Are you a Star Trek addict? If so, you probably know that Star Trek was created by Gene Rodennberry and is owned by Paramount. If you would like a cure for Trek addiction, I suggest Star Traks. It was created by Alan Decker and is far more humorous. Star Traks: Silverado was created by Brendan Chris. Former Trek addict.

Author: Brendan Chris
Copyright: 2008

“I don’t want to do the voice-over,” Captain Christopher Stafford complained, “I’m tired. Do you know how long it’s been since I slept?”

“At least yer sittin’ in a comfy office,” Lt. Commander Simon Jeffery whined, “Ah was walkin’ all over this huge, underground-“

“We took the tram,” Commander T’Parief cut in, “And you fell asleep on the way back to the genetics lab,”

“Hey, shut up!”

“I also refuse to do the voiceover,” Lt. Commander Jane Fifebee stated flatly, “I have been stuck in this lab under tonnes of rock and playing babysitter to a dozen mentally immature Matrian males! I do not know what has been happening in the outside world.”

“We’re about to get our asses kicked,” Commander San Jall joined in, “The Qu’Eh came in and attacked us. The Matrians gave them a bloody nose, but they’re gonna come back and squish us all like bugs,”

“What I would like to know,” T’Parief spoke up, “is why we are bringing cargo down to this underground Matrian installation?”

“Because I said so,” Stafford said, “Hey, has anybody seen the Hazardous Team lately?”

“They are in Matronus,” T’Parief reported, “Preparing the Matrian police forces to fight off a Qu’Eh invasion,”

“Right. I knew that,”

“So like, what happens if the Qu’Eh win?” Lieutenant Trish Yanick asked.

“Don’t think that way,” Stafford said, “We can beat them.”

Captain, er, Minister of Planetary Defence Christopher Stafford shook his head. That was an odd dream. Well, he was overtired. And it was nice to have his crew around, even if it was just a dream. A very informative dream, for that matter.

“Are you finished drooling on the tactical table?” Admiral Verethi, Commander in Chief of the Matrian Defense Force asked.

“Huh?” Stafford looked around. Sure enough, rather than being in his comfy office just off the War Room, he’d apparently dozed off sitting at the tactical control table; tiny holographic spacecraft flying through his head as the Matrian fleet (along with Silverado) repositioned themselves.

“I hear that kinda thing can cause brain cancer,” Yanick pointed out, stifling a yawn as a holographic star fighter flew out of Stafford’s mouth.

“I’d be worried, if we hadn’t cured that about three centuries ago.” Stafford muttered, moving out of range of the holo-display, “Anything new on the Qu’Eh?”

“They’re still repositioning their ships,” Ensign Burke reported. The pretty Matrian technician had passed out next to him, “They still haven’t moved any closer than the orbit of Matria V.”

The Qu’Eh fleet had been ‘repositioning themselves’ for nearly three hours now. Stafford didn’t know what they had in mind for the final assault, but part of him wished they’d just get on with it already.

Aboard the Qu’Eh ships, Assistant Sub-Manager Drek was almost ready to fall asleep.

Sub-Manager Fretin was in his quarters, sleeping. Manager Pres was in his quarters, sleeping. The Supervisors, the Executives and even Chairman P’tareck were sleeping. Only a few Assistant Sub-Managers were manning their stations, watching the long-range sensors in case the Matrian and Starfleet forces made any moves.

Drek doubted they would. It was a brilliant move on Chairman P’tareck’s part: Give the Qu’Eh some time to rest and recuperate while the defending forces scrambled around in a panic. Drek didn’t know what they were doing with their time, but he doubted they’d be resting.

“Thank God it’s nap-time,” Jeffery sighed. He was sitting at one of the computer terminals in the genetics lab. Now that he had his equipment, he was once again trying to break into the installations computer systems.

“Yes,” Valtaic agreed, sitting wearily on a stool, “I had no idea that adults could be so tiring,”

They were referring to the dozen Matrian men who had somehow been revived from hibernation. Unlike modern Matrian males, these men had not been subject to genetic engineering and, as such, were not the brightest light bulbs in the box.

“While they may physically be adults, I am quite surprised by the mentality of these individuals,” Fifebee said. Her holographic nature didn’t require sleep, but her processing algorithms had been running full-tilt for hours now, and her data analysis and storage subroutines could use a chance to get caught up.

“I could use rest myself,” Valtaic said wearily.

“I hope you’ve all had enough to eat,” Fifebee chided the two men, “And I really do suggest that you both get some sleep! Ugh! If we had a replicator, I could make a nice cup of tea, or maybe some grilled cheese sandwhiches!”

“Perhaps that is a good-“

“Blimey!” Jeffery shot up, nearly knocking a bizarre contraption off the table. He reached out, steadied the device (which could have been anything from a coffee maker to a doomsday bomb) and then turned to face Fifebee.

“Ah keep forgetting, have ye been having any trouble with yer personality systems lately?”

Fifebee looked at him in surprise.

“Is it that noticeable?” she asked, turning red, “I am sorry, I didn’t mean-“

“Nay, it’s fine,” Jeffery said, “But do ye mind if Ah took a look?”

Fifebee looked nervously at Jeffery, the sort of look you’d give a doctor when told to strip down, turn your head and cough.

“Very well,” she said stiffly.

Jeffery quickly found Fifebee’s holo-relay, which had been stashed on one corner. He started tapping at the control panel, eyes moving quickly over the display.

“Ye’ve been resetting yer personality matrix a lot,” he said.

“Yes,” Fifebee nodded, “I have been having difficulties with errant personalities lately. My last upgrade should have fixed that, but-“

“Ah need ye to stop,” Jeffery cut her off.

“Why?” Fifebee asked, looking on curiously as Jeffery ran over to one of the newly delivered supply crates and started rummaging around. He pulled out a sealed case and opened it up.

“Because,” he said, pulling out Sylvia’s module, “Ah think ye’ve found somethin’ we lost,”

Lieutenant Commander David Stern was taking a walk in the park.

“So, these are our new orders from Matrian Defence HQ, huh?” he commented, glancing at a padd that had been delivered to him by a rather striking Matrian female.

“Apparently,” Lieutenant Rengs shrugged. With T’Parief still caught up with whatever was happening out in the Matrian desert, Stern was acting commander of the Hazardous Team, Silverado’s band of not-so-elite security officers. Rengs was filling Stern’s usual position of second-in-command. They had been helping to train the Matrian ground forces, such as they were. They Matrians had a single organization acting as both army and police force, and it consisted almost entirely of untrained volunteers along with a few former officers of the Matrian Empire. Of course, those officers had been working under the brainwashing effects of Matrian SIDs during their time on ship, but it was better than nothing.

The park they were in happened to be right across the street from the Matrian Grand Council Chambers. It also happened to be the most convenient beam-down point for any forces who might want to take control of the Matrian government.

