Star Trek Hunter Part 1: Episodes 1 - 4 by Robert Bruce Scott
Summary:

y1 cover

PART ONE of NINE (Episodes 1 - 4 of 28)

A doctoral dissertation by an obscure professor of Philosophy at Harvard University exposes a flaw at the heart of the Federation - and rocks the mighty UFP to its core.

These are the stories of the U.S.S. Hunter - a Star Fleet patrol vessel - and its small crew of brilliant misfits who are charged with cleaning up this awful mess…

Episode 1: Flash Forward - A view into the future of Star Trek Hunter (This Episode is a twin of a scene in Episode 20: Surrender.)

Episode 2: The Colony of New Hope - The crew of the U.S.S. Hunter are tasked with the trial of a planetary Governor...

Episode 3: Breakfast Serial - A serial killer strikes and the U.S.S. Hunter's crew are tasked to investigate...

Episode 4: Run to Earth - The U.S.S. Hunter is ambushed on its return to Earth...


Categories: Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, Voyager, Expanded Universes Characters: Crusher, Wesley, La Forge, Geordi
Genre: Action/Adventure
Warnings: Adult Language, Adult Situations, Character Death, Violence
Challenges: None
Series: Star Trek Hunter
Chapters: 47 Completed: Yes Word count: 40666 Read: 21121 Published: 20 Jun 2019 Updated: 19 Jul 2021
Story Notes:

This story takes place in the Star Trek universe after the return of the USS Voyager and the destruction of Romulus. It is not alternate timeline. The characters are original, although series characters (Julian Bashir, Wesley Crusher, Will Riker) will make cameo appearances.

1. Episode 1 - Flash Forward (Original Pilot Episode) by Robert Bruce Scott

2. Episode 2.1 - The Black Uniform by Robert Bruce Scott

3. Episode 2: The Colony of New Hope by Robert Bruce Scott

4. Episode 2.2 - Charter Worlds by Robert Bruce Scott

5. Episode 2.3 - Pursuit by Robert Bruce Scott

6. Episode 2.4 - The Courthouse by Robert Bruce Scott

7. Episode 2.5 - Pinned Down by Robert Bruce Scott

8. Episode 2.6 - Kenneth Dolphin Commanding by Robert Bruce Scott

9. Episode 2.7 - Pepper Revival by Robert Bruce Scott

10. Episode 2.8: The Dampening Generator by Robert Bruce Scott

11. Episode 2.9 - Fly By by Robert Bruce Scott

12. Episode 2.10 - Rescue by Robert Bruce Scott

13. Episode 2.11 - Indicted by Robert Bruce Scott

14. Episode 2.12 - The Wounded by Robert Bruce Scott

15. Episode 2.13 - First Command by Robert Bruce Scott

16. Episode 2.14 - The Director of Ground Operations by Robert Bruce Scott

17. Episode 2.15 - Grounded by Robert Bruce Scott

18. Episode 2.16 - Ivonovic Trapped by Robert Bruce Scott

19. Episode 3.1 - Breakfast on the U.S.S. Challenger by Robert Bruce Scott

20. Episode 3.2 - Landing Plans by Robert Bruce Scott

21. Episode 3.3 - Captain Summers by Robert Bruce Scott

22. Episode 3: Breakfast Serial by Robert Bruce Scott

23. Episode 3.4 - Landing Assignments by Robert Bruce Scott

24. Episode 3.5: Surfing by Robert Bruce Scott

25. Episode 3.6 - Evening on Ocean by Robert Bruce Scott

26. Episode 3.7 - A Private Dinner by Robert Bruce Scott

27. Episode 3.8 - Ivonovic's Defense by Robert Bruce Scott

28. Episode 3.9 - Sarekson Carrera Commanding by Robert Bruce Scott

29. Episode 3.10 - Surf Lesson by Robert Bruce Scott

30. Episode 3.11 - Assassins by Robert Bruce Scott

31. Episode 3.12 - Life is a Beach... (Part 1 of 2) by Robert Bruce Scott

32. Episode 3.13 - Life is a Beach... (Part 2 of 2) by Robert Bruce Scott

33. Episode 4.1 - The Crusher/Crumar/Carrera Effect by Robert Bruce Scott

34. Episode 4 - Run To Earth by Robert Bruce Scott

35. Episode 4.2 - Dolphin and T'Lon by Robert Bruce Scott

36. Episode 4.3 - Ground Operations Lounge by Robert Bruce Scott

37. Episode 4.4 - The Touch by Robert Bruce Scott

38. Episode 4.5 - A Matter of Mass by Robert Bruce Scott

39. Episode 4.6 - Blowout by Robert Bruce Scott

40. Episode 4.7 - Triage by Robert Bruce Scott

41. Episode 4.8 - The Carrera Effect by Robert Bruce Scott

42. Episode 4.9 - Casualties by Robert Bruce Scott

43. Episode 4.10 - Awakening by Robert Bruce Scott

44. Episode 4.11 - Announcement by Robert Bruce Scott

45. Episode 4.12 - Dark Mode by Robert Bruce Scott

46. Episode 4.13 - Assessment by Robert Bruce Scott

47. Episode 4.14 - Pon Farr by Robert Bruce Scott

Episode 1 - Flash Forward (Original Pilot Episode) by Robert Bruce Scott
Author's Notes:

Flash Forward is a segment from Year 3 of the Star Trek Hunter Series. It is the same as Episode 20.7 - Survival: The Ghost - but told from Justice Irons' POV instead of Kenny Dolphin's POV.

Star Trek Hunter
Episode 1: Flash Forward



“Utopia is not possible without the rule of law. There can be no paradise without lawyers.” 


Dr. Kenny Dolphin, Fundamentals of Federation Ethics




Flash Forward
- a glimpse of Year 3 of Star Trek Hunter -
*note - this scene is an excerpt from Episode 20: Survival


Justice Minerva Irons gasped slightly as she got to her feet. And let out a sigh as she lifted the robe of her civilian office from its stand and draped it over her shoulders, shrugging slightly so the twin emblems of the United Federation of Planets, embroidered in brilliant color on the two front panels of the black silk robe, fell evenly above her breast. Like the robe, her clothing, while not a uniform, was black silk - suit and blouse. She winced as she straightened her neck. She could suppress these betrayals of pain in front of her crew, but it was taking more and more effort. The justice had disguised the signs and suppressed the pains of aging for an exceptionally long time. 


Over the past year her hair had finally gone from mostly black to predominantly gray and no longer straight - it was always a little unruly these days. It spilled long down her right side and was shaved off on the left side almost to the top of her head, revealing the leopard-like spots from her trill ancestry - once so subtle they could barely be seen but now darkening green. She was primarily human and this dominated her appearance, although a slight tipping at her ears and eyebrows suggested a recent vulcan ancestor. Even in old age she was a stunningly beautiful woman - tall, slender, elegant, aristocratic - the matriarch of a large Chinese family that traced their roots back to 18th Century Hong Kong. The lines on her face were the lines of a woman accustomed to power.



Irons walked unsteadily toward the door of her office, stumbling momentarily and steadying herself against a chair as the near explosion of a torpedo briefly overwhelmed the Hunter’s inertial dampeners. 


She stepped out onto the cramped bridge at the exact moment her first officer uttered the words that would summon her there - “Staff Tactical.”


Her first officer was planning a desperate gambit. Irons was not fully telepathic like her betazoid great grandfather, but when she focused on someone she knew well, she could sense strong emotions. She had derived her first officer’s strategy from his order to transfer additional atmosphere to the tactical unit. He had only served with her for three years, but he had quickly earned her trust and she had promoted him twice.



“Commander Dolphin,” she said, her voice ringing over the din of the mismatched firefight. Her first officer, tall, lean, blonde, middle aged, turned briefly as his handpicked operations officer, a tiny and extremely pale young ferengi, disappeared into the hatch that led up to the tactical unit. Like most of the ship’s complement, Commander Kenneth Dolphin was wearing the black Star Fleet JAG uniform - thin red piping at the neck and sleeve-lines the only reference to the operational color code for Star Fleet uniforms. The bridge shook again from a near explosion outside.


“Yes, your honor?” 


“I want her back. Alive if possible, but I want her back.”


“Aye Captain,” Commander Dolphin responded, then turned and followed the young lieutenant commander through the hatch, closing it behind him.



Justice Irons eased herself into the captain’s chair, which she usually preferred to leave to her first officer. She strapped herself in and started issuing commands - something she rarely did. There were at least two new crew members on board who had never heard her give an order. Boats this size rarely had captains. They were usually skippered by a commander or even a lieutenant commander. The crew complement for the U.S.S. Hunter, Star Fleet’s newest patrol class vessel, totaled 35 (most of them, like their captain, hybrids) supplemented with three holographic warrant officers. All of them tended to refer to Captain Irons based on her civilian office as an at-large circuit court justice for the Federation Tribunal. She was the only appellate justice concurrently serving in Star Fleet.


“Shipwide…” Irons hesitated only a second for her voice to be transmitted to all the crew, “Brace for QuickQuiet. Midshipman Brazil..”


“Yes your honor?” came the reply over the communications system from the Midshipman’s duty station, a transporter room one deck below.


“We’re about to spill our guts. Wait for my order, but I’m going to want every molecule of gas back where it belongs. Drive plasma first, then atmosphere.”


“Aye Captain?” 


Irons did not have time to explain this order - the midshipman would figure it out soon enough. She turned to address an elderly looking man - dressed in civilian clothing topped with a white lab coat. He appeared as an older human male, with a gray beard and a bit of a gut, but in actuality he was only about 15 years old. “Hunter, when the tactical unit launches, simulate a hull breach - atmosphere, plasma. Make it a good show.” 


“Aye Captain,” the boat’s holographic avatar responded.


“Lieutenant Tolon - give them a photon torpedo.”


During this entire fire fight Tolon Reeves had been intercepting romulan torpedoes with the boat’s phaser cannons while the romulan disruptors had been steadily degrading the Hunter’s shield emitters.


The lieutenant responded silently to the order, his bajoran family earring jingled lightly as he turned to the torpedo targeting screen, aiming for the war bird’s primary shield emitter. The torpedo barely left the tube before it was destroyed by romulan intercepting fire, creating a brilliant flash between the warring vessels.


“Launch Tactical. Simulate Breach. QuickQuiet!” The captain followed the last order with a grunt of pain as she was thrown hard against her restraints - along with the rest of her crew - with the exception of the holographic old man standing to her right. A projection from the bridge emitters, he was as much a part of the boat as those emitters. The boat was rocked by expulsion of a significant part of its atmosphere and plasma into space at the same time as inertial dampeners were reduced to minimal power.



The lights on the bridge flickered, went out, flickered briefly and went out again, along with all the control panels as power cut out across all the boat’s systems. Hunter’s pudgy, elderly looking holographic avatar vanished. It took a moment for the crew’s eyes to adjust to the dim blue glow emanating from luminescent panels, providing minimal emergency lighting. 



The close-up view of the romulan warbird on the main viewer was replaced by that ship’s actual image through what was now only a large window. It was a much smaller image - watching battle from the bridge of a space vessel gave the illusion of close combat, but the big ships rarely got close - their captains preferred to rely on more powerful long range weapons to minimize the chances of being out maneuvered at close range by a weaker, but more nimble vessel. 


As Commander Dolphin had surmised, the romulans were in a big hurry. With their foe apparently destroyed, they wasted no time turning and pursuing their initial goal at high warp, not even bothering to cloak so they could coax more speed from the captive singularity that served as the warbird’s warp core.


Justice Irons waited, sensing her first officer’s roiling emotions even though separated by a growing chasm of space as the tactical unit drifted away from the platform (as the larger portion of the now divided patrol boat was designated). Commander Dolphin waited only a few heartbeats to make sure the romulans had actually left before activating the tactical unit and tearing off after them at high warp - probably setting a new speed record in the process. 



“Secure from QuickQuiet. Midshipman Brazil - your team may begin gas retrieval now.” Irons grimaced in pain and touched her side gingerly as the lights and other ship’s systems came back on. She rose carefully from the captain’s chair. The restraints might have only bruised her ribs, but she wasn’t certain. “Lieutenant Gamor, you have the con. I will be in Medical.” 


Lt. Gaia Gamor, unlike her captain, was big, young, energetic, muscular and entirely human - she and Commander Dolphin were the only two undiluted humans currently assigned to the Hunter. The piping on her black SF JAG uniform was yellow for operations - in her case, flight operations. Her skin was nearly as black as her uniform and there was a roundness to her face that gave her a gentle look despite her athletic build. She stood up quickly from the pilot console and watched her captain with some concern while calling for another pilot to man her station at the helm. “Chief Flight Specialist Guth to the bridge. You’re driving…”


As Justice Irons left the bridge, she could hear Gamor complimenting 2nd Lt. Tolon: “Nice shooting, Reeves.”  


Flash Forward

Episode 2.1 - The Black Uniform by Robert Bruce Scott
Author's Notes:

A newly added opening scene.

Star Trek Hunter
Episode 2: The Colony of New Hope

Scene 1: The Black Uniform


2.1

The Black Uniform


At age 54, Geordie LaForge had put on middle-age weight. He still easily met Star Fleet fitness requirements and the added weight had improved his effectiveness in a fight - his punches actually meant something these days. But while he did not miss the visor he had once needed - it had been replaced with prosthetic eyes - he did miss the rakish figure he had sported years ago when he had become the youngest chief engineer in the fleet - and on the U.S.S. Enterprise - the Federation’s storied flagship.


Very few people were left on the Enterprise from those days. There were still a few in engineering, including his brilliant, if neurotic chief engineer, Reginald Barclay, whom Geordi had resorted to bribing with a promotion to tear him away from the Daystrom Institute. Barclay had also put on some middle-age weight.


Geordi regarded the man on the other side of his desk with a mixture of suspicion, compassion and envy - this last because 2nd Lt. Kenneth Dolphin, at age 51, was extremely lean. Men that age had no right to be that trim. He didn’t look his age either. The only giveaways were some wrinkling around his eyes and his blonde hair was graying a bit at the temples.



“Take a seat, Mr. Dolphin.” Geordi sighed and looked at his desk. He looked up again at his infamous charge. “I’ll be blunt with you, Lieutenant, it’s been no picnic having you aboard. I mean, you’ve done a fine job and I’ve never met a better pilot - not even Will - but your reputation from your professorship at Harvard seems to catch up with you wherever you go. I won’t pretend to know whether you deserve it. I started reading your dissertation, but honestly, I’d rather read engineering manuals than philosophy. The problem is that Rear Admiral Riker does not like you. He made it clear that as long as you are in Space Command, you will never make first lieutenant.”


2nd Lt. Dolphin did not respond. LaForge looked at him for a moment - the man seemed to be sitting at attention. “I just can’t agree with Will on this one, though. Your performance has been exemplary and you’ve earned your reputation as the best pilot in the fleet. I think I have a way around this - if you are interested.” LaForge watched Dolphin - he could see the man thinking.



After a few heartbeats, Dolphin took a deep breath. “What do you have in mind, sir?” The man had a cultured, New England accent.


“Well, Will Riker has enough juice within Space Command to block your promotion, but it appears Captain Minerva Irons has taken an interest in you. She is offering you the position of Director of Flight Operations on the U.S.S. Hunter, which comes with a promotion to first lieutenant. Captain Irons is not in Space Command - she’s with the Office of Judge Advocate General. You would have to trade your red uniform for the black uniform worn by JAG officers.”


“I sense there is a “but” coming?” Dolphin asked. 


Geordie made an amused noise. “You sense correctly.” His face took on a more serious expression. “Minerva Irons isn’t your ordinary Star Fleet captain. She’s part vulcan. She’s been a captain on and off for nearly 80 years. Irons keeps retiring and then something terrible happens, Star Fleet loses a lot of ships and is desparate for experienced captains and she comes back out of retirement. But this time she’s not just a captain. She’s an appellate court justice for the Federation Tribunal - the justice at large…”


Dolphin regarded LaForge carefully. “That’s not the “but” part, is it?”


Geordie smiled. “You caught me out again, Lieutenant. Okay - you did not hear this part from me, but it’s only fair that you should know before you chose to jump ship - so to speak… Minerva Irons has a reputation. Brilliant. Ruthless. Brutal.”


“But the “but” part,” Geordie continued, “is that, as good as she is and as much as she gets accomplished for the Federation, death and destruction follow her around like pet dogs. They send her to do the dirty work that no one else wants to do. She always walks away clean. Nothing sticks to her. But sometimes her crew is not so fortunate. I know your Ph.D. is in ethics. Maybe that’s why she wants you. She’s famous for finding the gray areas when everyone else sees things in black and white.”



2nd Lt. Dolphin rolled his head back and looked at the ceiling. LaForge watched the junior officer’s expression and allowed the silence to grow. After nearly two minutes, Dolphin returned his gaze.


“When do you need an answer, sir?”


“Two hours, Lieutenant. That should be enough time for you to do a little research. But I need to give Captain Irons an answer. She wants you on the Hunter first thing tomorrow morning.”


“Thank you, sir,” Dolphin replied, standing up.


“Dismissed, Lieutenant.”


Dolphin came to attention, then turned to leave.



“Oh, and Kenneth…” 


Dolphin paused and turned back.


“Justice Irons likes to be addressed according to her civilian title: “Your honor” is the appropriate way to address her. She is a judge. But when she gives you an order, then you respond with her rank. And she likes eye contact.”


Dolphin paused for just a moment to digest this information - it told him a fair amount about Irons’ character. Quite possibly more than a few hours of research might reveal. “Understood and appreciated. Thank you sir.”


“Two hours, Lieutenant.”


“Aye, Captain.”


2.1

End Notes:

Character: Captain Geordie LaForge (Geordie)
Human Ethnicity: Somali
Additional Species: N/A
Hometown/Homeworld: Mogadishu, Somalia, Earth
Introduced: Episode 2.1
Age when introduced: 54
Role: Captain, U.S.S. Enterprise

Character: 2nd Lieutenant Kenneth Dolphin (Kenny)
Human Ethnicity: German American
Additional Species: N/A
Hometown/Homeworld: Providence, Rhode Island, Earth
Introduced: Episode 2.1
Age when introduced: 51
Role: Flight Operations Shift Leader, U.S.S. Enterprise

Episode 2: The Colony of New Hope by Robert Bruce Scott
Author's Notes:

Introduction by Dr. Kenny Dolphin

Star Trek Hunter
Episode 2: The Colony of New Hope

2
The Colony of New Hope

"Because that mission was a disgrace and Minerva Irons doesn't make those kinds of juvenile mistakes... I don't think the Hunter's command staff were supposed to make it out of there alive." 

Dr. Kenny Dolphin, Interview on Subspace Radio Ivonovic.




Crew of the U.S.S. Hunter:   (Ship's Interactive Holographic Avatar - Hunter)

At-Large Appellate Justice, Captain Minerva Irons
Chief Executive Officer - Commander David Pepper
Chief Operations Officer - Lt. Commander Mlady


Medical Director - Lt. Commander Tali Shae

     Asst. Medical Director - 2nd Lt. Jazz Sam Sinder

          Ensign Chrissiana Trei

                 Forensic Specialist - Midshipman Tolon Reeves

                 Forensic Specialist - Midshipman Sif

                 Emergency Medical Hologram - Dr. Raj

                 Tactical Medical Hologram - Dr. Kim


Director of Flight Operations - Lt. Kenneth Dolphin

    Asst. Flight Dir. - 2nd Lt. Gaia Gamor

               Navigator Johanna Imex

               Navigator Eli Strahl

           Ensign Ethan Phillips

                Chief Flight Specialist Dewayne Guth

                Flight Specialist Dih Terri

                Flight Specialist Joey Chin

                Flight Specialist Winnifreid Salazaar


Director of Ground Operations - Lt. T'Lok Smith

     Asst. Ground Ops Dir. - 2nd Lt. Tauk 

               Investigator Lynhart Shran

               Investigator Buttans Ngumbo

         Ensign T'Lon 

              Tactical Specialist Jarrong

              Tactical Specialist Belo Rys

              Tactical Specialist Belo Garr

              Tactical Specialist Belo Cantys


Director of Engineering - Lt. Sarekson Carrera

     Asst. Engineering Dir. - 2nd Lt. Moon Sun Salek

            Midshipman Tammy Brazil

               Transporter Engineer K'rok

          Ensign Sun Ho Hui

              Flight Engineer Yolanda Thomas

              Flight Engineer Thomas Hobbs

              Flight Engineer Tomos

              Flight Engineer Kerry Gibbon

Episode 2.2 - Charter Worlds by Robert Bruce Scott
Author's Notes:

The U.S.S. Hunter arrives at the Colony of New Hope with orders

Star Trek Hunter
Episode 2: The Colony of New Hope
Scene 2: Charter Worlds

2.2 - Charter Worlds

Justice Minerva Irons got up from her desk, stretched her neck and reached for her judge's robe. She set it upon her shoulders, adjusting it so the twin emblems of the United Federation of Planets were evenly displayed on either side above her breast. Her right hand brushed lightly over the long, straight dark hair that cascaded down from the top of her head along her right side, smoothing it and freeing some that had gotten under the black silk robe. Her robe fell much closer to the floor than the hem of her black silk dress. Her long, slender legs were clad in opaque black silk stocking with a subtle pattern.

An elderly Chinese woman, Irons had taken care of herself and did not look her age - her age-defying longevity was a gift from her vulcan grandmother. She could be forgiven some vanity about her looks. Beauty was a powerful tool of statecraft and she had used hers to her advantage - and the Federation's - for well over a century.

She strode toward the door of her office then out onto the bridge of the Hunter at the very moment her first officer uttered the words that would summon her there - "Captain to the Bridge!"

Her gigantic first officer rose from the captain's chair - the only person she had ever seen make such a chair appear entirely inadequate - as though an adult had barely squeezed into the chair of a toddler.


Commander David Pepper was over seven feet tall and well over 400 pounds - all muscle. His dark brown skin had a slight greenish hue inherited from an orion grandmother. Two small greenish antenna mounts at his hairline were the only visible inheritance from his andorian grandfather. The gigantic size and strength came not only from his orion parentage, but also from his human heritage, which included a number of star athletes.

The giant first officer waved an enormous hand toward a rather drab looking planet displayed on the viewer. "Welcome to the Colony of New Hope, Min, one of the nineteen founding worlds in the original Federation Charter, the fourth planetary colony established by Earth. Population about 5.5 billion, almost exclusively human. Agricultural products: quatrotriticale, kalecorn and onions. Natural resources: bauxite, cadmium and political extremism. Primary industries: aluminum manufacture, illegal pharmaceutical research and organized crime."

Irons would never have allowed this kind of informality in any of her previous commands, but the crew of the Hunter was different - hand-picked by her and held to standards higher than any other crew in Star Fleet. This was partly due Hunter's unique mission. Patrol class vessels were primarily used to prevent piracy and enforce law within the Federation. But the Hunter, in addition to that, also served as a traveling appellate court at-large for the Federation Tribunal.

Every officer had to double as a legal assistant, so every officer from ensign up was required to be a licensed attorney. On top of that, to maintain a pool of potential expert witnesses on board, Justice Irons required every officer to attain a doctorate or equivalent advanced degree before being promoted to 2nd lieutenant or higher. Like herself, there were a few crew members who had more than one such degree. Commander Pepper's doctorate was in literature with a specialty in Klingon poetry.


"What are we walking into, David?" Irons asked.

"Almost certainly a trap," Pep (as everyone but the captain called him) replied. "And they have only authorized you, me and Mlady to go. We will be positioned deep inside the Virtue prison complex. Extraction will be a challenge."

"Extraction. Of a planetary governor." Justice Irons tilted her head slightly and expelled a breath with an audible puff.

"As ordered," Pep observed. He didn't comment on how inappropriate that order was. That went without saying.

"I'm fairly certain the three of us will be the ones who will need extraction, your Honor," came a smooth, low alto voice from the tactical station behind Pep. If Pep was Star Fleet's largest first officer, Lieutenant Commander Mlady was easily the smallest second officer. Less than 5 feet tall and less than 100 pounds, Mlady was dark skinned with bushels of dark hair that cascaded from the top of her head to below her knees. She lounged with cat-like grace against the tactical console behind the captains chair. Like Pep, her black SF JAG uniform had red piping, denoting command. Mlady looked like a small and very pretty woman of Indian or perhaps Sri Lankan descent. Only her slightly large, protruding jaw and oddly shaped, black fingernails made it evident she wasn't entirely human. In fact, she wasn't human at all.


Lt. Cmdr. Mlady continued. "I authorized Lieutenant Smith to take her department down to provide technical assistance for the local authorities. The Iconoclasts are demonstrating just north of the prison complex. 2nd Lieutenant Tauk is coordinating from the ground operations center up here."

"That demonstration is no coincidence, and I'm willing to bet those aren't just Iconoclasts down there," Irons said.

"Naturalborn?" Pep asked.

Irons nodded. "Star Fleet Intelligence believes the governor is laying the groundwork for a declaration of martial law."

Pep finished her thought: "And that would require Star Fleet to support the declaration - starting with the planetary unit down at Prudence Base on the southern edge of the continent. We aren't certain he hasn't already made inroads with that unit."

Irons grimaced slightly, then called for her director of engineering - "Lieutenant Carrera.." The Hunter's intercom system adjusted to carry her voice down to the Engineering deck.

Dr. Sarekson Carrera, a small, young man with ruddy, dark skin, a bowl haircut and a small bald spot crowning his otherwise thick, black hair, continued some fine adjustment to one of the boat’s systems as he answered, not bothering to look up, “Your Honor?”

"Our new Director of Flight Operations has been delayed. The Enterprise should stop briefly in this system within the next hour to deliver him. Report to the bridge and take the con. When Lieutenant Dolphin arrives, inform him that he is ordered to relieve you and take command."

Carrera quickly completed his task and turned toward the lifts. "Aye Captain."

2.2

End Notes:

Character:                      At Large Apellate Justice, Captain Minerva Irons (Minerva)
Human Ethnicity:            Chinese
Additional Species:          Vulcan, Trill, Betazoid
Hometown/Homeworld:   Ba Sing Se, Cun Ling
Introduced: Episode        2.2
Age when introduced:     158
Role:  Captain of the U.S.S. Hunter, Matriarch of the Irons Family, At Large Appellate Justice

Character:                       Commander David Pepper (Pep)
Human Ethnicity:             African American
Additional Species:           Orion, Andorian
Hometown/Homeworld:    Laikan, Andoria
Introduced: Episode         2.2
Age when introduced:       45
Role:                              Chief Executive Officer, U.S.S. Hunter

Character:                       Lieutenant Commander Mlady
Human Ethnicity:              N/A
Additional Species:           N/A
Hometown/Homeworld:    Undisclosed
Introduced: Episode         2.2
Age when introduced:      Unknown
Role:                              Chief Operations Officer, U.S.S. Hunter

Character:                      Lieutenant Sarekson Carrera (Dr. Carrera)
Human Ethnicity:             Chilean
Additional Species:           Vulcan
Hometown/Homeworld:    Pichilemu, Chile, Earth
Introduced: Episode         2.1
Age when introduced:       23
Role:                               Director of Engineering, U.S.S. Hunter

Episode 2.3 - Pursuit by Robert Bruce Scott
Author's Notes:

The U.S.S. Hunter's crew includes two civilian detectives - contracted to Star Fleet - and they have a suspect to pursue...

Star Trek Hunter
Episode 2: The Colony of New Hope
Scene 3: Pursuit

2.3
Pursuit

Investigator Buttans Ngumbo was no longer certain whether he was pursuing a suspect or being pursued - probably both. His elderly partner, Investigator Shran had spotted cardassian disruptor rifles among the protesting Iconoclasts - lots of them. All it took was one rock thrown by an instigator from behind the police line and the entire street went up. Buttans had taken off after the rock thrower - hoping to find out who was so invested in inciting the violence. The rock thrower was fast. Buttans was faster, but he had to keep stopping to re-acquire his target - the instigator was evidently a local who knew the area well.


The neighborhoods around the prison had a bombed-out look not unlike some of the unrecovered parts of Buttans' native Bajor. But that had been the legacy of the Cardassian Occupation. These people had done this damage to themselves. And they were human - the Colony of New Hope, located on a far-flung boundary of the Federation, was one of the earliest human colonies and from its inception had included a large faction of Earth Firsters - a group initially opposed to the close relationship between humans, vulcans and andorians that had served as the foundation for the Federation. Gradually, this movement morphed into the Iconoclasts - not opposed to the Federation, but bitterly opposed to the artistic trappings of Federation offices and, more importantly, Federation imposed limits on the autonomy of homeworld rule. The Naturalborn were the natural outgrowth of the Earth First movement and among the various Naturalborn factions were some rather violent separatists.

