When we last left our Disclaimer, the evil lawyers of Viacom were closing in, but with a cry of 'CBS and Paramount own Star Trek, but Alan Decker created Star Traks!' all was set right in the universe. The end.

Author: Alan Decker
Copyright: 2002

Star Traks: The Lost Years #11:

Rainy Days and Mondays…

by Alan Decker

“…At that point, we were f***ed. Really f***ing f***ed. I don’t think any f***ers in the history of the whole f***ing universe have ever been that f***ed. That’s seriously f***ing f***ed. I mean…F***!”

Commodore Scott Baird, Retired

Personal Interview, July 2432.

For a brief instant, Captain Alexander Rydell’s life flashed before his eyes. FLASH! His mother and father singing him lullabies in perfect harmony. FLASH! The lullabies growing into full-fledged production numbers. FLASH! Rydell’s stage debut as a backup singer for his parents. FLASH! The attack on his parents’ tour ship by the Orion Syndicate, an attack that was stopped by Starfleet. FLASH!

Okay. Enough with the flashing already.

Basically, as Spannz and Taanz prepared to execute Rydell, Commander Travis Dillon, and Lieutenant Commander Patricia Hawkins on the orders of Admiral Hitori Sulu, Rydell decided that he didn’t like this whole firing squad idea one bit.

Spaanz’s voice filled the air. “Ready…AIM…”

“Hold on just a second there, big guy,” Rydell said, striding forward.

“You are throwing off my aim,” Spaanz said. “Get back in line.”

“Not until we discuss the logic of this situation,” Rydell said firmly.

Spaanz and Taanz’s left eyebrows arched in unison. “Logic?”

“Exactly,” Rydell said. “Look. Sulu’s gone. My ship’s trashed. You’ve done your jobs. Where’s the logic in taking three lives?”

“It would be illogical to hurt our future chances of employment if we did not finish the job we have been contracted to do.” Taanz said. “Now please return to the lineup.”

“Wait,” Rydell protested. “What about the logic of working for Sulu? He’s trying to overthrow the Federation!”

“From his point of view, Admiral Sulu’s plan is quite logical,” Spaanz said.

“Really?” Taanz replied. “I believed we were simply in this for the latinum.”

“That is correct; however, I can see the logic of the admiral’s proposal.”

“Could you explain it to the rest of us?” Hawkins asked.

“I should like to hear this myself,” Taanz said.

“Very well,” Spaanz said. “But it will take some time.”

“I’m not in a hurry,” Rydell said. “Anyone else in a hurry to get executed?”

“Hell no,” Hawkins said as Dillon shook his head emphatically.

“See. We’re all ears…just non-pointy ones,” Rydell quipped.

Spaanz almost frowned. “I will ignore that remark. Now then, in order to understand the logic of the admiral’s position, we must look back at the early days of the Federation, even back to a time when the Federation did not yet exist…”

Rydell smiled inwardly. He’d just bought some time…possibly a whole lot of time. Now he just had to figure out how to use it in a way that didn’t end with him, Dillon, and Hawkins dying.

Commander Jaroch was somewhat surprised when a transporter beam suddenly coalesced onto the bridge. At first, the idea of a boarding party from the Next Federation crossed his mind. However, considering that only one person was materializing, that seemed highly unlikely. A few moments later, Commander Scott Baird had solidified.

“Beats climbing,” Baird said as Jaroch eyed him quizzically.

“That’s my husband,” Lieutenant Commander Emily Sullivan said as she lounged in her seat at the helm. There wasn’t much else to do. The Secondprize certainly wouldn’t be flying anywhere anytime soon. “He’ll bike for miles, but he’s too lazy to walk from one end of our quarters to the other.”

“She’s an absolute riot, isn’t she,” Baird said, clearly unamused.

“Just trying to keep things light,” Sullivan replied.

“Speaking of lights, how are our power reserves?” Jaroch asked in an attempt to bring the conversational topic around to something resembling relevant.

“Fine. We can stay like this for days if we have to. As we seal the hull breaches and lower the forcefields covering those sections, we’ll be able to conserve even more power.”

“Good. How are our other systems?”

“What other systems?” Baird asked.

“Is that a serious query or a sarcastic remark?” Jaroch replied.

“Sarcasm. I’m picking up Emily’s bad habits.”

“Now, hon,” Sullivan said. “You can only say f*** so many times before it loses its impact.”

“It’s always worked for me,” Baird said.

“Fine then. We will accept that the ship is a loss,” Jaroch continued. “Do we have any functioning shuttles or runabouts?”

“Do you really want to go outside with a whole fleet sitting out there?” Baird asked.

“We no longer have an entire fleet to deal with. The second to last ship left several minutes ago. The one ship remaining seems to be on a set patrol route through the asteroid sphere.”

Baird nodded his comprehension. “In that case, we have a shuttle.”

“Excellent. Our first priority then is to rescue the captain. Lieutenant Carr, please come with me,” Jaroch said, pulling open the jefferies tube access hatch in the bridge floor. Lieutenant Andrea Carr picked herself up off of the floor (She’d been leaning against the viewscreen composing some particularly mournful epitaphs for the Secondprize) and followed Jaroch’s lead. “You have the bridge, Sullivan.”

