Roosevelt Station, Commander’s Office
“Yes, Hurk, I know there’s profit in the Valoris, but that doesn’t change that fact that it’s Lagashi space,” Commander Eden Seraphina Starling-Enigma said to the Ferengi on the wall-mounted screen. “So if Lagashi patrols found you carrying contraband, which Ketracel White definitely is, you’ll have to surrender your cargo under local law. I’m sorry, but Starfleet isn’t going to interfere in the trade laws of a Federation member world.”
“Ice 7 is legal in Ferengi and Kzinti space! If the only trade route that didn’t pass through the First Federation or the Breen wasn’t Lagashi…”
“Then you could trade in highly-addictive narcotics at your leisure. But, Hurk, I’m afraid we don’t live in that galaxy. Surrender your cargo to the Lagashi patrol and go home, Hurk. There’s no help coming.”
Hurk glared, gritting his sharpened teeth. “Starfleet Command will hear…”
Then he was gone, and on the screen was a single character. Shining, green, and making no attempt to explain itself.
Earth, Starfleet Command
Eden walked alongside the great bulk of Admiral Pinna, arms folded behind her back. The Rish admiral’s arms, of course, did not fold – while Rish fingers were shockingly agile, their arms were still quite short compared to the bulk of their theropod bodies.
The green space had been cleared for them to talk, with no one listening in. It was an eerie sight in the usually-crowded space – moreso, perhaps, for Eden, so used to a visit to Command immersing her in the emotions of others so deeply it was sometimes a struggle to find her own.
“Omega,” Eden said softly. “I have to admit, Admiral, that after the childhood I had, I wasn’t sure Starfleet had anything left to surprise me.”
The Rish let out the throaty, multitonal growl that Eden had long ago learned was Rish laughter. “Always some new secret to hunt, little one, and each with a new way to learn to track. Thankfully, this is one we have become quite skilled at sniffing out.”
“Lucky, that,” Eden murmured. “One molecule would end a culture.”
“You’ll have training in containing Omega before you leave for Roosevelt,” Pinna said. “They will tell you that, when it is found, eliminating it becomes your very first priority, and keeping knowledge of it from anyone without clearance a very close second. Some new captains do not understand this, and we only have to hope that they will never encounter it. When Omega is detected, those are your only priorities. Neither peace nor prosperity nor the Prime Directive is a consideration in the face of Omega.” The Rish’s amber eyes sparked with a strange pleasure. For some reason, every Rish Eden had ever met had taken joy in finding alliterative phrases in humanoid languages.
“I’m scheduled for the first training later today,” Eden said.
“Go rest, then, little one. Learn well.”
Roosevelt Station, Commander’s Office
“Computer, clear Omega warning from my screen. Authorization Enigma Tango Seven Alpha Alpha. Same auhthorization, clear it from all monitors on the station and resume normal operations, filtering away any hints of Omega from any eyes but mine.”
The screen on her wall and the PADD in her hand both returned to normal, though Hurk was gone. Just as well – Eden no longer had time for him.
The Omega was on Garen Minos, the twin to Roosevelt on the other side of the Breen border, and under the surface in a set of catacombs. Eden could infiltrate that easily enough, but a distraction would be helpful. She searched the records of shipments to the asteroid.
After a few moments, she found what she needed. Shipment of archaeological artifacts from Therbia, carried by a Tzenkethi independent trader to Garen Minos.
She looked up. “Enigma to Tek. Rally the Hazard Team to the main shuttlebay. Mission in ten minutes, brief in flight.”
The gruff voice of the Hazard Team’s training officer came through the room’s speakers. “Anyone besides core Team coming? You know we don’t like babysitting.”
“You’re going with the team, Crunkin,” Eden said, using the Tellarite’s first name. “And I’m in as well. Captain’s prerogative.”
She could almost hear Tek’s frustration in the pause before his answer. The Hazard Team existed so that the station’s commander and her senior staff wouldn’t need to go on dangerous missions. She would by her very presence undermine his authority. And he respected her too much not to argue this point with her.
But the tone in her voice apparently got through to him that her mind wasn’t changing and she didn’t have time for cultural rituals. “Aye, Commander, though we’ll talk about this later.”
“I’ll look forward to it.” Assuming there is a later. “I’ll meet you in the shuttlebay.”