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Part of USS Heracles: Archanis Operation

USS Heracles (NCC-80555)

Archanis sector, Archanis V, Deep Space K-7
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Stardate:

Quadrant: Alpha

Mission: Archanis Operations

Time : 13:42

 

On every bridge, in every briefing room, the initial data package was the same: a holo-recording of Rear Admiral Alexander Beckett, straight-backed in his red uniform, impassive of countenance. If the grimness of the matter at hand perturbed him, it did not show in gaze or deep voice.

 

‘You are directed to proceed to Starbase 27 and the Archanis Sector, Beta Quadrant, in the largest operation of the Fourth Fleet in a decade. Multiple colony worlds and freight shipments have reported attacks by Klingon vessels and crews, committing acts of wanton murder, theft, and piracy. We have confirmed these ships to be affiliated with the renegade Hunters of D’Ghor.’

 

The recording expanded, for under no circumstances would Beckett surrender the stage, instead sharing it with a dynamically updating map of the Federation side of the Archanis Sector. Each colonised system and trade route shone bright, the afflicted glazed red.

 

‘Make no mistake: Starfleet is alone in responding to this threat. The Klingon Empire will not help us bring their rogue citizens to heel. Unprovoked, the Hunters are here to indulge their hunger for battle and hatred of the Federation, while sacking our worlds and people for resources. Our local task group is outmatched by the strength and numbers of their ships, and so it falls to us, Bravo Fleet, to defend our borders.’

 

The map faded, consigned to the briefing data package for future examination, and Beckett’s face was joined by that of a Klingon male, hair styled in a fashion some would recognise as traditional, his youthful face particularly scarred.

 

‘We have identified their leader as Kuskir, younger son of D’Ghor himself. While he does not command the full force of the Hunters, they have committed significant numbers to this venture. It remains unclear if Kuskir is feeding the Hunters’ bloodthirst and filling their coffers to prove himself, or if their agenda is more complicated. Do not mistake the D’Ghor for foolish brutes or honourable warriors. They will fight you for the satisfaction of it, and they will fight to win. We cannot prevail if we do not understand our enemy, and I expect your reports to include all relevant intelligence on their methods and potential motivations.’

 

Kuskir faded, and now Beckett was alone on the display again. ‘They have made ready use of their cloaking devices and gaps in our infrastructure. If they have a base of operations, we have not located it. We will. But our first priority is the immediate security concern.

 

‘This transmission package includes your assignments. We must give relief to our afflicted citizens and protection to those not yet targeted. Once Starfleet has restored safety and stability, then we will hunt these hunters. Show the renegades – show our own people, show the Empire, show all who might think the Federation weak – the consequences of this aggression.’ Beckett’s level tone made it unclear which he valued more: assistance for the innocents whose lives had been threatened or destroyed, or sabre-rattling at potential future threats.

 

‘I know you will all do your duty,’ said Beckett, and it sounded marginally more like a warning than an expression of trust. ‘Be bold, and we will end this threat swiftly. Beckett out.’

 

As if there was any potential mistaking the authority with which he spoke, the holo-display at once replaced his face with the crest of the Director of Fourth Fleet Intelligence at the message’s end. As crews and teams proceeded to their briefing documents of preparatory information ahead of full instructions at Starbase 27, or orders to head directly to the Archanis Sector, it hung there, a promise and a reminder.

 

Admiral Beckett would not brook failure.

 

***

 

Three Hours later…

 

***Captain’s Quarters***

 

Steam billowed over the slightly opaque glass of the shower. Inside and behind the glass stood a woman, Vausees. She stood there as the sleep washed away from her body. The water cascaded over her skin as she continued to wash away her sleep. She placed a hand on the bulkhead in front of her and lowered her head. The heat from the water flowed through her hair as she stood there and eased the previous day’s tension away.

 

After her shower, she moved into her sleeping quarters and began to dress for the day. As she moved in front of a mirror, she looked at her appearance. She smoothed out a wrinkle that was on her shoulder before she exited out of her quarter’s. A short walk from her quarter, she arrived at a lift that would take her to the bridge.

 

Upon entering the bridge, she was greeted by the night shift and her XO, Zazzuit. She looked at her Captain as she saw her entered the bridge. Vausees looked down at the woman that stood before her. 

 

“Report Commander Zazzuit.” Vausees stated

 

Zazzuit nodded her head just before she delivered the night shift report, “A faulty EPS circuit burned Crewmen, the EPS circuit has been replaced. Medical reports that Crewman Parker will be able to report back to duty this evening. We are currently two hours out from arrival at Starbase 11.” 

 

Vausees nods. “See you in 10 hours Commander.” 

 

Zazzuit departs the bridge as Vausees took her seat and announced the change of shift to the computer. The lighting on the bridge changed from dim lighting to bright lighting. As she sat there, she looked about the bridge for a moment. A routine that she had become accustomed to doing upon arrival to the bridge.

 

***Captain’s Ready Room***

 

As Vausees sat there she continued to look over her crew. A sudden chirp behind her caused Cody, her Chief Security and Tactical Officer, to speak out. “Captain, an incoming call from the Fourth Fleet.”

 

This caused her to turn her head toward the man. “I’ll take it in my Ready Room.” With that, she stood up. “You have the bridge.”

 

As she took a seat behind her desk she opened the incoming call. An image of a woman wearing the uniform of an Admiral appeared on the screen. “Captain Vausees. I have orders from Admiral Becket for you to take the Heracles and investigate the distress calls near the Klingon border in the Archanis Sector.”

 

Vausees sat there in silence as she listened to the Admiral. She nodded as the Admiral spoke. “Any question’s?” she asked her. “Do we have any idea as to who is in distress?” asked Vausees

 

“Hunters of D’Ghor,” she stated before continued. “A group of renegade Klingons,” she finished.

 

‘Klingon’s’, she thought to herself. “Do we have any intel, such as their fleet strength or anything that may be of concern?”

 

The Admiral sat there for a moment before she continued. A look of concern could be seen on her face. “As far as we know they are using solo ship runs and small attack fleets.” She paused again and steepled her fingers together. “We also do not understand what has caused or provoked these attacks from the Hunters of D’Ghor. We also are not entirely sure how many ships they have at their disposal.”

 

This concerned Vausees as she continued to listen. Her mind absorbed the information and recalled the sector and its neighboring sectors. She knew that the Orion Syndicate was known to operate in and around the Archanis Sector. She knew that they had mostly kept to themselves but she was concerned if this aggression would stir them.

 

“Any word on if this event has caught the eyes of the Orion’s?”

 

The Admiral lowered his hands as she thought. “As far as we know and as far as our intel has informed us. They shouldn’t be involved, however, keep your eyes and ears open.” This caused Vausees to nod in acknowledgment. 

 

“Captain, remember that you are to investigate and find out what you can about the distress call. If any further information arises I will call you.”

 

“Thank you, Admiral. We will do our best for the fleet.”

 

The Admiral nodded her head, and the transmission ended. Vausees reached over and pressed a button on her desk. “All Senior Officers report to the Captain’s Ready Room in twenty minutes.”

 

After she sent the announcement she looked over the orders that the Admiral had just given her. A few minutes later her door hissed open and her Senior Officers entered into her Ready Room. Her XO took a seat to her left and the rest of the open seating was filled as her Officers entered.

 

They all looked at her as they waited. When the last of her Senior Officer’s took their seat she began. “I have just received orders to take the Heracles to the Archanis Sector to investigate a distress call. We have intelligence to suggest that a renegade Klingon house calling themselves the Hunter of D’Ghor are behind the distress call.”

 

“Has this caused the Orion’s to become more active?” asked Cody.

 

She looked at him. “As far as we know they haven’t but we should continue to keep our heads about us while heading towards the Archanis Sector. Which should also be said the same about being in the sector.”

 

Cody nodded to the response from Vausees.

 

“Intel also states that if we should encounter the Hunters of D”Ghor that they should be either solo ships or small attack fleets,” she added as she looked at her Officer’s. “We will reconvene once we are closer to the Archanis Sector.”

 

After the meeting, she remained in her Ready Room. Her thoughts on the mission ahead of her. She knew that her ship and its crew were ready for this. She turned to the replicator next to her desk, “Coffee…Firenut…Extra strong” She stated. A moment later a large mug of steaming hot coffee appeared in the receptacle of the replicator. 

 

She took the mug and brought the drink to her lips. After taking a drink she set the mug on her desk next to the monitor as she continued to study the mission. 

 

***Two hours later***

 

Vausees looked down at the command console next to her seat. A hiss from the bridge door announced that her XO had arrived. She had announced that she needed her on the bridge at her earliest convenience. She looked up from the console and nodded to Zazzuit.

 

“Permission to take my seat Captain?” she asked Vausees. 

 

“Permission granted.” She replied as she returned her attention to the console. 

 

“Conn, what is our current heading, and how much longer until our arrival into the Archanis Sector?” She asked Trever who was at the controls of the Heracles.

 

Trever looked at the navigation portion of his console before he spoke, “Head 356.74 mark 23,” he stated. “We should arrive in the Archanis Sector in one hour ten minutes, at our current speed of Warp 6.”

 

Vausees would nod at the reply as she stood up she looked at Zazzuit. “Commander you bridge is yours. I will be in my ready room.”

 

Zazzuit nodded, “If anything comes up I will notify you.”

 

With that Vausees departed the bridge and entered into her ready room. She moved to the replicator that was near her desk and ordered a hot Firenut coffee.

 

***Kolar***

 

A chirp from the desk caught Vausees attention. She reached over and tapped the button on the controls. 

 

“Captain we are entering into the Orion-controlled sector,” Zazzuit stated over the intercom.

 

“On my way,” she stated as she closed the com-link.

 

She moved away from her desk with the mug of Firenut in hand. As she entered the bridge she moved to her seat and took a sip from her mug. Setting it on her lap she looked over to her Ops Officer. 

 

“Jonton, do you detect any ships in the immediate area?”

 

Jonton pressed a few buttons on his console. “No, Captain, as far as the scan can see there are no ships in our sector of space.”

 

Vausees nodded her head as her eyes narrowed as she continued to look out into space through the main view screen.

 

Suddenly the console behind her began to beep. “Correction, Captain, I have two ships heading this way,” Jonton stated to her. “They both appear to be Orion Scout ships,” he stated as his fingers continued to flow over the console.

 

‘Interesting’, she thought to herself as she stood up. A crewman walked over to her and retrieved her mug that she held out. 

 

As she stood there Cody spoke up, “Captain, they should be on visual now.”

 

“Bring it up on the main screen, “ she stated.

 

Cody nodded and after a couple of seconds, the main screen showed the two scout ships.

 

“Magnify,” Vausees stated.

 

She kept her eyes on the main screen as the two ships suddenly filled it.

 

“Hail them,” she told Cody.

 

“Hailing them, Captain.”

