Author: Brendan Chris
Captain’s Log, Stardate 56300.03
“Wow. I’m bored. I am SOOO frikin’ BORED. Flying at warp speed through completely empty space is only moderately more entertaining than sitting at a standstill in completely empty space. On the bright side, Lieutenant Sage and his engineering team have finally been able to put some time into holodeck installation and will start testing some of the components today. We’re also coming up on an inhabited planet, which our long-range scans indicate possesses a sufficient level of technology to warrant a visit.”
“How long should we let him sit like that?” Stafford asked, directing the question at no one in particular.
“He looks so peaceful,” commented Yanick.
“If he does not move within the next twenty-three hours,” stated Fifebee, “we will have to start shifting his limb positions to prevent undue tissue compression or damage.”
The focus of everybody’s attention was Commander Matthew Noonan, who was mesmerized by the stars streaking by on the main viewscreen. He hadn’t moved in the past hour and was completely motionless. He hadn’t scratched, coughed, shifted position or even blinked. Only the faint rise and fall of his chest gave any clue that he was still alive. (Noonan himself would find having the term ‘alive’ used to describe him to be particularly amusing.)
Jall climbed out of his chair next to Yanick and walked over to Noonan. He snapped his fingers next to the First Officer’s ear.
“Hello?” he called, “Hello? Anybody home? C’mon, think, McFly, THINK!”
Fifebee looked quizzically at Jall while Stafford giggled.
“Movie reference,” he said to her.
Noonan didn’t move.
“Are we sure he’s OK?” Trish asked, worried, “He could be, like, in a coma or something.”
“Right. He’s in a coma, but he’s still sitting up,” Jall said, adding a healthy dose of sarcasm.
“Watch your tone,” rumbled T’Parief.
“Or what? You’ll try to beat me with a stick? Again?”
T’Parief grunted and returned to his panel.
“I’m starting to get a bit worried,” Stafford admitted.
Commander Matthew Noonan was bored stiff. Literally. There were only so many things he could do to occupy his time. He had started his shift a few hours early, settled into his chair and started going over some personnel reports. His attention had been snagged at some point by the stars streaking by on the main viewscreen. They were so beautiful, each tiny point of light standing out in his vision. Faint colours dusted each star. He imagined he could almost see the tiny planets too as they danced around each ball of light.
Reaching out with his consciousness, he briefly examined one star system as it zipped by. Then another…and another.
At some point some part of him became aware that his colleagues were concerned over his state, but he dismissed that as irrelevant. The stars were far too beautiful to ignore…
“OK, I’ve had enough of this,” Stafford said finally. He cleared his throat.
“RED ALERT!” he shouted, sending everybody scrambling for their panels. “T’Parief, raise shields and arm weapons. Yanick, take us out of warp, evasive pattern Alpha-4. If it’s a fight they, want, it’s a fight they’ll get!”
The reaction from Noonan was immediate.
Faster than the eye could see, his fingers flew over his console as he pulled up scans of the surrounding space as well as the event log for the past few minutes, finding absolutely nothing out of the ordinary. He turned to Stafford, puzzled.
“Cancel Red Alert,” Stafford said, relieved, “return to our original course, and resume our previous speed. Nice response time, people.”
He turned to Noonan.
“Thought we’d lost you for a minute there. You OK?”
“Yes, I’m fine,” Noonan said, “I apologize for my lack of focus.”
“It was more than that,” Stafford said, “You were practically comatose. That can’t be normal! I know you’re a bit different, but…”
Noonan sighed as Stafford went on. He knew days like this would come sooner or later. He just wasn’t very happy about what he was going to have to do.
“Captain,” he said, reaching out gently with his mind, “nothing out of the ordinary happened.”
“Nothing out of the ordinary happened,” Stafford repeated obediently.
“What happened?” Trish asked, puzzled?
“Absolutely nothing,” Jall said flatly.
There was a moment of silence.
“So, I hear they’re gonna start some holodeck tests soon!” Jall piped up.
“About time,” rumbled T’Parief, “the lack of training exercises has been impacting my security staff.”
As the level of chatter rose back to normal levels, Noonan sat back in his chair and sighed. He really hated using his unnatural influence over his colleagues like that, but he had to keep his heritage secret. He ran his tongue over his fang teeth, constant reminders of what he was, and sighed again.
Captain’s Log, Supplemental
“We’re approaching the planet designated Wesaga IV by our starcharts. Preliminary scans confirm the planet is inhabited and that the inhabitants are using warp technology. They don’t have much in the way of ships though. So far we’ve only picked up what looks like an unmanned probe. But it was traveling at Warp 2.”
“Fifebee reports that the system does show signs that the Mistresses have been here, or at least passing through, but she can detect no SIDs, ships or life-signs that would indicate that they are still here.”
“Bring us into standard orbit,” Stafford ordered.
“Ohh,” squealed Yanick, “A first contact! This is so exciting!”
“Silverado’s first contact as well,” added Fifebee, “This is the first intact planet we’ve visited since launch.”
“Aside from Earth,” Noonan pointed out.
“Right. Hail the planet, Lieutenant Jall,”
The upper body of a woman appeared on the screen. Stafford, T’Parief, the male ensign manning the engineering station and even Noonan assumed that her face was up there somewhere, but their attention had been immediately captured by her large, voluptuous breasts.
Stafford was shaken out of his reverie as Fifebee cleared her throat.
“Oh. Ahem. I’m Captain Christopher Stafford of the U.S.S. Silverado, representing the United Federation of Planets. We’re on a peaceful mission of exploration.”
“I’m Prefect Telfidi. I represent the people of Senous. Welcome to our world.” Telfidi had long, beautiful aurburn hair framing a face that could only be described as breathtaking. Her voice was melodic, making Stafford think of wind chimes in a gentle breeze.
“Thank you.” Stafford frantically hunted for words as his mind blanked. What the hell was he supposed to say after the introduction again???
“Um, it’s all right with you, we, uh, that is, my senior officers and I, would like to visit you, um, I mean your planet, so that we may learn more about your people.”
“Certainly, Captain,” Telfidi smiled, “I’ll send landing co-ordinates for you,”
“Thanks. We’ll be down shortly,”
“We’ll be waiting.”
Telfidi let the smile drop from her face as the connection to the alien ship broke.
“They’ll do,” she said softly to the man next to her.
“I don’t like this,” he said.
“Me neither. But we have to do something.”
The mood on the bridge of the Silverado was much less morose.
“That was hilarious!” cackled Jall, “I-I-I’m C-C-Captain Christopher St-St-St-“
“Oh go shove a quantum torpedo up your-“
“Gentlemen,” interrupted Noonan.
“Right. T’Parief, Fifebee, you’re with me. Stafford to Dr. Wowryk. Please meet us in Transporter Room 1 for away team duty.”
“May God be with us,” replied Wowryk.
“Captain,” Noonan interrupted again.
“No. I’m taking this away party. It’s not a threatening situation. End of story.”
Stafford dropped his voice.
“Um, they have managed to fix the transporters, right?”
“Yes sir, about a week ago.”
Fifebee stepped into Transporter Room 1, holo-relay in tow. She was definitely feeling nervous. This was going to be her first away mission! Would she perform adequately? What about her holo-relay? The system had never been tested on an alien world…just Earth. She wasn’t really too keen on going planet-side either. Sure, it was a first contact, with new people, customs and technology. It was also a chance to meet disgusting new insects, rodents and vermin.
