The turbolift doors opened with a swish and Admiral Scott Larson stepped onto the bridge of the Sisko. Makoto looked up from her terminal and smiled at the Admiral. Larson returned the smile as Makoto took a deep breath.
“ADMIRAL ON THE BRIDGE!” she yelled.
Larson jumped about two meters into the air. Once he had regained his bearings he looked over to Makoto.
“Don’t do that,” he growled.
Makoto whimpered, turned to the wall of her station, and began to bang her head into it.
Larson eyed her for a moment with concern, looked over to Minako who simply shrugged, and then walked around the bridge and to the entrance of the conference room. He walked inside to find Karyn and Rei sitting at the table.
Karyn looked up and saw the Admiral. She quickly stood and saluted. She looked to Rei, who was still seated.
“ON YOUR FEET COMMANDER!” she barked.
Rei looked up at her, then to the Admiral. She sighed, slowly stood, and saluted.
“Uh –“ Larson mumbled as he haphazardly returned the salute. “As you were?”
Karyn quickly sat back down. Rei eyed Karyn as she sat down a little more slowly.
“As soon as Commander Saotome gets here, we’ll begin.”
Larson hit his communicator. “Larson to Kino.”
“Yes sir?” Makoto replied.
“If you are done punishing the bulkhead, would you please join us?”
“Commander Kino-Gosnell? I was under the impression that this meeting was classified?” Karyn asked.
Larson looked at his subordinate for a moment. “EVERYTHING that happens on this ship is classified. But this mission will involve her as well.”
Karyn, a little scared of the look Larson was giving her, simply nodded.
A moment or so later both Makoto and Ranma walked in.
“I apologize for my tardiness, Admiral,” Ranma stated. “I’m having a little trouble adjusting to a staggered shift.”
Ranma looked to Karyn.
“It’s not a bad thing, Captain. Just a little hard to get used to.”
Karyn nodded. When she did them on her last ship it took her some time to adjust.
“It’s okay,” Larson stated as he stood and walked to the view screen.
“The details of this meeting are need-to-know. Only NSO, the senior staff, and select marine groups are to know the details.”
“Yes sir,” the group responds in unison.
“Good. Almost two weeks ago the security forces on the U.S.S. Saint Paul launched an unauthorized attack on a chemical weapons facility in the Chidori system.
“Admiral Hanson at the request of Councilman Brett Alexander planned and executed the attack. However, the attack was poorly planned and poorly executed. The result was the death of six security officers and the capture of fifteen others – including the councilman.
“Two officers who were pilots of two Romulan shuttles that they were using for their operation,” Larson paused for a moment. “We assume that the Saint Paul acquired them from the Ferengi arms dealer that the Saint Paul killed, managed to escape.
“The Saint Paul’s chief of security, Commander Hideki Montasori was one of those who were captured. During interrogation, he confirmed to the people holding them that he and the rest of the officers were Federation.”
“So,” Ranma asked. “The attack was supposed to be covert?”
“That’s what we assume,” Larson nodded. “They were using a cover story of being terrorists. But for whatever reason they took the councilman with them; even though he is one of the most widely known Federation officials in the quadrant.”
Ranma nodded as Larson continued.
“Long story short, the Federation has been negotiating with the people holding our people for the past week. Unfortunately, the negotiations broke down. They plan on beginning executions in four days.”
“So, you need us to go in and retrieve everyone?” Rei asked.
“Yes, but there is a complication.”
“Isn’t there always?” Rei mused.
“COMMANDER!” Karyn scolded.
Rei turned and glared at Karyn. It seemed to frighten her even more than the Admiral’s look did. Ranma in turn glared at Rei, which caused her to return her attention to Larson.
The grey-haired admiral continued.
“It was a widely known fact within the Federation powers that be that this plant made chemical weapons for the Klingons. So, the Federation contacted the Klingon Empire to see if they could use their business connection with them to help ensure the release of the hostages.
“However, the Klingons buying the weapons were not doing so under the authority of the Klingon High Council. We now know that it was a separationist sect with aim of using the weapons to begin a coup.
“So now the Klingons are planning to destroy the facility themselves.”
Larson paused, inhaled deeply, and continued. “They have a strike force three days away.”