 

There was nothing but silence as she waited for the scouts to respond. She looked back to Cody. He looked down at his console for a moment and then back to her. “The hail was sent, Captain,” he stated.

 

Vausees looked back at the screen and once more her eyes narrowed.

 

“Conn, reduce speed to one-quarter impulse.”

 

“Aye, Captain, one-quarter impulse,” Trever replied. His fingers flew over the controls as he slowed the Heracles to the requested speed.

 

Suddenly the viewscreen was filled with the face of a male Orion. “This is Captain Demih of the Kolar defense force. What are you doing in the Kolar sector?”

 

Vausees looked at Demih. “Hello, Captain. I am Captain Vausees. We are heading to the Archanis sector in response to a distress call,” she stated

 

The screen suddenly changed to the view of the two scout ships that appeared to be moving away from the Heracles. 

 

“I guess that means we can proceed,” Zazzuit stated as she turned to look at the console next to her seat. “Keep a watch on those two scouts,” she stated as she returned the console to its original position.

 

Vausees returned to her seat and looked over to Trever, “Conn, continue on our course. Warp six,” she stated.

 

Trever nodded and pressed a few buttons on his console, “Aye, Captain. Warp Six.”

 

“Engage.”

 

***Archanis Sector***

 

An hour later Trever announced that they were half an hour from the Archanis Sector. Vausees nodded her head to the announcement. 

 

“Jonton, locate the source of the distress call.”

 

Jonton nodded as his fingers flew over the console. “I have it barring 163 mark 39.”

 

Trever adjusted their heading. “Heading adjusted, Captain,” he stated.

 

Vausees nodded her head. She then swiveled the console on her left and looked at the readings. “Cody bring up the location of the distress call.”

 

Cody did as he was asked and a ruined city was seen on the main view screen.

 

“It appears that the city below was bombarded from orbit, before a ground assault,” he stated as he looked up at the screen. He then began to scan the surrounding area. “I am detecting life forms in a mountain range near the equator,” he brought up the area he mentioned on the screen.

 

Vausees stood up and looked at the screen. She turned around and looked at Zazzuit. Her XO knew that look and stood up. She moved over to her Captain, and in a low voice, she spoke to her.

 

“You’re not thinking of leading the away team are you?” she asked.

 

Vausees looked at her XO with a smile on her lips, and Zazzuit knew that there was no way to change her Captain’s mind.

 

***Archanis V – Planet side***

 

The sound of a transporter de-energizing was heard and the pale blue hue of its energy fading away was all that could be seen and heard as a group of six humanoids appeared in a field about a kilometer outside of a mountain range. Vausees raised the phase rifle to her eyes and began to scan the area around them, in a methodical manner. After satisfied that the area is secured she lowers her rifle.

 

While Vausees was scanning the area Zazzuit had her tricorder out and began to scan that way. She turned to Cody and his team of Security Officers, “Take your team and head up the left side of the mountain range. I am fairly certain that halfway up that particular mountain you will find a cave system that connects to the main cavern,” she informed him. “Keep your phasers on stun just in case,” she stated as she noticed Vausees lower her Rifle as he took his team and ascended into the mountain range.

 

Vausees nodded toward the immediate path that leads to the life signs that they had detected from orbit. “This way,” she stated as she began to move. Zazzuit and Trance, her Chief Medical Officer, began to follow her as she moved toward the cavern. 

 

***Archanis V – Orbit***

 

Trever looked down at the console to his left. Just before the Captain had left the bridge with the XO and Chief of Security of Tactical Officer he was given the order to command the Heracles. Now here he sat in the Command seat and monitored the away team’s progress to the life signs and the constant scans of the sector. 

 

As Trever continued to monitor the away team a chirp behind him at the Operations station caught his attention. He turned his head to Jonton. “Jonton?”

 

Jonton swiftly moved his hands over the console before him. As he continued to scan the area he noticed a momentary fluctuation in the sector. “I am not sure why the console chirped, Commander.” He continued to scan the area that had indicated that something had happened. “The computer indicated a ship in the area for a moment but now nothing is in the indicated area.” This puzzled Jonton as he thought about the reason for it. He then looked up at Trever with a worried look on his face. “This could be a momentary fluctuation of a cloaking device on a ship,” he stated.

 

Trever nodded his head, “Send the report to my console.” A moment later the report was sent to the console. He looked over the scanner logs and then stood up. “Lieutenant Zirzzish, raise our shields and set the ship to yellow alert.”

 

Zirzzish nodded to Trever’s command and did as he was ordered. “What is it, Commander?” He asked Trever.

 

“If I am not mistaken, that fluctuation was a Klingon Bird-of-Prey’s cloaking shields,” he stated, “Of that I am sure.” He had seen plenty of them while he sat behind the consoles of various ships and shuttlecrafts.

 

***Archanis V – Planet side – The Encounter***

 

Vausees peered around the corner of a wall from inside the cavern. She lifted the scope of her rifle and peered into it. Its thermal settings showed that it was empty. She lifted her hand and motioned for Zazzuit and Trance to move forward. Each had their phasers out as she moved with them. 

 

As she moved with the other two she kept one eye on the scope and the other in the darkness. As they moved her com-badge chirped. 

 

-/\- “Captain, we have entered into a large chamber just to the east of you.” -/\-

 

-/\- “Commander Bettencourt hold fast where you are. We should be entering the same chamber in a moment.” -/\-

 

Cody acknowledged the command and signaled his team. They all took cover as they waited for the Captain and the rest of the team to arrive. 

 

Vausees rounded a corner and entered into the same chamber as Cody and his team. Upon arriving into the chamber several light sources light up the chamber. Both Cody’s team and Vausees team looked about the chamber. She raised her hand to signal both teams to lower their phasers.

 

As the two teams lowered their weapons a group of people exited out of an opening above them. Vausees raised an open hand to them, “I am Captain Vausees of the Federation Starship Heracles,” she announced.

 

As the group of people heard this one of them stepped forward, “What do we owe you, Captain?” asked a man that had stepped forward.

 

Vausees lowered her hand as she spoke, “We are here to provide aid as the Federation detected your distress call,” she stated.

 

“Oh so now the Great Federation decided to stick its damn nose in where it does not belong!?” His voice echoed throughout the chamber. 

 

This confused Vausees for a moment. “I apologize if that is what you think, Sir,” she stated. “However based on what we have seen on the surface…” before she could continue, she was cut by the same man.

 

“So you think that you can just walk in and save us from terror and destruction?” the man stated. “Well then by all means.” He gestures to nowhere in particular. “Show us all,” his voice was thick with sarcasm as she spoke.

 

Vausees could tell that this man did not care too much for them being there. She narrowed her eyes at the man and shook her head. “Forgive me, Sir, but how about you tell us what happened so that we can know best how to aid you,” she held no punches back as she spoke. Her voice was just as malice as his was as he spoke to them. “That is unless you would like to stay here and perish like the rest of the colony.” She then turned her back as she started for the entrance to the chamber.

 

“Wait!” A female voice echoed out from behind the man. A young woman stepped forward as she pushed aside the man. She pointed to a stairway that leads up to where they all were. “Come,” she stated and ignored the anger and irritating look that the man gave her.

 

***Archanis V – Orbit***

 

“Jonton, keep your eyes on the scanners and let me know the moment that the fluctuations that we identified a moment ago,” he stated to the Ops Officer.

 

Jonton kept his eyes glued to the console as requested by Trever. His attention never wavered as he kept his eyes on the screen. “Nothing yet Commander,” Jonton stated as he slid his fingers over the controls on the console. 

 

Trever nodded. “Keep on it, Lieutenant.”

 

“Aye, Commander.”

 

Trever looked down at the console to his left. “Lieutenant Bosor keep us steady above the Captain and the away team.” 

 

“Commander!” yelled out Zirzzish from behind the Tactical Console.

 

Suddenly a Klingon Bird-of-Prey decloaked in front of the Heracles. This caused Trever’s eyes to widen. 

 

“Shields up!” He yells out.

 

Zirzzish didn’t hesitate and his fingers flew over the console. At the same time, Bosor was doing the same thing. 

 

“Hail them,” Trever said to Zirzzish

 

“Hailing them now, Commander.”

 

“This is the Federations Starship Heracles. I am Lieutenant Commander Trever Neif.”

 

Zirzzish looked down at the console and then to Trever. “They have heard the hail but are ignoring it,” he stated as he looked back down at the console.

 

Trever swallowed hard as she looked at the Klingon ship that stood before them.

 

“Hai…”

 

The viewscreen switched from the view of the ship to a female Klingon.

 

“This is Klothost K’gox. Captain of the Khoshtom,” she stated

 

“Captain may I assis…” 

 

A shot was fired from the Khoshtom and impacted with the shields of the Heracles. Blue waves danced over the viewscreen as the shields absorbed the weapons fire.

 

Klothost looked at Trever, “That is a warning shot, Commander,” she stated, “The next one will not be.”

 

Trever looked at her and narrowed his eyes. He looked at Zirzzish and nodded. Zirzzish closed the channel. “What is your call, Commander?”

 

“We do nothing just yet,” he ordered.

 

Trever looked at the Khoshtom as it was displayed on the viewscreen. He thought about the situation that the Heracles was in. “Zirzzish, open a channel to the Captain.”

 

“Channel open, Commander.”

 

“Captain, situations have changed up here,” he informed Vausees.

 

***Archanis V – Planet side – The meeting***

 

Vausees moved to where the woman that had spoken indicated. She moved swiftly up the steps and stood next to the woman. She could feel the eyes of the others both from her team and of the group that stood behind the woman. She kept her eyes on the group behind the woman, and she held up her hands to show that she meant no harm to them. 

 

Even though she showed them that she meant them no harm they still kept their weapons trained on her. The woman that stood with Vausees looked at them and narrowed her eyes at them. “Lower your damn weapons you fools.” They looked at each other for a moment and hesitated. The woman spun around and squared her shoulders. This stance caused the group to lower their weapons.

 

A chirp from Vausees com-badge caused the woman to look at Vausees.

 

“It is my ship contacting me.”

 

-/\- “Captain, situations have changed up here.” -/\-

 

This caused alarm for Vausees and she reached up and tapped her com-badge.

 

-/\- “Commander, define changed.” -/\-

 

-/\- “Well Captain, a Klingon Bird-of-Prey had decloaked in front of us and has fired a warning shot, or so the Captain of that ship has said.” -/\-

 

She nodded as she listened to what he stated to her. 

 

-/\- “Do not fire unless fired upon again.” -/\-

 

-/\- “Understood.” -/\-

 

With that, she tapped her com-badge and closed the channel. She then looked at the woman. “After you,” she gestured for the woman to continue.

 

The woman nodded and walked into a room. As they both entered the room the woman stepped behind a console that was littered with documents. She indicated that Vausees take a seat on the other side of the console.

 

As Vausees took a seat she looked at the woman. “Pardon me but may I know who I am speaking with?”