Buttans Ngumbo had spent part of his childhood in Africa, home to the cleanest, most modern cities on Earth, or anywhere in the Federation. Human cities were not supposed to be deteriorated and bombed out like this one was.


Buttans turned a corner, following the runner and suddenly realized he had been led into a trap. As his suspect ducked into a building, two others he could barely see opened up with disrupters from behind a rusted metal barricade. Buttans threw himself to the ground and drew his phaser. At almost that moment phaser fire from directly behind him quickly and extremely accurately took out each of the two fighters behind the barricade and picked another from the roof of one of the buildings. Three pin-point shots.


Investigator Lynhart Shran sagged momentarily against the corner of a building, breathing hard and clutching his side. His large antennae were extremely active. "Get up, Ngumbo. I told you not to chase that rat." Shran suddenly fixed his attention toward the barricade - his antennae turning quickly to follow his gaze - his phaser came up quickly and he let off another shot, knocking down another person behind the barricade.

Buttans scrambled to his feet. Young, tall and lean, he was built like a runner. He was a bit taller than average for a bajoran and far darker - an inheritance from his Maasai ancestors. Buttans and Shran did not wear uniforms - they were civilian investigators attached to Star Fleet. Buttans wore a dark suit with a light blue shirt. 

Shran was several decades older than his partner - half human and half andorian - an older man with a bit of a gut, wearing jeans, a gray shirt, a voluminous leathery overcoat and very highly polished shoes. Except for his almost obscenely large antennae, he looked entirely human - the product of a large Jewish American family. Even his antennae were the wrong color for an andorian and somehow seemed to have something of the Bronx about them in the way they matched his head movements and sardonic expressions.


"The girls are pinned down. Get back there and give them a way out - and use your brain this time - don't get caught in there with them. I think I saw a dampening generator - if they get that up and running we're in big trouble. See if you can find it and disable it - they'll put it up high somewhere." Shran cuffed his young partner lightly on the side of his head as Buttans headed off at a jog back toward the prison.


"Boss," Shran said, his antennae pointing upward as he turned about, scanning the area. The communicator implanted in Shran's chest discerned which boss Shran was addressing (he had a tendency to refer to all officers as "Boss") and directed his voice up to the ground operations center on the Hunter, in orbit.

Lieutenant Tauk was alone in the cramped ground operations center. A tiny, young and very pale ferengi, he seemed perfectly fitted to the scale of the room. "Go ahead, Shran." Tauk's voice seemed almost that of an adolescent.

"We need air support down here, boss," came Shran's gravelly voice. "I had to step outside the jamming zone just to get through. T'Lok and the tactical team are pinned down about a klick north of the prison. Tell the pilots to look out for dampening fields. If they can jam our communicators, they might be able to jam out everything. I'm headed back in to provide support."

'You'll have it. Anything else?" Tauk was already headed toward the door at the front of the ground operations center.

"They were expecting us, boss. It's going to take brute force to rescue the command staff. Better bring the wagon."

"Copy that," Tauk responded as he exited the room, headed for the bridge.

2.3

End Notes:

Character:                      Investigator Buttans Ngumbo (Ngumbo)
Human Ethnicity:            Maasai
Additional Species:          Bajoran
Hometown/Homeworld:   Hathan, Bajor
Introduced: Episode         2.3
Age when introduced:      28
Role:                              Civilian Investigator contracted to the U.S.S. Hunter

Character:                      Investigator Lynhart Shran (Lenny)
Human Ethnicity:             Jewish American
Additional Species:           Andorian
Hometown/Homeworld:    New York City, New York, Earth
Introduced: Episode         2.3
Age when introduced:      68
Role:                              Civilian Investigator contracted to the U.S.S. Hunter

Character:                      2nd Lieutenant Tauk (Tauk)
Human Ethnicity:             N/A
Additional Species:          Ferengi
Hometown/Homeworld:   Dos, Ferenginar
Introduced: Episode        2.3
Age when introduced:     23
Role:                             Assistant Director of Ground Operations, U.S.S. Hunter

Episode 2.4 - The Courthouse by Robert Bruce Scott
Author's Notes:

Governor Emory Ivonovic (I - VON - no - vitch) is on trial for crimes against the Federation. And the trial goes off the rails...

Star Trek Hunter
Episode 2: The Colony of New Hope

Scene 4: The Courthouse


2.4

The Courthouse


The courthouse was one of the oldest buildings in Virtue and a complex of prisons had gradually been built up around it. Justice Minerva Irons set down the gavel and block that were kept in this room on the desk and looked out through the barred windows of the judges chamber - a small office inside the courthouse used for private hearings - onto a courtyard long fallen into disrepair and gray, crumbling concrete buildings that served as prisons. These could be observed by looking out of any window in the courthouse. It seemed inevitable that what had once been a center for overweening, puritanical justice would become a seething cauldron of corruption.


Justice Irons opened the door from the judges chamber into the main courtroom and stepped up to the bench. About thirty men in drab civilian clothing were seated inside. They were neither witnesses nor an audience - they looked and behaved far more like a private army. Two security guards, their drab gray uniforms devoid of any emblems or badges, stood watch on either side of the judicial platform. Irons had little doubt the guards were corrupt.


Irons’ tiny second officer sat alone at the prosecutor’s table. Apparently The Colony of New Hope was unable to provide a prosecutor to pursue any of the local charges. The planetary governor, dressed in a simple, unadorned but exceptionally well made dark suit, along with two other men in dark suits, sat at the defendant’s table. The Hunter’s gigantic first officer was nowhere to be seen - and there was nowhere in this room anything that large could possibly be concealed.


Because one of the charges against the governor involved the Federation Charter, Justice Irons’ first officer was required to assist the defense team and her second officer was assigned to assist with prosecution as officers of the Federation Tribunal.



Irons did not sit down. “Will the counsel for the people approach.” It was a command, not a question.


Lieutenant Commander Mlady - the only person in the room wearing a Star Fleet uniform - the black JAG uniform with red piping - stepped up to the dais. Irons spoke very, very quietly. “I smell explosives - possibly the chair.” 


Mlady’s nostrils flared. She responded just as quietly, “Pelletized nitrocellulose. Small amount.”


“There are no objective observers in this room. Can you handle this many men in a fight?”


Mlady hesitated just for a second: “Yes, but without my phasers, it would be a bloody mess.”


“Get out of here if you can. Find David.” Irons’ gaze strayed briefly to the men seated in the hard benches that served as an audience for this courtroom. “Seats C-1 and E-4 - those men have weapons,” Irons said quietly. She straightened and then spoke loudly enough to be heard by everyone: “Counsel may step back,” She turned toward the defense table. “Where is the special counsel for the defense?”


“Your honor, if I may,” the planetary governor began…


“You may not,” Irons snapped. “I want to hear from your counsel. Where is the special counsel?”


One of the dark-suited men seated next to the governor stood up. “Your Honor, he has been dismissed. Our client does not trust him.”


“Answer my question, counselor,” Her icy fury was like a whip. Even in a room full of enemies, it had a powerful effect, sending a chill around the room.


“He is in one of the offices down the hall.” The lawyer waived vaguely toward the door of the courtroom.


“Produce him,” Justice Irons said frostily, then, without touching the gavel, block, desk or chair that had been set out for her, walked back toward the door to the judges chamber. The two guards moved quickly to follow her. “Court is in recess until then,” she said and quickly entered the judges chamber. The two guards barged in after her as she was trying to close the door. Chaos erupted in the courtroom as all the men in the room leapt to their feet.



Rather than try in vain to fight the two guards off along with probably a half-dozen thugs behind them, Irons stepped quickly to the side of the door, set her stance firmly, grabbed the jacket of the second guard and pulled him into the man in front of him, bringing them both stumbling into the room. It was a classic Tai Chi technique - she was using her attackers’ energy against them. While the two guards were regaining their balance, she quickly closed and locked the door. 


The first guard to regain his footing turned and charged toward her. With flowing, unhurried movements born of more than a century of training, Irons readied her stance, grabbed her attacker’s jacket again and, using the same Tai Chi technique she had used seconds before, redirected his momentum to send him crashing into a stone wall. His forehead smacked against the wall and he fell to his knees, stunned, as the second man charged toward her. 


Irons dodged around the desk, putting it between herself and her second attacker. She grabbed the gavel and block from the desk and sent the block  spinning toward his head. The prison guard ducked this missile as Irons shrugged her way out of her judge’s robe and sent it spinning toward him. Her attacker pushed the garment away, his hands tangling briefly in it. This gave Irons the opening she needed to deliver a powerful, backhanded blow to his temple with the gavel.


CRACK!!



Justice Irons winced in pain and drew a sharp breath. The look of rage on her attacker’s face was replaced by a look of utter confusion as his eyes slowly crossed and he crumpled to the floor. 


The other man, the first who had attacked her, had clearly suffered from his encounter with the wall and was leaning heavily against it, his forehead against the wall, trying to regain his footing, his head wobbling - quite possibly from a concussion. Irons transferred the gavel to her left hand, moved up quickly behind him and delivered a powerful blow to the back of his head. His forehead smacked the wall again and he slid down the wall to the floor, unconscious.


Irons set the gavel down, then hissed as she touched her right wrist. “Yeah, that’s broken.”


There was a heavy thud against the other side of the door that led into the courtroom - not someone trying to get in, but someone sagging heavily against the other side. Now that her own fight was over, Justice Irons could hear the sounds of fighting from the courtroom had also ebbed. She had left her tiny second officer alone in a room with about thirty angry men. 



They had no idea what they were up against. 



A low snarling growl came from the other room, along with various groans. Mlady was probably feeding - the growl was a warning to whomever might be watching her that she did not like being watched while she was feeding. If any of the men in that room could still stand, they would be well advised to leave before she attacked again. Compassion was an emotion Mlady said she admired in humans, but claimed to never have actually experienced herself. When the need arose, she would kill without pity or hesitation.


Justice Irons picked her robe up from the floor and donned it with some difficulty, then wrapped part of it around her right arm, creating a makeshift sling. She secured each of the unconscious prison guards with their own manacles, then opened the door that led into the courtroom. A dead man, who had been propped up against the other side of the door where he had fallen, slumped partly into the chamber. She stepped over his body and spotted Mlady seated on the floor behind another dying man, her fangs embedded in his neck, her black Star Fleet JAG uniform slick with blood. Irons surveyed the room - Mlady’s prediction had been accurate - a bloodbath. Blood was spattered on the walls and pooling on the floor. At least eighteen men lay dead or dying. The governor was not among them.


“It’s over, Lieutenant Commander. We need to find David.” Irons deliberately avoided looking at her minuscule operations officer. At this point she could not do much but wait for Mlady to calm down. Irons sat in the back of the room, cradled her broken wrist and waited for her 2nd officer to regain her composure. Mlady had been a vicious predator far, far longer than she had been sentient.


2.4

End Notes:

Character:                     Governor Emory Ivonivic (Emory)
Human Ethnicity:            Serbian
Additional Species:         N/A
Hometown/Homeworld:  Pilgrim’s Landing, Colony of New Hope
Introduced: Episode       2.4
Age when introduced:     65
Role:                             Planetary Governor of the Colony of New Hope

Episode 2.5 - Pinned Down by Robert Bruce Scott
Author's Notes:

The U.S.S. Hunter's Director of Ground Operations is pinned down along with most of her staff...

Star Trek Hunter
Episode 2: The Colony of New Hope
Scene 5: Pinned Down

2.5
Pinned Down

Lieutenant T'Lok Smith was pinned down along with the majority of her staff, taking disrupter fire. They had hunkered under a pair of overturned armored ground vehicles in the middle of a bombed out neighborhood of crumbling and damaged low-rise buildings. Ensign T'Lon's team - four well trained young tactical specialists - all blended cardassian and bajoran - had grown up on the streets of a cardassian colony - unwanted by cardassians and bajorans alike. They were scrawny, tough and fiercely loyal to one another. Even clad in Star Fleet JAG uniforms with additional body armor and helmets, they still looked like street kids. Ensign T'Lon had easily been able to mold them into a formidable fighting unit.

It was a good thing - the assignment to help the Virtue City Police to control the cultural demonstration had failed. The protesters turned out to be armed to the teeth with cardassian disrupters and within minutes the police were either mowed down or had fled.

The street was littered with bodies - phasers and cardassian disrupter rifles lay where they had been dropped. Working as a team, Ensign T'Lon and her tactical squad had quickly driven the Iconoclasts from the street, but more than a dozen people in hardened positions in nearby buildings were still firing disrupters at the Hunter's ground operations team. When they had tried to contact the Hunter for beamout, it became evident their signals were being jammed.


"I don't get it," said Belo Reece, the oldest of the tactical squad members. "I thought the Iconoclasts were a peaceful movement."

Jarrong, whose features tended more toward cardassian than her three half-bajoran cousins, responded, "They were, until the Naturalborn and some related separatist movements started marching under the Iconoclast banner.. That is, if the Iconoclasts had a banner.." She completed her thought with a few phaser shots toward one of the hardened emplacements, only to observe the person who was firing at her get hit from a shot from behind him.

Ensign T'Lon also saw the shot. She turned to her commanding officer, "That was a Star Fleet standard issue phaser - I think it's Buttans."


T'Lok and T'Lon, while similar in looks, could not have been more different in personality. Ensign T'Lon was all vulcan. Lt. T'Lok Smith was half human. Both were slender, dark-skinned young women with long, straight auburn hair and strongly vulcan features, but Lt. Smith's expressive face displayed a wide range of emotions that her fully vulcan ensign effortlessly suppressed.

T'Lok looked out briefly, braving a hail of disrupter fire. "It is Buttans. How could you tell by the sound?"

T'Lon responded evenly, "Duration. Investigator Shran barely allows his weapon to engage. Investigator Buttans' discharges are somewhat longer."

A stutter of staccato phaser blasts brought the hail of disrupter fire to a sudden halt. They heard Shran's gravelly voice yelling, "Buttans, up!" then within a few seconds the old investigator joined the team under the vehicles. It took a moment for him to catch his breath.

"Need to get out of here while we.." Shran's voice was cut off by hundreds of small explosions and the rattling of small objects on the vehicles the team was sheltering under. Shran and two of the half-bajoran members of T'Lon's tactical squad attempted to return fire, but none of their phasers were working.

"Projectile weapons?" T'Lok seemed incredulous.

"Dampening field!" Shran was breathing hard and his voice was more gravelly than usual. "I thought I saw a damp generator being moved. Has to be nearby. We need some of those projectile weapons."

"Where would that generator be?" Ensign T'Lon scanned what little of the area she could see from their shelter.

Shran holstered his now useless phaser, then reached under the back of his large leathery overcoat and produced a very large handgun - nothing like Star Fleet issue. "Service revolver from my days in the Andorian Imperial Guard," he said in response to several quizzical looks. "That generator's probably on a roof - my bet would be the highest one so they could project emitters upward to catch any low-flying support vessels."

Ensign T'Lon gestured toward a nearby building. "T'Lok, if Investigator Shran can cover me, I can get up in there and try to locate that generator."

Shran looked at T'Lon's team, who had shifted their stances - ready to support her. He shook his head at them and gestured to his revolver, "Eighteen rounds. I can only cover one runner."

T'Lok did not hesitate. "Go!"


T'Lon waited for a break in the projectile fire, then sprinted from the shelter toward the nearest building. Shran stood up and fired his revolver, each shot deafening. The recoil from the weapon required him to use both hands to steady it. Each round exploded on impact, showering his targets with shrapnel. The firepower from the antique weapon was impressive. He ducked back down as T'Lon disappeared into the building.

"Boss," Shran was addressing T'Lok, "we gotta get outta here. They have a dampener, I bet they have artillery."

"How are you going to cover all of us?"

"I won't be the only one.. Your ensign picked up a band rifle in there." Shran cast an eye toward the second floor of the building T'Lon had run into.


Almost on cue, T'Lon appeared at one of the 2nd story windows with a cardassian band rifle - a projectile weapon similar to a machine gun. She opened up on the positions that were firing at the overturned vehicles.

"On me!" T'Lok commanded, running toward T'Lon's position. Shran stood up and fired his revolver again, sending people scrambling away from their positions with each hit. He was the last to join the lieutenant and her team inside the building. T'Lok and most of the team were already climbing a central staircase. Belo Cantice, the youngest member of T'Lon's tactical squad, was waiting for Shran, covering his entrance with another scavenged band rifle.

Shran heard a familiar low, percussive ringing sound ("foop!!") and something clattered into the room behind him. He leapt at Cantice, pressing her into a corner and ducking his head, covering them both with his overcoat as an explosion rocked the room.

Shran stepped back and flapped the coat, sending a number of small, sharp objects rattling to the floor. "Armored," he said in response to a quizzical look from Cantice. "After you." He gestured toward the stairs.

2.5

End Notes:

Character:                       Lieutenant T’Lok Smith (T’Lok)
Human Ethnicity:             Hawaiian
Additional Species:           Vulcan
Hometown/Homeworld:    Kawai Island, Hawaii, Earth
Introduced: Episode          2.5
Age when introduced:       27
Role:                               Director of Ground Operations, U.S.S. Hunter

Character:                       Ensign T’Lon (T’Lon)
Human Ethnicity:              N/A
Additional Species:           Vulcan
Hometown/Homeworld:    Kawai Island, Hawaii, Earth
Introduced: Episode          2.5
Age when introduced:       25
Role:                               Tactical Operation Squad Leader, U.S.S. Hunter

Character:                      Tactical Specialist Belo Rys (Rys)
Human Ethnicity:             N/A
Additional Species:           Bajoran, Cardassian
Hometown/Homeworld:    Cardiassia Imperial Outpost 19
Introduced: Episode         2.5
Age when introduced:       19
Role:                               Tactical Squad Member, U.S.S. Hunter

Character:                       Tactical Specialist Jarrong (Jarrong)
Human Ethnicity:              N/A
Additional Species:            Cardassian, Bajoran
Hometown/Homeworld:     Cardiassia Imperial Outpost 19
Introduced: Episode          2.5
Age when introduced:       18
Role:                               Tactical Squad Member, U.S.S. Hunter

Character:                       Tactical Specialist Belo Garr (Garr)
Human Ethnicity:              N/A
Additional Species:           Bajoran, Cardassian
Hometown/Homeworld:     Cardiassia Imperial Outpost 19
Introduced: Episode          2.5
Age when introduced:       17
Role:                               Tactical Squad Member, U.S.S. Hunter

Character:                       Tactical Specialist Belo Cantys (Cantys)
Human Ethnicity:              N/A
Additional Species:           Bajoran, Cardassian
Hometown/Homeworld:    Cardiassia Imperial Outpost 19
Introduced: Episode          2.5
Age when introduced:       16
Role:                               Tactical Squad Member, U.S.S. Hunter

Episode 2.6 - Kenneth Dolphin Commanding by Robert Bruce Scott
Author's Notes:

Five minutes after setting foot on the U.S.S. Hunter for the first time, Lt. Kenny Dolphin, the new Director of Flight Operations, takes command...

Star Trek Hunter
Episode 2: The Colony of New Hope
Scene 6: Kenneth Dolphin Commanding

2.6
Kenneth Dolphin Commanding

Dr. Carrera was exiting the bridge when Lt. Tauk arrived. Aside from the bowl haircut, the only sign of Dr. Carrera's vulcan great grandfather was the young chief engineer's emotionless demeanor. It wasn't working perfectly at the moment - his expression was frosty and he was walking a bit too carefully - as if to avoid storming off the bridge.

Tauk wondered what had rattled Carrera. When he stepped onto the bridge and saw who was in command, it became apparent. The little ferengi almost squeaked - Justice Irons was legendary within Star Fleet circles, but Tauk had never seen an actual celebrity before. "Dr. Kenny Dolphin? The Morality of Hybridizing Intelligent Species?"

Lt. Dolphin was tall, lean, blonde and arrogantly handsome. Slight wrinkles around the eyes and grey at his temples were the only indication that he was middle-aged. Like Tauk, Lt. Dolphin's black JAG uniform had gold piping, signifying operations. But Dolphin had two solid pips on his collar - a first lieutenant - a senior officer. Tauk was a 2nd lieutenant - Star Fleet tended to draw a significant difference between senior and junior officers.

"That's Lieutenant Dolphin to you, and I'm not signing autographs today, Lieutenant. Report." Dolphin's demeanor was calm and warm - a bit of a smile.

Tauk was briefly confused, then remembered why he had come to the bridge. "The tactical team is pinned down and we've lost contact with the command staff. One of my investigators got through and called for air support."

Dolphin quickly sat down in the captain's chair, then turned his attention to the pilot's station. "Staff Tactical - Gamor, take Salazaar. Get Phillips up here to take your seat." 2nd Lt. Gaia Gamor stood up from her station and called for Phillips and Salazaar as Lt. Dolphin continued giving orders: "Flight Specialists Joey Chin and Dih Terri," Dolphin didn't wait for the communications system to carry his voice to the interceptor bays - it would relay the entire message to them with less than a second's delay. "Strap in and launch your interceptors when ready. Ensign Sun, you're in command of the wagon - I need your expertise on the transporter. Chief Flight Specialist Dewayne Guth - you're flying the wagon. Don't wait for orders - launch as soon as you're both on board and grab some atmosphere. Gamor.." Lt. Gamor had already left the bridge and Ensign Ethan Phillips had arrived and was taking the pilot's station on the bridge.

"The tactical unit is ready to launch," came Gamor's voice from the Hunter's tactical bridge.

"Launch already!" Dolphin's voice was calm, but urgent. He had been on board less than fifteen minutes, but he seemed completely at home in the captain's chair and had clearly memorized the Hunter's crew roster. "Lieutenant Tauk," Dolphin swiveled the captain's chair so he was facing the young ferengi who was still standing at the back of the bridge. "Take the bridge tactical station, transfer your operation screens up here and coordinate air support."

"Sir?" Tauk was taken aback - he had never been given this much responsibility and had expected Lt. Dolphin to command this operation.

Dolphin turned to look at him again. "You know the area and the situation. You've been trained for this, Lieutenant. You're the best chance our people have. Tell the flight team what to expect and where to train their fire." He turned his attention back to the viewer.


The Hunter's two interceptors (nimble 2-seat vessels with light armaments designed for ground support, in-atmosphere combat and limited open space interception) were already entering the atmosphere. The wagon (a heavily armed and armored shuttle) and the Hunter's Tactical Unit (an independently warp capable section of the U.S.S. Hunter that was bristling with heavy weapons and shield emitters) were close behind.


Tauk was at a loss for words, then remembered something important. He opened a channel to the support vessels: "All units, don't get too close to the ground until the ground operations team makes contact. We suspect there's at least one dampening generator down there, probably more. Try to locate those and take them out. See if you can hone in on the jamming emitters too. We need communication with our ground crew down there before you can provide close support. Pinpoint firing, minimal power. Our people might be trying to shut those things down when you find them, so use just enough power to turn them off. Let's not have any friendly fire incidents."

Dolphin smiled without turning. Star Fleet was his third career and he had only been promoted to 1st lieutenant a few hours ago. But there was no need to let the junior officers know that. Dolphin felt confident he could handle this situation, but this was a perfect opportunity to grow the young 2nd lieutenant in his career. The ferengi wouldn't be here with one solid pip and one hollow pip on his collar if he wasn't trained and ready for this.


Tauk spoke up again, "Star Fleet planetary is hailing us, sir."

Dolphin leaned forward in the command chair. "On screen."

A bearded, middle aged and clearly irritated Star Fleet lieutenant in a red uniform appeared on the viewer. Dolphin greeted him: "U.S.S. Hunter, Kenneth Dolphin commanding. How can I help you, Lieutenant?"

"Lieutenant Allen Mitchell, Director of New Hope Colony Planetary Operations," the irritated officer replied. "I have fire fights in my streets and your flotilla in my sky. I'm going to have to ask you to turn those boats around."

"This is a law enforcement operation, Lieutenant." Dolphin responded amiably, "Keep your birds on the deck and your satellites dark. I will let you know if we need your support."

"You don't outrank me, Lieutenant Dolphin, you have no authority to issue those orders," Mitchell snapped, jabbing a finger at the two solid pips on his own collar.

"Star Fleet Charter, Mr. Mitchell," Dolphin replied, his demeanor swiftly changing from collegial to coldly matter-of-fact. "All law enforcement and planetary security operations within Federation boundaries shall be conducted by and coordinated through the Office of the Judge Advocate General. I'm wearing the black uniform. Stand down, Lieutenant. That is an order. Hunter out." Dolphin made a cutting gesture and Tauk cut the circuit - the image of the irritated director of New Hope Colony planetary operations was replaced with a view of the planet.

"Hunter," Dolphin looked around the bridge. The vessel's interactive avatar, in the image of an older man in civilian clothing with a white lab coat, a gray beard and a pot belly, appeared to the right of the command chair, just behind the navigator's station.

"Lieutenant Dolphin," the avatar responded evenly.

Dolphin turned toward the hologram. "Please keep an eye on the satellites and on the interceptor hanger doors on New Hope. If one of those satellites so much as makes an orbital adjustment, I want it on the viewer. Same thing if we get a hanger door opening."

"The hanger doors are closed, but several of the satellites are scanning us," Hunter replied.

"That's fine. They can look. But if a targeting scanner or a weapons system lights up, I want Tauk to take it out," Dolphin relaxed back into the captain's chair.

"Sir?" Tauk was incredulous.

"Commander Pepper sent me the mission specs, Lieutenant. We don't know the loyalties of the local planetary unit. If those hanger doors open, I want a phaser, broad beam, low power on that door. Not enough to destroy an interceptor, but enough that they won't want to fly one through it. As for the satellites, they're antiques. I don't mind blowing up junk if it appears to be.. uhmm," Dolphin swiveled to favor the young 2nd lieutenant with a smile, "malfunctioning." Dolphin turned back to the viewer. "Mind your operation, Lieutenant."

2.6

End Notes:

Character:                      Lieutenant Kenneth Dolphin (Kenny)
Human Ethnicity:             German American
Additional Species:          N/A
Hometown/Homeworld:   Providence, Rhode Island, Earth
Introduced: Episode         2.6
Age when introduced:      51
Role:                              Director of Flight Operations, U.S.S. Hunter

Character:                      2nd Lieutenant Gaia Gamor (Gaia)
Human Ethnicity:             Congolese
Additional Species:          N/A
Hometown/Homeworld:   Ingende, Congo, Earth
Introduced: Episode         2.6
Age when introduced:      25
Role:                              Assistant Director of Flight Operations, U.S.S. Hunter

Character:                      The U.S.S. Hunter (Hunter)
Human Ethnicity:             Mexican (hologram)
Additional Species:          N/A
Hometown/Homeworld:   New Eden, Mars
Introduced: Episode         2.6
Age when introduced:      13
Role:                              Interactive Holographic Avatar, U.S.S. Hunter

Character:                      Lieutenant Allen Mitchell
Human Ethnicity:             English American
Additional Species:           N/A
Hometown/Homeworld:    Virtue, Colony of New Hope
Introduced: Episode          2.6
Age when introduced:       44
Role:                               Director of Planetary Operations, The Colony of New Hope

Episode 2.7 - Pepper Revival by Robert Bruce Scott
Author's Notes:

Commander David Pepper awakens folowing a severe beating in a room with three dead bodies...

Star Trek Hunter
Episode 2: The Colony of New Hope
Scene 7: Pepper Revival

2.7
Pepper Revival

Every part of Commander David Pepper's body ached. He sat up and groaned. Even the largest man could be brought down by a phaser on stun and Pep had been stunned by several phasers. Repeatedly. Pep's head was pounding and his body was covered with deep bruises. Evidently these people had kept stunning him well after he had lost consciousness and left him here for dead. He got to his feet, rolled his head, stretched and tried to shake the beating off. It would have killed any other man he had met - even a klingon would have been unlikely to survive such a beating.

There were three other men lying on the floor - also victims of being repeatedly stunned by prison phasers. Pep had agreed to meet with local prosecutors and Governor Ivonovic's defense team to work out a few deals on the local charges. Pep had awakened in tremendous pain. The Virtue City Prosecutors had not been not so fortunate.


This room had a single door. Pep tried it. It was locked. But it really wasn't much of a door - medium-grade plastic. Pep set his ear to it. Nothing. He kicked the door and shattered it. He pushed through what was left of the door into a hallway. Windows along one wall - doors along the other. Pep recognized this hallway from the schematics of the building. On the other side of those doors were rooms like the one he had awakened in. The hallway that led to the courtroom was on the other side of those rooms - but none of them had doors that opened into that hallway. And there was no quick way to get back to that other hallway.

Pep walked from room to room, opening doors, looking for a passageway into the other hallway. Stone walls. Old stone walls with crumbling masonry. On the other side of that wall he could hear a distant noise - men screaming and possibly running.

