Author: Cory Parker
Star Traks: Next Frontier
Book 4: Hi, We Were Just Leaving…
By Cory Parker
“Captain’s log, who the hell knows anymore. The USS Haymaker has landed safely on D’Narin Colony 2-Beta. Not a very imaginative name, I know, but they are quite friendly and are allowing the extensive repairs to be completed in a matter of days, which, dead in space, would take weeks. On the tactical side of things, Admiral Fallow and his cohorts haven’t shown their faces around here ever since the colonists blasted one of their ships to pieces. After our repairs are completed, we plan on heading towards Jyinus, the homeworld of the former Jyinion Assembly and hopefully, find out what happened to cause the fall of the Assembly. Oh, and to assist the Jyinions in whatever way we can, within the bounds of the Prime Directive, of course. Yeah, right. That’s the biggest crock of bulls**t I have ever…Computer, delete last two sentences.”
Lt. Bud Abbott snored loudly in Monty’s office while the repair crews scurried around Main Engineering like bees in a hive. The level of activity had not gone down ever since they had landed, and with Monty still out of commission, Abbott desperately needed some rest. Unfortunately for Abbott, that rest was about to be interrupted. As he shifted his body in Monty’s chair, he felt the presence of another individual in the room. “What is it?” he grumbled as he tried to get comfortable. The person didn’t answer, so the lieutenant cracked open an eye. His vision was blurry, so he rubbed his eyes to clear it. When he had finished, Abbott discovered that it wasn’t his vision that was blurry, it was the man. “Monty!” he cried out in joy just as two D’Narians walked in. “Monty?” he asked as he waved his hand in front of the blurry hologram’s face.
“He can’t hear you, Lt. Abbott. Not yet, at least. We have been spending the entire afternoon trying to reinitialize his matrix, and we have just gotten it up and running,” said the shorter colonist. Abbott nodded and checked a diagnostic screen to his left.
“Need some help?”
“Always.” The three engineers worked steadily until, finally, they had finished.
“Computer,” said Abbott as he crossed his fingers, “activate Experimental Engineering Hologram.”
“Good evening, ladies and germs! I just flew here from memory buffer 57-D and boy are my arms tired!” announced the hologram as he shimmered in crystal-clear existence with a smile as big as Commander LaCroix’s ego.
“Monty! Thank God you’re back!” he declared with a bear hug at the hologram’s waist. Monty looked down at the assistant chief, then at the two colonists. They simply shrugged and walked off to continue their work.
“Okay, kid! Back off, ya bother me!” he said with a push. Abbott was still wearing his grin of jubilance. “All right, my little chickadee, what have I missed? And the short version, please.”
We saved D’Narin II from drowning in puke, attacked by a fanatical dictator, and, oh yeah, Commander LaCroix is trying a new hair style.”
“Wait, wait, wait,” declared Monty as his jaw dropped. “The commander is wearing her hair differently? Hold the phones and stop the presses, ladies and gents, breaking news! You break it, you bought it.” He chuckled to himself and looked around at the hustle and bustle. “Well, time to get back to work.”
“Um…actually, Chief, I was promised a few days off by the captain when you got back online.” The hologram turned and glared.
“He did what!?!”
“Well, when you were gone, the ship was literally falling apart, and I had one hell of a time keeping it together. I haven’t had a good night’s sleep since you went offline.” Monty’s eyes narrowed as he thought.
“Okay, have a good rest.” He then turned with a chuckle and began barking orders at the engineering staff. Abbott sighed and left for his quarters.
Captain Bobby Halloway was fast asleep in his cabin, laying on his custom
Captain's Chair' La-Z-Boy, a cup of coffee balanced perilously on his stomach, moving up and down in time with the soft snoring of the captain. The ringing of his doorbell awoke him. Bobby yawned and sat straight up, spilling the still hot coffee on his crotch. He screamed and quickly jumped up for the bathroom. "Computer, ice in a bag!" he yelled at the replicator as he tore off his uniform. He then grabbed the bag and placed it over his burnt privileges’. Just then, the doors opened and in stepped Gabriel, holding a PADD in his hand. He stopped and looked at the captain.
“I must have the worst timing in the world…” he stated plainly.
“Lt. Commander…” started Bobby as he tried to better present himself. “You caught me at a bad time.”
“I should say so.” Gabriel scratched his head and tossed a PADD to the captain, who dropped the bag of ice to catch it.
“Oops.” Gabriel sighed as he shut his eyes and felt his way towards the robe he had seen hanging up near the bathroom. His claws wandered blindly as he grasped onto furniture for support.
“Commander, that’s not furniture,” stated Bobby with a slight whimper. Gabriel immediately released his claw and lunged with one eye open at the robe. He grabbed it, and tossed it to the captain, who promptly put it on. “Hell of a grip you’ve got there…” muttered Bobby as he sat down, with the PADD in one hand and the ice bag in the other. Gabriel remained standing, staring out the window at the nearby colony. “Rather lovely planet they’ve got here, eh Commander?”
“I prefer a drier climate myself.”
“Oh, like where?”
“Ever been to the Sahara?” Bobby couldn’t quite tell if this was Gabriel’s attempt at a joke. The tactical chief remained stoic.
“Oh, Monty’s back online, good. Thanks for the report, Commander. I’ll be up on the bridge in fifteen minutes.” Gabriel nodded and left, without waiting to be formally dismissed. Bobby shook his head and began to get dressed. Suddenly, his door sprung open and in ran Cimorene. “Yes, Princess?” His question was answered by the deep, passionate kiss that she gave him.
“That was… what I was trying… to say earlier…” she mumbled as she continued her erotic assault. With Bobby throwing all common sense out the airlock, the two stumbled towards his bed. Tripping and falling onto the bed, the two continued kissing without pause. Slowly, Bobby began to notice a scent in the air. It was familiar to him somehow…
“Um, Cimorene, what’s that smell?” he inquired as she was biting one of his earlobes. It smelled almost like something he had eaten before…during his breakfast.
“When Jyinions are aroused, they produce a certain pheromone that has a distinct smell. Evolutionary throwback, I suppose,” she explained quickly between smooches.
“Oh, allrighty then…” he sighed with a smile. Just as the two were getting into it, the door opened again, and in walked Ensign Bannon. Bobby threw Cimorene to the floor behind the bed as he stood. “Haven’t you heard of the doorbell, Ensign?” glared the captain as he tightened his robe.
“What? I thought I had rung the doorbell.”
“No, you most certainly did not.”
“Huh. I must have forgotten.” Blake shrugged and turned to leave.
“Ensign, what did you come here for?” Blake turned around and looked at Bobby with his usual look of puzzlement on his face.