 

The woman’s eyes widened as she realized that she had not introduced herself. “No please forgive me I forgot to introduce myself,” she pauses for a moment. “I am Sara Brooke,” she stated and then continued after a moment’s pause. “I am the leader of Archanis V.”

 

This shocked Vausees, “I assumed the man that spoke first was in charge.”

 

This brought a smile to Sara’s face. “No, he is my spokesperson.”

 

Vausees nodded to this information and then indicated that they should continue. Sara nodded and brought up the information on the console. She stood up and pointed to the console. Vausees joined her and looked down at the information. 

 

***Archanis V – Orbit***

 

Trever acknowledged the orders from Vausees. 

 

“Zirzzish keep our weapons powered but do not fire on the Khoshtom unless they fire on us.”

 

Zirzzish nodded to the order that Trever had given. He kept his eyes on the Khoshtom at the same time he continued to scan the sector. 

 

“Commander, I am believing and assuming that this ship may be part of the Hunters of D’Ghor,” he stated as he looked up from his console to Trever.

 

Suddenly two more Klingon Bird-of-Prey ships decloaked in front of the Heracles. Trever’s eyes widened even more. 

 

“Commander, two more ships have decloaked and have powered up their weapons. They are targeting us and are preparing to fire.”

 

“Lieutenant Bosor, evasive maneuvers,” Trever ordered.

 

Bosor nodded as his fingers swiftly moved over the controls. The Heracles pitched to the left and up. Her nose now angled on the Khoshtom which had launched three photon torpedoes at the Heracles. Which was then followed by a burst of fire from the other two ships.

 

“Forward shields down to 45% and we have major damage to our hull and decks eight through five,” Jonton stated, “Damage control teams have been deployed.” He continued to enter in commands on his console. “Medical states minor injuries and no casualties.”

 

“Zirzzish, open a channel to the Captain.”

 

-/\- “Captain!” -/\-

 

***Archanis V – Planet side – Orders***

 

Vausees heard her com-badge chirp and she reached up and tapped it.

 

-/\- “Commander, report.” -/\-

 

-/\- “Captain, we have taken major damage and we now have two additional Birds-of-Prey. I do not think that we will be able to withstand much more.” -/\-

 

-/\- “Commander, retreat.” -/\-

 

-/\- “Captain!” -/\-

 

-/\- “That’s an order Commander. We will be fine down here.” -/\-

 

Vausees closed the channel and looked at Sara. “This could be a problem,” she stated to Sara.

 

Sara nodded having heard the conversation that Vausees and Trever had, “You are welcome to stay here until you can return to your ship.”

 

“Thank you, Sara.”

 

***Heracles***

 

Trever acknowledged the orders from Vausees and looked to Bosor. “Get us out of here Lieutenant.”

 

Bosor nodded and his fingers began to fly over the controls. He entered coordinates for the nearest starbase. The Heracles began to move away from the other ships that began to follow.

 

“Bosor, engage warp 6 and get us out of here.”

 

***Archanis V – Stranded***

 

Vausees sat back down into the seat that Sara had offered her. Her thoughts were on her ship and the rest of her crew. She suddenly felt a hand on her shoulder and looked up to see Trance suddenly standing there. Trance could see the worry in Vausees eyes, “Don’t worry, Captain, my brother will keep the ship and the rest of the crew safe.” She gently squeezed Vausees shoulder before she released it.

 

Vausees looked at Sara, “What can you tell me about what happened to your planet?” she asked.

 

Sara looked down and her body slouched slightly. It was visibly concerning to Vausees that this topic affected Sara so badly. She stood up and walked over to Sara, and like what Trance had done to her a moment ago, she placed a hand on Sara’s shoulder. Sara looked at her, and tears could be seen fighting to fall from her eyes.

 

“I can see this is painful and I am sorry to have brought this up.”

 

“Have you lost anyone that you care for?” Sara asked her.

 

Vausees looked away as memories flooded her from her past. Sara reached up and touched Vausees hand. “I will tell you what we know in the morning,” she stated as she released Vausees hand and moved away.

 

A moment later the rest of the away team entered the room, some looking about while Zazzuit and Cody moved directly over to where Trance and Vausees stood.

 

Zazzuit looked at Vausees, “So are we staying or leaving, Captain?” she asked her.

 

It was then that she realized that the away team had no clue that she had ordered the ship away or that the Hunters of D’Ghor were in orbit. She looked at her away team.

 

“Mission Conference!” she ordered.

 

After the away team fully assembled around the console she looked at each and everyone one of them. She closed her eyes and pinched the bridge of her nose as she leaned back against the back of the chair that she sat in.

 

“I have ordered the Heracles away.”

 

She expected the away team to turn into an uproar but they sat there in silence as she spoke.

 

“As far as I am aware the Heracles was under attack by three Klingon… No corrections three Hunter of D’Ghor Bird’s-of-Prey,” she informed them.

 

Zazzuit looked at the away team and then back to Vausees. She sat there in silence for a moment as she thought about what needed to be done. 

 

“We all need to dig in and help these people until our ship returns,” she stated as she looked away from Vausees to the crew. Vausees nodded to what her XO had done. As she continued to speak with the crew, Vausees looked away. She knew that they were stranded on Archanis V and that at any time she suspected that a ground force from the Hunter’s of D’Ghor would transport down.

 

She let out a soft sigh as she closed her eyes. Zazzuit had finished speaking with the away team and had turned her attention to the Captain. 

 

“What are your orders?” She asked.

 

Vausees sat there for a moment as she thought of their next move. She opened her eyes and looked at her Executive Officer. She swallowed hard and took a breath before she spoke.

 

“I think that right now we need to take this time to evaluate our situation. Furthermore, our mission has not changed,” she stated, “We are to render aid to these people and defend them from the Hunter’s of D’Ghor when they arrive.”

 

She stood up after that and looked at the away team. “Find a place to hunker down and get some rest,” she said as she left them heading to where Sara stood in silence.

 

The away team did as they were asked of and found places around the room to sleep. Vausees stepped over to Sara and looked at the woman. She looked back and nodded before she returned to the main chamber where her group still remained. Vausees laid next to Trance who turned over and looked at her. She smiled at Vausees, “How long do you think we will be here?” she asked.

 

Vausees shook her head as she didn’t know how long it would take for Trever to get to a Federation outpost or Starbase, “I don’t know.” Trance reached out and caressed her cheek. “We will do what we must,” she stated as she lowered her hand down and laid her head on her hands.

 

***Archanis V – Devastation***

 

The next morning Vausees was awakened by a hand on her shoulder. She opened her eyes and seen Sara with a finger to her lips. She watched as Sara motioned for her to follow. She sat up and moved out of the room back into the main chamber and it was then that she realized that the chamber walls were lined with a tritanium alloy, which now made sense as to why they couldn’t pinpoint the survivors from orbit. 

 

A moment later the two women stepped out of an entrance and stopped outside of the cave on the opposite side of the mountain. Sara looked out over the ruins of a vast city that had once inhabited the majority of the population of Archanis V. Sara looked down as she slowly breathed in and out.

 

“You asked me last night what had happened to my planet?” she stated as she continued to look down. 

 

Vausees placed a hand on the woman’s shoulder, “You do not need to tell me if it is too painful of a memory.”

 

Sara shook her head and looked up at Vausees. She had a look of concern on her face as she looked back.

 

“At first we didn’t know what was happening other than the ground started to shake,” Sara started with. “We didn’t hear the explosions until it was too late. Those that were caught in the initial explosions were killed on impact,” her voice broke as she remembered how her husband was killed in the initial attack. Tears fell from her eyes as she looked away from Vausees.

 

With a gentle hand, she grabbed Sara by the arm and spun her into her embrace. As she held her, Vausees could feel the front of her shirt start to become damp from the tears that have fallen from Sara’s eyes. She moved her hand from Sara’s back to the back of her head and gently caressed and comforted her.

 

“Shhh,” she said as she gently rocked her. 

 

Sara buried the side of her face into Vausees chest with her eyes closed and continued the encounter, “After the bombardment from the ships in orbit, which lasted for what felt like hours, they stopped, and then the next thing to happen was the red hues of the transporters and the screams as the survivors were found,” her voice cracked as she spoke, reliving the terrors that the Hunters had caused, “Some were killed where they stood while others were gathered up and taken somewhere else,” she stated and then went silent.

 

All the while Sara spoke Vausees soothed and listened to what she had to say. She never once interrupted the woman for fear of her shutting down and not being able to speak about it again. As she held the woman, Vausees, felt her press against her as she repositioned herself.

 

“I can’t believe that it has only been a week since the first bombs hit the cities,” she stated. “It feels like it has been months, not days.” She finally opened her eyes and took a deep breath. She looked out upon the devastated city once more. “When the screams finally stopped and I finally looked out at the city below I could see nothing more than smoke and a few Klingons moving below. It wasn’t until I looked up and seen the ships that I knew that something was wrong,” she stated and paused for a moment. “I saw one transport ship and two Raptors.”

 

Sara looked back at Vausees and smiles. “For a Captain, you sure have a gentleness about you.”

 

Vausees couldn’t help but blush as she heard what she had told her. “Thank you. I think.”

 

Sara looked again at the city below. “No one up here has ventured down into the city. Not even for supplies,” she stated as she turned her head away from the city.

 

“No one?” Vausees questioned as she now looked down at the city. 

 

“No one,” echoed Sara.

 

This caused Vausees to wonder if there were anything of importance down in the city. She tried to discern any visible landmarks from up here, but all she could see were crumbled buildings below.

 

***Archanis V – Recon and Resupply***

 

After an hour of listening to Sara’s recount of what happened, they both returned to the chamber. Vausees left Sara’s side and rejoined the away team. She moved over to Zazzuit’s side.

 

“I want the team assembled in twenty minutes,” she said as she looked at her. 

 

Zazzuit nodded to her order and moved off to gather the team. A few minutes later she and the rest of the team stood near the console like they had the other night. Vausees looked at each of them and thought about their skillsets. She knew each of them and knew that they would do what was necessary to achieve victory in any mission. No matter its challenges or difficulties. As she thought about this she relayed what Sara had told her about the first days and how no one from her group had returned to the city.

 

As Zazzuit listened to what her Captain said about the events that lead up to the distress call she was already formulating a plan that would take them all into the city below. Vausees looked at the team as she finished. “I will understand if none of you want to go down into that city, and I will not hold it against you,” she stated.

 

“Captain, I do not speak for everyone but I am sure that no one here will stay behind in the safety of these mountains and let you go alone,” she stated as she looked at Vausees.

 

Vausees looked at Zazzuit and then everyone else. Some had nodded their heads to what Zazzuit had said. Inside her mind, she was proud of the away team and glad for their decision to come with her.

 

After a few minutes more of going over what they were going to be doing she dismissed them all. “Remember we move out tonight,” she stated as they started to move off. It was then that she saw Sara walking in the chamber below.