Pep selected a room that appeared to have a much weakened wall on the other side. He crossed the room at a dead run, not slowing as he crashed into the wall. The wall exploded outward into the hall on the other side - creating a hole big enough for Pep to crush through - sending still more stone and crumbling masonry into the hall. The far end of the hall was full of activity - men spilling out of a room. The planetary governor, flanked by his lawyers, was running toward Pep. They were much closer to him than the rest of the chaos in the hall. They came to a stop as soon as they realized there was no getting around the giant filling the hall.


Pep launched toward them into a full run. The governor's lawyers were both clearly not trained body guards. They scrambled all over each other and their client trying to get away from the giant officer hurtling toward them, making the governor's escape impossible in the process. Pep crashed into all three of them, landing on top of them. He stood up, lifting the governor and expertly turning him until he had the governor pinned against a wall, holding the man's wrists behind his back with one enormous hand. He turned to glare at the lawyers: "GET!"

The two men in dark suits lost no time - but they weren't running back toward the courtroom. Both squeezed past Pep, then raced away. Evidently they were even more afraid of whatever it was that the other men at the end of the hall were fleeing from in that courtroom. Pep had no doubt what that was.

Pep propelled the governor into the hole he had made in the wall and followed him through. "Sit!" There wasn't a chair, but there was a table. Pep lifted the governor and deposited him on the table. "It appears you have lost your representation, governor.. At this moment, I am probably the best friend you have. So don't piss me off." Pep leaned against the wall between the desk and the door, recovering his strength, waiting for the commotion in the hall to settle down.


Planetary Governor Emory Ivonovic was a fairly big man himself, but even though he was in good shape, he was too old to try to fight the abomination that had captured him. He had seen this giant being repeatedly hammered with prolonged phaser fire - set on stun because that was the only setting available on prison phasers. It should have killed the giant. He certainly shouldn't have been able to recover enough in less than an hour to barge through a stone wall.

The governor could not keep the disgust from his face. Normally he was fairly adept at hiding his emotions - a critical skill for a politician - but not after a disaster like today. He was still hopeful for a rescue - this was his home base. Multiple dampening fields would prevent Star Fleet from beaming him out from anywhere other than the secure transporter pad and there were enough armed guards in that part of the facility to stop even this giant and whatever that little beast was that had just turned the courtroom into a meat grinder.


Suddenly everything turned a hissing pinkish orange. Ivonovic felt sick - like he needed to throw up. "I think I'm having a stroke," he moaned and bent over.

Pep's voice was level, but it was clear he was also in pain. "Phaser - wide beam - very low energy.." he managed. The grim, hissing light finally swept on.


"What was that about?" Ivonovic was genuinely curious.

"Counter-insurgency tactics," Pep responded. He rolled his head, and stretched his arms - vague popping noises from enormous joints. "You're running dampening fields. We use a broad, low power beam and look for dark spots to tell us where the dampening emitters are. Now we'll be feeding a focused low energy beam directly into those emitters. The emitters will soak that energy up until the generators explode. Most generators make a lot of noise when you feed them too much juice - which should give anyone nearby a chance to get away before they blow."

"How about you hand me that phaser," Pep added, an enormous hand open just in front of the governor. Ivonovic thought briefly about how futile any attempt to use a prison phaser against this giant would be. He removed the phaser from his coat pocket and dropped it into Pep's hand. The commander deposited the prison weapon in a cargo pocket on the right side of his uniform.

"Good move." Pep was starting to sound a little more like his usual cheerful self. "Okay - now - it sounds like things have settled down. Back through the wall.

Ivonovic could not see any reason to not comply, but as soon as Pep followed him through the large hole the giant had punched through the wall, he turned the governor back toward the courtroom." 

"I am NOT going back into that room! Not as long as that.. thing is in there," the governor said.

"That thing is Lieutenant Commander Mlady - she's the sweetest person you will ever meet. Until you back her into a corner." Ivonovic looked incredulously at the commander. "Or if she gets really hungry.." Pep continued.

The governor's eyes widened.

Pep landed an enormous hand on the governor's shoulder, turning him firmly toward the courtroom again and gestured with his other hand.

2.7

End Notes:

The character Commander David Pepper (Pep) was inspired by a movie promotional poster I saw once with Arnold Swarznegger, completely dwarfed by Andre the Giant, who was, in turn, completely dwarfed by Karem Abdul-Jabbar. At 7'2 and close to 350 pounds of lean muscle, Karem at the height of his athletic career would have been perfect for the role of Pep. Pep's personality is more inspired by Michael Jordan - warm, friendly, charismatic, but extremely competitive.

Episode 2.8: The Dampening Generator by Robert Bruce Scott
Author's Notes:

Investigator Buttons Ngumbo finds the dampening generator  - and about a half-dozen fighters guarding it...

Star Trek Hunter
Episode 2: The Colony of New Hope
Scene 8: The Dampening Generator

2.8
The Dampening Generator

Investigator Buttons Ngumbo had made it up five flights of stairs past fighters who had been stunned either by his own phaser or by Investigator Shran's incredibly accurate fire from the ground. Buttons' dark skin and dark suit were damp with sweat. This was the tallest building in the area - chances were the dampening field generator Shran had seen earlier was on this roof.

Halfway up the sixth flight, Buttons suddenly found himself faced by a very surprised looking man at the top of the stairs. Buttons raised his phaser and pressed the trigger just as the man aimed a cardassian disrupter at him. Neither weapon worked.

The man at the top of the stairs hurled the useless disrupter at the young investigator and fumbled around his back for another weapon. Buttons trusted his speed - he charged up the stairs, grappled with the man, taking him off balance and sent him tumbling down the stairs - into another man who had gotten behind Buttons and was also fumbling for a rifle that was slung on his back.


Investigator Buttons burst through a door onto the roof, his useless phaser still in hand. Two men were on the roof, but they were not expecting an enemy. One was adjusting the settings on a large generator, aiming dampening field emitters. The other was firing a cardassian band rifle down toward the street below.

As Buttons raced across the roof, the man with the rifle suddenly exploded - Buttons recognized the effect of Shran's service revolver - he had seen those explosive rounds in action before. The other man was both terrified and distracted by his comrade's explosive demise - he was completely unaware of the young investigator's presence. Buttons tackled him and shoved him off the roof.

Buttons spotted a cardassian band rifle leaning against the generator. He retrieved the rifle in time to use it mow down the two men whom he had encountered in the stairwell - now emerging onto the roof in pursuit. For the moment unchallenged, Buttons briefly studied the dampening generator. This machine was too sturdy to be damaged by bullets. Fortunately, the investigator could read cardassian standard script and he managed to shut the device off.


He took a few steps back.


Bullets from a band rifle couldn't damage this dampening generator - but with the dampening field shut down, Buttons' phaser at full power was more than sufficient to permanently disable the device.

With a grim sense of satisfaction, Buttons stepped around the smoking remains of the dampening generator. "Old man - can you hear me?" The communicator embedded in his chest could now work and keyed its signal to reach out to Shran - but the signal was still jammed. There must be a separate jamming device - and that was likely located closer to ground level.

Buttons took a deep breath, stepped over the bullet ridden bodies of the men he had encountered on the stairs whom he had shot moments ago. He headed back down the stairs - phaser in one hand and cardassian band rifle in the other.

2.8

Episode 2.9 - Fly By by Robert Bruce Scott
Author's Notes:

Ensign Sun Ho Hui and Chief Flight Specialist Dewayne Guth (rhymes with booth) take the wagon for a fly-by...

Star Trek Hunter
Episode 2: The Colony of New Hope
Scene 9: Fly By

2.9
Fly By

Chief Flight Specialist Dewayne Guth kept the wagon - a heavily armed and armored shuttle - well above the range of any portable dampening generator. He had remained at a fairly high altitude, but he was swiftly tiring of playing it safe. The heavy armor on the shuttle was designed to protect its power systems against many forms of attack, including energy dampening fields. It would take a very powerful system to create a dampening field strong enough to affect the wagon.

Guth could tell that a dampening field was in place because he was receiving no life form readings from the area the Hunter's ground operations team were last reported to be. No life signs alive or dead. He tapped the life sensor readout in irritation and almost as if in response, the device came alive, displaying a large number of people down there - along with now active phasers and disruptors. From this altitude the sensors could not distinguish humans from bajorans, but they could easily identify four cardassians, one andorian and two vulcans all in one building and surrounded. Guth looked over at Ensign Sun Ho Hui. Ensign Sun was half vulcan, part Vietnamese and a few other things as well - but he seemed to behave like a vulcan. "Did you see that, sir?"

Sun turned to favor Guth with a level gaze. "It appears the dampening field has been turned off. But communications are still jammed - to the point that I cannot obtain a transporter lock. I cannot identify Investigator Buttons either. He does not appear to be with the main group."

"Permission for a fly-by, sir," Guth said. He was itching to get closer to the ground.

Sun looked quizzically at Guth. "Where is the logic in that? They might have turned off the dampener to draw us in."

Chief Guth boggled at the young Ensign. "Very unlikely, sir. Our people don't have projectile weapons. The locals wouldn't turn that thing off unless our team were dead or captured. The scanner shows our people are together, by themselves and on the move. We could distract their enemies."

Ensign Sun raised an eyebrow, then raised the other one. "That sounds reasonable." The young vulcan unconsciously looked up. "Lieutenant Tauk," The communications system directed Sun's voice up to the tactical station on the bridge of the Hunter in orbit far above. "The dampening field near the ground operation group is off and we are now reading Lieutenant Smith and her team. We cannot beam them out. I am requesting permission for a fly-by to give Lieutenant Smith some cover to move."


The line was silent for a moment.

Tauk's voice came back, "All units be advised, the wagon is cleared for a fly-by, but only the wagon. Interceptors keep your altitude, but return fire on any position that fires on the wagon."

Guth pressed a button, and pulled the control stick out from under the wagon's pilot console. It had been stored under the console in a horizontal position. He rotated the stick 90 degrees into the upright operating position, activating the controller. "Hang on to something, sir, I'm reducing the internal inertial dampeners."

Sun Ho Hui checked his seat restraint, then gripped the arms of the chair.

Dewayne Guth gripped the stick and took the wagon plummeting down several hundred meters to buzz the building tops at high speed, creating a rush of displaced air. If he could not rescue the team, at least he could let them know help was near and give their enemies something else to worry about.

2.9

End Notes:

Character:                       Chief Flight Specialist Dewayne Guth (Dewayne)
Human Ethnicity:             African American
Additional Species:          Trill
Hometown/Homeworld:    Wakanda, Cun Ling
Introduced: Episode         2.9
Age when introduced:      37
Role:                               Pilot, U.S.S. Hunter

Character:                       Ensign Sun Ho Hui (Hui)
Human Ethnicity:             Vietnamese
Additional Species:           Vulcan, Bajoran
Hometown/Homeworld:    Hanoi, Vietnam, Earth
Introduced: Episode         2.9
Age when introduced:      23
Role:                               Team Leader, Flight Engineering, U.S.S. Hunter

Episode 2.10 - Rescue by Robert Bruce Scott
Author's Notes:

Investigator Buttans follows up by destroying the jamming device, making it possible for Ensign Sun to beam him and the rest of the away team into the wagon. 2nd Lt. Gamor and Flight Specialist Salazaar are taking down the dampening generators around the courthouse...

Star Trek Hunter
Episode 2: The Colony of New Hope
Scene 10: Rescue

2.10
Rescue

2nd Lt. Gaia Gamor was piloting the tactical unit. Flight Specialist Winnifred Salazaar sat next to her, focusing pinpoint phaser fire on the dampening emitters throughout the prison complex. Dampening emitters were easy to identify - and therefore easy to destroy. The jamming equipment that was preventing communications and transporter lock would be much harder to find from up here.


Salazaar had a bit of a Puerto Rican accent - and a bit of New York. Part betazoid, he had a tendency to answer Lt. Gamor's thoughts as often as anything she actually said. "Dewayne will be fine, sir."

Gamor had long ago decided that this wasn't creepy - at least intellectually. "How are you doing with those emitters?" She made a minor flight adjustment and checked the positions of the interceptors. Both were hovering below the tactical unit and had taken up stations to support the wagon while avoiding getting between the tactical unit and the courthouse/prison complex.

"I estimate four minutes until they are all down," Salazaar responded.

Lt. Gamor unconsciously looked up when she called to the Hunter, "Hunter Ops, this is the Tactical Unit."

"Tactical Unit go ahead," came Lt. Tauk's boyish voice from the Hunter platform in orbit, far above.

"We should have the dampening emitters down within four minutes. Requesting permission to send the interceptors down to provide ground support."


There was a brief pause. Salazaar looked over at Gamor and raised his eyebrows.

"Verified on the emitters," came the young ferengi's voice. "Be advised to keep the tactical unit in the upper atmosphere. All units be advised - Flight Specialists Dih and Chin break and support the wagon. Shoot at anything that shoots at the wagon, but low power and pinpoint. Keep an eye on our ground team. No fatalities." Tauk was clearly nervous.

Investigator Buttans' voice suddenly broke through the clutter noise from the ground - "Emergency beamout! Emergency b..." the sounds of disruptor fire and cardassian band rifles cut out along with Buttans' voice. Ensign Sun's calm voice cut through.

"This is Ensign Sun. I have him. Retrieving the ground team now."


Tauk was back on line. "Mr. Guth, get the wagon out of there. The dampening fields around the courthouse are almost down. Prepare to retarget. Buttans - report."

Investigator Buttans came back into the conversation, "I located.. and took... took down the jammer.." his voice was unstable.

Lt. T'Lok Smith's voice cut through. "Buttans is wounded. Medical - prepare to receive him directly. Ensign Sun, please send him up now. Tauk - are you running this operation?"

"Under orders from Lieutenant Dolphin," Tauk responded.

Lt. Smith was clearly excited and exhausted at the same time. She paced around the flight booth of the wagon. Ensign Sun Ho Hui had beamed her entire team directly into the operations staging area in the aft of the wagon. She had come forward to the flight booth to check on Buttans and ask Sun to beam Buttans directly to the medical bay in the Hunter platform in orbit. "Well done, Tauk. Continue to direct air support. Let me know when we can retrieve the command staff from the courthouse."

Tauk's voice was clearly relieved, "Thank you T'Lok - about three minutes - I'm really glad you're back, boss."

T'Lok Smith laughed lightly, then said, "You should spend less time around Investigator Shran. You're picking up his bad habits.."

"Hey!" came Shran's gravelly voice.

2.10

End Notes:

Character:                         Flight Specialist Winnifried Salazaar (Winnie)
Human Ethnicity:              Puerto Rican
Additional Species:           Betazoid
Hometown/Homeworld:    New York City, New York, Earth
Introduced: Episode          2.10
Age when introduced:       24
Role:                                 Pilot, U.S.S. Hunter

Episode 2.11 - Indicted by Robert Bruce Scott
Author's Notes:

The shady planetary governor of New Hope Colony, Governor Emory Ivonovic, is indicted and taken into custody...

Star Trek Hunter
Episode 2: The Colony of New Hope
Scene 11: Indicted

2.11
Indicted

Lt. Commander Mlady looked at her hands, willing the retracted skin of her fingers to relax and cover her claws. She really didn't have much voluntary control over this - the skin would retract autonomically, exposing her powerful claws whenever her fight or flight response kicked in. Her breathing was returning to normal. She licked blood off her fangs and wiped it from her face with her sleeve. She hated having to fight literally tooth and nail - and not just because her fangs and claws could be damaged.

Mlady's unique metabolism could sustain incredible bursts of speed, driving her much faster than possible for any other animal her size, allowing her to deploy the weapons of a panther with the blinding speed of a snake. But she paid a terrible price for sustaining this blinding speed. As her cells were starved of metabolized oxygen and vital proteins burned, her higher brain functions began to shut down until she was reduced to a ravenous beast, driven only by ferocious hunger and the most brutish of survival instincts. Her victims paid an even heavier price - death by exsanguination as she extracted desperately needed oxygen and proteins directly from their blood. In this condition she was as dangerous to friend as to foe - they were nothing more than prey to her.

Her consciousness came back to her in surprising rags and flashes - gradually reminding her that she was much more than just a hungry beast. As her breathing returned to normal, Mlady slowly realized, as though for the first time, that she was a Star Fleet officer, a skilled lawyer, and an accomplished scientist - a brilliant biologist whose sentience and intelligence had come at a far more terrible price still.


Justice Irons was sitting on one of the benches near the door, nursing her broken wrist, looking more old and tired than Mlady had ever seen her. Mlady cleared her throat - not liking the growling sound in her voice. She calmed and relaxed her voice to her normal, studied alto. "Your honor?" she asked, almost apologetically.

Irons straightened her neck, squared her shoulders, and regained her composure before looking up, smoothing years from her appearance almost as an act of will. "Are you okay, Lieutenant Commander?" Irons almost never addressed Mlady by name.

"I'm worried about Pep. They tried to kill us - I think they meant to kill all three of us."

"David is fine," Irons responded. "Here he is now.."

Governor Ivonovic walked reluctantly into the room, followed by the enormous Commander David Pepper.

Mlady leapt to her feet, clearing the ground like a gymnast, then landing lightly; "PEP!!"

Pep bowed - partly as a gallant gesture toward his second officer - but mostly because it was the only way he could fit through the doorway.


Justice Irons stood up - her right arm held up by her makeshift sling. "Planetary Governor Emory Ivonovic," she said - her voice taking on a stentorian tone. "Given local conditions, I am delaying the hearing on local charges and focusing on the charge of conspiracy to defraud a charter Federation electoral system. On that charge how do you plead?"

Pep spoke up before the Governor could say anything, "Your honor - a moment with my client?"

Irons allowed herself a momentary look of exasperation. She waved with her left hand.

Pep draped an enormous hand over Ivonovic's shoulder and drew him aside. His voice became very soft. "This is a far more serious charge than you may realize, Governor. I strongly recommend you take it seriously and think carefully about your response."

"Election fraud?" Ivonovic's voice was incredulous.

"Involving a charter Federation electoral system. The Colony of New Hope is one of the nineteen charter worlds," Pep replied.

Ivonovic pulled away from the giant. The room stank of blood, but even that horrible reek didn't overcome the unpleasant smell of the giant's breath. He had no intention of getting close enough to the other abomination in this room to smell her breath. None of the corpses in the room appeared to have been partially eaten, but he could easily imagine it after seeing the little beast fight.


Ivonovic whirled imperiously, drew himself to full height and stated firmly, "Not guilty. No way. Never happened."


Irons was steely in her response. "Governor Ivonovic, I am holding you over for trial at the Federation Tribunal. Once you are in custody, you may contact your special counsel at any time to assist with your defense. You are also entitled to legal representation before the Tribunal by lawyers of your own choosing, if you can afford them."

"If I can afford.." the governor's voice trailed off as the more important part of that sentence got through to him.. "Federation Tribunal??"

Irons looked up at her first officer. "David.." she gestured with her head toward the governor, then turned and walked away.

"I told you it was serious. You have been accused and indicted for violation of Sections 2 and 29 of the Federation Charter. A charter world, once having established a democratic form of government, is protected by Section 29. Anyone attempting to defraud such an electoral system must answer to the Tribunal."

"I've never heard of this!" Ivonovic said.

You were given a printed copy of the Federation Charter," Pep responded. "You should have read it."

Ensign T'Lon's tactical team chose that moment to bustle into the room, followed by the ensign herself. Her eyebrows registered surprise at the carnage. "Are you ready for beamout, your honor?"

Irons turned to look at the young vulcan. "Yes, Ensign. Have your team clean up this mess."

"Aye, Captain," T'Lon responded. Belo Cantice, Belo Reece and Belo Garr were each carrying pattern enhancers slung on their backs. They placed these in a triangle and ushered the command staff into the area before engaging the devices. Jarrong, whose cardassian features were much stronger than her half-bajoran cousins, was headed toward the judges chambers as the transporter engaged, removing the command staff and their prisoner up to the Hunter platform in orbit.

2.11

End Notes:

I worried when writing this scene that the reader might think Emory Ivonovic (pronounced Ivonovitch - he's an ethnic Serb) is a stalking horse for President Trump.

Emory is what we would consider a right-wing politician and not unfamiliar with dirty tricks, but he is also a former journalist and an intellectual - and he has the biggest story arc of any of my characters.

Episode 2.12 - The Wounded by Robert Bruce Scott
Author's Notes:

2nd Lt. Tauk is concerned about Investigator Buttons, who is undergoing surgery in Medical...

Star Trek Hunter
Episode 2: The Colony of New Hope
Scene 12: The Wounded

2.12
The Wounded

2nd Lt. Tauk was concerned about Investigator Buttons, who had just been beamed to the medical bay with unspecified wounds. He checked his readout. "All staff are retrieved and the birds are returning to the nest. The tactical unit has cleared the atmosphere."

Lt. Dolphin responded without turning away from the viewer, "I'll see to putting things away, Lieutenant. Go check on your man." He waved vaguely with the back of his hand at the young officer standing behind him.

Tauk nearly ran from the bridge.


The Medical Bay was one of the largest sections of the boat since it also encompassed the brig. The Hunter was cramped compared to most Star Fleet vessels, but the brig was a large complex - designed to hold up to twenty-six prisoners in very small, individual cells. All of these cells opened onto a large operating chamber that could accommodate eight surgeries simultaneously. This area was generally used for forensic examinations and another surgical bay with two beds adjoined that could not be viewed from the brig. Both surgeries contained forensic workstations. Medical offices were located fore of and to the right of the smaller surgery.


Tauk found Dr. Tali Shae in the office. This was not surprising - although the large, curvy andorian woman was the chief medical officer, she left most surgeries on the living to her second - Dr. Jazz Sam Sinder. Dr. Shae's specialty was forensic investigation.

"How is he?" Tauk asked.

Dr. Tali Shae looked at Tauk quizzically. Her antennae focused briefly on the small ferengi - then appeared to go back to wandering aimlessly. "If Ngumbo were in any danger, I wouldn't be sitting here, would I?" Dr. Shae was a little older than middle age and her manner often seemed impatient to younger people. "He blew up a jamming generator and ended up dropping half a building on himself. That earned him a few broken bones and some nasty lacerations and bruises. Dr. Jazz is sewing him up now. We've already mended the bones."

Dr. Shae suddenly stood up, her antennae focusing on the door behind Lt. Tauk.

Tauk turned to see Justice Irons walking into the office, her right arm in a makeshift sling.

"Oh, let me have a look at that, Minerva," Dr. Shae said - concern evident in her voice.

"Broken wrist. I got into a fist fight," Irons responded.

"And the other guy?"

"Last I saw him, he was unconscious and in manacles."

Tali Shae laughed. Her antennae twitched. "You knocked him out?"

"With a gavel.. Them - there were two of them.." Justice Irons maintained a steady gaze.

Dr. Tali Shae laughed harder. "Okay - let's have a look.."

Irons turned her attention to Lt. Tauk. "I heard you ran the air support operation, Lieutenant. I want a detailed report while the doctor tends to my wrist. Tell me everything. Leave nothing out."

2.12

End Notes:

Character:                      Lieutenant Commander Tali Shae (Tali)
Human Ethnicity:            N/A
Additional Species:         Andorian
Hometown/Homeworld:  Laikan, Andoria
Introduced: Episode        2.12
Age when introduced:     58
Role:                               Medical Director, U.S.S. Hunter

Episode 2.13 - First Command by Robert Bruce Scott
Author's Notes:

Justice Minerva Irons evaluates Lt. Kenny Dolphin's first performance in the command chair...

Star Trek Hunter
Episode 2: The Colony of New Hope
Scene 13: First Command

2.13
First Command

Lt. Gamor secured the tactical unit, then came down the hatch into the bridge, followed by Flight Specialist Salazaar at almost the same moment that Commander Pepper and Lt. Commander Mlady entered from the rear of the bridge. Lt. Dolphin stood up and turned. Pep's deep voice filled the bridge. "Kenny Dolphin.." The giant first officer smiled broadly. "You are not relieved, not yet. As you were."


Dolphin turned back to the viewer and resumed his seat in the captain's chair. "Flight Specialists Dih and Chin - report any damage."

"None sir," came Dih's voice, followed by Chin: "Interceptor secured, no damage, sir."

"You are both dismissed to your duty stations. Dock check your birds and prepare full reports. Ensign Sun, Chief Guth - please remain with the wagon. I will meet you up there in a few minutes."

"Make that 20 minutes," came Justice Irons' voice from the back of the room.

Dolphin stood up again, but continued to face forward. Irons walked to the front of the bridge, stopped at the pilot station. "Ensign Phillips."

Ensign Ethan Phillips looked up, "Your honor?"

Irons laid her left hand on the console. Her right arm was in a proper sling with a splint on her hand and wrist. "As you were," she said quietly, looking down at the ensign, then turned her gaze to Lt. Dolphin.

"Ethan Phillips at the pilot station. Sun and Guth in the wagon. Gamor in the tactical unit. Mr. Dolphin, you know the reason I wanted you on this boat is because you are the best pilot in Star Fleet. But when I needed air support you weren't at any pilot console - not even this one." She lightly tapped the pilot console with a fingernail. "You didn't even run the air support operation - you delegated that to a second lieutenant with no tactical flight or command experience. A ground operations officer who has never logged any flight hours."

Dolphin met Irons' steady gaze. He had been told she preferred eye contact. "Aye, Captain." Behind him, Commander Pepper cleared his throat.

"I also heard about your conversation with Lieutenant Mitchell. You pulled rank on a fellow first lieutenant using the 'black uniform' gag - is that correct, Lieutenant Dolphin?"

"Aye, Captain." Dolphin maintained eye contact. Irons was an intimidating woman - as intimidating as anyone he had ever met. But Dolphin had faced down hostile audiences - he had spent years as the most reviled man in the Federation. He heard the giant commander clear his throat again - and catch his breathing. Dolphin's curiosity was aroused. Irons had a reputation as a disciplinarian, but she was no fool and he had followed procedure to the letter. There was a curious glint in her eye.

"And how long have you worn the black uniform, Lieutenant?"

"I put it on about 20 minutes before transporting over from the Enterprise." Dolphin knew Irons was well aware of this. Behind him, he heard the giant commander catch his breath again, almost a sob.

"And exactly when were you promoted to First Lieutenant?"

"This morning, your honor. The second full pip came with the uniform."

Pep simply couldn't hold it any longer. He nearly came unglued with repressed laughter.

Irons broke into a smile as well, then chuckled quietly. She stepped forward and put her left hand on Dolphin's chest. "Very fine first command, Lieutenant. You and Lieutenant Tauk are the bright spots in what has been a disastrous day." She tapped his chest with a finger.. "Don't be too hard on Ensign Sun - he belongs to Lieutenant Carrera's department. But I suppose I don't need to tell you that, do I?" Irons stepped back, then turned toward her office. "Commander, set up an after action review for tomorrow. Lieutenant, get us to Starbase Eleven," she said as she walked into her office.


Pep turned to Lt. Dolphin. "Kenny, you're in command through the end of this shift." Pep and Mlady left the bridge - Mlady giving Dolphin a long and rather strange look before exiting.


Dolphin remained standing next to the captain's chair. He turned back to face the pilot's station. "Ensign Phillips - get some sack time, you're next in this chair." He patted the arm of the captain's chair. "Lieutenant Gamor,"

Gamor had almost welded herself to the most remote corner of the bridge while Dolphin was being grilled.

"Yes sir?"

"You have the con, Lieutenant. Best speed to Starbase Eleven. I will be in the shuttle bay." Dolphin heard Gamor ordering Salazaar to the pilot station. He left the bridge with Ensign Phillips.

2.13

End Notes:

Character:                        Ensign Ethan Phillips (Ethan)
Human Ethnicity:             African American
Additional Species:          Vulcan
Hometown/Homeworld:   Rus, Vulcan
Introduced: Episode         2.13
Age when introduced:      22
Role:                                Flight Team Leader, U.S.S. Hunter

Episode 2.14 - The Director of Ground Operations by Robert Bruce Scott
Author's Notes:

A brief conversation between the U.S.S. Hunter's directors of ground operations and flight operations...

Star Trek Hunter
Episode 2: The Colony of New Hope
Scene 14: The Director of Ground Operations

2.14
The Director of Ground Operations

Pep and Mlady had already vanished from the hallway behind the bridge, which shared deck 8 with a large conference room, the captain's office, captain's stateroom and, at the back of the hall, flanked by turbo-lifts, the ground operations center. Lt. T'Lok Smith and Ensign T'Lon emerged from one of the lifts as Lt. Dolphin and Ensign Phillips neared the back of the hallway. Under their feet they could feel a familiar vibration as the Hunter jumped to warp speed.

