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USS Heracles - Halting of a Diplomatic Solution

Captain Vausees receives orders for her ship to provide escort for a Diplomatic team to Cardassian space, along the way the Heracles detects an unknown device and places the ship under 'Red Alert'

Halting of a Diplomatic Solution Part 1

Location: Alpha Quadrant – USS Heracles
Stardate: 74752.18 Time: 0938 hours

—Bridge—

 

It had only been a few days since Vausees proposed to Debrah. She was now sitting in the central command seat of her ship, which had been tasked with aiding with the escort of a diplomatic convoy to starbase 310.

It was a simple assignment that she readily accepted because it gave her something to do other than sit on her hands and do nothing while the rest of the Fleet performed God knows what.

 

She was reading the Comm logs with her eyes down on a PADD in her hands, her left leg half-haphazardly crossed over her right. Nothing stood out to her as she proceeded to peruse the material that slowly scrolled down for her convenience.

 

The klaxons on the bridge suddenly erupted, and the lighting darkened as the wall lights changed from white to “Red Alert” red. She sat straight up, placing the PADD next to her on the armrest.

“Report!” she promptly demanded of her bridge officers.

 

Debrah had already begun monitoring the area around the ship and the entire convoy. The scans revealed nothing, which perplexed her, so she repeated them several times. “I’m not sure why the computer has brought up the ‘Red Alert, Captain,” she said as she placed her hands on the edges of the holographic monitor, looking up from her station.

She rose from her command position and came over to Debrah’s side. She nodded after taking a look at what the Commander had done. “Keep your eyes on the scans,” she said quietly.

“Lieutenant Jonton, call the Captain of the diplomatic lead ship and advise them of our predicament and see if they have noticed anything on their end,” she said to the Chief Operations Officer.

 

Jonton nodded and started sending the request to the lead ship. A chime came through the console a split second later. “Captain, we’re being hailed.”

 

“Bring it up on the main viewscreen.”

 

When Jonton tapped the glowing icon, the main viewscreen changed from a canvas of stars to a young man dressed in a starfleet uniform and three pips. “Captain, it’s open,” Jonton said.

“Command Ty, this is Captain Vax of the Heracles,” Vausees said, nodding. “Our computer has put us on ‘Red Alert,’ but we can’t figure out what prompted it. We’d like to know if your ship or any of the other ships in the convoy discovered anything?” She inquired, her gaze fixed on the Commander on the viewscreen.

 

As he glanced at her, he had a puzzled expression on his face, but he nodded and looked off screen for a second. When he returned her gaze, he shook his head, saying, “No, Captain, we do not detect anything from our ship, and neither do any of the other Commanding Officers from the convoy.”

“Keep your scans open, Commander,” Vausees said, “while we diagnose our end to see if it has anything to do with our systems. Meanwhile, I urge that you set the conditions to ‘Yellow Alert’ and issue the same to the rest of the convoy.”

 

The Commander nodded, and the lighting in the background behind him turned yellow. “Let us hope that it is just a system glitch, Captain.”

 

Vausees nodded, “Let us hope you are correct, Commander,” she replied and the main viewscreen returned back to the canvas of stars.

 

—Captain’s Ready Room—

 

Cody and Charles sat in Vausee’s ready “Impossible, Captain,” he responded as he considered every part that had been replaced or mended after being checked by himself or Skirak. “Myself and Lieutenant Skirak, personally checked every part before installation happened.”
“Lieutenant Skirak, report to the captain’s ready room,” Vausees said, reaching up and tapping her ComBadge. room, discussing what was going on with the Heracles.


“Captain, I have had my best men check and double-check every system inside and outside of the ship,” Charles said as he sat there, explaining that they had found nothing seriously wrong with any of the Heracles’ systems.


Vausees shifted her gaze to Charles after a brief glance at Cody. “Do you suppose something might have been installed without your knowledge when the crews from Starbase 72 had their hands in the Heracles?”

 

“Impossible, Captain,” he responded as he considered every part that had been replaced or mended after being checked by himself or Skirak. “Myself and Lieutenant Skirak, personally checked every part before installation happened.”