“I just came to see where you were. The comm system is still down in places, and…” He stopped as he sniffed the air. “Captain, were you making bacon?” Bobby’s eyes grew wide with shock.
“Making bacon. That’s what it smells like in here, Captain.” Suddenly Bobby realized what he really meant.
“Oh. Yes, why of course. What else would I be doing, except making bacon? Especially if it smells like I was. That is really the only logical thing I would be doing here, making bacon,” stuttered Halloway as he tried to cover his tracks. Bannon looked at him and squinted his eyes in thought.
“Are you hiding something, Captain?” inquired Bannon as he tried to look around his captain. Halloway moved to block his sight.
“Of course not, Ensign. Now, I’ll be on the bridge in a few moments.” Bannon continued to glare for a second, then stopped and smiled.
“Okay, Captain. I’ll see you soon.” The science officer walked towards the door, where he stopped and turned. “Oh, by the way, Monty says that we’ll be space worthy in about 4 hours.”
“Great, glad to hear it. Now GO.” Blake nodded and left. Bobby sighed and walked back to Cimorene, who was picking herself up off of the ground. “I have to get that lock fixed,” he sighed as he ran his fingers through her hair. Suddenly, the doors opened again, and Ensign Bannon walked back in.
“Captain, I just came down here to tell you that…”
“LEAVE!!!” shouted Bobby and Cimorene at the same time. Blake turned quickly to leave and tripped over his own feet into the hallway, with the door closing on the way out. They sighed collectively and resumed their amorous activities.
Monty sighed in relief as he completed the final adjustment to the final subsystem in the entire ship. The U.S.S. Haymaker was ready again for travel through the stars. The hologram stood and strolled down the hallway towards the turbolift. He entered, and within seconds, he was on the bridge. Waving to the bridge crew, he walked into the captain’s ready room, ready to deliver the good news…and he was not there. He strolled out, back onto the bridge, and approached Commander LaCroix. “Where’s the captain?”
“We were wondering that ourselves. I sent Bannon down there two hours ago, and Halloway hasn’t shown his face since then.”
“What the hell is he doing? I just came up here to announce that we finished repairs early. Bannon, what was he doing when you saw him?”
“Um…I forget. Who are you talking about?” Both Monty and LaCroix shook their heads.
“Forget it. Well, Commander, you can tell that mad ass of a captain that his ship’s back up and running.”
“This `mad ass’ thanks you, Chief.” All heads turned to see Captain Halloway exiting the turbolift, with a huge grin and a spring in his step. He sat down, cheerily checked his messages, then looked up at the frowning, confused faces of his officers. “What?”
“Why are you so happy? And where the hell have you been?” inquired Halvox from her station.
“I’ve been in my quarters, Lt. Halvox. And can’t a man be happy once in a while?” Rachel looked at Bobby while she thought. Suddenly, with a laugh, she knew.
“You got some, didn’t you?”
“I beg your pardon?”
“You got some. You know, you had sex!”
“I don’t know, but…” She paused as she thought some more. By now, the entire bridge crew was crowded around the captain and his first officer as she started to unravel the mystery. “Cimorene. My God, you slept with the princess.” Bobby’s eyes grew wide as his jaw dropped. Rachel held out her hands with a grin as people began to slap them. Jenna smiled and pointed at Gabriel.
“You owe me a week’s worth of replicator rations!” she declared gleefully. Gabriel snorted and frowned. Jenna laughed and rubbed her hands together. “That’s a lot of whoopie cushions!”
“Quite frankly, Rachel, what I do in my free time is my business, not yours. Not that I’m admitting to it, mind you,” he added quickly.
“I am not!”
“You slept with her. And not just once…twice.” More cries and yells erupted on the bridge. It was now Halvox’s turn to grin as she glanced at Jenna.
“That’s your rations, plus his!” she declared. Jenna stopped smiling and turned away in a huff.
“If you must know, only once.” Jenna immediately turned around again and beamed.
“AHA! Whose are they now!?!”
“Like I’d give them back!”
“You have to, them’s the rules!”
“I’ll fight you for them.” Halvox had a devilish gleam in her eye. Halloway stood and glared at the entire bridge crew.
“ALLRIGHT, THAT”S ENOUGH!” he bellowed over the crowd. “Quite frankly, what I do on my personal time is my business, thank you.”
“And hers,” added Rachel.
“Quite right. Now, let’s get the hell out of here before I go stir crazy.” The crew nodded and took their positions. Halloway sighed as he sat down.
“We have just received clearance to leave, Captain,” reported Halvox in her usual angry tone.
“Send a message expressing our thanks, and well wishes.” Halvox grinned evilly as she was preparing to compose the message herself. “Let Gabriel write it, Kerry,” he added. She frowned again, and, after giving her captain the finger behind his back, went to her own work.
“Thrusters on-line, starting ascent,” stated Lt. Benn as the U.S.S. Haymaker shuddered slightly and rose into the sky. The ship continued climbing until exiting the atmosphere and leveling out. “Halloway to Monty, how are the systems holding up?” “We are back in business, baby!” exclaimed Chief Monty over the conn exuberantly. The bridge crew couldn’t help but smile at the hologram’s energy and excitement. Things were looking up for the crew, and for the first time since they had been thrown together, they started to feel like a family. An extremely dysfunctional family, but it was a step in the right direction. “Lt. Benn, set course for Jyinus Prime, warp factor four. Let’s take our time, shall we?” The Trill nodded and tapped in the coordinates, then sat waiting. “Ready when you are, Captain,” nudged LaCroix. “I was just…savoring the peace and quiet. Something tells me that I won’t be able to do that again for a while. Engage, Lt. Benn.” Jenna nodded and the Haymaker sailed into the void.
Dr. Scott Clinton was sitting in his office, playing a game of solitaire on his computer when the doors to Sickbay opened. He stood and headed over to greet his female visitor. “Princess, what brings you here?” he asked. “Not feeling well?” Cimorene smiled and took a seat on a biobed.
“Well, Doctor, I have something on my mind.” She ran her hand over the bed as she stared off into space. Clinton coughed and nervously rubbed his hands together.
“With all due respect, Princess, a counselor would be appropriate.”
“I know, but the computer says that the Haymaker doesn’t have one.” Scott scratched the back of his head.
“Yeah, I know. According to regs, I guess I have to act as one.” Cimorene smiled again, but this time it was a little bit sadder. “Um, what did you want to talk about?”
“Well, it’s no secret about me and the captain…”
“What about you and the captain?” asked Clinton in confusion. “I don’t get much news when I’m stuck in Sickbay.”
“Oh! Well, the captain and I…” She leaned over to the doctor and whispered the rest into his ear. As the details expanded, Clinton’s jaw dropped further and further. When she finished, Cimorene leaned back and let loose a wide grin as Clinton eyed her.