"Well, look at the pretty new pilot," T'Lok said lightly. "The scenery just keeps improving on this boat." The two young vulcans were walking with arms linked. If it weren't for the vulcan features and the black Star Fleet JAG uniforms, they might have been teenage surf goddesses - tall, slim, athletic, both with long, straight auburn hair and skin bronzed by a lifetime in the sun. T'Lon's expression, while composed, almost conveyed a sense of long-suffering, while T'Lok's lighthearted smile just looked strange on a vulcan.

"Hello Ethan, Director Dolphin," T'Lok continued.

"Director Smith, Ensign T'Lon," Lt. Dolphin replied, evenly.

T'Lok smiled more broadly. "I wanted to thank you for assigning the air support operation to Tauk."

"It seemed the logical thing to do," Dolphin answered.

T'Lok rewarded the comment with a slight giggle and a dazzling smile. But it was Ensign T'Lon who responded, "Except for his lack of command experience."

Dolphin turned his attention toward T'Lon. "How else is he to obtain such experience?"

Ensign T'Lon raised an eyebrow, then gave a slight nod. 

Lt. T'Lok Smith made an amused noise, then added, "Well he seems quite taken with you, but he belongs to my department. You can't have him."

"I wasn't planning to appropriate your assistant director, Lieutenant," Dolphin responded.

"See that you don't," T'Lok responded with a look of mock seriousness, then smiled again, "Good evening gentlemen." She and T'Lon turned to enter the ground operations center.

Ethan Phillips managed to mumble something that sounded almost like "good evening."

T'Lok released T'Lon's arm and turned back just as T'Lon entered the ground ops center. "Oh, Mr. Dolphin, if you would like a drink after duty, I will be in the directors lounge."

"That would be agreeable," Dolphin heard himself say, and vaguely wondered why he was talking like a vulcan. With a mixture of amusement, admiration and chagrin he realized T'Lok had provoked him into flirting with her - a half-vulcan less than half his age - probably not much older than his oldest daughter. 

"She must be one hell of an interrogator," Dolphin mumbled to himself and was surprised to hear "Yes, she is," in answer. He had completely forgotten that Ensign Phillips was still standing next to him.

"I have to go to the shuttle bay - up?" he asked, more to cover his momentary confusion than out of need for direction.

Ethan Phillips gestured to the nearest turbo lift. "Yes sir. I'll take the other one - I'm going down to my quarters."

"Thank you. Good night Mr. Phillips."

"Good night, sir."

2.14

Episode 2.15 - Grounded by Robert Bruce Scott
Author's Notes:

Lt. Dolphin repremands junior staff for policy violations during the rescue effort on the Colony of New Hope...

Star Trek Hunter
Episode 2: The Colony of New Hope
Scene 15: Grounded

2.15
Grounded

Chief Guth was not happy. He had completed the post flight check and maintenance on the wagon and was ready to return to his quarters - this was not his regular shift. Ensign Sun Ho Hui was neither anxious nor bored. As long as he was in the shuttle bay, he might as well check out all of the consoles to ensure they were working properly. Justice Irons had told them to expect Lt. Dolphin in twenty minutes. It actually took only thirteen.

Guth came to attention as Dolphin entered the shuttle bay. Sun was not as certain of the lieutenant's expectations, but took his cue from the chief flight specialist - he locked the console he had been working on and came to attention. He knew how to respond to Dr. Carrera, but Dr. Dolphin was famous for not liking hybrids. Sun wasn't really certain why.


"Ensign Sun, did you follow recommended protocol while providing air support today?"

"Yes, sir?" Sun answered, not knowing where this was going.

Chief Guth had a good idea where Dolphin was going and did not like it. He had done some fine flying and was not feeling apologetic about it. "Sir.." he started

"As you were, Chief, my issue is with Ensign Sun." Dolphin had a warm sound to his voice, but there was a steely sound underneath. Guth really didn't want to get off to a bad start with the new director of his department.

"Ensign, you do recall that I assigned command of the wagon to you," Dolphin continued.

"Yes sir," Sun answered, still not really following.

"As mission commander, were you responsible for all activities onboard from beginning to end of mission?"

"Yes sir.." Sun was beginning to understand what the issue was.

"And during the mission, was the internal inertial dampener manually adjusted?"

"Yes sir.." Sun's features registered a dawning understanding.

"Please answer my first question again, Mr. Sun"

"Sir, I believe I failed to follow protocol during this mission. I allowed the inertial dampener to be adjusted and the fly-by to be conducted manually."

"Thank you, Mr. Sun. Lieutenant Tauk brought your oversight to my attention from the flight telemetry. I am not entering a reprimand for you at this time. But as Director of Flight Operations, I am grounding you from flight missions on the wagon, the interceptors, the tactical unit and the main bridge until you complete the written recertification exams for all these vehicles including the Hunter itself. We'll forgo the practical exams - I know you can fly. What I need to be certain of is your grasp of protocol. Complete them on your own time - and do so soon. I would like you to be requalified before your next shift on bridge duty, which I believe is in four days. I prefer not to enter this on your record."

"Understood, sir,"

"Dismissed, Ensign."


Dolphin turned to his pilot. "Chief.. Flight.. Specialist.. Dewayne.. Guth.." He pronounced each word slowly, with pauses for emphasis - then looked surreptitiously over his shoulder to verify that Ensign Sun had left the shuttle bay. "Give me a tour of the wagon, Chief."

Guth, braced for a reprimand, was taken off guard. "Sir?"

"I haven't actually flown one of these - except in simulation."

Guth walked Lt. Dolphin around the uparmored shuttle, then inside, "Two brig units port midship, three starboard, open passage between them connecting the rear operations staging area to the flight operations booth in the fore," he said as they walked inside the craft.

"Pop the stick for me, Guth," said Dolphin as they reached the flight ops booth.

Guth sat in the pilot seat, touched a control and reached under the console to pull the flight operation stick out and rotated it 90 degrees into the upright, operating position.

"When are you to use manual flight control?" Dolphin asked.

"During any operation in which tolerances are beyond computer control or when the computer is non-functional," Guth responded.

"And was the computer functional when you dropped altitude for your fly-by?"

"Yes, sir.."

Dolphin kept his voice quiet and friendly, "Please explain exactly how the fly-by operation was outside of computer control tolerances."

Guth thought for only a second. Dolphin was a test pilot as well. For Guth, honesty had always been the best policy anyway - especially when talking to a fellow pilot. "I wanted to get closer to the buildings than the computer would allow."

"How close?"

"A meter. The computer would not allow less than five meters."

Dolphin deliberately spoke very quietly and calmly. "Eighty eight centimeters, Mr. Guth. You came within eighty eight centimeters of a building at 412 kph with the inertial dampeners reduced. If you had hit that building you would have turned yourself and Ensign Sun into jelly. Furthermore, although you did not know this, Investigator Buttans was inside that building. You would have dropped that building on top of him before he could deactivate the jamming device - in the basement of that building - and as well as destroying the wagon, killing Buttans, Sun and yourself, you would have made it impossible to rescue the ground operations team and the command staff. You wanted to pass by 100 centimeters at 400 kph - correct?"

Guth's eyes had widened as he realized just how badly things could have gone.
"Yes sir," he responded.

"So you were out of your personal tolerances by more than five percent. If you had set the computer for a fly-by at five meters, at 300 kph, what would the tolerance be?"

"Less than one-thousandth of one percent," Guth responded.

"Chief, you've been a Star Fleet pilot for nearly fifteen years. You reached the top of the non-comm grades years ago. Have you ever considered going to OCS?"

"Not really, sir. I never really wanted to be an officer. I just want to fly."

"I came in as a civilian test pilot," Dolphin replied. "I had to go through 6 months of Officer Candidate School to obtain clearance to fly the most experimental birds - stuff I can't even tell you about. But you would love them - there are some amazing new birds coming out of Utopia Planitia. Chief, you're my top pilot. I have to rely on you to set the example for the rest of the department. I can't let this go. I am entering a reprimand on your record and grounding you from operating the wagon until you recertify - both written and practical. I know interceptor pilots prefer to fly stick - and they have that option during combat. But this wagon is not an interceptor."

Understood, sir." Guth felt oddly relieved. He had also heard stories about Dolphin's dislike for hybrids - Guth was evidently part trill - he shaved his head to reveal the spots - which created a subtle effect against his dark skin - an inheritance from his African-American ancestors. Lt. Dolphin actually seemed to care about his people and after a lifetime of encountering prejudice from both humans and trills, Guth did not detect any hint of prejudice from his new department director.

"All right, Mr. Guth - get some sack time. I will leave it to you to explain your error to the other pilots - so they are never tempted to do the same." Dolphin stood up and walked to the back of the wagon, paused and turned before walking off the rear plank, "That was some pretty fancy flying, down there, Guth."

Guth smiled, "Thank you, sir."

"Don't ever do it again."

2.15

End Notes:

Chief Flight Specialist Dewayne Guth is half human (African American), half trill. His last name rhymes with "Booth". I named him after the American physicist, Alan Guth. Dewayne has a great future ahead of him...

Episode 2.16 - Ivonovic Trapped by Robert Bruce Scott
Author's Notes:

2.15 is the final segment of Chapter 2 - The Colony of New Hope.

Next up is Chapter 3 - Breakfast Serial

Star Trek Hunter
Episode 2: The Colony of New Hope

Scene 16: Ivonovic Trapped


2.16

Ivonovic Trapped


Emory Ivonovic paced in his very cramped brig cell like an impatient silver fox. The cell was designed to meet the needs of a single occupant - barely. He did not know whether the transponder embedded in his hip bone could be read from the middle of this Federation brig. At least the transponder had not been removed. An occasional, mildly painful pulse let him know it was still active. 


This day had been a disaster and in no small part thanks to the failure of his legal team. He had no idea why they had allowed that little Star Fleet hellion to slip in a charge under the Federation Charter, but he was determined they would pay for that error. His plans had been set back by years, if not scuttled entirely.


This tiny brig cell had barely room for Ivonovic to turn around. The waste receptacle was a rather rude contraption that pulled down like a seat from the wall. For some reason, the back wall appeared to be padded. On a hunch, Ivonovic backed into it and the brig’s gravity system, reading his movement, shifted the gravity so that he was now laying on it and looking up, out of the transluscent door of his cell - not a force field. This brig was desinged for very short-term transport. He doubted Star Fleet regulations would allow him to be held in this chamber for more than a few days at most. Unless they were taking him somewhere within a few days’ journey, they would have to let him out - at least for exercise.


There was no way for Ivonovic to be certain of a rescue at this moment. But his captors would need to move him through a starbase or take him to Earth to face the Tribunal. There would be opportunities. Given his connections and deep knowledge of the consortium and the leverage he was holding over them, he was fairly confident his dangerous, if somewhat unpredictable associates would want him alive and not in the hands of the Federation justice system. At least, not yet. These black-uniformed Star Fleet freaks had no idea what they were up against.


2 - The Colony of New Hope

Episode 3.1 - Breakfast on the U.S.S. Challenger by Robert Bruce Scott
Author's Notes:

Lt. Lezra Thune receives a surprise from her husband over breakfast...

Star Trek Hunter
Episode 3: Breakfast Serial
Scene 1: Breakfast on the U.S.S. Challenger

3.1
Breakfast on the U.S.S. Challenger

Lezra Thune had gotten up just to have breakfast with her husband. They were assigned to different shifts this month and this was his shift. She tossed her hair up in a bun, revealing the subtle spots running down the sides of her head and neck, splitting to form two lines toward her breasts and a wider stripe of spots down her back. They were not as pronounced as those on a trill - Lezra was half trill and half human. But the spots were fascinating to her husband, which was refreshing to her. It wasn’t uncommon for her to receive disapproving glances from humans or trills - even in Star Fleet - even here on the U.S.S. Challenger - a deep space vessel where everyone knew everyone else in a crew that numbered less than 180. Mrs. Thune usually wore her hair down, which, along with her uniform, generally covered her spots.

John Thune stepped up behind his wife, wrapped his arms around her, kissing her neck. Then, as she relaxed back into him, he plunged a knife deep into her neck, severing her spine with sudden strength. He had no idea where the knife came from - he stared at it in deep confusion as his wife’s lifeless body slumped to the floor - then just as suddenly he plunged the knife again and again into his own heart - a look of blank horror on his face as he collapsed to the floor, still stabbing himself.

The Challenger’s life sensors, reading the sudden change in their lifesigns, set off the ship’s klaxons, sending the ship immediately to red alert. Within a minute the Thunes were both beamed directly to the ship’s medical bay - but it was too late for both of them. Both were damaged beyond revival - they had died almost before they had hit the deck.

3.1

End Notes:

Character:                        Lieutenant Lezra Thune (Lezra)
Human Ethnicity:              German American
Additional Species:          Trill
Hometown/Homeworld:   Duluth, Minnesota, Earth
Introduced: Episode         3.1
Age when introduced:      28
Role:                                 Surgery Team Leader, U.S.S. Challenger, Murder Victim

Character:                       Flight Engineer John Thune (John)
Human Ethnicity:             African American
Additional Species:         N/A
Hometown/Homeworld:   Eden, Cun Ling
Introduced: Episode         3.1
Age when introduced:      31
Role:                                 Flight Engineer, U.S.S. Challenger, Murder Victim

Episode 3.2 - Landing Plans by Robert Bruce Scott
Author's Notes:

The U.S.S. Hunter's Department of Fligh Opertions are given a directive...

Star Trek Hunter
Episode 3: Breakfast Serial
Scene 2: Landing Plans

3.2
Landing Plans

The U.S.S. Hunter’s flight operations department were seated around a long, curving teak table in the large conference room behind the bridge. The table followed the shape of the room. The department director, Lt. Kenneth Dolphin, sat at one end of the table along with his assistant director, 2nd Lt. Gaia Gamor. The command staff - Captain Minerva Irons, Commander David Pepper and Lt. Commander Mlady - were at the other end. The flight team - Flight Specialists Winnifred Salazaar, Dih Terri and Joey Chin along with Chief Flight Specialist Dewayne Guth - headed by Ensign Ethan Phillips, and the navigation team - Navigators Johanna Imex and Eli Strahl - were seated around the table. It was the first departmental meeting since the Flight Operations Director position had finally been filled after being vacant for nearly two years.


Pep was holding forth. “Non-emergency landing protocol for this boat is for the platform and tactical units to separate and land independently. The wagon and the interceptors are also to land independently and to be placed for optimal access depending on ground operation and bunking plans. We’ll be landing on the largest island on Ocean and we’ll be parked for three weeks shore leave. Coming in, I want to give our hosts a nice air show - Hunter..”

The boat’s holographic avatar - in the form of an older man with a white lab coat and a gray beard - appeared in miniature standing on the table - only 6 inches tall. The holographic emitters transformed the tabletop into an island with red-streaked white beaches and reddish ocean waves lapping at its edges. At this scale, the six-inch-tall man towered over several low buildings near the beach. “You will approach from the west, flying in out of the afternoon sun,” Hunter said, pointing toward a corner of the ceiling. Tiny versions of the separated tactical unit and platform of the U.S.S. Hunter, along with the wagon and two interceptors almost too small to be seen, swooped down from the ceiling in diamond-slot formation and maintained formation as they made three passes around the conference table, spiraling inward with each pass to approach the landing zone.

Pep continued, “Wayne and Winnie will fly the interceptors. Ethan will fly the wagon. Gaia has the tactical unit and the maneuvers and simultaneous landing will be coordinated by Director Kenny.” As he said this, the emitters changed the scene to enlarge the landing zone and depict the five flying units landing simultaneously on marked locations on the tarmac. “The piece-de-resistance - a simultaneous landing,” Pep concluded. The hologram faded, leaving the 6-inch tall, antique looking holographic avatar standing alone on the antique teak table.


The miniature old man looked right, then left, then vanished with an unnecessarily comic puff of virtual smoke.


Winnifred Salazaar spoke up, “so we’ll link our flight computers to the bridge pilot console?”

Justice Irons cleared her throat, then said, “It will be a manual landing, Mr. Salazaar.”

The entire department swiveled to look at Lt. Dolphin, seated at the other end of the table. Dolphin was grinning ear to ear. “A simultaneous manual landing…” Dolphin continued, then with a pause for emphasis: “Visual Flight Rules.”

While no one actually groaned, there was an audible sigh as the air was let out of nearly everyone in the department.

Dih Terri found her voice: “I thought manual operation - except for interceptors - was only if the computer is down or the mission outside computer tolerance..”

Lt. Dolphin smiled even more broadly. “There is another condition under which manual flight and VFR are allowed… Gaia…”

Lt. Gamor continued, “Training. You never know when you might have to fly stick with no instruments. You need to be good at it.”

Dolphin continued, “And good only happens with training. Okay - pilots to your birds, set them up for simulation. I will coordinate from the bridge flight simulator in the shuttle bay. The rest of you may return to your duty stations or to your previously scheduled activities…”

3.2

End Notes:

Character:                        Flight Specialist Dih Terri (Terri)
Human Ethnicity:             N/A
Additional Species:          Trill
Hometown/Homeworld:   Trantor, Cun Ling
Introduced: Episode         3.2
Age when introduced:      24
Role:                                 Pilot, U.S.S. Hunter

Character:                        Flight Specialist Joey Chin (Joey)
Human Ethnicity:             Chinese American
Additional Species:          Vulcan
Hometown/Homeworld:   Ba Sing Se, Cun Ling
Introduced: Episode         3.2
Age when introduced:      20
Role:                                 Pilot, U.S.S. Hunter

Character:                        Navigator Johanna Imex (Jo Jo)
Human Ethnicity:             Tutsi
Additional Species:          Vulcan
Hometown/Homeworld:   Mbuye, Rwanda, Earth
Introduced: Episode         3.1
Age when introduced:      35
Role:                                 Navigator, U.S.S. Hunter

Character:                        Navigator Eli Strahl (Eli)
Human Ethnicity:             N/A
Additional Species:          Betazoid, Trill
Hometown/Homeworld:   Eden, Cun Ling
Introduced: Episode         3.1
Age when introduced:      21
Role:                                 Navigator, U.S.S. Hunter

Episode 3.3 - Captain Summers by Robert Bruce Scott
Author's Notes:

The captain of the U.S.S. Challenger asks for help from the Ground Operations Department of the U.S.S. Hunter...

Star Trek Hunter
Episode 3: Breakfast Serial
Scene 3: Captain Summers

3.3
Captain Summers

Lt. T’Lok Smith, 2nd Lt. Tauk, and Investigators Lynhart Shran and Buttans Ngumbo were seated in the captain’s office across the room from Justice Minerva Irons, who sat primly at her desk, her right arm still in a sling. Everyone’s attention was focused on a large viewer on the rear wall. A bearded Star Fleet captain in a red uniform dominated the screen. “Captain Irons,” he was saying, “you might not remember me, but I served on the Intrepid when you were the captain of that vessel. I was just an ensign. Seeing you in command of a Star Fleet vessel again is like a trip back through time. It must have been almost 30 years ago and you haven’t aged a day.”

“If only that were true, Captain Summers," Irons replied. "Unfortunately, it’s the changes on the inside that really take their toll. I do remember a mischievous, bearded young ensign… you wear your years well, Captain. I understand you have ordered your ship stopped and have delayed your visit to Starbase Eleven.”

“I have quarantined the Challenger, Captain," said the captain of the U.S.S. Challenger. "We had what appeared to be a murder/suicide this morning. But when I reported it to Star Fleet it appears what we’re dealing with is a serial killer. I don’t want to risk your investigators coming aboard, but we don’t have experienced detectives on our crew. I understand your investigative team is exceptional. I would like to have my first officer, Commander Lashonda Williams, coordinate with your team to investigate. The killer must still be on board. I know every person on this crew and since we have been on patrol near the Beta Quadrant, well outside Federation territory, there is no way any of them could have been involved in the other murders.”

“We will help however we can," said Irons. "T’Lok?”

T’Lok smiled, provoking a look of genuine surprise from Captain Summers - he had probably never seen a smiling vulcan before. “Lieutenant Tauk heads my investigations team." She turned to address her assistant director. “Tauk - I will want daily briefings and you are to contact me immediately if you feel it is needed. Since you can’t board the Challenger, you can work from the Ground Ops Center.”

Justice Irons spoke up. “We can do better than that. I will have my old office at the resort cleared out and your team can set up shop there.”

2nd Lt. Tauk stood up. “Captain Summers - thank you for reaching out for my team. We will be very happy to have you in our debt.” The little ferengi wore a mischievous grin.

Summers laughed, then said, “Rule of Acquisition 111… Treat people in your debt like family; exploit them..”

“I heard you have had extensive dealings with my people,” Tauk said.

“There is a certain honor and directness about the ferengi I have come to admire, Lieutenant. I’m sure you’re the right man for the job.”

3.3

End Notes:

Character:                        Captain DeForest Summers (Forest)
Human Ethnicity:              English American
Additional Species:          NA
Hometown/Homeworld:   Nashville, Tennesee, Earth
Introduced: Episode         3.3
Age when introduced:      49
Role:                                 Captain, U.S.S. Challenger

Episode 3: Breakfast Serial by Robert Bruce Scott
Author's Notes:

Introduction to Episode 3: Breakfast Serial by Lt. Kenneth Dolphin, Ph.D., Director of Flight Operations, U.S.S. Hunter

Star Trek Hunter
Episode 3: Breakfast Serial

3 - Breakfast Serial

“The underlying problem in ethics is a failure to think things through. A true ethical system is not a set of rules, but a dedication to thinking through all the implications and potential consequences of our actions. People are always trying to invent simple lists of rules to follow and those simple rules are invariably hopelessly inadequate…”

Dr. Kenny Dolphin,
The Morality of Hybridizing Intelligent Species.





Crew of the U.S.S. Hunter:   (Ship's Interactive Holographic Avatar - Hunter)

At-Large Appellate Justice, Captain Minerva Irons
Chief Executive Officer - Commander David Pepper
Chief Operations Officer - Lt. Commander Mlady


Medical Director - Lt. Commander Tali Shae

     Asst. Medical Director - 2nd Lt. Jazz Sam Sinder

          Ensign Chrissiana Trei

                 Forensic Specialist - Midshipman Tolon Reeves

                 Forensic Specialist - Midshipman Sif

                 Emergency Medical Hologram - Dr. Raj

                 Tactical Medical Hologram - Dr. Kim


Director of Flight Operations - Lt. Kenneth Dolphin

    Asst. Flight Dir. - 2nd Lt. Gaia Gamor

               Navigator Johanna Imex

               Navigator Eli Strahl

           Ensign Ethan Phillips

                Chief Flight Specialist Dewayne Guth

                Flight Specialist Dih Terri

                Flight Specialist Joey Chin

                Flight Specialist Winnifreid Salazaar


Director of Ground Operations - Lt. T'Lok Smith

     Asst. Ground Ops Dir. - 2nd Lt. Tauk 

               Investigator Lynhart Shran

               Investigator Buttans Ngumbo

         Ensign T'Lon 

              Tactical Specialist Jarrong

              Tactical Specialist Belo Rys

              Tactical Specialist Belo Garr

              Tactical Specialist Belo Cantys


Director of Engineering - Lt. Sarekson Carrera

     Asst. Engineering Dir. - 2nd Lt. Moon Sun Salek

            Midshipman Tammy Brazil

               Transporter Engineer K'rok

          Ensign Sun Ho Hui

              Flight Engineer Yolanda Thomas

              Flight Engineer Thomas Hobbs

              Flight Engineer Tomos

              Flight Engineer Kerry Gibbon

End Notes:

I begin each Episode (Chapter) with a quote that presages the action. I also provide a list of the crew - that list will change as characters come and go. Over a 3 year period, there will be many crew changes. Thanks! rbs

Episode 3.4 - Landing Assignments by Robert Bruce Scott
Author's Notes:

The Flight Operations Department are given their final landing assignments...

Star Trek Hunter
Episode 3: Breakfast Serial
Scene 4: Landing Assignments

3.4
Landing Assignments

Five days of training on the U.S.S. Hunter went by as though they were only five minutes - but with new details each day to add to the stress… Starbase Eleven orbited Ocean - a world so-named because it was almost entirely ocean. This made it a superb resource for a starbase - no shortage of water, plenty of raw ore on moons and asteroids scattered throughout the solar system and the small number of islands on the planet’s southern hemisphere were superb for growing food.

The family that operated the entire multi-island farming complex and the resort on the main island was a large, extended family of vulcans and humans - headed by four vulcan/human hybrid siblings - a son and three daughters of Justice Irons. Their father, the judge’s ex-husband, also lived on the island along with his third wife and several more children. And grandchildren and great-grandchildren. And great, great grandchildren..

Which made the island an unusually welcoming place for Justice Minerva Irons and her crew. Accommodations on the Hunter were cramped and spare, so whenever possible, the crew would spend time planetside. Having the Hunter landed on the island a short walk away from the resort - and the beach where a number of personnel had chosen to camp out under the stars - allowed for a minimal crew to be aboard at any given time.


Thirty minutes before the Hunter reached orbit, Lt. Kenneth Dolphin gathered the pilots in the shuttle bay for a final standing briefing. “Okay, the last few dry runs went rather well. But simulating manual operation is pretty much a contradiction in terms. The simulators will get you close, but they’re not the real thing. VFR means, among other things, reducing your inertial dampeners. I don’t want you to do that until you’re slowed to 30 kph - that will be about two minutes before we come in for final landing. Feel the wind. If anything feels wrong, switch back to computer control with full dampeners. Trust your guts.”

“Don’t worry boss, we’re ready,” Chief Flight Specialist Dewayne Guth said.

“I see Investigator Shran has been contaminating my department too,” Dolphin observed, dryly, provoking some quiet laughter. “Final assignments - here are your flight-mates… Commander Pepper will be in the chair looking over my shoulder on the main bridge. Lieutenant Gamor - Captain Irons will be on the tactical unit with you.”

“No pressure at all,” 2nd Lt. Gaia Gamor quipped, earning a nervous laugh from the other pilots.

“Since the tactical unit doesn’t actually have windows, you can’t use visual flight rules. So keep your inertial dampeners on full and fly it by the numbers,” Dolphin said.

“Aye Sir,” Gamor replied.

“Ethan, you will have Dr. Tali Shae and Mlady on the wagon,” Dolphin observed his ensign suppressing a shiver - Ensign Phillips was terrified of Mlady. And he wasn’t the only one. Several crew members were fascinated by the boat’s minuscule operations officer and her catlike grace. To others, her presence was deeply disturbing - like standing too close to a leopard. “Director T’Lok Smith will fly second seat with Salazaar,” Dolphin continued, suppressing a smile as Winnifred Salazaar made a slight fist bump and mouthed a silent “Yes” to himself - T’Lok was wildly popular with the crew. “And Director Carrera will ride second seat with you, Guth.”

Chief Guth raised his eyebrows. “I don’t think he’s forgiven me for getting Ensign Sun into trouble.”

“Well, you have to bury the hatchet at some point,” Dolphin continued.

“If he’s riding second seat in the interceptor, the only place for him to bury a hatchet would be in the back of my skull,” Guth observed - provoking much needed laughter among the pilots.

Dolphin brought his hands together with a loud clap. “Okay - pilots to your stations - Straighten Up!”

The pilots clapped loudly twice in unison and shouted, “Fly Right!”

3.4

Episode 3.5: Surfing by Robert Bruce Scott
Author's Notes:

The crew of the U.S.S. Hunter go surfing on the ocean planet appropriately named Ocean...

Star Trek Hunter
Episode 3: Breakfast Serial
Scene 5: Surfing

3.5
Surfing

Less than forty minutes after a perfect, simultaneous landing on the largest island on Ocean, a third of the Hunter’s crew - led by several who had the ability to pull rank - were out of uniform, in swimwear and on the beach. Several were paddling surfboards out onto the waves. Lt. T’Lok Smith and Ensign T’Lon were already out off the north shore seeking 40’ waves. They had grown up together in Hawaii and were expert surfers.

Dr. Sarekson Carrera, who had grown up in Chile and was also an expert surfer, was on the west shore beach giving basic refresher surfing lessons to an odd collection of engineers, doctors, pilots and three of T’Lon’s tactical team. It was really more of a run-through of safety issues. People who worked with T’Lok, T’Lon and Carrera were generally eager to take advantage of their surfing expertise. As a result, surfing had become a favorite sport among the Hunter’s crew and this was not their first layover at Starbase Eleven.

Kenny Dolphin had grown up in Rhode Island and had never surfed. That inexperience, plus his height and age made him uniquely awkward. For several hours he failed and failed and failed again to get up on waves that his pilots and navigators surfed effortlessly. At the end of the day, exhausted and waterlogged, he had only managed to stand on the board for a few seconds.