 

“Sara, a word please.”

 

Sara looked up to see Vausees and nodded to the woman. A moment later she was next to her.

 

“What can I do for you, Captain?” she asked

 

“I understand that no one has been back to the city since the attack, however, tonight my team and I will be going down into the city; to see what can be used as well as to see if any of the Hunter’s of D’Ghor still remain,” she informed her as she looked Sara in her eyes. She could see the terror start to return in her eyes.

 

“Don’t worry, you and yours do not have to come with us,” she stated as she tried to comfort her.

 

Sara shook her head, “No I think it is time that we returned and if possible retake the city below.”

 

Vausees looked at her for a moment before she spoke, “Are you sure?” she asked. “I don’t want you to feel pressured in having to return and possibly relive that horror and terror all over again.”

 

Sara reached up and touched Vausees’ face. “Captain, we have survived this long and need to know what has happened to our friends and family that didn’t make it up here,” she stated as she lowered her hand.

 

A simple nod is all that Vausees gave Sara as she walked back down to the main chamber. When she made it to the entrance to the chamber she looked back up to Vausees, “I will gather those that will join me and join you at the path that leads down to the city below, just before nightfall,” she stated as she disappeared into the shadows of the tunnel that exited out of the main chamber.

 

***Archanis V – Nightfall***

 

An hour before nightfall Vausees and her away team were met by Sara and three others. As Sara joined them she and her group handed Vausees and her away team packs full of gear and supplies. As Vausees took the pack from Sara she looked at her and then the pack.

 

“Supplies and gear for the city,” she stated as she helped Vausees with the straps. She nodded and then checked that the pack was secured on Sara’s back. After the two teams checked and rechecked that everyone was strapped up and good to go, Vausees turned to them and nodded. She then looked at one of her Security Officers and nodded. A young Andorian woman returned the nod and took point and Vausees followed after her. After a moment the rest of the team followed the Andorian woman.

 

Vausees and Sara lead their respective teams from the front and behind the point woman. Ever so often Vausees would peel away slightly toward the edge of the path that overlooked the city below and peer down into the shadows below through her scope, which had a thermal variant to its normal view. 

 

As she looked down into the city she could see heat signatures here and there as she scanned below, but she couldn’t tell what they were exactly from the distance that they currently were at. As she rejoined the group she moved up to the lead with Zazzuit and Sara.

“Heat signatures, below but we are too far still for me to be able to clearly identify them,” she informed the two.

 

Two hours later the two groups converged on the Andorian woman who had taken a knee just outside a clearing that was just beyond walls, that surrounded the city, most of which had crumbled or collapsed altogether.

 

The Andorian woman turned her head away from the wall as the group came upon her. Vausees, Zazzuit, and Sara knelt down next to the woman. 

 

“Anything to report, Ensign?”

 

The Andorian shook her head and looked back to the wall. “That doesn’t mean that there isn’t someone there,” she stated as she continued to peer into the shadows and fog that had set over the area. Vausees lifted her rifle and looked through the scope. She didn’t see anything as she scanned the area. She lowered the rifle and sighed as she thought about the next move. Her eyes narrowed as she looked about and then down at the Andorian woman. She turned and looked at Zazzuit and Sara, her eyes then returned to her XO, who was shaking her head as she knew exactly what her Captain was about to do. She knew that look and knew that she was about to venture off on her own.

 

Sara looked at Zazzuit with a confused look on her face, “What is it?” she asked her. 

 

“She is about to take off on her own and scout ahead,” she stated as Vausees grinned and stood up.

 

As Vausees stood up so did the Andorian woman. She placed a hand on her security officer’s shoulder and shook her head, “Stay here and keep the area secured.”

 

The Andorian woman slipped back down to her knee and nodded to her Captain, “Aye, Captain, just be safe,” she stated. 

 

Vausees looked back at the two teams and nodded to Zazzuit and Sara before she turned about and headed into the fog that had thickened since their arrival. As she moved she would lift her rifle up and peer through the scope from time to time. Since she entered the city her movements were slow and methodical. She used all her senses as she went from crumbled buildings and deficits caused by the bombardment that the Hunters of D’Ghor had caused from orbit.

 

She peered over the lip of a deficit that she found herself in and set the rifle up to peer into the shadows of a building. She slowly scanned up the building moving from window to broken window and so on as she continued up it. She did this to several other buildings, from both deficits and crumbled buildings.

 

After half an hour of scanning the area, she made her way back to the two groups. Upon her return, she looked at her XO and Sara. As she passed the young Andorian woman she placed a hand on her shoulder, “Well done, Ensign,” she said. She knelt beside Zazzuit and Sara and took the bottle of water that her XO handed to her. After she took a pull from the water bottle she spoke to them both, “I found a couple of buildings that could be useful to us,” she informed them.

 

They looked at each other and nodded to what she had told them. Sara looked at Vausees and then spoke, “Did you happen to see anything inside?”

 

Vausees shook her head, “No, but that doesn’t mean that there wouldn’t be anything of value or something that could help us.”

 

She turned moved over to the Andorian woman, “Get ready to move out.” The Andorian woman nodded to her and slipped her rifle up to her shoulder as she waited. Vausees nodded to the woman and turned to the teams.

 

“Let’s move out,” she informed the teams.

 

She then turned back to the Andorian woman and nodded. The Andorian woman nodded in return and moved off into the fog that had slackened up. The two teams followed her into the fog, into the city. 

 

As the two teams entered the city Vausees looked over at Sara and Zazzuit, “Have the teams spread out.”

 

They both nodded to her and spread the word for the two teams to spread out. As they spread out Vausees moved forward with Sara and Zazzuit to her left and right. Her rifle was held up to her shoulder as she moved forward and behind the Andorian woman that led the way.

 

***Archanis V – City Survivors***

 

Vausees knelt down next to the Andorian woman as she came up upon her, “What is it, Ensign?” she asked her. The Andorian woman motioned with her head to the building in front of them. 

 

“There are people inside of this building in front of us,” she stated.

 

Vausees looked to where she had indicated and lifted her rifle to her eye. She peered into the scope and scanned the building. Halfway up the building, the scope detected several thermal readings. She lowered the scope from her eye and looked to where the thermal readings were located. She looked at the Andorian woman and nodded as Zazzuit and Sara knelt next to them. The two teams knelt behind them, some in cover behind the crumbled remains of builds and others where they could find cover.

 

“Follow closely,” she said to the three of them.

 

Trance silently moved closer to the three of them and knelt down with them. Vausees, Zazzuit, and Sara all looked at Trance, “Perfect timing, Trance,” Vausees stated to her. Trance looked at Vausees and nodded. “Let the teams know to hand tight and secure the area. We’re heading into that building,” she indicated with a nod of her head toward the building. Trance nodded her head and slipped back to the teams. She moved from person to person as she passed on the orders. Vausees watched as each person that was given the orders would nod to her.

 

When Trance took cover Vausees turned back toward the building, “Let’s go,” she said to the three that were knelt with her.

 

As she stood up so did Zazzuit, Sara, and the Andorian woman. The four of them moved to the entrance of the building. When they were almost at the entrance the Andorian woman bolted and came to a stop next to the open door. Vausees and the rest stacked right behind her. She leaned over and whispered, “Go.” The Andorian woman nodded and slipped into the building. She made her way to the stairway and nodded back to Vausees. She looked back at the rest of the team, “Let’s move.”

 

The team caught up to the Andorian woman who was already ascending the stairs, two at a time. Vausees followed suit, her rifle trained up as she moved up. The rest of the team had their weapons drawn as well and looked up as they moved behind Vausees.

 

Five minutes later Vausees hit the ground as she ducked an incoming phaser shot that missed her head by mere inches. Sara raised her phaser and was about to return fire when Vausees raised a hand and yelled out, “Hold fire!”

 

Still laying as flat as possible she looked at her team and then up into the darkness from where the shot had originated. It was then that she saw movements just above them. “Hold your fire. I am Captain Vausees of the Federation ship Heracles.”

 

From the shadows a man yelled angrily down into the stairwell, “We don’t need your damn help, and where the fuck were you all when we were being attacked!”

 

Vausees lowered her eyes as she felt the anger that came from the man. She understood why the civilians near the frontier areas and neutral zones. 

 

“I apologize for the absence of a Federation presence.”

 

“I don’t give a damn about your apology,” the man yells back.

 

“Sir, we do not want to harm you. We’re here to provide aid and defend you from any future attacks,” she tried to plead with the man as she spoke.

 

 

Another shot missed Vausees and forced her to take a step back so that she was out of view. She shook her head as she thought about how this planet and the people that lived here felt. Once more she tried to comfort this man that felt like he had been abandoned by the Federation. Vausees looked at the Andorian woman that was tucked into a corner of the stairwell slightly ahead of her. 

 

She could see that the woman had her rifle trained on the man. Apart of her wanted this woman to take a shot at this man, while the other part of her wanted to keep talking to this agitated man. She didn’t want any more blood spilled on this planet if she could help it.

 

“Sir what is your name?” she asked the man that kept himself hidden from her in the shadows of the floor above them. 

 

“What’s it to you, Captain,” his voice was thick with sarcasm as she spoke to her. She couldn’t blame him for the way he responded to her.

 

“I want to know who I am talking to,” she stated as she kept her eyes on the Andorian woman, who had moved her eyes to look down at her Captain. Vausees could tell that she had a clear shot on the man.

 

“That is none of your business. You are about as useless as the Klingon’s that you ally yourself with.”

 

“Sir, I am not your enemy, and as I stated before I am here to help.”

 

It became silent after she stated this to the man. The Andorian woman still had her sights on the man and could see that he had his hands in his hair and was pulling it out of being frustrated. Suddenly a door behind him opened and a child walked out. The man spun around and looked at the child. This would give the Andorian woman a chance to take a shot but she did not want to injure the child that the man was now blocking.

 

Without so much of a flip of her thumb on a toggle switch near the grip of the rifle, she switched the rifle from kill to stun. She once more looked down at her Captain, who had seen the movement and setting change. Vausees silently told her to give her a moment. The Andorian nodded as she looked back through the scope at the man and what she guessed to be his child arguing. She watched as the child threw up their hands and stormed off. She then watched as the man returned to the area that he had been in a moment ago.

 

“Captain, can you guarantee our safety?” he asked her from the shadows.

 

“My crew and I will fight to the death to keep you safe,” she stated with all confidence.

 

A hand came up and laid on her shoulder. She looked back and saw that it belonged to Sara. A confused look came over her face as she looked at Sara.

 

She moved slowly past Vausees with her hands up. “Josh?” she asked out into the shadows.

 

“Sara, is that you?” he replied back. “What are you doing with the Federation?” he asked her.

 

“Show yourself, Josh, before you get hurt,” she stated. There was silence for a moment before a man appeared looking over the railing. His hands were up as he came into complete view. Vausees looked at the Andorian woman who had lowered her rifle and had stepped out of the shadows near the man. He looked up and his eyes widened now as he realized that he had not seen her.