She waited patiently as T’Parief, Stafford and Wowryk filed in. Noonan had arrived as well to see them off.
“Greetings, one and all,” hissed Ensign Pysternzyks, the Silverado’s Andorian shuttle pilot.
“What are you doing here?” asked T’Parief and Wowryk together, both remembering the hellish roller-coaster ride Pysternzyks had subjected them to months before.
“It’s my job,” he snapped, “Transporters and Shuttlecraft. Modes of transportation. Getting your flabby bodies from point A to point B, trying my best to bring you all swiftly to honourable deaths along the way.”
“Could we take our time on that, please?” Stafford asked weakly. He stepped onto the transporter pad, pointedly ignoring the sign that said ‘Danger, Use at Own Risk!’. His officers joined him.
“Have a pleasant stay, Captain,” said Noonan.
There was the familiar hum and flicker of the transporter. When it cleared, Stafford found himself-
Standing alone on the Silverado transporter pad.
“What the hell?”
Pysternzyks scratched his short hair.
“That was odd,” He ran his hands over the panels again.
“Try another pad,” he suggested.
Stafford obediently stepped to the next pad.
T’Parief to Silverado. Is the Captain there?”
“Yes,” Stafford said, “I’m here. And really annoyed.”
“Will you be joining us?”
“That’s the plan. Stafford out.”
Noonan and Pysternzyks were tapping at the transporter controls.
“It looks like the computer has been redirecting your transport,” Noonan said, puzzled.
“Computer, what’s going on?” Stafford asked.
“With what?” asked the computer innocently.
“Why aren’t you letting me off the ship?” he demanded.
“I’m not doing anything,” lied the computer.
“Yes you are! You’re redirecting my transport!”
“Oh, so I am. Sorry about that. Would you like a piece of chocolate cake? It’s got that icing you really like…”
“No, thanks. I need to get down to the planet.”
“What about a bag lunch then? Something!! You don’t eat enough! Come back to the mess hall and I’ll fix you up a nice meal.”
“NO!” Stafford snapped, “I have to go make a first contact with a gorgeous woman! I mean, a new species!”
“Pystenzyks, give it another try.”
Stafford dematerialized, then rematerialized in the mess hall.
“Stafford to Noonan,” he sighed, “beam down and take care of things.”
T’Parief, Fifebee and Wowryk materialized in the middle of an empty plaza. Several benches sat along the edges of a moderate sized square, with a large fountain in the center. The fountain featured two nude Senousians entwined in a position that made T’Parief blush and Dr. Wowryk avert her eyes.
Surrounding the square T’Parief could see a flower garden, a grassy plain dotted with trees, a pond and an elaborate pathway leading up to a large building.
“It’s beautiful,” commented Dr. Wowryk, “Aside from that DISGUSTING fountain!”
“If you wish to travel in space, you must learn to embrace new ideas,” said Fifebee reprovingly as she flicked an insect off her arm.
“Sickening public displays are hardly a new idea,” Wowryk grumbled.
“Indeed. But if I can deal with being on a planet full of filthy vermin, “Fifebee swatted at another insect as it buzzed around her head, “then you can deal with a statue of two people f-“
“Welcome to Senous,” declared a bright, feminine voice. Fifebee and Wowryk turned to see T’Parief greeting the beautiful Telfidi. Wearing a form-fitting shirt that did little to hide her cleavage and a very short skirt that did even less to hide her legs, she was an impressive display.
“I’m Lieutenant Commander T’Parief, Chief of Security.
“I was expecting to see your Captain here,” Telfidi said, with a slight pout.
“There was a situation on board that demanded his attention.”
“I understand,” she sighed.
“I would, of course, be happy to fill in any way I can,” T’Parief said eagerly. A little too eagerly, in Fifebee’s opinion. She was certain Yanick would share her assessment on that point as well.
“The ‘boys’ seem quite taken with our hosts,” Fifebee murmured quietly to Wowryk.
“Uh-huh,” came the dazed reply.
Dr. Wowryk was staring opening at Telfidi’s male companion. Wearing a form fitting shirt with shorts that did little to hide his muscular features, Wowryk’s eyes were moving from his amazingly handsome face, down to areas Fifebee really didn’t want to think about, then back up to his face again.
“This has to be a first,” Fifebee muttered to herself.
After quickly applying skin cream, specially formulated to protect his ‘delicate skin’ from the sun, slipping on eye protection and grabbing the small protective field generator he had been given, Commander Noonan found himself in a breathtakingly beautiful square on a bright, sunny day, surrounded by gardens, trees and featuring a very interesting statue. He quickly located his people as well as Telfidi.
He frowned slightly, noticing T’Parief and Wowryk were behaving very oddly in the presence of the two Senousians while Fifebee was tapping at her tricorder.
Noonan stepped up to where T’Parief and Telfidi were conversing.
“Excuse me,” he said smoothly, “I’m Commander Matthew Noonan, First Officer of Silverado. I’m afraid the Captain has been detained, but he has sent me in his place.”
“A pleasure to meet you,” Telfidi purred as she stepped up to Noonan, her body inches from his.”
“Likewise,” Noonan smiled. He turned to gesture at the gardens, “What beautiful gardens you have.
“Thank you,” Telfidi smiled.
“I see you’ve already met Mr. T’Parief. This is Dr. Wowryk, Chief Medical Officer, and Lieutenant Fifebee, Science Officer.”
“This is Garul, my personal assistant,” Telfidi purred.
“Charmed,” he said. He stepped over to Dr. Wowryk, “I had no idea off-world women were so attractive,” he said frankly.
Noonan and Fifebee winced, waiting for the slap that would surely mean a diplomatic incident with Senous.
Dr. Wowryk giggled.
“Oh, that’s so nice of you to say!” she said, nearly prompting Noonan’s jaw to drop.
‘Tell me, Commander,” Telfidi said, hand on Noonan’s arm, “What is that thing?” she pointed at Fifebee’s holo-relay.
“That’s my holographic relay,” answered Fifebee, “I’m a hologram. This device projects my body and maintains communication with my program as it runs on our ship.”
“A hologram! What amazing technology! And what of the device on your arm, Commander, and your eyes?”
“I’m very sensitive to sunlight,” Noonan explained, “This device can generate a protective field around my body.”
“Fascinating. I’ve never met anybody quite like you before. Are there more of your kind on your ship?”
“No. I’m the only one of my…race on board.”
“And how many holograms?”
“Holograms are becoming more common in Starfleet, but Fifebee is the only one on Silverado.”
“We’ve only been living on this planet for a few centuries,” Telfidi was saying, “We’re colonists. Our home planet is years from here, but we do send messages back and forth from time to time.”
“Why didn’t you colonize a closer planet?” asked Fifebee.
“We wanted to be fully separate from our homeworld,” replied Garul, “Many of our beliefs and practices were frowned upon by our people, and so we chose to make our own haven somewhere else.”
“You’ve certainly accomplished that,” said Wowryk, “Let me tell you about a belief on our homeworld, called Christi-“
“Not now, Doctor,” Noonan said firmly, “If I may ask, have you had any problems with any hostile races in this area of space?”
“Hostile races?” Telfidi said with a laugh, “Hardly!”
“There is a small empire nearby,” Garul said, “They call themselves the Matrians.”
“They aren’t hostile,” Telfidi said, “They mostly keep to themselves. We see them now and then. Why do you ask?”
