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.
- 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.”
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.”