 

“ Zazzuit, head out and signal the rest of the teams to come in.”

 

She nodded to Vausees and moved back down the stairwell to follow her orders. A moment later the sounds of footfalls echoed up the stairwell as the teams started to file up.

 

Sara had already moved over to Josh’s side and was talking with him as the teams that had been stationed outside moved past Vausees. She nodded to each and everyone one of the members that had filed past her. She followed them up after the last person filed past her and she started to move over to join Sara and Josh when a hand gently grasped her arm. 

 

She looked at the hand that had a hold of her and followed it up to a concerned face of Trance. She tilted her head to the side as she looked at Trance. Trance motioned for her to follow as she released her hold on Vausees. Without a second thought, she followed Trance as she disappeared into a shadowed area. 

 

As she entered a pair of hands grabbed her by her uniform and she was pinned against a wall a second before the feel of lips on her own were felt. Trance had kissed her hard as she had felt Vausees emotions during the event a moment ago and had felt the terror of losing her best friend and current lover.

 

As the two broke apart for a moment, Vausees placed a hand on the side of Trance’s face. “What was that about?” she asked as she caressed her face.

 

Trance kissed her hand and then looked out the window. “I was scared, no, terrified that I had lost you when I heard the phaser fire,” she confessed as she tried to peer into the shadows of a ruined building.

 

Vausees wrapped her arms around Trance as she slipped behind her, her head laid on her back. She knew that this was not professional, but she wasn’t a traditional Captain that separated themselves from their crew. After all, she had known both Trance and Trever, her Chief Flight Control Officer and currently the Commanding Officer of the Heracles that she had ordered to flee.

 

She released Trance and kissed her cheek before she turned about. “I am not going anywhere, Trance,” she stated as she started to move away. She rejoined Sara and Josh, who had moved inside. As she entered into the main area of the floor she was surprised to find that, whole families had actually survived the attack on Archanis V.

 

A moment later Trance entered and moved over and started to look over some of the wounded. Vausees nodded to her as she listened to what Sara and Josh debated on. 

 

***Heracles – Deep Space K-7***

 

Trever looked at the console on the armrest of the Command chair. His thoughts were clouded by the order that Captain Vausees had given him, to abandon the away team on Archanis V. A voice brought him out of his thoughts. He looked over to the man that was sitting at the conn, Bosor.

 

“Lieutenant?”

 

Bosor looked back at Trever for a moment and then nodded towards the main viewscreen, “We are approaching Deep Space K-7,” he stated.

 

Trever looked at the main viewscreen and shook his head. How had he missed the travel from the Archanis Sector to here, he thought as he gave the order to hail the station. A moment later an older woman in a Command uniform appeared on the viewer. 

 

“This is Commander Telus of Deep Space K-7.” the woman stated as she looked at Trever.

For some reason this woman made Trever feel slightly intimidated as he looked at her, “Commander, I am Lieutenant Commander Nief, of the Federation Ship Heracles. Our Captain and an away team are stranded on Archanis V. I was ordered by our Captain to leave the sector after three Birds-of-Prey began to attack this ship, damaging her severely. I would like to dock with the station for repairs before I attempt to rescue my Captain,” he stated as he brushed off the feeling from earlier.

 

The woman nodded as she listened to what Trever had to say and after he finished she spoke.

 

“Does your Captain tend to lead away missions?” she asked as the thought of a particular Starfleet policy came to mind.

 

Trever groaned silently as he continued to look at this woman, “Ma’am with all due respect, I need to dock and repair, do I have permission?”

 

The woman looked off-screen for a moment and then back to Trever with a nod, “Dock at platform three.” The view then closed and the station appeared in the place of the woman.

 

Trever looked at Bosor who was already ahead of the command. “Plot already laid in,” Bosor stated.

 

***Archanis V – Hunter***

 

As Vausees slept, Trance stood watch from the top of the building that they were in. A thick fog had settled over the city during the night. Trance had her eye in a scope of a rifle that Vausees had given her before she had gone to sleep. Her eye squinted into the scope as she had it focused on an area that she had begun to scan. 

 

Her focus was so focused on the area that she was currently scanning that she didn’t notice that she was no longer alone on the roof. The sound of a piece of rubble skidding on the roof caused her to spin around with the rifle now aimed at the sound. In her crosshairs was the Andorian scout, her hands up in the air. Trance lowered the weapon.

 

“I almost shot you,” she stated in a lowered voice as she looked at the woman as she shook her head and turned back toward the city. 

 

“That would be a first,” the Andorian woman stated as she took a spot up next to Trance.

 

Trance looked over at the woman as she kept her eye in the scope.

 

“What’s your name, Ensign?” she asked her.

 

The Andorian woman looked up at Trance, “Ensign Zyvia Sh’izhalrin,” she stated as she lowered her head and hunkered down.

 

Trance nodded as she returned her focus to the area below. Zyvia closed her eyes as her antennas moved around her head as if they had a mind of their own. A sigh left Trance’s lips as she slipped down next to her.

 

“Tell me Zyvia, why did you want to join this away, team?”

 

Zyvia spoke with her eyes closed, “I needed the experience.”

 

Trance shook her head, “I need more than that Ensign,” she stated as she pulled out a ration pack from the inside of her jacket. He broke off a piece and offered it to Zyvia.

 

Zyvia took the offered ration and popped it into her mouth, “Well to be honest I am very skilled with any energy-based weapon but I tend to have a happy trigger finger,” she stated. “I was advised to join this mission to hone my skills in patience.”

 

Trance nodded as she chewed a small partition of the ration that she had. As they sat there in silence the door to the rooftop opened and Zazzuit appeared. Trance and Zyvia both nodded to the XO as she walked toward them.

 

“Commander.” they both said in sync as the woman took a seat next to Zyvia. 

 

She looked at Trance and Zyvia, “How is it out here?” she asked them.

 

Zyvia looked at Trance who looked at Zazzuit, “Quiet, almost deafening,” Trance stated as she shifted into a slightly more comfortable position.

 

Zazzuit nodded as she leaned the back of her head against the edge of the wall. She closed her eyes for a moment as she listened to the silence that was around them. A sigh then escaped her lips as she opened her eyes.

She looked over at Zyvia and Trance, “Well you two keep your eyes open, I am heading back in,” and with that she stood up and took a step toward the entrance.

All of a sudden she froze dead in her tracks and turned toward the city. Her eyes widened as she heard the all too familiar sound of a transporter and the red hue that indicated someone or something had been transported. 

Trance had her eyes looking into the fog of the city below her when she heard the XO say that she was heading back inside. She had also seen and heard the transporters at the same time as the XO. The only difference was that instead of freezing like the XO had, she reached out with her free hand and smacked Zyvia, who had her eyes on the XO. Zyvia had felt the smack from Trance and looked at her with a slight irritation, having thought that the betazoid smacked her for no reason, but quickly realized that something was wrong when she saw the look on Trance’s face.

With a quick movement she peered over the edge of the building, into the fog below, just as the last of the transporters faded away, just as the last hum from the transporter ceased to silence. She looked back at her XO and shook her head. Zyvia turned her attention back to Trance, “Looks like our XO is frozen in place. I am going to drag our XO back into the building and then alert the Captain of this,” she stated as she slipped from the buildings edge and over to Zazzuit, who was still frozen with the sight of all of the transporters having activated in the city.

As soon as Zyvia had Zazzuit behind the closing door she reached up and respectfully slapped the Commander, “Ma’am!” she yelled to the woman who shook her head and rubbed her cheek. Now having her senses restored. Zazzuit looked at the Ensign with anger and shock on her face. 

“We’ll talk about this later, Ensign, but thank you,” she stated, “now go get the Captain,” she ordered as her mind started to think of what needed to be done.

Zyvia nodded as bolted down the stairs, taking two to three of them at a time. She bursted through a closed door, which caused everyone inside to become alert. She stopped at her Captain’s side and knelt down. “Captain!” she said in a harsh whisper into Vausees ear.

Vausees heard her name and her eyes snapped open and into the violet eyes of Zyvia. She could see the alertness in the Andorians eyes and instantly sat up. 

“What is it, Ensign?” she asked as she shook her head, as she tried to clear the fog of sleep from her mind.

Zyvia relayed how Klingon transporters had gone off in the city. This instantly brought Vausees into a clear state of mind. She looked around the room that she was in and saw that her team was scattered. She looked at Zyvia and ordered her to inform the team and Sara. The Andorian nodded to the order and began to do as she was asked.

Vausees slipped off the cot that she was a moment ago sleeping on and headed for the exit to the roof. As she exited onto the roof she saw Trance with her rifle swaying from left to right. She moved slowly over to her friend and lover, and just before she reached the woman she heard a sigh.

“Took you long enough, hun.”

Vausees slid down next to Trance before she slid up to peer over the edge, “Only you could get away with that,” she stated as she started to take count of figures, Klingon’s she suspected, that moved in the fog below. Trance could not help, even under these circumstances, to let a soft giggle escape her lips at the acknowledgement from her Captain. “I know,” she responded as her trigger finger slid from the side of the rifle to gently rest on the trigger. She looked over at Vausees for a split second and then back through the scope. 

“I count fifteen,” she informed Vausees.

“Sixteen,” she corrected Trance as she informed her of one that had moved into the adjacent building across from them and was moving up the exposed stairwell.

Trance sighted in the scope on where her Captain had corrected her, “Fuck, how did I miss that one,” she stated harshly as she kept the scope trained on the Klingon.

Vausees placed a hand on Trance, “Can’t be perfect all the time,” she stated as she moved her hand down to where Trance’s hand was on the rifle. Trance looked at her and saw that she wanted the rifle. She nodded and slipped from the position and felt Vausees slide under her as she slid over the top of her so as to not give their position away. 

Vausees knew that Trance was an excellent shot, and was almost as good as she was, but there were some things that she could do that Trance had very limited skill in. As she came to settle behind the rifle and adjusted the scope back onto the Klingon that was hauling ass up the stairs, she trained the rifle ahead of the Klingon a full three levels ahead of them. 

As she waited she heard the door creak open behind her and a lot of foot falls. She knew that Trance was looking that way so she never took her eyes off the scope. It wasn’t until she heard someone slide up next to her left that she peered away slightly to see who it was. She saw that it was Sara, “Klingon’s,” is all she said to the woman. She saw the woman close her eyes and bow her head to the information.

“I was afraid of that,” Sara said as she picked her head up.

“Fear is a good thing,” Vausees replied.

Sara looked over the edge of the building and started to count.

“Sixteen,” she said softly as she slid back behind the cover of the building’s rooftop. She looked at the group that she had assembled after Zyvia had informed her. Her eyes came to rest on the Andorian woman who was speaking with the rest of the away team. Sara wasn’t entirely sure what to do until Zazzuit came over and placed a small hand on the woman’s shoulder, “Relax and breathe,” is all the woman said to Sara as she slipped past her and up next to Vausees.