“So,” Rei clarified, “not only do we have to retrieve the hostages before they are executed but before the Klingons come and blow the place up.”
“Exactly,” Larson nodded.
“Here is the plan,” he continued. “NSO teams will insert and secure the hostages. Once that happens, Commander Kino will lead a marine force in to clear the way out. The Sisko will be tasked with holding off the Klingon forces, should they arrive prior to extraction.”
“How many support ships will be with us?” Karyn asked.
“Say what?” Karyn asked, surprising herself.
“Starfleet does not have any available ships. The only reason you guys aren’t out doing post-war cleanup work is that most of Starfleet don’t even know you exist.”
Karyn looked to Ranma. “I know this is a tough ship, but can it withstand a Klingon task force alone?”
Ranma nodded. “Yeah. I mean I had us within 10 kilometers of a massive explosion and we survived.”
Ranma grinned and looked to Larson who was scowling.
“Too soon?” Ranma asked.
“Sorry,” Ranma whimpered.
Larson groaned and returned to his briefing. “The diplomats are working overtime trying to get the Klingons to delay their assault, but we all know how stubborn they can be.”
“Commander Kino, you also have a second task.”
Makoto looked up from the written version of the briefing on her PADD to the Admiral.
“The Saint Paul is hiding in a nebula about a half light-year from the planet. There has been a mutiny aboard.”
Larson walked up to the viewscreen.
“This was picked up by Deep Space Four,” he hit some buttons and a static-filled picture of Captain McNamara appeared.
“This is Captain Phillip McNamara of the Federation Starship the U.S.S. Saint Paul. My ship has been illegally commandeered by Admiral Jack Hanson. Admiral Hanson has imprisoned my first officer and most of my senior staff and other crew members who retained loyalty to me – sixty-four at last count. He has also sent my security forces on an illegal invasion of the planet Chidori III. Many if not all those officers have been killed or detained on the planet. One did make it back and is detained in the brig.
“My first officer informed me that prior to her being detained that we moved into a nebula about one half-light year from the planet Chidori III. She also informs me that there are about five dozen small interceptor class fighters searching for us.
“I don’t know how much longer I will be able to evade the officers who decided to misplace their loyalty with Hanson. I do know that I will no longer be able to transmit status reports.
“If anyone with Starfleet Command receives this, please try and rescue my people from the planet. They are good officers who thought they were following a valid order.
“I am going to try and free my captured crew members from the brig, but the Admiral has taken the officers that did remain loyal to him and trained them all to be security officers.
“Also, please note in the record that Ensign Thompson, a security officer serving under me died honorably freeing me and helping me in my attempt to regain control of the ship.”
The communication cuts off.
“Commander, I need you to send a boarding party over to take control of the Saint Paul. If the communication is accurate most of the people controlling that ship are inexperienced security officers or scientists that have been drafted into security officers.”
Makoto nodded. “No problem on that end. The tough part will be getting to them. If there are several dozen interceptors, we might have problems getting within transporter range.”
“I know,” Larson stated. “I’m sorry but I don’t have an easy answer for you, Commander.”
“I’ll figure something out.”
“Good. Commander Hino, I will brief you and your teams on the details we have gotten from the communication between the Federation and the Chidori Security Services – the ones holding our people.
“We will have one thing on our side,” Larson continued.
Larson punched up the diagram of a type 11 shuttle.
“This is VERY top secret, as it’s in direct violation of several treaties. But this shuttle is equipped with a cloaking device.”
“Neat,” Ranma stated.
Larson nodded. “It’s not good for troop transport as it only seats three. But it’s been modified as a transport relay station.”
“Neat!” Rei grinned.
“So, I take it sending four Runabouts to the surface filled with NSO and marines aren’t an option?” Ranma asked.
“No. According to Commander Montasori –“
“Wait,” Karyn interrupted. “You’ve spoken to one of the hostages?”
“Yes. They allowed him to contact us.”
“And give you that kind of information?” Karyn asked totally befuddled.
“They did not monitor him.”
Karyn found this very odd but asked no more questions.
“As I was saying, the planet has orbital defense platforms. While their defenses are no threat to the Sisko, they will notify the people on the surface of our presence, which could endanger the hostages.”