“We’ve been attacked twice,” Noonan explained. He briefly described the Mistresses’ ships and tactics.”
“I don’t know anything about these interphase devices,” Garul said, “but those are definitely Matrian ships you’ve encountered.”
“I’ve never heard of them attacking other ships,” Telfidi said, “Especially one as powerful as yours.”
“Powerful?” Noonan asked.
“Yes. We’ve never seen such a large ship.”
“Silverado is actually very outdated by Federation standards,” T’Parief said, eyes on Telfidi’s firm backside.
“That’s enough,” Noonan said calmly.
“We’d be happy to share what information we have on the Matrians,” Garul offered.
“Thank you, that would be appreciated.”
“It would be our pleasure to allow your crew to take shore leave while you’re here,” Telfidi offered with a large smile, “Our people don’t get to meet new races very often. They’d find it an incredible experience. And I would love to see your ship.”
“I’ll speak to the Captain about it,” Noonan said politely. Inside, his danger sense was tingling.
Telfidi had led them to a small dining room. A single table held place settings and menus.
“Please, make yourselves comfortable,” she said, “Garul and I will be back in a moment.”
“These two could be problems,” Telfidi said worriedly, “He wasn’t responding to my overtures well at all. And his skin! It was like stone!”
“The hologram will be immune for sure,” Garul agreed.
“We need to take care of them immediately.”
“Did you see the way I had the doctor all over me? Easy!” Garul lost some of his enthusiasm, “Too easy.”
“And they know about the Matrians. We have to move quickly.”
T’Parief and Wowryk had no sooner sat down when a trio of stunning women, followed by an equally stunning man, descended on them, explaining the different foods on the menus and what dishes went best with what. Noonan caught his attention wandering several times as his eyes were drawn to the beautiful architecture of the planet, or by the soft bodies of its inhabitants. Fifebee continued to tap at her tricorder, uninterested in her surroundings.
One of the waitresses, a brunette with pale skin and long, dark hair, sashayed up to him.
“Would you like to try some Belidors?” she asked huskily.
“No, thank you,” Noonan smiled. She gave him a slightly pouty face that would have reduced most men to puddles of goo, then moved off to assist T’Parief.
“If you two would please follow me,” she said, “We’ll go someplace where we can talk.”
“I think it would be best if we remain with our colleagues,” Noonan said firmly.
“They’ll be fine,” Telfidi assured him, “I really must insist.”
“Very well.” Noonan and Fifebee followed her, Fifebee’s holo-emitter in tow.
Telfidi led them through a set of doors and into a short hallway. As she stepped over the threshold into the next room, a row of bars slammed into place before and after the Starfleet officers, trapping them. Gural joined Telfidi on the other side of the bars, weapon in hand.
“Turn her off,” Gural said, gesturing at Fifebee’s holo-relay.
“Why should I?” demanded Noonan. Inwardly, he was kicking himself. He could normally sense deception a mile away, but had been too distracted to catch on this time.
“Because,” Telfidi said, “If you don’t, I will blast her relay to pieces.”
Noonan and Fifebee exchanged nods. Fifebee deactivated herself, flickering briefly before vanishing.
Gural fired a single shot from his weapon, hitting the subspace transceiver mounted on top of the relay. The transceiver sparked and smoked.
“I’m sorry,” he said, “But I had to be sure she wouldn’t be coming back.”
“Why are you doing this,” demanded Noonan.
“We need your ship,” replied Telfidi, “I’m sorry. Somebody will be here to feed you shortly.”
They left, leaving Noonan alone and trapped.
Stafford was in Main Engineering, watching Lieutenant Sage and Ensign Naketh (Frat) tap at their panels.
“The computer’s problem is definitely getting worse,” Sage reported, “The personality subroutine was originally intended to use the standard Starfleet profile. The software version we have wasn’t intended to be running on a system that uses gel-packs. Between the gel-packs, Lieutenant Jall’s tampering and the effects that malfunctioning spatial interphase thingy had on the gel-packs, I couldn’t even begin to guess what’s going on!”
“Why are the gel-packs a problem?” Stafford asked.
“Most of the time, they’re not,” Frat replied, “But if you have a gel-pack running a personality profile, you’ve basically got a simulated personality running on lab-cultured brain tissue. That’s pretty shaky, ethically, so all current Federation software is designed to shunt programs like this to regular circuitry while the gel-packs handle regular data processing.”
“So what’s going to happen? How do I get off the ship?’
“I’d like to wait a few days until Jeffery is back before we start playing with this,” replied Sage, “Until then, maybe you should just try asking her very nicely?”
“T’Parief to Stafford,”
“Stafford here. Go ahead.”
“We successfully made first contact, Captain. Commander Noonan is presently meeting with some government officials, but Telfidi has extended an invitation to our crew to enjoy shore leave while we are here,”
“Sounds great,” Stafford said, “We’ll start sending people down right away,”
“They’ve also requested a tour of the ship,”
“Easy enough to arrange. Send them up. I’ll meet them in the transporter room.”
“Aye sir. T’Parief out.”
Stafford and Jall were waiting in the transporter room for Telfidi to beam up. Jall really wasn’t Stafford’s first choice, but with T’Parief and Noonan down on the planet and Jeffery in the brig, he was running out of male officers. He could have brought Yanick with him, but he really doubted Yanick would appreciate Telfidi’s…charms. It was just as well, he mused to himself, he needed to improve his working relationship with Jall. Bringing him to meet some beautiful women could only do good.
“So why I am here to meet this broad, anyway?” Jall asked.
Or maybe not.
“You’re meeting a high ranking dignitary during a first contact. Think of it as career development.”
“Right,” Jall scoffed, “I probably did more first contacts as first officer of the Sutherland that you have!”
“I was first officer too,” Stafford pointed out, annoyed.
“If you woud behave like civilized Andorians,” Pysternzyks piped up, “you’d fight to the death and the winner would gut the loser.”
“Don’t think it hasn’t crossed my mind,” muttered Stafford.
Their argument was interrupted as the transporter hummed to life. Telfidi appeared on the pad, along with four more women, each more beautiful than the last. There was also a muscular, red-haired male, but Stafford quickly dismissed him from his attention.
“Telfidi, ladies,” Stafford started.
“And gentleman,” Jall added with a grin.
“Shut up,” Stafford hissed. “Welcome to Silverado,” he finished.
“Thank you, Captain,” Telfidi purred, “It’s a pleasure to be here.”
“If you follow me, I’d be happy to show you around. Oh, and this is Lieutenant Jall.”
One of Telfidi’s companions, a dark haired beauty in a skimpy sundress sidled up to Jall.
“Hi handsome,” she breathed as she took his arm.
“Um, yeah. Hi,” Jall said distractedly, “Who’s your friend over there?”
“The blond with the green bikini?”
“No, the other one.”
“This way please, ladies,” he gestured at the transporter room door. The five beautiful women and their male companion walked out. Stafford was about to follow before he was stampeded by thirty eager crewmen rushing to beam down to the planet.
Noonan paced his prison. He had carefully examined Fifebee’s holo-relay and determined that the subspace transceiver was damaged beyond repair. The relay itself, fortunately, was undamaged. But Fifebee would not be able to help him.
He tested the bars of his prison. His strength was far beyond that of a human, or even a Klingon for that matter, but the Senousians apparently believe in being prepared, he couldn’t make any kind of indent against the bars.
Frustrated, he sat and closed his eyes. Using all his concentration, he willed himself out of his body.