And, thanks to some preparations by the Hazardous Team and the Matrian Defence Force, it was now a kill-zone.

Matrian heavy disruptors had been setup on heavy tripods. Portable shield generators had been carefully positioned in front of the weapons emplacements, and stun grenades had been buried at strategic locations. The same was being done in other strategic positions around the Council Chambers and in other Matrian cities. The big question was how many ground troops the Qu’Eh could actually deploy…or if they would just try to blow everything apart from space.

“Dar’ugal and Kreklor will be beaming in shortly,” Rengs reported, “And Marsden is on his way back from J’Taeri.”

“Where’s Simmons?” Stern asked.

“He, uh, accidentally blew up a statue that the people in the city of Melden were very fond of. We’re trying to get him to stop running long enough to get a transporter lock,”

“I’m not surprised,” Stern said, looking at Rengs, “Are you surprised?”

“I’m not surprised,”

“I’m REALLY not surprised.”

“Yeah, me neither,”

Commander San Jall was seated in Stafford’s ready room, head in his hands.

He was tired, very tired. Everybody was; they’d been running full-tilt for a couple of days now. Only coffee, tea or latte was keeping a lot of them running, and that was a dangerous way to go into a fight.

Massaging his temples, he pulled up the latest status reports. They’d finished all the beaming Stafford had ordered, sending all sorts of stuff down to the team exploring the underground Matrian installation. The Hazardous Team was in place. There was also a communication from Queen Anselia regarding some ground-level contingency plans that Jall knew were going to piss Stafford off to no end. Part of him wanted to comm the captain immediately and fill him in on what Anselia had planned, but the rest of him agreed whole-heartedly with her ideas. And with her opinion that sharing them with Stafford now would only complicated matters. (Well, they might not complicate things, but Stafford would be pissed beyond belief when she sprang that little surprise on him.)

Now he just needed some ideas of his own.

He ran the numbers again and took a close look at the tactical footage from the first space fight. He compared Qu’Eh weapon strength with Matrian/Senousian/Federation shield specs. He analyzed the ship movements, strategies and comparative strengths. And he came again to the same conclusion:

There was no possible way they could win this fight. They were outnumbered and outgunned.

He pulled up the latest message from Stafford. The Captain had pretty much come to the same conclusion as Jall. Looking at the screen, he re-read the last line of the message.

‘You know what you’re going to have to do.’

“Bridge to Commander Jall,” the comm chirped, “Sir! The Qu’Eh fleet just jumped to full impulse! Time to intercept is ten minutes!”

Jall punched the ‘off’ button on the terminal.

“On my way,”

“Stafford to Jeffery,”

“Aye? Ah’m here,” Jeffery replied, tapping his comm-badge.

“Are things ready over there?”

“Aye, they are. Oh, and Chris-“

“Good. I want you and T’Parief to go back to that command center you found. If you have any ideas or strategies, I’m going to want to hear them,”

“Aye, but-“

“And make sure you keep routing all your comm traffic through encrypted channels! We can’t risk the Qu’Eh finding that place!”


“And tell Fifebee to stop playing with the boys and help you!”

“I resent that, Captain,” Fifebee replied, “And you should know that one of the ‘boys’, as you say, has escaped and is running free in the complex,”

“Well catch him!”

“He’s just scared and confused,” Fifebee said, “And very naked, actually. If I can talk to the man, I’m sure I can calm him down. We can do some deep-breathing, maybe a bit of yoga-“

“Jeffery,” Stafford’s voice was flat, “Did you break my science officer?”

“Nay. I found Sylvia,”


“I was tryin’ to tell ye, ye git!” Jeffery snapped. In the background, Valtaic started to chuckle, “From what I can tell, when the computer virus was trying to wipe her out, she hid her personality programming in Fifebee’s personality database!”

“Interesting,” Valtaic said, no longer chuckling, “Why did she not simply tell us?”

“Because,” Stafford cut in, able to figure this part out for himself, “She’s a living being, not a hologram. She might have stored the programming part of herself in Fifebee’s database, but she can’t really live without her brain, right?”

“Exactly!’ Jeffery said, “So, ye see, all I have to do is transfer her program back to the gel-pack, and she’ll be right as rain!”

“Then why the heck haven’t you done that already, Simon?!” Fifebee snapped.

“Ah gotta be sure I get all of her,” Jeffery said, “That’s why Ah need ye to stop the database resets. If ye let Sylvia’s personality profile become as dominant as possible, it’ll be easier for me to be sure Ah’ve got it all,”

“And my own personality?”

“That thing has so many safety protocols on it, Ah couldn’t screw it up if Ah tried,” Jeffery smirked.

Fifebee gave him a very dirty look.

“Er, not that Ah’ve ever thought about tryin’,”

“Jeffery, I have to go,” Stafford said suddenly, “Do what you think best, but I want somebody in that command room keeping an eye on the fight. Stafford out,”

“Somebody needs a nap,” Fifebee observed.

“Good, go with that,” Jeffery said, “Think about naps. And burping. Oh, and breast-feeding! Focus on your inner Sylvia!”

“We are sitting in an underground installation whose purpose is still largely unknown while this planet is about to be attacked and you are trying to exorcise a computerized personality by talking to it about breast-feeding,” Valtaic mused, “Could this situation possibly get any stranger?”

“With this crew?” Fifebee commented, “That is a stupid question,”

“I see,” Valtiac inclined his head.

“Do you see anything?” Simmons asked.

“Jall put his ‘Honk if You’re Hot & Horny’ bumper-sticker back on the port nacelle,” Stern replied, “Other than that, no,”

The tall officer was seated in the command post that had been hastily setup in front of the council buildings. He had a pair of micro-binoculars aimed at the sky and planned on watching as much of the battle as he could. After all, if the Qu’Eh broke past the defence fleet, they would probably start beaming down troops.

“I’m sure that Silverado could have beamed down something a bit better than binoculars if you’d asked,” Rengs commented.

“Yeah, well,” Stern shrugged, “I forgot,”

The micro-binoculars may have been a fairly primitive piece of Federation technology, but they were still more than capable of detecting vessels in orbit and creating simple, visual images with a reasonably degree of clarity. Stern had bought this particular pair when he was at Starfleet Academy, having found that there was nothing quite like lying on the grass outside of Fort Pike and looking up through starship windows at changing women. (And men, and various hermaphroditic entities. Once you started including alien races, ‘pansexual’ took on a whole new meaning.)

It didn’t take long for the Qu’Eh fleet to become visible.

“Oh, wow,” Stern breathed.

“Can I have the binoculars for a minute?” Rengs asked.

“Yeah, sure,” Stern said, “Later,”

Rengs sighed.

It was almost like the early battle had been a dress rehearsal. One of those dress rehearsals where things go as planed and you have a good feeling about the actual wedding. Or badging ceremony, or whatever.

