Sitting at the helm controls of the Delta-class runabout Invicta, Lieutenant Commander Lukiz Jen was tapping in to his fifth host, Edjar Jen, who had been a pilot for many years before he passed away from natural causes. Hearing and feeling Edjar’s presence within him gave Lukiz the confidence to fly the Invicta in such a way that previously before he was joined he would not have flown a starship. Racing around the Haydorian system, Jen was eager to find the last remaining souls of the D’Ghor raiders. After their successful and quick heavy assault in removing a majority of them in one fell swoop, the crews of the Odyssey and Endeavour were now left with the mop-up operations. Currently Jen’s team was pursuing a lead near to where the Odyssey had engaged the Hunters the day before.
“Anything ensign?” Jen asked, looking back at the young Hekaran male that sat at the science station.
Shaking his head in response, Ensign Ranal looked up from his console. “Their engine trail does lead into the atmosphere of Hendor, the second moon in orbit of the ninth planet, but it dissipates after that.”
Picking the Invicta had been the best thing for Jen to do when he was offered to lead one of the teams by Commander Duncan. Along with four others, they had been the quickest team to find results, partially down to the fact the ship was so fast and maneuverable. “Okay, if we can’t see anything from up here then let’s head down to the planet.”
“Is that wise sir?” asked Za’Cerfontroi, the Efrosian chief petty officer from the security department. “We can’t be sure if they’re down there or not.”
Spinning in the pilot’s chair to look at the tall man who had sleek white hair and an impressive matching goatee, Jen confirmed his orders. “We’re going down there, we’ll project their trajectory and see if where it leads us first. If we can’t work out a search pattern then I’ll ask Aquarius to send a few more probes our way. This is one of the last few locations to be explored anyway.”
“Sir, the moon itself may have a M-class atmosphere but I am detecting high amounts of kelbonite and other metallic ore in the terrain will make our scans almost near to impossible to find the Klingons.” Ranal stated.
“Then we need to look for something else besides Klingon lifesigns.” suggested Lieutenant Jaucquai, the Deltan counsellor who agreed to join as Jen’s mission deputy when it was cited that they needed to use as many able bodies to search for the hunters. The young bald headed man, who was sitting beside Jen on the small stall that existed, turned around and shared his thoats. “If they’re typical Klingons then they may have set up a camp to survive being out in the wilderness. Looking at what we can see, this moon inhabits some animal life. I reckon the hunters must have got hungry and would have gone hunting, which means they may have a fire going.”
“Which means we could use the thermal imaging sensors to find them.” spoke up Ensign Zalandra, the Bolian woman who sat at the engineering console at the back.
“Exactly.” Jaucquai confirmed.
“Let’s do it.” Jen said as he pushed the Invicta down towards the moon. “Give an update to the Aquarius lieutenant of what we are doing.”
“Um, I don’t think I need to sir.” Jaucquai stated. “I’m detecting the arrival of the Oakhanger. Lieutenant Commander Lenjir is hailing us.”
Smirking at the arrival of his friend, Jen ordered for a channel to be opened. The viewscreen to Jen’s right changed from its display of his forward navigational sensors to that of his friend in the type-seventeen cargo shuttle he was using. “Cline, what do I owe the pleasure?”
Smiling back at the joined Trill, the Tiburon security chief tugged on his larger ear lobe. “Lukiz, why don’t you let my team handle this one? We’re better equipped to search on this planet?”
“That’s only because you’re itching to use that all-terrain vehicle you loaded into your shuttle.” Jen countered back with. “How about a compromise, you scout on the ground while we hover above?”
“Sounds like a plan, Oakhanger out!” Lenjir answered back.
The two small support craft entered the atmosphere of the moon in orbit of the large gas giant together. As they descended down past the large clouds they came across a huge woodland area covered with lakes, mountains and plenty of grass.
“Begin thermal scans.” Jen ordered.
“The Oakhanger has launched its ground vehicle.” announced Za’Cerfontroi. “Looks like you’re guess was right sir, Commander Lenjir is at the wheel.”