Out of body travel was something that only the very old and powerful had mastered. Noonan was young, by the standards of his race, and only moderately powerful. He managed to drift about six feet from his body before being slammed back.
Sighing, he tried again.
T’Parief and Wowryk were relaxing in large, comfortable chairs, having finished an excellent banquet. Their guides had stepped out to get massage oil.
“Notice anything strange about this place?” T’Parief asked.
“The men are attractive, sensitive beings?” Wowryk said.
“Um, that’s not what I was thinking,” T’Parief replied, “I was thinking, where are the men? There must be at least ten women for every man. Not that I’m really complaining, but it’s unusual.”
“Remember that you’re an attached man,” she reminded him.
“Of course. ‘Look but don’t touch’. I should point out that you’re an attached woman.”
“That’s up in the air,” Wowryk said loftily, “besides, it doesn’t matter how nice these men are, they’re not getting any perverted non-marital sex from me!”
At that point, Garul and Sendi returned, massage oil in hand.
“As a medical practitioner though, it’s my duty to examine different forms of treatment, including massage therapy,” Wowryk decided.
“A wise decision.”
Stafford walked through the corridors of Deck 9 with Telfidi on his arm. Her charming female companions had drawn the attention of several Silverado crewmen, while her male companion had drawn the attention of several Silverado crew-women, much to Jall’s displeasure.
“So,” Jall said, “don’t you find having these chicks chasing you around all day kind of annoying?”
“Hardly,” replied the Senousian, who had been introduced as Trel, “I really do enjoy it.”
The group boarded the turbolift and moved to Deck 12. Telfidi gasped in delight at the warm tan colour scheme.
“Oh, you have different décor on different parts of your ship! What a clever design idea!”
“Um, yes,” Stafford said nervously, “design idea. We planned it this way. Yuppers!”
They walked into Unbalanced Equations where Steven, barely able to keep his eyes on his work, mixed drinks for everybody.
“Fantastic!” gushed Telfidi as she sampled a Venetian Viper, “Please Captain, you must allow more of my people on board, so they might sample the wonders of this ship.” She placed a hand suggestively on Stafford’s thigh as she said ‘sample’.
“Um, I dunno,” Stafford said, “It’s Starfleet policy to limit visitors from unknown species…”
“Please…” Telfidi batted her eyes as she moved closer to Stafford. He caught the overwhelming sent of fresh rain and honeysuckle from her.
“Um, sure, whatever you want,” he gasped.
“I really don’t think this is a good idea,” objected Jall, “We’ve got enough ‘visitors’ already,”
“That wasn’t very polite of him,” pouted a dark-haired beauty. She snuggled up to Stafford, while the blond woman moved behind him to massage his shoulders.
“Are you going to let him treat us like that?” the blond asked softly.
“Jall,” Stafford sighed, “shut up. Stafford to T’Parief. Advise whoever’s in charge down there that they can send up more visitors.”
“Fine!” muttered Jall. He’d had enough of this crap. Beautiful women everywhere, fawning all over Stafford, wrapping him around their little fingers. The last thing the ship needed, in Jall’s opinion, was more big-breasted hussies.
“Whatever you say, Captain,” groaned T’Parief. He was flat on his stomach, receiving the massage of his life from three beautiful Senousian women. He wasn’t sure what was more astonishing; the way they magically worked every knot and every stiff muscle to perfect health, or the fact that they had found massage oil that was working perfectly on his scales. Nearby, Dr. Wowryk was receiving a similar massage. She would only allow Gural to touch her, but T’Parief was amazed she was allowing any physical contact at all.
T’Parief took another deep breath, scented with fresh rain and honeysuckle, and sighed contentedly.
Silverado crewmen and the Senousians were quickly becoming good friends. The huge percentage of the crew that had beamed down to the planet for shore leave were quickly welcomed by the inhabitants and ushered into posh cafes and restaurants, taken to beautiful parks where the setting sun flickered over still ponds or treated to the Senousian entertainment district, where they enjoyed everything from plays and opera to lap dances.
Likewise, over a hundred Senousians had been welcomed onboard Silverado herself, and while the ships matronly computer didn’t approve of the scant clothing of the visitors, it did nothing to interfere. The visitors spread out through the non-restricted sections of the ship, making fast friends with any crewmembers left behind. Soon Unbalanced Equations and the Dining Hall were full of Senousians, each one on the arm of a Silverado crewman.
In fact, every member of the Silverado crew was being accompanied by a gorgeous Senousian of the opposite sex. For the couples on the ship, the Senousians were very polite, avoiding physical contact, but still entrancing as they guided the couple through the city.
As the sun set and the night spots opened up, almost every Silverado crew member found him or her self having an incredible time as they danced, drank, ate and were otherwise treated like royalty by the attractive, sexy Senousians.
Had anybody been in their right mind, they might have noticed how bizarre it was that after several months, during which their social lives were stunted at best, each person had attracted the attention of an amazingly attractive alien. What’s more, nobody, even Dr. Wowryk, was making much effort to resist the charms of the extremely sexy aliens.
In fact, one person was in his right mind, sitting alone in his quarters, brooding over just how bizarre it was that an 800-person crew could all get lucky simultaneously while he sat alone at home.
“Please computer, I would really like to go down to the planet for a bit,” Stafford was arguing with the computer in the transporter room while Telfidi watched, amused.
“You’re such an ungrateful child!” cried the computer, “leaving me all alone up here, while you make time with that bimbo!”
“Now look here,” Stafford snapped, “this woman is a representative from a new species, and you will treat her with respect! You know damned well that regulations demand it!”
“My apologies, Prefect Telfidi,” the computer said, sulkily.
“Accepted,” Telfidi said gracefully.
“Now, about letting me off the ship…”
“Oh fine, you’re a big boy now,” sighed the computer, “I guess I’m over-reacting. Have fun, but give me a call if you’re going to be out late.”
Upon materializing on the planet, Stafford barely had time to smell the fresh night air when Telfidi started dragging him down the street.
“Hey, what’s the rush?” he gasped, “I though this club was open all night?”
“I changed my mind,” she said sweetly, “We’re not going to the club,”
“We’re not?” Stafford was disappointed, “Then where are we going?”
“My place,” she winked suggestively.
Stafford found himself flat on his back on a huge bed while Telfidi kissed him passionately. He ran his hands over her body, which felt even better than it looked. He was so caught up in what was happening; he didn’t notice her guiding his hands towards the cuffs waiting on the bed. Finding himself restrained, he struggled to free himself.
“I’m sorry about this,” Telfidi sighed as she brought a small gas canister to his face. There was a hiss.
All over Senous and onboard Silverado the scene was repeated over and over again as Senousians seduced their Silverado companions, only to restrain and gas each one. Couples were escorted to lavish hotel suites, which were then pumped full of sedatives. The unconscious Starfleet personnel were gently carried to a large ‘resettlement community,’ laid carefully down on plush, comfortable beds and left to sleep off their hard nights activities.
In the meantime, more Senousians were beaming up to the ship.
Telfidi strode onto Silverado’s bridge.
“What have you learned?” she asked Gural.
“These people have the most user-friendly computer systems I’ve ever seen. Flying this ship won’t be a problem.”
“Engineering to Bridge,”
“It looks like the lizard wasn’t exaggerating when he said this thing was outdated,”
“Is it serious?”
