Season 2 Finale
Captain Chris Harriman stepped off of the transporter pad onto the deck of the Defense Perimeters Base of Operations. He nodded to the young Britar officer who was in the room, then followed him out.
Normally, he would be here with his first officer. After all, it would probably be the most important tactical meeting he would ever attend in his life. Normally, he would enjoy talking to his first officer to relieve the tension that came with the responsibility he and the rest of the Alliance would soon shoulder.
Then again, normally, his first officer, and beloved wife, wasnt in constant critical condition. Commander Kara Trieal couldnt figure out what was wrong. Shed done everything to bring Commander Sarah Caft out of critical condition, but Sarah just wasnt responding.
What a thing to come home to, Chris thought.
The Britar officer stopped in front of a door and motioned for Chris to enter. He entered into the familiar briefing room and quickly glanced at the large tactical map on the far wall.
The Vorkalai fleet was still holding position just outside of weapons range on the Defense Perimeter. This time, it would be the Alliance that would make the first move. While the Vorkalai waited, the Alliance planned the end of the war.
Chris sat down in his usual chair at the briefing table, the familiar feel of it welcoming after the few weeks he had spent infiltrating one of the major pirate groups. It was perhaps one of the only familiar things hed felt since his return. During the crisis the Dragon had gone through with the Vorkalai virus titled Devils Virus, his quarters had been completely destroyed by one of the mutations. Since hed returned, he also had not had a chance to sit in the command chair or enter his ready room.
"This meeting is now in session," High Admiral Piarn stated, standing at one of the heads of the table. "Everything said in this room is classified. Only under express permission may you share what is said here."
Everyone silenced themselves and made themselves comfortable, knowing it might be a long meeting. "Please direct your attention to the tactical display," Piarn said, walking to the wall-sized display.
"As you can see, and have probably heard," Piarn began. "The Vorkalai fleet, or whats left of it, is holding position just outside of our weapons range. Now, we could slightly expand the Perimeter to destroy them, but the Perimeter is already stretched to its limit. Anything more would allow a small ship to get through without our even knowing it.
"Therefore, instead of instigating another battle, were going to perform surgery." Several people frowned in puzzlement at Piarns analogy. "Meaning, were going to remove the heart, the very life, from the body of the Vorkalai."
At Piarns command, the screen zoomed out and highlighted one system not far from the Perimeter Stand Off. "Yes I mean the home world of the Vorkalai."
The room erupted in silent conversation, but because of the number of people present, it was still loud. Piarn cleared his throat, gaining everyones attention again.
When the room was silent, Piarn continued. "Were going to use what is being called a pierce operation." The display began to demonstrate what the Admiral said. "Meaning, we are going to take the entire fleet, and form a sort of spear head in space, and push through the Vorkalai fleet, heading for the home world. We then will pierce through the home world defenses and strike at the planet and completely destroy it."
"You mean decimate the surface?" a Britar officer asked.
Chris already knew the answer to that question, as he and General Bertaan had already met to discuss tactics with Piarn two days prior.
"No," Piarn replied. "I mean we will destroy the planet."
"How?!" another Britar officer asked.
Piarn thought a moment, then asked, "You all are familiar with a matter/antimatter reaction, arent you?" Everyone nodded. "Well, were going to compress as much antimatter as we can into a sort of bomb. Well then use transporter beacons fired at the surface of the planet to beam the bomb to the center of the planet. Eventually, within two minutes, the casing will collapse, and the resulting, huge matter/antimatter reaction will destroy the planet. Possibly even the entire system, depending on how much we can stuff into the bomb."
"I didnt think we had the technology to transport antimatter," a Hintaru rear admiral pointed out.
Piarn smiled at the comment. "Well, while weve been working hard fighting this war, our brains back home have been thinking up new weapons. They realized what the implication of being able to transport antimatter could mean, and therefore have been concentrating on that potential breakthrough.
"About ten days ago, a Britar ship arrived with the proper data on creating such a transporter," Piarn finished.
"So were just going to beam it in there, get out, and set it off?" someone else asked.
"I know it sounds simple," Piarn replied. "But trust me, it wont be. Weve estimated about a two-thirds fleet loss, possibly more. As you know, there isnt much of a fleet left to lose."
The room became silent with those words. Indeed, a lot of good ships and people would be lost.
"Now, I need all of you to distribute this information to the commanding officer of each starship," Piarn said, moving back towards the table. "Youll have a full plan waiting for you in your offices, of which you are to give copies to the COs, but only the COs. Any other questions?"