Silverado, the only Federation starship within a hundred light-years, hovered between Matria Prime and the oncoming fleet. Her shields were recharged, her weapons were hot and her hull gleamed in the light of the Matrian star. Her nacelle grills however were dark, the characteristic blue glow of her warp engines deadened by the lack of warp core. In her engineering hull, the two Matrian warp reactors pumped as much plasma as they could into her power grid, but they just couldn’t meet the demand.

Surrounding Silverado the remaining Matrian and Senousians ships were looking considerably more rag-tag than they had before. The Qu’Eh had disabled several vessels, and the repairs made to them were hasty at best. Several of the lumpy, cylindrical Matrian vessels had visible weapon’s damage and some were missing pieces of the extensive sensor and weapons arrays that stuck out in all directions from the aft end of the ship, giving them their odd but distinctive appearance. The Senousian cruisers, sleeker (and disturbingly phallic) in their design had likewise taken a beating. Noticeably fewer scouts and starfighters flew in the formations surrounding the cruisers. Behind the ships, hovering over the planets atmosphere, the remaining defence satellites were just completing their recharge cycles.

The Qu’Eh fleet was also showing the impact of the previous battle. The number of ships had shrunk significantly, though they still outnumbered the allied fleet. Many ships had visible damage and their star fighter squadrons were nearly wiped out.

Commander Jall stood on the bridge of Silverado, eyeing the tactical reports. The Matrians had tried to even out the odds during the first battle, first by luring a Qu’Eh cruiser to one of the abandoned planets in the system and using an old planetary defence cannon to destroy it. They’d also used unarmed scouts to determine the exact frequency being used by the Qu’Eh weapons, thus being able to fortify their shields against Qu’Eh attack. The question would be whether or not the Qu’Eh had grown wise to that little trick.

“They’ll be in weapons range in one minute,” Ensign Bith reported from tactical. She had visible bags under her eyes, and Jall could only wish his officers could have had the chance to get a bit more rest during the ‘intermission’.

“No more playing nice,” Jall said firmly, “This time, we’re putting our purses down and smacking these bastards with both hands!”

“Oy vay,” Quintaine moaned, resting his head against the science console.

“You know,” Rengs said, “You could have brought down a small holo-emitter, or a screen or something so the rest of us could watch that thing,”

“Yeah, well,” Stern shrugged, “I forgot,”

“You didn’t forget anything else, did you? Extra power packs for the phasers? Body armour? Anything?”

“Nope, not a…” Stern looked around, “Has anybody seen my hand phaser?”

Rengs looked around carefully, hoping none of the Matrians were listening.

“Here it is,” Stern grunted, holstering his phaser and returning his attention to the sky. He could tell by the glimmers of energy at their weapons ports that the defending ships were preparing to fire.

“At least let me hook the damned things into this padd!”

“Whatever, whatever,”

Rengs quickly made the connection. The small screen came to life, just in time for him to see Silverado’s phasers firing.

Commander T’Parief had just arrived in the underground control room he, Jeffery, Valtaic and Fifebee had located earlier. Crewman Gibson was pushing another anti-grav pallet loaded with supply crates out of the turbolift next to him. T’Parief could see by the flickering lights that the holographic display, two levels above them in the large, rounded chamber, were still active. He sprinted up one set of stairs to the ring-shaped second level, then up another set to the circular command platform that sat atop the turbolift column. The huge, curved control consoles that ringed the platform were still dead, but the central display table was displaying the same tactical display as before; a holographic image of Matria Prime with tiny, holographic ships flying around. As he watched, the defending fleet fired phasers, disruptors, photon and quantum torpedoes and even a few modulated deflector pulses at the Qu’Eh fleet. One Qu’Eh ship, having already sustained several phaser and torpedo hits, was struck with deflector pulse right in what appeared to the ship’s bridge. Nearby Qu’Eh vessels scattered as the decapitated vessel starting to spin out of control.

“HEAD SHOT!” announced the tactical table in its deep, resonant voice. Stafford jumped, looking for all the world like he’d sat on a tack.

“I wonder who programmed that thing,” Admiral Verethi wondered.

“It doesn’t seem very professional,” Stafford said, trying to regain his dignity.

“But it’s more fun,” Yanick piped in, “By the way, the fleet reports that they’ve engaged the Qu’Eh,”

“Thanks for that,” Stafford said, watching on the table as the Qu’Eh returned fire. One Matrian cruiser, the Bill of Feminine Rights, was struck by multiple Qu’Eh weapons. Her shields flickered and faded, the hull taking several shots before another ship, the Male Ego, pulled in front, taking on the brunt of the attack so the other ship could get her shields back up.

“I’m sure there’s a joke or a smart comment here,” Stafford said, surveying the scene, “But I think it’s the kind of joke I should leave to Jall,”

“We have been meaning to re-name all our vessels,” Admiral Verethi said, “To better represent the new, united nature of the Matrian people,”

“What’s taking so long?” Stafford asked, watching as the Male Ego’s shields started to flicker. The Senousian cruiser Fallic pulled into position, taking the heat off the Male Ego. The Bill of Feminine Rights, her shields still very weak, moved behind Silverado, firing her weapons at the Qu’Eh fleet whenever an opportunity presented itself.

“Bureaucracy,” Verethi shrugged.

Aboard Silverado, Jall watched as the Male Ego took the hit for the Bill of Feminine Rights.

“I’m pretty sure there’s a gag here,” he said, “But I think it’s the kind of gag that Stafford would better appreciate.”

“I really think that the Matrians need to think about renaming their ships,” Lieutenant Pye chirped.

“They’re working on it,” Lieutenant Day chimed in, “But do you know how much paperwork there is in the Matrian bureaucracy when it comes to renaming a ship?”

“Have you forgotten about me?” Dr. Wowryk asked, clinging to the first officer’s chair as the ship shook, “I, for one, think it’s very fitting that the Male Ego is suffering for-“

“Nobody forgot about you, Doc,” Jall said, “The thing is, you’d take the situation far too seriously to make it funny,”

“I’m funny!” Wowryk objected, “Just last week I had Crewman Shwaluk laughing in Sickbay!”

“He wasn’t laughing because of your jokes,” Pye said, “He was laughing because you had your hand on his-“

“It was a MEDICAL EXAMINATION!” Wowryk snapped, “I have to put my hands in strange places!”

“I take it back,” Jall giggled, then grunted as the next weapons hit knocked him out of the command chair and onto the carpeted deck, “She can be funny,”

“Yeah,” Day said, trying to transfer more power to the shields, “But we’re laughing at her, not with her,”

Wowryk was about to shoot something back, when somebody actually shot something real (as opposed to metaphorically) at the ship (as opposed to a person), causing it to shake.

“Shields down to 80%!” Bith reported, “We’ve got two Qu’Eh cruisers concentrating their fire on us!”

