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Lusifrelle Eritt shivered slightly as she hid behind the bio-hazard container in the hold of the transport. If Angel One security caught her before the ship launched she knew she was dead. Being in the middle of a revolution was new to her, as it was most Angellians. Damn those Earthmen for bringing their strange ideas to her world! She believed she would have been much happier in her ignorant belief that women were superior to men and deserved to rule. Still, they had crashed here and now she did know better.
Like most female Angellians she stood around two metres tall and had the strong frame of a natural hunter. She had long mousy hair which fell to her waist and cobalt blue eyes that could pierce into the soul of those she stared at. Unlike most Angellians she had seen the truth of the ideas brought into the public light by the Egalitarian Movement. This had made her a hunted woman. Doctors were respected for their intelligence and enlightenment on Angel One and Eritt was one of the best. She had served her planet as an Exobiologist and physician for three years now, but that was over. As soon as the Elected One had found out where her sympathies lay the troops had been sent for her before she could go public. Her only chance of survival was to get off world.
Eritt thought about the movement whose beliefs were forcing her into exile. It was so silly really. Twenty years ago escape pods from a Federation freighter called Odin had crashed on her planet. Four men had escaped death in the crash and had been offered the hospitality of Angel One, at least until they dared defy the Elected One (Mistress Biata) by holding to different philosophies than were considered socially acceptable. They actually thought they should get a say in any decisions that affected them. One of the council, Mistress Arielle, had been in love with Captain Ramsay, their leader. When the Federation Starship Enterprise had been sent here to find them all hell broke loose. They were eventually all exiled to a remote land where they would not have contact with mainstream Angellian society. At least, that was the plan.
It hadn't worked that way. Mistress Biata had been voted out at the last election and the new Elected One had a less tolerant view of the 'heretical teachings' of the Ramsians. The Egalitarian Movement they founded had come back, and now native Angellian males were being caught up in the promise of self-determination. The waves of dissent had been present at the time of the Enterprise's visit but with the help of Arielle, the Egalitarian Movement was now organised and strengthened against the government's opposition.
This was fast moving to all-out civil war. The Federation had no idea what was going on, the Elected One had sent the Enterprise away with a request not to return, despite a reputed fascination for the ship's First Officer. Eritt had not realised how bad things had become before the troops came to arrest her. She had barely managed to escape and if it had not been for those friends or hers who had been ready to help her she knew she would not be alive now. This was her only chance, and she could not hide the slight shiver of fear that cloaked her.
The transport was a Liseppian cargo freighter. The Liseppians were only tolerated by Angel One because they brought goods the Angellians could use. There was no love lost between the two peoples and Lusifrelle knew she would not be turned in if she was found after the flight took off. She wondered silently what was taking so long. She heard footsteps moving into the cargo bay and she crouched even lower.
"I understand your concern Sergeant, but as you can see there is no fugitive on board this ship." It was the Captain.
"Spare us your assurances. We won't be sure until we've made a full inspection of the ship." Eritt did not know this voice but it did not take a genius to work out that it belonged to a security officer.
"We've been through this Sergeant. I'm due at a Federation Starbase in twelve days. I don't think I'll make it now, let alone if you hold me up for eight hours while you do your search."
"That's not my concern..."
"No, it's mine. I'll make this simple, Sergeant. If you want to continue to do business with the Liseppians, you will get off my ship now. If you don't, I'll place a complaint with the Liseppian Free Traders Guild."
"Alright. You want to go, then go. But if you find Dr Eritt on board or we find out that you have been harbouring her..."
"Don't worry, I have no interest in Angel One's internal politics."
Lusifrelle guessed the Captain's comments must have satisfied the security officer. The sound of footsteps started again, this time heading out of the cargo bay. Moments later she heard hatches sealing and engines starting to whine as the ship prepared for takeoff. She sat back and sighed with relief.
"Dr Eritt?" It was the Captain's voice once more. She froze. "Dr Eritt, I know you are behind that bio-hazard container, I suggest you come out from behind there, it contains some rather toxic materials and I would prefer not to have to start a struggle around it."
She felt her intestines twist with fear as she stood and faced the Liseppian. He was alone and unarmed. He noticed her looking behind him, attempting to assess her danger. "Don't be concerned, Doctor. The security people have left the ship."
Eritt began to hope. It wasn't much, but there was a slim chance she might get off her home planet after all. "What are you going to do now that you know I am here?" There was no point in evading the main issue. The Captain appeared to respect directness if the conversation with the security officer was anything to go by.