“No way,” Baird said firmly.

“Don’t start with me, Scott,” Sullivan said, getting up from her chair.

“I don’t care about you commanding,” Baird snapped. “I’m talking to him.” He pointed sharply in Jaroch’s direction. “No way are you going without me.”

Jaroch’s eyebrows raised in surprise. “You do not usually take such an interest in away missions.”

“Yeah, well I’ve seen the score card, and I know that Rydell’s the one guy with a chance to even things up,” Baird said. “And I’m not about to let you two play cat and mouse with a starship in a shuttle that’s just been through a crash. You need an engineer, and it’s not like anything’s going to be changing here anytime soon.”

“I concede both points,” Jaroch said.

“Good. Baird to Vaughn. Send Jaroch, Carr, and me to Shuttlebay Two. Energize.”

Before Jaroch could protest, he vanished in a cascade of energy along with Baird and a relived Carr. After the stress of writing a eulogy to her ship, the last thing she felt like doing was climbing through its smashed remains.

“Well, we’re here. Now what?” Captain Lisa Beck said angrily as she looked around the cargo bay on Deck 56, where she and the other residents of Waystation had been ordered to gather.

She got her answer almost instantly as 20 figures in older-style Starfleet uniforms materialized near the door of the bay. Despite their dated outfits, they were carrying very new phaser rifles.

“Move to the center of the room,” a gruff, Nordic-looking woman, who Beck assumed was the leader of this particular contingent, ordered, gesturing with her rifle stiffly.

“What’s going to happen to my people?” Beck demanded, stepping forward.

“No one will be injured,” the Nordic woman replied. She stood a good head taller than Beck and seemed to share structural characteristics with a piece of hull plating. Definitely not someone Beck wanted to end up in a fight with.

“That doesn’t answer my question,” Beck replied defiantly.

“It will suffice.” She tapped her insignia, which chirped like a standard commbadge. “Hueffen to Flock leader. Cargo Bay 56 is secure. Ready to receive transport.”

“Has there been any sign of Hatchling 783?”

“None as of yet.”

“Acknowledged. Transport commencing. The other bays have already been dealt with. Wait until arrival of 783 for final phase.”

“Aye. Hueffen out.”

A few moments later, a small cube-shaped device, about three-foot square, materialized in the room. It was black and fairly featureless except for a series of emitters lining the surface and a user interface on top.

“Any ideas?” Beck whispered as she edged up to Lieutenant Commander Craig Porter.

“Well, the mood seems a bit somber for a party, but I guess we could give it a shot,” Porter replied.

Beck narrowed her eyes. “Now is so not the time, Craig. What about the box?”

“It’s hard to say. My first impulse is bomb, but it’s too large, and the emitters don’t make any sense. It could be a scanner of some sort, but I don’t know why they’d want to gather us all up at phaser point just to scan us.”

“Maybe Starfleet Medical got tired of people skipping their appointments,” Beck quipped. Before she could say anything else, she was interrupted by urgent tapping on her shoulder. Behind her stood Bradley Dillon, CEO of Dillon Enterprises and all around rich bastard.

“I need to speak with you,” Bradley said anxiously.

“No. I don’t think they’ll let you go back for your latinum,” Beck replied irritated. “Go whine somewhere else.”

“But that’s my box!” Bradley said is an almost shouted whisper.

“Your box!” Beck demanded, turning on Bradley. “What the hell is it?”

“A subspace generator. My Research and Development team was working on one a few months ago, but it was stolen.”

“And now these nice people have shown up to return it. How sweet,” Porter said sarcastically.

“I still don’t know what that thing does,” Beck said. “And I’d better like it.”

Bradley gulped. “It creates pockets in subspace capable of storing objects for an indefinite period of time.”

“That explains how that fleet just appeared outside,” Porter said. “That freighter must be lined with generators.”

“So what? Now they’re going to stick us in one of these pockets?” Beck asked.

“That’d be my guess,” Porter said.

“It’s better than being shot,” Bradley offered, trying to present his product in the best possible light.

“Great. So what are they…” Beck trailed off as the cargo bay doors opened and Lieutenant Aaron Stanton entered, carrying an unconscious Karina Durham across his back. Beck covered the distance separating them in a flash. Stanton dropped Karina and jumped back into the ranks of the Next Federation officers holding weapons on the Waystation crew.

“Easy, Captain,” Stanton said. “No one needs to get hurt here.”

“Oh I think you do,” Beck replied coldly. Her gaze fell on the woman Stanton had dropped to the deck. She looked familiar for some reason.

“I should have known she’d be involved in this,” Bradley Dillon said from behind Beck. “She was the one I sent to retrieve my subspace generator in the first place.”

A memory clicked into place. “Karina Durham.” But hadn’t Rydell told her that Karina was with him on the Secondprize? This was definitely not a turn of events that Beck considered to be a good sign.