“I didn’t think that you were that flexible,” he said at last. She giggled and blushed.
“Neither did I.”
“Well, as your doctor, and the captain’s, I wish that you two would have talked to me before the fact. I mean, no human and Jyinion have ever…you know…done it before, and I needed to make sure that there were no adverse side effects.”
“Like getting pregnant?”
“You’re not pregnant, are you???” asked Scott in panic. “That would not be a good thing.” Reading Cimorene’s glare, Scott tried to cover his tracks. “I mean, it would be good for you. I mean and him, too, it would just be wrong. NO, I mean not wrong, it would be unfortunate…” He threw his hands up in defeat. “I’ll shut up now.”
“Doctor, it’s so very confusing. I have fallen for Bobby, and I’m not supposed to. I’m a princess, next in line for the throne of the Assembly, which, by the way, is falling apart at the seams. My father has disappeared, the people are fighting amongst themselves, and to top it all of, I fall in love with a man I barely even know. It’s a mess.” Clinton ran his fingers through his hair and hopped on the biobed next to the princess.
“Well, this is a very confusing time. Lots of things are happening around you. It must be hard for you to cope with all the goings-on.”
“You have no idea what to say to me, do you?”
“No,” he admitted, looking sheepishly down at the floor.
“That’s all right, I just needed to get that off my chest.” With the mention of the word `chest’, Clinton stifled a laugh. “What?” she asked curiously.
“Forget it, I have a dirty…” The good doctor’s sentence was cut off by the captain’s order for all senior staff to report to the conference lounge. “Oh, great. If you’ll excuse me, princess, I gotta go.” He leapt off the bed and headed out the door.
“Thanks for listening to me, Doctor,” she yelled after him, but he was already gone. Cimorene sighed and looked at the empty room, then stretched out on the biobed like a cat, and fell asleep.
Commander LaCroix entered the conference room, walking slowly but steadily, as she had just set her hair and she did not want it to fall. “You wanted to see me, Captain?” she asked as she sat down carefully. Halloway turned and nodded to his only guest.
“In a few minutes, I’m going to call a staff meeting…”
“Great, see you then,” responded LaCroix as she began to rise from her seat.
“You’re not going anywhere, Commander. I called you in here for a reason.” She rolled her eyes and sat back down with a light sigh.
“Yes?” she said, batting her eyes innocently.
“I need your opinion on something.”
“Of course.” Halloway clasped his hands together as he joined his first officer at the long conference table. “What would you think of the Haymaker being permanently assigned to Sector 66-F?”
“I wouldn’t like it one bit,” she replied quickly. “Why?” In response, Halloway activated the main computer screen on the wall. Admiral Jack Crane appeared, sitting at his desk back in San Francisco.
“Computer, begin playback of message.” Crane came to life, a cheery smile on his face that was pure show.
“Captain Halloway, Admiral Crane here. Starfleet Command eagerly awaits your report on the situation in Sector 66-F. I hope that you like the area, because you may be there for some time. The Haymaker is one of the first ships to be built after the massive losses due to the Dominion War, and all of our other ships are busy with other things of importance. Not to say that your mission isn’t important; it is. However, chances are good that Sector 66-F is about to become your permanent residence.” The two officers couldn’t help but notice the small grin that escaped Crane’s lips after the utterance of that last line. “Good luck on the remainder of your mission and we await your report. And be careful, you are a long way from the fleet. Starfleet out.” Halloway then turned to LaCroix to await her response.
“We are f**king screwed.” she stated simply.
“You can say that again.”
“We are f**king screwed.” The captain stood and stared out at the stars.
“I hate to admit it, especially to you, but the reason we are all here is because of me.”
“Crane is still pissed at me over something I did.” LaCroix joined her captain at the window.
“What could you have done to get him so mad at you?”
“He caught me in a compromising position…”
“Is that all? That’s not so bad.” she reasoned.
“…with his daughter.”
“Oh.” LaCroix thought for a moment, then looked at Halloway. “That’ll do it. Well, thank you for telling me. I’m glad that you trust me enough to tell me that.”
“I don’t trust you, not with that.” She looked hurt. “I just thought that you should know.” He took one final glance out at the vast expanse. Halloway then tapped his comm badge. “Halloway to senior staff. Report to the conference room. That is all.”
“Thanks. Now, what is going on between you and Lt. Abbott?”
“Well, the truth is that…” Before she could finish, Benn, Gabriel, Halvox, and Bannon all rolled into the room. Halloway sighed in frustration just as Monty appeared behind his seat.
“Something the matter, Cap?” he asked.
“Nothing of importance, Chief. Don’t worry about it.” By this time, Dr. Clinton was in his seat along with his crewmates. All eyes were on their captain. Halloway cleared his throat and began. “Okay, people, I need an update. Lt. Benn?”
“ETA is three hours, 54 minutes at warp four. The warp drive is doing fine, no complaints here.” Halloway nodded and looked at Halvox.
“The repairs to the ship are holding up. Everything is running at 100%, and the D’Narins even fixed a few of the general design flaws.”
“No sign of Fallow or any ships we have encountered with him. Shields, phasers, and photon torpedoes are all operational. If we encounter hostilities, we’ll make them think twice.”
“Great. Ensign Bannon?” Blake was sound asleep, snoring softly, head tilted back and jaw gaping wide. “Never mind, stupid question. Doctor, any problems?”
“Well, actually, Cimorene came to visit me earlier, and she appears to be…”
“Doctor, tell me about it later,” said Halloway through gritted teeth.
“What? Oh, right, right, right,” he quickly responded. “Got it,” he finished with a large wink. Halloway simply rolled his eyes and sighed. If it was one thing Scott wasn’t, it was subtle.
“Chief, everything alright with you?”
“My matrix is fully operational and stable.”
“Are you feeling alright, then?”
“Well, you know, the key to faking out the technicians is the clammy hands. It’s a good non-specific symptom. A lot of people will tell you that a phony fever is a dead lock, but if you get a nervous captain, you could land in the doctor’s office. That’s worse than the Academy. What you do is, you fake a stomach cramp, and when you’re bent over, moaning and wailing, you lick your palms. It’s a little childish and stupid, but then, so is Starfleet.” Everybody in the room was silent, all eyes on the hologram.
“What the HELL was that?” demanded Halvox. Monty just rolled his eyes and drummed his fingers on the table.
“Never mind, never mind. The words of Ferris are lost on the dim-witted.”
“WHAT!?!” roared Kerry as she leapt to her feet, pushing the chair out of her way.
“Are you sure that you don’t want her as Security chief, Captain?” muttered Jenna.
“Dear God, no,” he responded immediately. Jenna simply smiled and turned to watch. Now Kerry and Monty were standing, both inches away from each other, their shouts raising.