***

2nd Lt. Tauk worked with his investigators from the ground operations center on the Hunter until the landing was completed. Then they moved into Justice Irons’ old office in the beach resort, which was a dramatic improvement - open, spacious, loaded with communications equipment with multiple screens, computers and workstations much more powerful than would be available on the Hunter. The office was on the second floor with a broad balcony and moveable glass walls that allowed an open view of much of the rest of the Hunter’s crew, enjoying life on the beach. The little ferengi was no fan of seawater and was soon absorbed in his task.

With help from Investigator Buttans Ngumbo, he plotted an enormous map showing the progression of identified incidents. “Started on the Trill homeworld,” Tauk said. “Ngumbo - that’s victim zero,” he enlarged an image of a dark-haired man with leopard spots on the sides of his neck. “Roger Sass - half human, half trill. Murdered by his wife, Linda Sass.”

“And she then killed herself?” Buttans asked.

“No - that’s a new feature to these incidents. It started after the third incident,” Tauk said. “She was caught literally red-handed and requested a telepathic scan, which was conducted by a vulcan named Savar. They both lost consciousness immediately. He recovered. She died within minutes.”

“You said that the murder/suicides started after the third incident - what about incidents two and three?” Buttans asked.

“Similar to the first. In one case the telepath was a betazoid, in the other it was another vulcan. In both cases the telepaths experienced tremendous pain and the murderer died immediately. After that, the various detective services got their act together, recognized they were investigating a serial killer and put out alerts to not use telepathic scans,” Tauk said. “And the killer immediately changed M.O. The fourth incident was on Deep Space 9 and that was the first of the murder/suicides. It took two of those to verify that it was the breakfast killer and not an outlier.”

“Breakfast killer?” Buttans asked.

Investigator Lynhart Shran had been in communication with the U.S.S. Challenger, downloading every bit of evidence they could send and interviewing various crew members using the viewer at his workstation. He turned around and said, “Killer’s signature. Every incident involved a married couple - one human, one part human/part trill. The human spouse is the killer and then commits suicide. Every one of them takes place over breakfast.”

“We have the outline now,” Tauk said. “T’Lok,” the communicator embedded in the young lieutenant’s chest keyed his voice to Lt. T’Lok Smith’s communicator.

“Go ahead Tauk,” T’Lok responded. “Are you planning to take me off my beach?”

Tauk was excited, “We have an outline and a strategy. It would be easier if you come to us. This is a nice office. By the way - we saw you and T’Lon out on those big waves - you looked good out there..”

T’Lok laughed - Tauk could hear the warmth in her voice. “We’ve had a great day out here while you and your men have been hard at work. I’ll be there in a few minutes. Make that 30. Go ahead and order some food and let your guys hit the beach.”

3.5

Episode 3.6 - Evening on Ocean by Robert Bruce Scott
Author's Notes:

The crew settle in for a beautiful night on the beach - but it's not such a beautiful evening for Lt. Tauk...

Star Trek Hunter
Episode 3: Breakfast Serial

Scene 6: Evening on Ocean


3.6

Evening on Ocean


Small cooking fires had started up on the beach and many of the Hunter’s crew were bunked outside under the stars. A few were stationed on the Hunter’s platform unit at all times, and the pilots bunked either in the open or in small tents near the tactical unit, the wagon and the two interceptors. Others stayed in the resort. The Hunter’s first and second officers, Commander David Pepper and Lt. Commander Mlady, made the rounds together, visiting each group on the beach. 


Lt. Kenneth Dolphin also made the rounds, taking time to take a drink or eat a morsel with each of the groups. He crossed paths a few times with Lt. T’Lok Smith and Ensign T’Lon, who were doing the same, together, sometimes walking with arms linked. They had been friends since early childhood.


Kenny Dolphin parted ways with the young vulcans and found a space not too isolated, but not in anyone’s path to lay down on the beach and look up at the stars. It had been ages since he had felt so much at peace - longer than he could remember. For forty-five years he had lived in New England and New York - never even venturing as far as Pennsylvania. No beaches on that tour - just train rides, hotel rooms and hostile audiences. 


Here he was at age 51 on another planet for the first time in his life. The island was gorgeous, the weather was perfect, warm and comfortable. And there was something about the air that seemed to clear his head. Time seemed to stand still even as the stars moved slowly overhead. He didn’t want to think about anything - just to soak up this moment. 



Lt. Dolphin gradually became aware of Ensign T’Lon not because he heard her or saw her, but rather he felt her mind, wordlessly seeking and receiving permission to join him. She lay down silently next to him. No words or physical contact. They didn’t look at each other. But he was aware of her mind very lightly in contact with his - a wordless presence within arm’s reach, a mental touch, silently sharing the moment with him.


***


When Lt. T’Lok Smith finally joined 2nd Lt. Tauk in the investigations office it was dark outside, Investigators Buttans Ngumbo and Lynhart Shran had left and Tauk had not turned on any lights. He sat in the glow of several surrounding workstations looking quite glum. His mood contrasted considerably with the ebullience T’Lok had heard in the young ferengi’s voice over the communicator only a half-hour previously.


A neat progression was displayed holographically in the center of the room with eight incident markers following a curving line from the Challenger’s current becalmed location in quarantine to a station located near the badlands, to Deep Space 9, to Bajor, to the Trill homeworld, to a science station on a moon circling a planet with a pre-warp civilization and ending with to two locations along the Romulan border where the U.S.S. Vox and the U.S.S. Enterprise had been on patrol.


T’Lok sat down next to Tauk and stared with him at the progression. 


“Looks great, doesn’t it?” Tauk said. “A nice, simple progression.”


T’Lok nodded silently.


“Now watch what happens when I animate it. One second equals one 24-hour day. Run animation.” The computer knew when it was being talked to. The incident markers went dark, then the marker on the Trill homeworld lit up. About a minute later, the marker for the Vox’s patrol station lit up and less than a second later, the marker on Bajor lit up. Nearly a minute later it was Deep Space 9, then less than a second later markers on either side of Bajor lit up simultaneously. The last two markers were the Enterprise’s duty station on the Romulan border then the Challenger - located on separate ends of the chart. They lit up within five seconds of each other.


“Not in order,” T’Lok observed. 


“It isn’t a pattern at all,” Tauk replied. “It’s simply not possible. At top warp it would take at least ten days to get from the Enterprise on the Romulan border to the Challenger just outside this system.”


T’Lok was watching Tauk now. 


“It gets worse,” he said. “Much worse. Display initial set.”


Again, the computer knew when it was being addressed and responded by shrinking the map with the location markers so it displayed the entire United Federation of Planets. In addition the eight red location markers, another nineteen green location markers showed up - five of them around Earth and two on Vulcan.



T’Lok stood up slowly - then, just as slowly sat back down, staring at the display. “Lieutenant, what am I looking at?”


“Seventeen accidents and two missing vessel reports. All involve the death of a married or committed couple - one human, one half-human and half-trill.” Tauk’s voice was as grim as T’Lok had ever heard. “It gets worse - these deaths cover a ten-year span and several of the accidents killed more than the couple involved. And the last two green incidents coincide with the red incidents.”


T’Lok was getting used to bad news. “That isn’t the worst of it, is it?”


“Display Earth only,” said Tauk. The display rapidly shifted until it only showed the revolving Earth. All five incidents were on the eastern seaboard of the North American continent. “Home in on the group.” The continent kept growing. “Two in New York City, one in Providence, Rhode Island. Hartford, Connecticut and the first one in Boston, Massachusetts. Look at the date stamp.”


It took T’Lok a few moments to realize the significance of this information. Her eyes widened - as if they weren’t wide enough already.


“There’s more,” said Tauk. “Four dead in a fire in a breakfast diner. Sixteen dead in a building explosion - during a breakfast ceremony. At least two killers, two different M.O., but the same target populations and same signature. I didn’t find it in every one of these incidents - but most of them.” Tauk put his hands on his knees and leaned forward, speaking more softly. “T’Lok, the trill disapprove of interspecies romance and breeding far more than most Federation member species. There aren’t a lot of half-trill, half-humans running around. Twenty-nine of them, twenty-nine confirmed deaths in ten years. Out of a total population of less than 3,000. That’s about one in every one-hundred and three.”


T’Lok took a deep breath. Tauk had never seen her look so frightened. If a smiling vulcan was just weird, a terrified vulcan was almost infectiously terrifying. Even though T’Lok was only half-vulcan, she was still slightly telepathic and Tauk could occasionally sense her emotions. He could definitely feel her fear now.


“Tauk,” she said, her voice hushed, “this isn’t murder… It’s genocide..”


3.6

Episode 3.7 - A Private Dinner by Robert Bruce Scott
Author's Notes:

Justice Minerva Irons is the matriarch of a vast and powerful family. A small part of that family gathers for dinner at the Irons family plantation on the main island on Ocean...

Star Trek Hunter
Episode 3: Breakfast Serial
Scene 6: A Private Dinner

3.7
A Private Dinner

Justice Minerva Irons was attending a private family dinner - private meaning family members only - it was far from an intimate affair. The only member of Captain Irons’ crew present was her andorian chief medical officer and best friend, Dr. Tali Shae. And since one of Dr. Shae’s nieces was married to one of the Justice’s great grandchildren, she was technically family as well. They sat next to each other and across from Irons’ first husband, an elderly vulcan named Mavar and his current wife, a much younger vulcan named T’mov.

Four of Irons’ children from her first marriage lived on Ocean and were at the table along with their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren and two babies - Irons’ great-great-great-grandchildren. Another child by her first marriage - the youngest - had travelled from Earth for this reunion. Additionally, children from her three other marriages were present - three of them predominately human, one part denobulan and one whose father was half bajoran, half cardassian. And a dozen or so of their descendants.

Mavar’s son by his second marriage and four children by his current marriage also lived on Ocean along with their families - all of whom were present around a number of joined tables with a large serving table inside the open inner ring.

In all, well over sixty people with heritage from nearly two-dozen separate species - all of whom were related by blood or marriage - were seated around this large ballroom. Six generations of an enormous family. While Mavar’s other descendants were exclusively vulcan, Irons’ children were as liberal about interspecies marriage as their matriarch. And every one of Irons’ descendants had inherited whatever blend of genetics that had made Justice Minerva Irons such a remarkable beauty. Similar features on faces from dozens of different species - distinctive features from one species mingling with the next - almost as though a new race were being born out of the combination of many. And these were only that minority of her descendants who had been able to make the journey.

If Irons could be forgiven some vanity about her exceptional beauty, her pride in her massive and extremely diverse brood was equally understandable, evident to all present and a source of amusement. Among her descendants were Star Fleet officers, elected officials, eminent scientists and many, many lawyers and judges.
 

Although she had visited here just a little over a year previously, Irons was concerned about her first husband - he looked much older than when she had last seen him. His current wife, T’mov, spoke up, “You still look entirely unchanged, Minerva.”

Irons replied, “I want to thank you again, T’mov, for opening your home and your lives to my crew and my family.”

“You and your family are my family, Minerva. Your friends are people of good character and their presence welcome. Mavar and I have kept your old rooms in the main building for you in hopes that when you eventually retire, you will return home. It is my selfish wish that you join us sooner rather than later.”

Mavar stretched his neck with some effort. “I near my two-hundredth year and old age has me firmly in its grasp. Given you are only a quarter vulcan, I find your apparently perpetual youth both surprising and surprisingly gratifying.”

Irons looked down at her right arm, still in a sling. “Alas, that youth is not so apparent on the inside. The end of my years is also approaching with dismaying haste.”

“I wasn’t going to ask,” Mavar said, “But from your good doctor’s expression I gather the story is quite amusing…”

“I got into a fist fight with a couple of men,” Irons replied with a faint grin. “I ended up knocking them both out with a gavel and broke my wrist in the process. Tali recommended we let the bone heal itself the old-fashioned way. Apparently my bones are no longer strong enough for sonic-growth/bone replication therapy.”

Mavar raised an eyebrow - the vulcan equivalent of a belly laugh. “A gavel? How appropriate…” Various family members laughed while other vulcans joined in a flurry of eyebrow raising.

“Twenty years ago I would have juggled them like colored balls - well, considering their girth - bowling balls.” Irons’ wry humor was infectious.

Mavar got unsteadily to his feet, provoking everyone else around the tables to rise as well. T’mov handed him a glass containing a sparkling yellow drink made from pineapples that had been harvested from less than a mile away. “You are here. And I am still here. And our families are with us. Do you remember our marriage contract negotiations?”

Minerva Irons smiled at her first husband’s odd reference, wondering where he was going. “Vividly. It is the only time I think I ever saw you nervous.”

“I gave you everything you asked for, a fifteen year marriage contract - non-renewable, nine children, custody arrangements and the requirement that all of our children and their descendants maintain the Irons family name. I had never seen a document like it. Page after page of requirements. Solidly logical, except for one thing. I did not see the logic in my taking your family name as well. The only provision I did not agree to.”

Irons laughed, “Mavar, you might have been able to talk me out of many of those provisions…”

“I’m glad I did not. Over the years I have come to see the wisdom in them. I actually heard it first from a ferengi trader many years ago. He said, ‘Never try to cheat an Irons. When you deal with one of them, you’re dealing with all of them. And they’re everywhere’.” The elderly vulcan managed a slight smile. And then coughed slightly. “So I wanted to take this late date to let you know I have come to agree to all of your terms. A few months ago, I legally changed my name. And now all of my children shall be known as the children of Mavar Irons.”

Dr. Tali Shae lifted her glass. “That is well worth drinking to - family”

Several of the people in the room lifted their glasses as well, filled with various drinks, and echoed her sentiment in several different languages - “Family.”

T’mov assisted her elderly husband back into his chair.

3.7

End Notes:

Character:                        Mavar Irons (Mavar)
Human Ethnicity:             N/A
Additional Species:          Vulcan
Hometown/Homeworld:   Main Island, Ocean
Introduced: Episode         3.7
Age when introduced:      198
Role:                                 Farmer

Character:                        T’Mov Irons (T’Mov)
Human Ethnicity:              N/A
Additional Species:          Vulcan
Hometown/Homeworld:   Vulcana Regar, Vulcan
Introduced: Episode         3.7
Age when introduced:      53
Role:                                 Recreation Facility Administrator

Episode 3.8 - Ivonovic's Defense by Robert Bruce Scott
Author's Notes:

Rear Admiral Samatha Burton arranges for the law firm of Sorek, Brack and Evens to represent Governor Ivonovic...

Star Trek Hunter
Episode 3: Breakfast Serial
Scene 8: Ivonovic's Defense

3.8
Ivonovic’s Defense

Rear Admiral Samantha Burton was not wild over keeping a planetary governor in her brig at Starbase Eleven. The Hunter had beamed him over while in transit to Ocean - the planet around which SB11 orbited. Even though Governor Emory Ivonovic had well known ties to some of the most violent radical movements in the sector, since he had been elected - even if fraudulently - holding him felt uncomfortably to the admiral as though she were holding a political prisoner.

True - his political statements and policies were considered very dangerous precedents to be setting on any federation world, much less one of the original charter worlds and one of Earth’s oldest colonies. But that only increased the danger that imprisoning him could render him a martyr for the reactionary elements who virulently supported him. It had been nearly three hundred years since an open human purist had gained so much political power. Even if the election had been fraudulent, it was clear there was a vast naturalborn movement not only on the Colony of New Hope, but gaining membership and acceptance throughout the Federation.

And it wasn’t limited to humanity. The vulcan naturalborn movement was probably the most dangerous - for nearly a hundred years they had been trying to pry Vulcan and all vulcan colonies away from the Federation and into an alliance with the Romulan Empire. Nearly every humanoid species in the Alpha Quadrant, with the possible exceptions of the denobulans and, unexpectedly, the klingons, had recently seen a resurgence in reactionary racial naturalborn movements and interspecies violence was on the rise throughout the Federation.


Burton had the unenviable task of arranging for Ivonvic’s legal defense. She took a small detail of custody specialists with her to interview the incarcerated governor. Ivonovic had been brought from his cell to a small conference room. A handsome and well-groomed older man, Ivonovic sat in a simple chair at a small, plastic table as though it were the office chair behind his desk in the Planetary Administration Building on The Colony of New Hope. He had clearly used the time in the brig to groom himself carefully and pull his thoughts together.
 

“Governor Ivonovic,” Burton began.

“Admiral Burton,” the governor responded evenly. He was carefully controlling his emotions and paying attention to every detail for a clue how to turn this interview to his advantage. Being graceful under pressure was a critical skill for any politician and Ivonovic had had sufficient time in the brig to smooth his anger and develop a strategy.

“I am charged with organizing your legal defense,” Burton said. “I am not here to interview you on the crime for which you have been indicted or any other crimes of which you are accused or that you may have committed. I have recommended the law firm of Sorek, Brack and Evens, but you may have another preference. Sorek is considered one of the most successful defense attorneys in the Federation. I don’t know him personally, but I have met him on occasion and have seen him argue a few cases within Star Fleet. He is very persuasive.”

“I doubt there is a better lawyer in the Federation,” Ivonovic started.

Burton continued, “I spoke to him this morning. He has been expecting to be called in on this case ever since he became aware of the pending indictment. He has agreed to take your case.”

Ivonovic took a drink of water to conceal his surprise, then smiled. “I greatly appreciate your efforts, Admiral, but I would prefer to be represented by a human, not a vulcan. I would prefer to use my personal attorneys - the Trevor Trust on New Hope Colony.”

Burton was not surprised. The governor was making a tremendous mistake. His own law firm consisted largely of relatives and various yes-men. He could have had one of the greatest orators and legal strategists of the age. He was choosing a small firm of apparatchiks instead.

“That is your choice, Governor. You will not be allowed to communicate with them via subspace radio, but I will pass along your request to them. They should send a representative here to coordinate with you directly and accompany you to Earth.”

Ivonovic smiled. “Tell them I want Joanna and ask her to bring my gray suit.”

3.8

End Notes:

Character:                        Rear Admiral Samantha Burton (Samantha)
Human Ethnicity:              African American
Additional Species:          N/A
Hometown/Homeworld:   Atlanta, Georgia, Earth
Introduced: Episode         3.8
Age when introduced:      59
Role:                                 Station Commander, Starbase Eleven

Episode 3.9 - Sarekson Carrera Commanding by Robert Bruce Scott
Author's Notes:

Dr. Carrera, the U.S.S. Hunter's Director of Engineering, takes the Hunter to Starbase Eleven for updates and retrofits - but the short mission is interrupted...

Star Trek Hunter
Episode 3: Breakfast Serial
Scene 9: Sarekson Carrera Commanding

3.9
Sarekson Carrera Commanding

Dr. Sarekson Carrera, director of the Hunter’s engineering department, sat in the captain’s chair on the bridge of the Hunter with Ensign Ethan Phillips at the helm and Flight Engineer Thomas Hobbs at the weapons and communications console behind the captain’s chair. Chief Flight Specialist Dewayne Guth was piloting the tactical unit. The two interceptors and the uparmored shuttlecraft referred to as “the wagon” that were usually housed within the Hunter would remain on the beach. But it was time for the Hunter itself to go into space-dock for checkup, repairs, retrofits and upgrades.

The liftoffs went smoothly and the tactical unit reconnected to the platform shortly after leaving the atmosphere. 

The Hunter (officially a Prowler class vessel) did not look like any other Star Fleet design. The platform was powered by a single, large nacelle connected to the underside of the saucer section by a thick pylon, which housed the main engineering section. Unlike the traditional roughly cylindrical design, the Hunter’s nacelle was wide and flat, forming a broad foot on which the vessel perched when landing. The saucer section was ovular, and instead of projected forward, was nested and centered over the nacelle. The upper decks were swept back and nested into each other. This design made the ship extremely compact - only a meter taller than the Escort class, shorter along the beam and much narrower, which caused the interior to be cramped and crowded. The smallest, fastest and most nimble of the fleet, the Patrol class was designed for speed and stealth, not comfort. 

The exterior of the ship was covered with a dark material instead of the bright metallic white associated with most Star Fleet vessels. By treaty, Star Fleet had refrained from developing cloaking technology. 

But the Hunter was designed using a more conventional type of camouflage. When the QuickQuiet order was given, power could be reduced to the point that it would barely register even on the most sensitive scanners and the dark color and flowing shape of the hull - as well as the outer layers of materials - were designed to scatter active scans and be nearly invisible to passive scans. This gave the Hunter the ability to lie in wait along shipping lanes and catch pirates at unawares. It also made the Hunter a hard target for anyone trying to beam aboard without a tracking channel from within and a hard target for attempts to upload malicious software. 

These design elements gave the Hunter a uniquely compact and menacing look compared to the more flowing and aesthetically pleasing traditional Star Fleet design. Hunter wasn’t designed to be pretty - it was all business and its business was law enforcement.

Moments after the two parts of the Hunter had rejoined, Dr. Carrera received a voice message from Star Base 11. “Be advised, unauthorized activity in the eastern LaGrange point.” 

Carrera responded immediately. “Shields up. Yellow alert. Mr. Guth, remain on the tactical unit. Star Base Eleven,” the Hunter’s communication system immediately opened a channel. 

“Hunter, this is Star Base Eleven, Lieutenant Casper Yates on watch, go ahead.” 

“This is Sarekson Carrera, commanding. We received your message about unauthorized activity in the eastern LaGrange point and are diverting to investigate.”

“Hunter, be advised, that message did not come from this watch station,” Lt. Yates responded.

Dr. Carrera’s reaction was immediate. “Lieutenant Yates, Mr. Hobbs, please initiate full communication encryption. Mr. Hobbs, Red Alert, activate all weapon systems and load torpedo tubes. Mr. Phillips, bring us about to face the eastern LaGrange point. Lieutenant Yates, I recommend you put the base and all ships in this system on red alert. We have someone attempting to divert us to the eastern LaGrange point. Do you have any assets located there?”

“We have orbital stabilizers located in each LaGrange point, but no other assets,” Yates responded.

Carrera asked, “Can you fly us some support out here?”

“Admiral Burton is unavailable, I have already called for…” The lieutenant on the screen abruptly stood up and a lieutenant commander took his place. 

“This is Lieutenant Commander Holly Nash, standby Hunter.” 

Within less than a minute, twenty interceptors launched from SB11, along with two shuttlecraft. A moment later, one of the space docks opened and the U.S.S. Pierre, a heavily armed escort class vessel, somewhat larger than the Hunter, emerged.

The watch duty officer, Lt. Cmdr. Nash, returned to the screen. “Hunter, be advised the Pierre, under Captain Nichols will investigate. Maintain position, protect Ocean, and await further instructions. I am assigning two interceptors to assist you. You may keep your birds on the ground but I recommend you staff them. Star Base Eleven out.”

Before Dr. Carrera could put in a call to the planet, a small vessel emerged from the space dust and rocks collected in SB11’s eastern LaGrange point and moved at high speed away from the system.

Interceptors were not capable of sustained warp travel, but could make limited warp jumps. Six interceptors jumped and surrounded the shuttle, lacing it with low-power phaser fire and disabling its warp engines before the shuttle could go to warp. 

A moment later the Pierre had the intruding vessel in a tractor beam and was towing it, leaking drive plasma, back to SB11.

“Reduce alert status to yellow,” Carrera ordered, and then waited and watched as the interceptors swept the system, making detailed investigations at both of SB11’s LaGrange points, then spiraling outward to sweep the planet’s LaGrange points, making a wide loop around the planetary system.

“SB11 is hailing us, sir,” said Flight Engineer Thomas Hobbs.

“Put them through, Mr. Hobbs,” Carrera said.

This time it was Rear Admiral Samantha Burton at the watch station. “Well done, Dr. Carrera. It appears you may have foiled a jail-break attempt. My people have swept the system, but we’ll keep a watchful eye for any other intruders. I am cancelling red alert and returning Star Base Eleven to normal operations. You may dock in E Bay when ready. The Pierre’s retrofits have been completed, so they will remain on patrol in the system for now. Burton out.”

3.9

End Notes:

Character:                        Flight Engineer Thomas Hobbs (Tommy)
Human Ethnicity:             Scottish
Additional Species:          Vulcan
Hometown/Homeworld:   Trantor, Cun Ling
Introduced: Episode         3.9
Age when introduced:      56
Role:                                 Flight Engineer, U.S.S. Hunter

Character:                        2nd Lieutenant Casper Yates (Casper)
Human Ethnicity:             Welsh
Additional Species:          N/A
Hometown/Homeworld:   Cardiff, Wales, Earth
Introduced: Episode         3.9
Age when introduced:      22
Role:                                 Watch Officer, Starbase Eleven

Character:                       Lieutenant Commander Holly Nash (Holly)
Human Ethnicity:             Welsh
Additional Species:          N/A
Hometown/Homeworld:   Trantor, Cun Ling
Introduced: Episode         3.9
Age when introduced:      27
Role:                                 Director of Flight Operations, Starbase Eleven

Episode 3.10 - Surf Lesson by Robert Bruce Scott
Author's Notes:

Ensign T'Lon teaches Lt. Dolphin how to surf. The U.S.S. Hunter's investigative group have a break in the case...

Star Trek Hunter
Episode 3: Breakfast Serial
Scene 10: Surf Lesson

3.10
Surf Lesson

Lt. T’Lok Smith briefed Justice Minerva Irons about 2nd Lt. Tauk’s investigations in the early hours before dawn, then went off to find Lt. Kenneth Dolphin. She didn’t have to look for him. She was in constant light telepathic contact with her childhood friend, Ensign T’Lon. They often walked with their arms linked. Most people thought this was just another of T’Lok’s girlish fancies that T’Lon put up with. But T’Lon was a powerful telepath and the physical contact allowed the two to communicate with tremendous speed and depth, pairing T’Lok’s considerable social skills with T’Lon’s keen telepathic observations. It was a tremendous advantage to both of them.

T’Lok knew that Dolphin was with T’Lon, which made him easy to find.
 

Ensign T’Lon awoke with Lt. Dolphin’s arm draped around her. At some point in the night she had gotten cold and pushed up against him for warmth. He was awakening as well. He lifted his arm as she moved to get up, respecting her wish for silence as she walked away, allowing the telepathic contact to fade as gently as it had begun hours earlier. Dolphin had an unusually disciplined mind for a human and she had enjoyed his stillness.

T’Lok touched T’Lon’s arm as they passed, and with that touch they exchanged what would have been an hour of communication between other people.

Dolphin had rolled onto his back and laced his fingers behind his head. T’Lok could sense he had decided to relax a bit instead of launching into his usual morning calisthenics. She could barely feel his mind only because of T’Lon’s night-long mental contact with him - leaving a sort of telepathic silhouette from which T’Lok could discern the outlines of those features of his personality that T’Lon had gently explored.

T’Lok felt a moment’s pity for Dolphin - he was trying to recapture some wonderful sense of peace he had felt last night. She had other plans for him. She had initially come to summon him to the investigations room, but T’Lon had given her a better idea.

Dolphin was looking up at the early morning sky when T’Lok’s face suddenly appeared upside down just above his. He caught his breath - startled that he hadn’t noticed her stepping up to him and kneeling on the sand just above his head. “Did you have a wonderful night, Director?” she asked with a smile.

Dolphin relaxed back into the sand. “Maybe it’s something about this place. Maybe it’s something about being humiliated on a surfboard,” he responded with a smile.

“And maybe it’s something about T’Lon…” T’Lok suggested.

Dolphin closed his eyes and chuckled lightly, “Naw - couldn’t be that.”

“Well, she wants you to get your lazy butt up and join her on the north shore,” T’Lok said lightly. “She’s going to get you up on that surfboard or whack you in the head with it if you won’t learn.”

“I’m afraid she’s set herself an insurmountable task - well - at least the teaching part, not the whacking part. I’m pretty much hopeless on the waves,” Dolphin observed wryly.

“T’Lon’s doctorate is in Physical Education. She even taught Pep how to surf. We had to cut down a door to build a surfboard for him, but she got him up on it. You aren’t too tall to do this - or too old.” T’Lok pressed her hand on Dolphin’s chest and then quickly sprang to her feet. “Come on.. up! We are not taking ‘no’ for an answer..”

Dolphin got to his feet, making some pretense at being arthritic - slightly rueful that it was more true than he preferred to admit. T’Lok put her hand on his shoulder, turned him toward the north shore, pointed toward T’Lon, who was selecting a pair of surfboards. “Off with you now - I have other things to do!” Dolphin took a few steps, dragging his feet, then picked up to a jog.

T’Lok smiled. She deeply enjoyed eliciting playfulness in other people’s behavior. She had been pleasantly surprised to find it in Dr. Dolphin - despite his reputation for prejudice against hybrids. Polite society across the Federation considered this man to be a monster - the man who broke the Federation. At Justice Irons’ recommendation, T’Lok had actually read Kenny Dolphin’s infamous doctoral dissertation on the morality of hybridizing intellligent species. And understood it. She mused that he was the one more often prejudged.


