“Commander, the captain is getting a priority alpha transmission from Starbase Twenty-Seven. An Admiral Beckett is transmitting on a secure channel.” announced Lieutenant Commander Jen. The Trill officer spun around in his chair at the operations console to look at the Bajoran first officer who was sitting in the captain’s chair. “Shall I direct the call to the ready room?”
Surprised to hear that such a highly important call was coming in, Odyssey’s first officer nodded in response to the joined Trill. Tapping her combadge she got in touch with the captain ahead of the transfer. Captain McCallister acknowledged the call and then closed the intercom channel at his end.
Curious to what could be coming in from Starbase Twenty-Seven, Cambil looked over her right hand shoulder. “Cline,” She called the security and tactical officer. “Is there anything coming in from the area Starbase Twenty-Seven is in that we should know about?”
“Give me a moment to look into it ma’am.” The Tiburon security chief responded.
While Cambil had ordered for the search in the most recent dispatches from Starfleet, the turbolift doors to the starboard side of the bridge had opened, allowing Counsellor Duncan, Commander Hunsen and Senior Chief Petty Officer Court to enter the bridge. The three men made their way across the bridge to their individual stations.
“Problem?” Duncan asked as he took his usual seat to the left hand side of the captain’s.
“It might be nothing, but the captain is taking a priority alpha call from Admiral Becket at Starbase Twenty-Seven.” Cambil answered.
“Twenty-Seven? Isn’t that on the outskirts of the Archanis sector? Near the Klingon border?” Court asked as he took up position at one of the mission ops stations behind the tactical station.
“Yeah, which makes me worried that-” Cambil didn’t get a chance to finish her sentence when the ready room door swished open.
Captain McCallister, with slumped shoulders and a solemn expression plastered across his face, walked across the bridge heading towards his chair. Cambil instantly stood up and took her seat to the right.
“T’Rani lay in a new course. Take us to Starbase Twenty-Seven. Warp eight.” McCallister commanded.
The Vulcan pilot instantly replied as her fingers danced across the holographic helm display. “Aye, sir. Course plotted and laid in.”
“Starbase Twenty-Seven, not Guardian Station?” Cambil enquired.
Shaking his head as he sat down, McCallister answered his first officer. “The Delta Quadrant will have to wait for another day I’m afraid Number One.” He looked down at the helm. “Engage!”
The Odyssey altered its course and headed out towards its new destination.
Several hours later and the senior staff of the Odyssey had assembled in the observation lounge to discuss their change in orders. McCallister had already heard an exchange between his counsellor, chief engineer and yeoman about a bet they had placed earlier on about the Delta Quadrant mission being postponed. McCallister had insisted that once the Archanis situation was dealt with they would be starting their deep space exploration mission.
Once again they were being sent off to deal with another incident that required their presence in the region. Leading the mission briefing right now was his wife who was explaining the part of the mission they would be heavily involved with.
Where she stood by the large wall computer monitor, Reyas was pointing at the schematic of the array they would be assisting building. “As you can see the new Archanis Array was meant to be used to help with taking deep space scans of nearby nebulas and other phenomena. But with what’s happened recently, Starfleet wants to get the array setup to be used to support the region with recognising when ships are crossing the Federation-Klingon border.”
“Are we truly certain this isn’t the Klingon Empire flexing its muscles for a bit?” Doctor Slyvexs asked aloud. “I hate to say it but it’s been over twenty five years since they last attacked this region and attempted to take it from us.”
The Denobulan woman had a point but McCallister didn’t completely agree with her assessment. Everything he had read from Admiral Beckett pointed to a different conclusion. “I’m pretty certain we can be confident who is making these attacks doctor.” McCallister said.
Moving the discussion on, Commander Cambil rubbed her Bajoran nose ridges and asked the next question. “What do we know about these Hunters of D’Ghor?”
As Reyas sat down, Lieutenant Commander Lenjir spoke up. “Next to nothing that would help us understand why they’re attacking Federation interests along the border, except for taking trophies.”
“What about their bases of operations?” Hunsen asked. The Betazoid engineer was rubbing his beard as he posed his question.
“Almost nothing is known about their base of operations. What Starfleet has is sketchy, intelligence scans have proven the existence of dilithium mining and heavy weapons construction. The hunters themselves are considered an undesirable caste in the hierarchy of the Empire. We know they’re House received a discommendation over twenty-five years ago.” Lenjir explained. “That said, their history is filled with stories of being a house filled with warriors.”
“Aren’t all Klingon houses filled with those?” Cambil asked aloud.
Duncan was the one to speak up. “Not completely and not in the way of the D’Ghor. Just reading the report, it would seem they’re the most aggressive house in Klingon society.”
“Indeed,” Lenjir added more to the briefings. “They also have the reputation of being formidable warriors. In the Dominion War, the Hunters consolidated their position within Klingon territory while a bulk of the Klingon Defence Force was engaged in combat duties. When the war ended the Empire found it hard to push them out.”
“Excellent, so we should expect them to last longer in battle?” Reyas questioned.
“Until death meets them…” Counsellor Duncan looked up from his PADD. “That’s what it says here in the briefing notes. Honour doesn’t always appear to be at the forefront of their thoughts. They’re not our typical garden variety of Klingon.”
McCallister agreed with Duncan’s assessment. “Exaclty, Starfleet Intelligence was only able to provide a partial account of the military engagements the Hunters have been involved with. We can infer they like to play the long term strategy. Most of their engagements are successful. Beyond that, we know nothing.” Pausing as he looked at everyone around the room. “We are truly about to encounter an enemy that are almost unknown to us, even though they sit on our doorstep. Before we arrive at Starbase Twenty-Seven, I want everyone on this ship to go through enough battle drills. I want to know that every system is fully operational too. In the meantime Commander Cambil and Counsellor Duncan I want you to go through everything we have on these Hunters and the Empire. Anything you can give me will be appreciated. Dismissed.”
Everyone got up and left, except his wife. “Something on your mind Karyn?” McCallister asked after the door closed behind the last person out.
Nodding, she took her husband’s hand. “I know we’ve faced a lot worse, but as you said we are truly entering the unknown here. I’m worried about the civilian population on the Odyssey. We need to be extra careful if we engage these Hunters.”
“Absolutely. I’ll speak to Cline about extra precautions we could put in place.” McCallister squeezed his wife’s hand for assurance. He only hoped it helped as deep down he needed some himself. This felt like new territory for them all.