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Chapter 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



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