“Listen, you overgrown sub-routine, I’ll smash you into computer oblivion if you don’t back down!”
“Oh, a wise guy, eh?” responded the hologram as he danced about, waving his fists in a comical manner. “Nyuk nyuk nyuk!” At that moment, Kerry lunged, hurling a fist into the chief’s face. He was staggered, but recovered and drove two fingers into her eyes. “Whoop-whoop-whoop-whoop-whoop!” he yelled as Kerry stumbled back, her hand over her eyes.
“Alright, you two, that’s ENOUGH!” yelled Halloway, standing and stepping between the two. Halvox would have knocked him down, but Gabriel kept one of his claws gripped firmly on her arm. “We have enough problems to deal with out there,” he said with a finger at the window. “Now, everybody back to their stations.” All nodded and slowly exited the room. Halloway remained and watched the last one go, then he remembered that Bannon was still asleep. He nudged the science officer lightly on the shoulder.
“Everything’s fine in sciences, Captain Halloway,” he said rapidly as he snapped awake.
“Ensign, the meeting’s over.”
“Is it? Cool! Can I go now?”
“Alright. Everything’s fine in sciences, by the way.”
“Yes, you told me that.” Blake stood and headed out. Seconds after the doors had shut, he walked back in again.
“Hey, Captain, did I tell you that everything’s fine in the sci…”
“YES! Now GO to your post!” he ordered, pointing.
“Oh, okay. I’ll see you out there, then.”
“Good, great, glad to hear it! Now it’s Private Time for Captain Halloway to begin, got it?”
“Private Time? I didn’t see that on the big `Things to Do Today’ list hanging on my station.” Halloway growled and forced Bannon out the door onto the bridge, locking it behind him. Bannon shrugged and went to his science station. “Hey, does anybody know when the staff meeting is going to be?” The bridge crew groaned and refused to answer.
Captain Halloway frowned as he looked at the magnified view of Jyinus Prime. Hundreds, if not thousands of ships were in orbit, of all shapes and sizes. All were the same terra cotta as the rest of the Assembly ships they had seen. “That must be half the fleet,” commented LaCroix.
“Get Cimorene up here, I want to know what the hell is…”
“What do you want to know, Captain?” asked Cimorene as she stepped out of the turbolift. Halloway simply pointed. “Oh, that.”
“Yes, that,” echoed Halvox.
“I have never seen so many ships in one location before, Captain. It’s a mystery to me.” Halloway turned to face the screen again.
“Sensors are reading scattered weapons fire and explosions, but nothing major,” reported Gabriel.
“All of those ships are causing great amounts of subspace chatter, I can’t get a message to any of them,” said Ensign Bannon with a wrinkled brow.
“I recommend not entering orbit. We’d just add to the problem,” said LaCroix.
“In order to beam to the planet, we need to be in orbit,” countered Halvox.
“I ain’t flying in there, that’s for damn sure,” stated Lt. Benn simply, throwing her hands up in the air. Halloway shook his head and thought.
“Lt. Benn, pull us as close as we can without getting entangled in that mess. Then you, myself, Lt. Comm. Gabriel, and the princess are taking a shuttle down to the planet.” Jenna swallowed nervously, but nodded in reply, her hands dancing across the conn. “Commander, that leaves you in charge,” he ordered as he stood and walked towards the turbolift as Gabriel and Cimorene followed.
“Aye, sir. Be careful.”
“When am I not?” he asked as Benn joined in the lift. LaCroix simply raised an eyebrow and darted her eyes at Cimorene. Halloway finally caught on, and quickly pressed the ‘close’ button on the turbolift door. The commander smiled smugly as she shifted seats and watched the bridge.
Admiral Fallow was on the bridge of his warship, lost in thought. Or, as Mennol put it, lost in stupidity. That man was REALLY getting on Mennol’s nerves. He was beginning to wonder why he even joined up with him in the first place. The Betazoid strolled up beside the seated admiral and looked out at the stars. “Penny for your thoughts?” he asked softly.
“What’s the use? You get in for free,” fired Fallow back just as softly. Mennol rolled his eyes.
“It’s Halloway. That is what’s bugging you, isn’t it?”
“In less than a two weeks, he has turned into the biggest threat to my complete control over this Assembly. I don’t like it.”
“I have reports of a massive fleet of ships in orbit of Jyinus Prime. Mostly civilians. Easily manipulated.”
“What’s the use? Halloway and his ship will come in and make us look bad. I think I’m depressed,” he added, diving his head into his hands.
“The Haymaker is in orbit as well.” Fallow’s head shot back up.
“Halloway is at Jyinus Prime. It is the perfect opportunity to strike. Once you make the Federation look weak by destroying one of their vessels, you can easily gain control over the Assembly. The Federation has quite a reputation, you know.”
“A victory now could secure your place in the Assembly.”
“It’s a really good idea.”
“Yes.” Mennol was really getting ticked off now.
“DAMMIT, let’s go then!!!” Fallow looked up slowly, then stared at the screen.
“Okay. L’Tak, full speed to Jyinus Prime. Dennen, tell the fleet to follow, all weapons armed and ready to do battle.” The communications officer gritted his teeth and apprehensively approached Fallow.
“Um, sir, about the rest of the fleet…?”
“What about them?” Fallow looked like he was going to cry.
“Uh, well, sir, most of them…kind of…left, sir. They headed for Risa.” Fallow’s head went back into his hands and started to sob softly. Mennol slapped his forehead. There was a lot of damage to fix before they could get underway.
`I’m only one telepath, dammit…’ he thought as he tried to console the admiral. “C’mon, buck up, Admiral. You are not looking too well in front of your crew,” he added in a harsh whisper. Fallow looked up at his crew, none of them daring to look at him. He nodded and smoothed out his uniform, and sat up straight.
“Yes…yes, you are right as usual, Mennol. All right, crew, listen up! We are taking the fleet back to Jyinus Prime maximum speed. I want this fleet ready for blow Halloway out of the sky the moment that we drop from warp. NOW!” The crew saluted and began their work. Fallow started smiling as he watched his people work.
“That’s more like it, sir,” said Mennol softly.
“Damn straight it is,” responded Fallow, his anger rising with every passing moment. His gloves squeaked evilly as his fists clenched tighter and tighter. Every muscle, every fiber of Fallow’s being was ready for this imminent victory. “The Assembly is mine, now and forever!”
The tiny shuttle Mockingbird darted through the congestion of ships orbiting the planet. “We are almost through, Captain,” reported Lt. Benn as she narrowly missed yet another transport.
“Good,” replied Cimorene, whose face was a green as the stone on the necklace she wore. The Mockingbird blew past a few more ships before leaving the crowd and beginning its descent into the atmosphere. The shuttle shook as it penetrated layer after layer, until Benn slowed the fall and leveled the ship off.
