Makoto plopped down onto the L-shaped couch in her and Gosnell’s living room. She kicked off her boots, both in seemingly one motion, and unzipped her jacket and turtleneck before flopping out on the couch and sighing.
“Rough day?” Gosnell called to her.
“I wish we were shooting people all the time,” Makoto groaned as Gosnell brought a tray of cookies and a large glass of Mt. Dew for his wife. He quickly moved her legs so he could sit down on the couch next to her. As soon as he was seated, Makoto threw her legs on his lap, silently demanding a foot massage as she continued.
“If the weapons were always active, then we wouldn’t have to do diagnostics and maintenance drills and shit like that.”
Gosnell smiled as he rubbed Makoto’s feet. “But if you didn’t do ‘shit like that’, then the weapons wouldn’t fire when you wanted them to,” he countered.
Gosnell laughed slightly. “I can only imagine how bitchy you’d be then.”
Makoto scowled at him for a moment, before sighing again. “I guess I would be pretty bitchy about that.”
Gosnell simply smiled as he continued to rub his wife’s feet while she ate a cookie, which was quickly chased with a swig of Dew. Eventually, she looked up to him.
“Do you ever miss it?”
“Hmm?” Gosnell asked, never looking away from his task.
“Just wandering around.”
Gosnell stopped what he was doing for a moment, then shook his head.
Gosnell turned to Makoto. “I’d be lying if I said there weren’t some things I didn’t miss,” he shrugged, resuming his task of making his wife feel better. “But I’d miss this more.”
Makoto smiled before moving around and climbing on top of Gosnell.
“I’m really, really happy we found each other again.”
Gosnell nodded. “Me too,” he quietly replied as Makoto pushed her lips against his.
ABOUT 15 YEARS AGO; SOMEWHERE SOUTH OF THE FEDERATION/KLINGON BORDER
Makoto walked slowly down the darkened alleyway. She wasn't really a fan of these kinds of assignments. Meeting some confidential informant always ended up with her having to either get blood on her hands or worse, to have a conversation with some idiot.
She was far happier with the assignments that allowed her to simply find targets, deal with them from afar and let her associates do the dirty work; usually in the form of some kind of 'accident'.
Fortunately, with space travel being as dangerous as it was, accidents were easy to cover up. Killing someone ‘in person’ usually meant she was forced to bring the body back to the ship with her, have a doppelganger body made (one lacking multiple phaser burns, contusions and broken bones Makoto generally caused), and then return it for the local authorities to find.
It got even more annoying when the planet she ended up on decided to not cooperate weather-wise. Not more than thirty minutes ago when the sun was up it was clear and at least twenty-five degrees. She was dressed for that in light, black, loose-fitting shirt and pants.
Now it was freaking snowing.
Makoto sighed as she leaned up against a wall and checked her watch, the lightly falling snow melting as it landed on her face. Her informant was now late, as an added insult.
She decided at that instant if she did end up having to kill him, she wouldn't actually find it an annoyance.
“I'm sorry I'm late,” a slightly out-of-breath voice quietly spoke out as a tall man, who was bundled up like he was preparing to go hiking through the coldest parts of the Breen homeworld, rounded the corner.
Makoto sized him up before springing forward and pinning him against the wall.
“Quiet,” she whispered as he nearly screamed. “Just checking.”
The man complied as Makoto pulled out a small, black tricorder and ran it up and down him. Once she was satisfied with the results, she released him and backed away a bit.
“I take it you're Jupiter?” he asked.
Makoto nodded, acknowledging the codename the contact had been given.
“I am Bar'Ha'Lak,” he said. “I can give you the information I told you about, but first I want some assurances.”
The alien sighed before looking at Makoto. “I will be a wanted man here. I want asylum in the Federation.”
Makoto nodded. “That can likely be arranged.”
“Not likely,” he shook his head. “No asylum, no weapons.”
Makoto rolled her eyes. “I will get you your asylum.”
Bar'Ha'Lak eyed Makoto suspiciously through the hood in his coat, before pulling the hood off. He pointed to a massive scar on the side of his face that led up to what was an obvious prosthetic eye.
“Do you see this?” he barked. “This is what they did to me because I questioned them for even making the weapons.”