Ensign T’Lon waited at the water’s edge. When Lt. Dolphin arrived, she handed him the board she had selected for him and began preparing hers. He did the same, imitating her behaviors. Once the boards were ready, T’Lon initiated a mind-meld - something Dolphin had never experienced. It was nothing like he had expected. She was transferring a decade of experience and knowledge directly from her muscles to his - from her sense of balance to his. He could almost feel the waves under her feet again and again. His muscles weren’t conditioned by this experience, but they now contained something of the memory of how to do this. Shaping them to actually deliver the fine level of control T’Lon was capable of would take years of exercise and experience.  

T’Lon let the mind-meld fade gently, but maintained telepathic contact as she removed her fingers from his temples. A contact made far stronger by her recent presence in his mind. They paddled out onto the waves and he could sense her instructing him to let his muscles become her muscles - to do without thinking.


And he failed miserably. But on these larger waves - currently cresting about 25’ - it took more strength to pull himself back to the surface. And he failed miserably again. And again..
 

T’Lon brought her board next to his and put her hand on his back. The telepathic connection was incredibly powerful, but she was speaking as well. “You are thinking. As long as you are thinking like you live inside your head, you cannot be part of the wave.” She rapped him on the forehead with her fingertips. “You do not exist in there. That is not where you are.” The words echoed powerfully in his mind - overwhelming him with waves of telepathy - mingling in his mind with hypnotic power. She spread her arms into the sky behind her. “Here you are behind me.” Her hands plunged into the water. “Here you are beneath me.”

Without thinking, responding to her unspoken request, Dolphin plunged his hands into the water as she said, “There I am beneath you.” She put her hand on his chest and brought his hand to hers with a thought. “Here is where the wave is. Feel it coming.” She turned, laid back down on her board and paddled away. He followed, not looking at the wave - there was no need to look at it. He and T’Lon were not separate from the wave - they were just a part of it. The part of the wave that was cutting through it. It thundered through him as they rode through it in tandem - there was no thinking - T’Lon’s powerful mind prevented thought. Just as she was indistinct from the air they breathed and the water they were riding on, he was indistinct from her.

Gradually, Kenny Dolphin became aware of the wave screaming exultantly - ripping through his body - hurting his throat - vibrating in his chest. It was only at the moment they came off the wave that he realized that he was the one screaming at the top of his lungs - laughing, crying, completely overwhelmed with exultation. He could feel T’Lon smiling slightly as she gradually released his mind.

A few people had gathered on the beach to watch, the enormous Commander David Pepper making the others look like children by comparison. Kenny Dolphin could not stop screaming, his voice hoarse, laughing, he had never felt anything like this - this had to be why these people loved surfing so much.

“Go on,” T’Lon said as he paused to take a ragged breath. “You’re not going to be able to get back on these waves again in your current state. But you will remember this feeling tomorrow. Start with the smaller waves and work your way up.”

He wanted to thank her but there was too much going on in his mind for words. There was no way to communicate through the log jam of words. He turned and offered his hand. She took it as soon as it was offered and a rush of gratitude and emotions flowed from him. T’Lon released his hand quickly and almost smiled again. “Too much. Way too much. Wait until you can sort it out and we’ll talk again.” She turned and paddled back out to the waves.
 

Dolphin watched her for a moment, then turned and paddled back toward the shore. He found himself shouting exultantly again as he waded onto the shore. David Pepper was laughing. He placed his enormous hand on Kenny’s chest - covering most of it. “I remember what it felt like - that first time - with her in my mind. She is the best instructor there is. As much philosophy as athletics.”

“I can’t,” Dolphin started, then tried again, “too many words. It’s just - Wooohooo!” he shouted exultantly again, then sagged against his board.

3.10

End Notes:

 

Episode 3.11 - Assassins by Robert Bruce Scott
Author's Notes:

The investigation into the Breakfast Killer takes a significant step forward...

Star Trek Hunter
Episode 3: Breakfast Serial

Scene 11: Assassins


3.11
Assassins


“Lieutenant Dolphin - good first ride - a fifteen meter wave,” came a voice inside Dolphin’s chest. It was Justice Minerva Irons, coming through the communicator embedded in his chest. Dolphin had not gotten used to this device - it was not in general use by Star Fleet - only by some special forces units. Justice Irons had insisted on using it for her entire crew.


“Come to the investigations office, Mr. Dolphin. I’m afraid I’m about to spoil the rest of your day..” Dolphin looked and could see Justice Irons standing on the balcony. He patted Pep on the chest. “Got to run,” he said and took off toward the main building at a jog, stopping only briefly to put up his board. 


It wasn’t until he reached the resort that Dolphin thought it might be a good idea for him to get a shower and exchange his swim trunks for a uniform. Fortunately, someone else had thought about that too and an appropriate uniform was waiting for him. 



Justice Irons, Lt. T’Lok Smith, 2nd Lt. Tauk and Investigator Lynhart Shran were waiting for him in the investigations room. Tauk gave a full briefing and brought everyone up to speed.


Irons was the first to comment. “Great work Tauk.” Irons turned toward her director of flight operations. “Dr. Dolphin, I wanted you to hear this from me first. Look at the date stamp of the incident in the initial group listed as incident #1.”


Dolphin had been paying attention throughout the briefing, but his blood was still singing from riding a 50’ wave. He looked at the date stamp, then looked at it again, and felt all the exultation draining out of him. “Six months to the day after my dissertation was republished by the Harvard press.” Dolphin let out a slow sigh and rolled his head to release tension in his neck. “Another of my intellectual step-children,” he continued grimly.


Tauk spoke up. “It isn’t like that, sir. You didn’t make anyone do these awful things. And I’ve done the math - and I’m not the only one. You’re right by the numbers.”


Justice Irons interrupted. “Be that as it may, this is no longer just philosophy. We have a killer to catch. Tauk, I want you to sit on the initial set and focus on the Challenger. They have been under quarantine for nearly three full days now. I am also concerned that our current killer might use news of the initial set of killings to sow confusion. Enough confusion to cover an escape.”


Tauk looked at his captain, perplexed. “You don’t want to notify Star Fleet about them?”


“Not just yet,” Irons responded. “Leave that to me. It is to our advantage to not tip our hand. I will notify the top of the chain - they need to keep that investigation top secret. To that end, I want you to curtail your inquiries into it. Let’s leave killer #1 up to Star Fleet Intelligence and focus on killer #2.”


Dolphin looked up from his dark thoughts, “Killer… No, we’re not dealing with killers.”


Everyone looked at him blankly. Lynhart Shran’s antennae twitched and went up. T’Lok opened her mouth. She couldn’t read Kenny’s mind, but she could tell he was convinced he was on to something. Irons winked at her.



“Not killers,” Dolphin said. “Assassins.”



“What’s the difference?” Tauk asked.


Shran let his fist fall to the table with a thump. “Motive.”


“Right,” Dolphin continued. “When it was just one, we could posit a sociopath. But two, using the same signature and the first one secret for all this time… #2 is not a copycat. They’re not doing this for political reasons or because they have something against trills in particular. They’re getting paid or they’re getting extorted.”


“And just where did you get your investigative chops, Director?” T’Lok asked lightly.


Shran spoke up. “You didn’t know that Mr. Dolphin’s first career was with the District Attorney’s office in New York?”



Everyone looked at Shran. 


“Tiny universe,” he continued with his gravelly voice. “I was a detective for the New York City police department for six years. I worked for Lieutenant Dolphin… Lieutenant Linda Dolphin - this fellow’s ex-wife.” Shran turned toward Dolphin. “She said you were the worst assistant district attorney in the history of the office. Low conviction rate. Too damn interested in the truth,” Shran concluded.


“They fired me,” Dolphin said. “So I went back to school and got my Ph.D. in philosophy.” 


“And wrote yourself into the history books,” Shran continued, “They should have left well enough alone and put up with your conviction rate.”


“No,” Dolphin replied, “I was miserable in the job. I was about to quit anyway. Anyway - there is a political motive to these killings. But it isn’t the killers - it’s the person, or persons, paying them or extorting them.” 


“Which means you can throw out a bundle of assumptions about these killers,” Shran concluded. “Like the idea they have to be trills, or psychopaths - they might be, but they don’t have to be.”


“And the breakfast signature…” T’Lok followed. “A way to communicate to their employer? To let them know who did the deed so they get paid, or rewarded, or the threat held at bay?”


“So how does all this help us with killer #2?” Tauk asked.


“Killer #2 has to be a powerful telepath,” Irons concluded. “Either a vulcan or a betazoid of unusual ability. A vulcan could use a series of mind-melds to implant instructions - but it would have to be someone with far greater ability than I have ever encountered. And they’re attacking the human partner. Humans have far greater resistance to telepathy than trills. Even T’Lon wouldn’t be able to make a human murder their spouse. Or commit suicide. Unless they already wanted to.” 


Irons continued, “A betazoid of sufficient power and training could manipulate someone’s mind from long distance in real time - they could be in a cloaked ship or even posted on a nearby planet or asteroid. But the same problem applies. It would take someone of far greater ability than I have ever encountered.”



Dolphin took a sudden breath - hissing between his teeth. “Your honor, we’re not looking for a vulcan. Or a betazoid… We’re looking for a hybrid.”


Tauk picked up on the thought. “A genetically enhanced hybrid - vulcan and betazoid - with all of the telepathic abilities of both species genetically enhanced - the dials turned up as far as they can go. It would take all of those things - multiple mind melds, contact from a distance. Behaviors implanted and then triggered. The victim tries to fight against the implanted behaviors, but there is the telepath, working from afar. Let’s say they’re on Deep Space 9 or Bajor - right in the middle of this pattern. Able to reach to both ends,” the little ferengi continued, “Your honor, I think the Challenger can come out of quarantine. Our killer is not on board. And now we have someone to look for - and a place to start looking.”


3.11

Episode 3.12 - Life is a Beach... (Part 1 of 2) by Robert Bruce Scott
Author's Notes:

There is a breakfast ceremony on the beach... And there is a half-trill...
.

Star Trek Hunter
Episode 3: Breakfast Serial
Scene 12: Life is a Beach... (Part 1 of 2)

3.12
Life is a Beach… (Part 1 of 2)

“Thank you for helping out, Chief. You may go back to Ocean if you wish.” The communications system carried Dr. Carrera’s voice from the main bridge to the even more cramped bridge of the tactical unit. Chief Guth was reclined in the pilot’s seat - nothing to do now that the tactical unit was attached to the platform and the re-combined Hunter docked inside Star Base Eleven. But he had enjoyed giving brief guided tours of the tactical bridge to Rear Admiral Burton and several members of her staff.

“Oh I definitely wish, but I’m glad to help, sir,” Guth replied. He made his way from the tactical unit to one of the ports and onto SB11. Before heading to a transporter room, he took the opportunity to get a shower and a shave. Guth shaved his head in part to show his spots. He was defiantly proud of his trill heritage even though the spots barely showed up against his dark skin - a legacy of his African American heritage. Most trills were light skinned - those with ancestry from sunnier climes simply had more spots and some were entirely spotted. This was Guth’s mother’s heritage and his spots also covered his entire body.

Within moments of a much needed grooming, Chief Guth was able to find a transporter room and was soon returned to the beam-in booth at the resort on Ocean. Just in time for breakfast.

The Irons family was accustomed to welcoming the Hunter’s crew and had chosen to wait until the morning of their third day on planet. This allowed the crew to work out a lot of their excitement and hit the waves so they wouldn’t be restless. While the ceremony was designed by vulcans, it was designed with Star Fleet crews in mind.


Chief Flight Specialist Dewayne Guth walked out onto the beach in the pre-dawn hour awash in the sound of a collection of well-tuned vulcans chanting solemnly by torch light. He smiled to himself and remembered when Commander Pepper had treated him and a few other friends to one of the giant first officer’s favorite collections of klingon chants - celebrating the defining moment in klingon mythology - the day the klingons had killed their gods for being petty and troublesome. Which made klingons the most eminently sensible people Guth had ever heard of. Then there were the symbiote birthday celebrations his mother had taken him to, replete with trills chanting stentoriously. And a bajoran religious festival he had witnessed while on Deep Space 9 - complete with chanting bajorans.

“The whole universe is Roman Catholic,” Guth mused to himself. He had heard nearly a dozen different species chanting - for various ceremonial reasons - always in languages that sounded suspiciously like Latin. Even the tiny binars, who communicated in a computer language at tremendous speed that could only be maintained because of the computer implants in their heads, had their own ceremonial chants. Their chanting was very high-pitched and sounded somewhat like Gregorian chants being hummed at a very high speed by a swarm of angry bees. It was an astoundingly irritating sound, but, like most binar communications, mercifully brief - the entire religious ceremony lasting no more than eight seconds.
 

Chief Guth picked up a glass and sniffed its contents. Whatever it was, it smelled fruity, delicious and extremely alcoholic. The alcohol content must have been enough to loosen a vulcan’s tongue - Guth was getting a contact high just from sniffing it. There weren’t that many people present - maybe forty. The chanting came to an end at the very moment of sunrise and in the growing light, Tamar Irons, Justice Irons’ oldest daughter and Ocean’s planetary administrator, raised her glass.

“My family has farmed these islands for nearly four hundred years. Like my ancestors, I have welcomed many, many Star Fleet crews to this beach and this resort. For nearly three hundred years, only Star Fleet and allied services crews have been allowed to visit this place. But you are not just any crew. You are my mother’s crew and many of you have become great friends. We consider you family and I will say to you what I have never said to any other Star Fleet crew: When your service with Star Fleet is over, you may return to this place and we will find homes for you. Or build them. So again I welcome you, not as the crew of a visiting Star Fleet vessel, but as family. Welcome Home!”

Vulcan speeches rarely elicited cheers, but this one elicited serious cheering, cut short only by the desire of the crew to consume the sparkling, fruity and evidently quite powerful beverages they had been supplied with. Guth drained his glass and headed toward the breakfast table. A great buffet had been spread out, offering foods grown on these islands along with some enormous fish that had been smoked for days.
 

“Welcome back, Chief,” Lt. Kenneth Dolphin said, on spotting his senior pilot strolling toward the buffet table. Dolphin started to raise his glass, but suddenly looked down at his hand - something was wrong. He wasn’t holding a glass - he was holding a phaser. He had no idea where it came from. Dolphin suddenly found himself at war with his own right hand. He opened his mouth to scream for help, but no sound emerged.

But his scream did not go unheard. Ensign T’Lon dropped her glass, dodged around a few people, leapt over a table and landed in the sand behind Dolphin. Her hands went to his temples - she was already in telepathic contact with him.

Dewayne Guth was frozen where he stood - not with fear. He was a pilot and was trained to evade phaser fire. Something kept him rooted, screaming silently with terror, unable to move or to make a sound. Lt. T’Lok Smith tackled him at tremendous speed, slamming the pilot to the ground and landing on top of him.

As soon as Guth was no longer available as a target, Dolphin, assisted by T’Lon, finally managed to drop the phaser. He was finally able to scream - he fell to his knees, letting out a short, ragged howl of anguish. Behind him, T’Lon, her fingers still on his temples, had also fallen to her knees, gasping with effort.

Lt. Cmdr. Mlady, who had been largely absent from the beach, raced toward them at lightning speed and retrieved the phaser from the ground, then stepped back, a strange look of frustration on her face.

Aware that the danger was over, T’Lok helped Guth to his feet, then hugged him. Guth was badly shaken and hugged back, still shuddering as the adrenaline that had flooded his system started to go sour.

Dolphin lost consciousness and collapsed back into T’Lon’s arms, his head lolling on her shoulder, eyes wide open, staring at the sky, seeing nothing. T’Lon kept one hand on his face, maintaining telepathic contact, a grimace of pain on her face. Another vulcan knelt in front of them, placing one hand on Dolphin’s face and one hand on T’Lon’s face, helping to stabilize them with her own mind. T’Lon’s expression of pain relaxed and she allowed the other vulcan to support her and the unconscious Lt. Dolphin.

                                                          3.12

End Notes:

Character:                         Tamar Irons (Tamar)
Human Ethnicity:               Chinese
Additional Species:           Vulcan, Betazoid, Trill
Hometown/Homeworld:    Main Island, Ocean
Introduced: Episode          3.12
Age when introduced:       114
Role:                                 Planetary Administrator, Ocean

Episode 3.13 - Life is a Beach... (Part 2 of 2) by Robert Bruce Scott
Author's Notes:

The conclusion to Episode 3. The story continues with Episode 4: Run to Earth.

Star Trek Hunter
Episode 3: Breakfast Serial

Scene 13: Life is a Beach… (Part 2 of 2)


3.13
Life is a Beach… (Part 2 of 2)


Investigator Buttans Ngumbo drained his glass slowly - any attempt to drink it too quickly would have made him choke. His partner and mentor, Investigator Lynhart Shran stood next to him, his arm around the shoulders of his latest girlfriend, Tactical Specialist Belo Cantys. Buttans had no idea why the old man was so popular with the ladies. In the four years Buttans had worked with Shran he had seen the old man in many relationships - all of which ended either quickly or badly - sometimes both. But this time seemed different. Not so much because of Shran as because of Cantys. Shran had saved her life more than once and she clearly had no intention of letting him slip away at this point. Buttans was rather impressed.


His chain of thought was interrupted by a commotion near the buffet table. He saw Ensign T’Lon leaping over a table, but it still took a few moments for him to put together what was happening. Shran figured it out first. Cantys leapt forward to help her commanding officer, but Shran caught her by the shoulder, delaying her. She turned and gave him an aggressive look. 


“Kid,” Shran said, “Don’t let anyone break that mind-meld. Stop anyone who tries - you got that?”


Cantys boggled at him, then turned and raced off, clambering around or over anyone who got in her way.


“Kid,” Shran said. Buttans could tell by the old man’s tone of voice that he was now the one being addressed. “Go get the judge. I need to talk to her. Fast!”


Buttans had come to trust Shran’s instincts. The old man had served as a sniper for the Andorian Imperial Guard for more than thirty years - his instincts had been honed on the battlefields of a dozen worlds. Buttans ran toward Justice Minerva Irons, sprinting across the sand at a speed that would give a gazelle an inferiority complex.



“Your honor,” Buttans said as he got close. It was enough to make Irons stop and turn. Shran caught up a few seconds later.


“Boss,” he managed, his voice ragged with the effort of running at full tilt only a few dozen yards. Shran stopped and bent over, catching his breath. “Boss,” he managed again, wheezing.


Justice Irons stepped up to Shran and put her hand on his back. “Investigator…” she said.


“It’s Dolphin. And Tauk. You have to get them to Earth. All of us, you have to get all of us to Earth,” Shran’s voice was far more gravelly than usual. He stopped to cough and wheeze.


Irons had not spent much time with the Investigator, but he was widely liked and even more widely respected. Her youngest daughter by Mavar was standing next to her. “China,” Irons said, “Go check on Tamar and T’Lon.”


“Don’t let anyone break that mind-meld,” Shran managed.


“And don’t let anyone break that mind-meld,” Justice Irons repeated, placing her hand briefly on her daughter’s chest.


Irons smiled at the old investigator who was still catching his breath. “Conference mode, Shran, Buttans, Pepper, Gamor. Lieutenant Carrera…” The communicator embedded in her chest linked with the people she named.


“Lieutenant Carrera,” she repeated. “How long before the Hunter can be ready to break orbit for Earth?”


“Give me a moment, your Honor,” Dr. Carrera responded, then went silent for a moment. About a minute later, he responded again: “About two hours, probably less. But we will have to complete upgrades when we get to Earth. Some of the work can be done along the way.”


“Make it ready, Lieutenant,” Irons said, “End conference mode.” She turned toward Shran, who had finally caught his breath, more or less. “Okay Investigator, what is this about, why do we have to go to Earth?”


Shran’s unusually large antennae were twitching. Buttans realized they had started twitching this way about the same time all the commotion had begun. “You can’t feel it, boss?” Shran asked.


Irons lifted an eyebrow, “Let’s avoid pronouns for a moment, Mr. Shran. Feel what?”


“We’re being scanned,” the old man responded. “I guess you don’t have much telepathic ability. I’m only half andorian, I don’t have that much either. But we can tell when we’re being scanned and defend our minds against it. You need to summon whatever defenses you can. T’Lok too. For the moment we don’t have to worry about Dolphin - we do have to worry about Tauk. I don’t know how much resistance ferengi have to being scanned.”


Irons looked around, seeking someone, then said “Conference mode, Shae, Tauk, Shran, Smith. Hunter transporter room 1, who is on duty up there?”


“This is Ensign Sun, your Honor.”


“Locate Dr. Shae, Lieutenant Smith and Lieutenant Tauk and transport them to my location.” 


“Aye, Captain,” Sun responded.


“What??” came Tauk’s voice over the link.


“End conference mode,” Irons said.



A moment later 2nd Lt. Tauk, Lt. T’Lok Smith and Dr. Tali Shae were each beamed in to join Justice Irons on the beach.


“I could have walked…” Dr. Tali Shae started, then noticed how serious Irons and Shran were looking. 


“Tauk,” Irons said. “I hate to do this. We are going to sedate you. You will wake up on the Hunter.”


“What???” Tauk stammered again as Dr. Shae stepped up behind him, hypospray in hand, already dialing in the appropriate chemical. She placed the delivery end to Tauk’s neck and with a sharp hissing sound, it delivered a powerful sedative that caused the little ferengi to crumple into Dr. Shae’s arms. She lowered him gently to the sand.


“T’Lok, get your telepathic defenses up. Shran says we’re being scanned,” Irons said.


The young lieutenant’s eyes unfocused briefly, then she looked at Irons. “Yes. It’s a light scan, but I suspect she’ll start digging when she starts bouncing off our defenses.”


“She??” Irons and Shran said at the same moment.


“It’s a woman,” T’Lok said. “Definitely a female mind. Powerful. I don’t think she’s noticed yet that I’m blocking her.”



Commander David Pepper had joined the number of people around the fallen Kenneth Dolphin and T’Lon. “David,” came Irons’ voice from the communicator embedded in his chest.


“Go ahead Min.”


“You have 90 minutes to get everyone up to the Hunter. Have Lieutenant Gamor take Dolphin and T’Lon up in the wagon - using the transporter might interrupt their mind-meld. Make sure that doesn’t happen - both their lives depend on it,” Irons said.


“Aye, Captain,” Pep responded, then immediately set to ordering the crew’s evacuation from Ocean. He made certain to evacuate the breakfast buffet, complete with sparkling beverages and smoked fish, up to the Hunter as well.


3 - Breakfast Serial

End Notes:

Character:                        China Irons (China)
Human Ethnicity:              Chinese
Additional Species:           Vulcan, Betazoid, Trill
Hometown/Homeworld:    Main Island, Ocean
Introduced: Episode         3.13
Age when introduced:      101
Role:                                 Cultural Anthropologist

Episode 4.1 - The Crusher/Crumar/Carrera Effect by Robert Bruce Scott
Author's Notes:

The U.S.S. Hunter is an experimental ship - equiped with a recursive warp engine developed by a design team headed by Wesley Crusher...

Star Trek Hunter
Episode 4: Run To Earth

Scene 1: The Crusher/Crumar/Carrera Effect



4.1

The Crusher/Crumar/Carrera Effect


Justice Minerva Irons was surprised at how quickly she had grown accustomed to speaking with Investigator Lynhart Shran. The old investigator sat in her office along with Lt. T’Lok Smith. Even though he wasn’t a member of Star Fleet (the two investigators were civilians contracted to Star Fleet), with Lt. Tauk and Ensign T’Lon unable to report for duty, Shran was now the senior member in Director Smith’s department. Their current flight from Ocean, where the crew had been scheduled for much needed shore leave, was entirely on Shran’s recommendation. Irons was surprised at how quickly and thoroughly the old investigator had gained her trust.



“So why Earth, Mr. Shran?”


“We’re not going fast enough,” Shran replied. “I can tell - we’re only going warp five.”


Irons had no doubt he could tell. Experienced space travelers knew how warp five felt in the deckplates and what it looked like in the apparent movement of the stars that could be seen through the window behind her. “I can’t help that at the moment. I’m  certain you are aware of the Federation’s warp five limit to preserve the integrity of local spacetime.”


Shran’s expression was very direct: “Maybe it’s time to try out that Crusher/Crumar/Carrera effect your engineers are always whispering about.”


Irons’ expression was deadpan. Her voice was a bit frosty. “I am certain I do not know what you are talking about.”


Shran was genuinely insulted. “Oh come on boss, give an old gumshoe some credit. I don’t have any formal education, but I’ve spent the last 50 years figuring out stuff other people don’t want me to know. How useful would I be if you could keep a secret like that under my nose?”


T’Lok looked at Irons and raised an eyebrow - for once looking like a vulcan as much from her behavior as from her facial features. 


Irons sighed, then allowed herself a slight chuckle. “Actually, Investigator, Dr. Carrera is making the final preparations to engage the so-called zip drive. This boat is the first one designed with that capability, but until now the only successful tests have been with drones. The engineers have only managed to run successful simulations at scale recently. Warp field improvements are notoriously difficult to scale, but the math involved in this project is ferocious. I have requested permission to engage the drive once it is ready. But that is no guarantee it will work. And very unpleasant things happen if it fails.”



Shran took a long, deep breath - let it out with a puff. “Two reasons,” he started. It took Irons a few heartbeats to realize the old investigator was addressing her original question. “First: distance. I have never known a betazoid not to have a distance limit to their ability. Assuming our killer is on Bajor, we need to get as far from there as fast as possible so she can’t track us. Second: clutter. Once we get to Earth, this crew needs to spread out. That way, if our telepath hops a transport and comes to Earth, she will have a hard time finding us. There were less than 6,000 people at Star Base Eleven and Ocean - we were easy to find. But Earth is the most populated region of space we know of - 14 billion on Earth itself and another 3-4 billion scattered throughout the Earth’s solar system in various star bases, colonies, ships coming and going, the Utopia Planitia shipyards… In all about 18 billion minds and probably the highest concentration of powerful telepaths as well - that’s a much bigger haystack to try to find us in.”


Irons mulled this information over. “Do you have a plan beyond that?” she asked.


“Yes,” Shran replied. “There’s a third reason to go to Earth - resources. I would prefer not to explain further until we get a little more space between us and our mind reader. I’m trying very hard not to think about it myself. Secrecy is everything.”



T’Lok interjected, “Crusher/Crumar/Carrera?”



Irons looked to her right and called for the Hunter’s interactive holographic avatar: “Hunter, display the design team for this vessel’s warp configuration and the zip drive.”


The boat’s holographic emitters projected an image of three people in white lab coats - two men and a boy smiling and waving. The image loop lasted two seconds and repeated, but was seamless so that it was impossible to tell at which point the image ended and restarted. The boy was dark-skinned with a bowl haircut and although clearly no more than 12 years old, seemed oddly familiar. The Hunter’s elderly, gray-bearded interactive avatar was clearly recognizable as one of the two men. The other man was much younger, a bit taller and wider with soulful brown eyes, long, unruly brown hair and a thick brown beard that covered much of his chest.


“You recognize Professor Jose Crumar of the Daystrom Institute, the man behind nearly every significant improvement in warp field engineering for the past half-century. Our boat’s avatar was patterned after him - right down to his quirky sense of humor. The other man is Wesley Crusher, who resigned his commission with Star Fleet and vanished with some alien known as the ‘Traveler.’ He simply appeared at the Daystrom Institute about 12 years ago with the basic theory for a warp drive system that would not only not degrade the fabric of spacetime, but would actually repair the damage done by centuries of warp travel. He vanished again about 5 months later. But by then Dr. Crumar and his top student had most of the math worked out.”


T’Lok Smith and Lynhart Shran were riveted by the image. “And the boy?” T’Lok asked.


Irons smiled. “This image was recorded about 12 years ago. That boy was Professor Crumar’s top student and the lead designer of this vessel - Dr. Sarekson Carrera.”


4.1

Episode 4 - Run To Earth by Robert Bruce Scott
Author's Notes:

Introduction to Episode 4: Run To Earth by Lt. Kenny Dolphin, Ph.D., Director of Flight Operations U.S.S. Hunter

Star Trek Hunter
Episode 4: Run To Earth




Episode 4 - Run To Earth


“There exists an unprecedented cultural and emotional bond between humans and vulcans. Each seems somehow to exemplify the other’s most heartfelt aspirations…”

Dr. Kenny Dolphin,
The Impact of Humanity on Pon Farr, the Vulcan Mating Cycle.