Vausees looked over at her XO for a moment, “You froze didn’t you?” she asked her, and Zazzuit nodded. “Zyvia?” Vausees asked her, and once more Zazzuit nodded. 

“It won’t happen again, Vausees,” she said the Captain’s first name, a manner that her people did to emphasize that what they had said was a vow. Luckily for Zazzuit, Vausees knew this and didn’t reprimand her First Officer, instead she nodded.

“Are we set?” she asked Zazzuit

“Aye, Captain,” she said, “Just give the word and we’ll open fire with you.”

Vausees nodded and looked beyond Zazzuit and could see her away team had in fact taken up positions on the rooftop with her. Sara had followed suit to her other side and looked at Vausees, she could see the fear in the woman’s eyes but also the confidence to see this situation through. Vausees nodded to the woman and then shifted her attention to Trance.

“Commander.”

Trance looked at her.

“Step back inside and wait for any wounded, take four off the wall and secure the stairwell.”

Trance nodded and slipped away to do as she was ordered.

Vausees returned her attention back to the building across the way, and just in time to see the Klingon reach the bottom of the stairs that she had adjusted to. After a second she gently fingered the trigger on the rifle and a single blue bolt of energy left the tip of the rifle. The bolt entered into the neck of the Klingon and erupted out of the otherside, it embedded itself into the pillar and left a pinkish black mark on it.

All of a sudden phasers and phase rifles began to fire all around her as the defenders on the rooftop began to fire. She shifted her sights down the building to the fog below and it was then that the first red bolt came out of the fog. It impacted itself just a few feet below her. She gripped the rifle and took cover as more and more bolts started to fly over, disappearing into the dark skies above. 

She watched as one of Sara’s men took a bolt to the shoulder and fell backward. He was dragged away into the building and a short time later someone else replaced him on the rooftop. Vausees knew that they had to do something and quickly. She looked over at Zyvia and nodded to her. The Andorian slid over to her, “Follow me,” Vausees said.

Vausees and Zyvia slipped away from the defenders and entered into the building itself. They moved over to the stairwell and slipped into the shadows. Before they made it to the floor below a hand came to rest on Vausees shoulder and she looked to see a concerned look on Trance’s face.

“I’ll be careful,” is all that she said to the woman as she slipped from her grasp. 

Trance let Vausees go and sent up a prayer before she returned to the injured man that had been dragged into the building. 

Vausees and Zyvia quickly made it to the second floor before each took up a defensive position. No one was going to be able to easily come up the stairs without either of them noticing. 

Just then they both hear an explosion below them and loud gutral yells as several Klingons rushed into the building. Zyvia took aim down the stairwell as a Klingon entered, she squeezed the trigger on her rifle and a single bolt left the barrel and ended the Klingon’s life. Vausees nodded to the Andorian while she kept her eye down the hallway. 

A sudden louder gutral voice echoed over the rest from below, on the first floor, “Hey you Starfleet petaQ!” 

Vausees looked back toward Zyvia, who had her rifle trained down the stairwell. She smoothly slipped from her spot over to Zyvia, and looked down the stairwell. She then spoke down into the darkness of the first floor, “nuq Datlhap DaneH?”(What do you want, rogue?) she said, her Klingon was nearly perfect. 

This caught the Klingon off guard for a moment, and he replied back, “I would like to speak with you.”

Vausees looked at Zyvia and motioned with her head to take up a position behind her. Zyvia nodded and slid back behind Vausees, “You may come up, but only you and you had better be un-fucking-armed,” she emphasized the last work making sure that her orders were understood.

A moment later a taller than normal Klingon appeared in the stairwell. His head was covered by a helmet, his hands were held up in a non-aggressive manner. Vausees kept her rifle trained on him as he ascended the stairs.

“That is far enough, Hunter,” she said as the Klingon near the top of the stairwell. 

“My name is Atsak Runtoh of house Runtoh, and I am the Commander of the forces that you have engaged, and the Captain of the K’mparmdad, a D’Ghor Capital ship.”

Vausees nodded to the Captain, “Why have you attacked this colony, Atask?” she asked the Klingon Captain.

He grinned underneath his helmet. “Simple Starfleet.” His voice echoed in the stairwell as he spoke. “We want what they have and they are inferior to us. You Star..”

Vausees growled, “My name Hunter,” she intentionally used the word that described what he was on purpose, “is Captain Vausees Vax of the Federation ship the USS Heracles!” her voice echoed down the stairwell and impacted on the Klingon. It also echoed up the stairwell and reverberated all the way up to where the survivors huddled together.

Atsak’s frown disappeared from his face hidden under the helmet, “Many pardon’s honorable Captain of the Federation,” he stated to Vausees. “Now as I was stating, Captain, your interference makes no difference to what we do to these people.” he informed her, “I will allow you and your team to leave without further interference from my ground forces,” he told her as he looked at her, his eyes appeared to glow from the moonlight that filtered into the stairwell from the window outside.

Vausees stood her ground as she looked at Atsak from the top of the stairwell, “I will not abandon these people to your cruel methods, Atsak,” she replied to his deal. “So how about you take your remaining warriors and leave with your honor still intact,” she stated to the Klingon Captain.

Atsak kept his eyes on Vausees as he thought about what she had just said to him. He then took a step down the stairwell, still facing her. “Think it over, Captain,” he said to her as he disappeared into the darkness below.

Vausees kept her rifle trained on where the Klingon Captain had disappeared to as she slightly relaxed. After a moment she looked to Zyvia who also had her rifle trained on the stairwell. She looked up at Vausees and nodded when her Captain motioned for her to move back to the top floor.

As the two slipped up the stairwell they were met by Zazzuit, she looked at Vausees, “We heard what the Klingon said.”

Vausees looked at her XO, “What he said was nothing but empty words,” she stated, “You and I both know that he will not keep his word, and even if he did, as I stated I will not abandon these people to his cruelty.”

Zazzuit nodded to her Captain and returned to the rooftop. Vausees looked around the room, a lot of the wounded were from Sara’s group, and a couple of her away team lay wounded near the exit to the rooftop. She walked over to them and inspected them. Each of them told her that they were fine, and tried to get to their feet. She placed a hand on them, and shook her head, “At ease, find your breath and rejoin,” she ordered them.

As she exited the building and entered onto the rooftop with the remaining defenders she was approached by both Sara and Zazzuit. She looked at them both and it was Sara that spoke first, “Are you planning to leave?” she asked Vausees, who shook her head ‘no’. This caused Sara to visibly relax.

Vausees placed a hand on Sara’s shoulder. She then heard a familiar voice below in the fog, “Time is up petaQ, Captain.” Atsak yelled up.

Vausees moved over to the edge of the building but didn’t peer over. She replied in Klingon, “QeylIS DawI’neSja, Atsak.” (You have my response already Captain, Atsak.) she yelled down to the Klingon Captain.

Atsak heard her response and growled out. “So be it.” he said to his forces.

Red bolt then started to fly once more up at them. Vausees reached back and slipped the rifle from its sling and up into her shoulder as she took a knee. She carefully peered over the edge of the building, and made sure that little or none of her head was shown. She watched as bolts flew past her and took aim. She fingered the trigger and a light blue bolt exited the end of her rifle and disappeared into the fog below. A satisfying scream was heard and then silence as she moved on to her next target. As she scanned the fog for her next target the fog thinned out for a moment and she could see Atsak, he held a Bat’leth in his hand as he pointed up at her.

She looked at him through the scope of her rifle and squeezed the trigger. She watched as the bolt impacted at his feet. An intentional miss. She yelled down at him, “Last chance petaQ!”

This infuriated him and he reached down and removed a device from his belt, he contacted his ship that was in orbit and a red hue surrounded him as a transporter activated. Several more around him also activated as his ground forces were transported away.

Vausees took a deep breath and slid down to sit upon the roof. She lowered her head and gathered her thoughts.

Just then she heard someone yell, “Josh!!!!” and looked up to see Sara holding a bloody body of the man that she had introduced to them. She moved over to Sara and Josh as Trance came flying out of the building with her medical kit in hand. She had heard Sara’s scream and knew that something wasn’t right

Trance pulled out her medical tricorder and began to scan the man. The tricorder beeped a solid tone which indicated that the man was deceased. She lowered her head as she placed the small scanning device back into its receptacle. Her hand then came to a rest on Sara’s shoulder, “I am sorry, Sara, but he has passed on.”

Sara looked at Trance and then back to Josh. Her eyes swell up as tears flooded them and began to flow down her cheek. She gently lowered Josh to the rooftop and ran into the building. A moment later she returned with four others who lifted Josh up and carried him inside the building.

Vausees could see the pain on Sara’s face as she held the door open for the men to carry Josh in, this pained her. She suddenly felt a hand on her shoulder and looked up to see Trance. She stood up and followed her inside, before she entered she gave Zazzuit instructions to ensure that everyone was on high alert in case Atsak returned, which she was sure he would do.

***Deep Space K-7 – Decisions***

Trever stood at one of the windows that overlooked the Heracles as the station’s force of worker bees flew around the damaged portions of the ship. As he stood there he thought about what he needed to do. A sigh left his mouth as he spun around and headed for the temporary room that he had been given, while the repairs were underway.

He took a seat and opened up a communications connection back to the fleet. He needed further instructions on what he could do. After a brief consult with fleet command and a letter of requisition in hand he headed for Commander Telus. He found her in the Command center and handed her the letter. She looked at it and sighed, “I hope you know what you are doing, Acting Captain Neif.” Her tone was that of irritation as she held in her hands the order to rearm the Heracles with half a dozen Valkyrie-class fighters, in place of the half a dozen Volga-class runabouts, that were currently aboard the ship. 

Trever looked at Telus with a serious look on his face, “Commander Telus, you would be the first to know if I didn’t know what I was doing,” he stated. He was done playing nice with this woman and needed her to understand the importance of his mission to return to Archanis V with the firepower and armorment to ensure that the Captain and the away team were rescued successfully.

He didn’t care at that moment that this woman outranked him in an official capacity, because right now at this very moment he outranked her in an unofficial capacity, and that she had been ordered by the Fourth Fleet Command to give him what was needed to perform his mission with the utmost chance of success. 

Telus looked at Trever and could see the seriousness of the orders that she had and nodded, in defeat, something that she did not take well to.

“This order will be finished in two hours,” she stated.

Trever nodded, “Thank you Commander.”

With that he left the Command center and headed for the temporary quarters that he had. He knew that he needed some down time while the repairs and the orders were finished.

***Archanis V – Retaliation***

Atsak was in a furious mood when the transporter finally rematerialized him on his flagship. As soon as his foot hit the steel flooring he reached out and snatched a nearby Klingon and threw them across the room. A resounding thunk echoed off of the bulkheads as he promptly stormed off.