Makoto again nodded. “Look, you will get your asylum. Once you are on my ship you will be safe. The actual asylum will take a little bit because the Federation doesn't officially acknowledge what we do, so a story has to be made up about who you are and where you're from.”
Bar'Ha'Lak contemplated what Makoto said for a moment before accepting her explanation. “Okay. I will trust you.”
The alien motioned for Makoto to follow him, and the pair walked down the alley a bit before stopping at a parked vehicle. Bar'Ha'Lak pulled the headlight casing off, revealing a small box. As he opened the box, he spoke.
“I am abandoning everything for this...”
“Why?” Makoto asked.
Bar'Ha'Lak continued to open the box as he explained. “My people want to make a name for themselves in the galaxy. However, they go about it in the wrong way. They do not understand that if they sell these weapons to one group, another group will not buy them – they will destroy us.”
Bar'Ha'Lak sighed. “They think that they can profit from chaos and misery, but even if say the Klingons bought them, they would not want us selling them to their enemies. So even our customers would attack us.”
“By betrayal, you are saving,” Makoto nodded.
“It's not betrayal, despite the fact I am giving you this information,” Bar'Ha'Lak grumbled. “It is simply doing what I can to stop them from heading down a self-destructive path.”
Makoto looked to the alien man as he finally got the box open. In it were two isolinear chips. He handed them both to Makoto.
“One of these contains all the database information needed to break in and destroy years of research and work,” he sighed. “The other contains the location of the prototype facility.”
“Is the prototype functional?” Makoto asked.
“No,” Bar'Ha'Lak shook his head. “They are still working on the genetic-” the alien stops speaking at the same time Makoto finds herself partially covered in blood and brain matter.
“Fuck...” she whispers before diving behind his vehicle just before another bullet impacts the spot where she'd been just a couple of seconds beforehand.
Makoto looks down the alley and notices multiple police vehicles heading in her direction, as well as several coming in from overhead. Behind her she also sees several heavily armed police officers running towards her.
The door of a nearby house splinters as it’s kicked off its frame by Makoto. A small child in the house screams as she runs through, smiling and waving at the child before the Section 31 operative barrels out through the front door much the same way she burst in the back. Makoto grits her teeth and takes off running as she sees several more military and police officers closing in on her from multiple vectors.
Weaving through traffic, between a couple of vehicles parked on the side of the street, Makoto turned and dove through another residential window, narrowly missing a barrage of gunfire and phaser blasts sent in her direction by the rapidly approaching security forces.
More residents scream as Makoto ran through their homes, the police kicking down the doors behind her. Makoto again chose to not use the door and dove through a rear window, rolling out into another alley and taking off running, several police officers hot on her trail.
Makoto slaps the biometric implant in her forearm desperately; the implant unhelpfully communicating to her earpiece that escape would not be easy.
“Transport unavailable,” she barely heard in her ear over the sounds of sirens, phaser blasts, and gunshots.
“Why?!” she asked.
“Transport inhibitors in effect.”
“GOD DAMN IT!” Makoto screamed as she jumped on top of a car, grabbed a hold of a fire escape, and began climbing it. Gunfire from the street below barely missed her as she made her way to the roof of the building, only to find airborne police vehicles waiting for her; officers firing at her from the windows.
After hopping over two rooftops Makoto jumped off and onto the roof of a passing vehicle. She lost her balance and slid backward, falling onto the street where she was promptly run over by at least three vehicles.
Fortunately, all these vehicles were hovering, so she was uninjured by the cars. The chaos that followed a strange alien landing on a car and then being ran, or rather, flown over was enough to snarl traffic. The mass of cars and people provided Makoto the opportunity to slink away into a nearby alleyway undetected.
The dark-haired girl sat down next to an old, burnt-out car. Her leg was very sore, and she was bleeding. At first, she thought the blood on her arm was from hitting the pavement, but after closer inspection, she'd realized that she had a deep cut, as well as a couple of fragments of glass embedded in her bicep.
To make matters worse, one of her isolinear chips had been broken in the chase. She was certain that a Section 31 forensics team could still recover the data from it, but there was the idea of everything today being for nothing.
