—Three hours later—
Time: 0715 hours
Location: Alpha Quadrant – USS Heracles
A soft chime sounded in the silence of Vausees quarters. She groaned as she laid in bed trying to be alone. Her father had hit a nerve, a raw nerve, and she was still angry at the Council for the threat that they had made her father deliver. Another soft beep sounded off and destroyed the silence that she had been enjoying.
A soft sigh escapes her lips as she tosses off the covers and walks over to the door. As she opens the door she starts to chastise whoever was on the other side of the door, that is until the door opens and she sees Admiral Ross. Her eyes widen as she stands there in a Fleet Academy sweater and her black underwear.
“Admiral!”, she says in a shocked, surprised, and embarrassed voice.
She bolts for her bathroom as Ross walks in. He turns and closes her door and also locks it. Vausees returns from her bathroom in a pair of sweats. As she enters she sees Ross looking about her quarters. Luckily, the chastising she had gotten from her father had forced her to clean up her room.
She stood there as Ross nodded his head and took a seat behind her desk. He looked at her, “Let’s cut to the chase Captain,” he stated as he leaned back in her chair. Vausees took the seat across from him.
“Firstly, Captain Vax, I have heard that you have become a hermit of sorts,” his voice held a slight concern in its tone, “and secondly that is unbecoming of a Commanding Officer, and could be considered neglect of your duties to Starfleet.”
This caught Vausees off guard, ‘twice in one day.’, she thought to herself. She nodded to the Admiral as she listened to him.
“I have it in my right mind to replace you as the Commanding Officer, but seeing as the reason behind your sudden hermitness is that you had been in a traumatic situation and your grievance toward the lost of an Officer, and my understanding someone very close to you, I will give you a chance to prove to the Brass in Starfleet HQ that you are still worthy of the Heracles.” His eyes bore into hers as if searching for a lost civilization.
Vausees nodded to Ross, “Yes, Admiral.”
Ross then turned his attention to her desk console and pulled up a file. He then entered in his authorization code and turned the monitor to her.
“As of three hours and fifteen minutes ago, the UPF Freighter Torgus intercepted sensor scans of a sensitive nature.”
Vausees looked at the screen and the ship’s profile could be seen. And in the upper right corner, a symbol rotating. At first, she didn’t recognize it until it hit her like a ton of bricks. “Omega!”, she said out loud and looked over at Ross.
—Fifteen minutes ago—
Time: 0700 hours
Location: Gamma Quadrant – two sectors past Hunter
UFP Freighter Torgus
Fergouson sat behind her desk, her mind was going a million light-years a second as she sat there. What was she going to do, she thought to herself as she read the sensor readings coming from the Omega molecules that were near her ship. She knew that she did not have the armament let alone the resources needed to create a resonance chamber to capture the molecules. The only choice left to her was to keep the freighter’s sensors locked onto the particles of Omega and transmit them back to Starfleet, encrypted of course.
As she sat there in her Ready Room a chirp came over her intercom. Reaching over she pressed a button on her desk, “Captain Fergouson here,” she said, already knowing who was on the other side.
Fir had taken his Commanding Officers suggestion and had gone to get a coffee as ordered. When he had returned to the door that led to the bridge he found himself locked out, and his authorization code was not recognized by the computer.
“Captain, is there a reason for the deactivation of my command codes?” he asked her as he stood just outside of the bridge.
Fergouson sat there in silence for a few minutes, she debated on whether or not to release the bridge, and if she should also inform her second officer.
“Major, I have sealed the bridge for the safety of this ship and its crew,” she said as she made up her mind on keeping the knowledge about the Omega particles from her crew, “hopefully I will be able to lift the lockout soon,” she stated, “until then, Major, keep my ship and its crew busy,” she then closed the intercom and steepled her fingers as she looked at the sensor logs that the Torgus was given.
As she monitored the sensor data she also kept an eye on the quarantine barrier that she had established around this sector of space, with a warning to stay out, with a penalty of imminent death by any means. She hoped that no one, other than the ship and team that Admiral Ross had informed her was on its way, would enter into this sector.
— Six hours later —
Vausees sat in her Ready Room, her eyes glued to her console’s monitor, that she didn’t hear the door open and close until Zazzuit cleared her throat. Vausees looked up and into the greenish-yellow eyes of her XO.
Vausees touched the corner of the screen and it darkened. She knew what her XO wanted. An explanation as to why they had, six hours ago, left Earth and were heading toward the Bajoran Wormhole and the Gamma Quadrant. She knew that she could tell her nothing about the orders that Admiral Ross had given her and that only she could give vague orders for the modification of half a dozen torpedoes.
“Zazzuit, have our guest on board assist Charles with the torpedo modifications, and once they are completed inform me at once,” she ordered.