“This is Matrian HQ to all ships,” Stafford’s voice rang over the comm, “The Qu’Eh have changed weapons frequencies. We’re trying to get the new shields modulations up to you, but until then, uh, try not to get hit too much. HQ out.”

“Well then,” Jall said, climbing back into his seat, “Now’s as good a time as any. Target one of those ships and fire the big guns!”

“Oh, you’d like that, wouldn’t you, you pervert!” Wowryk muttered.

“Oh, sweety,” Jall said, patting her hand, “One day, you’ll understand,”

“Eww,” Wowryk yanked her hand back and started looking around the bridge for one of those handy little hand-disinfectant dispensers.

On the ground, Stern, Rengs and the rest of the Hazardous Team were watching the unfolding space battle on the tiny padd screen. Beams of energy and balls of light filled the space between the two fleets, splashing against shields or digging into hulls. A pair of Qu’Eh cruisers were concentrating their fire on Silverado, at least until Silverado opened up with her phaser cannon. A dozen or so fat bolts of phaser energy flashed out from the emitter mounted under the forward edge of her saucer, spearing one of the cruisers dead on. The enemy ships shields held against the first half-dozen shots before failing. The remaining shots ripped into the ship’s hull, leaving the ship dead in space. A torpedo from a nearby Matrian vessel finished the job, sending the Qu’Eh ship up in a massive fireball.

“Nice shot,” Simmons giggled.

“Yeah, too bad they can’t use the damned thing again,” Marsden said.

“Man, if that ship had a warp core, we could kick those Qu’Eh back to where they came from!” Simmons said, slapping Rengs on the back.

“And if we had gagh, we could have gagh and blood wine!” Kreklor declared loudly, hunting around the command post for something to eat.

“If we had blood wine,” Marsden mused.

Stafford was frantically shouting orders.

“Get that fighter squadron back here! If they keep geeting too close to the Qu’Eh ships, we’re going to loose them!”

“The Male Ego needs cover,” Verethi snapped, “Their shields are almost depleted!”

“We have no more ships available!” one of the technicians reported, “We’ve got widespread shield failure on all our ships!”

Stafford quickly found Silverado’s icon on the holographic display. Her shields were down to 50%. She’d taken out two Qu’Eh cruisers already, but several more were starting to focus their fire on her engineering hull.

“The Male Ego has been disabled!” somebody called out, “Their engines are down, they’re adrift!”

“The Senousian Cruiser Fallic is heavily damaged! They report several forward sections have been breached!”

“I’m getting reports that fighter squadron Stingray Alpha has been destroyed! We have ejected pilots drifting in space!”

“Contact the Asessippi and the Niagra, have then commence beam-outs immediately!” Stafford ordered.

On the holo screen, the tiny runabouts had broken off from their positions leading one of the star-fighter squadrons and were now hovering behind Silverado, using the larger ships shields for cover as their crews scanned for and retrieved Matrian pilots now free-floating in space.

“T’Parief to Fifebee,”

“Yes, sweety?”

T’Parief frowned. Fifebee’s voice, normally cool and formal, had a friendly overture that just sounded…unnatural. He quickly dismissed the thought as irrelevant and continued.

“The Matrian fleet is failing,” he said bluntly, “I estimate that the Qu’Eh will be within beaming range of the planet in less than half an hour,”

Jeffery’s voice came over the comm.

“They’re not gonna find us under here,” he said, “Not with that interference field up and running,”

“Yes,” T’Parief agreed, “But, as you recall, HQ has plans for us. I would suggest that you put those into place immediately,”

“Why don’t ye just order Gibson…” Jeffery trailed off, “Oh yeah. Ah’m in command. Thank ye for the suggestion. Gibson! Valtaic! Get yer asses out to the hanger bay!”

“Perhaps now,” Valtaic’s voice came over the comm, “You can explain to us what these mysterious ‘plans’ are all about?”

“Aye,” Jeffery’s voice took on a note of defeat.

“It means we’ve got company on the way,”

“Oh, this isn’t good,” Stern commented, still looking through the micro-binoculars.

“The Qu’Eh fleet is winning,” Rengs observed, watching the tiny display screen on his padd.

“Which means we better get ready for company,” Stern said, letting the binoculars fall. (And inducing motion sickness in anybody watching the display, which had swung around wildly before showing a view looking down the front of Stern’s uniform towards his crotch.)

The Hazardous Team was now gathered in front of the Matrian Grand Council building. The scattered and slightly rag-tag Matrian ground forces were positioned in the parks and ornamental gardens surrounding the building, hiding behind portable shields, readying hand weapons, stationary defence cannons and even a few stun-grenade launchers. Most of the weaponry was Matrian, having been found in the same armouries where, presumably, it’d been packed away at the conclusion of the Gender Wars. Stern and the HT were carrying Starfleet equipment of course, but they were also wearing Matrian uniforms. Stern had a sneaking suspicion as to why Stafford had ordered them to change out of their Starfleet-issue body armour and into the strangely coloured (and extremely well-tailored) fatigues worn by the Matrian ground forces, but he really didn’t have time to dwell on the reason.

“Power up the transporter jammers,” Stern ordered.

Marsden tapped a control on his padd. The network of devices scattered around the building and the surrounding area came to life, looking for all the world like electronic umbrellas. In theory, they would prevent the Qu’Eh from beaming anybody down (or up). In practice, they were fragile and could be taken out fairly easily once the Qu’Eh troops walked from an unshielded area into this one.

“Too bad we couldn’t blanket the whole city with these things,” Rengs mused, looking out at the towering buildings of Matronus. They were dark, most citizens having either gathered in underground basements, transit systems or the huge, empty cavern that had held the hundreds of thousands of suspended animation pods used by the women during the reconstruction of the planet. (Similar caverns had been found under other cities, through the actual control systems and Dream Nexus were in Matronus.)

“Too bad we couldn’t blanket the whole planet with these things,” Stern sighed.

In space, the last Matrian cruiser sparked with energy and started to drift. Carefully aimed shots from a Qu’Eh cruiser had disabled her engines, leaving the ship largely intact, but powerless. A few scattered star fighters continued to harass the Qu’Eh ships, but without the constant bombardment from the larger Matrian ships the Qu’Eh could afford to simply ignore the relatively tiny weapons impacts. Damaged Matrian and Senousian ships drifted, moving apart as they each fell into their own orbits. The Qu’Eh fleet approached even closer to Matria Prime, the scattered shots from the remaining defence satellites barely making a dent in their shields. Only one defending ship was still returning fire.

“Target the lead ship!” Jall shouted, “Transfer all possible power to weapons!”

The ship shook again as several Qu’Eh ships fired.

“Shields are down to 10%!” Bith reported. Wowryk had abandoned the First Officer’s chair to try to treat the bloody gash on Bith’s forehead, but the tactical officer just wouldn’t hold still, “There’s too many of them!”