All of that could be completely irrelevant, though. Makoto still had no idea if she'd be able to get off the planet. The transport inhibitor was still up, and she couldn’t tell how far it extended. The Minneapolis wouldn't stay there forever waiting for her. Eventually, they would assume she'd been compromised and abandon her.
And it was fucking cold.
“Well, hey there,” a voice said.
Makoto looked up to see four men standing a few meters from her.
“You're not from around here, are you?” another asked.
“No,” Makoto replied. “Go away.”
The men all laughed and looked at each other. “That's really rude!” one said.
“Very rude considering that you're in our spot.”
Makoto grumbled and stood. She gave the men a look before she began to walk away.
“Oh, so you're going to play hard to get?” the fourth laughed before nodding to the other three.
The other three nodded back and began to advance on Makoto. She spun around, catching the closest of the men off guard and breaking his neck, killing him instantly. The remaining three pulled out guns.
“Look bitch,” the first said, losing his sardonic smile. “This is going to happen, just accept it.”
Makoto growled at them, turned, and began to run. Her injured leg made escape impossible, and the trio of remaining men was able to catch up and surrounded her easily. Two held guns on her while the third approached, his disturbing grin signaling his intent. They closed on her, subduing her before she could fight back again.
“LET GO OF ME!” Makoto demanded.
“Where you from?” The first man asked as he tried to pin down Makoto's arms.
“I think she's a Vulcan,” the second said, ripping her pants roughly down.
“Naww,” the third replied as he began to unfasten his own pants. “They have those pointy ears.”
“HELP!” Makoto screamed.
“No one here is going to help you,” the first grinned.
“Not true,” a voice said.
The three turned around to see another man standing behind them. The man’s appearance, rather average looking - average height and weight for a humanoid, dark brown hair, neatly trimmed goatee, perplexed the attackers.
Surely this schmuck wasn’t going to get involved.
“Who the hell are you?” the third man asked.
“Does it matter?” the interloper responded.
“Does it?” the second asked.
“NO!” the first screamed, grabbing his gun and pointing it at the Samaritan.
“No guns,” the man said, closing the distance suddenly, pulling the gun from the rapist's hands before turning it on the other two, recovering their weapons. He then took all three guns and threw them as far as he could. He groaned slightly as they landed in a distant schoolyard.
“Well, whatever!” the second rapist said as he charged the Samaritan. The Samaritan smirked before grabbing him by the shirt and throwing him several hundred feet down the street.
“What the...” the first one mumbled before being picked up, spun around helicopter style, and thrown through the wall of an abandoned building.
The third attempted to run but was unable to avoid being grabbed and similarly tossed. Unfortunately, the toss was bad and had sent him in the same direction as the guns.
The Samaritan slapped his head and called out “D'oh!”.
The man cracked his knuckles then snapped his fingers, causing the third wannabe rapist to reappear.
“Let's try that again,” the Samaritan smiled.
“No, please...” the third pleaded.
The third was again picked up and this time thrown onto the roof of a building, where he exploded in a wondrous fireball.
The Samaritan looked to Makoto, who had fixed her clothes once her attacker’s attention was drawn away from her. The man extended his hand to her. Makoto accepted it, not knowing what to expect. The Samaritan bent down and quickly looked to Makoto’s fingernails, mumbled something about ‘green’, presumably referring to her nail polish, and wrote a note in a notepad he had concealed in his shoe.
Makoto shook off the oddity and bowed slightly.
“Thank- Thank you...”
“No problem,” he smiled.
Makoto quickly turned around as she heard police sirens approaching.
“I need to go.”
“I would think you would want the police around given what those men were trying to do.”
“I am not supposed to be here.”
The Samaritan nodded. “Come with me.”
Makoto, normally untrusting, especially of unusual people with apparent super strength and near-magical powers. Something was different about him though, and Makoto instantly trusted him.
The pair, as quickly as they could with Makoto's injured leg, ran down the street and into one of the most decrepit homes Makoto had ever seen in her life. However, to Makoto's surprise, once inside, it was quite nice.
“This is strange...” she acknowledged.
The man nodded. “I like... strange.”
“Are you hungry or thirsty?”
“I couldn't impose.”