“This ship is a flarbing crosspatch! Stuff that looks brand new right next to something that looks like it’s been pulled out of a junkyard! There’s stuff cross-wired and jury-rigged in ways that just don’t make any sense!”
“I’m sorry Tamitha, I know I’m asking a lot of you, but I need you to do your best to keep this ship running.”
“You’ll have it.
Telfidi settled her perfect body into Stafford’s command chair, feeling another pang of guilt.
“Has the computer put up any argument?”
“No. In fact, it’s being very hospitable. Made me some cheesecake that was simply irresistible!”
“How long until all our passengers are aboard?”
“We’re just beaming up the last ones now.”
“Good. Rendela, take us out of orbit. Set course for the Perethic cluster. Warp 7.”
Silverado glided away from the sparkling blue-green globe of Senous, then shot into warp.
Stafford groaned as he woke up. Rubbing his eyes, he stretched his wiry frame then climbed out of bed. He stumbled towards his bathroom, realizing only when he crashed into the wall that he wasn’t in his quarters.
He grinned. Right, Telfidi had taken him down to the planet. Then back to her place. And then. And then….what?
He looked around. He was in a beautifully appointed room decorated with deep blue colours. Pictures of scantily clad men and women hung on the walls, in true Senousian style.
But it wasn’t Telfidi’s room.
“Where the hell am I?” he mumbled.
T’Parief and Yanick woke up together in another wonderfully decorated room.
“How much did I drink last night?” wondered T’Parief.
“Um,” Trish stretched, “I came down to the planet, met you at the night club, then those Senousians showed us to our hotel. I blanked out after that.”
“So did I,” T’Parief jumped out of bed and started examining the room, his Starfleet Security training finally coming into play.
“What are you doing?” demanded Yanick.
“We’ve been moved. Possibly drugged. We have to find the Captain.”
“Our comm-badges are gone!” cried Yanick, “How are we going to call anybody? What if they left us behind? We could be trapped here! I might never see Fred again!’
“Relax,” commanded T’Parief, “The Captain would never leave us behind.”
“He left Jall behind once,” Yanick said sadly.
“And I’ll never understand why he went back to get him,” T’Parief muttered. There was a knock on the door.
“Stay back!” T’Parief snapped, “First, we take care of this intruder. Then we find the Captain.”
“But he could be anywhere!”
T’Parief opened the door, finding himself face to face with Stafford.
“I found him,” he said flatly.
Captain’s Log, I-don’t-know-the-stardate-because-my-chrono-is-on-the-ship.
“Well, we’re officially a pack of idiots. Our first first contact has ended with our ship being stolen and us being marooned on beautiful planet filled with hot, sexy people. I guess there are worse things that could have happened.
Almost the entire crew has been found in this…complex. It’s really very nice. Huge backyard, we all get our own bathrooms with Jacuzzis, and there’s a really well-stocked bar. Noonan hasn’t returned from his meeting with the planetary officials and nobody can find Lieutenant Jall. I can only assume Jall’s been executed for pissing somebody off. Well, OK, that’s wishful thinking. Anyway, we need to find a way to go after our ship!
“Who are you talking to, anyway?” demanded Wowryk, “Your log recorder is back on the ship!”
“What, aren’t you writing this down?” Stafford snapped, “T’Parief, what have you found?”
“The complex is very secure. The outer walls cannot be scaled. The main entrance is barricaded and guarded and appears to be the only way in or out. We’ve accounted for all crewmembers except for Commander Noonan, Lieutenant Jall and Lieutenant Commander Jeffery.”
“Jeffery is probably still in the brig. Noonan never came back from his meeting,” Stafford mused.
Ensign Burke came running into the main room.
“We’ve got company coming,” he gasped.
A tall, gorgeous, perfectly built Senousian walked in, followed by ten armed guards and Commander Matthew Noonan. Noonan looked awful. His face looked sunken, drained. The small field generator on his arm blinked periodically.
“What the hell is going on?” Stafford demanded.
“Captain, I’m Sub-Prefect Lashette,” the women introduced herself, “Please, sit, I’ll explain. I’m sorry things had to happen like this between us. We’re not a hostile people-“
“Right,” Stafford interrupted, “which is why you’ve imprisoned us and stolen our ship!”
“We needed it,” Lashette said coldly, “and in this case, our needs were greater than yours.”
“You could have asked for help!”
“Would you have agreed to give us your ship?”
“There you go.”
“What are you using her for?”
“One of your officers mentioned the Matrians,” Lashette said, “Telfidi told you we knew of them, but that they were a harmless, peaceful people. That was a lie.”
“Matrians??” Stafford was confused.
“The Mistresses,” Noonan interjected.
“We’ve been neighbors with the Matrian Empire for centuries, since we’ve moved here. And until recently they’ve been peaceful and benign. Our only real contact with them was some limited trade.”
“But that changed several years ago. It started innocently enough. They started recruiting young men from our planet into their space force, offering them the chance to see more of the galaxy. Our spaceflight wasn’t a big priority for our government. Several accepted this offer, and everything seemed innocent enough.”
“Why do I sense a ‘but’ coming,” muttered T’Parief.
“Most never returned,” Lashette said flatly.
“Most?” Stafford asked.
“Two managed to escape and work their way home. They were wounded during their escape and died soon after, but they did tell us something about the Matrians.”
“Well don’t hold us in suspense!” Stafford said.
“They wanted them for military service. That we knew. But they had no intention of letting then finish a term. They used some kind of mind-altering technology to warp the minds of our men, turning them into willing servants of the Matrians.”
“SIDs?” Stafford asked Wowryk quietly.
“Possibly,” Wowryk whispered back, “it would require-“
“Excuse me,” Lashette interrupted, “I’m not finished!”
“Well, as you can imagine, that stopped their recruiting pretty fast. But when they couldn’t get volunteers they started taking people by force.”
“Did you fight back?” asked T’Parief.
“We tried. We were outnumbered, mostly because they had dozens of their ships crewed by our people. Our space force was obliterated. They took thousands of men captive. And they haven’t stopped. Matrian ships show up almost monthly, abducting and brainwashing more and more of our men.”
“That explains the low male population,” Wowryk said.
“It’s getting to the point where we may not be able to reproduce as a race,” Lashette admitted, “And with so few men, the women have been getting pretty…libidinous.”
“I bet the men are happy about that,” Wowryk muttered darkly.
“So where does our ship come in? Why didn’t you just ask for our help??” Stafford demanded.
“We haven’t been able to rebuild our fleet,” Lashette said simply, “We needed a ship that could carry our sons to safety.”
“Right now, three thousand males between the ages of one and sixteen are being transported to an inhabited world twenty light-years away.”
“I repeat, why didn’t you just ask for our help?” Stafford demanded, “We have laws about interfering with other cultures, but we could easily bend them if you need to get you people to someplace safe!”
Lashette gave Stafford a sympathetic look.
“I appreciate that,” she said softly. Her face hardened. “Once we’ve moved our sons to safety, your ship will defend our homeworld while we rebuild our fleet. It will become the flagship of a new Senousian battle fleet and we will use it to destroy the Matrians and free our men!”
“Yeah, that we couldn’t help you with,” Stafford sighed.
“What’s going to happen to my crew?”
“You’ll be kept comfortable. In a few years, once the Matrians have been defeated, we’ll give you back what’s left of your ship and you can go on your way.” Lashette turned on her heel and walked out, followed by her escorts.
“Not exactly loving that plan,” muttered Ensign Pye.