Karina stirred as Beck leaned down to her. “Are you all right?”

“Had…worse,” Karina replied weakly. Beck helped Karina sit up. “Guess I’m too late,” Karina said after seeing the situation.

“Why did you come alone? Where’s Captain Rydell?”

“He’s a prisoner,” Karina said, struggling to her feet. “And these bastards shot down the Secondprize.”

“What?” Beck and Porter demanded.

“Is everyone okay?” Beck asked.

“I don’t know. I made a break for it during the crash. Alex wanted me to get to you…lot of good that did.” Karina turned a fierce glare on Lieutenant Stanton.

“Just doing my duty,” Stanton said. “You’ll understand in time.”

“Understand what?” Beck said. “Treason?”

“Flock Leader to Hueffen,” the Nordic officer’s commbadge barked.

“Go ahead.”

“The Admiral’s flagship has arrived. He wishes to speak to the station commander before the commencement of Phase Three.”

“Acknowledged. We’re standing by.”

“Admiral?” Beck said confused. “How high does this thing go?”

“As high as it needs to,” Hueffen replied as a figure began to materialize beside her. The figure resolved into an older Asian male who immediately scanned the room with his eyes and locked onto Beck.

“Captain Beck,” he said, walking over with a smile plastered onto his face. “Admiral Hitori Sulu. It is a pleasure to meet you.”

“Sulu! What the hell is someone like you doing involved in a damn coup?”

“Coup? Is that what you call a sincere attempt to save the Federation from itself?” Sulu replied hurt.

“We’re doing just fine, thank you very much.”

Sulu started to pace a bit. “I don’t think that you mean that, Captain. I’ve read your file, and I see great potential there. You’re a woman who would do well in the Federation of old, the Federation that will live again as the Next Federation once we’ve tossed aside the current regime. You should be in command of a starship seeing action and adventure, not sitting behind a desk in this place.”

“This ‘place’ must be of some interest, though, since you’re here,” Beck replied.

“Admittedly, it is well-armed and on my way to Earth. I’d be quite foolish to pass up such an opportunity, don’t you think?”

“That you’re a fool? Definitely.”

Sulu’s smile diminished just a hint. “Perhaps my estimation of you was in error. Unfortunate for you, not so much for me. Actually, you should feel fortunate that I am not executing you all for treason against the Next Federation. Instead I will allow you the opportunity to see our new society once my takeover is complete. If at that time, you still don’t want any part of it, we can see about scheduling your death. In the meantime, Captain, take pride in knowing that your station will be the Next Federation base of operations for our assault on Earth.” Sulu strode toward the exit of the cargo bay. “Seal them in and activate the pocket.”

“Wait,” Karina shouted as Sulu and his followers stepped out the door.

Sulu turned around, his gaze falling on her. “Well if it isn’t Karina Durham herself. I thought that was your ship my Condor blasted out of space. How nice to see that you survived. I found the idea of killing the woman who obtained the subspace generator technology for me to be quite distasteful.”

“What have you done with Alex?” Karina demanded as Sulu continued on toward the exit.

“Rydell? Oh I’m sure he’s long since executed by now. Ta ta.” The doors closed, cutting Sulu off from the deluge of profanity being shouted his way. A moment later, he heard the soft hum of the subspace generator activating, and then silence.

Actually, at that particular time, Captain Rydell was nowhere near long since executed. He’d been long since bored for a while, though, as Spaanz droned on. The Vulcan had just reached Stardate 50996 and was in the process of explaining why Admiral Sulu’s decision to use a circus troupe to smuggle ship parts for the fleet was, of course, most logical.

Every once in a while, Rydell would look over at Lieutenant Commander Hawkins for a sign that she saw some kind of attack opening, but, with Taanz hovering nearby with his phaser rifle trained on them, all Hawkins could do was shake her head.

Dillon, meanwhile, had interrupted Spaanz every single time Admiral Sulu broke a Starfleet regulation or Federation law, which, as you might imagine, happened quite a bit when you’re trying to assemble a fleet to overthrow the government. On the one hand, Dillon was doing an effective job of delaying their executions even further. But on the other, his incessant babbling about the regs was damn annoying. Between him and Spaanz, Rydell was developing one mother of a headache. Something was going to have to give pretty soon.

The Shuttlecraft Consolationprize just barely managed to squeeze out of the mangled Secondprize shuttlebay through the hole Karina Durham had blasted during her escape. Lieutenant Andrea Carr let out a sigh of relief, then immediately tensed back up again as the Excelsior class starship the Next Federation had left on patrol popped into view on her proximity readouts.

“There would be a certain irony in being killed by our own kind,” Jaroch said, echoing Carr’s thoughts as she watched the vessel which could have been the Secondprize’s twin sail by.

“F*** irony,” Commander Baird said succinctly as he monitored the shuttle’s engines for any signs of trouble. “And try to remember that the only weapons we’re carrying are inside the ship, so unless you feel like strapping on an EVA suit and going outside to shoot, keep us away from that thing.”