“Approaching the capital city now. Any particular place you want to park, sir?” “Your discretion, Lieutenant.” Jenna smiled and kicked the shuttle into overdrive as it turned sharply and headed through a series of canyons at high velocity. “We don’t seem to be landing,” stated Halloway as he watched the walls of the canyon continue to close in on the shuttle.
“Just taking the scenic route, Cap.” Benn pulled up and settled the shuttle on the outskirts of town. As the door opened, Halloway held his hand up to shield his eyes from the intense sun that beat down upon them. He quickly donned his pair of designer sunglasses and looked around.
“No crowd to greet us, eh?” he mused.
“Most of the populace believe me to be dead, Bobby,” responded Cimorene.
“Let’s make sure that that doesn’t occur,” grunted Gabriel, wielding a phaser rifle. Jenna said nothing as she pressed the `activate alarm’ button on her key chain, arming the shuttle’s alarm with a beep.
“Lead the way, Princess,” motioned Bobby as he pointed towards the city. Cimorene muttered something under her breath, and started walking, he high heels clacking on the rocky soil.
Commander LaCroix sighed lightly as she continued fixing her hair and reapplying her mascara. “Must you preen every five MINUTES!?!” voiced Lt. Halvox loudly from her station at Ops.
`Just one clean stun with a phaser, that’s all I ask…’ wished Rachel as she ignored Kerry and finished her work. “Any word from the away team, Lieutenant?”
“They have landed safely, and will check back in an hour.”
“Good. Lt. Smith?”
“Yes, ma’am?” Lt. Jane Smith was taking over helm while Jenna was away. She was a good `minutewoman’, capable of taking over any post on the bridge while one of the senior staff was MIA. In fact, every crewmember on the bridge was a woman, with the notable exception of Ensign Bannon, who was zoning out over at his station.
“Make sure that we keep a safe distance, I don’t want to get bogged down in that traffic out there.”
“Commander! Eight Jyinion warships, including Fallow’s, have just dropped out of warp! They are running hot!” yelled Halvox.
“Red alert, shields up!” ordered the commander. “Ready phasers, arm all photon torpedoes!”
“Shields up, weapons armed,” confirmed Halvox.
“Lt. Smith, get ready for evasive pattern Gamma on my mark.”
“Fallow’s ship is hailing us, Commander,” reported Halvox.
“On screen. Admiral Fallow, I wish I could say that’s it’s a pleasure to see you again, but I’d be lying. Not that I mind lying.”
“Very amusing, Commander. Where is your captain?”
“At the moment? In the shower, he’ll be up in a few minutes. I’ll be happy to take a message, though,” she finished with a sickly sweet smile. Mennol leaned over to Fallow and whispered into his ear. Fallow nodded then looked back at LaCroix.
“No need. Seeing as the captain’s busy, we’ll just try again some other time. Good day.” The comm channel was suddenly closed, leaving a view of Fallow’s fleet retreating.
“What the hell?” uttered the commander. “It couldn’t have been that easy.”
“It wasn’t.” LaCroix turned to see Bannon staring at his station, a frown on his face. “Fallow knows where the captain is.”
“Mennol is a Betazoid. I just ran a scan on their ship to try and further determine what types of weapons that they have, and I noticed that his lifesigns matched Betazoid physiology, not Jyinion.” All of the bridge crew were held in silence over Blake’s revelation. That and the fact that he was paying attention for once.
“Nice work, Bannon.”
“Thanks, Commander.” He then turned with a smile back to his station.
“You’re welcome,” answered LaCroix softly.
“Welcome for what?” inquired Bannon, turning again. The commander rolled her eyes.
“Never mind, Ensign. Halvox, get the captain on the horn.”
“Can’t, Fallow’s fleet is flooding subspace with interference, we can’t get a message through.”
“DAMN!” yelled LaCroix as she slammed her fist down on the armrest.
“Find a way to cut through their interference, and then we’ll get the captain off of Jyinus Prime. Until then, however, we wait.”
Captain Halloway and company were seated in the remnants of what used to be the Grand Royal Palace of the Jyinion Assembly, or in other words, Cimorene’s old home. “So what exactly happened to this place, DeWatt?” asked Halloway. DeWatt, a middle-aged Jyinion whose hair was just starting to gray, had greeted the team at the edge of town, and had taken them back to the palace, where he and his group, the Jyinion Peacekeepers, had taken up shop. They had been the protectors of the royal family for generations. At the moment, however, DeWatt was quite drunk.
“After Cimorene’s father disappeared, the Assembly was thrown into chaos. No one is sure what started it, but the absence of the Assembly’s leader somehow threw the entire region into a panic. We believe that key members of the military encouraged the rebellion, but we can’t be sure. The palace was attacked a day after Cimorene’s kidnapping, by a minor group of civilians vying for power.” The man then burped and rubbed his stomach.
“What’s the count on the number of groups?”
“At last count, 34 Assembly-wide, but it keeps changing. None have a strong enough leader to unite the entire Assembly. Not even His Highness Poltar, Cimorene’s father, could possibly fix this on his own.”
“What’s the deal with all the ships in orbit?” asked Cimorene, her face somber from the sight of her destroyed home.
“Civilians, mostly. The majority are planning a massive migration to the Federation to ask for asylum. Some are trying to convince them to stay, but they aren’t listening. What they fail to realize that if they all engage their warp drives at close proximity to each other, there is a 98% chance that the severe warping of space will annihilate them. Not to mention the damage planet-side. Not a pretty picture. Attempts at diplomacy with them has failed, and unless we can convince them otherwise, you can kiss Jyinus Prime and the majority of its populous goodbye. The rest of the Peacekeepers and I were about to have one last toga party before the end. Care to join us?” he asked as he slammed back a mug of ale.
“Yes, they would,” answered a familiar voice from behind. The group turned to see Fallow with several of his men, all with disrupter rifles aimed at the away team. Halloway groaned and stood. “Oh, please don’t get up on account of my presence. Do sit down.” Two of Fallow’s thugs forced Halloway back into his seat.
“You know, Fallow, I’m getting REALLY tired of you!” spat the captain with a frown. “You are not the easiest person to get along with.”
“Tell me about it,” remarked Mennol. Ignoring his second-in-command, Fallow pulled up a chair and sat in front of Halloway, a smug, satisfied smile plastered on his face.
“What are you so happy about?”
“Oh, not much. I’m just preparing to rule the Assembly, that’s all.”
“Well, good luck, buddy. You’ll need it when this planet breaks apart.”
“What are you babbling about, Halloway?”
“You see all those ships in orbit? If they all activate their warp drives while in orbit, it’ll tear them -and us- apart.”
“You’re lying.” Mennol stared at Halloway for a moment, then frowned.