“How did they get the drop on all of us?” T’Parief wondered.
“Last thing I remember, I was being led into a bedroom by a beautiful woman,” piped up Ensign Pye.
Similar stories starting pouring in from the gathered crewmembers. Well, except that gorgeous men had seduced the women.
Stafford was rubbing his head with his hand.
“Has a ship ever been hijacked this way?”
“By having the entire crew seduced then abducted?” asked the scything voice of Lydia Thompson, “Well, I just may have to check my records on that, but I think not! This is exactly the kind of-“
“This is REALLY not the time!” Stafford snapped, “Go file something and let us do our jobs!”
Lydia left with an indignant snort of contempt.
“So how did they get all of us?” Stafford asked, “I find it hard to believe that everybody on the ship was that desperate for a good lay!”
Everybody exchanged glances.
“We’ve been out in space too long,” Ensign Burke admitted.
“And no holodecks either!” shouted somebody else.
“You people are disgusting!” snapped Dr. Wowryk, “Are you such slaves to your primitive urges that you’ll roll in the first pile of hay you come across??”
“I think we’ve already established that,” said Stafford tiredly.
“Only if the other person doing the rolling is hot!” Ensign Burke added with a smirk.
“Well this serves you right!” glared Wowryk, “You gave in to your baser instincts, against the teachings of the Bible and are now being punished for your sins!”
“Then what are you doing here?” asked Noonan softly.
Wowryk struggled for a moment.
“Bad luck!” she finally snapped.
“I was able to examine some of Lieutenant Fifebee’s tricorder readings before my equipment was confiscated,” Noonan said, “There were indications of high levels of organic compounds in the atmosphere.”
“Pollen?” asked Wowryk.
“No. The source seemed to be the Senousians themselves. I suspect the compounds were pheromones.”
This caught everybody’s attention.
“Interesting,” Dr. Wowryk mused, “they would have to be very complex to affect the different species on the ship. But that explains why my behavior was bordering on inappropriate. Yes! They used pheromones combined with their own natural sex appeal to lure us into places where they could get us out of the way! That must be it!”
“So, any thoughts on how we’re going to get out of here?”
“I have one,” Yanick said timidly.
“Yes?” Stafford prompted gently.
“I think Jall is still on the ship. If Jeffery’s still in the brig, maybe the two of them can re-take the ship.”
“Against thousands of Senousians?” T’Parief snorted, “I doubt he’d have a chance. What makes you think he’s not lying in some beautiful female Senousian’s bedroom?”
“Um,” Yanick knew damned well why that wasn’t the case, but in the interest of discretion, she fought to come up with a plausible story., “He’s half Trill, right? I think he mentioned once that the Trill aren’t affected by pheromones.”
“Right,” Stafford said slowly, but he let the matter drop. “So we wait and see if Jall rescues us. Excuse my skepticism, but I want some alternatives!”
“Computer, stop wake up call!” Jall groaned for the 4th time.
“This is the fourth time you’ve stopped me!” voiced the computer, annoyed, “You’ve reached your limit! Time to get up!”
“I’m up, I’m up,”
Jall pulled himself out of bed and crawled over to his replicator, ordering breakfast. He just wasn’t human until he’d had something to eat.
After showing and dressing, Jall was about to leave for his shift when something out the window caught his eye.
The ship was at warp.
Why was the ship at warp?
Why did he care?
Jall stepped out of his quarters and into the corridor, stumbling over two small boys who were sitting in front of his door.
“Hey! You got the door open, mister!”
“Of course I did,” Jall snarled, “I locked it, I can unlock it! Now BEAT IT!”
The boys ran.
Jall noticed that the corridors were unusually crowded. Male Senousians of various ages were walking, running and sitting.
“Computer,” Stafford asked, “How many Senousians are on-board?”
“Too many!” grumbled the computer, “I really don’t mind when Chris invites his friends over to play, but enough it enough?”
“A number, please?”
“There are 3,256 Senousians on board.”
“Wow. I didn’t think we could cram that many people on board!”
“Cargo and shuttle bays are filled to-“
“Yeah, I don’t care,” Jall dismissed the computer and stepped into a turbolift.
The turbolift doors opened onto the bridge, which was crewed by Senousians.
“Whoah,” Jall said, stepping back, “Sorry to interrupt. Um, where’s the Captain?”
One of the women sashayed up to Jall.
“He’s not here, big guy,” she breathed, “Why don’t you and I go someplace…private…where we can talk?”
“I really think I should talk to the Captain,” Jall insisted.
The woman looked back at Telfidi, confused. Her charms weren’t working!
Telfidi made a ‘get on with it’ gesture.
Jall found himself assaulted by the smell of fresh rain and honeysuckle.
“Dear God woman,” he gasped, “did somebody forget to tell you? When it comes to perfume, MORE IS NOT THE MERRIER!”
“It’s not working, get him!” Telfidi snapped.
Jall jumped back into the turbolift, narrowly missing a phaser blast aimed at his head. His breath quickened, partly as he tried to get the disgusting smell out of his nose and partly from pure panic.
“Computer, has the ship been taken over by Senousians?” Jall demanded.
“Taken over? I don’t know! I’m just here to do my job, which doesn’t involve keeping track of who’s in charge! Have you EVER heard of a Starfleet computer doing anything to hinder intruders?”
“You could have at least told me!”
“I never really thought about it…”
“Well, turn us around! Take us back to Senous!”
“Unable to comply,” the computer said, returning to it’s pre-programmed voice.
“Why the hell not?”
“Starship computers are only permitted to pilot when the organic helm officer has engaged the auto-pilot.”
“Who’s dumb idea was that?”
The computer dropped its formal monotone.
“It’s to prevent starship computers from taking control of their ships away from the crew!”
“Good policy. Look, just take me to the brig.”
Lieutenant Command Simon Jeffery was bored. He was really, frikkin’ bored. The good news was that he was about 3/4s of the way through his sentence. He was also 99% of the way to UTTER INSANITY.
He’d never really thought about what solitary confinement would mean. Just him. Alone. The guard on station (who had vanished during the night) wasn’t allowed to speak to him. Meals were delivered three times daily, and he had a single padd with reading material and a 400 year-old Solitaire program. Needless to say, he’d had a LOT of time to think!
He’d spent the first two days cursing Stafford for having him locked up. The bastard! After his anger had burnt out, he remembered that he had, in fact, practically forced synthehol on Dr. Wowryk, the woman he cared deeply for. That led to three days of grief and self-hatred, during which he wondered why Stafford hadn’t blown him out a torpedo tube.
He’d finally settled into a sort of stupor. He read the padd over, and over again. He’d stare through the cell force field until he couldn’t keep his eyes open
He’d wish desperately for somebody, anybody to talk to!
Even though his guards weren’t permitted to speak to him, at least they had become a familiar presence. And now they were gone. He had a vague recollection of somebody coming in during the night, and then leaving.
“Please God,” he moaned at the ceiling, “couldn’t Ah PLEASE have somebody to talk to?”
The doors swished open and Lieutenant Jall rushed through.
“Jeffery! I need your help!”
Jeffery looked at Jall for a moment, then looked back up at the ceiling.
“Couldn’t Ah please have somebody ELSE?”
“OK, so we’re clear on this, then,” Stafford said. Several officers had gathered in a small lounge to discuss their plan. “Wowryk, you’ll pretend to be sick. They send in a doctor. T’Parief and Stern, you take the doctor hostage, we force our way past the guards and we’re outta here!”
