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Rated: E · Fiction · Action/Adventure · #2269356
Episode IV: Part V - Stargazer's away team arrives aboard the T'Vahl
Part V

Stardate: April 04, 2096

Exiting the turbo lift, Foxwell and Beta caught sight of the other members of the away team. Noticing all were armed with laser pistols, he turned and gazed at his First Officer. “You and I will carry fusion laser rifles.”

Beta pointed in the direction of the shuttle, secured to the deck by several tie down chains. “The shuttlecraft has two rifles in the rear compartment bulkhead,” she reminded the Captain.

Walking to the rear of the shuttle, Foxwell unlocked and lifted the keypad cover. Entering the code, the rear shuttle ramp opened and extended. Walking up the ramp and into the rear of the shuttlecraft, he opened the camouflaged bulkhead cover and removed the two laser rifles. He tossed one to Beta.

“Six personnel are present, Captain. Are you forming two teams?”

Foxwell quickly surveyed the team members. “Affirmative ... listen-up," he said in a loud voice. “I’ll lead team one. Warwick and security officer McKenzie are with me. Team two will be led by Beta. Rivera and security officer O’Malley are with her.”

Removing the communicator from his utility belt in response to an audible beep, he flipped it open. “Foxwell here, go ahead.”

“O’Donovan on the bridge, Captain. We just received a hail from the T’Vahl. I’m assuming it’s regarding transport of the away team.”

“Affirmative, chief ... tie their signal into my communicator.”

The chief engineer reached over and touched the transfer icon on the command chair’s interface companel. “Aye, Captain, you're tied-in.”

“Acknowledged.” Changing frequencies on his communicator, he responded to the hail from the Vulcan starship. "This is Captain Foxwell.”

“Greetings, Captain,” the familiar voice of Strojok crackled through. “I presume you and your away team are ready to beam aboard?"

“That's affirmative,” Foxwell replied, irritated by Stojojk’s terse demeanor. “Six present in the hanger bay and ready to beam aboard your vessel.”

“Very well ... standby." The Vulcan Captain turned and nodded at the T’Vahl’s operation’s officer. Standing in front of the transporter console, the Vulcan officer energized the transporter system. Establishing a lock on the six Galactic Fleet personnel and monitoring the transporter’s various functions, he placed his fingers on the panel’s three touch-sensitive light bars. Moving his fingers upward on the interface control panel, the transporter began the process of dematerializing all six Stargazer personnel into energy patterns. Moments later, all six personnel reconverted into matter, re-materializing inside the transporter room of the Vulcan Starship. Fidgeting slightly, their eyes wandered about as they adjusted to their new surroundings.

“Welcome aboard the T’Vahl,” Strojok spoke, a stony expression etched across his face. He was dressed in the traditional uniform of a vulcan starship captain; high collared jacket and trousers, a distinctive V shape design covering the chest and stomach with a trapezoidal crest in the center. His Captain’s rank insignia was displayed on the collar.

Stepping forward, Foxwell walked up to the Vulcan Captain. “I’m Jon Foxwell, commanding officer of the SS Stargazer, reporting aboard as ordered by Galactic Fleet Command. It's my understanding we're here for an additional briefing regarding the Greys.”

"That is correct, Captain," Strojok replied. "Please allow me to introduce sub-commander Utek, my First Officer and Science Officer, turning and extending his arm as she walked into the transporter room from an adjoining passageway.

“Commander,” Foxwell uttered in polite acknowledgment. Pivoting in Utek’s direction, she donned the same uniform as her captain, but without the trim or visible rank. He took note of her petite size and closely cropped hair. She was alluringly attractive.

“Commander Utek will lead you and your away-team to the briefing room,” Strojok informed Foxwell. “I will join you and your colleagues momentarily. “Is there anything I can do for you or your crew prior to the start of the briefing?”

“Thank you, Captain ... but no,” Foxwell replied in a haughty tone. Directing his away team to follow the Vulcan First Officer, she led them back into the passageway and toward the bow of the vessel. They glanced curiously over the interior of the T’Vahl, never before having been aboard a Vulcan starship. Walking in single file and behind Utek, she continued through a hatch and into the auxiliary control room, a pair of twin turbo lifts encased in the supporting bulkhead.