“Engineering to bridge!” Sage’s voice came over the comm.

“What?” Jall snapped, one hand gripping the armrest while the other tried to put his hair back into some semblance of order.

“The Matrian reactors are down! All this shaking around has totally wrecked their innards!”

“I’m only getting auxiliary power to weapons!” Bith confirmed. The lighting flickered out, plunging the bridge into darkness before the dim emergency lights flickered on.

“I’ve got fluctuations in the structural integrity fields!” Day cried out.

“The Qu’Eh are targeting us again!” Quintaine called out from sciences.

The ship shook again, even worse then before. Sparks flew from several consoles, the large schematic of Silverado on the aft wall blowing completely out and peppering Wowryk and Bith with debris.

“Shields are down!” Bith reported, “Weapons are offline!”

“Everybody, ready your weapons!” Jall ordered, his hand going immediately to the phaser strapped to one hip.

“That’s it then,” Stafford said softly, watching as Silverado’s icon flickered, then started to drift. Every Starfleet officer in the room watched the tiny hologram for several seconds, until beeping consoles or Matrian

“That’s it,” Verethi confirmed.

The stood in front of the display, watching the Qu’Eh ships move closer towards the planet. The remaining satellites, barely a dozen, were still firing. As they watched, the Qu’Eh picked one off.

“Initiate defensive sequence Omega-A,” Verethi ordered.

The Matrian tech working next to Naketh tapped a few buttons.

“That ought to keep their sensors scrambled for a while,” Naketh reported.

The Qu’Eh fleet soared past Silverado, the Federation ship drifting aimlessly. He hull was scorched with weapons fire; her engines were dark. The remaining satellites, the only thing left between the Qu’Eh and the planet, abruptly exploded. Behind the Qu’Eh fleet, three heavy Qu’Eh troop transports had just dropped out of warp. The lightly armed ships had been judged too fragile to send into the battle zone.

At least until there was no resistance to meet them.

“The Matrian fleet has been defeated, Chairman,”

“Oh, excellent!” Chairman P’tareck said pleasantly, clapping his hands together, “I promise you all, this will feature very prominently in your performance reviews at the end of this fiscal quarter!”

“Thank you, Chairman,” one of his underlings bowed.

“Have we identified our assault points on the planet?”

“We have, Chairman,” the other reported, “But the auto-destruction of the defensive satellites has released a lot of radiation. We’re having trouble with our sensors. It shouldn’t block our transporters, however.”

“Oh, excellent!” P’tareck repeated, “Order the transports to send boarding parties to the disabled ships, then to commence ground assault,”

He grinned.

“I don’t know what the Matrians hope to hide with that little stunt,” he said, “But I doubt it matters.”

Stafford sank into one of the chairs facing the holo-display. The Qu’Eh troop transports were clearly visible, although the sensor readings were now somewhat scrambled from the radiation dumped into space by the exploding satellites.

“HUMILIATING DEFEAT!” The table declared in its loud, basso voice. Stafford gave the thing a half-hearted kick.

That was it. Their space defences had failed. They had some ground troops, true. The Matrians could try to resist. But Stafford had a very strong feeling that if they resisted too strongly, the Qu’Eh would simply open fire on one of their cities from orbit, slaughtering millions. Without control of the space around the planet (or really powerful shields defending the cities), the battle was lost.

He’d failed. Rather spectacularly too.

He took off the Matrian medallion of office he’d been wearing over his uniform since being declared Minister of Planetary Defence by Queen Anselia. He held it in one hand, looking down at it. The solid silver medallion, showing the flat disc of Matrian Prime along with a strange, star-shaped symbol, was heavy in his hand, mirroring the heavy lead-like feeling in the pit of his stomach. He’d lost battles before in his career, although he’d been able to retreat from those. For a starship Captain, being defeated a jump into warp speed, a crash into a planet, or at worst the lives of a few hundred Starfleet officers. A horrible thought, but at least those people had chosen the risks of a life in space. Here, millions of innocent civilians were about to be conquered by a hostile race.

He set the medallion down on the table.

“For what it’s worth,” Admiral Verethi said, standing next to him, “I think we did the best we could,”

“Did we?” Stafford asked. He looked around the War Room, at the Matrians and Starfleet personnel who had worked there, almost without sleep or rest, for the duration of the battle. Yanick and Burke were nodding, as he’d expect. The surprise however, was the Matrians. He’d expected looks of hostility, of accusation. The sense that he’d failed them, that he’d f**ked up royally and that the fate of their world was HIS FAULT.

But the looks they were giving him were almost…friendly? That wasn’t quite the word for it, Stafford realised. But there was a sense in the room that hadn’t been there when he’d first arrived. Then, they’d been strangers. Most of the Matrian technicians and officers had barely known each other, never mind the Starfleet personnel. But they’d seen now, first hand, that Stafford and his crew were dedicated to defending their planet, even though they’d been enemies only a few short years ago. The sense of camaraderie in the room wasn’t strong…but it was definitely there.

And the battle wasn’t quite over yet. Yes, they’d been defeated in space and were going to be defeated on the ground. But Stafford still had an ace or two up his sleeve.

“Start our evacuation plans,” he ordered, “We need to get Queen Anselia, King Hektor and as much of your government as we can into the underground installation. We’ve been trying to get civilians out there, but with millions of people in the cities, we’ve only been able to take a fraction of them. Federation reinforcements will be coming, eventually. And since your leaders are the ones most likely to be, um, mistreated, we need to keep them safe in the meantime.”

“I’m sure Governess Laurette will be pleased to have them out of the way,” Verethi mused.

One of the technicians started relaying the orders.

“Are you certain,” Verethi went on, “that Federation reinforcements are coming? Because I will be frank: If you or the Federation are playing some sort of stupid political game with us, now is the time to admit it,”

She crossed her arms, looking severely at Stafford.

“I may have been wrong about you,” she admitted, “You appear to have our best interests at heart. But if your government is not willing to back you…”

“I have confirmation,” Stafford said, standing, “A fleet of ships was rendezvousing at Waystation as of yesterday morning. It’s going to take them weeks to get all the way out here, but they’re coming. I promise you.”

Verethi looked deep into his eyes. Finally, she nodded.

“I believe you,” she said. She snapped her fingers. Several burly Matrian soldiers, all female, entered the room. Breaking into pairs, they each marched straight for a Starfleet officer.

“If you’ll come with us, Minister,” one said, gripping his arm.

“What the hell?” Stafford snapped.

“Queen Anselia gave us special orders concerning you,” Verethi said, a small grin on her face, “She figured you’d probably object to what she had in mind, so she authorized us to make sure we had sufficient…force, to ensure you didn’t resist,”

Stafford stared at her in shock. The soldiers started pulling him towards the door. Not far from him, Yanick and Burke were being subjected to similar treatment.