“I don’t mean to bring this up again, Admiral,” Karyn began, her failure to understand what was going on getting the best of her.
“Are we sure these people are hostages?”
Ranma looked to the Captain as did Makoto and Rei.
“Sure enough,” Larson stated.
Karyn nodded and leaned back. Ranma continued to eye her for a moment before returning his attention to Larson.
“There is one more thing, Ranma,” Larson added.
“If it is okay with Commander Hino, I’d like for you to be on one of the NSO teams.”
Ranma looked over to Rei.
“Fine by me,” she smiled. “I could also use another experienced ass-kicker!”
“Excuse me,” Karyn piped up.
“Am I going to be without an XO for this then?”
“Not at all,” Larson stated. “Commander Shampoo was officially returned to duty as of 14:00 hours.”
“Oh, swell,” Karyn mumbled.
“Problem?” Larson asked.
“No sir,” Karyn whimpered.
“Very well then. Dismissed.”
Phillip McNamara sat on the edge of his bed for a few moments, watching the colors of the nebula swirl outside. Normally he would have thought such a site was pretty. But right now, he could only picture the nebula as their brightly colored grave.
“You can’t think like that!” he told himself.
Part of him did not want to listen. Part of him just wanted to spend the rest of his time sleeping in his own bed, rather than the cramped floor of the brig.
Then there was the other part. The part that reminded him that there were sixty-three other people down in the brig counting on him, not only to get them out but to get them home.
Phillip nodded to himself and stood. He walked to one of his drawers and opened it. In there he took out two phasers, one a small type two that he placed in his boot, and the other a type one that he carried with him.
He knew that eventually Stevens and the others would realize what Thompson had done and would begin to look for him. He knew that all of them were blindly following the orders of Admiral Hanson and would be against them.
All of them but one.
Phillip made his way down to deck four via turbolift shafts and Jefferies tubes. The darkened corridors helped him avoid detection by the guards who were roaming by themselves.
Phillip could not understand why Hanson had them alone. They were inexperienced and vulnerable. He could probably have taken them all out before they would have been able to stop him.
Phillip feared that maybe Hanson’s goal was not to retain control of the ship.
Phillip’s mind, which had been working nonstop since he was moved to the brig almost two weeks ago, had thought of every possible scenario that Hanson could do. But every one of them required him to maintain control of the ship.
It was confusing and tiresome to try and understand what was going on right now, so Phillip put those thoughts on the back burner and waited for his target.
He saw her walking down the corridor towards him. She was alone which both annoyed Phillip and pleased him since it meant he would not have to shoot one of his crewmembers. He slinked backward into a crevice and waited for her to walk in front of him.
The young female in a gold security uniform stopped and looked around. She thought that she heard something, but she did not see anything. She shrugged it off and continued on her path.
Phillip waited for a second, and then sprung forward, grabbing her. He wrapped one hand over her mouth and the other grabbed the arm she was carrying her phaser rifle in.
The young woman began to struggle but stopped when Phillip whispered into her ear.
“Meru, it’s me.”
Phillip pulled her back into the darkness with him and released his hold on her. The young Bajoran woman looked Phillip over for a moment, dropped her rifle, and embraced him.
“Father!” she quietly cried as she hugged Phillip.
Phillip hugged her back. “Are you okay?” He asked her.
Meru sobbed for a moment and then nodded. “I’m fine. How about you?”
“I’m okay. I am glad that they didn’t find out about you.”
Meru shook her head. “I never told anyone. And when I found out that you had been arrested, I played along in hopes that I could eventually get you out.”
Meru was a young woman, no more than twenty years old. She was a small woman as well, shorter than most Bajoran women and far more petite. She looked almost like a small child when she stood to her much larger father. The ridges on her nose were very well defined, making it obvious that regardless of the father designation she had given to Phillip, she was not his biological daughter.
“We need to get somewhere to figure out what we are going to do,” Phillip said. “We cannot stay in the corridor forever.”
Meru nodded while Phillip thought about a good hiding place. The Saint Paul had been his ship for over six years. He knew every nook and cranny of the ship.
His main advantage was that the new ‘security force’ on the Saint Paul didn’t know anything about the ship. Many had been there for less than six months and while she was not a big ship, she wasn’t small either.