He laughed. “No imposition. It's a snap.”
Makoto blinked as the man snapped his fingers and made a turkey club sandwich and some orange juice for Makoto.
“This all seems very familiar...” Makoto blinked as she sat down and began to eat.
“I am sure you are familiar with the...” he paused for a second, some slight annoyance twitching across his face, “...escapades of brethren of mine, known only as 'Q'.”
Makoto looked up. “You're a Q?”
The man nodded. “Yes. Though I disliked not having a name for my travels, and I enjoy being unique, so I named myself Gosnelliusbarbanyanda.”
Makoto just stared at him.
“Yeah,” he nodded, having gotten that look quite often, “that's why everyone just calls me 'Gosnell'.”
Makoto smiled. “I like that.”
“Who are you?” Gosnell asked.
“I'm...” she paused. Makoto realized that technically, she was no one. Despite procedure, despite protocol... there was something about this man, this being, this - Gosnell - that made her feel safe. It could have been the fact that he had just saved her from being gang-raped, but she felt like there was something more, something deeper.
Gosnell smiled. “Your name is better.”
Makoto smiled back. “So, what is a Q doing here?”
“Oh,” Gosnell said, as he sat down and leaned back in his chair. He promptly fell over backward. He grumbled to himself as Makoto did her best to stifle a laugh. Gosnell reseated himself and leaned back again, albeit more carefully this time.
“Just passing time,” Gosnell finally continued. “I have little to do, and all the time in existence to do it in, so I have been going around, living on as many planets as I can, taking in the culture.”
“That doesn't sound like a Q...”
Gosnell rolled his eyes. “See, that's why no one likes him. Now we all get painted with the same brush.”
Makoto laughed a bit. “You guys are as diverse as we are?”
“Just because we evolved out of linear hood doesn't mean we have evolved out of personalities.”
“Fair enough,” Makoto smiled.
“So,” Gosnell smiled. “What about you? What are you doing on this dirty little planet?” He leaned forward and smiled a bit evilly. “And why aren't you supposed to be here?”
Makoto sipped on her orange juice for a moment before meekly replying, “I can't say.”
Gosnell leaned back, looking dejected. “Oh.”
Makoto looked at Gosnell. Gosnell looked up and noticed her eying him. He smiled sweetly at her before standing.
“Well, I don't want you to do or say anything you're uncomfortable doing or saying. And don't worry, you're free to stay here as long as you-” Gosnell paused as he noticed a small pool of blood on the floor next to Makoto's chair.
“HOLY CRAP YOU'RE BLEEDING!!!” he screamed.
Makoto turned and looked at her arm. “Oh, right.”
“Those dogs!” Gosnell growled.
“It wasn't those thugs,” Makoto explained. “It was the police.”
“Those pigs!” Gosnell corrected himself.
Gosnell walked out of the room for a moment then came back. He then walked up to Makoto and rolled up her sleeve. Makoto, despite normally being someone who would instinctively jerk away, allowed Gosnell’s touch.
Gosnell placed a bandage on Makoto’s wound. His hand then passed over the wound, leaving behind undamaged skin, before looking back up at her, and sighing.
“I guess the Band-Aid was kind of pointless,” he admitted.
Makoto just smiled.
Gosnell pulled the bandage off, trashing it before looking back to her.
“Which one of your legs did you hurt?” he asked. “I saw you limping.”
Makoto looked up at him. “The left one.”
Gosnell nodded and again Q'ed her, fixing her leg.
Makoto's eyes followed Gosnell, a new appreciation forming behind them, as he walked back to his chair and sat down. She slowly reached into her pocket and pulled out the broken isolinear chip and set it on the table.
“Can you fix this?”
Gosnell looked at it for a moment. “The problem with that is I could fix the physical chip, but if there is data on it, it would go away.”
Makoto sighed. “I guess there are things even a Q can't do.”
Gosnell nodded. “Lots of things.”
“Lots?” Makoto asked, putting the chip pieces back in her pocket.
Gosnell nodded. “Yes, but if I tell you what they are I will never get a chance at a second date.”
Makoto blushed as she laughed. She finished the remainder of her sandwich in silence, then looked up to Gosnell.
“You don't do this with all the other girls you meet, do you?”