“You didn’t realize that the Qu’Eh would be very, very interested in getting their hands on the commanding Starfleet officer here, did you?” Verethi asked sweetly.

She pulled out a weapon, aimed it at him, and fired. Everything went blank.

“Intruder alert!” Bith shouted, “I have multiple beam-ins on all decks!”

The Qu’Eh troops transports had just passed by Silverado, on their way to the planet. As they did, they started beaming troops aboard. Several pink transporter beams flashed into existence on the bridge, coalescing into the forms of armed Qu’Eh soldiers. Jall and Bith immediately fired, stunning the invading troops, but more immediately beamed in.

“I’m picking up thousands of life-signs on those transports!” Quintaine shouted, taking a moment to punch out the Qu’Eh next to him, “There’s no way we can repel them all!”

Jall remembered his orders, the last line in Stafford’s message.

‘You know what you’re going to have to do.’

Well, that was that. Whining, bargaining or offers of sexual favours weren’t going to get him out of this one now.

“Computer!” he called, “Initiate auto-destruct sequence, authorization Jall 764-Photo-Umbrella! Five minutes, silent countdown!”

He looked around the bridge for a moment.

“Sorry folks,” he shrugged.

“Auto-destruct systems are offline,” the computer reported.

“Uh-oh,” Jall muttered.

“We don’t have a warp core,” Day reminded him, “And the secondary explosives in place in case of a warp core failure aren’t responding!”

“We can’t let the Qu’Eh have this ship!” Jall snapped, “We can’t let Starfleet technology fall into enemy hands!”

“I’ve lost contact with decks 21 to 36,” Bith reported, “They’re overrunning us!”

“We can’t let the Qu’Eh have this ship in working order,” Day said, sounding almost thoughtful.

He and Jall stared at each other for a moment.

“Ohhh!!!!” Jall clapped his hands almost giddily before shoving Day away from the operations panel and going to work.

“What are you doing?” Quintaine demanded.

“A buddy of mine on Deep Space Nine told me about this little trick they pulled during the war,” Jall said, quickly adjusting the systems that were still working, “We just need to keep the Qu’Eh off the bridge long enough for me to implement it!”

“We’ve got beam-ins!” Marsden reported, “I’m getting reports of Qu’Eh troops beaming down less than a kilometre from here!”

“We just need to hold them off long enough for the VIPs to escape,” Stern said. Behind him, another loaded shuttle was taking off from the roof of the council building, “Although I think it would have been smarter to evacuate them BEFORE the aliens invaded the planet!”

Simmons had taken the micro-binoculars from Stern and was scanning the city ahead of them.

“I see them!” he reported, “They’re coming up Dignity Way!”

“Good call,” Stern muttered. Dignity Way was the main avenue leading into the government section of town. The numerous fountains and flower/plant boxes made for great cover. They also made for some great hiding places for stun grenades and the like.

“Wait for it,” Stern said, noticing that Simmons’ hand was already going for the detonator controls, “Let them get further in,”

“But if they find the grenades…”

“If they find some, we’ll set them off before they can find them all!”

“Matrian HQ to Stern,”

“Stern here,”

“This is Admiral Verethi. Queen Anselia and King Hektor have safely left the area. We’re starting to evacuate council members, be we need you to buy us time!”

“That’s the plan,” Stern replied, “Where’s Captain Stafford?”

“Minister Stafford is being taken care of,” Verethi replied, “I’ve taken command of our remaining forces, as was planned,”

“Oh yeah,” Stern nodded, even though Verethi couldn’t see him, “We’ll hold this line as long as we can.”

“Excellent. Your actions will not go unremembered. Verethi out.”

“Can I blow them up now?” Simmons asked, a slightly crazed look on his face as he fondled the detonator controls for the planted stun grenades.

“Not yet,” Stern said.

“Can I blow them up now?” Simmons asked, less than thirty seconds later.

“Not yet!”

“Oh,” Simmons looked sadly down at the ground, “When I can blow them up?” he mumbled.

“Standby to set off the first string….now!”

Giggling like a hyena, Simmons pressed a button. Out in the street there was a series of bright flashes as half a dozen grenades went off. The Qu’Eh troops, having already partially passed that position, suddenly found themselves split into two groups; one still in the clear, the other between the detonated grenades and the Matrian council building. Before Stern could give the order, Simmons laughed gleefully and punched the rest of the detonation buttons. With another series of flashes, the closer group of Qu’Eh troops dropped to the ground.

“Got ‘em!” Simmons cried, throwing his arms up with glee. The detonator flew out of his hand, bouncing off an annoyed Dar’ugal before dropping to the ground.

“Idiot!” Stern snapped, slapping Simmons upside the head, “You were supposed to wait until the rest of them got closer in!”

“But the first group would be shooting at us by then!” Simmons whined.

“That’s why we have these, you moron!” Stern said, pointing at the portable shields. The remaining Qu’Eh troops, seeing that their companions were merely stunned, were now rushing up the avenue. Within minutes they’d reached the first of the Matrian defensive emplacements. Stern and the HT watched as the front line Matrian troops started firing at the approaching aliens.

“So either way, we end up with a group shooting at us,” Simmons shrugged.

“If we’d still had the grenades, we could have taken out more of them!” Stern shouted, “You are SO in for it, Simmons!”

“Yeah, whatever. That’s what you said the last time I blew something up.”

“Maybe you guys wanna pick up those phaser rifles and actually shoot at somebody?” Rengs asked. The Bajoran was leaning out from the shield and carefully aiming his phaser rifle.

“Right, right,”

There was a roar of engines overhead as another shuttle took off from the roof of the council building. It flew off into the distance. Moments later, a Qu’Eh fighter flew by. It almost looked to Stern like it was going to chase after the shuttle, but it banked around and came back for another pass over the government building. There was a flash of weapons fire then puffs of smoke as several of the transporter jammers exploded. A fresh group of Qu’Eh troops immediately began materializing in the now un-shielded area.

“Simmons!” Stern cried.


“Go blow stuff up!” Stern shouted.

“Aye sir!” Simmons saluted, then grabbed his bag of explosives. Darting behind cover, he quickly started making his way towards the new group.

“Rengs, Kreklor, go cover him!” Stern ordered.

“Joy,” Rengs grunted.

“I’ve re-established partial shields over the bridge,” Day reported from the engineering console, “But they’re not going to stay up for long!”

“Just keep those Qu’Eh buggers off my back for another five minutes!” Jall ordered, his hands still dancing over the console. It had been months since he’d done operations-type stuff like this, but it was mostly coming back to him. He wasn’t entirely sure if he was programming the impulse reactors to generate an overload, or to simply explode. An explosion might cripple the ship beyond repair, but the impulse reactors didn’t have the oomph to destroy the whole thing. But he was pretty sure he was programming stuff right.