“We need to get to deck six,” Phillip stated.
Meru nodded and picked up her rifle. Phillip shook his head.
“It is locked on kill?” He asked.
“Leave it,” he handed her his phaser.
“Father, we need to stop these people.”
Phillip sighed. “The people supporting Hanson are not our enemy. They are fellow Starfleet officers who are unfortunately caught up in something way over their heads. They don’t deserve to die because of this.”
Meru reluctantly nodded and set the phaser on the deck. She and Phillip then began to slink down the corridor to the nearest Jefferies tube access.
“Nihao!” Shampoo beamed as she walked down the corridor of deck two towards the turbolift.
The two officers that were walking in the opposite direction waved at her.
“She seems happy,” one stated.
“She’s going back to work today,” the other replied.
“Good for her,” the first smiled.
Good for her indeed. Shampoo almost began to skip as she continued to the turbolift. While she would be lying if she said that she wasn’t enjoying her time off, going back to work was something that she had been looking forward to for a month.
Stepping onto the bridge would be the final acknowledgment that she had slain the personal demon inside of her. The one that was causing her to fail, to fall apart, to be a burden on her shipmates and the people who cared about her.
Shampoo hit the call button and waited for just a second. The lift door opened, and she stepped inside.
“Bridge,” Shampoo proudly stated.
The turbolift chirped a reply and the doors shut. The turbolift silently floated up one level and a little bit horizontally. The lift slowly drifted to a stop and the door to the bridge opened.
Shampoo inhaled deeply and stepped onto the bridge. She smiled as the lift door closed behind her. She looked around and didn’t see any of the senior staff, except for Minako.
Minako looked at her and smiled. Lt. Jansen, who was watching the tactical station while Makoto was in the briefing, smiled at her as well. Ryouga turned around from his station, as did the engineer monitoring the engineering station.
“Welcome back, Commander,” Minako stated.
Shampoo nodded an acknowledgment to Minako.
“Thank you.” She paused for a moment, “Where is Captain?”
Minako pointed to the door with the small red placard that read ‘Conference Room One’. Shampoo nodded and began to walk towards it when the doors slid open, and everyone started to walk out.
“Hey Shampoo,” Ranma smiled. “Glad to have you back.”
Shampoo blushed. “Thank you.”
“Good to see you back, Commander,” Makoto smiled.
“Likewise,” Rei chimed in.
“Ah, Commander!” Larson beamed. “Come on in here. You too, Captain.”
Karyn, who was just about to leave the room, did an about-face and walked back to the table in silence. Shampoo also walked in. The rest of the group turned just in time to see the doors slide shut in their faces.
Ranma looked to Rei and Makoto. Both shrugged.
“I have to go brief the marines,” Makoto stated.
“I have to go get my group ready for our briefing,” Rei stated.
Ranma nodded to her. “I’ll be up there as soon as they get done in there.”
Rei nodded and she and Makoto walked off to the turbolift.
Ranma began to walk to his seat at the command console when his communicator chirped.
“Commander,” Karyn’s voice stated. “Please set a course for the Chidori system, warp seven. Have us hold position two parsecs from the system perimeter.”
“Yes ma’am,” Ranma stated. He walked over to the flight control center where Ryouga was seated. He patted Ryouga on the shoulder.
“How are things?” Ranma asked.
Ryouga scratched his head. “Fine?” He sort of answered.
“Good!” Ranma grinned. He looked at the display. Ryouga had already pulled up a map of the Chidori system.
“Park us there,” Ranma stated, pointing to a spot right around the area Karyn had told him to go.
“Sure thing,” Ryouga stated. He punched in the coordinates, but before he engaged the ship, he turned to Ranma.
“I really am glad you’re back,” Ryouga stated much to the surprise of Ranma. “Things didn’t seem right with you gone.”
The Sisko started to pull out of her orbit over Earth and turned slightly. The nacelles began to glow bright blue and with a brilliant flash of white light, the ship was gone.
“I am just going to watch,” Larson stated to Karyn and Shampoo. “I’ll set up the science station to show me a tactical overview of the mission, but I am not going to get involved, so you guys don’t have to worry about that.”