"You heard me before, I have no interest in the internal politics of Angel One. What political toes you appear to have stepped on, they are not mine. My chief concern is stowaways."
Lusifrelle thought about this. The freighter captain appeared to be asking her for money. This was a contingency for which she was unprepared. There hadn't been time to consider money over the last two days. "I don't have money on me, but I could see to it that..."
The captain held up his hand to silence her. "My dear doctor, I may be a trader but I am not a Ferengi. This is not about harbouring you for as long as you can pay. My concerns are very different. I have not had a Ship's Doctor for several trips. My arrangement is simple. I will take you as far as Starbase 73, for which you provide medical services for my crew and I, and I have never seen you once we leave. Deal?"
"Deal." The word almost burst from Eritt in relief.
"Good." The Liseppian captain smiled. "Well, I think we can find better quarters for our acting medical officer than the cargo bay. Come with me."
Commander Walker felt troubled as he strode down to Admiral Dekker's office on Utopia Plenetia. He had reported there with no reasons given in his orders. Captain Freene, under whom he had served as first officer for the last five years on the USS Menalaus, had refused to tell him anything. That bothered him. Orders were orders, but the two of them had stretched or bent many an order together over the last few years. They had pulled off some miracles for the Federation and most Admirals knew not to ask too many questions about how they had managed such feats. For Freene to stay quiet on this meant it was something serious.
The Commander stood outside the door for several seconds to straighten his uniform. The Flag brass always made him nervous. He tapped the door chime and was called in. He stepped through the doors and stood at attention in front of Dekker.
"Commander Walker reporting as ordered, Sir!" He risked a glance from the corner of his eye at the Admiral. He did not look happy.
The Admiral looked at the man in front of him. Somehow he had pictured him to be taller than his actual one hundred and seventy centimetres. His short dark hair was swept back and his blue eyes held the familiar trace of independence and arrogance that he had seen in all of his officers who came from Australia or colonies that had originated from Australian stock. These were the men that hid from the glory, from the headlines. These were the men who were the wolves of Starfleet, the ones who did the 'by any means' jobs. This was the type of man he needed now, despite his distaste for them.
The Admiral stood. They were of equal height and the Admiral stared into his eyes. Several of his Betazoid staff would have had fits if they had known this. Betazoids as a culture had an innate fear of Australians as it turned out. It was said that no Betazoid who read an Australian mind was ever truly sane again. The admiral had never considered any Betazoid truly sane in the first place, so he was not shaken by the superstition. He continued to stare.
The commander's features were rough. There was no other way to describe him. His face betrayed all the scrapes his file said he had been in, and then some besides. The mileage showed through the creases in his forehead and the small scar which ran down from the edge of his left eye for two centimetres. The eyes were the killer though. The Admiral nearly reconsidered his view about the Betazoid prejudice with all the history he could see in those eyes. This Australian had warranted particular mention among the Betazoid officers on the Menalaus. There was that special nickname some of them had been using behind his back since the matter with the Breen.
"Sit down, Commander. We have much to discuss." The admiral decided it was time to get things started.
Walker inwardly breathed a sigh of relief. He was still no closer to finding out what this was all about, but at least the game was about to begin. The brass were always playing their games. "Thank you Sir." He sat down in one of the chairs facing the desk.
The admiral got right to the point. "Walker, what the hell were you thinking pulling that crap with the runabouts during the Breen incursion two weeks ago?"
Walker was taken by surprise. It sounded like the Admiral was taking a direct approach with him. If he was in an Admiral's office being asked this, he figured he was in more trouble than either he or Freene had counted on at the time. He prepared himself for the long haul. "The Menalaus was being ambushed by three Breen cruisers, Sir. The Captain asked me to..."
"Cut it out, Commander. I've read your report. The fact is that you took two runabouts that you were carrying to Starbase 50, loaded them with photon torpedoes and used them as antimatter missiles. We've just lost a lot of ships between Borg attacks and the war with the Dominion. Do you think we can afford to lose even more ships right now?"
"Permission to speak freely, Sir."
The Admiral had been waiting for this, but he was surprised it came so quickly. "Granted."
"I was asked to even the odds. The Menalaus didn't have a chance against three ships. What I did took out two ships and made the crew of the last one so jumpy I don't think we'll see the Breen in our space for some time. It also saved our skins. What would you prefer, Admiral? The loss of two unmanned runabouts or the loss of two runabouts, one starship and three hundred officers and crew?"