Mostly sure.

There was a banging sound from the hatch covering the Jefferies tube next to the turbolife. A Qu’Eh boarding party was trying to force its way onto the bridge! The banging abruptly stopped, then there was the sound of weapons fire.

“Two more minutes!” Jall cried, “I don’t like working under pressure!”

“So we can die when the Qu’Eh kill us, or when Jall destroys the ship,” Wowryk said, crossing her arms.

“At least you’re finally going to get to meet God in person,” Jall shot back.

“Oh, you’re right!” Wowryk exclaimed, clapping her hands together, “Who wants Last Rites?”

Pye shyly started to raise his hand before Jall reached over and slapped it down.

“I’m not destroying the ship,” Jall snapped. He tapped one last command into the panel.

There was a crash as the Jefferies tube hatch exploded out into the bridge.

“Hold your fire,” Jall ordered. In the background, a low hum was slowly beginning to rise. The Qu’Eh troops pushed their way onto the bridge, their weapons pointed at the Starfleet officers. Jall slowly raised his hands, nodding at the others to follow suit. One of the Qu’Eh muttered something into a communications device. In the background the low hum was growing in both pitch and intensity. Jall was silently counting the time in his head.

A moment later, a single Qu’Eh climbed out of the Jefferies tube and onto the bridge. He was roughly humanoid but most of his features were obscured by the body armour and helmet he wore. He stepped out of the turbolift alcove and onto the bridge proper, looking around at the flickering panels, the shattered display at the back of the bridge and at the Starfleet officers standing next to their stations, hands raised. With a flourish he pulled off his helmet, revealing a pale, humanoid face. His hair was grey and was pulled back from a sharp widow’s peak. His right ear was a strange twist of cartilage, almost like a starfish doing the hokey-pokey. His left ear was obscured by a strange sort of headset. The earpiece appeared to be fused with his ear, right into the skull. A ridge ran along the left side of his face where the implant ran under his skin, right down to the side of his mouth. Here, a small microphone emerged from a puckered opening in his flesh.

“I am Manager Kalmers of the Qu’Eh vessel Synergy,” he declared.

Ten seconds, Jall mentally counted. The hum was becoming a squeal.

“I’m Commander San Jall of the Federation starship Silverado,” he said, bracing himself.

There was a cascade of sparks as the overload building in the ship’s impulse reactors was released directly into the ships systems. Sparks flew from the bridge panels, from the lights and even from the main viewscreen. The right wing of the forward helm/ops console exploding completely, singing Day’s uniform.

All over the ship panels blew out, systems shorted and components melted into slag. In both the primary and secondary computer cores, bank after bank of isolinear chips shattered, processing nodes sparked and bio-neural gel-packs ruptured, the gel boiling as energy surged through it.

The lights on the bridge failed, the sound of the air-circulation systems died and the artificial gravity shut down. Jall found himself drifting, weightless, next to the remains of the helm console. The Qu’Eh commander, his face barely visible in the dim light coming from the small fires burning in the broken panels, was staring at Jall with a combination of fury and shock.

“Welcome aboard,” Jall finished smugly.

“Fall back!” Stern was shouting into his comm-badge, “Repeat, all Matrian forces fall back!”

The Qu’Eh were closing in on the Matrian council building. Stern and the HT had already fallen back to the main entrance. The Qu’Eh were closing in relentlessly, stunning Matrian defenders and beaming them up to their ships.

“I think I’ve figured out why the Captain told us to wear Matrian uniforms,” Rengs shouted, lobbing a stun grenade across the street. He, Simmons and Kreklor had returned after about ten minutes worth of playing ‘kick the grenade’ with the newly arrived group of Qu’Eh soldiers. They’d been chased off quickly, but not before they’d managed to stun about fourty troops.

“It’s so that when we get captured, they don’t realize we’re Starfleet,” Stern said grimly, “I know. I figured that out a while ago,”

“You really think the Captain thought we were going to be captured?” Marsden asked, firing his weapon at the oncoming aliens..

“Considering we’ve been outnumbered and outgunned for this entire battle?” Stern shouted back, “I think he was planning ahead,”

A fresh wave of Qu’Eh burst out of the park. The HT suddenly found themselves facing nearly fifty weapon barrels.

Stern dropped his weapon, then slowly stood with his hands over his head.

“I think it was a good idea,” Simmons gulped.

Chairman P’tarek strode into the Matrian Grand Council building, soldiers and members of his personal bodyguard forming a barrier between himself and the very angry-looking Matrians lining the corridors. He was somewhat impressed by the Matrian seat of government. The workmanship of the wood paneling was excellent, the architecture was nice and stonework on the exterior and interior was exquisite. Of course, it couldn’t match the cool efficiency of the glass and steel construction the Qu’Eh used, but the Matrians would learn. Oh yes, they would learn.

A tall, dark haired woman was striding down the corridor towards him. She wore an interestingly tight outfit, which seemed to be comprised largely of…leather? He didn’t remember seeing that on the screen when he was threatening the Matrian council earlier.

“I’m Mistress Laurette,” she declared harshly, “I’m the leader of the Matrian people. What do you want?”

P’tarek turned his head to one side, listening carefully as his Executive Assistant murmured into his ear.

“I’m sorry,” he said, “But I was under the impression that when we started our hostile takeover of your corporate world-space, Queen Anselia was your CEO.”

“I did a little hostile take-over of my own,” Laurette said, giving a small grin, “Or didn’t you know? I ruled the Matrian people for decades before the Reawakening. It was only after that that I was relegated to Leader of the Opposition,”

P’tarek listened again.

“I see,” he smiled pleasantly, “Then perhaps you’d care to discuss just how exactly you’ll be fitting into our organization?”

“I’d like nothing better,”

“Just one thing,” P’tarek raised a hand, “Where is Queen Anselia? King Hektor? Minister of Defence Stafford? The esteemed Dr. Wowryk?”

“Most of them were in Defence HQ,” Laurette shrugged, looking bored, “If they’re not there, then they probably found some hole to scurry under. As for this Wowryk person, she’s just a lowly peon. Why should I know?”

“Mistress Laurette,” P’tarek said, lowering his voice and leaning in closer, “You really do need to answer all of our questions to the best of your abilities. To do any less would not make good business sense,”

A small light on the strange headset implant P’tarek wore began blinking. He cocked his head slightly, as though listening to a voice only he could hear. (Which was, after all, the whole point of a headset, right?) He smiled.

“As it turns out, the good doctor has been located,” he said, “Though it sounds like she and her colleagues did an overly effective job of ruining that fine ship of theirs,”

He clapped his hands together and smiled brightly.

“But enough of that, my dear. Let’s go and discuss Matria Prime’s place in the great Qu’Eh Corporate Organization!”

Stafford awoke with one hell of a headache.