When everyone remained silent, he nodded. "Then lets get to work. We have less than three weeks to prepare."
A commotion started as people stood up and began conversing while leaving the room. Chris simply sat in his chair, staring blankly at the tabletop. It was difficult for him to comprehend that Sarah might indeed die soon. Hed lived without her since the academy, until a year ago. Then he married her so that he might never have to live without her again.
"Hows Sarah?" Piarn asked, startling Chris. He looked up from the table to see Piarn standing on the either side of the table.
"Shes still in critical condition," Chris replied. "Our doctor cant figure out why she wont improve. By all accounts, she should have been back on duty by tomorrow but she just wont improve."
Piarn nodded sympathetically. "Id offer help from our doctors, but I know for a fact that your medical technology is far better than ours."
Chris smiled lightly. "Thanks any way."
"I hope she gets better," Piarn said, heading for the door. "See you on the battle field."
The doors slid apart for Piarn allowing him to leave. To leave Chris alone Alone without Sarah
Lieutenant Terry Latrael pressed the chime on Chris ready room door. "Come," came a reply through the door. Terry hit another switch on the door, causing the door to respond by opening.
He entered the room, unsure as to why the Captain had called him, instead of vice verse. Normally, when people need counseling, they avoided it.
"Have a seat, counselor," Chris said, heading for the replicator. "Would you like something to drink?"
"Coffee, sir," he replied.
Chris turned around and frowned at him. "Terry, we arent on the bridge. You can call me Chris."
"Uh, sorry," Terry replied, unsure as to what he should do. Hed never had any real personal friendship with Chris before, even though theyd been on the same ship for a year. Furthermore, on his last ship, Terrys Commanding Officer preferred that hed been called "Sir" or "Captain," and nothing else. Very impersonal.
"I never could get used to Coffee," Chris said as he sat a mug down in front of Terry. He then sat down in his own chair and took a sip of his tea.
"Its an acquired taste," Terry replied, taking a drink. "You wanted to see me?"
"Yes," Chris replied, setting his mug down on the desk. "I wanted to talk to you about Ada and Kalia."
Ada and Kalia had almost been at each others throats for the past year. Theyd done it somewhat subtly, but the tension between them was apparent to them all.
Guess I was wrong about the Captain accepting counseling for himself, Terry thought.
"We have a very difficult battle coming up," Chris continued. "I need each and every one of my officers performing at their highest capability."
Terry thought for a moment, then asked, "Do you have any suggestions as to why they might be at each others throats?"
"Isnt that your job?" Chris asked with a wry smile.
"I suppose, but you seemed to know what was wrong with RSharn before I did," Terry replied, half smiling himself. "Anything to make my job easier is welcome."
"I couldnt tell you on this one," Chris replied, returning to a state of seriousness. "I knew them both for only a short period of time before their being posted on the Dragon. I didnt even know they knew each other, let alone hate each other."
"All right, Ill get to work right away," Terry replied. "But I have a question for you now how are you doing?"
With that question, Chris suddenly took on a distant stare. He remained like that for several minutes, then shook his head. "I try not to think about it," he replied. "But when I do, Im afraid that Im going to be alone again."
"Alone?" Terry asked.
"Ever since my teens, Ive felt alone," Chris continued. "I never dated, and just waited for the right woman to come along."
"And then Sarah came along?" Terry asked.
Chris smiled and nodded. "Yes. The first day we met was at the Academy. She decided to scan my emotions real quick when she first met me, and that one instant that she did, a rather immature thought, and hence emotion, passed through my head." He let out a small laugh at the memory. "It was one of the few times my mind ever wandered to such things, but she didnt know that. So she decided shed hate me right off.
"But I managed to talk to her and convince her that Im not what that emotion implied. And then I fell in love instantly."
Terry frowned as he thought of something. "According to her Starfleet file, she has almost no telepathic abilities."
Chris closed his eyes and nodded knowingly. "Ever since then, shes tried to not use her powers, afraid to let them destroy a possible friendship again. During final registration for the academy, she put down that she had barely, if any, telepathic abilities. She wont even admit that she has any to me, though I know because of experience."
Terrys frown deepened. "I had no idea But I still can sense very little potential telepathic abilities from her. Why is that?"
"She shields her mind from making any telepathic presence," Chris said, shaking his head. "She really doesnt want to show that she has it any more. Thats why she and I were so surprised when she could sense the over-bearing presence of the changelings when we first arrived here."