“I don’t think they’ve spotted us so far, and I really hope to keep it that way,” Carr said as she steered the shuttle mere inches above the wrecked hull of the Secondprize. She tried not to let her attention drift to the twisted hulk below her. Something so graceful didn’t deserve to be beached like this.

“So what’s the plan, Jaroch?” Baird asked, checking the power levels on a phaser he’d pulled from the supply locker.

“We will approach the asteroid base, locate our people, and retrieve them,” Jaroch replied. “There is little else to plan considering our lack of information about the base’s particulars.”

“Hold on!” Carr said suddenly. Jaroch and Baird had just enough time to grab the arms of their chairs as Carr slammed the shuttle to full impulse and veered straight upward, coming to an abrupt halt behind another asteroid, effectively masking them from the Next Federation ship in the asteroid’s sensor shadow.

“Here comes lunch,” Baird muttered as he repositioned himself in the chair.

“Hold on!” Carr shouted again. This time Baird was too late as the sudden acceleration threw him backwards over the chair and sent him sprawling on the deck. After darting behind the next asteroid, Carr jerked the ship to a halt, which sent Baird skidding forward head first. He slammed into the pilot’s console between Jaroch and Carr and rolled over.

“This is why I don’t f***ing go on f***ing away missions,” he grumbled, pulling himself up off the deck.

“Hang on,” Carr shouted. Baird groaned and dove for his chair.

This had to be a first, Rydell thought as he watched Spaanz glare at Dillon. The Vulcan’s hands had clenched into fists that were almost shaking with fury. “How many times do I have to explain this?” Spaanz said slowly, over-enunciating each word in an effort to keep himself under control. “Admiral Sulu will not EVER be put on trial because he will be in charge. Do you understand?!?!?”

“What I understand, mister, is that the Admiral is a disgrace! He has flagrantly disregarded our most sacred laws and precepts,” Dillon snapped back.

“How else would you expect him to take control?” Spaanz demanded.

“He could run for office like everyone else,” Dillon retorted. “A man of his stature would have an excellent chance of winning…well at least before this whole coup thing.”

“That’s it!” Spaanz said. “I can’t reason with someone like you. Taanz, just shoot them.”

“Great job, Travis!” Hawkins snarled.

“What’d I do?” Dillon asked.

“Hold on a second now,” Rydell said calmingly as he backed toward the wall.

Spaanz raised his rifle. “I believe we’ve done quite enough holding on.”

“Last one,” Carr announced, slamming the ship forward again. By this time, Commander Baird had taken off his own uniform jacket and tied it around the chair as a makeshift seat belt. It was digging into his stomach something fierce, though. He was mere seconds away from stripping off his pants to use for a shoulder harness.

The shuttle jerked to a halt, practically bending Baird in half at the waist as his tied jacket sleeves attempted to dig their way into his intestines.

“Keep a close eye on the patrol vessel. Our position is not secure,” Jaroch ordered Carr as he began scanning the asteroid base. “Mr. Baird, prepare the transporters.”

“Sure,” Baird gasped, untying the jacket and limping to the rear of the shuttle.

Jaroch peered more closely at his readouts. “The base seems to have been mostly evacuated. I am only reading sporadic lifesigns. Human, Vulcan, Antidean.”

“I don’t need a catalog, Jaroch. Just find Rydell.”

Jaroch suddenly jumped up from his seat, quickly tapping controls on his console. “The two Vulcans are carrying phaser rifles. Judging by the energy readings, they are set to kill. Three humans are in close proximity.”

“What are you doing?” Baird demanded, watching transporter control being rerouted from his console at the rear of the shuttle.

“People require a longer scan cycle that we may not have time for,” Jaroch replied as his and Baird’s chairs dematerialized.

“Hold on a second now,” Rydell said calmingly as he backed toward the wall.

Spaanz raised his rifle. “I believe we’ve done quite enough holding on.”

Rydell clenched his eyes shut, but opened them again as he heard the soft hum of a transporter.

“Most unusual,” Spaanz commented just before two large chairs finished materializing above their heads and plummeted down on Spaanz and Taanz, knocking the two Vulcans into oblivion.

Rydell, Dillon, and Hawkins dove for the dropped phaser rifles in a flash, Rydell and Dillon slamming their heads together in the process. Rydell glared at his first officer, then snatched the rifle away.

“At least someone was looking out for us,” Hawkins said.

“Someone Starfleet,” Dillon added, rubbing the knot slowly growing on his head. “Those are standard issue shuttle chairs.” Dillon picked the chair up slightly to get a better look at a small metal tag on the bottom of the chair. “Those are serial numbers from the Consolationprize!” he exclaimed, dropping the chair back on Taanz’s head.

“I’m frightened that he knows that,” Rydell said.

“No kidding,” Hawkins said, heading toward the door. She allowed it to slide open, waiting a couple of seconds before peering cautiously out into the corridor. “All clear,” she said. “Are we staying or going?”

“Well, if Dillon’s right, we may be transported to the Consolationprize any second,” Rydell said. “But I want a better look at that control room first.”