Crew of the U.S.S. Hunter:   (Ship's Interactive Holographic Avatar - Hunter)


At-Large Appellate Justice, Captain Minerva Irons

Chief Executive Officer - Co11268mmander David Pepper

Chief Operations Officer - Lt. Commander Mlady


Medical Director - Lt. Commander Tali Shae

     Asst. Medical Director - 2nd Lt. Jazz Sam Sinder

          Ensign Chrissiana Trei

                 Forensic Specialist - Midshipman Tolon Reeves

                 Forensic Specialist - Midshipman Sif

                 Emergency Medical Hologram - Dr. Raj

                 Tactical Medical Hologram - Dr. Kim


Director of Flight Operations - Lt. Kenneth Dolphin

    Asst. Flight Dir. - 2nd Lt. Gaia Gamor

               Navigator Johanna Imex

               Navigator Eli Strahl

           Ensign Ethan Phillips

                Chief Flight Specialist Dewayne Guth

                Flight Specialist Dih Terri

                Flight Specialist Joey Chin

                Flight Specialist Winnifreid Salazaar


Director of Ground Operations - Lt. T'Lok Smith

     Asst. Ground Ops Dir. - 2nd Lt. Tauk 

               Investigator Lynhart Shran

               Investigator Buttans Ngumbo

         Ensign T'Lon 

              Tactical Specialist Jarrong

              Tactical Specialist Belo Rys

              Tactical Specialist Belo Garr

              Tactical Specialist Belo Cantys


Director of Engineering - Lt. Sarekson Carrera

     Asst. Engineering Dir. - 2nd Lt. Moon Sun Salek

            Midshipman Tammy Brazil

               Transporter Engineer K'rok

          Ensign Sun Ho Hui

              Flight Engineer Yolanda Thomas

              Flight Engineer Thomas Hobbs

              Flight Engineer Tomos

              Flight Engineer Kerry Gibbon

 

Episode 4.2 - Dolphin and T'Lon by Robert Bruce Scott
Author's Notes:

Lt. Kenny Dolphin and Ensign T'Lon are both unconscious, locked in a mind-meld that is keeping Dolphin alive...

Star Trek Hunter
Episode 4: Run To Earth

Scene 2: Dolphin & T'Lon



4.2

Dolphin & T’Lon


 In order to maintain the physical contact needed for the mind-meld between Ensign T’Lon and Lt. Dolphin, Dr. Tali Shae had constructed a sort of sling. This made it extremely difficult to move the two and they could not be transported. Rather than wrangle the two unconscious officers down several decks into the medical bay, Dr. Shae had transformed the rear section of the wagon into an ersatz sick bay and installed holographic emitters. This allowed her to transfer the Tactical Medical Hologram, who responded to either the acronym TMH or the name Dr. Kim, the name of the doctor she had been modeled after. 


The TMH was a reserve program designed to provide emergency medical treatment on the tactical unit. Unlike the Hunter’s interactive holographic avatar, who had extensive personality programming, the TMH was more or less a medically expert automaton. But with Dolphin in a coma and T’Lon wandering in and out of consciousness, medical monitoring and emergency response were all that would be needed until one of the medical staff could respond. 



Justice Irons’ half-vulcan daughter, China, who was returning to Earth aboard the Hunter, had also moved in to the wagon. With T’Lon semi-conscious, China Irons was now the most powerful telepath onboard - even more than Flight Engineer Tomos, who was entirely vulcan.


Dr. Shae watched China Irons tending to T’Lon. “So I barely understand telepathy - either vulcan or betazoid. I mean, I understand the genetic markers that enable it, but I have no idea how it actually works. Warp field theory is easier.”


China didn’t smile or register much of any emotion, but she seemed warmer than most vulcans and that warmth was reflected in her voice. “Warp field theory is much, much easier, Dr. Shae.”


“Tali, please,” the andorian doctor responded. “Call me Tali. We are family.” She couldn’t be certain, but it seemed that China’s expression warmed just a little.


“T’Lon is maintaining Lieutenant Dolphin’s autonomic functions,” China said. “His brain is producing the messages to keep his heart working but they’re being actively blocked. T’Lon is going around the block. But it is exhausting her. I’ve been able to help so that she can rest, but she isn’t getting good rest.”


“Is she in danger?” Dr. Shae asked.


“It isn’t good for her,” China said. “But she’s only 25, really just a child for a vulcan. And she’s in peak physical condition and mentally tough. She could probably do this for a month, but we need to keep her nourished.”


Dr. Shae’s antennae twitched in surprise. “A month?”


China raised an eyebrow. “She could, but Lieutenant Dolphin couldn’t. If we can’t get him stabilized in the next few days, his brain will start to lose the ability to transmit the necessary signals to keep him alive and I don’t know of any medical procedure yet that could restore that function once it atrophies.”


“And he’s being actively blocked?” Dr. Shae was just a little terrified.


China Irons mused for a moment. “A betazoid can conduct multiple telepathic functions simultaneously, sometimes without actively trying. The more powerful telepaths can almost completely automate such functions. This must be how the telepath is maintaining the block or he would have awakened as soon as she fell asleep. Unless she hasn’t slept yet, in which case she will start to lose strength rapidly. She may not even be aware she’s doing it at this point.”


4.2

End Notes:

.

Character:                      Dr. Kim (TMH)
Human Ethnicity:            Korean (Hologram)
Additional Species:         N/A
Hometown/Homeworld:  New Eden, Mars
Introduced: Episode        4.2
Age when introduced:     3
Role:                                Tactical Medical Hologram, U.S.S. Hunter

Episode 4.3 - Ground Operations Lounge by Robert Bruce Scott
Author's Notes:

Investigator Buttans Ngumbo winds down from his daily run and shares a beer with his partner, Investigator Lynhart Shran.

Star Trek Hunter
Episode 4: Run To Earth

Scene 3: Ground Operations Lounge



4.3

Ground Operations Lounge


Like all non-automated starships, the vast majority of the U.S.S. Hunter’s space and resources was devoted to meeting the needs of the crew. But the Hunter was not a deep space exploration vessel. Crew members on the big ships would literally spend years in space without ever exiting their vessel. For this reason, ships designed for deep space exploration missions were essentially flying hotels with extensive crew quarters and recreational facilities.


In order to conserve space on the Hunter, crew members slept in their emergency escape pods. Only the three executive officers had individual staterooms. The remainder of crew quarters consisted of a number of small lounges, each the size of a stateroom, arranged around groups of escape pods. These lounges were designed to serve between four and six individuals. Each contained two couches that folded out of the walls and an open space in which a holographic dining table, or exercise equipment (or, in the case of Dr. Carrera, a baby grand piano) tailored for individual needs could be projected. The energy cost of creating such items holographically for temporary use was far less than the cost of actually carrying these items and securing them would be.


The four department directors, Lt. Commander Dr. Tali Shae and 1st lieutenants Sarekson Carrera, T'Lok Smith and Kenneth Dolphin, shared the director’s lounge on deck 4. The Ground Operations lounge, accommodating the two investigators and the four members of the tactical operations squad, was tucked into another corner of deck 4.



The Hunter did incorporate one accommodation not often found in starships - the outer ring of the largest deck, deck 5, was a dedicated running track. This was a concession to the need for the crew to maintain a high level of physical fitness. The Hunter’s mission included interdiction of criminals on the ground by a highly trained tactical operations squad and by pilots using interceptors, which had limited inertial dampening. Fighter pilots tended to be body builders - having a greater muscle mass allowed pilots to deliberately constrict their blood flow by constricting their muscles - helping to keep more blood in their brains to maintain consciousness during high G turns.


The rest of the crew also took advantage of the deck 5 running track, but whenever Investigator Buttans Ngumbo arrived on deck 5, anyone else running there would wrap up their tracking and leave the track to Buttans. This was neither out of respect nor dislike, but simply because Buttans ran so much faster than anyone else, his presence alone would make the track feel crowded as he would pass other runners twice and even three times before they could make a single lap.


Having long noticed this, Buttans had become very regular about his training time so that the rest of the crew could plan around him. This was beneficial to him as it allowed him to run as fast as he could given the need to constantly turn on an oval track that was less than 40 meters in circumference. 


Following his run, Buttans went down one deck to the Ground Ops lounge and took a vibe-shower, which allowed him to wash both his body and his running trunks in waves of damp air that felt and acted like water, but left him and his clothing dry after cleaning. This cleaned his body without need for chemicals such as soaps. His sweat and any accumulated grime was reclaimed by the boat’s life support system for reprocessing. The lounges each had two such shower units - which could allow six people to coexist in relative peace.


Buttans donned his running trunks again and walked, barefoot and bare chested, to relax on one of the couches. Each lounge had its own culture and the ground operations group, half male and half female, felt comfortable with minimal clothing. 


Investigator Lynhart Shran was seated on another couch, wearing gray shorts and undershirt, diligently polishing his shoes. Shran was probably the only person on board who actually had personal belongings to bring on board. Buttans’ clothing, including his running shoes, was made by the replicator using patterns stored in his personnel file. When these became threadbare or damaged, he would dump them into the replicator to be reduced to their component materials and reconstructed. 


All of Shran’s clothing was tailor made, including his jeans and his shoes. He also had his service revolver from his years in the Andorian Imperial Guard, along with a supply of ammunition that was exclusively made on Andoria for this antique weapon. Like Buttans, Shran was a creature of habit. He cleaned and oiled his revolver every morning and polished his shoes at the end of every shift. 



Buttans Ngumbo laced his fingers behind his head and reclined. If an ancient Greek were to happen by, he would have immediately looked for a block of marble to record an image of the young man’s perfect form - possibly needlessly adding winged sandals as if anything could make the young investigator look faster. With his almost shiny, nearly black skin and powerful, ropy muscles, Buttans looked like speed itself, taking a rare breather, perhaps only to pose for others to admire.



Shran got up, stored his shoes and the polishing kit in a foot locker mounted in the escape pod that also served as his sleeping pod. He fished out two bottles of beer he had acquired on Ocean and opened them. Buttans' eyes were closed, but he held out his hand as Shran wordlessly brought him one of the bottles.


The investigators reclined on separate couches, eyes closed, silently enjoying their beers. They had been partners for years and this was a sort of evening ritual.


This quiet aesthetic was broken when the four tactical squad members bustled into the room. They weren’t noisy, but they were quite energetic. Buttans wasn’t yet 30, but these scrawny street kids made him feel ancient by comparison as they disrobed and hit the showers. 


Belo Cantys was the first out of the shower. The youngest and scrawniest of the lot, she wasn’t heavily muscled, but there was hardly any fat on her body - her ribs were there to count. Dressed only in an athletic bra and shorts, she threw herself onto the couch next to Shran. Buttans smiled and closed his eyes again. Those two would not remain in public long. They had been together almost from the moment the Belo siblings had joined the crew.



Star Fleet recognized the inevitability of relationships among crew members, particularly on deep space missions. In order to protect everyone, a joint-disclosure registered with one of the executive officers and the medical director was required at the beginning and end of any intimate relationship among crew members. This led to a long-running joke about the Star Fleet approved pickup line: “Hey baby.. do you want to disclose?”



Cantys’s half-brother, Belo Garr, called for a resistance training kit, which the holographic emitters produced in the small open area in the lounge. He started a short workout. Their half-sister, Belo Rys, and their cousin, Jarrong, headed directly to their pods after emerging from the showers. Buttans drained his beer, got up without a word, dropped the empty bottle in the replicator and retreated to his pod as well.


4.3

Episode 4.4 - The Touch by Robert Bruce Scott
Author's Notes:

Lt. T'Lok Smith visits her best friend, Ensign T'Lon, who is locked in a mind-meld with Lt. Dolphin.

Star Trek Hunter
Episode 4: Run To Earth

Scene 4: The Touch

 

 

4.4

The Touch

 

With Kenny Dolphin unconscious in the wagon, T’Lok Smith had the director’s lounge to herself - as she generally had for the two years before Dolphin was finally brought aboard as the director of flight operations. Director Carrera usually worked a different shift and was gone before T’Lok arrived. He tended to work all kinds of hours and it was not uncommon for him to use the safety shower in main engineering. Dr. Tali Shae, the medical director, had a cot in a small room adjoining her office and preferred to sleep there. There was also a shower in the surgery that doctors used before and after operations.

 

T’Lok had never thought of the director’s lounge as a lonely place before, but she had gotten used to Dolphin’s presence. He was a deep thinker and she greatly enjoyed their conversations. Before he came she had rather enjoyed the solitude. It felt unbearable now. Unable to sleep, she wandered up to the shuttle bay and stepped aboard the wagon. 

 

T’Lon was sleeping fitfully, her hand affixed to Dolphin’s face by a sling. China Irons was stretched out on another makeshift bed in the center of the wagon. She looked up briefly at T’Lok, not surprised by her presence, then laid back down - clearly exhausted. 

 

T’Lok knelt next to her childhood friend, gently brushed T’Lon’s hair, then placed her fingers on T’Lon’s temple, touching her mind. T’Lon seemed to breathe a little easier.

 

4.4

Episode 4.5 - A Matter of Mass by Robert Bruce Scott
Author's Notes:

Dr. Carrera has been trying for months to get the U.S.S. Hunter into recursive warp, which could allow him to break the warp 10 barrier...

Star Trek Hunter
Episode 4: Run To Earth

Scene 5: A Matter of Mass



4.5

A Matter of Mass


Lt. Sarekson Carrera had long been accustomed to working double shifts and sleeping in his office. His staff had also become accustomed to such conditions. Many of them were at least part vulcan and found solving engineering problems as good as any other form of recreation. They had been trying to crack this one - getting the zip drive to work properly - since before the keel had been laid. But it was really up to Dr. Carrera. This was primarily a math problem and the only other math genius on board, Lt. Tauk, was in an artificial coma.


Carrera could tell he was close, though. Replication would be very problematic. It all had to do with mass. And not just gross mass - an increase or decrease of only a few kilograms and the solution had to be scrapped and the math started from scratch. There was no simple way to handle this variable - it affected the entire process from the start of the calculations, requiring the invention of an entirely different series of equations every time the mass changed even a little. Mass could be controlled on drones. But add a live crew and even on a boat this small, mass would change enough throughout every mission to routinely require entirely new equations.


For now, these equations would get them into recursive warp mode - or, as Wesley Crusher had dubbed it - zip drive.



“Hunter,” Carrera called. The boat’s interactive holographic avatar appeared to his right. 


“Did you solve it?” the old man asked.


“For now. It all comes down to mass. We knew that, but there is no simple way to recalculate when the boat’s gross mass goes out of tolerance by 3.14 kilograms,” Carrera answered. He tapped a large viewer that was displaying an insanely complicated series of calculations. “Display this series in the engineering conference room. All engineering staff, if you’re awake, please join me in conference room #2.”


Carrera had been awake for far too many hours, but he sprinted with renewed energy to the ladder that led down engineering conference room directly under his office. He straddled the ladder and slid down from deck 1 to the main engineering deck. Four engineers were waiting for him. The remainder of his staff should be asleep. His assistant director, 2nd Lt. Moon Sun Salek was already studying the calculations. 



“The entire process changes every time,” Dr. Moon observed. She was as frustrated as her director. 


Carrera replied. “The tolerance is 3.14 kilograms. Or more specifically, 3.1415926535897…”


“Pi,” Moon cut him off.


“Pi,” Carrera replied. “It sounds so universally significant. But it’s pi kilograms. It doesn’t make any sense at all. Why kilograms? Why not pi vloms? Or pi tons? Or pi grotofish?”


Carrera wasn’t attempting humor, but his reference to an archaic standard unit of mass used by pre-warp bolians elicited nervous laughter and raised eyebrows.


“Okay - you have your measurements. Take your part of this solution and make your part of the process ready.” Carrera turned to address one of his flight engineers, “Tomos, you are assigned to continuity. Make sure all these pieces fit together. That’s my job, too, you’re my backup.”


Flight Engineer Tomos spoke up: “Dr. Carrera - if mass is such a problematic variable, why don’t we just make it a constant?”


Carrera looked at the vulcan engineer. Then looked at him again.


“Mass changes throughout every mission, Mr. Tomos.”


“But what if we use ballast? If we pick up more mass - such as a passenger, we remove that exact amount from the ballast. It could be done with asteroidal debris or trace gasses. When we lose mass, we beam in more debris.”



Carrera sat down, very slowly, and looked at his junior staff member - then placed his face in his hands, elbows on the clear lacquer conference table.



Tomos was about 100 years old - middle aged for a vulcan, but new to space flight and warp theory. He had previously been a librarian living in seclusion at a distant vulcan sanctuary. He watched his director closely. Carrera worked far too hard for a human. He was brilliant - a legend within the close-knit community of the Daystrom Institute. He was also under the impression he was a vulcan and it wasn’t healthy for him. 


Carrera finally looked up, the exhaustion clear on his face. “Hunter.”


The elderly looking hologram appeared next to Tomos. “You need rest, Dr. Carrera…”


“Yes I do,” Carrera responded. “Work with Flight Engineer Tomos and develop a program to automatically stabilize the Hunter’s mass. Mr. Tomos - get Midshipman Brazil involved as well, but I want you to head this up. It’s your idea. If we lose mass while in transit, find a way to beam in more. Safety protocols… Emergency procedures… as soon as ready, bring it online. It looks like I’m going to have to make sure of continuity of the zip drive solution on my own.”


“Understood, sir,” Tomos replied.


4.5

End Notes:

Character:                      2nd Lieutenant Moon Sun Salek (Salek)
Human Ethnicity:            Korean
Additional Species:        Vulcan
Hometown/Homeworld:  New Eden, Mars
Introduced: Episode       4.5
Age when introduced:    41
Role:                               Assistant Director of Engineering, U.S.S. Hunter

Character:                      Flight Engineer Tomos (Tomos)
Human Ethnicity:           N/A
Additional Species:        Vulcan
Hometown/Homeworld: Sanctuary of the Waterbirds, Cophus II
Introduced: Episode       4.5
Age when introduced:    100
Role:                               Flight Engineer, U.S.S. Hunter

Episode 4.6 - Blowout by Robert Bruce Scott
Author's Notes:

The U.S.S. Hunter is attacked while traveling at warp and several crew members are exposed to space...

Star Trek Hunter
Episode 4: Run To Earth

Scene 6: Blowout


4.6

Blowout


Lt. T’Lok Smith was accustomed to running in the morning with Ensign T’Lon and her tactical squad. For the first time, T’Lon wasn’t there. But Tactical Spcialist Jarrong and the three half-siblings were warming up in an open area near the lift tube on deck 5 when T’Lok arrived. Tactical Specialists Belo Rys, Belo Garr and Belo Cantys shared a bajoran mother, but had separate fathers, all cardassian. Their mother had been taken as a slave during the Cardassian Occupation. Jarrong’s grandmother was another bajoran slave from the same family. Even though they were only a few years younger than T’Lon, the four had adopted the young vulcan as a sort of family member - a sentiment T’Lon had made use of in training her squad.


T’Lok had already stretched. She touched each squad member on the shoulder as each stepped onto the track and started running, then followed them. They had to make dozens of laps, constantly having to take sharp turns on the small, oval track. Because of this limitation to the track, runners were accustomed to changing direction every 20 laps. T’Lok had passed all of the squad members except Jarrong - the only squad member close to the young vulcan’s height. She and Jarrong had just reversed direction when an explosion shook the boat.



Part of the bulkhead on the port side of the Hunter exploded outward, exposing the track to space. The ring decompressed as the atmosphere was blown out through the hull, carrying first T’Lok, then Jarrong and Belo Rys out into the vacuum of space.


Belo Garr - who was still on the starboard side with his other half-sister - flattened himself against the interior wall - his fingers searching for any purchase. He reached out and grabbed Cantys’ arm. These two youngest squad members slid inexorably toward the hull breach, but dropped to the floor as an emergency protocol erected a forcefield over the breach. 


Cantys and Garr struggled helplessly on the floor and gasped for air in the freezing near vacuum of the evacuated track before another emergency protocol engaged the transporter and beamed them directly to the Medical bay. The same protocol captured Jarrong, Rys and T’Lok, rescuing them from the vacuum of space and sending them directly to the Medical bay. The Emergency Medical Hologram was also immediately activated and the Medical staff alerted to the emergency.


The new program designed and brought online by Flight Engineer Tomos, registering the loss of mass in the form of atmosphere and deck plating, reached out with the cargo transporter system searching for any mass to replace this loss with, with the result that that atmosphere and the deck plating were immediately beamed into storage areas to re-balance the Hunter’s mass.


- * -


Justice Minerva Irons had risen for the day. C shift was nearing its end and Lt. Commander Mlady was in the captain’s chair. Irons was in the midst of her morning Tai Chi training, wincing with every move of her right arm, slow, deliberate, when an instinct stopped her. She had been a Star Fleet captain nearly half of her exceptionally long life and had learned to trust that gut instinct. 


Irons carefully reinserted her right arm into its sling and stepped onto the bridge at the same moment that medical forensic specialist, Midshipman Tolon Reeves, currently serving a shift at the tactical console, said, “Ship decloaking off the port unnnhhh….” He gripped the console and grunted as a poorly aimed disruptor beam grazed the Hunter’s port side with tremendous energy.


Mlady responded instantly, “Shields up, power weapons and bring us about!”


“Belay that order!” Justice Irons was hanging onto the door frame between her office and the bridge with her left hand. “Give me warp eleven now!”


Flight Specialist Dih Terri, at the helm, had only recently become aware such speeds might be possible. But she dialed it in and the Hunter suddenly lurched, the deck plating groaning in protest. A second disruptor beam passed near the aft of the Hunter - in the next heartbeat the interloper was left light-years behind as the patrol craft made a blur of the stars.


Mlady stood up, but Irons waived her back down. “Stay put, Lieutenant Commander, I need you in that chair right now. Hunter - damage report.”


The elderly interactive avatar did not appear as usual, but his voice was carried into the bridge by the communication system. “Hull breach on deck 5. Atmosphere vented. Five casualties, all transported directly to Medical bay. I am working with Ensign Sun and Transporter Engineer K’rok to repair the hull. Emergency force field is in place, but I advise against repressurizing until repairs are complete.”


Irons responded: “Shipwide, deck 5 is depressurized and off limits - pressure suit access only.” She turned to her second officer as Commander David Pepper entered the bridge. “Lieutenant Commander - remain in command. If they catch up to us or any other ship shows up, run away faster. You have clearance up to warp 14. Any faster than that and this boat will come apart.” She turned to her gigantic first officer, “David, suit up. I need you on deck 5 supervising repairs. Get a camera on the outside and get a look at the hull. Full damage assessment. I will be in Engineering first, then Medical.” 


Without a word, Pep turned and exited the bridge, heading toward a locker near the ground operations room. Irons passed him on her way to the lift. She gripped one of the handles as the doors closed and said, “Main engineering.”


4.6

End Notes:

Character:                      Midshipman Tolon Reeves (Reeves)
Human Ethnicity:            Indian
Additional Species:        Bajoran
Hometown/Homeworld: Bangalore, India, Earth
Introduced: Episode       4.6
Age when introduced:    46
Role:                               Medical Forensic Investigator, U.S.S. Hunter

Episode 4.7 - Triage by Robert Bruce Scott
Author's Notes:

The U.S.S. Hunter's Medical Department swings into action dealing with the casualties.

Star Trek Hunter
Episode 4: Run To Earth

Scene 7: Triage

 

4.7

Triage

 

Dr. Jazz Sam Sinder started surgery immediately on one of the victims, then turned that surgery over to Dr. Chrissiana Trei - aside from explosive decompression disorder, this victim had a few broken bones and several deep wounds. She needed blood, bone repair and skin regeneration. Dr. Trei could handle that. 

 

Dr. Raj, the Emergency Medical Hologram, had completed the triage. Two of the victims had experienced decompression, but nothing else as they had not been ejected. Dr. Raj could handle their treatment. 

 

Dr. Jazz wrinkled his nose - which, considering he was fully bajoran, created an almost comic accordion effect. This victim had far more extensive injuries and needed a significant amount of blood immediately. Using the victim’s transporter files, Dr. Jazz synthesized three liters of her blood for immediate use. Synthetic blood was useful, but could cause organ damage if too much remained in the system after a few days. There were drugs that could enhance her natural blood production and help metabolize the synthetic blood out - he only hoped she would be healthy enough for that treatment. For the moment, he needed to re-attach her hand, which had been beamed in along with her and placed in a stasis field.

 

Dr. Tali Shae was the next to enter the operating room. She looked at the fifth patient - a sheet draped over the entire table. Dr. Raj responded to Dr. Shae’s glance by slowly shaking his holographic head.  Dr. Shae walked around, checking the treatment of each victim, then stepped in to assist Dr. Jazz. She stepped back as Dr. Sif, one of her forensic specialists, entered, allowing the young trill to take over providing assistance for Dr. Jazz.

 

With a deep sense of foreboding, Dr. Tali Shae approached the fifth table and lifted the sheet. She bit her lip, grimacing, deliberately hiding her face from the rest of her staff. She took a deep breath, then asked “Do any of you need assistance?”

 

None of the doctors answered. Dr. Raj, the EMH, noticing that an answer was needed, reported: “Two patients are stabilized, the other two are receiving appropriate treatment.”

 

Dr. Shae responded, “I am removing the fatality for forensic examination.” She used the Medical bay transporter system to move the lifeless form from the table in the main surgery to the front surgery and walked to the front surgery.

 

Only once she was out of sight of her staff did Dr. Tali Shae allow herself to shake. She took a deep, shuddering breath, then turned back to the table, removed the sheet and did her job.

 

4.7

End Notes:

Character:                      2nd Lieutenant Jazz Sam Sinder (Sam)
Human Ethnicity:           N/A
Additional Species:        Bajoran
Hometown/Homeworld:  Ilvia, Bajor
Introduced: Episode       4.7
Age when introduced:    37
Role:                               Assistant Medical Director, U.S.S. Hunter

Character:                      Dr. Raj (EMH)
Human Ethnicity:            Indian (Hologram)
Additional Species:         N/A
Hometown/Homeworld:  New Eden, Mars
Introduced: Episode       4.7
Age when introduced:    2
Role:                               Emergency Medical Hologram, U.S.S. Hunter

Character:                      Midshipman Sif (Sif)
Human Ethnicity:           N/A
Additional Species:        Trill
Hometown/Homeworld: Numinor, Cun Ling
Introduced: Episode       4.7
Age when introduced:    31
Role:                               Medical Forenic Investigator, U.S.S. Hunter

Character:                      Ensign Chrissiana Trei (Chrissiana)
Human Ethnicity:           N/A
Additional Species:        Trill
Hometown/Homeworld: Horizon, Trillus Prime
Introduced: Episode       4.7
Age when introduced:    34
Role:                               Medical Doctor, U.S.S. Hunter

Episode 4.8 - The Carrera Effect by Robert Bruce Scott
Author's Notes:

Dr. Carrera's engine makes history - the first controlled, manned ship to break the warp 10 barrier.

Star Trek Hunter
Episode 4: Run To Earth

Scene 8: The Carrera Effect


4.8

The Carrera Effect 


The explosion woke Dr. Carrera, who was dozing lightly at the warp control panel. He immediately checked over the readiness of the zip drive, then checked the ship’s mass. It was off, indicating a hull breach and loss of atmosphere and deck plating, but was restored to the correct amount within seconds. Flight Engineer Tomos’ mass reclamation program worked. 


A heartbeat later the command for warp eleven came through. Carrera was ready for it and engaged the zip drive immediately. He then watched with a mixture of dread and pride as his engine thundered to life and did its work. He suppressed an impulse to cheer. This was what he had built these engines to do. Somewhere deep in his mind was an image of Wesley Crusher rubbing his hands together and cackling, “It’s aliiiiivveee…”



Carrera suppressed his inner, manic Wesley Crusher and started giving orders: “Ensign Sun, K’rok, damage control. Dr. Moon, I need you to go to the tactical unit and manage the engine interface. Kerry - get over here and keep an eye on these readings.” 


A few moments later Justice Minerva Irons stepped off one of the lifts. “Well done, Dr. Carrera. How long can we keep this up?”


Sarekson Carrera was only 23, but he looked like he was 50 and not in any good way. He was clearly exhausted. But he had already given thought to the answer before the question was asked. 


“I don’t know. But my recommendation is no more than three hours. Two, if we can make it two. I take it we are being pursued.”


Irons removed her right hand from the sling and placed her hand on his chest. The limited telepathic contact this gesture gave her was not so much an exchange of thoughts - it allowed her to sense emotions and have a calming effect. Despite all his efforts at emotional control, Dr. Carrera was human - if a brilliant one. Irons’ effect on him was visible - some of the stress and exhaustion evaporated from his face. “Your office, Lieutenant?” She gestured toward the engineering office where Dr. Carrera spent most of his time.



Carrera sagged into his chair as Irons said, “We were ambushed while at warp - we have to assume we are being pursued. Whatever it was, given the power of that attack it had to be a capital ship. That was no pirate. We have to assume they will follow us.”