"I see," Terry replied. "Speaking of which, I wonder how they are doing "
"Who, the changelings?" Chris asked. When Terry responded with a nod, he said, "I dont know. In fact, this I the first time Ive thought about them in a long while." He raised his eyebrow, half jokingly, have inquiringly, and finished, "Maybe well check up on them once the wars done, eh?"
"We should," Terry replied. "For all we know, the Vorkalai could have taken them prisoner."
Chris let out a light laugh and replied, "Over their dead bodies." Both of them then laughed aloud for a moment, then once again became silenced.
"If you need anything, my office door is open," Terry commented.
"Funny," came Chris reply. "I though the Captain was supposed to have an open-door policy."
Terry smiled, "You are, and so am I. Ill talk to Ada and Kalia later today, or at latest, tomorrow morning."
He finished his coffee then stood. "Captain," he said, nodding.
"Chris," Chris said. "No more of that Captain or sir stuff off the bridge, Lieutenant."
Terry smiled again. "Of course not sir."
The conversation at an end, Terry left the ready room and headed for his office. He had no idea why Kalia and Ada were not fond of each other, but it was time he found out. And he had less than 3 weeks to figure it out.
"All right!" Commander Kalia Tarkent said in triumph. "That should do it! Try it now!"
Power began to flow through the conduit again. She grabbed her tricorder and began scanning the conduit. To her satisfaction, there was no feedback. She smiled and closed the tricorder, then began to make her way out of the Jeffreys tube.
She didnt get half a meter before another section of the conduit further up the Jeffreys tube exploded, spewing energy across the tube.
"Turn it off!" she shouted, panicking. She quickly grabbed a pole above her and lifted her legs and the rest of her body from the conduit using another about 1 ¼ meters down, barely getting up in time. Energy was streaming through the deck of the Jeffreys Tube, which was the only deck left on the ship that hadnt been replaced with non-conductible material.
The deafening sound from the ruptured conduit instantly ceased, the energy below her panic-stricken body stopping. She sighed as she lowered herself back onto the deck.
"I thought all sections of this conduit except the one I just repaired were functioning normally," she said in an annoyed voice.
"They were, last time I checked," Lieutenant Meylar Palzen stated. "I dont know why it started to build up again, either."
Kalia grabbed the tricorder from her belt pouch and began to work her way towards the ruptured conduit. "Hold on, Ill check it myself."
The deck was still hot from the energy, but was rapidly cooling down. The smoke had long been filtered out by the environmental system.
"Bridge to Tarkent, we just registered a large explosion in a Jeffreys tube," Lieutenant Commander Thomas Halkrat stated over the ships comm system.
"I know," Kalia replied, annoyed. "We have it under control, so dont worry."
She opened her tricorder and began scanning the conduit. It didnt take long to see what was wrong.
"Wonderful," she stated. "Looks like the conduit began to corrode once power shut down." As she did a more extensive scan, she noticed one other thing.
"What the hell?!" she stated. She began scanning other sections of the conduit, moving as fast as she could in the cramped half-meter tall Jeffreys tube.
"Whats wrong?" Meylar asked.
"From the looks of it," Kalia replied. "This entire conduit is made out of a low-level poly-thermal metal of some sort. Its at such a low level that it could probably only handle a range of temperature between room temperature and 60 degrees Celsius."
"What genius used that material?" Meylar asked.
"I dont know, but we are lucky the whole blasted thing didnt rupture at once yet," Kalia replied. "Looks like well have to replace the entire conduit."
"Thats going to take a looong time, Commander," Meylar said in reply. "Thats a major conduit."
"Better than it causing more problems during our battle," Kalia said. "Get people to work on this right away."
"Right, Palzen out."
Kalia took one last scan of the conduit, then closed her tricorder and put it in the pouch on her belt. "When we get back to our galaxy, theres going to be an engineer that Im going to make sure is demoted," she said in annoyance.
She then remembered, to her dissatisfaction, that this conduit was a conduit that powered the stardrive sections phasers. She groaned loudly as she thought, That means I have to listen to Ada bicker. Juuuust great.
"I thought you were made chief engineer because you were good!" Lieutenant Ada Marquet stated. "I have less than three weeks to prepare for the battle!"
"Dont you think I know that?!" Kalia replied sharply. "I have the same amount of time, and I have a whole ship to repair and test! All you have to do is test weapons systems!"
That immediately closed Adas mouth. Kalia saw and knew she wanted to give a sharp retort, but couldnt. Ada may not like Kalia, but even Kalia knew that she had more sense than that.
"Fine," Ada stated, starting to head out of engineering.