“Then that’s a go,” Hawkins said, rolling out into the hallway, Rydell quickly following behind her.

“Excuse me!” Dillon said irritated. “Unarmed person here!”

“Stop whining and come on,” Rydell said. “We’ll find you a phaser on the way.”

“What the f*** was that for?” Baird demanded after the chairs vanished.

“As you so astutely put it, the only weapons we have are inside this vessel,” Jaroch replied. “I may have just saved the captain as well as another male and female human.”

“Commander Dillon and Lieutenant Commander Hawkins?” Carr said hopefully.

“That would be my guess,” Jaroch said.

“So are we beaming them up or what?” Baird asked.

“They are leaving the room,” Jaroch replied. “Perhaps they have a goal in mind.”

“It’d better be a quick goal,” Carr said nervously.

“Are we in a hurry, Lieutenant?” Jaroch asked.

Carr pointed at the approaching starship on her navigational readouts. “Um…yes.”

“It doesn’t look like anyone’s home,” Rydell said as he, Hawkins, and Dillon jogged through the corridors of the base.

“EVACUATE. EVACUATE. SELF-DESTRUCT IN 75 SECONDS,” a computer voice boomed.

“That would explain that,” Hawkins said.

In the distance, a thin man, several poodles, and what appeared to be a large bearded woman ran across the hall through a cross-corridor. They were soon followed by a human woman and an Antidean who appeared to be in pursuit.

“Fish guy!” Dillon shouted, pointing at the disappearing Antidean. “I never thought I’d ever actually see one.

“Great, Travis. If we don’t get out of here, it may be the last thing you ever see,” Hawkins said.


“You still want to get to that control room?” Hawkins asked.

“Not so much,” Rydell said.

“Hmm…” Jaroch said, looking over his sensors…a somewhat difficult task considering the shuttle was currently in a barrel roll avoiding a barrage of phaser fire from the Next Federation patrol ship.

“That ‘hmm…’ had better be followed up by ‘I’ve found their weak spot,’” Baird groused.

“No, but I believe the base is about to self-destruct.”

“Is that a hint?” Baird said, stumbling back to the transporter.

“Just an observation,” Jaroch replied.

“Oh wait. I’m going to have to lower the shields, aren’t I?” Carr realized.

“That would make the transport infinitely easier.”

“Hold on,” Carr said, veering the shuttle to starboard, then into a steep dive.

“I’m really beginning to hate it when she says that,” Baird mumbled as he watched the shields drop on his transporter status monitor.


“Okay. Now they’re just being mean,” Dillon said. “Whoever’s on that shuttle damn well knows this place is about to blow up.”

“I’m sure they have it all under control,” Rydell said, just as the transporter grabbed him. “See!”

“No!” Dillon shouted back as Rydell and Hawkins vanished in front of him, leaving him behind.


Dillon looked up at the ceiling and screamed. “HEY! SAVE ME!!!!!!”

“Perfect timing,” Rydell said, clapping Baird on the shoulder after he finished materializing. “Nice to see you off the ship, Commander.”

“Might as well be here since we really don’t have much of a ship anymore.”

“We’re about to not have a shuttle either,” Carr said frantically. “Anybody have any great ideas?”

“Just get us out of…” Rydell said trailing off. “Hold on. Where’s Dillon?”

“Whoops,” Baird said innocently as he engaged the transporter again.

Dillon appeared a moment later, curled up on the deck in a fetal position.

“Okay,” Rydell grinned. “Now that we have the baby on board, get us out…”


The entire shuttle lurched hard to port under a barrage of phaser fire, tossing everyone violently against the hull of the ship.

“F*** me,” Baird moaned, pulling Hawkins’s elbow out of his already tender gut.

“Shields…holding,” Carr said, pulling herself painfully back into her chair. “Barely.”

“At least you got them back up before we became debris,” Hawkins said.

“That base is about to go up,” Rydell said. “See if you can…”

“Steer them close to it,” Carr interrupted. “Already doing it.”

Three small civilian ships darted past the Consolationprize as they raced out of the base’s hanger deck. Meanwhile, the Excelsior-class patrol ship loomed closed.

Blasts of searing energy suddenly geysered out of the base, buffeting the larger ship’s shields.

“Run!” Rydell shouted, bracing himself as best he could as Carr pushed the engines up to full.

“That will not slow them for long,” Jaroch said.

“I know. I know,” Rydell said. “We’ve got to get out of here.”

“Well, we’d better not head back to the Secondprize,” Baird said. “They’re barely keeping the atmosphere in as it is.”

“They’re back,” Hawkins said, taking up position next to Carr, a move that would have been more comfortable if there was actually a chair to sit in.

Suddenly, a fast moving runabout streaked over the Consolationprize on a direct course for the Next Federation ship.

“Just hang tight, ya’ll,” Lieutenant Commander Sullivan’s voice said over the comm system. “I’ll see what I can do.”

“Where the f*** did you get a runabout?” Baird demanded.

“It’s the Chickahominy,” Sullivan said. “I had Monica working on it as soon as you left.”