“Regardless, your advice will be appreciated if you wish to give it,” Karyn stated.
Shampoo nodded in agreement.
“Good. Now for the real reason I asked you two in here,” Larson said as he leaned back in his chair.
“Shampoo, you will not be getting command of this ship,” Larson said very bluntly.
Shampoo’s face maintained her smile, even though a wave of sadness flowed through her.
“Shampoo understand,” she said.
Larson leaned forward and looked right into Shampoo’s eyes.
“It’s not that we don’t think you are qualified. We just have to make sure-“
Shampoo interrupted him. “You want to be sure that Shampoo no start drinking again if things get stressful.”
“Shampoo would do same thing,” she smiled, disappointed yet understanding.
Larson turned to Karyn. “You have to realize that even though she has had some problems, she is a very qualified officer. This is why I have sent Ranma with the NSO teams. I want you to see what she can do and how she can be an effective and excellent leader.”
Shampoo turned to her silent superior.
“You no think I can do job?” she stated more than asked.
Karyn inhaled and turned to Shampoo.
“That’s not true. I’m…” Karyn was having a hard time saying what she was thinking without coming off as some sort of ass.
“I’m just concerned because of what’s happened.”
“You don’t understand what has happened.” Shampoo stated, her face becoming more neutral. “It no that Shampoo want to drink. It was because Shampoo scared of reality.”
Shampoo turned away quickly to wipe a single tear from her eye. She then turned back.
“Shampoo not scared of reality anymore. Shampoo no longer allow past to control her. Shampoo have future to look to, and person to enjoy future with.”
Shampoo stood and walked to the window and watched the stars streak by.
“I no longer afraid and no longer alone. I will no longer abandon duty and honor to run off and hide like scared cat. Shampoo swear this to you.”
Shampoo turned to find Karyn standing right behind her.
Karyn smiled and put her hand on Shampoo’s shoulder.
“I’m sorry. I believe you and I trust you.”
Shampoo smiled and nodded.
Karyn slowly walked back to the table and sat down. While she’d been criticized about her bluntness, her demeanor before, she always brushed it off. It was just her style of leadership and her way of maintaining control. This time, though, it bothered her. She’d never felt like a bad person, and this feeling was confusing and frustrating.
Larson stood up and adjusted his uniform.
“Well, now that that’s settled, I have to go brief the NSO teams. We’re about 22 hours from Chidori, so I’d like to have dinner with all of you later.”
“We look forward to it,” Karyn said, forcing a grin.
Both Larson and Shampoo walked to the door of the conference room. They turned back and looked to Karyn.
“You coming?” Larson asked.
“I’ll be out there in a minute,” Karyn replied.
Larson nodded and he and Shampoo left the room. Once the doors had slid shut Karyn put her face down in her arm and silently began to cry.
“They want to speak to you again,” Hassan told Hideki.
Hideki, who had just finished his daily exercises, sighed.
“I guess they want to take another shot at convincing me that I have Stockholm Syndrome,” Hideki groaned.
Hassan shrugged as he and the two guards keeping an eye on Hideki out in the courtyard behind the facility escorted the middle-aged Japanese man inside and into the room with the communications terminal.
Hideki sat down at the terminal. Hassan sat down next to him.
“I’m sorry but the board will no longer allow me to speak to them privately. They intercepted a sub-space distress call from your ship and are afraid that you might assist them in planning an assault on the facility.”
Hideki nodded. “May I see the distress call?”
Hassan nodded in agreement. “After you’re done. Your people are very impatient and are waiting for you.”
Hideki smiled. “Okay, start ‘er up.”
Hassan activated the terminal. Two suits appeared on the other end.
“Good morning, Commander,” one stated. He looked and saw Hassan. “Who are you?” he asked.
“My name is Lt. Dolf Hassan. I am Assistant Chief of Security Operations for this facility,” Hassan stated.
“May we speak in private with our officer?” The second suit asked.
“I’m afraid not. I have been ordered to monitor communications between you and him.” Hassan replied.
“Very well,” The first suit stated. “Commander, I am Inek Vaio, the new chairman of the Federation’s Foreign Relations Committee. With me is Andrew Holeman, the chief negotiator for this kidnapping.”