"Latrael to Marquet and Tarkent," Terrys voice said over the comm system.
Ada paused and turned around as Kalia tapped her comm badge. "Go ahead, Lieutenant," she said.
"Could you and Lieutenant Marquet please report to my office?" he asked.
Kalia frowned, as did Ada. "Can it wait? We both have a lot of work to do."
"I know, but to me, this is just as important," he replied. "Please dont have me make it an order as ships counselor."
Kalia rolled her eyes and replied, "Fine were on our way." She tapped her comm badge and rushed past Ada, Ada turning around and following quickly.
"Sometimes I think he abuses his power as counselor," Ada joked. Kalia noted that, though it was a joke, it was in a voice of annoyance.
Kalia entered the turbolift, Ada not far behind. "Deck ten, section 15," she ordered, causing the turbolift to literally jump at her order. Ill have to look at that, she thought, annoyed that the turbolift wasnt working properly.
The entire journey from one end of the ship to the other lasted in silence. Neither of the two wanted to talk. If it had been up to both of them, they would have taken separate turbolifts.
The tension seemed to build up, both of them fidgeting more and more. Finally, to Kalias relief, the turbolift stopped. When the doors parted, she rushed out, hating to be in such close quarters with Ada.
The walk to his office was very short. And less claustrophobic, she commented to herself. She pressed the chime next to the door, which was replied with "Come."
They both entered the office, which Kalia also noted was a very standard counselors office.
"Please, sit down," Terry said from his desk, motioning to two chairs at one end of the office.
Kalia kept ahead of Ada as she headed for the designated area. She sat down and made it her business not to even get close to making eye contact with Ada. The set up put the two chairs, along with a third, equally spaced around a gray round coffee table with a white, lighted top.
I wonder if the counselor set it up for this particular meeting, Kalia thought, thinking the set up was otherwise too convenient. She already knew why the counselor had brought them here, and wondered why he hadnt done it prior to this time. After all, theyd been on the same ship for a year now.
In a minute, Terry moved from his desk to occupy the third chair. He looked from Ada to Kalia.
"Kalia, well begin with you," he said. "I imagine you know why I brought you two here." Both Kalia and Ada nodded. "Good. The question Im about to ask is pretty straight forward."
"Good," Ada said sharply.
Ignoring Adas remark, Terry asked, "OK, Kalia, why do you dislike Ada?"
Kalia, wanting to get the session over as quickly as possible, gave the question some thought. Only the truth could get this session over with.
"I suppose it first started when she started hating me," Kalia replied.
"Only because you stole him!" Ada bit back.
"Easy, easy!" Terry said, putting his hands up. "Ada, this isnt a trial. We arent prosecuting you or Kalia for anything."
While Kalia kept her gaze on Terry, she saw Ada sort of pout next to her. No doubt, her eyes were filled with fire.
"Ada, why do you hate Kalia?" Terry asked. Before Ada could reply, he added, "And no sharp tongue in my office."
Ada reconsidered her words for a moment, then sighed. "Fine. She stole my fiancee a few years back."
Kalia, heeding Terrys words, didnt bite back. Instead, she would keep her cool.
"How so?" Terry asked.
"How else do you steal someone from another person?" Ada asked, acting as if it were a dumb question. "You seduce him!"
At that point, Kalia lost her cool. "I did nothing of the sort!" she replied, giving a surprised, innocent look to Terry. "He fell for me, and because of no interaction on my part!"
"You seduced him and you " Terry put his hands up to interrupt her.
"Ladies, calm down," he said quietly.
After a moment of hesitation, Ada finally settled back into her chair.
"Kalia seems to be showing a little more constraint than you," Terry said. "Therefore, Ill hear the story from her."
Ada started to protest, but Terry stopped her with a hand. "Kalia, if youll please."
"Of course," Kalia replied. She began recalling the memory from ten years ago, not wanting to lie nor tell something that was incorrect.
"I think it was ten years ago," Kalia started. "Ada and I had been excellent friends at the time. She was engaged to a man named Sam Middlesen. I was even to be Adas maid of honor at the wedding, which was scheduled to be in another two days.
"I was helping with preparations for the wedding at the hall with which they were to be wed. Sam, whom I was starting to get to know quite well, showed up to help with some of the final themes of the wedding plan.
"We started to work together on the decorations of the hall and got to talking. He started talking all about who he was, what is plans in Starfleet Command were, and then asked about me. I told him all that he asked for, except for a few personal accounts. He seemed to take an extreme liking to me.
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