The Commander was right, of course. The Admiral knew that. He actually respected it. Too many officers out of the Academy these days were clones for all intents and purposes. Very few had the resourcefulness of this commander. It worried him that most who did had the same thick accent this man spoke with and the same disrespect for the chain of command. Admiral Dekker knew this type of officer was necessary in Starfleet, especially now. He just wished they could be controlled a little more.
Thomas Walker studied the Admiral through the silence. He came to a conclusion about these proceedings. "Am I to be court marshalled for this Sir? Is this what our little chat is about?"
Dekker looked back to him, drawn from his thoughts. "Actually no. Don't think yourself off the hook, though. There are more than a few Admirals who want to string you up for this. I have other plans for you however."
"Don't tell me, a desk job?"
"Wrong again. Tell me what do you know about this?" The admiral pressed a tab on the console in front of him and a holographic projection of a ship started spinning in front of him. It was a strange design, much like an enlarged runabout with an extended rear end. Walker had seen the specs for this ship in his briefing notes but had not known why they were shipped with his orders.
"It's the new Hercules class transport ship. Four decks, crew complement 27, it can haul 100 million tons at a cruising velocity of warp 7.5. Sounds like the engineers have put a little grunt under the hood for once."
"You're essentially correct, Commander. The ship carries minimal shields and no offensive weapons, so with a starship sized warp core, it means this class of transport vessel has the power to haul very heavy cargoes. It's primarily designed for hauling refined metals, ores..."
"No it's not. It's designed for carrying sensitive cargo. Weapons and the like. That's why it's equipped with high intensity Subspace field generator. It's to hide the cargo from the outside world."
The admiral looked at the commander with a new found respect. This man was sharp. "Very good Commander. Of course, this is not the story for general consumption, is it?"
"Of course not. In fact, I still don't understand why you've given me the specs, seeing as how it's a classified design. Why do I need to know about it?"
"I thought it was obvious, Commander. You're being promoted."
Lt Commander Botha was in another of his foul moods. There were too many design specialists around Utopia Plenitia for his liking these days. Why couldn't they let the engineers do what they did best, build starships? It angered him that all these designers treated their schematics like their children, and anyone who suggested improvements were a threat by default.
The Lt Cmdr stood staring down at the petite designer with a look of disdain that was amplified by his two hundred centimetres of height and his muscular frame. His tightly cropped dark hair only served to accentuate the menace his chiseled and weathered features described.
"Are you telling me that we can't add this flow regulator here because of aesthetics? We're talking about lives here!"
"That's not true and you know it." It surprised Phillip Botha that this small waif of a girl held her ground. "The extra flow regulator is not a requirement. I won't have you making my ship's quarters looking like a workshop."
"It won't look like much of anything if the ship blows up on her maiden flight now, will it?"
"That won't happen..."
"What the hell are you talking about? Just how many of these ships have you put together with your own hands?"
"Well none, but..."
"But nothing!" Botha's South African accent was coming to the fore now as it always did when he got angry. "I've been building these things for ten years and I am telling you that this flow regulator is going here!"
"Commander Botha." The voice came over the comm badge.
Botha suppressed his irritation at being interrupted and tapped the badge on his chest. "Go ahead."
"You are wanted in Operations."
"On my way." He gave the designer a final glare to let her know that she would not win before storming off to the nearest transporter. He still could not believe that he had been assigned to work with all these theorists. Whatever happened to the real starship designers? The ones who had earned their stripes in the dangers of stellar exploration? The ones who knew only too well that a poorly designed ship was more of a danger to her crew than Romulans, the Borg, Jem Hadar, or anything else that they might encounter out there.
He reached the transporter within minutes. He was still seething but he hadn't become a command officer by yelling at the crew when he was angry. "Ensign, beam me down to Operations, please."
The ensign behind the transporter console tapped a few keys. "Ready, Sir."
"Energize." He saw the ensign's three fingers slide up the console as the familiar whine of the transporter kicked in. The field surrounding him transformed to the familiar sugared crystalline look before dissipating and revealing the surface transporter station, manned by one of the Petty Officers. He smiled and nodded to the chief as he stepped off the pad.
"Lt Cmdr Botha. I was called in."
"Yes, Sir. You are required in Conference Room 46, Sir. That is on floor 70, section 16-Gamma." The chief went back to the controls at his station.