She slowed, then stopped, turning around to confirm the presence of the six Stargazer personnel. “We’ll be taking the elevators,” Utek announced, her tone and demeanor as apathetic and cold as her superior, Strojok. “Like your starship, our ready room is accessible from the bridge,” she explained.

Foxwell chimed in. “Team one ... step inside,” he directed, pointing to one of the turbo lifts.

Following suit, Beta echoed the same order: “Team two ... inside the other lift.”

Arriving on the bridge, the Stargazer away-teams exited the elevators and followed Utek into the briefing room; the copper colored and textured ceiling and bulkheads matched the exterior hue of the Vulcan starship. The T’Vahl’s briefing room was noticeably larger, the illumination softer than the interior of the Stargazer.

“Interesting,” Beta noted as she looked around the room, glancing upward at the ceiling. “The lighting throughout this vessel appears to proportionally imitate the amount of light Vulcan receives from their sun.”

“Apparently so,” Foxwell replied, engaged in his own visual inspection of the dusky compartment.

Moving closer to the T'Vahl's First Officer, Foxwell stopped and turned in her direction, “Who will be conducting the briefing?”

“Captain Strojok and I,” she answered coolly. “He will arrive momentarily. Please situate your away-team around the conference table while I prepare for the briefing.”

Quickly eyeing his crew members, Foxwell shouted out, “everyone take a seat.” He turned in Beta’s direction. “You and I will stand.” Acknowledging with a nod, she slung her laser rifle over her shoulder, stepping away from the table and crossing her arms.

Moments later the briefing room’s pneumatic doors opened. The seated away-team members began to rise as the Vulcan Captain entered the ready room. He was accompanied by his operations officer. “Please remain seated,” he requested, extending his hand outward. He craned his head in Foxwell’s direction. “Any questions before we begin, Captain?”

“None,” Foxwell blurted. “However, to avoid being redundant or repetitive,” he continued, "be advised we have conducted our own briefing regarding the Greys, their known history regarding visitations to Earth, their activities, and the planet we believe they inhabit.”

"Very well," Strojok replied. "Sub-commander Utek will …"

“One more thing,” Foxwell interrupted, exchanging glances with Strojok and Utek. “Two of my crew were abducted less than 24 hours ago. Whatever purpose this mission is tasked with accomplishing, it is my intention to locate and retrieve those two missing officers.”

Strojok furrowed his thick eyebrows. “Captain, we …"

Foxwell quickly pivoted and locked eyes with Strojok. “It’s not up for debate, nor will I tolerate any interference,” he replied forcefully, interrupting the Vulcan Captain.

Appearing unfazed by Foxwell’s sudden outburst, Strojok calmly exhaled, then pressed his lips together. “Captain, we were unaware of this event. Rest assured you have my full support regarding the safe and successful rescue of your missing crew members.”

“As long as that is understood, you’ll have my full cooperation,” Foxwell pledged.

“Your position is logical,” Strojok replied. “Now, let us proceed with the briefing.” Craning his head, he turned his attention toward Utek. “Sub-Commander, you may proceed.”

Rendering a confirming nod, Utek walked up to the conference table. Holding a remote, she raised her arm until a noticeable click was heard. Seconds later, a transparent display screen appeared above the table. On screen was a colorized star map of the Zeta Reticuli Star System.

"Interesting," Beta quietly uttered, staring intently at the display hologram.

Using the same remote, the T’Vahl’s First Officer adjusted the display to highlight Zeta 2 Reticuli. “This is a yellow dwarf class G2 star located less than a light year away from its binary neighbor, Zeta Reticuli 1,” she began. Using the remote, four planets and their orbital paths gradually illuminated around the G2 star. “The fourth planet, named Zeta 2 Reticulum 4 by Earth Astronomers ... is our target planet,” she continued. “It is within the habitable life zone of Zeta Reticuli 2 and has been positively confirmed by Vulcan Astronomers to be the home world of the Greys.”