“I can honestly say that this is the first time this has happened.”
Makoto grinned and leaned back in her chair. She eyed Gosnell thoughtfully for a few moments before speaking.
“I'm a Starfleet Intelligence Officer,” she explained. “Well, more than that, but the details aren't important. The authorities on this planet are developing a weapon that will send both the Alpha and Beta quadrants into chaos.”
Gosnell listened intently as Makoto continued. “I was sent here to meet with one of the developers who realized how bad it would be and was willing to give Starfleet the ability to destroy all research and schematics on the weapons. Unfortunately, we were intercepted and he was killed before we could get off the planet.”
Makoto sighed. “They apparently have this entire city transport inhibited, so I have no way of getting back to my ship.”
“The data you need, that's what's on those chips?” Gosnell asked.
“Meh,” he smiled. “Small inconvenience. I'll get you to your ship.”
Makoto smiled weakly.
“What's wrong?” Gosnell asked.
“Almost seems like you're being too nice to me.”
“You're doing ‘good.’ Why shouldn't I?”
Makoto turned away. “I do very bad things in the name of doing ‘good’.”
Gosnell stood, moving his chair to sit directly in front of Makoto before having a seat again. He took her hands and held them as he spoke.
“I’ve been around. I can understand the need for such things in keeping a galaxy like yours stable, it’s not an easy task. Besides, it’s not like I have any right to judge you.”
A tear rolled down Makoto's face. She pulled one of her hands back from Gosnell and hastily wiped the tear away.
Gosnell squeezed her other hand and smiled, doing his best to look comforting. His mouth opened as to speak, but he cut himself off as his eyes shifted towards the window.
“My Gosnell sense is tingling.”
“Your what?” Makoto asked.
The door is suddenly kicked down and multiple police officers storm in. Gosnell snaps his fingers, and the pair find themselves standing on the bridge of the Minneapolis.
“I hope this is your ship,” Gosnell mumbled.
“BLOODY HELL!” Captain Steve Giles screams as Makoto and Gosnell appeared on the bridge. The bridge’s security detail, five officers in total, as well as the tactical officer and the XO, point their weapons at the pair.
“DON'T SHOOT!” Makoto yells.
The pair are roughly pulled apart by security and, short of the Captain, the entire bridge staff dogpiles on Gosnell, despite vocal objections from Makoto.
“I have told them at least six dozen times to let you out of the brig,” Makoto said through the force shield that detained Gosnell.
Gosnell shrugged. “It's all good. I'm departing soon anyway. At least now I can check off 'Starfleet brig' from my list.”
Makoto smiled. “Where will you go now?”
“Where are you going?”
Makoto shrugged. “Don't know yet.”
The two of them stood in awkward silence for a few moments before they both began speaking at the same time.
“Sorry,” Gosnell said.
“You first,” Makoto blushed.
Gosnell cleared his throat. “I'd like to see you again...” he mumbled. “For fucks sake, I'm an omnipotent super-being and I can't even ask a girl out...”
Makoto giggled. “I would too.” She sighed a bit. “However, my line of work would make it a bit hard to give you my phone number.”
Gosnell shrugged. “That's not how we roll. Just whenever you want me around, just ask.”
Gosnell nodded. “Just ask.”
Makoto smiled. “I will.”
“Until next time,” Gosnell smiled before snapping his fingers and vanishing, setting off security alarms in the process.
IN ORBIT OVER BETAZED, STARDATE 62805.2 - PRESENT DAY
“Establishing standard orbit, sir,” Ikuhara reported.
Ranma nodded, standing, and adjusting his uniform, Shampoo stood with him. He turned to Minako and Kaii.
“Has Starfleet Security contacted us yet?” Ranma asked.
Kaii nodded. “They have. Lt. Pan is ready to beam up on your command.”
Ranma acknowledged Kaii and tapped his communicator. “Saotome to Gras, please meet us in transporter room one.”
“On my way,” Jitsia cheerfully replied.
Ranma turned to Minako as he and Shampoo stepped into the turbolift.
“You have the bridge, Commander.”
Ranma and Shampoo arrived at transporter room one to find Jitsia waiting next to the operator's console. Ranma smiled at her and nodded to the Chief Petty Officer manning the station.