“Fallow, he’s telling the truth.”
“You’re not Jyinion, are you?” inquired Gabriel, as stoic as ever.
“No.” Suddenly, Halloway’s communicator sprung to life.
“Captain, this is LaCroix! Fallow’s on the planet, I repeat, Fallow is on Jyinus Prime!” The away team groaned.
“Thanks for the info, Commander,” responded Bobby with a sigh.
“Commander LaCroix, the good captain is quite aware of my presence. Now, if you will excuse us…” Fallow shot a signal to his men, who grabbed the communicators from the away team. Piling them up on a rock, they aimed and blew the Starfleet deltas to communicator heaven. “There, that should avoid any further interruptions. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have some work to do.” Flashing another signal, the solders swiftly hit each of the away team on the back of the head with the butt of their rifles. The last thing that Halloway saw was Fallow’s chuckling to himself softly as he walked away. As his face hit the floor, and his eyes closed, he had time for one last thought.
`I guess this means that Cimorene and I will never shag again…that’s a shame…’
Commander LaCroix frowned as she heard the insidious voice of Fallow over the communicator. Then, the comm channel was cut off suddenly. “What just happened?”
“The communicators are either not functioning or are destroyed. We no longer have a lock on the away team,” reported Halvox.
“Bannon, scan that planet for human, Trill, and…what the hell is Gabriel again?”
“Human, ma’am,” answered Lt. Smith from the helm.
“Well, technically.” Sighing, LaCroix looked back at Bannon. He had just picked up a ball of red yarn and started to thread it between his fingers.
“Just find them, Ensign.”
“Find who?” The commander gritted her teeth and looked at Halvox.
“Hit him for me, would you?” She nodded, and proceeded to walk calmly across to the ensign’s station, then smacked him across the face with the palm of her hand.
“Find the away team, got it,” replied Bannon calmly as he turned to begin his work.
“Did that not hurt him?” asked LaCroix. Halvox simply smiled as she strolled back to Ops.
“Commander, there is nothing up there to hurt.”
“Ouch…that hurt.” Halloway opened his eyes slowly and looked around. He felt like an Andorian had been playing the 20-minute drum solo from the 2345 version of “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida”, using his head as the drum set. Gabriel, Benn, and DeWatt were all there, bound, still out cold. The captain then noticed the absence of Cimorene. “Dammit…” he muttered as he tried to loosen the ropes that held his hands in check. They were secure. They appeared to be in some sort of cell, definitely on the surface. The floor was dirt, and the door was made of metal. Halloway scooted over next to Gabriel, who was breathing quietly and slowly. “Lieutenant…lieutenant…” he repeated. Suddenly, he kicked out with both of his bound feet and smacked Gabriel in the chest. He calmly opened one eye.
“Could you get out of your restraints?” In response, the chief of security displayed a free hand, then put it back down again.
“Increased strength, the rope never had a chance. Comes with the package,” he added, standing and untying his captain.
“My pleasure.” The two then released Benn and DeWatt.
“Now what?” asked the helm officer as she tested the bars. “Get studmuffin over there to pull a Superman and bend these bars?”
“That I doubt that I can do. Thanks for the complement, though.”
“Anytime, sweetcheeks.” DeWatt coughed, gaining every ones attention.
“If I may…” He then pressed a hidden panel in the wall, causing the wall to move, revealing a passageway. “You don’t serve as a Peacekeeper and not know this sort of thing.” The group hurried down the hall until they were in the main palace.
“DeWatt, do you have any sort of subspace transmitter?” The sound of transporters stopped DeWatt before he could answer. “Never mind.”
“Captain, Lt. Comm. Halvox reporting for duty. Hope you don’t mind that I brought some people with me.” Behind her were ten security officers, almost the ship’s entire count, all armed with phaser rifles.
“No, not at all. Have you located Fallow?”
“His fleet is stationed in low orbit around the planet, none have moved.”
“What about the civilian fleet?”
“They are also still there, Lt. Smith had a hell of a time navigating to just the right spot for transport.” She tossed the away team new comm badges and glanced around. “Orders, Captain?” He looked away in thought for a moment.
“DeWatt,” he said, turning to the guard. “If you were Fallow, how would you convince the people to follow you?”
“Use the princess to convince them, or destroy any opponent that looks like they have their s**t together. My people are very gullible, Captain.”
“See if you and your people can find Cimorene on the ground. We’ll check Fallow’s ships from above. If you find her, contact us immediately.” He nodded and ran off to gather his team. “Halloway to Haymaker, beam us up.”
“Let me GO!!!” screamed Cimorene at the top of her lungs as she held tightly by two large Jyinion guards on the bridge of Fallow’s flagship.
“Oh, do SHUT UP!” barked Fallow as he stared at the massive fleet ahead of him. “ETA until they jump?”
“Our sources say in 15 minutes,” replied Mennol.
“Are you sure that Halloway was telling us the truth?”
“Yes, of that I am certain. Admiral, we need to stop this jump. We just need to give them a reason to stay.” Fallow grinned and pointed at the screen.
“You want a reason, Mennol? Well, there she is,” he said as the USS Haymaker came into view. “They believe the Federation to be all-mighty and powerful. Well, let’s prove them wrong. Tell the fleet to arm all weapons and raise all shields! This time Halloway won’t be so lucky.”
“Where is the fleet?” asked Halloway as he sat down in the captain’s chair.
“They are on the far side of the northern hemisphere, coming this way, all eight of them, with weapons armed and shields up,” reported Halvox.
“It doesn’t look like they want to talk,” commented LaCroix, as she settled into her usual seat.
“No kidding. Red alert, let’s be ready for them.” Halloway watched as the fleet of crimson warships crept towards their position.
“Captain, incoming message from DeWatt…he says that the civilian fleet is poised to jump in less than 15 minutes!” reported Halvox.
“Damn!” In only minutes, Fallow, Jyinus Prime, its populace, and the Haymaker would all be destroyed. The only way to avert that jump was to either distract them long enough to prevent it, or…
“Captain, Fallow is hailing us.”
“On screen.” Halloway’s eyes first caught the sight of Cimorene, held in the background by two guards.
“So we meet, Captain, for the last time,” declared Fallow with an obnoxious grin.
“Are you quite aware, Halloway, that in about ten minutes, this entire planet will be destroyed, along with all of those ships out there?”
“Quite aware, Fallow.”
“The conclusion that I reached, as I’m sure that you have, is that the people in those ships out there will follow the one who seems to be the most powerful. Right now, that appears to be your Federation, but I plan to change all that. Face it, Halloway, you are outmatched and outgunned. Surrender now, and your crew will be spared.” The admiral then leaned back in his seat, awaiting Halloway’s response. Bobby shifted his body and glared at Fallow as he thought. It had all come down to this. The only way that Bobby could possibly save the civilian fleet was for one of the sides to win. If he surrendered, he would be the only one that would die. One life in exchange for millions, a small price to pay in the scheme of things. He slowly stood, and approached the viewscreen.