“If you are here, who is in command?” Jaroch asked somewhat irritated.

“Monica’s got it under control,” Sullivan said. “It’s not like we’re going anywhere. Now excuse me while I shut up and fly for a second.”

Rydell rushed forward and watched the shuttle’s tactical display as the Chickahominy let loose several photon torpedoes, rolled to port, then sailed just meters above the Excelsior-class ship’s saucer, firing phasers all the way.

“No real damage, but they don’t seem as interested in us anymore,” Hawkins said.

“You know, what we need is a new ship,” Rydell said thoughtfully.

“I believe we will have to wait to address that particular problem,” Jaroch said, moving up beside Hawkins to check the sensor readouts.

“Nope,” Rydell said, pointing at the monitor in front of Jaroch. “We’ll take that one.” His finger rested directly on the Next Federation vessel.

A slow smile spread across Sullivan’s face as she listened to Captain Rydell’s instructions over the comm system. “You’ve got it, sir,” she said, whipping the runabout around for another pass.

“But don’t get f***ing killed!” Baird shouted over the channel.

“I love you too, hon,” Sullivan said.

She steered the runabout into a cluster of asteroids, weaving in and out of them as the Next Federation ship approached. The ship’s captain had evidently decided that he wasn’t interested in playing games since three photon torpedoes rocketed out of the ship’s tubes, obliterating one of the asteroids in a cloud of debris.

Sullivan took the opportunity to loop upwards, then come down in a steep arc toward the Next Federation ship’s saucer, launching several torpedoes of her own in the process. The enemy vessel’s shields flickered satisfyingly as Sullivan veered off and darted for cover.

“Energizing,” Jaroch said as he watched the sensor readouts of the Next Federation ship’s shields. A moment later, he, Rydell, Dillon, Hawkins, and Baird materialized on the bridge of the rival vessel, phasers drawn.

“Boo!” Rydell shouted, startling every Next Federation officer on the bridge.

The ship’s captain, a young man who couldn’t have been more than 25, leapt up in alarm. “Intru…”

He didn’t even manage to finish the word before Hawkins dropped him with a stun blast. Baird put two quick shots into the conn and ops officers while Rydell and Dillon dropped the tactical officer and science officer respectively. Before their bodies even hit the floor, Jaroch was at the science console.

“Sealing off the bridge and engaging intruder countermeasures,” Jaroch reported as he flooded the ship’s lower decks with anesthezine. Surprisingly, the entire crew complement only seemed to be about forty officers. “The ship is secure.”

“Welcome to the USS Secondprize, ladies and gentlemen,” Rydell said, taking in the bridge with a gesture.

“I doubt they’ll let us keep this,” Dillon said. “By the time all the ‘We Lost Our Ship’ paperwork gets processed, it’ll be obsolete anyway.”

“We aren’t filling out a damn thing,” Rydell said.

“I do not understand where you are going with this,” Jaroch said.

“Come on, people,” Rydell said, striding to the front of the bridge. “You know we’re not the best of the best. Hell, half the admirals at Command are scared to death of us. If we lose our ship, you can bet we won’t get another one, so THIS is the Secondprize.”

“It is pretty much the same ship,” Baird said.

“No!” Dillon shouted. “No no no! We can’t just lie to Starfleet like that. And this isn’t the same ship! Even the carpet’s different!.”

“So we put in new carpet,” Baird snapped. “I’m with Rydell.”

“He does have a point,” Jaroch agreed.

“If this gets out, it’ll be our careers,” Dillon protested. “We can’t just paint ‘Secondprize’ on this ship and think no one’s going to notice.”

“Actually, that’s exactly what we’re going to do,” Rydell said.

“And you’re going to help us,” Hawkins added forcefully.

Dillon clamped his mouth shut, heavy breaths wheezing out of his nose as he opened and closed his fists, but he didn’t say anything.

“That’s a yes,” Hawkins said.

“Dillon, contact Lieutenant Commander Vaughn and have her get the crew ready to relocate. Coordinate with her and Carr to get everything from over there over to here. Hawkins, you and Jaroch will get this ship’s crew over to the Secondprize. Sullivan, Baird and I will handle the ship identity changes. Let’s move people. We’re leaving in half an hour!”

Several minutes later, Captain Rydell peered out the viewport of the Runabout Chickahominy as it floated between the Secondprize wreckage and the rechristened Next Federation vessel hovering nearby. On both ships, engineering crews in EVA suits worked frantically to remove the Secondprize’s name and NCC registry from one ship and paint it on the other.

Rydell chuckled to himself.

“Something funny, sir?” Lieutenant Commander Sullivan asked from the pilot’s seat.

“I was just thinking,” Rydell said. “We may not be the best of the best when it comes to your standard Starfleet missions, but we can cover our asses like nobody’s business.”

“Baird to Rydell,” the Chief Engineer’s voice called over the comm system.

“Go ahead, Commander,” Rydell replied.

“I’ve shifted the transponder over, but we’ve still got a big f***ing problem with the computer cores.”