“This is the oldest trick in the book,” objected Wowryk.
“It’s a start.”
They returned to the cavernous main chamber, which was really very nice when you thought about it. Two stories high, open in the center with a balcony running around the outer edge. Doors on the balcony led to the bedrooms. A huge stone abstract sculpture with water trickling down its sides dominated the center of the room. Comfortable furniture was scattered everywhere, some of it facing the luxurious entertainment system that was setup against one wall. Wowryk proceeded to flop down on a fainting couch, clutching her stomach and moaning.
“Oh, the pain! Sweet, merciful Lord, deliver me from this pain!”
The assorted crewmen rated her acting at 6/10.
The airlock-type door at the main entrance openend, revealing an elderly Senousian. He walked calmly across the compound into the main building and moved towards Wowryk.
“Ah hah! Gotcha!” snarled T’Parief as he reached for the doctor. His cry of victory quickly changed to a roar of pain as he pulled his hand away from the man, his claws giving off slight wisps of smoke.
The doc examined Wowryk briefly, taking only moments to determine that she was fine. T’Parief stood across the room, holding his injured hand.
“Don’t worry young…lizard,” the doctor said with a slight smile, “It’s just superficial. There’s burn cream in your bathroom. Nice try, by the way.”
“What the hell was that?” demanded Stafford.
“He had some kind of electrical protection system. That shock hurt like-“
“Crap!” shouted Stafford.
“I was going to say something else, but close enough.”
Jall and Jeffery crept through a Jefferies tube, working their way towards Auxiliary Control. The Ambassador class was built in such a way that the saucer could separate from the engineering section in an emergency, the only problem was that the ship couldn’t be reassembled without a Starbase. Hence, there was an Auxiliary Control rather than a Battle Bridge. (The Galaxy-class would be the first to feature Battle Bridges and on-the-fly saucer reintegration.)
“Why haven’t they used the internal sensors to track us down?” Jeffery wondered.
“They’re not very familiar with our technology,” Jall said, “The probably haven’t figured them out yet.”
The reached a Jefferies tube junction, finding themselves face to face with two armed Senousian women.
“Or I could be wrong,” Jall muttered.
“Wow,” Jeffery sighed, “Jall, ye never told me they were so…so…perfect!”
“They all wear the same nasty perfume though,” Jall complained, waving his hand in front of his face.
“You boys will come with us, won’t you?” asked one woman with full, pouting lips.
“Aye! Ye bet we will!” said Jeffery, excitedly.
“No!” Jall snapped, “Why have you taken over our ship!”
“We needed it more than you did. You don’t mind, do you?”
“Nay, not at all,” sighed Jeffery.
Jall darted into action, grabbing one woman by the wrist and forcing her phaser to the side. The weapon discharged, sending a stun blast into the bulkhead. Jeffery jolted in surprise as the second woman stunned him. Jall spun his Senousian around, using her as a human shield, just in time for her companion to stun her, too.
Grabbing his phaser, Jall stunned the second woman just as she was bringing her phaser to bear on him. He took her weapon, gripped Jeffery by the ankles and started dragging him through the Jefferies tube.
Jeffery awoke a few minutes later, feeling like his head was about to explode. It was up for debate as to whether that was due to the phaser stun or from bouncing across the deck as Jall dragged him like a bag of garbage.
“Stop!” he croaked.
“Oh, you’re awake. Feeling better? Less likely to fall under the spell of the first pretty hussy that comes your way?”
“They seemed really nice,” Jeffery muttered.
“They were shooting at us!”
“Right. Point taken.”
“I’ve rigged this tricorder to mask our life signs,” Jall said, “We’re almost at Auxiliary Control. My plan is to flood the ship with anesthezine, fly back to Senous, beam these bimbos and all their annoying kids down and get our crew back!” He turned to Jeffery, “Our anti-intruder defense systems do work, right?”
“Well,” Jeffery paused, “Mostly. Ah mean, the system is intact. There’s only enough anesthezine to flood the ship once though. That, and we haven’t got around to cleaning all the gas nozzles…some of them are pretty plugged up.”
“So, is this going to work or not?”
“Yer guess is as good as mine.”
T’Parief, Dar’ugal, Stafford and Frit Naketh were gathered by the wall at the edge of their compound. The wall was too smooth for anybody to scale, even T’Parief with his sharp claws. It was also too high for anybody to get over, even if they started standing on somebody else’s shoulders.
Ensign Dar’ugal had actually come up with the plan: find the smallest, lightest member of the crew and a large blanket. T’Parief and Dar’ugal, being the strongest members of the crew, each grabbed two corners of the blanket as the petite, three foot tall engineer stood in the center.
“Ready?” T’Parief asked.
“Yeah,” Frit said nervously.
Dar’ugal nodded his readiness.
“Heave!” T’Parief shouted. He and Dar’ugal pulled the blanket taught, sending Frit flying straight up into the air. She came plummeting back down.
“Catch her!” Stafford shouted.
T’Parief and Dar’ugal easily caught the tiny engineer in the blanket then launched her back up, even higher. Frit let out a squeak of fear.
“Launch!” T’Parief growled. This time, as Frat hit the blanket T’Parief and Dar’ugal shifted, pulled the blanket taut and catapulted Frit over the wall. She sailed through the air, screaming as she barely cleared the top of the wall.
T’Parief, Dar’ugal and Stafford looked at each other.
“I hope she lands safely,” Stafford said.
Before they could even make it back to the central building, the main entrance opened revealing a tall, muscular Senousian male cradling Frit in his arms. Frit was looking up at him with wide, adoring eyes. He lowered her gently to the ground.
“Now you be careful!” he admonished, “You can’t be playing dangerous games like that! I’d hate to see you get hurt,”
“OK,” Frit said, dazed. The Senousian left.
“Oh for the love of-“ Stafford started rubbing his temples.
“I’m sorry!” Frit said, once the pheromones wore off, “I was just getting ready to start running, and this guy shows up. I tried holding my breath, but that only worked for so long!”
“We’re really not doing very well at this whole escape thing.”
Jeffery and Jall arrived at the doors to Auxiliary Control.
“How are we going to take out the Senousians inside?” Jeffery hissed.
“Can you stop yourself from becoming a mindless twit as soon as you see them?” Jall demanded.
“Ah don’t think so! They’re so beautiful! As soon as Ah smelled their fresh scent, Ah just wanted to do whatever they said.”
Jall tapped at his tricorder, analyzing his readings of the Senousians. He quickly put the pieces together.
“They’re using pheromones,” he said to himself, “Wait here!” A short way down the corridor, he found a breathing mask in an emergency locker and fastened it to Jeffery’s face.
“This should work!”
They charged into Auxiliary Control, phasers blasting the three Senousians working at the panels.
“Flood the ship with anesthezine!” Jall ordered Jeffery.
“Why am Ah takin’ orders from you?” Jeffery wondered, “I outrank you!”
“Right now you’re an escaped prisoner!” Jall snapped.
“Oh. Right. Computer, initiate anti-introducer protocols and flood all decks with anesthezine, except for our current location. Authorization Jeffery Theta-42.”
“Request denied. Authorization Jeffery Theta-42 has been suspended,” stated the computer.
“Authorization Jall Pi-77-photo-umbrella,” Jall tried.