“Sorry to keep you waiting, Commander,” he apologized.
“Not at all, sir,” she replied. “Just got here myself.”
“Excited?” Shampoo asked.
Jitsia nodded. “Yes, though...” she trailed off a bit.
“Though?” Ranma asked.
“Though,” Jitsia continued, “this is just a reminder that my time here is limited.”
Ranma placed a hand on Jitsia’s shoulder and squeezed it gently.
“Energize,” he ordered.
The transporter chief compiled and after a couple of seconds, Lt. Pan and his belongings appeared on the transporter pad.
Pan was an interesting-looking character. Short, about 170 cm tall. Though what he lacked in height he overcompensated for in muscle mass. Ranma wondered if he took lessons from Ryoga. The man looked like he could take a crossbeam of the Sisko and bend it with his bare hands.
He was a Betazoid, a race that, in general, doesn’t choose military or security for their careers. They’re a passive, friendly, peace-loving race. One of the reasons their planet was so easily occupied by the Dominion during the war.
This man, however, had soldier written all over him. Likely one of the reasons Jitsia chose him.
Ranma had done some checking. His record was spotless. He’d been awarded several times for actions during the war, so much so that he was allowed to choose his next assignment, which of course was part of the peacekeeping mission to his homeworld which oversaw the withdrawal of Dominion forces.
Pan looked around for a moment, then stepped forward, outstretching his hand towards Ranma.
“Captain,” he greeted, his voice deep and authoritative, “it’s nice to meet you. I’m Lt. Darrius Pan.”
Ranma shook the Lieutenant’s hand, nearly grimacing at his death grip. “It’s nice to meet you, Lieutenant. This is my executive officer, Commander Shampoo.”
Shampoo also took Pan’s hand and shook it. Shampoo did grit her teeth as Pan nearly crushed her hand.
“Welcome aboard Sisko,” she whimpered.
Pan nodded, then turned to Jitsia. He took her hand and shook it. Jitsia bit her lip over the man’s grip before speaking. “Lieutenant, it’s good to finally meet you face to face.”
“You as well, Commander,” he said, snapping to attention. “I’ve heard and read so many good things about you. I will do my very best to not let you down.”
Jitsia smiled as she shook her head. “Based on your service record, I don’t think that will be an issue at all.”
Pan nodded. “Thank you, ma’am.”
“Please,” Jitsia laughed. “Just ‘Commander’ will be fine. ‘Ma’am’ makes me feel old.”
Pan, for the first time, maybe ever, smiled slightly.
Ranma motioned for Pan to gather his stuff and follow him and Shampoo. He did and the four walked out into the corridor.
“On your ship,” Ranma explained as they headed towards the turbolift, “you’ll have officers’ quarters up in the NSO Operations Center. However, ours is a little crowded right now, so the Miyazaki crew will be assigned our spare junior officer’s quarters on deck five.”
Ranma sighed a bit. “They’re nothing fancy, but you won’t have to share as we don’t run with a full crew, so we have plenty to go around.”
“During the war, I spent two weeks in a Cardassian-controlled cave,” Pan said. “So, I think I can manage, sir.”
Ranma smirked. Pan’s eyes shifted slightly to Jitsia, who seemed to be frowning.
“Is something wrong, Commander?” he asked.
Jitsia looked over at him. “Hrm?”
“You seem upset.”
“Oh,” Jitsia blinked. She’d totally forgotten that her recruit was an empath. She was going to have to remember to reign in her emotions around him.
“I guess I am just upset that everyone I know was able to contribute something and...” she rolled her eyes, realizing how stupid she was probably sounding, “...I hadn’t even enrolled in the Academy yet.”
“That not really your fault,” Shampoo pointed out.
Ranma nodded. “Besides, who knows what might have happened. Perhaps your destiny is to be one of a peacekeeper, rather than that as a ‘peacemaker’.”
Pan nodded as well.
Jitsia grinned, content with looking at things that way.
The four continued on, chit-chatting as they took the turbolift up to deck five and down to where Pan would be staying.
EARTH - ABOUT THE SAME TIME
“ADMIRAL!!!!!” an Ensign in one of Starfleet’s Sol control rooms screamed out.