Hideki sighed. “I was not kidnapped.”
“Whatever,” Inek stated. “It’s just a term.”
“No, it’s not,” Hideki replied. “You’re not going to accomplish anything through negotiations as long as you keep the frame of mind that these people did something wrong.
“WE were the ones who were wrong.”
“So, what would you like us to refer to you as?” Inek asked.
“Prisoners,” Hideki stated.
“Very well,” Inek replied.
“We are running out of time,” Holeman stated. “Starfleet is growing very impatient with us. They are tired of the negotiations and they want us to simply assault the planet. I don’t want that to happen.”
“You and me both,” Hideki stated.
“If the CSS is genuinely concerned about your wellbeing, you need to convince them to at least release some of you. They already have Councilman Alexander. How about they release you and-“
“I will go last,” Hideki demanded.
“Okay,” Holeman conceded. “How about they release those who were injured and five of the lowest ranking officers.”
Hideki looked to Hassan.
“I will have to discuss it with my superiors,” Hassan stated.
“Please hurry. It would also help if you released the Saint Paul –“
“The Saint Paul will not be released so long as Admiral Hanson is onboard,” Hassan defiantly grumbled.
“We’re not going to be able to work with you if you refuse to work with us,” Inek stated.
“I think you are all high on the FOX you sent Commander Montasori here to destroy,” Hassan mused. “We were well within our sovereign rights to kill every single invader that landed on our soil.”
“It is no longer your soil,” Inek replied. “The Federation Council overwhelmingly voted to annex the Chidori system into the Federation.”
“You CANNOT annex a populated planet!” Hassan stated, leaning into the monitor. “What the hell is wrong with the Federation? You’ve turned into the Dominion.”
“A single facility with no government does not fit the legal definition of ‘populated’,” Inek explained.
Holeman was growing impatient with the bickering and interjected before Hassan began yelling.
“Look, Lt. Hassan. Please contact who you need to contact and get back to us as soon as possible.”
Hassan nodded and terminated the communication. He looked to Hideki.
“Your government’s arrogance probably just signed and sealed your execution papers. The Board will NOT be pleased when they hear about the annexation.”
Hassan sighed as did Hideki.
“Do you really think Starfleet would launch an attack without the Federation’s approval?”
Hideki just looked at Hassan. Hassan quickly realized how stupid his question was.
“Good point,” Hassan stated.
“Though…” Hideki pondered. “This is more of an official matter, as they have the negotiators involved. It’s one thing to go behind their back when no one knows anything. It’s a different story when the entire Federation Council knows what is going on.”
At Starfleet Command, Inek, Holeman and another suit walked into a conference room where three admirals sat.
“The annexation plan has backfired,” Inek stated.
The third suit, Jackson Howard, a tall chubby man with a British accent punched up a recorded communication between the Klingons and the Federation.
“The Chidori system is now part of the Federation. Any attack on it will be viewed as an attack on the Federation,” Inek’s voice said over the communication.
The Klingon laughed.
“Very well then. The High Council now views this as the Federation conspiring with insurgents to overthrow the legal government of the Klingon Empire.”
The admirals all murmured to themselves.
“Look, we don’t want a war with you, and you don’t want a war with us. Just give us time to get our people out of there,” Inek’s voice replied.
“You have a little less than three days.” The Klingon replied. “Every hour we wait more and more weapons are delivered to these subversives. When our strike force arrives, they will destroy everything on the planet, whether there are Starfleet people on it or not.
“If you want to construe that as an act of war, so be it.”
The communication terminates.
“Damn,” One of the admirals stated.
Howard nods. “The president has already signed the annexation bill. We need to get those people out of there before the Klingon’s arrive because if we attack their ships in an attempt to defend that planet, we will be drug into a war that we cannot win.”
The admiral on the end slapped his comm. badge. “Ensign, get me Admiral Larson. Priority One.”
“Aye,” the faceless ensign replied.
Onboard the Klingon Bird of Prey G'nikniW, the captain of the ship Vagh leaned back in his seat.
“ETA!” he demanded to know.
“29 hours,” Someone barked back.
“Ah, ahead of schedule,” he looked at the tactical report on the system. “For those enemies of the Empire, it will be a good day to die.”