Smirking at knowing his friend too well, Jen shrugged his shoulders. “Let’s keep an open sensor link with the Oakhanger and its ground adventurer, anything we pick up let’s share together.”
“Sir, the thermal scanners are picking up something.” Zalandra announced after a minute. “North-east from our current location about fifty-two kilometers away. It looks like several fires.
“Several?” Jen repeated as he looked around at the Bolian ensign. “Lifesigns?”
Still focusing on her console, the security officer attempted to work out if she could find any or not. “It’s too hard to say at the distance sir.”
“Then let’s get in closer. Relay the information to the Oakhanger team.” Jen said as he turned back in his chair to face the helm controls. He increased the speed of the little ship and headed towards the fires.
Taking a break from bridge duty, Commander Duncan had retreated to the small conference room that also acted as the captain’s ready room. A small curved desk sat in the corner while a circular tablet for six people sat more in the centre of the room. With only a few lights on, Duncan was using his time away from everyone to finish signing off on the reports he had to read and confirm for their little D’Ghor heist before Captain Rourke sent them off to Starfleet. Sending the last one that related to their quick removal of the Hunters they could detect, thanks to their verdium patches, Duncan was about to get a fresh mug of tea when he was informed of an incoming call from the Odyssey.
Being patched through, using the desk’s console, the joint image of Commander Hunsen and Doctor Slyvexs appeared.
“Tremt, Slyvexs, I wasn’t expecting an update call for another hour or two.” Duncan said, greeting the chief engineering and chief medical officer. Then he realised something was not right from their expressions. “What is it?”
“We thought it was best to inform you straight away so you can deal with it while you’re on the Aquarius.” stated Hunsen. The chief engineer took a moment to breath. “It’s about T’Rani’s husband.”
“S’Tefe?” Duncan asked. He knew the man well enough, he was one of the finest teachers on Odyssey. He primarily taught science and maths to the older children. “What’s happened?”
“S’Tefe died a few moments ago Max.” Slyvexs relayed with a heavy heart. “He had been beamed down to the infirmary at the Starfleet base in the colony to recover, but there were some unforeseen complications and he didn’t make it.”
The news was a shock as S’Tefe had been given the all clear that he would recover after a few days of rest. “Damn.” Duncan muttered as he leant back in his chair. “Does T’Rani know yet?”
Shaking his head, Hunsen answered. “No, we only just took the call.”
“Send me the details of what happened and I’ll speak to T’Rani.” Duncan said. He didn’t need to be a Betazoid to read their minds for the reason why they had called him and not her directly. “Anything else?”
“All of the civilians, bar three, are now on the colony.” Hunsen announced. “And repairs are ahead of schedule. Thanks to the incredible work of the yard engineers, who have gone above and beyond, I’m hoping to be bringing the warp core back online by tomorrow morning and we should have the last of the repairs to the hull complete by tonight.
Hearing the last part was good, but Duncan was concerned about the former matter. “Who are the three civilians refusing to leave?”
“The McCallister boys.” Hunsen stated. “Tobias has them staying with him but with the captain still out…”
“…and Commander Reyas is currently undergoing therapy for her new spine.” Slyvexs added.
“The three of them don’t want to leave the ship.” Hunsen finished.
Understanding why they want to be close to their parents, Duncan considered his options for a second. For a second he considered allowing them to stay, but if anything happened to them then it would be on his shoulders to answer that to the captain and the commander. “No, they go to the Starfleet base on Haydorian like everyone else. I’m sure they’re best friends with Commander Cambil’s sons. Can you speak with her husband, Naprem, see if they can stay with him?”
“Leave it with me.” Slyvexs answered.
“Anything else?” Duncan asked.
Both officers shook their heads.
“Good, our teams are conducting the last of our searches for the remaining D’Ghor, hopefully we’ll be home soon. Keep me apprised of any other changes or news.
“Will do Max.” Hunsen stated.
“Aquarius out.” Duncan said and he tapped the console to close the channel. Taking a breath, he then tapped his combadge and called for T’Rani to join him. Fortunately for him, this was one area of his expertise as a trained counsellor that he knew he could deal with in an appropriate and sensitive manner.