“Don’t tell me you can’t transfer the computer data over.”

“That’s already done, and I’ve erased the old cores. But if someone gets nosy and starts poking around the wreckage, they might be able to recover some of the old core data. We need them slagged, and it needs to look like it happened in the fighting.”

“We’ll take care of it,” Rydell replied.

“All right. I just got word from Dillon that the saucer’s clear, so have at it.”

“Understood,” Rydell out.

“I’ll bring us around on an attack run,” Sullivan said, her hands moving smoothly across her console. She armed the phasers, her finger hovering over the fire control.

Rydell clasped her hand gently. “Let me handle this part,” he said softly, his eyes locked on the grounded saucer that lay before them.

Sullivan could see this was difficult for him. She said nothing, instead focusing on her flying. As the runabout reached the saucer’s edge, Rydell pressed down on the phaser control. Blasts lanced ahead, piercing the saucer and moving forward, searing a trench as they went. Sullivan made sure her course took them directly over the primary and backup cores. Meanwhile, Rydell kept firing, his gaze unwavering. Through it all, Sullivan could hear him singing softly.

And though your Joe,

Has to go.

He will come back to you again.

So get your sleep, old girl.

Our love will keep, old girl,

‘Till then.

In less than thirty seconds, it was over. “Rydell to Baird,” the captain said, his voice steady as he flashed Sullivan a weak smile. “The job’s done. ETA for departure?”

“Dillon says the crew and their belongings have been transferred. Jaroch and Hawkins have sent the Next Federation crew to the Secondprize…”

“That’s not the Secondprize,” Rydell said stiffly.

“…to their new ship, then,” Baird continued. “Everything else is in place. As soon as Carr and Vaughn finish transporting the last bits of our cargo, we’re set.”

“Good. We’re coming aboard. Rydell out.”

Rydell and Sullivan stepped out of the port turbolift onto the bridge just as Carr, Hawkins and Jaroch exited the starboard lift. Commander Dillon hopped up out of the command chair to give his report.

“All departments report ready…and Counselor Webber says thank you for the bigger office,” Dillon said.

“Glad she approves,” Rydell said, sliding into his new chair as Dillon took up position standing beside him. “Turn us around, Sullivan.” The image on the viewscreen shifted slowly as the new Secondprize banked away from the asteroid. “How does she handle?”

“About the same, really,” Sullivan said.

“Hawkins?” Rydell said.

“Same here. Other than the carpet, it feels like the same ship.”

“I warned you about the carpet,” Dillon said.

“Comments like that are why I don’t call you ‘Number One’ anymore,” Rydell replied. His head suddenly whipped around. “Whew! I thought we forgot the dedication plaque.”

“I got it,” Dillon said, putting emphasis on the “I.”

“Thank you, Commander,” Rydell said sincerely.

“But I guess it should really say Thirdprize now.”

An empty boot smacked into Dillon’s head from behind. Dillon spun around to see Hawkins standing in her socks, holding her other boot menacingly. “Shut up, now. Please honey? Or you’re eating this one.”

Dillon winced and turned back around silently.

“Take us out of the asteroid ring and lay in a course for Waystation,” Rydell ordered.

“Um…Captain,” Carr said hesitantly.

“What is it, Andrea?” Rydell asked.

“Well, would you like to say anything? About the Secondprize?”

Rydell sighed softly and rose from his chair. “Put me on shipwide,” he said to Hawkins. “All hands, this is the captain. I hope you’re all settling in to your new quarters satisfactorily. Now I know many of you are probably feeling a sense of loss about the Secondprize. I feel it as well, but there’s something we always need to keep in mind. A ship is just a piece of technology, a way for us to get from one place to another. What really matters to me are the people on that ship. We are the crew of the Secondprize. But without the ship itself, Starfleet would scatter us across the quadrant, and that I will not allow to happen. If I have rename a garbage scow the Secondprize in order to prevent it, I’ll do so. Because even though the original ship may be gone, as long as this crew is together, the Secondprize is alive and well. Rydell out.”

The bridge was silent as Rydell settled back into his chair.

“That was beautiful, sir,” Carr said finally.

“Just doing my job,” Rydell replied. “Sullivan, whenever you’re ready.”

“On our way,” Sullivan said as the new Secondprize rocketed out of the asteroid ring, then leapt into warp.

“Coming up on Waystation now,” Sullivan reported a short while later. She looked at the helm more closely. “At least we should be,” she added confused. “It’s not there!”

“No signs of debris,” Jaroch said, which Rydell actually found to be a relief.

“Sulu’s pocketed it,” Rydell said. That being the case, the Waystation crew might still be alive. Rydell just couldn’t imagine Sulu executing all of them. “We’ve got to find that freighter.”

“I have a recent ion trail leading in the direction of Sector 001,” Jaroch said. “It is the only trail on that course left within the last 24 hours.”

“Then there’s a good chance that’s our guy,” Rydell said. “Pursuit course, Sullivan. Maximum warp. I don’t want Sulu to know we’re there until we’re right on top of him.”

“You’ve got it.”