Kio rapped her fingers on her desk in the NSO briefing room. She didn’t really mind briefings; it was just the waiting for everyone to get there that she hated. She was not one who enjoyed sitting still and sitting still is what she had to do while waiting.
She continued to rap her fingers, her fingernails making a semi-loud clacking sound on the industrialized rubber that covered the long desk. Anthony leaned over to her.
“Pardon me for saying, Chief, but that’s real god damned annoying.”
Kio stopped and looked to Anthony who smiled at her.
“Nothing. I’m just a bit ancy. It’s been a while since we’ve done a mission and with all the damned maintenance work they’ve been having us do I think we might be a bit rusty.”
“We’ll be fine. I mean how can we fail? We have you as our leader and then me, charming and handsome, as our second in command! But then of course there is Mike,” Anthony grinned.
The pair looked to the right and saw Sgt. Michael Simpson with his head down on his desk, snoozing away.
Kio took one of the briefing PADDs and tossed it. It landed on Mike’s head. He jumped up.
“SIMPSON! SERGEANT MICHAEL!” he called out.
Most of the other NSO people turned to look at him. Michael looked around as he began to blush.
“And don’t you forget it!” he stated as he melted back into his seat.
Kio and Anthony laughed as the door to the briefing room opened. Rei walked in followed by Ranma, Shelton, and Admiral Larson.
“ON YOUR FEET!” Rei yelled.
The entire room stood. Ranma walked around the conference room and took a position behind one of the desks.
“At ease,” Larson ordered as he took his place behind the podium with Rei standing to his left and Shelton standing to his right.
“This briefing is to discuss the objectives and operational details of this mission. Unlike the other missions that you have done, this mission will have all of you operating at once. You will be in your teams of four plus one medic.
“Here’s how it’s going to work. Delta team is going to insert in near a power generation station about fifteen kilometers from the target. They will then wait for the other three teams to get into place before destroying it, causing what we hope will be panic and chaos.
“Alpha, Bravo, and Charlie teams will insert near the facility. They will then get past the perimeter guards as stealthfully as possible. Once inside they will signal to Delta team to take out the power plant.
“Delta team will then join up with a marine and security force that will clear out an escape path for the other three teams and the hostages.”
Rei brought up a diagram of the facility as Larson continued.
“These are old blueprints obtained from the Anjarians who used to own the facility. However, it is likely that it has been changed to accommodate its current purpose.”
Yuki raised her hand.
“Yes, Chief?” Larson asked.
“What is that purpose?”
“It is a chemical weapons plant,” Rei replied. “So, make sure you watch your fire. If you rupture a tank containing whatever they have there, it will probably kill everyone.”
“Glad I asked,” Kio whimpered to herself.
Larson continued. “The target facility is guarded by people who are using projectile weapons. We also believe that using phasers will give away our location, so you will only be using the LA-16 weapons.”
Shelton held up a gun that resembled an MP-5.
“They act exactly like your hybrid weapons.” He stated. “The only problem is that when you run out of ammo, you will be out of ammo.”
Larson nodded. “We won’t be able to get too close to the planet so you will be beaming down via a cloaked shuttle that will act as a relay point for the transporter.
“It’s very likely that when we beam down, we will be detected. You need to be ready for that.”
Larson walked from behind the podium and to the desks.
“Our main and only objective is to recover our sixteen captured officers. You are to do it by any means necessary.
“Time is a factor here people. We have a Klingon strike force on its way here to destroy the facility. You need to get them out of there before they arrive. Understood?”
“YES SIR,” Everyone replied.
“Good. We will be assembling at 01:30 tomorrow morning. Dismissed.”
Everyone began to stand and file out of the room. Larson walked to Rei, Shelton, and Ranma.
“There is a new complication,” Larson stated.
The three all looked at him warily.
“The Sisko will not be able to fire on the Klingon ships if they arrive early.”
“Huh?” Ranma asked what the other two were thinking.
“It’s a long story, but if the Federation fires on the Klingon strike force in an attempt to defend the facility a war will break out that the Federation will lose badly.”
The three nodded.
“We’ll get them out before that happens,” Rei stated.
Larson nodded and walked out of the briefing room.