An Andorian Admiral, who was half asleep at her desk, nearly fell over backward before she managed to upright herself and stomped out of her office and down towards the Ensign who now had several other ensigns around him trying to decipher the blinking lights and beeping noises on his terminal.
“Report!” the Admiral barked.
“We appear to have a quantum slipstream signature forming about 4,000 kilometers from Earth Space Dock!”
The Admiral’s antenna shot straight up.
“That ain’t good,” she mumbled. She spun around to another set of terminals. “GET THE DEFENSE FLEET HERE NOW!” she screamed before spinning to another set of terminals. “EVACUATE THE SPACE DOCK!”
Alarms in the center began to blare as the Admiral ran from terminal to terminal, checking readings. She eventually hit her comm badge.
“Steen to Admiral James, you need to get down here ASAP.”
“On my way,” Starfleet’s Chief of Staff, Fleet Admiral Kevin James replied.
“THE SLIPSTREAM IS OPENING!!!!!” one of the ensigns screamed.
“SIX KUNO SPHERES!” another called out.
“The defense fleet?” The admiral asked.
“One minute,” was the reply.
The Andorian grumbled. James beamed in and looked around, nearly being knocked over by someone running past him.
“What the hell is going on?” he asked.
“It appears the Kunos are attacking Earth,” Steen replied.
“What?” James mumbled.
“ANOTHER SLIPSTREAM IS FORMING 6,000 KILOMETERS ON THE OPPOSITE SIDE OF THE PLANET!!!!!!!!” another ensign yelled.
“For fucks sake,” Steen grumbled. She looked to James. “We need more ships.”
James nodded and turned to a group of ensigns. “Get the Vulcan Defense Task Force here pronto!”
“Terran Defense Force has engaged the spheres!” someone called out.
In space, the eight Starfleet ships permanently assigned to the defense of the Sol System broke formation and began to attack the Kuno spheres which had slowly begun to make their way towards Earth Space Dock.
Starfleet, wary of any Kuno traps thanks to their encounter at the prison, were keeping their distance. However, when the first sphere exploded and no gravity well was formed, the defense fleet began to get more aggressive.
Unbeknownst to them, their overconfidence was the trap.
The goal was not to attack Earth or invade, but to distract the defense fleet.
The Jem’Hadar were good at using their soldiers as cannon fodder. The Kunos, though, had perfected the practice.
“THE SECOND SLIPSTREAM IS OPENING!” someone screamed.
“TIME ON THE SECOND FLEET?” James barked.
“Shit,” James silently swore.
“Shit indeed,” Steen sighed.
The two admirals looked to the tactical display on the room’s main viewscreen. Neither liked the position they were in. If any of the ships went off by themselves to attack the cube, they would be easily obliterated. If they all went, the spheres would be left alone to destroy the space dock and kill the still remaining 10,000 or so people left on it.
“Sir,” a confused ensign reported. “The cube appears to be moving away from Earth at one-fifth impulse.”
“Away?” Steen asked.
“Yeah,” he replied. “To... nowhere in particular.”
James eyed the viewer intently. “What the hell are they doing?”
“Sir...” the ensign started to sweat. “I’m reading massive anti-tachyons readings coming from the cube.”
“Anti-tach-” James was cut off by the cube disappearing.
“Where’d...” Steen asked.
Both admirals looked at each other in confusion before both turning towards a group of ensigns.
“WHERE’D THAT SHIP GO?” they yelled in unison.
“I...” the ensign stammered. “I don’t know, but I am reading a lot of anti-tachyons and chroniton radiation where they used to be.”
Another looked to the admirals. “No debris. They weren’t destroyed.”
The group continued to work on figuring out what happened. Eventually, the second fleet arrived and helped to finish off the remainder of the spheres before moving to where the cube was and began running scans.
About thirty minutes into the investigation, an older man in civilian clothes came into the room, flanked by two Starfleet Intelligence officers.
“Admiral,” he called down to James.
James and Steen looked towards him.
“Yes?” James responded.
“Hello. I’m Rene Anders with the Department of Temporal Investigations. I think I may have an answer to your missing ship,” he frowned.