Rydell turned to look at Hawkins. “Now comes the tricky part. We need to disable that ship but not destroy it.”

“We also must find a way to prevent Admiral Sulu from deploying the ships he currently has stored in subspace pockets,” Jaroch added, stepping up beside Hawkins.

“Is that even possible?” Commander Dillon asked.

“I do not know,” Jaroch replied, hating to admit it.

“Disabling the ship is no problem,” Hawkins said. “I don’t know what to say about the subspace generators. We could try targeting them one at a time with a low level phaser burst or just blanketing the freighter with an EM pulse, but there’s no guarantees the subspace pockets will even exist after that.”

“I hate to say this, Captain, but we have to just destroy the freighter,” Dillon said.

“Travis! That would kill thousands of people, including your brother!” Hawkins snapped.

“You think I don’t know that,” Dillon shot back. “But we’ve got to think of the Federation first. Sulu’s basically declared war on us. We have to take him out if we can. He certainly didn’t seem to mind trying to kill us!”

“All right,” Rydell said calmingly. “I think I get both sides of the debate clearly enough.”

“So what are you going to do?” Dillon asked.

“I don’t know yet. But I’ll figure it out by the time we catch them.”

Admiral Hitori Sulu relaxed in the freighter’s command chair sipping a cup of tea (Hikaru Sulu’s favorite blend) as he sped toward his destiny. Within two weeks or possibly even just a few days (two of his officers had been arguing about exactly how long it took to get from Waystation to Earth, one implying that there was some sort of short cut that shaved days off of the trip) his Next Federation would be in place, ushering the Alpha Quadrant into an entirely new era. No longer would they be pushed around by species like the Dominion and the Borg. Yes, they would still be explorers and diplomats, but they would also once again be warriors!

And the current, weak regime could do nothing to stand in the way of the Next Federation juggernaut.

“Admiral!” Ensign H’Kex, Sulu’s Andorian tactical officer shouted. “Incoming vessel…Great Zeltzzing K’varxnix! This is impossible!”

“Stop overacting and tell me,” Sulu snapped.

“It’s the Secondprize!”

“WHAT!!!” Sulu leapt up from his chair, tossing his steaming hot tea into Lieutenant Radley’s face, sending his assistant collapsing to the floor screaming. Radley knocked into the tea cart, which promptly spilled an entire pot of the searing liquid onto the hapless officer.

Ignoring Radley’s screams, Sulu gaped at the image on the viewscreen of the rapidly approaching Excelsior-class vessel. “For once would that damn Rydell NOT screw things up for me?” Sulu scowled. “Open a channel!”

“They’re responding,” H’Kex replied.

“Admiral!” Rydell said jovially as the Secondprize bridge popped up on the viewscreen. “Fancy meeting you here.”

“I can’t begin to guess how you’ve done this, Rydell, but I’m warning you. Stay out of my way, or I’ll see to it that my fleet sends you somewhere far harder to return from…like HELL!”

“Well that’s a fine how do you do!” Rydell exclaimed, mocking hurt.

Sulu forced himself to calm down and changed his line of attack. “You’ve more than proven your worth to me, Captain Rydell. The Next Federation has need for leaders who will stop at nothing to get the job done.”

“Damn straight. I’m here to do a job right now, since you mentioned it.”

Sulu grew more panicked. “Think about this, Rydell! Think about all the people enclosed in my subspace pockets, Rydell! Are you listening to me?”

Rydell’s face was dead calm. “Hawkins, fire.”


At tactical, Lieutenant Commander Hawkins pressed the launch control. Two photon torpedoes streaked out of the Secondprize, sailing just on either side of the freighter. Just when Sulu thought that by some miracle Hawkins had missed, both torpedoes detonated. The resulting explosion knocked the freighter about like a toy boat on a stormy sea. Consoles across the bridge exploded, launching Next Federation officers violently in the air, several of whom landed directly on the still moaning Lieutenant Radley.

On the bridge of the Secondprize, Rydell watched with some satisfaction as explosions buffeted the freighter, knocking the vessel out of warp entirely and rendering the impulse engines non- functional.

“Get a tractor beam on it,” Rydell ordered. He turned to Commander Jaroch. “What about the subspace generators?”

Jaroch checked his sensors, a frown visible on his face.

“What is it?” Rydell asked.

“I am detecting subspace rifts and eddies forming all around the ship. It is as though subspace is leaking from the generators.”

On the viewscreen, space itself began to distort and swirl in small areas around the freighter. Those mini-distortions then began colliding, some bouncing off of each other, others merging to form larger distortions.

“The effect is building,” Jaroch said more urgently. “It could be heading to a major subspace event.”

“What the hell is a subspace event?” Hawkins demanded.

Dillon pointed at the screen. “This is why we just should have blown them up!”

All at once, a massive spherical distortion formed around the freighter, then expanded outward in almost the blink of an eye.

“Oops,” Rydell said with a weak shrug just as the Secondprize was engulfed.

TO BE CONTINUED… * The song lyrics are from the musical “Damn Yankees.”