He nodded acknowledgement to the ensign and stepped into the complex proper. The surface complex at Utopia Plenitia always made the Lt commander nervous. He had spent most of his life on ships of one type or another and the remainder had been made up of building them. The size of them made him feel comfortable, gave him boundaries but this... This was daunting. One hundred stories. Forty thousand people. An atrium that could hold six galaxy class starships in it. The scale was one that made his stomach churn. He had always preferred the more enclosed spaces of a starship, the smaller the better. The prototype of the new Hercules Class transport he had been assigned to complete was the perfect size for him, he realised.
He walked to the nearby turbolift and entered the coordinates the ensign had mentioned. The lift swept upwards towards the stated destination. The ride would take over two minutes, Phillip knew this from experience. Everywhere in this complex was at least two minutes away. The trip was just long enough to make him nervous. Why did they want to see him? Did they know about his arguments with the designers? Even if they did, why would they care? It disturbed Botha all the more because he knew that whatever it was, there was nothing he could do about it.
The turbolift halted and the doors slid open on a massive room buzzing with activity. There were computer displays and consoles everywhere he looked and an almost chaotic activity occurring around them as the army of tacticians and engineers argued over various points of detail displayed by the computers. Phillip knew these rooms well. This was where the coordination of the building activity would take place. There was a centre like this for each of the dry docks in orbit above them, monitoring and managing the construction efforts. He strode with confidence towards the one of the stations nearby marked as Information. Within seconds he had the location of the conference room he had been called to. He headed down a corridor leading away from the control centre.
This troubled Botha. He had been on Utopia Plenitia for three years, and this was the first time he had ever been summoned to one of the conference rooms. Control Centres were one thing, that meant there was an engineering issue to be dealt with. This was something else. It had to be one of those stupid designers making a complaint to the project Captain. Well, he would just see about this. He marched towards the room and entered with a grim determination. He looked to Walker like he would have walked through the doors if they had not opened for him automatically.
"Lt Cmdr Phillip Botha reporting as ordered." he stood to attention. He noticed that the man in front of him had four pips on his right collar. Even so, he was not the project Captain, Briggs looked far more officious than this man. Botha began to relax.
"At ease, Commander. Please sit down, would you?" Botha had to admit that this man seemed disarming, whoever he was.
"Thank you, Sir." Botha sat across from him.
"I should introduce myself of course. I am Captain Thomas Walker, commanding the ship you are just finishing."
This surprised Botha. "They have given her a captain already? She isn't due out for two weeks."
"That has changed, Commander. We are due at Starbase 73 in eleven days."
Botha was shocked. "Eleven days? But it's a five day trip. You're telling me I've just lost a week? I can't have her ready by then!"
"You have to Commander. You are under orders, just as I am."
The Captain's visage hardened. "No buts, Commander!"
Botha froze. Instantly his mind went into high gear, determining how he could meet the deadline without compromising the ship. He glanced at the Captain and noted that he appeared to be studying him.
Without warning the captain smiled. "They told me you think on your feet. I read your file you know. It's colourful, I'll say that much."
Botha groaned inwardly. His file was full of reprimands and charges made by self serving and talentless superiors who could not take criticism very well. What was all this leading to?
"Let's cut to the chase, Commander. You are not liked very much here and the chances of you having this ship ready on time are not good. On the other hand, I need someone who knows this ship inside out, someone who won't be afraid to speak his mind. Someone to serve as my Chief Engineer. In short, you."
Botha laughed. "You can't be serious. You say that you've read my file, you've never seen me before but you want me as your Chief Engineer? This doesn't make sense. I think that they have given you command of a transport and as such you can't afford to be picky."
Walker smiled. "Maybe not, but I'll tell you this. Before now I was First Officer on the Menalaus..."
Botha's jaw fell open. "You're THAT Walker?"
"Yes, I'm that Walker. Now does it make sense to you that I would be asked to command a transport if the flag brass merely wanted me quiet? There are simpler ways of having me silenced. If I have been given the freedom to pick my officers, is there anyone with a better knowledge of the ship who could serve as a Chief Engineer? Any reason I shouldn't come to you?"
Botha thought about it. This captain had a point. He saw that this was not a man to be taken lightly. Like himself Walker could clearly think on his feet. "Not that I can think of."
"Agreed. Also, I need people around me who can do their job without running to me for confirmation all the time. I can't afford noddies. I need someone who will tell me what he thinks and can take charge of details while I am dealing with other things. That is you. What I want to know now is are you in?"