Carrera responded evenly. “The zip effect will make us difficult to trace. Assuming it’s working properly and not leaving some sort of subspace cavitation. We won’t leave a conventional warp trail.”


“How quickly can you get us to Earth?”


“Assuming we stop, I would recommend going dark. Give me about an hour to check the engines and make adjustments. If all is well, we can be to Earth in about 18 hours,” Carrera said.


Irons’ eyebrows both went up considerably. “That is much better than 22 days. How did you resolve the mass variable problem you were telling me about?”


“Flight Engineer Tomos solved it for me.” 


“I didn’t know Tomos was a mathematician,” Irons said.


“He isn’t. He’s a librarian.”


Irons smiled. “So he found the solution in an ancient vulcan library?”


Carrera maintained a level gaze. “He made mass a constant. About twenty minutes ago. Just in time.”


“I am looking forward to hearing more about that,” Irons responded. “Get some rest, Lieutenant. We’re going to need that brain of yours in about two hours and fifty minutes. Have your staff schedule the stopover and QuickQuiet with Lieutenant Commander Mlady. I am needed in Medical.”


Dr. Carrera looked down, then up, “Casualties?”


“Five. I don’t know their status, so do not worry yet, Lieutenant.”


“Aye, Captain…  Good luck,” Carrera added as Irons headed toward the lift.


4.8

Episode 4.9 - Casualties by Robert Bruce Scott
Author's Notes:

Justice Minerva Irons and Dr. Tali Shae discuss casualties from the attack on the U.S.S. Hunter.

Star Trek Hunter
Episode 4: Run To Earth

Scene 9: Casualties



4.9

Casualties


Justice Irons walked into the empty medical office and sat down across from her best friend’s desk. There was nowhere else to be at this moment. Nothing to do but wait. Her crew were doing their jobs. Her job now was to help the crew accept the casualties. She could only hope that this office was empty because there were living crew members being tended to in the two surgeries beyond.



After a very long five minutes, Dr. Tali Shae entered the room from the surgery. Irons could tell by her expression that something was terribly wrong. That and the wash of bitter emotion Tali brought into the room with her. Irons watched as the doctor slowly sat down - grief clear on her face. Irons simply waited.


“The tactical squad was training in the track on deck 5,” Tali Shae started. “They are all recovering. But T’Lok…” the doctor caught her breath.


Irons could feel her face responding with grief, but it felt like something that was happening on the surface of her face - it hadn’t made its way to her heart yet.


“She…” Dr. Shae caught her breath again. “She didn’t make it.”


Irons heard herself saying, “I want an autopsy. I want to know how she died.” Irons hated the coldness she heard in her own voice.


“I’ve already done that, Minerva,” the doctor responded. “She must have been the first exposed to space. As you know, a disruptor, unlike a phaser, carries a heavy radioactive backwash,” The doctor’s voice steadied and she took on a more clinical tone. “It doesn’t last long. From the wounds on T’Lok’s arms and legs, it looks like she spread-eagled on the breach, trying to keep from getting blown out. Her back was exposed to the radiation in backwash of the disrupter beam - it boiled her organs inside her.”


Irons felt the coldness settling in.


“She probably saved Jarrong and Belo Rys. They were ejected behind her, but by the time they hit space the radiation had dissipated. Dr. Jazz is re-attaching Belo Rys’s hand. She should have full use of it by tomorrow.” Tali Shae fell silent, then started to shake.


Irons finally managed to sort out a few words. She was still listening to herself saying them, as if part of her was in another room, listening in. “Tali… I didn’t know… You know, I didn’t realize how much of my hope for the future was invested in that young woman.”


Tali Shae tried to respond, but couldn’t.


Irons heard herself say, “I feel guilty… I can’t stop wishing that it was anyone else. I’ve been a starship captain for nearly eighty years. I’ve lost more crew members than we have serving on this boat. But this one… She should have lived another hundred and fifty years. All the wonders she should have seen… This is one horrible day.” Irons looked down and fell silent.



Dr. Tali Shae found her voice. “I felt the deck plates. I’ve never felt anything like it before. How fast are we traveling?”


“Warp eleven,” Irons responded, not understanding where this came from.


Tali Shae continued, “However you remember this day, Star Fleet will remember this as the first day a starship travelled above warp ten deliberately and under its own power. You’ve broken the biggest speed record. And if that drive works the way it’s supposed to work, you’re not tearing space apart - you’re repairing it.”


Irons laid her head back, staring at the ceiling. “We could have done that tomorrow.”


“Minerva, you’re going to have to tell the crew. I just don’t know how you do that. Everyone loves T’Lok. There is no one on this boat she didn’t comfort or hug or make laugh…”


Irons finally felt her voice as if it were her own again. “This one hurts.” She bit her lip, then managed, “a lot.”



Dr. Tali Shae and Justice Minerva Irons sat in silence for a few moments.



Without looking up, Tali said, “You know, you need to tell them about warp eleven. And the zip drive. And while we lost T’Lok, we saved four others.” Tali Shae looked up. “Minerva, we need to remember this as a good day. Dr. Carrera’s whole life has been about this. That whole engineering department - they’ve been working themselves to death making this happen. And they saved all our lives. We were able to run away.”


Irons felt a bitter laugh escape her. At that moment the communication system came alive, bringing the slightly mechanical voice of the Tactical Medical Hologram, Dr. Kim, into the room. The TMH sounded oddly excited: “Dr. Shae, they’re awake…”


4.9

Episode 4.10 - Awakening by Robert Bruce Scott
Author's Notes:

With the U.S.S. Hunter traveling at unprecidented speed, Lt. Dolphin and Ensign T'Lon regain consciousness..

Star Trek Hunter
Episode 4: Run To Earth

Scene 10: Awakening


4.10

Awakening


By the time Justice Minerva Irons and Dr. Tali Shae arrived at the wagon, China Irons had removed the sling that had held Ensign T’Lon’s fingers to Lt. Kenneth Dolphin’s temple and the two had both fallen into a normal sleep, clearly exhausted, no longer in telepathic contact. Investigator Lynhart Shran arrived only a moment later.



“So it’s true,” the old investigator said.


Dr. Shae was using a tricorder to verify that Dolphin and T’Lon were stable.


“It’s time to wake Tauk up,” Shran said.


“We’re out of range of the Breakfast Killer?” Irons asked.


“BK#2,” Shran said. “I have Buttans on deck 5 looking at the evidence from the attack. I’ve been going over the telemetry with Dewayne Guth. That young man has seen a thing or two. By the time you get my boss out of deep freeze, we should have something for you. It’s just a hunch at the moment, but I think I know what that attack was about.”


Irons turned toward the old investigator. “Could it have anything to do with our, well, as you say, BK#2?”


“We’re alive,” Shran said. “So, all things considered, my opinion would be, no.” Shran’s antennae turned toward Dr. Shae, then his attention followed. “Doc, think I can be there when you wake the kid up? He’s probably going to be a little sore with all of us.”


Dr. Tali Shae looked at Irons. “Minerva?”


“Wake him up, Tali.” Minerva Irons responded. “And tell him he is in charge of Ground Operations for now.” She turned and looked at Dolphin and T’Lon. “I’m glad they’re sleeping. I don’t want the first thing they hear to be my announcement about T’Lok.”


China and Shran both turned toward her. 


“She died in the attack,” Irons said. “Don’t tell anyone - I will make the announcement in a few moments. I just need to put some words to it. This,” she gestured toward Dolphin and T’Lon, “this is very good news.”


4.10

Episode 4.11 - Announcement by Robert Bruce Scott
Author's Notes:

Justice Irons has an announcement for the crew

Star Trek Hunter
Episode 4: Run To Earth

Scene 11: The Announcement


4.11

The Announcement


Minerva Irons returned to the bridge, not looking at her second officer, who was still in the captain’s chair. Or anyone else. She could feel their eyes on her as she walked straight to her office and let the door close behind her. She sat at her desk, then retrieved a hair brush from a drawer, removed her right hand from its sling and slowly, methodically, painfully brushed her hair.



China Irons watched Lt. Dolphin and Ensign T’Lon sleeping. She was still processing what she had heard about Lt. T’Lok Smith, the attack, the killer. China had never wanted such an exciting life. She was a cultural archeologist, specializing in vulcan culture. Her husband was a judge. Two of their children were in Star Fleet. There were few more dangerous jobs. She had no idea what had drawn her mother out of retirement no less than four times to return to the helm of a starship.



Investigators Shran and Buttans helped 2nd Lt. Tauk sit up. The long period under sedation had left the young ferengi woozy and for some reason he had a bit of a cough. It took a few minutes before his senses had cleared enough for his investigators to bring him up to date and he was still more than a little confused.



Tactical Specialist Belo Rys was propped up into a reasonably uncomfortable position on the surgical bed. She really didn’t feel strong enough to leave it. She stared at her hand in wonder. She could see the faint ring of new skin where her hand had been reattached. She slowly flexed her fingers. It didn’t feel as if her hand had been ripped off - it looked, responded and felt just like normal. She looked at her half-sister and half-brother, neither quite asleep nor awake. Her cousin, Jarrong, was up and pacing, but wore herself out quickly and then propped herself up in a corner.



Dr. Sarekson Carrera slept soundly on a cot hidden in an alcove behind his office.


Commander David Pepper walked into main engineering, partly to marvel at the engine that was carrying this boat faster than the fastest top of the line deep space ships and partly to quietly congratulate and encourage the engineering staff for their hard won accomplishment.



“All hands…” Justice Irons’ voice was carried throughout the boat by the communication system. “That new feeling underneath you in the deck plates is the feeling of traveling at warp eleven. This date will be remembered as the first successful manned flight using a new propulsion configuration that allows us to achieve much higher speeds without causing damage to spacetime. Not only that, but in theory, use of this method will repair the damage done by centuries of warp drive. This has been the life work of our Director of Engineering, Dr. Sarekson Carrera and when you think back to this day, I want you to remember that this is in no small part his day.”


“But this is also the day we lost one of our own. We were ambushed and suffered casualties. Fortunately, between the smooth operation of our safety protocols and the expertise of our medical department, four lives were saved. But it grieves me deeply to inform you that our Director of Ground Operations, Lieutenant T’Lok Smith, was killed in the line of duty at six hours and forty-four minutes this morning.”


“I can only tell you how deeply I feel this loss. But we are not out of danger yet and I still need each of you to perform your duties to the high standards that you always have achieved. If, however, you need to take a few minutes to recover, please inform your officer in charge. At nine hours, thirty minutes we will come to a full stop and go dark for one hour. If your duties permit, you may join Dr. Tali Shae and me in the Medical bay at that time.” 


“That is all.”



Dr. Carrera slept soundly straight through the announcement.


4.11

Episode 4.12 - Dark Mode by Robert Bruce Scott
Author's Notes:

The U.S.S. Hunter comes to a complete stop and goes dark, making the ship very hard to detect...

Star Trek Hunter
Episode 4: Run To Earth

Scene 12: Dark Mode


4.12

Dark Mode


The U.S.S. Hunter was dark, its decks illuminated only by luminescent panels, radiating out the light energy the chemicals inside those panels had been absorbing from the general lighting. A dim blue glow - just enough to see by. The only control panels that were powered were the ones that Dr. Sarekson Carrera and his engineering department needed to evaluate the condition of the engines. Only the Medical bay, which included the brig units, was fully powered. This was the most heavily insulated area, deep in the interior of the boat.


With the exception of the engineering department and four staff on the bridge, most of the crew was gathered in Medical. T’Lok’s body was in cold storage. 2nd Lt. Tauk, Lt. Dolphin, and Ensign T’Lon - all awakened from their long, involuntary slumbers - were present, huddled together, T’Lon’s team crowded in close around them. Tactical Specialist Belo Cantys and her half-brother, Garr, seemed momentarily unwilling to step aside to allow Justice Minerva Irons to step up and place her hand on Tauk’s chest. The little ferengi barely moved. 


“Tauk, I’m sorry,” Irons said. “You have no defenses against the Breakfast Killer. She tried to kill Lieutenant Dolphin. If she had tried to kill you as well… Our only choice was to keep you sedated so she couldn’t find you.”


Tauk nodded numbly. Investigator Lynhart Shran stepped up behind him and placed a hand on the young lieutenant’s shoulder. 


Irons continued, “Lieutenant, as assistant director, until I name a new director, you are in charge of ground operations.” 


Tauk started to nod, then turned and called to the medical director: “Dr. Shae - can we link the forensic work stations to the data for ground ops?”


Tali Shae looked at Tauk, but her antennae twitched toward the forensic work stations located in the forward surgery. “It’s all one computer,” she said.



Tauk and his staff gathered in the forward surgery. “Before we can capture our Breakfast Killer, we have to find her. So someone tell me how we know it is a female?”


Shran spoke up. “On the beach, when everything went sideways, BK2 was reaching out to us. Looking for anyone who had been looking for her. The Judge and me - we don’t have much in the way of telepathy, but we do have some defenses. But T’Lok could sense her - she told us it was a female mind - a very powerful one.”


Belo Cantys winced slightly when Shran said T’Lok’s name and looked at T’Lon, but the ensign registered no emotion. 


Tauk reacted to a different part of Shran’s response. “BK2?”


“Breakfast Killer... number 2... We know she’s not the first one. And using an acronym will help - take it from an old manhunter. The target is a target.”


“We’re trying to capture this target, Lynhart, not kill her,” Tauk said.


“That is going to be a very tall order, boss.”


“Worked like a charm on me,” Tauk responded, slightly acerbically. He turned toward T’Lon. “Ensign, I would like to use your squad to do some detective work.”


T’Lon responded evenly, “Put us to work, Sir.”


Tauk took a moment to adjust - he had outranked T’Lon since he met her, but they had always been colleagues working for T’Lok. He had never given her an order and only now realized his request had to be construed as one. He took a deep breath, then plowed on, now addressing the squad members. “I need you to each take one of BK2’s victims. Start with the humans. Trace their movements over the past three years. We are operating under the assumption that BK2 used repeated mind-melds to install… instructions. What we’re looking for is a correlation that places the human victims in proximity where BK2 would have had prolonged opportunity to conduct a number of mind-melds. Probably over the space of several days, if not weeks. Investigator Buttans, I want you to supervise. Make sure all the human victims are followed, then do the same with their spouses. If my theory is right, they will all pass through one or two different places. If you get that far, start looking for any female vulcan/betazoid hybrids in those places at those times.”


Shran smiled. “Amazing what a good sleep will do for you, boss,” he said. “So what do you want me to do?”


“I assume you’ve been putting together a plan to kill her,” Tauk said.


“Until about five minutes ago, I had an idea…” Shran started.


Tauk cut him off. “I want you to come up with a plan to capture her and render her powers inert.”


Shran shook his head, his antennae comically moving the opposite direction from his face. “I just knew you were going to say that, boss”



Tauk turned and put his hand on T’Lon’s arm. “T’Lon, this is not an order, but our biggest clue is in Dr. Dolphin’s mind. Can you find it?”


“I can try.. I want to try. If he will allow me. It may take a lot of time.”


“Take all the time you need - and only if he will allow it. But he needs to consider this,” Tauk continued. “Whatever BK2 put in his head - the compulsion to kill on her command - it’s probably still there. And you are probably the only person who can dig it out of him. I’m sure he will want to be rid of it.”



Dr. Tali Shae stormed into the room, her antennae twitching. “Alright, what are you people doing on my forensic workstations? Get back to your own room!”


Justice Irons was behind the doctor, laughing quietly. “We’re clear for warp eleven. You can go back to the ground ops center now. Investigator Shran, do you have some answers for me about what attacked us?”


“I think so, boss.”


“Lieutenant Tauk, I want you, Buttans and Shran in Conference Room 1 in twenty minutes. Be ready to talk about the attack,” Irons concluded. “Lieutenant Commander Mlady, bring us to warp eleven and get us to Earth. Executive staff meeting in twenty minutes, Conference Room 1.”


The communication system carried Mlady’s voice back from the bridge, “Aye, Captain.”


4.12

Episode 4.13 - Assessment by Robert Bruce Scott
Author's Notes:

Investigator Shran has an idea about what attacked the U.S.S. Hunter... And why....

Star Trek Hunter
Episode 4: Run To Earth

Scene 12: Assessment


4.13

Assessment


The three surviving department directors, 1st Lieutenants Kenneth Dolphin and Sarekson Carrera and Lt. Commander Tali Shae, were seated around the antique teak table in the executive conference room along with the executive staff: Justice Minerva Irons, Commander David Pepper and Lt. Commander Mlady. Investigators Lynhart Shran and Buttans Ngumbo were also seated at the table. 


Outside the large window on the starboard side of the room, stars streamed by at a speed none of them had ever witnessed before. But all eyes were focused on a holographic image of an as yet unidentified ship gradually emerging from a cloaking field, firing a bright red disrupter beam at almost the very moment it decloaked. The entire sequence depicted an event that had lasted only three seconds, but the display slowed this sequence to a crawl. 


 2nd Lt Tauk stood next to this image at the front of the room. “As you are no doubt aware, there are several different types of cloaking device. They all work on the same basic principle, but they manifest in different ways. The frequency of the shimmer we collected on telemetry is consistent with a romulan cloak. But the prow of the ship we were able to observe, and the material composition of its hull are not consistent with romulan construction. Not to mention the color spectrum of the disruptor beam.”


Tauk continued, “Investigator Buttans performed an analysis of the damage to our hull. The results, along with the telemetry on the attacking ship’s hull, its prow design, and the color spectrum and power of the weapon, as well as the results from the autopsy on Lieutenant Smith - they’re all consistent with a cardassian Keldon class battlecruiser.”


“A cardassian battlecruiser with a romulan cloaking device?” Dolphin asked.


Dr. Carrera followed, “I want to know how they were able to fire a main disruptor before fully decloaking.”


Tauk responded, “This isn’t general knowledge, but during the war with the Dominion, the romulan and cardassian military intelligence agencies - the Tal Shiar and the Obsidian Order - forged an alliance. The romulans installed cloaking devices on seven cardassian Keldon class battlecruisers prior to a disastrous attack on what they thought was the homeworld of the Founders. All those ships were reported lost in that attack. Apparently they modified an eighth ship.” Tauk turned toward Dr. Carrera, “As for your question, that was really the final clue. The cardassians improved on the Galorn class battlecruiser by adding a very large battery to the main disruptor. The disruptor still needs access to main power. But if that battery were fully charged, they would not need to wait for the disruptor to power up before engaging it. No other ship would be able to do that.”


Mlady spoke up, “What keeps the romulans and klingons from upgrading their disruptors that way?”


“Treaty law,” Justice Irons responded. “Specifically the Khitomer Accords. It’s the same treaty that keeps the Federation from developing cloaking technology.”


Lt. Tauk continued, “Investigator Shran had already suspected the cardasians. Lynhart?”


Investigator Lynhart Shran continued the analysis in his gravelly voice: “Back on New Hope Colony there was cardassian junk all over the place. Cardassian disruptors, cardassian band rifles, T’Lon’s team was sheltering under cardassian armored ground vehicles.”


“Even the dampening generator,” Buttans Ngumbo added, “I was only able to shut it down because I could read cardassian script.”


“By itself, all that didn’t mean much,” Shran continued. “Cardassian military surplus is all over the place. It’s cheap, not as powerful as klingon weapons nor as clean and versatile as federation equipment. But it’s simple, rugged, easy to repair. You could drag a cardassian band rifle through the mud and then fire it underwater. I wouldn’t try that with my revolver.”


Lt. Tauk picked up the thread, “But with a Keldon class battlecruiser firing on us, not to destroy but to disable us…”


“They were trying to rescue Governor Ivonovic,” Justice Irons concluded. “Hunter!”


The boat’s interactive avatar appeared next to the holographic display, across from Lt. Tauk. “Your honor?”


“Prepare a recording of this briefing to send to the U.S.S. Challenger and get me Captain Summers on a priority security channel.”



In a few moments, the holographic image of the decloaking ship was replaced with a two-dimensional representation of the bearded Captain DeForest Summers.


“Summers here, how can I help you, Captain Irons?”


“Are you carrying Governor Ivonovic?”


“Taking him to Earth,” Summers responded. “Him and a few of his cronies who tried to break him out of Star Base 11.”


“I am sending you a briefing about an attack on my vessel that occurred less than four hours ago. We believe there is a Keldon class battlecruiser using a romulan cloaking device that may attack your vessel if they realize you have Ivonovic,” Irons said. “I highly recommend you start looking for it immediately. Captain, this ship can engage its main disruptor immediately on decloaking.”


“That would be a violation of treaty,” Summers said.


“I think we may have a rogue element here, Captain” Irons responded. “The Cardassian Interim Central Government will have plausible deniability.”


“Understood Captain - thanks for the warning,” Summers responded.


“I have to look after my crew, Captain, past and present,” Irons replied with a smile. “Hunter out.”


4.13

Episode 4.14 - Pon Farr by Robert Bruce Scott
Author's Notes:

After a long, difficult day, Kenny Dolphin retreats to the Directors Lounge, missing his deceased friend. He receives sevearl visitors...

This scene concludes Episode 4. The story continues in a new Story thread: Star Trek Hunter Part 2: Episodes 5 - 7.

Star Trek Hunter
Episode 4: Run To Earth

Scene 14: Pon Farr


4.14

Pon Farr


Lt. Kenny Dolphin wandered out of the conference room and eventually found himself on deck 5. Two of his flight crew greeted him as he stepped off the lift; they took his place in it and left the deck. Dolphin was still foggy from his recent brush with death. The only thing that had really gotten through to him since waking was T’Lok Smith’s death. He couldn’t even remember which crew members he had just met.


He wandered around the track. One person was standing near the port side. It was Ensign T’Lon. He walked up to her, then just stared at the wall. T’Lon placed her hand on the wall. Dolphin focused his attention there.


“This is where it happened,” she said simply.


That section of wall looked just the same as the rest. The repair was seamless. Dolphin wondered if T’Lon could see some sort of telepathic imprint to tell her where the spot was. “How can you tell?” he asked.


“Telemetry,” she answered.


“Why are you here?” Dolphin heard himself ask.


T’Lon looked at him levelly. “To talk to you. Everyone has come to look at this wall. I anticipated you would as well.”


Kenny Dolphin just looked at her.


“Whatever BK2 placed in your mind, the program to kill on command, it’s probably still there,” T’Lon continued. “I think I can find it and remove it.”


“When do we start?” Dolphin asked. 


“Tomorrow. When we’re strong enough,” T’Lon responded, then turned and walked away. 


Dolphin watched her. There was something wrong about her gait, awkward. He realized she was walking with her left arm crooked - as though arm-in-arm with her now-deceased childhood friend. Dolphin felt a wave of sadness for her, then found himself suddenly awash in an unfamiliar and unwelcome emotion - waves of nostalgia for a lost childhood only a few days passed - his first command - innocent flirting with a pretty young vulcan - riding a giant wave on a surfboard for the first time - staring up at unfamiliar stars from the warm sands of a planet that was not Earth. It all seemed so long ago. It was a lifetime ago.


Kenny Dolphin shook his head to dispel the reverie. He wasn’t certain how long he had stood there watching the hallway after T’Lon had departed. He got started moving and ended up in the director’s lounge on deck 4. Neither Carrera nor Shae were there. They almost never were. When he was stationed on the Enterprise, he had a small, isolated stateroom to himself. Dolphin had long preferred a solitary existence. 


But for the past week, he had shared this space with T’Lok - her endless curiosity, boundless enthusiasm, intelligent conversation had filled this room. It wasn’t a large room but it seemed cavernous and empty without her. 



Dolphin sat on the couch just staring at the door - as if she might just walk in. The door chime startled him - he had never heard it used. He stood up and said, “Enter.”


The door opened to reveal Investigator Lynhart Shran. Dolphin was genuinely surprised.


“Investigator Shran?”


“I can’t stay, boss. We have a lead and I’m needed upstairs. But I figured you could use this,” Shran walked in and set a heavy shot glass and a captain’s bottle with a crystal cork on the counter next to the replicator. A small amount of thick, navy blue liquid lurked in the bottom of the bottle. “Aldebaran whisky from the lowland marshes of the southern continent - 60 years old - almost as old as I am,” he said. “Drink it slow - this is the good stuff. When you’re done I’d like the bottle and the glass back. They’re hand-blown. The real stuff just tastes better when you keep it and drink it in the real stuff.”


Dolphin looked at the bottle with renewed respect - it was a work of art. So was the glass. “Thank you, Mr. Shran.”


“Drink it slow,” Shran said, then walked out the door.



Shran was right - the whisky had wonderful, complex combinations of flavors that kept unfolding as the intoxicating effect took hold. There was only one shot in the bottle. Dolphin sat on the couch, slowly enjoying the drink and catalogued his memories of T’Lok. It made sense to him to try to remember everything about her that he could. He was astounded at how much he had taken her presence for granted - as though they might share this room for years. These were good memories and well worth preserving.


Dolphin was lifted from his reverie by the door chiming again. He drained the glass, walked carefully and placed it on the counter next to the bottle, then said, “Enter.”


Gaia Gamor stepped into the room carrying a platter with a small amount of food. Behind her, David Pepper squeezed through the doorway. Wonderful smells from the breakfast on the beach filled the room - especially the smoked fish. “I thought you might be hungry,” Gamor said. 


“I wasn’t, but I’m starving now,” Dolphin said. He called for the Hunter to project a dining table with appropriate seating, sat down at the table and waived for Gaia and Pep to join him. He launched into the miniature buffet with gusto. He hadn’t eaten in days.


“Lenny Shran’s Aldebaran Whisky,” Pep observed after sniffing the empty shot glass. “That man has the best taste in everything.”


“Mmmm..” Dolphin observed around a mouthful of fish.


Gaia Gamor smiled as Dolphin swiftly polished off the food. “I guess I should have brought more.”


“No, this was exactly the right amount.”


Pep looked around the room. “Kind of empty without her, isn’t it?”


“I’ve been remembering her. Everything I can think of. Just a week, but there really was a lot,” Dolphin said, then bit his lip.


“She did wonders with her department,” said Gaia. “She took a box of broken toys and turned them into a close-knit family - an excellent team. You got to know so little about her.”



“About a year ago she had an affair with old Tomos - the vulcan down in engineering,” Pep said. 


Dolphin was stunned, not about the affair, but that Pep addressed it so casually.


“Lasted only a few weeks, but Tomos said it was the most wonderful event in his life. That’s a lot from an old fashioned vulcan. Mate for lifetime type. He washed up here after his wife died - no idea how he was going to go on with life or even if he wanted to.”


“Pon Farr,” Pep explained. “It’s milder and shorter for older vulcans, but he was still fairly miserable. The first time is so much worse - usually happens in their mid-20’s. Trauma can cause early onset, which makes it even worse… But I don’t have to tell you that, do I? You literally wrote the book on it.”


“Two books,” Dolphin said, ruefully. “They didn’t exactly make me popular. Particularly with vulcans.”


“How illogical of them,” Pep rejoined. “But these days your second book is pretty much the defninitive work for humans who get tangled up in Pon Farr.” 


Pep took a deep breath, eyed Dolphin carefully. “T’Lok was more klingon than vulcan or human - at least in spirit,” he said. “Completely fearless. She was never afraid to give everything she had and everything she was. She lived every moment like it was her last. She lived more in 27 years than most people could manage in a hundred.” Pep stood up.


Dolphin and Gamor also stood up. 


Pep put his enormous hand on Dolphin’s chest. This odd physical contact seemed omnipresent with this crew - it was very unusual for Star Fleet officers to touch each other this way - except on this boat. Dolphin had grown used to it - even started to enjoy it, but he was still far too inhibited to return the gesture. He was the product of generations of New England WASPs - casual physical contact was not part of the culture he had been raised in.


“Don’t mourn for her, Kenny. She had an amazing life. Mourn for us that we lost her,” Pep said. He stepped back and picked up the bottle and glass. “I’ll take these back to Lenny for you,” he said, then turned to leave. 


Gaia Gamor placed her hand on Dolphin’s chest, smiled and said, “Good night, Director,” then followed Pep out the door.



A few hours later, Dolphin was awakened by someone knocking on the door of his escape/sleeping pod. He preferred to sleep naked - so he wrapped a sheet around himself, then touched the control panel that unsealed and opened the pod door. Through the dark, translucent window, he could see someone step to the side of the door. Dolphin started to emerge from the pod. T’Lon pressed him back into the pod, joining him and closed the pod door.


“I’m cold,” she said.


Without thinking, Dolphin opened the sheet, then responded strongly as he felt her skin pressing against his. “Are we about to do something we will need to disclose?” he asked, awkwardly.


T’Lon pressed her cheek next to his, covering part of his face with her hair and whispered softly in his ear: “That is my intention.”


4 - Run To Earth

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