or its equivalent prior to transport. We will provide the exact coordinates. You have exactly twenty minutes to complete the transport, beginning …. now.”
“Very well, Commander,” Captain Braji responded, his tone notably reluctant.
Craning her head, Beta glanced in the direction of the communications station, “Xuriya, contact sickbay and brief the Assistant Chief Medical Officer regarding a pending transport of a possible infected Eridani crewmember. They are to take all necessary biohazard precautions to include arrangements with security for quarantine of our Eridani guest.”
“Also, provide sickbay coordinates to the Kyozist.”
“Mr. Warwick,” Beta continued, “you will dispatch a properly suited biohazard security team to sickbay to assist the medical personnel regarding handling and quarantine of the party in question.”
Having escorted Rivera out of his temporary quarters, Foxwell walked back to the stateroom’s guest station. Reaching for his communicator on the adjacent credenza, it was his intention to contact the Stargazer, followed by an update with Provincial Governor Duelow and Chief of Security Gareth. The door chime on the automatic doors sounded for a second time. His first thought was that Rivera had returned.
“Enter,” he responded.
The auto doors opened with their usual swish and squeak. Standing in the hall just outside the stateroom was the Chief of Security. He was a large and powerfully built man, his presence filling the entire open double doorway.
Catching the Captain offguard by his unannounced presence, Foxwell exchanged glances with Gareth. “I was on my way to your office,” he explained. “Standby while I contact the Stargazer. Afterwards I’ll accompany you back to the security office and we’ll update Governor Duelow.”
“That won’t be necessary, Captain,” Gareth blurted, the double doors closing after walking into the stateroom. He reached behind his back, revealing a dark object. It was the Eridani phaser. “Toss the communicator on the desk — then move away from it,” the Chief of Security ordered, pointing the phaser at the Captain.
Rendering an incredulous expression, Foxwell threw the communicator on top of the guest station. “Alright, I’ll play along,” he pretended, turning and moving stealthily toward Gareth. “So tell me Chief, what’s this all about?”
“It’s about an agreement with the Eridani’s. They infect the Colony with a lethal virus making it appear the vulcans are responsible. The virus is so contagious and deadly it strains relations between Earth and Vulcan to the breaking point. That strengthens the Eradani Star System by default, shifting the balance of power back to them.”
“What’s in it for you,” Foxwell asked.
“After a vaccine is developed in our lab the Chief Virologist will take credit for its creation. I’ll be happy to ride on his coattails and enjoy the fruits of his success. That will open plenty of doors for me.”
“So, he’s in on this as well?”
“He’s family — my older brother.”
“And Governor Duelow?”
“Let’s just say he’s indisposed at the moment,” the Security Chief sneered.
“You seem to forget the Stargazer will soon return to Mars,” Foxwell reminded Gareth.
“On the contrary, Captain, the Stargazer will soon be nothing but space junk. Captain Braji has already initiated the auto-destruct system aboard the Kyozist. It’s set to explode the moment he beams T’kor to your starship. The close proximity of the Kyozist will ensure the Stargazer’s complete destruction.”
Alarmed, Foxwell strained to maintain his demeanor. He knew the Stargazer’s hull would would have to de-polarize in order to complete the transport of the warbird’s crew member. “Part B of you and the Chief Virologist’s plan to cover your tracks, I presume?”
“Almost, Captain. You see, you’re only moments away from having an accident with this phaser,” Gareth continued, a wicked smile appearing. “My report will detail an incident between you and Governor Duelow in which you were both engaged in a struggle for the phaser after an argument, at which time the weapon fired, vaporizing both of you.”
Foxwell nodded. “Sounds like a plan — the problem is it won’t work.”
Gareth responded in a mocking tone. “Now it’s your turn to explain. Here we both stand. I’m holding the phaser, seconds away from killing you. “But I’m curious - how’s it not going to work?”
“To begin with — the phaser. It’s inoperable.”
Gareth laughed again. “You’re wrong, Captain. I test fired it before I left the security office. It worked perfectly on Duelow.”
Foxwell’s face now contorted with rage. “You’re telling me you killed Governor Duelow?”
The security chief doled out an evil grin. “Yes, with the simple squeeze of the firing trigger — poof, he simply vanished, disintegrated. And now it’s your turn,” Gareth bellowed. He pulled the phaser’s firing trigger — nothing. His attention drawn to the inoperable energy weapon, he pulled the trigger in rapid succession several more times, each time the phaser failing to fire.