Uncrossing her arms, Beta walked closer to the display. She turned and gazed intently at Utek. “Earth Scientists have been reasonably certain of the existence of these four planets, to include the habitation of the Greys on Zeta 2 Reticulum 4,” she chimed in. “It appears your research has settled that question.”

“Confirmed as well by our intelligence bureau, it is the only logical conclusion” Utek replied.

Appearing annoyed, Foxwell stepped forward. “Commander Utek ... Captain Strojok,” he began, “we appreciate the information. The only conclusion I’ve come to is that the suspected address for the Greys has now been officially confirmed by the post office.” A noticeable pause. “If you don’t mind, can we get on with the mission aspect of the briefing?”

Utek and Strojok exchanged glances. “I believe Captain Foxwell is being sarcastic,” Strojok blurted.

“As I understand it ... for humans, it is a way of expressing themselves based on emotion,” Utek confirmed.

“Yes, such as when they are annoyed or irritated,” Strojok added.

“Utek tilted her head. "Illogical.”

Foxwell placed his hands on his hips. He looked down at the smooth copper toned deck and shook his head, then craned his neck at the sound of a chuckle. It was his weapons officer. “Do you find this amusing, Mr. Warwick?”

Quickly changing his expression, Warwick cleared his throat. “Uh, uhm, no sir,” he replied.

Beta turned her head toward Foxwell. “Captain, may I suggest …”

“Settle down, everyone," Foxwell bellowed. He pivoted in the direction of Strojok. “With all due respect, Captain, what is the game plan?”

The Vulcan Captain glanced at Utek, then nodded.

“Intelligence and sensor probes have confirmed the presence of an unknown number of an unknown number of developing humanoid life forms deep underground on Zeta Reticulum 4,” Utek continued. “Information gathered and analyzed by our scientists has led us to conclude that the Greys are engaging in transgenic research and experimentation."

Foxwell looked at Beta with a baffled expression. “Transgenic experimentation? Explain.”

“Concerning humans and the Greys, transgenesis is the process of introducing one or more DNA sequences by artificial means into a fertilized egg or developing embryo,” Beta described. “It becomes integrated into the chromosomes. When the hybrid is born, it can transmit that extra piece of DNA to its offspring.”

Foxwell pulled a face, then glanced full circle around the conference room. “So, what you’re telling me is: The Greys are operating a genetic reproduction factory whose sole purpose is to produce alien-human hybrids.”

“In a word ... yes, Captain,” Utek answered.

Strojok stepped forward, his eyes falling on Foxwell. “Transgenesis is the means by which the Greys create optimal bodies native to a specific planetary ecosystem. By crossing humans with themselves a new species is developed bearing a physical body which is predominantly human, and with a consciousness that is predominantly Grey alien.”

Doctor Rivera rose from his chair and loped around the conference table, standing next to Foxwell and Beta. “My apologies for the interruption, Captain, but I could not sit idle any longer.” He turned to Strojok and Utek, displaying a quizzical glance. “You stated earlier that your scientists have proof confirming transgenic experimentation. Can you provide that proof?”

“Affirmative," Utek replied. She turned and nodded at the T’Vahl’s operations officer.

Returning a confirming nod, the operations officer stepped back and opened the ready room door panels. “Bring in the specimen,” he shouted.

Two Vulcan science officers, both wearing long, light gray coats with padded shoulders wheeled a medical stretcher into the ready room. The gurney's occupant was fully covered with a stretched polyester sheet which resembled aluminum foil.

“Remove the covering,” Utek ordered.

The Vulcan science officers stood on opposites sides of the wheeled gurney. Carefully rolling the silvery sheet from top to bottom, an adult humanoid species with superficial properties both human and Grey alien came into full view.

Standing, the Stargazer crew members moved away from the conference room table and joined Foxwell and Beta. Staring in disbelief, they all gawked in morbid fascination at the entity resting on the mobile trolley.

Utek turned and locked eyes with Rivera. “Is this sufficient proof, doctor?”

Click to read Episode IV Part VI - "Star Voyagers: "THE GREY CONSPIRACY"
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