Botha summed up the choices within a split second. "Yes."
Walker smiled again. "Good. I'll leave you to get the Nullabor ready for departure by the end of the week."
Botha frowned. "The Nullabor? That's her name?"
"It is now. I asked for the naming rights."
Alexis Kelsey stared at the knife in the hand of the man in front of her. She seemed transfixed by it's every movement. Most of the bar patrons had cleared out by now, this bar was not known for prompt responses from the local security forces. It was that fact which drew most of it's clientele in the first place. Alexis' waist length raven hair swung in the pony tail tied behind her as her head followed the knife.
"You may be pretty, but that's not going to save you, bitch."
Alexis had to admit that this grunt looked as if he meant every word. He was brandishing the knife with an unpolished stance that would be none the less effective against those she suspected this guy would be in the habit of challenging. He probably had her pegged as a secure mark as it was. She certainly had not given him any reason to think otherwise.
That was in fact what made her such an effective under cover agent. Who would suspect a petite young lass with an elfin like face of being a covert operative specially trained by Tactical Operations. She stared at him with the dark eyes of a Betazoid. There was no doubt in her mind when he would make his move.
The movement was a blur. He lunged forward, thrusting the knife at her chest. She was no longer there, however. She was faster. As his knife passed through the space her chest had occupied he felt the lancing pain of two knifes piercing his flesh, one through his right lung and the other through his throat. He swung round to see her standing out of reach, holding another two throwing knives at the ready. They were not necessary. It was seconds before his vision was tainted red and he felt the heat of his consciousness oozing from his mind...
Alexis walked back over to the grunt and pulled the knives from him. She wiped them on his clothing and replaced them in the loose folds of her blouse. As she walked to the bar and ordered a drink, the remaining locals began to resume the activities they had abandoned moments earlier. After she finished the drink she ordered a second one, took it and turned around. The body had already been removed. No-one approached her or even looked her way for too long. Anyone who could defend herself with such speed and professional detachment was a danger to them. That was something she had learned quickly about organised crime syndicates; they were an untrusting lot. Mind you, she thought, so was anyone who made killing their way of life, even her.
This thought brought back images of a man she had once known. It seemed like years ago now, but she was sure it was only six months since they had last met. She began to reminisce with her drink and nearly missed the stare from the Vulcan across the room. As soon as she noticed him he casually brushed the back of his left earlobe with his left hand and moved to a vacant booth. What was a Starfleet contact doing here?
She waited several minutes before standing and meandering through the crowd. It would not do to have people realise this meeting was by design. She soon moved towards the booth in which the Vulcan sat patiently with his drink. "Are you waiting for someone?" She repeated the signal he had given her as he entered.
"Not anymore." He motioned for her to sit down, wagging his ring finger slightly. He had obeyed all the forms, he was legitimate.
"You make it sound like you were looking for me."
"Perhaps you would allow me to buy you a drink?"
"What's in it for me?" He wanted to pass something on. This was dangerous in a crowded tavern if he was known, but somehow she suspected he wasn't. He was using his own telepathic abilities to shield his thoughts and she had never seen him before. This was very strange.
"The company of good friends."
Alexis froze. That was the code she and Walker had devised before she left the Menalaus for Tactical Operations. Speak of the Devil, she thought. "My friends are far away."
"They are closer than you think." The Vulcan stood and brushed her arm as he strode from the table. She sat there for several minutes before standing herself and heading out. She ambled through the streets for several blocks before coming to a secluded alley. She looked back to see if she had been followed. She had not. She checked up her sleeve and retrieved a miniature padd and a disguised communicator. The Vulcan was good, she thought. She checked the padd first.
"Meet me on Starbase 73 in eight days. The communicator will get you there." He must be crazy, she thought. She couldn't just up and leave, there was her mission after all. She read on. "Everything sorted out already, just call when you are prepared." Now she knew he was crazy. For one thing, who did he think he was? He couldn't do this to her, she had her own life, her own agenda...
She began to think back to the time they had busted that Ferengi cartel running arms to the Duras sisters five years ago. She smiled. That pair was persistent. It did not surprise her in the least that it had taken the Enterprise to take them out, with the loss of the ship in the process. They had been good friends on board the Menalaus. Some of the things they had gotten away with...
There was no doubt as to what she would do in the end. There was something about that Commander with the drawling accent. She doubted that she had ever been sane since the day she first stared into his eyes when they met on the Parisee Squares court on Starbase 6. She tapped the communicator. "I would like the company of my friends once more."