“Go to hell. Halvox, get him off my screen.” Fallow’s clearly surprised face was replaced by the view of his warships bearing down on the Haymaker. Rachel smiled as Booby took his seat.
“Very nice, Captain.”
“The only reason I didn’t give in was I wouldn’t give Crane the pleasure of hearing your report on this incident, Commander.” The bridge crew all joined in grinning. “You told them, didn’t you?”
“You said it yourself, Captain. You didn’t trust me.” Halloway chuckled as the first blast hit the hull.
“Return fire! Benn, evasive maneuvers!” The Haymaker increased its speed and blasted past the fleet, landing the majority of her return fire.
“Minor damage to shields on two of the vessels, our shields are holding,” reported Gabriel as another barrage hit the ship. Jenna piloted the Haymaker into a vertical loop, ending with a barrel roll as the ship passed through Fallow’s fleet once more.
“Work on only eroding their shields so that we can beam Cimorene out!” ordered Halloway as more blasts shook the hull.
“Captain, we still have to drop our shields to beam!” pointed out LaCroix as sparks flew from the (luckily) unmanned engineering station.
“I’m not planning on dropping our shields, Commander. Lt. Benn, get us close enough to Fallow’s ship so that we Gabriel can extend our shields around her hull.”
“Captain, with all due respect…” started a very angry Halvox.
“Lt., please do me a favor and SHUT UP for the time being!!!” Kerry shut her mouth and continued frowning as she went back to her work.
“Shields down to 67%! Minor damage to deck 13!” reported Gabriel as Fallow’s fleet continued their assault.
“Miss Benn, if you wouldn’t mind hurrying it up a bit…”
“Aye, captain.” The Haymaker hit full impulse and soared into position on top of the lead ship.
Fallow grinned as he watched his fleet proceeded to pound the Haymaker into submission. “It appears, Princess, that your boyfriend isn’t so tough after all,” he said with glee. The bridge crew watched as the Haymaker changed course and headed at them at full speed.
“Admiral, they are increasing to ramming speed!” yelled an officer as a barrage from the Haymaker hit Fallow’s hull. “Our front shields are down to 34%!”
“Reinforce them! Use the rear deflectors if necessary!”
“Their rear shields are dropping,” reported Gabriel.
“Jenna, are we in position?”
“Five seconds, Captain.”
“Gabriel, when Jenna is in place, extend our shields around Fallow’s ship. Kerry, I need you to lock on to Cimorene and beam her out quickly.”
“Aye, sir.” The Haymaker zoomed past the front of the vessel.
“Extending shields now.” With a tap of the claw, the shields around the Haymaker stretched around the warship, protecting both from the volley of fire heading towards them.
Every one on Fallow’s bridge sighed in relief when the Haymaker barely missed them. “Admiral, they are extending their shields around us!” reported Dennen.
“They are doing WHAT!?!” Mennol reached out with his mind, and suddenly he knew what the Haymaker was doing. He turned and dove at Cimorene just as she began to shimmer away in the light of a transporter beam. The Betazoid became trapped and disappeared as well. “Mennol???”
“The Haymaker has beamed them away, sir.” Fallow screamed in rage. How DARE Halloway take the princess away?
“No matter, continue the assault,” he ordered through clenched teeth.
“DO IT!!!” he yelled at the lieutenant. He swallowed hard and continued his duty. “Halloway dies now!”
“Security reports that we have them,” stated Gabriel as the Haymaker shook again, this time causing one of the ceiling panels to explode. “And are shields are down to 45%, rear phasers offline.”
“Status of Fallow’s fle…Lieutenant, did you just say `them’?”
“Yes, Mennol jumped into the beam as we picked up Cimorene. He’s being escorted to the brig.” The ship rocked as one of Fallow’s ships exploded. “And the admiral only has seven ships left.”
“Seven to one, not too bad,” exclaimed LaCroix as she tired to fix her hair and hold onto her armrest at the same time.
“Halvox, when are those civilians jumping?”
“In about three minutes, Captain.”
“Benn, pilot the ship into the civilian fleet. If we could scatter them, then the jump wouldn’t be a problem.” The Haymaker pitched to the left as the warships landed a direct hit onto the hull.
“Monty to the bridge, that hit knocked out the phasers and main propulsion. We only have warp and thrusters!” Halloway cursed under his breath in Klingon and slammed his fist on his armrest.
“It gets worse all the time…Monty, we need impulse back up in two minutes, or we are all dead.”
“I’ve heard that line before…Monty out.” Another one of Fallow’s warships exploded as a spread of photon torpedoes landed a solid strike.
“Six more to go, Captain.” Halloway turned his head as the turbolift doors opened to see Cimorene walk out, followed by Dr. Clinton. He was waving an epidermal regenerator over a nasty gash in her forehead.
“Doctor, why isn’t she in Sickbay? For that matter, why aren’t you in Sickbay?”
“Jessing’s recruited two biologists from deck 12 to help out. I was tending to her when she ran out to come up here.” They both grabbed a handrail as the Haymaker pitched again, sending Kerry and Jenna to the floor.
“Shields are failing,” reported Gabriel as he helped Halvox back to her feet.
“Admiral Fallow is hailing us,” she reported as she pushed Gabriel back from her station.
“I’ve got it!!! If we flood the area with high levels of neutrinos…yes it just might work!” exclaimed Ensign Bannon, who just a minute ago was totally oblivious to what was happening as he played with the ball of red yarn, working it in and out of his fingers.
“What is it, Ensign?”
“I know how to prevent the jump! We simply have to…”
“Don’t explain, just DO!” yelled LaCroix. Bannon nodded and went to activate the deflector dish when he discovered that his hands were completely tangled in red yarn.
“Fallow’s waiting sir,” repeated Halvox.
“Bannon, execute the plan. Put him on, Kerry. What the hell do you want?”
“You had your chance, Captain! Now, prepare to…” The bridge shuddered as Fallow’s ship rocked. “What the…!?!” The sight of another starship firing on the fleet replaced the comm channel.
“That’s a Starfleet vessel!” exclaimed LaCroix as another one of Fallow’s ships exploded.
“Ambassador-class…registry number NCC-26517…U.S.S. Excalibur,” stated Gabriel.
“Captain Calhoun? I thought that they were in Sector 221-G.”
“They must be responding to our distress call that we sent out before we left D’Narin II,” guessed LaCroix.
“Fallow’s shields have failed…its core has gone critical…” reported Gabriel.