“I told ya,” Foxwell mockingly sneered. He lunged at Gareth, knocking the phaser out of his hand. The Security Chief grabbed Foxwell under his armpits, lifting the Starship Captain off his feet, tossing him like a rag doll into the guest station. Uninjured, Foxwell climbed onto the credenza. Leaping at Gareth, he locked both legs at the knees around the huge man’s head and neck, Foxwell’s weight and body rotation combining to pull Gareth’s torso down and forward, his forehead striking the metal deck of the stateroom before he flipped completely over. Releasing his leg lock, Foxwell quickly stood, watching and waiting as a dazed Gareth turned over, attempting to push himself up on his feet. Making it to his knees, Captain Foxwell delivered a spinning kick to the side of Gareth’s head. He fell face forward on the vinyl coated stateroom deck.
Winded, Foxwell ambled toward the bed. He grabbed the communicator, flipping open the antenna grille. “Stargazer,” he shouted.
“Stargazer, Beta here.”
Speaking with unmistakeable urgency, he ordered his First Officer to abort the mission. “Beta, the warbird’s Captain has initiated the auto-destruct. Initiate emergency departure — now, Foxwell ordered.”
“Acknowledged, Captain.” Without hesitation, Beta hurried toward the flight control console. Ignoring the Navigator and Helmsman, she leaned over the control panel, raising a fiery red switch guard, exposing the emergency escape actuator. Pressing the panel button, the Stargazer’s sensors and navigational system instantly took control of the starship’s fusion drive, plotting and initiating a light speed escape and withdrawal maneuver based on the coordinates of the Kyozist.
“Rear sensors detect a massive explosion at the previous Kyozist coordinates,” the Weapons Officer hollered.
Beta took in a deep breath. “As I expected, Lieutenant,” she affirmed, returning to the command chair.
A hailing signal emanated from the command chair companel. “Beta, here.”
“Commander, this is the Assistant Chief Medical Officer. We are in receipt of one Eridani crew member. He was not bio-suited as you previously instructed. Coordinates provided to the Kyozist allowed for transport to a bio-containment area constructed in sickbay by security prior to their beaming the Vulcan imposter to the Stargazer.
Exhaling a sigh of relief, Beta pushed herself up from the command chair. “Are you telling me there is no danger of contamination?”
“Affirmative, Commander. A force field was set-up by security and activated the moment our guest arrived, containing both the Eridanian and the virus. A bio scan sensor located in the area of containment has confirmed he is positive for the virus."
“Acknowledged — on my way to sickbay.”
Walking around the flight control console, Beta turned and looked at the navigator and helmsman. “De-activate emergency escape. Set a new course for the red planet, light factor two.”
“New heading 130, mark 345,” the Navigator replied.
“Light factor two,” the helmsman added.
The First Officer craned her neck toward the tactical station. “Lieutenant Warwick, please accompany me to sickbay. Xuriya, you have the bridge.”
Captain Foxwell stepped back, observing as Assistant Chief of Security Summers and two other security officers helped the unsteady Gareth to his feet. Restrained with a double set of handcuffs, he was assisted out of Foxwell’s quarters, a colony medic in tow.
“He’ll be confined to the brig while we conduct a preliminary investigation,” Captain Summers declared. “Ultimately, he’ll be transferred to Earth to stand trial, along with the Chief Virologist.”
“You have his brother in custody?” Foxwell asked.
“He was escorted from the lab and placed in a holding cell,” Summers confirmed.
Summers reached down to the floor and retrieved the Eridani Phaser. A curious expression appeared. “Why were you so sure this weapon would not fire when Gareth pulled the trigger?”
Foxwell chortled. “I’m one of a few people who are aware the Eridani Phaser is equipped with a safety interlock in the form of a code processor for safing its power functions. I was betting that T’kor set the safety interlock to fire only once and then deactivate as a means of extending the life of the power cell before he hid the weapon in the empty junction box where it was discovered. When Gareth admitted he used the weapon to kill Governor Duelow, I knew the Phaser would not fire a second time.”
“That was a life gambling bet, Captain. Either you have the luck of the devil — or there’e something else you’re not telling me,” Summers exclaimed.
Foxwell smiled. Appreciative of his candor, he chose not to respond to the Officer’s remark. “I need to contact my ship,” he informed Summers. Retrieving his communicator, he flipped open the antenna grille, the hand held device emitting a confirming chirp. His only thoughts were that of his crew. Were they safe and on their way back to the red planet? He brought the communicator toward his lips.
“Foxwell to Stargazer,” he called.
A momentary pause — “Stargazer, Beta here,” came the reply.
Foxwell heaved a sigh of relief.
Click to read Episode III Part VIII "Star Voyagers: "THE MARS PLAGUE""