He cracked open one eye and found himself lying on what seemed to be the floor of a Matrian shuttle. What the heck was he doing there? Oh, that’s right. Admiral Verethi had stunned him, saying something about ‘plans’ Anselia had for him. What were they doing, turning him over to the Qu’Eh? Did they think that offering up a Starfleet officer to the enemy was really going to help them?

Suddenly, the further ramifications of Anselia’s betrayal came rushing to mind. If she told the Qu’Eh about the underground installation, then all the people, all the supplies, everything he’d had hidden there would be in jeapordy!

There was a loud THUNK as the shuttle touched down. Feigning unconsciousness, Stafford let his eye close.

The hatch hissed open, letting voices spill in.

“-give much of a fight?”

“No ma’am, Admiral Verethi stunned him before he even knew what was happening,”

“Really, we don’t think that was necessary! We are sure he would have come quietly, once he understood the situation!”

Stafford recognized that voice (and its obnoxious pluralities) any day. It was Anselia!

“What should we do with him?”

“Just put him over there until he wakes up,”

“I am awake, you traitorous bitch!” Stafford snapped, suddenly launching himself to his feet. He wasn’t quite fast enough, suddenly finding himself held back, restrained from rushing at Anselia.

“Traitorous?” Anselia asked calmly.

“Verethi told me you were gonna turn me over to the Qu’Eh!” Stafford snapped, “I can’t believe you’d…hey….” he looked around, “Why are Ensign Kennerdy and Lt Commander Valtaic holding me back? Where I am?”

“It is a pleasure to restrain you from causing an incident, sir,” Valtaic said politely.

“It’ll be a pleasure once you’ve had a shower,” Stafford said, wrinkling his nose, “How long have you been away from the ship, anyway?”

“You are in the underground installation,” Queen Anselia, cutting off Valtaic’s chance at a come-back, “Where you sent us, your non-essential crew, most of our senior government personnel and as many of our civilians as you could. And, we might add, where you yourself showed little interest in going,”

“Yeah, but…” Stafford trailed off, looking around. He was indeed in a huge hanger matching the description Jeffery had given him, “But Verethi said something about the Qu’Eh being very interested in getting their hands on me. And some orders you had given…”

“Yes,” Anselia nodded, “We had ordered her to ensure that you were brought here, so the Qu’Eh would not get their hands on you,”

“Wha…” Stafford trailed off again. Kennerdy and Valtaic released their grip on him, leaving him free to walk to the end of the railing that surrounded their particular platform.

For the most part, the hanger was the way Jeffery had described it. It was huge, with several platforms extending from a support structure in the center, forming a series of strange, staggered half-decks. The lighting was subdued, of the bluish/reddish variety and there was a control booth clinging to one of the upper bulkheads. The huge hanger door was closed against the desert outside, with a pair of smaller airlock doors on either side, way down on the lowest level.

What was different was that the bay was no longer empty.

Matrian shuttles, transports and even a few scout and patrol ships crowded several of the landing platforms. Both of Silverado’s runabouts, along with several of her shuttles, crowded another. Both runabouts had visible battle-damage, which was being ignored as Starfleet and Matrian crewmen unloaded supplies from their cargo holds. The transport enhancers that had been setup on the lower level had been packed away and the last load of supplies beamed down before the battle started were slowly being moved to one wall, where several crates had already been stacked. Matrians, Silverado crew members and even a few Senousians were milling around in a combination of confusion and organized chaos.

After the first attack, and with Fifebee reporting that the installation was almost entirely deserted, Stafford and Anselia had quickly realized the potential use of such a facility. With only a handful of government personnel aware of its existence, a powerful jamming field in place and plenty of free space, it was the perfect bunker. That may or may not have been its original purpose, but that wasn’t particularly relevant now. Stafford had immediately ordered Silverado to beam down as many supplies as humanly possible, while Anselia had insisted that the non-essential Silverado crew members and civilians that had been hiding in one of Matronus’s sports arena be relocated immediately. Stafford had suggested more of a focus on Matrian civilians, but Anselia had pointed out that the common people had far less to fear from an invading force that governors, governesses and Starfleet personnel. With transporters and shuttles running right until the battle began, there had still been time to evacuate a number of Matrian civilians. Also, the scanner-scattering effect of the radiation released by the self-destruction of the defence satellites had allowed the defending forces to continue to send shuttles to the installation without being detected by the Qu’Eh.

“Why the hell did she stun me, then?” he demanded.

“Well, she really doesn’t like you very much,” Anselia shrugged.

Stafford let out a relieved breath.

“Everything is going according to plan then, huh?” he asked.

“Except for the fact that our planet has been conquered, yes,” Anselia said, her voice turning slightly frosty.

“And the fact that we have a two hundred year-old nude Matrian running around the inner complex, a hologram imprinted with Sylvia’s personality and only three unlocked washrooms located so far in this facility,” Valtiac added.

“There’s a fleet on the way,” Stafford said, patting Anselia’s arm reassuringly, “A month, six weeks at the most, and we’ll give these Qu’Eh bastards the ass-kicking they deserve,”

“Sir, we’ve received a transmission from the Matrian Sector relay,” Captain Brown reported as Admiral Edward Tunney stepped into the operations complex of Starbase 45,”

“Admiral on the bridge!” one of the junior officers called out, despite the fact that there really was no bridge on the starbase.

Tunney gave the man a very dirty look.

“Let me guess,” Tunney said to Brown, “The Qu’Eh have conquered the planet, Silverado’s either crippled or destroyed, most of our people are missing in action and some former bad-guy on the planet is now working with the Qu’Eh to help them cement their control?

Brown looked blankly at Tunney.

“Shit,” Tunney groaned, “That was my worst-case scenario. I was hoping the real situation would cheer me up. What’s the status of the relief fleet?”

“The Vendome, the Elfman, the Stallion, the Montreal and the Champlain have all rendezvoused at Waystation,” another officer reported, “They’ll be departing in six hours,”

“A Constellation-class, a Proxima-class, a Constitution-class and two Excelsior-class ships,” Tunney grimaced, “All of them Operation Salvage vessels.” He paced for a few minutes, then turned to Brown.

“Order those ships to sit tight,” he said, “None of them leave for Matrian Space until I give the order,”

Brown and his first officer exchanged a worried glance.

“And when will that be, sir?”

“When I convince Fleet Admiral Ra’al to send more ships,” Tunney said, turning back to the turbolife, “Or not at all,”

End of Season 4. Well folks, that wraps up the fourth season of Star Traks: Silverado. What comes next? A fifth season? A mini-series? All of the above? I have not idea, actually. And, at the moment, I’m probably stuck in a Canadian Forces training facility, hopefully with some time for writing this time. Your comments, thoughts and suggestions are always welcome, though because of restricted internet access, the best way to get them to me at the moment is to email Have a good summer!