Entering the Forlox system reminded James of being back home in the Alpha Quadrant. Where the Kraylor had set up their base looked awfully similar to the Andorian home system. A small icy moon in orbit of a huge blue and green gas giant. He had visited Andoria once during his time on the Audacious. All he remembered was how cold it was. The very thought of it brought back a chill down his spine. Looking at the planet before him from the Aquarius’ bridge, he wondered just where things would go next. He could see from the corner of his eye that the science station was lighting up with numerous readings of the ship’s sensors detecting the Omega Molecule. He knew he had to act sooner rather than later. Any time wasted on neutralising the molecules meant more trouble for them and possibly the entire Delta Quadrant.
“Options?” James asked the holograms that now worked for him.
The Emergency Navigational Hologram, who had the appearance of a Trill man in his late twenties, turned around in his chair from where he sat at the conn. “Captain, can I suggest we do not enter orbit yet? We do not know if they have any scanning devices in orbit that may detect us, even under cloak. We are using their stealth system which may have some sort of identification code that we are not aware of.”
“A wise precaution.” James said back to the holographic pilot. James felt Donlar glaring at him from behind. He knew she wasn’t impressed with his methods to achieve his goal, but he was fed up with her constant comments. Not bothering to satisfy Donlar by showing how annoying she was increasingly becoming, James turned in his own chair to face her. “Captain Donlar, is such a device in orbit? Or will the cloak identify us? Will they see us because if they do then there’s no point in us being cloaked.”
Donlar looked between the main screen and then to James. “No, but you won’t find the base either. It is hidden behind a cloak as well.”
“Found it.” announced the Emergency Tactical Hologram. This hologram was made to look like a Ferengi female. She had an almost bubbly character that was close to being stereotypical of Ferengi behaviour. “I’m detecting a number of subspace distortions emanating from the base, probably due to their experiments. Their cloak is not really concealing them if you know what to look like. I also adjusted our sensors to detect the molecule’s resonance frequency. Sensors are confirmed, our target is there.”
Impressed with how well the holograms were turning out, James smirked with some sort of pride towards Donlar who in return just rolled her eyes as she moved from where she was sat to stand closer to the captain. “So what’s the plan now?”
“Well captain, this is where you make the decision. Either you give me the tactical information we need to disable their cloaking device and anything else that prevents us from transporting those molecules up or I have you confined to our very small brig while we launch an attack to cut power to the base to achieve that goal.” James answered.
Startled that he would take such a blasé approach, Donlar shook her head. “You can’t attack the base. You’ll end up killing my people and destabilising the molecules. It could end up destroying the base, hell, even the system and subspace would probably be destroyed in this region of the quadrant.”
“Then help me avoid a conflict we don’t need today.” James said, looking deeply at her. He knew by making that blatant strategy of just a full on assault would rile her up. Obviously he knew better not to launch an attack as any type of weapon had the potential to destabilise Omega. “You said you realised your people can’t harness this power and that it was too dangerous. You offered to come with me to remove this threat, so tell me what my other option is or I will have no choice but to go at it alone without your input. Help me to help your people.”
Shaking her head again at how good he was at manipulating her, she sighed as she rubbed her left chin gill. “Fine.” Donlar eventually said, giving in to the moral battle she was obviously undertaking in her mind. “The base’s shield grid fluctuates at a rate of point zero six terahertz, we normally align our transporters to match so we can beam down or transport anything up.”
“Well that’s one way in.” remarked James. He looked over to the ETH. “What do your tactical databases suggest with that information?”
The Ferengi hologram inputted the information into her matrices and quickly analysed all options. She then looked at the captain, “To ensure a stable transport of the molecules we will need to drop our cloak and shields. We still need to disable their cloak.”
“A single anti-proton beam should suffice.” The ECH then said from the ops station as she turned around in the chair. “If we start the beam on a low power setting and gradually ramp it up then it should force their cloak to fail. We wouldn’t affect the molecules either.”
The ETH nodded in agreement. “I concur.”
“And we don’t need to use transport enhancers? James checked, knowing that his training had always advised the use of them when beaming the molecule from one place to another.
“We should get closer to the target and if we could tie in the transporter targeting scanners into the main lateral sensor array then I think we will get a sufficient stable lock.” suggested the ECH. “We would need to be at least fifty kilometers from the base.”
Realising the idea seemed sound, there was still one more variable that James needed to know. He looked at Donlar, “Is the base armed?”
She shook her head. “No, it has a couple of small auxiliary ships. If the Annari had ever found it, the base’s commander has standing orders to initiate the self-destruct. There’s no point in us letting them have the chance to take the base and all of its research.”
“Let’s hope the base commander doesn’t have that idea when they see us above them.” James said, sort of glad they wouldn’t be shot at. He kind of wished he had brought the Odyssey’s Hazard Team to beam in first, secure the area and set up transporter enhancers. However he knew there was no way he could do that as a one man mission. Turning back to the holograms, he asked them how long it would take to make the modifications to proceed with their plan. When they said only a few minutes, he was relieved again. The sooner they finished here and got on with the mission, the better he would feel. “I’m heading down to the shuttlebay to see how the chamber is getting on.” He looked at Donlar. “Care to join me?”