As soon as the doors to the transporter room closed, several Klingons helped the misfortuned brother off the ground and drug him to the infirmary. 

Upon entering the command center of his flagship Atsak growled as the image of the city below was displayed on the main screen of his ship. Turning toward his Tactical Officer he growled out, “Give signal to my fleet to begin bombarding that city and they had better not stop until I signal for them to.”

His Tactical Officer nodded and did as was asked of him. He signaled the fleet to open fight on the city below. All at once every ship began to launch warhead after warhead down toward the planet and ultimately the city below.

***

On the planet Vausees and the survivors braced for what they knew was to come. What? They were not entirely sure, but they all knew that Klingons did just run away, and more importantly that these Klingons in particular wouldn’t run until every man, woman, and child was enslaved or killed.

While leaned up against the wall of the building that they were in Vausees and Trance looked around the floor, people lay together, some with bandages and others with the look of fear in their eyes. A sigh left Trance’s lips as she lowered her head down to Vausees shoulder. 

“I am starting to become exhausted,” she stated to Vausees as she closed her eyes for a moment

Vausees nodded in agreement and turned to kiss the top of Trances head, “So am I babe.” She then looked back at the bleakness of the room and closed her eyes, “Try and get some sleep, that’s an order.”

Trance could not help but giggle, “When we get off this rock, I am taking a nice long shower and sleeping for a week,” she said as she yawned and snuggled closer to Vausees.

Just as the two women started to fall asleep the sound of an explosion followed by another lower one shook the two women awake. The next explosion shook the building which caused both Vausees and Trance to reach for their weapons and start heading for the roof.

Just before they made it to the door it exploded off its hinges right in front of them, and Trance took the brunt of the explosion as the door hit her and lifted her off her feet. Vausees had felt the concussion from the explosion and was propelled out of the way. After she landed on her side she groaned in pain as she pushed herself up into a sitting position. Everything seemed to move in a slowed down version of itself. She could see people running in panic as she looked about for Trance. It was then that she felt a couple of hands under her arms as she was dragged away.

She looked at the arms that were attached to the hands and followed them up to see Cody and Zazzuit. She was confused as to why they were dragging her until she looked down at her body and saw a piece of the door frame sticking out of her side. It was then and all of a sudden that she felt the pain from her injuries. She let loose a scream that echoed the pain she was in, and tried as she might to move her arm down to the object sticking out of her, she couldn’t.

As soon as she stopped moving she wrenched her arm from Zazzuit and placed it around the object. However, as soon as she touched it she felt a course of searing pain race from the entry wound around her side and to her back. After she gritted her teeth to keep from screaming further she looked at Cody, “Find Trance!” she ordered. 

Cody looked away and over his shoulder to a white, stained sheet that was covering a body. His face was emotionless on the outside but on the inside he was a mixture of pain, sadness, and anger. Vausees tried to look behind him but when she moved the pain intensified which caused her to yell and collapse back down, as she saw the blood stained white sheet. The pain was so intense that it overwhelmed Vausees and she passed out. As she lay there she knew that the body under the sheet was Trance’s and a feeling of guilt, anger, and grief swelled in her chest.

Cody looked over at his Captain, when she yelled, and his eyes widened when he watched her collapse and become silent. He turned his attention instantly to Zazzuit, “Ma’am, the Captain.”

But Zazzuit was already in motion before he even had said a word to her. She looked about for Trance’s medical kit and saw it half buried under some desbri where she had been found. She rushed over to the kit and grabbed it. On her way back she opened the kit and pulled out the tricorder and a hypospray that was loaded with a sedative. She knelt down and began to scan Vausees. A steady beep sounded from the device as she scanned.

“I’m no doctor but from what I can gather from this tricorder her pulse is strong but she’s collapsed from shock and exhaustion,” she said to Cody. He took the hypospray from her and hit Vausees with it in the neck. He then looked at the piece of the door frame that was lodged in her side. 

“If we don’t get this out of her soon, that strong pulse is going to start to become weak,” he stated. 

Zazzuit nodded in agreement and reopened the tricorder and began to scan around the object. She sighed as she closed the device, “Unless we can get her to a medical facility in the next hour she’s not going to make it, and her symbiont won’t either.”

“Starfleet, Captain!” came a deep Klingon voice out of nowhere.

Both Zazzuit and Cody both reached for their weapons and began to look for the source of the voice when they heard it again.

“How do you like my new, yet old, tactic!”

It was then that they realized that the voice was coming from their ComBadges. Zazzuit was about to reach up and tap her badge when a pissed off voice came over the comms, in perfect, if not sounding weak, Klingon.

“Batlh quvmoHmeH batlh SuQaghmoHmeH SoH. Tugh jIHaghmeH maghomchugh, vaj chovaqlaH. JoHwI’, bIquvtaHvIS, choparHa’chuqtaHvIS. NgaSwI’ rurmo’ ghoS, ngaghHa’choH.”(Listen here you honorless dog. You may have wounded me, after I showed you mercy. You killed my best friend and lover. Now I will send you to the gates of Hell where you belong.)

Cody’s face held a confusion to it as he looked at his Captain who was speaking Klingon. Her eyes were closed as she spoke and she had a paleness to her skin tone.

“SoH qatlhob, chotlhob, Atsak,”(I am coming for you, Atsak.) She said as her eyes opened and she slowly sat up, pain registered all over her face as a nice sheen of sweat began to cover her pale-ish face. 

When she stood up Cody’s eyes grew even wider, as did Zazzuit. Both of them moved to restrain her, but she held up a bloodied hand, as she braced herself against a wall. 

“Cody go find Sara,” she ordered between her gritted teeth and gasps of pain.

Cody was about to protest when he saw the anger in Vausees eyes, and thought better of it and did as she requested. He knew that if they survived this that he was going to have words with her. Vausees then looked at her XO, “Zazzuit when he gets back here with Sara, I want you to rip this fucking piece of shit door frame out of me and you three are to patch me up,” she said gritting her teeth as a surge of pain hit her, “I then want you to take the rest of the survivors and head to the cave system. You’re in charge.”

Zazzuit narrowed her eyes at the request from her Captain and shook her head no. “If you g…”, Vausees cut her off, “That wasn’t a request Commander.” With a sigh and shoulders slouched she nodded, “As you order, Captain.”

Cody then reappeared with Sara in tow. When Sara saw Vausees, at first there was a mixture of grief and love, until her eyes drifted down to the object sticking out of her. “Captain!” she yelled as she rushed over to her. 

Vausees held up a hand to halt Sara in her tracks. “Find some reasonably clean sheets and shred them,” she ordered. Zazzuit and Cody nodded and disappeared. Sara stood her ground and looked at Vausees, who looked back with narrowed eyes.

“You can’t order me around, Captain,” Sara said defiantly.

A sigh left Vausees lips, which spurred a moment of pain, “You are lucky for that,” she said through the pain.

Just then both Cody and Zazzuit returned with a bundle each of white sheets. They both began to tear them to strips as ordered. Sara reached over and took one that was still intact. “Lay down,” she ordered Vausees, who looked at her and shook her head as she slid to the floor.

As soon as the sheets were shredded Vausees nodded to Sara, Zazzuit, and Cody as she placed a strap in her mouth and bit down. A moment later blinding pain flooded her mind as the piece of door frame was removed from her side and strips of the sheets were packed into the gaping wound. She was then bound up.

Vausees spat out the strap and held a hand up. The three helped her to her feet and steadied her. 

***Heracles – Last Shadow***

Trever was in his room when he heard a chirp from the intercom on the desk. He looked up from the PADD that he had in his hands. He set the PADD aside and walked over to the desk and pressed the flashing holographic button, “This is Captain Nief,” his voice held a slight irritation at being disturbed while looking at the reports that had come in from the Archanis Sector.

“Captain, the Heracles is repaired and refitted per the requisition order from Starfleet.” came a reply in a voice that he had become all too accustomed to, Commander Telus.

“Thank you Commander,” he replied and then closed the comms. He then reached up and tapped his ComBadge. 

“This Acting Captain Nief, to the crew of the Heracles, it is time to return to the fight and bring those that thought to take us out a one way ticket to hell,” he stated as he picked up the PADD from the side table that he had discarded it to.

He then headed for the nearest lift that would take him to the promenade. After he exited out of the lift he headed for the corridor that would lead him to the umbilical that was attached to the Heracles. As he passed by the viewing window that he had stood before he could see the Heracles moored there in all her glory and knew that soon she would be in the thick of battle. However, this time he knew that with the addition of the Valkyrie-class fighters and full complement of 90 photon torpedoes and 180 quantum torpedoes that she would be flying in on the burning wings of the Phoenix to deliver fire and brimstone on the Hunters of D’Ghor and those that thought the Heracles was easy pickings.

As soon as Trever’s foot hit the flooring of the Heracles he was met by Zirzzish, who was currently the Acting Executive Officer. The Zaranites looked at Trever, “Captain, there is a group of men in the Main hangar that I think you need to see.”

Trever looked at Zirzzish and nodded as the two headed for the Main hangar. As soon as the door opened a voice barked out, “Captain on deck!” and every man and woman that had been standing about in conversation came to attention. Trever walked toward where the voice had come from and came face to face with a woman who was dressed in a grey uniform with white shoulders and a single red stripe. As he looked at the woman he saw on her collar four solid pips. 

“Captain Kelsie Roberts and the Valkyrie wing Last Shadow reporting for duty,” she stated smartly as she stood at attention. Trever looked the Captain over and it was then that he noticed the patch on the shoulder of her flight suit. It was the Heracles surrounded by three black winged pegasus’, and underneath was NCC-80555 and in brackets two letters, ‘AW’.

Trever looked about the Main Hangar at all of the men and women that all wore the same uniforms with either a red or yellow stripe. As he looked back at Kelsie and nodded to her. “Captain, please report to the Captain’s Ready room.” He then looked at the rest of them and nodded, “Dismissed.” He then turned to Zirzzish and Kelsie and took the lead and led the way to the bridge.

A few minutes later the three of them, Trever, Zirzzish, and Kelsie, sat in the Captain’s Ready room. Trever looked at Kelsie for a moment as he thought about what he was going to say.

“Captain, I am thankful for you and your Air Wing taking the orders to the Heracles,” he said to her as he leaned back in his chair. “With that having been said, I can fully expect you to follow my orders, and the orders of my Captain once we have recovered her and the away team that is stranded on Archanis V,” he continued as he kept his eyes leveled on her.

She nodded to him, “Of course.”

“Good, then this is what we are going to do,” he then spilled out who they were going to fly in and drop out of warp on the farside of the planet and then engage any Klingon ships that happened to come into view. 

After the briefing Trever dismissed Kelsie and Zirzzish from the Captain’s Ready and he sat back once more to think about what was about to happen.

After a moment he stood up and headed for the bridge. The doors opened and he stepped out to the calm vibes, the calm before the storm. He took the main seat and looked over at Bosor. He knew it was time that they got underway.