Zazzuit nodded her head and left the Ready Room. A sigh left her lips as the doors closed behind her. She stepped toward the lift and headed for deck four. When the lift’s door opened onto the fourth deck she headed for the guest quarters, however, when she got to the quarters Zazzuit found them empty. “Computer, locate the specialist that is assigned to these quarters.”
“The specialist is located in Engineering,” the computer informed Zazzuit, “Would you like me to contact them?”
“No, I will go to their location,” she stated in a slightly irritated voice as she moved back to the lift and took it down to the Engineering deck.
When Zazzuit exited out of the lift she was met by a living form of chaos. Crewmen and Officers alike ran around the Engineering deck. Everyone held an almost exact look on each other’s face, purpose and business. Zazzuit looked around the deck from her vantage point looking for their Chief Engineer. She spotted him with another person, someone she didn’t recognize from where she was. With haste, she moved over to the two, and when she grew near them she recognized the person that was standing with their Chief Engineer.
Charles just happened to glance up for a moment when he saw his XO moving toward him. He had been in a deep conversation with their guest and upon seeing his XO raised a hand to silence the person.
“Commander?” he asked with a questioning tone to his voice
Zazzuit came to a halt beside the Chief and turned her greenish-yellow eyes on their guest. “Excuse me, but I do believe that you are supposed to notify myself or Commander Bettencourt when you are leaving your quarters,” she said in a chastising tone.
A Xindi-insectoid Starfleet officer turned their head to look at Zazzuit. Several harsh clicks were uttered from its mandible-like mouth before the universal translator could translate. Both Charles and Zazzuit looked at each other as they waited. Then what looked like a grin on the officer’s face caught Zazzuit’s attention and she shook her head as she realized what they had done.
“You know if you were a part of this crew I would bust your ass down to an…” she didn’t finish that statement as she realized that the specialist was in fact an Ensign. A sigh left her mouth and she turned to look at Charles. “What have you two done so far?” she asked him in a rather harsh tone that wasn’t entirely directed at him.
The Chief looked from Zazzuit to the specialist and then back to XO. His mind was blank toward the question that she had just asked him. It is shown on his face, which Zazzuit instantly picked up on. She turned once more toward the Xindi-insectoid and her greenish-yellow eyes narrowed, which gave them a menacing look, had anyone other than the Xindi-insectoid bothered to look in her direction. This display didn’t even cause the Xindi-insectoid to flinch in the slightest.
“If there is something that you want to say, Commander,” which was translated by the universal translator, “then, by all means, share it,” they stated, as their insect-like arms moved out towards everyone that was on the deck.
Zazzuit recognized the gesture and slowly took a breath in. She closed her eyes for a moment and shook her head as she turned back toward Charles. “Just get started,” she stated, “If you haven’t already.” She then turned and looked at the specialist and shook her head once more.
Vausees sat in the central chair when Zazzuit returned to the bridge. She looked over at her Xo and could see a frustrated look on her friend’s face. When Zazzuit took the seat next to her she leaned over and in a low tone asked her if anything was bothering her. Zazzuit looked at her Captain with bewilderment. As that was the first time in her life that someone outside of her own species had seen her frustrated and had actually acknowledged it.
Leaning over she looked directly into the light blue eyes of her Captain, “I know something is going on, Vax,” she says in a low voice. “But what I don’t know.”
This caught Vausees off guard as Zazzuit had never once since they had served together called her by her Symbionts name. Standing up she ushered for Zazzuit to follow her into the corridor that separated the bridge from her ready room.
Zazzuit stood with her Captain and expected some form of answer for what was going on.
“I wish I could tell you Zazzuit,” she said in a pained voice. “God knows I want to, but I am under orders from Brass to keep all information on what is going on under tight lips, or more so my lips.”
Zazzuit looked her Captain over and shook her head, “Not even a hint?” she asked.
Vausees shook her head no, “Believe me I wish I could because I really could use some advice from someone, anyone,” she stated
Zazzuit took the hint and nodded, suddenly realizing how high up this mission was. She still didn’t have any more information on what it was about but she knew that it had to be important if it was only for the Captain to know.
Charles looked at the specialist and grabbed the Xindi-insectoid by the collar of their uniform and yanked them to him. His eyes narrowed as he looked into the insect eyes of the specialist.
“What are you doing here Specialist?” he said to them.
The Xindi-insectoid grasped Charles with their clawed fingered hands as they looked at him, “I am here, Chief,” they said to Charles, “to assist in the construction of some sort of machine and to modify a handful of your torpedoes.”
Charles let go of the specialist and sighed, “Then how about we get to it,” he said as he moved to the magazine room where the armament of the Heracles was stored.
The Xindi-insectoid followed the Chief into the room and they both began removal of a single torpedo.