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Chapter 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)

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

Chapter 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

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