“Lieutenant,” he looked at Bosor. “Take us out,” he ordered, his voice held an eagerness about it, as he watched the Lieutenant move about the holographic controls on the console.

“We have cleared the moor’s, Captain.” Bosor stated as he kept the Heracles moving at one quarter impulse.

When Bosor slowed the Heracles to full stop, Trever stared out of the main viewscreen, at the scattering of stars that were before them. His eyes locked onto one star in particular, Archanis.

“Lieutenant,” he paused for a moment, and then continued, “set course for the Archanis Sector. Warp 8.”

Bosor nodded as his hands flew over the controls. “Archanis Sector,” he replied, “Warp 8.”

Trever leaned forward, his eyes intense as he sat on the edge of his seat. “Let’s bring in the wrath. Engage!”

*** Archanis V – Retribution ***

Vausees grimaced in pain as she knelt down next to Trance. She held her hand as she softly looked at the covered woman. Anger swirled inside her as she looked at her. She would see to it that Atsak paid, in one way or another.

She brought Trances hand up to her lips and gently placed a kiss on it. She then slowly laid it on her body and covered it. For a moment she stayed there knelt as she thought about what she should do next. 

Opening her eyes she slowly slid to her feet and moved towards the exit to the rooftop. It had been silent since the communication between Vausees and Atsak. She stood just under the awning and looked up at the now clear red sky as the sun started to set. Her hand reached down to the bloody bandage over the wound that she had sustained, as she felt the warmth from the blood that had started to ooze. Gritting her teeth she reached up and smacked her ComBadge.

“Atsak!” she yelled out into the emptiness of the approaching darkness.

A moment later a deep voice replied.

“Ah, Captain Vausees, it’s good to…” His voice was stopped mid-sentence as Vausees cut him off.

“Stow it Dog,” she snapped at him, “I am going to give you one chance to surrender,” she stated as pain started once more to flood her mind.

A guttural laughter could be heard coming from all of the ComBadges. “You think you have the position to negotiate?” He stated as he turned to look at the planet from his chair. “I only called the ceasefire so that you would be able to think about…” once more Vausees cut him off.

“This isn’t a negotiation, Atsak,” she stated, “This is the only way you survive.” She gritted her teeth as she spoke trying to overcome the pain from her side. 

Atsak narrowed his eyes as he looked at the planet, as if he could see her standing there on the rooftop. 

“Or are you without honor?” Vausees said as she unclenched her teeth. She knew this would trigger him and she was counting on it.

Atsak’s eyes widened at this accusation of his honor. Standing up from his chair he looked at his communication’s officer and signaled for the connection to be cut. As this was happening he moved from the bridge and towards his quarters. As he entered he removed a silk covering from a Bat’leth and picked it up off of its rack. He looked at his reflection in its blade and growled as he picked up his helmet and headed for the transporter room. Before he stepped onto the pad he slapped a glowing button on the nearest bulkhead.

“This is Commander Atsak. I am hereby ordering two attack units to transport down to the surface,” he growled out as he spoke the order. “The rest of you will secure this orbit.” With that he released the button and stepped up onto the pad with three other D’Gor hunters. A moment later they stood just outside of the building that Vausees and the survivors were holding up in.

Vausees heard the sound of transporters and she rushed to the edge of the building to look down into the courtyard below. A grin crossed her lips as she saw Atsak. Turning her head she yelled back into the building, “We have company!” and she retreated from the rooftop into the building still yelling. 

Zazzuit snapped her head toward the commotion coming from her Captain, and watched as Vausees snatched up her rifle as she was running in. Her eyes narrowed at the large crimson stain on her left side. She had been in the middle of setting up the last evacuation when she heard Vausees. She moved over and snatched Vausees by the arm as the woman approached. Vausees shrugged her off as she looked around the room at the remainder of the survivors. A sigh left her lips. “We need to get them out of here and now,” she stated as she looked at Zazzuit.

Zazzuit shook her head as Zyvia approached. “We are surrounded,” the Andorian woman said as she placed the butt of her rifle on the floor. Her breathing was heavy as she looked at Zazzuit and Vausees.

“Report, Ensign,” Vausees ordered as her blue eyes looked at Zazzuit’s yellow ones.

Zyvia took a moment to catch her breath before she spoke, “I got the last group of survivors to the cave system with Sara and was about three blocks away when I heard the transporters,” she paused for a moment as she continued to catch her breath. “I counted at least forty to fifty before I took off for the back entrance. I sealed the entrance,” she stated as she stood up. “Only one way in or out.”

Vausees looked at the woman and nodded. “Good. Get some water and get on the roof.”

Zyvia nodded and left the others. Zazzuit looked at Vausees. “What’s your order’s, Captain?”

“Nothing has changed, Commander,” she stated as she turned and headed for the roof.

A moment later Vausees was laid out on the roof with her rifle perched up. Her eyes peered through the scope as she scanned the D’Ghor hunters below. She knew that Atsak was below and she knew that he was coming to wipe out the rest of the survivors and her away team.

***

Trever looked over at Bosor, “Bosor, what’s our ETA?”, he asked the Lieutenant as the anticipation began to take hold.

Bosor looked at the Navigation portion of his console, “Three minutes, Captain.”

Trever nodded and turned his attention to the console to his right. He pressed a holographic icon, “ Captain, Roberts get your wing ready, we arrive in approximately three minutes.” He then tapped the icon once more and returned his attention to the viewscreen and the stars that were flashing passed.

His mind was racing as his body was being flooded with adrenaline. He took a deep breath and slowly released it. He then looked over at Zirzzish who was sitting next to him. The man appeared calm, but on the inside he was nervous and scared, why he wasn’t entirely sure but he knew that lives depend on him making sure that everything went off without any problems.

Trever leaned forward, “Zirzzish, set us to Red Alert,” Trever said in a calm tone as he continued to look forward.

Zirzzish nodded as he turned the console to his left to face him. The bridge dimmed as the lighting on the bulkheads began to flash red. He then tapped the holographic icon on the console. “Battle Stations!”, is all that he said.

A moment later the Heracles exited out of warp on the farside of the Archanis V. Trever wasted no time and ordered the Air Wing to launch. From the viewscreen watched as a dozen Valkyrie fighters left from the nose of the Heracles, out of the main hangar.

“All fighters, launched.” came a voice from the intercom. 

Trever nodded as he looked at the console on the arm of the command chair. He thought to himself, thirty seconds until engagement. Without looking back, “Jonton, when the fighters engage I want you to try and contact Captain Vausees.”

Jonton nodded as he prepared to establish the link to her ComBadge.

***

Vausees continued to look through her scope trying to find Atsak.

“Captain Vausees.” a guttural yell came from the courtyard below and a Klingon stepped out from a group and stood alone. 

Vausees instantly swiveled the crosshairs onto the lone Klingon. Her finger slipped over the trigger as she recognized the Klingon as Atsak. 

“I know you can hear me, Captain, and I am no doubt in your crosshairs,” he stated as he pointed directly at her with his Bat’leth. 

How he knew where she was was beyond her as she was concealed in the shadows of the pitched roof. ‘No matter,’ she thought to herself as she kept the man in her crosshairs. 

“What do you want, Atsak?” she yelled down. 

“Come on, Captain, let’s end this.” he stated as he looked at a group of three hunters moving up a building.

A blast of three bolts left a rifle and ended all three hunters, who collapsed into a heap of lifeless bodies. Vausees looked to where the shots had come from and seen Zyvia in another shadowed cove. A smile crossed her lips, “Nice try, Atsak, but it seems that your attempt to find me has failed.”

This caused Atsak to growl and he started pointing and issuing new orders at groups of Klingons. 

***

While Vausees was handling Atsak on the surface, Captain Roberts and the Air wing had just begun their attack on the rearmost Bird-of-Prey. As soon as the first explosion came into view on the screen Jonton opened the Comms. “Open, Captain.”

Trever nodded, “Captain Vausees.”

He waited as more and more explosions riddled the Bird-of-Prey.

Vausees had her finger on the trigger and was about to send the bolt into Atsak when she heard the voice on her ComBadge.

“Captain Vausees here,” she replied as she relaxed her finger, “Trever is that you?” she asked.

Trever let out a sigh of relief as he replied, “Aye, Captain and we are in the process of disabling a few ships in orbit,” he stated as one of the Birds-of-Prey turned and took aim at the Heracles.

Zirzzish quickly tapped on a couple of icons on the console to his left and a barrage of torpedoes and phasers left the Heracles and impacted on the shields of the D’Ghor ship.

Vausees heard Trever giving the orders for evasive maneuvers and grinned. She then grunted as she stood up and with the rifle leveled at Atsak, she grinned. 

“I think you need to surrender Atsak, as your fleet is being disabled as we speak,” she announced as she lowered the rifle.

Atsak reached down to his waist and pulled out a communications device. A moment later he lowered his arm and dropped his Bat’leth to the ground.

Vausees had taken to the staircase which was being guarded by the survivors. She emerged from the entrance, with Zazzuit, Cody, and Zyvia, all who had their rifles trained on Atsak. 

“Commander Zazzuit, take Atsak into custody.”

Zazzuit nodded as he stepped forward to Atsak.

A soft chirp on Vausees chest sounded and she reached up tapped her ComBadge, “Captain Vausees here.”

“Captain, we have disabled all but one of the D”Ghor ships. It had managed to flee before we were able,” Trever announced.

Vausees nodded. “Good, send down a security detachment, we have a few prison..” she didn’t finish her statement as she fell backwards, unconscious from the blood loss. 

Cody was instantly at her side, “Heracles, Emergency Transport, on my location, two to beam up directly to sickbay.”

A moment later both Cody and Vausees disappeared as Zazzuit grabbed Atsak by the arm. By then the survivors had emerged from the building with their weapons trained on the surrendered ground forces. 

***Heracles – Enroute to Earth***

Vausees lay on a biobed her heartbeat could be heard coming from a monitor above her head. She was stable now but when she was brought on board her heart had stopped, Trever sat next to her, his head in his hands as he sobbed silently in learning about the death of his sister. Zazzuit had finished with the colonists after the last D’Ghor Hunter was transported to the Heracles. 

Zazzuit entered sickbay and placed a hand on Trevers shoulder, “Go get some rest Commander,” she ordered as she looked into his blood shot eyes.

He stood up and nodded as he headed for the door. He stopped and looked back at Zazzuit who shook her head, “I’ll inform you the moment she wakes,” she stated as she took over the seat that Trever had been in moments ago.

Zazzuit had informed Starfleet of what had transpired on Archanis V and how they had a Commander of the D’Ghor in custody, now she was in sickbay watching over her Captain as the Heracles headed home, not to StarBase 11 but Earth. As she sat there watching Vausees she told her of the orders to return home, not knowing if Vausees heard her or not. 

She then let a soft sigh escape her lips as she leaned her head back against the bulkhead and closed her eyes.