“Going, going…GONE!” exclaimed Jenna as the warship exploded, sending debris everywhere in a fiery cloud.
“30 seconds until the fleet jumps to warp,” stated Halvox.
“Working on it,” he answered, his hands still trapped within the yarn. Every time he tried to press the right buttons, he’d press a few extra on accident.
“10 seconds…9…8…space is beginning to distort!” yelled Kerry.
“Ensign, any time now would be good.”
“Aw, nuts,” proclaimed the science officer as he slammed his head on the science station in defeat.
“Neutrino emission commencing,” stated the computer. Bannon raised his head in surprise as he looked at the findings.
“Oh…their warp fields are collapsing, they can’t jump to warp for another hour or so.” The crew breathed a heavy sigh of relief.
“Gabriel, get him out of that mess. Halvox, get me Calhoun on the horn.”
“Aye, sir.” Captain Mackenzie Calhoun appeared on the viewscreen, with Commander Shelby by his side.
“This is Captain Calhoun of the Excalibur. We received your distress call, and came as quickly as we could. Almost blew out our warp core getting here, but it seems that we made it just in time.”
“Captain Calhoun, I’m Captain Halloway of the Haymaker. Many thanks for the rescue.”
“Our sensors show that you’ve suffered some damage. I’ll get an engineering crew over to you ASAP.”
“Thank you, Captain. By the way, it is imperative that we get into contact with those civilians out there and convince them not to jump.”
“We’ve taken care of that, Captain Halloway. My Ops officer, Lt. Robin Lefler, has already contacted the fleet and told them to stay put. So far, they are listening.” Halloway smiled and leaned back in his chair.
“Thanks again for the rescue, Haymaker out.”
“That was a hell of a time to show up,” commented LaCroix.
“Tell me about it.”
“Thank you once again for the save, Calhoun. It appears that we owe you one.” Calhoun smiled as he grabbed Halloway’s hand to shake it.
“Anytime, Halloway. Good luck to you and your crew.”
“Same to you, Captain.” Calhoun stepped on the transporter pad. Both captains turned to look as the doors opened and Monty and Burgoyne 172 sauntered in, both laughing hysterically. “It appears that our chief engineers have hit it off.”
“Yes, it does. Ready to go, Chief?” Burgoyne smiled, revealing hir sharp canines.
“Yes, sir. See you around, Monty.”
“You too, Burgy. Don’t forget to tell McHenry that one joke.”
“Um…uh, you better tell him all of them, just to be safe.”
“Especially the one about the frog in the blender?”
“ESPECIALLY that one!” They both chuckled as the Hermat stepped beside hir captain. The next to arrive was Gabriel and Zak Kebron.
“It was a pleasure to meet such a…unique person such as yourself.”
“The pleasure was all mine, Kebron. And remember what I said to do about Si Cwan.”
“The accidental throw out the airlock, or the accidental death by replicator explosion?”
“Try them both.” Both Halloway and Calhoun eyed both of their security officers warily.
“Just kidding,” they both responded, although neither one of them sounded too convincing.
“See you around, Halloway,” said Calhoun as the three positioned themselves for transport.
“Likewise, Calhoun. Energize.” The members of the Excalibur beamed away, to be replaced seconds later with Lt. Benn, Lt. Comm. Halvox, Ensign Bannon, Dr. Clinton, and Comm. LaCroix.
“Have fun over there, boys and girls?” asked Halloway. They all smiled and began to talk with each other. All fell silent when the doors opened again, revealing Cimorene, escorted by DeWatt.
“Ready to return home, Princess?”
“Actually, Bobby, it’s Queen Cimorene now. The official coronation begins in a week.”
“Well, congratulations, your highness.” Cimorene smiled and stepped closer to Bobby.
“Thank you, for everything, Bobby. Stop by and visit once in a while.” With that, she pulled Halloway to her and the two proceeded to engage in a long kiss. The rest of the senior crew hollering and yelling like drunken frat boys at a toga party shattered their perfect moment. Not that toga parties were that bad…The kiss ended, and Cimorene stepped onto the pad with DeWatt.
“Take care of her.”
“Don’t worry, Captain. The world of Jyinus Prime, if not the Assembly, is safe again.”
“Glad to hear it. Energize.” Cimorene smiled as she was beamed back to her home. Halloway then turned to his crew.
“Alright, people, we have work to do. Three of Fallow’s ships are still out there, we have Mennol locked in our brig, and, most importantly, we forgot to pick up the Mockingbird,” he finished with a glance at Lt. Benn.
“Damn! Knew I forgot something!” muttered Jenna as she prepared to beam down to it. The rest all nodded and walked out of the transporter room.
Bobby Halloway rubbed his eyes as he stumbled across his quarters towards his computer terminal. He had awoken because the computer kept saying “You’ve Got Mail!” over and over again.
“Computer, display message.” Admiral Crane’s face appeared, grinning like a damned Cheshire cat. “Oh, great, what the hell does he want now? Computer, play message.”
“Hello, Captain Halloway. I have presented your report to Starfleet Command, and they commend you on a job well done.” He picked up a PADD and began to read from it. “And I quote, `The level of competence displayed by Captain Bobby Halloway and his crew is exemplary. As of right now, Starfleet has suspended all contracts with LaGuarde Shipmakers.”
“Good,” said Bobby to no one in particular.
“Starfleet Command also wishes to commend your Dr. Clinton on curing that plague so quickly.”
“I’ll be sure to tell him.” Not bothered by Halloway’s comments, the message played on.
“The Federation Council plans on sending members of the diplomatic corps to Jyinus Prime as soon as possible in order to establish permanent diplomatic relations with the former Assembly. Hopefully, the ambassadors will be able to quell any further problems in the area.” Crane paused a moment to clear his throat, and it appeared that the message was about to conclude.
“Sounds like a plan to me.”
“However,” started Crane.
`Oh, no…please oh please oh please oh please don’t say it…’ wished Halloway as he watched intently, hanging on every word the admiral said.
“Starfleet Command, along with the Federation Council, believe that additional Federation presence is needed in Sector 66-F.”
`Please oh please oh please…’ Crane picked up another PADD and began to read from it.
“Therefore, I am pleased to announce that the U.S.S. Haymaker, under the command of Captain Bobby Halloway, is to remain in Sector 66-F, otherwise known as the former Jyinion Assembly, for an indefinite period of time, protecting the inhabitants while upholding the best interests of the United Federation of Planets. Congratulations, Halloway. It looks like you’re going to be there for a while. Admiral Crane out.” As the screen went dark, Halloway was left alone with Crane’s final words. He slowly turned and headed off to bed.
“This had better be a bad dream…” he mumbled, falling back into his slumber, as the United Star Ship Haymaker and its crew continued further into the vast reaches of Sector 66-F.