Shrugging her shoulders, the Kraylor appeared to say she had no choice so would just comply.
As soon as they entered the corridor and started to make their way towards the turbolift, Donlar turned to him. “Captain, your people have advanced medical technology, correct?”
Nodding somewhat, he replied to her. “It’s pretty advanced.” James looked down at her, “Why?”
“I’ve been considering something and it will come as a personal favour.” Donlar replied. “Do you have the ability to wipe someone’s memory?” She asked as they stepped into the turbolift.
“I believe so.” He said and then told the computer to take them down to the shuttlebay. “Again, why?”
She looked at him as the cart moved down. “I want you to wipe my memory. I cannot deal knowing my involvement in all of this.”
“Taking the plausible deniability route then?” James asked.
“Something like that.” Donlar grunted. “I don’t think I can live knowing what I know. I feel if you can do that and get me back to your ships before my people suspect something then I may be in the clear.”
Any other time, James believed he would have spoken at more length over it with her. By her knowing about Omega it meant that she could go back and change her people’s mind regarding its use while on the other hand, he understood where she was now coming from. Not knowing everything would protect her more. He wished he could ask for a memory wipe so he could be in the clear. Instead of debating the concept with her, he just agreed to it and suggested they visit the EMH after checking in on the chamber.
Realisation then smacked him in the face. He truly was doing all of this alone.
Approximately twenty minutes later and returning to the bridge alone after inspecting the harmonic resonance chamber and leaving Donlar in sickbay with the EMH, James took his seat back in the middle of the room. “Where are we at with our plan?”
“Already sir.” The ECH announced. “You just need to give the word.”
Taking one more glance at the main screen, James fiddled with his wedding ring. For the first time nerves were now getting the better of him. Trying to push them to the back of his mind, he knew that once he took this action that he had probably broken half a dozen or more Starfleet regulations and protocols. Alongside that he would have attacked a sovereign state, an act that could cause more problems with the Kraylor later on for the Federation. Nevertheless the Omega Directive rescinded everything. “Show me the long range scans of this sector one more time.”
Appearing somewhat confused by the captain’s request, the ECH complied and changed the main screen to show the map of the sector. On it a number of local spatial bodies were highlighted, including star names.
James stared at it for a moment and then asked them to check to ensure there were no other ships nearby. He couldn’t see the two Kraylor ships and the Annari vessel they had slipped by earlier.
“No ships within range.” announced the ETH. The Ferengi hologram looked over her left shoulder. “It would appear the Kraylor ships have left the sector and the Annari were fed up of searching for them. Their last heading indicated they were returning to their empire at high speeds.”
“And what about Odyssey?” James wondered aloud.
Shaking her head after taking a double check, the ECT confirmed they were not to be seen.
“Captain, we did come up with another strategy we would like to share with you.” The ECH offered.
Looking at her, James appreciated the brief distraction. “Go on.”
“A computer virus.” announced the Emergency Engineering Hologram. The Vulcan male projection, who had helped him earlier in engineering, turned around to clarify their idea with James. “Starfleet has designed a number of them to search out any data connected to omega and destroy it. We have modified one of the viruses based on what we know about Kraylor computer interfaces.”
“And it won’t affect any system? I don’t want them losing any other research or it cripples any system, like life support.” James questioned. He understood why it was a good strategy and came under the directive’s instructions to remove all existence of Omega. They may destroy molecules today but that didn’t stop the Kraylors from trying again tomorrow.
Shaking his head to alleviate the captain’s concerns, the Vulcan confirmed that it wouldn’t affect anything else. “The Kraylor will still be able to operate their base.”
“And once their cloak is down we can also scan for any boronite ore. If we see it then we can beam it aboard or use transporter code fourteen to destroy it.” added the ECH. “Can we proceed sir?”
Realising that the holograms were eager to get underway with their work, James knew his time was up. He had to make the decision now or never. Taking another deep breath, he rubbed his face as he leant backwards and then sat up straight. “Make it happen.” He ordered.
The holograms instantly returned to their stations and the plan was executed in a quick and efficient manner. First the ship disengaged its Kraylor cloak, it then entered the atmosphere of the moon, after ignoring hails from the Kraylor base the antiproton beam was activated. As its power was increased it forced the base’s cloak to fail. Immediately scans were undertaken and omega was beamed on board, followed by the boronite ore. The computer virus was uploaded and once confirmation was through that it had removed all data of omega from their computer banks the mission was complete.
“Move us out of here and head to some open space. Far from here so if the process goes wrong we’ve got enough space to jettison the chamber, fire the torpedoes at it and jump to high warp..” James ordered.
“Aye sir, there’s plenty of free space between here and a class nine nebula. At warp seven we can be there in less than twenty minutes.” suggested the holographic Trill pilot.
“Take us there.” James ordered in a solemn tone. What they had just done to the Kraylor was now starting to eat away at his thoughts, he was trying hard to ignore it all and focus on the mission at hand. They were not out of the woods yet. “I’ll go down to the chamber and supervise the process. Keep an eye out for any ships. I’m sure the Kraylor base may attempt to call for help.”
Rising from his chair, James just wondered if they would get out of this unscathed.