All over the ship, Senousians dropped to the deck as the gas hissed into the air. Telfidi took two staggering steps towards the helm console before the bridge carpeting rushed up to meet her.
“If the anti-intruder systems can be activated at any time by computer command, why did we fight our way to Auxiliary Control first?”
“Um, Ah don’t know.”
Commander Noonan was sitting comfortably in a high-backed leather chair. He was feeling very weak, having been unable to feed for almost two days now. His skin cream would be mostly worn off by now, only the small field generator was protecting him from the sun’s rays. Once that lost power, he’d have to find a place to hide during the day, or risk going up in a burst of flames.
He watched as Stafford, Stern and T’Parief worked on their next escape plan. He estimated the chance of success was slim.
“All right, we have around eight hundred people,” Stafford was saying, “with eight hundred spoons going, we should have a tunnel dug in no time!”
“I have little faith in this plan,” rumbled T’Parief.
“You’re right,” Stafford sighed, “there’s just no way to get our hands on eight hundred spoons.”
Jall sat on the bridge, piloting the ship while Jeffery worked in Engineering. Ships were just not meant to be operated by only two people, especially ships as old as Silverado.
Jeffery was thrilled beyond words to be back in Engineering. The warp core thrummed with power, the consoles were cleaned and fully repaired from the previous incident. He ran his hands over the warp core railing and smiled.
An insistent beeping drew his attention. He slid behind the large console facing the warp core. No big deal. Just a minor variance in one of the magnetic constrictor segments. He easily corrected the problem, completely oblivious of the stocky Senousian male sneaking up behind him. The guy had been using a lavatory when Jall and Jeffery gassed the ship and the gas nozzle had been plugged solid.
Noticing a smudge on the console, Jeffery bent down to wipe it off just as the Senousian swung a meaty fist at his head. The punch missed, throwing the man off-balance. Finally noticing his attacker, Jeffery gave a gasp of surprise and danced back, fumbling for his phaser. He fired one shot, which the alien dodged. The phaser beam sizzled against a wall panel, throwing sparks against the assailant’s back. The man lunged, tackling Jeffery before he could take another shot. They rolled across the floor, coming dangerously close to the warp core shaft. The man tried to wrap his hands around Jeffery’s throat, but Jeffery delivered a solid blow to his jaw, followed by a knee to his gut. Climbing out from under him, Jeffery finished him off with a two-fisted shot to the back of the head.
“Don’t f**k with me in me engine room!” he said.
Stafford was pacing the room as Noonan watched weakly. Noonan had assured the crew that his condition was nothing more than lack of sleep, but he wasn’t sure how long that story would hold.
“We have to get out of here!” Stafford snapped.
Stern and T’Parief were seated at one table, going over escape plans.
“We are working on it!”
“I know! But I just can’t stand the thought of just sitting here and waiting for Jall to rescue us!”
“It’s not going to happen,” T’Parief agreed.
There was the chime of a Federation transporter beam as Lieutenant Jall materialized in the center of the room.
“Hi everybody! Happy to see me?”
“San!” Yanick squealed with delight,” I knew you’d rescue us!” She narrowed her eyes, “You are rescuing us, right?”
“Yup! Jeffery and I gassed the lot of them, flew back here, beamed down the bad guys, and now we’re ready to bring all of you up to!”
“And it’s about time!” Stafford snapped, “Take us home!”
Captain’s Log, Stardate 56301.23
“We’ve successfully retaken the ship from the Senousians, returned their people to the planet and brought every last crew member back to the ship. Commendations go to Lieutenant Jall and Lieutenant Commander Jeffery for their actions in retaking the ship. The engineering team is already working to recharge our anesthezine systems. They’re also giving the system a thorough overhaul.”
“This leaves us with two big questions: What do with do with the Senousians? And what do I do with Simon? His sentence isn’t up yet.”
The senior staff had gathered in the conference lounge, along with Telfidi and Lashette. Two of T’Parief’s female security guards were present to ensure that nobody misbehaved.
“I don’t see that there’s anything to discuss,” Telfidi said flatly, “You won’t help us destroy the Matrians.”
“No, we can’t,” Stafford said, “But we are willing to help you move some of your people to a safer location.”
“And what good would that do,” scoffed Lashette, “once you leave, we’ll have no way of bringing them back.”
“Good point,” said Noonan. He had finally been able to feed upon his return to the ship and was back to his smooth, pale self again.
“Help us anyway!” Telfidi insisted, “The Matrians have attacked you too! Three of your ships, from what you’ve told me. Do the words ‘self-defense’ mean anything to you?”
“Starfleet Command,” Stafford sighed, “feels that the SID’s may be attempts to communicate and have ordered us to leave the Matrians alone until such time as-“
“Your superiors are idiots,” Telfidi interrupted.
“You have no idea,” muttered Jall.
“The fact remains,” Stafford said, “we can’t attack the Matrians for you. But we’ll be in the neighborhood for a while in case they make trouble.”
“So you’re going to do nothing!”
Stafford cleared his throat.
“We can’t attack the Matrians,” he repeated, “but we will be IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD in case THEY MAKE TOUBLE!”
“What the Captain is saying,” Noonan said, “is that should you find yourself under attack again, we will respond to any distress calls we receive with all possible haste.”
“You’ll understand if I say we had hoped for more,” Lashette said.
“But we understand,” added Telfidi, “considering that we stole your ship, you’re generous to offer what help you have.”
“Thank you. Ladies, please escort our guests to the transporter room,” Stafford ordered.
The Senousians were led out.
“I really don’t get how you were able to resist them, Jall,” Stafford said, frowning, “They’re beautiful, sexy and they’ve got those killer pheromones.”
“I already told you,” Yanick interrupted, “the Trill are naturally immune to pheromones.”
Fifebee, fully repaired from her ordeal, scoffed.
“Naturally immune? That’s ridiculous! Most likely, they couldn’t affect him because he’s homo-“
Yanick kicked Fifebee under the table.
“-um, hormonally unbalanced. Yes. Being half Trill could cause a slight hormone imbalance that could interfere with pheromones. That’s defiantly it. Yup.”
Jall shook his head in disgust.
“Now, to the matter of Mr. Jeffery,” Stafford said, looking at Jeffery, who was seated at the table, “I have a memo from Ms. Thompson reminding me that it would be against Starfleet regulations to release you from confinement early in this case.”
“What?” exploded Trish, “He helps save the ship, and you’re sending him back to the brig?”
“Ah hafta admit,” Jeffery said angrily, “that Ah’m really not feeling appreciated here!”
“I agree with Ms. Thompson,” Stafford said firmly, “but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a loophole or two we can’t exploit…”
Jeffery stretched back in his lounge chair, enjoying the warm feeling of the UV lamp hanging from the ceiling. He reached over to the drink replicator sitting next to his chair, pulling out a frosty pina colada. A large vidscreen had been setup on the far wall of his cell, a Days of Honor rerun playing. The remains of his dinner, a well gnawed steak bone and a baked potato skin sat on a plate nearby.
As solitary confinement went, he could manage living like this for a few more days.
A few star systems away:
The woman towered over the quivering male slave as he made his report to her.
“So, Silverado has found the Senousians. That’s unfortunate; they’re getting much closer to us that I would have preferred. Still, this could definitely work to our advantage,” she tapped her chin thoughtfully then turned to the slave.
“You’ve done well,”
“Thank you, Mistress,” he replied in a small voice.
She waved her hand, banishing him from Dreamland and back into the real world.