The Vulcan's voice responded. "Beaming you up now."
Jupiter station seemed to be full of geeks to the average young ensign with the stars in his eyes. It was a station filled with Starfleet's finest research personnel. There was Dr Zimmerman, Lt Barclay had even done a stint there, not to mention Dr Gorman, the man responsible for the development of the new Quantum torpedoes being produced in place of the standard photon weapons. Of course, there were scientists from several disciplines, not just physics. Dr Jarun, the Vulcan biologist had invented the first bio-neural gelpak here. It was said that they revolutionised standard starship construction within a year of being invented.
None of these people held similar interests as Ensign Sai Falar. All he was interested in was getting between the Saturn base and the station and back. The Jovian Run. He was the first Bajoran to be assigned to the run that he knew of. That meant he was the first Bajoran to do Titan's Turn six months ago. Now it was just something to keep the spice in the trip. This time he would avoid it. It was not a good thing to flip around moons at .7C with admirals in the back seat of the shuttle.
"So how long did you say you have held your commission, Ensign?" Admiral Connelly had been trying to make conversation all through the trip.
"Eight months, Sir."
"You should know you are serving a fine organisation, young man. We look forward to the time Bajor joins us in the Federation."
"Yes Sir. With respect Sir, I'm just happy you let me fly."
The admiral lapsed back into silence. There was not much to be said to that. This young man was clearly a talented pilot and it seemed he cared for little else. At least he was in Starfleet, he thought. With the Marquis now destroyed during the Dominion wars there was no temptation for him to leave. Most of the Bajorans who had joined up in previous years had defected to the Marquis faster than this young man was flying. Come to think of it... "Ensign, aren't you travelling just a little fast?"
Falar looked back. "No, Sir. This run is a piece of cake. Nothing happens out here..." The look on the Admiral's face turned ashen. That was what saved them. Ensign Sai swung forward in time to see the marker in front of them. It was gaining so fast Falar thought they were dead for sure. His instincts took over and his hands flew over the controls bringing the shuttle into a sharp bank to starboard. The force of the sudden change in direction threw the two of them against the wall of the shuttle momentarily as the inertial dampers rushed to compensate. Falar fell back into the seat as the stars spun around him. The shuttle was spinning out of control. His hands reacted once more and the shuttle flew out of a death spin and headed directly for the surface of Io. The marker had been there for a reason.
The admiral was screaming something at him, but he was too busy to worry about what he was saying. His hands danced on the console once more and the ship pulled upwards sharply, pressing the two of them back into their seats with incredible pressure. His hands continued to dance and after a few barrel rolls they were out of danger. "Well, that turned out better than I expected, don't you think?" Ensign Sai turned back once more.
The Admiral was wearing a pallid look of shock and devastation on his face. He did not respond to the question. Falar did not take this as a good sign.
The remainder of the trip passed without incident. Falar thought he could see the blood returning to the Admiral's face. As they docked at Jupiter Station, he glanced back once more. He had been right. The admiral looked furious. He stormed out of the shuttle before the rear door was fully down. As soon as he was out of the shuttle he spun around.
"What the hell was that, Ensign?"
"Don't sir me, Ensign. This isn't a stunt show. You almost killed us out there!"
"Almost is right. I pulled out didn't I?"
Admiral Connelly stood there in shock. He could not believe what he had just heard. The trouble was the young ensign was right. He had never seen flying like that. He may have been the reason why he was nearly dead, but he was also the reason he was still alive. Still, this young Ensign needed to be taught a lesson. "Report to the Captain's office in one hour." He turned on his heel and strode from the shuttle bay.
Falar could feel his career crashing and burning. He wasn't sure if he could pull this one out. He finished up his post flight checks and tried to think about something else.
It was exactly an hour later that he pressed the chime on the Jupiter Station CO's office. He was bidden enter and he did so to see the Captain and the Admiral standing waiting for him.
"Well, ensign." The admiral had a smug look on his face. This was not good. "You seem to fancy yourself as a flyer. I have been speaking to my friend Admiral Dekker on Utopia Plenetia. It seems he has a posting available for a pilot such as yourself."
"Yes Sir." There was little else he could say.
"You will board the Hood leaving here in two hours. You have been posted to the Nullabor."
"I am not aware of a Starfleet ship with that name, Sir."
"It's a new ship Ensign. Hercules class..."
The ensign cringed. "A transport..."
"A transport." The admiral actually chuckled.
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