“Lieutenant Skirak, report to the captain’s ready room,” Vausees said, after reaching up and tapping her ComBadge.

 

After a few moments, the door to the ready room slid open, and Skirak entered. As he walked in, his uniform was folded about his waist. “Lieutenant Skirak reporting as ordered,” the Xindi-insectoid said in his clicking tones, which the universal translator interpreted.


“Have a seat, Lieutenant,” Vausees urged, motioning for him to take a seat beside Charles.

 

Skirak took the seat next to Charles that was provided to him. Vausees, examined the Assistant Chief Engineer.

“Skirak, Charles here informed myself and Commander Cody that both you and he personally inspected every part that came aboard the Heracles while we were inside Starbase 72, is that correct?” she questioned.
“That is right, maam,” Skirak said in response to her question.

“I’ve also received confirmation that the entire ship’s systems have been thoroughly inspected,” she said as she stared at Skirak.

 

“That is also right, ma’am,” he confirmed.

“Was there anything discovered in the system?”

“No, ma’am,” Vausees replied, nodding and looking at both Charles and Skirak. “Then we’ve got a problem, gentlemen. One major issue that requires an immediate remedy.”

Charles stared at Skirak, who was also looking at him, before returning their gaze to Vausees.

 

“What exactly do you have in mind?” Charles inquired, his gaze fixed on her.

Vausees stared at both of them as she considered the Heracles’ current problems. “As we know, the ship is on ‘Red Alert,’ and we have no idea why,” she explained as she continued to glance at her colleagues. “What I need to know is why this is happening and what is causing it.”

As she spoke to them, Vausee’s gaze went from one to the next. “How it is handled is up to the two of you, but for the time being, I am authorizing the two of you to do whatever you need to get this ship and its convoy going, and moving quickly.”

 

Charles returned his gaze to Skirak, and they both nodded. “Consider the task completed, Captain,” Skirak stated; Charles nodded in agreement.

“Dismissed,” Vausees stated, turning to face Cody.

Charles and Skirak both exited the ready room and made their way to the main lift.

 

“Cody, I need you to work with Commander Fergouson to figure out how we can secure this ship and the convoy while we’re here.” “I want this convoy to be as safe as possible with what we have,” she said, her gaze drawn to the holo-monitor on her desk.

 

—Main Engineering—

 

Charles and Skirak were debating the next step, with both of them fighting on what should be done.

“Skirak, if we conduct a complete EPS grid overhaul, we would lose the entire system for weeks and we only have days to arrive,” Charles sighed as he drove a hand through his hair while spinning on his heels with his back to Skirak.

Skirak’s mandibles emit frustrated clicks as he realizes how critical it is to get to the bottom of the problem. Charles contemplated what they could accomplish as he gazed out into the engineering bay’s emptiness. Suddenly, an idea struck him, and he turned to face Skirak. When he noticed Charles’ expression, the xindi-insectoid cocked his head to the side.Charles and Skirak were debating the next step, with both of them fighting on what should be done.

“Skirak, if we conduct a complete EPS grid overhaul, we would lose the entire system for weeks and we only have days to arrive,” Charles sighed as he drove a hand through his hair while spinning on his heels with his back to Skirak.

Skirak’s mandibles emit frustrated clicks as he realizes how critical it is to get to the bottom of the problem. Charles contemplated what they could accomplish as he gazed out into the engineering bay’s emptiness. Suddenly, an idea struck him, and he turned to face Skirak. When he noticed Charles’ expression, the Xindi-insectoid cocked his head to the side.

 

“What if we designed a nano-scope-like device and programmed it to scan the entire grid while flowing inside the EPS grid?” Charles said out loud as he thought about the device he was creating in his mind, “It could also be developed to inspect every secondary and backup system to see if there are any defects in parts or devices,” he explained as the device began to take shape in his imagination.

 

Skirak paused for a while, his mandibles forming a scary grin, and said, “I guess we’re going to have to replicate a few things.”

Halting of a Diplomatic Solution Part 2

Location: Alpha Quadrant – USS Heracles
Stardate: 74769.63 Time: 0811 hours

Stardate: 74769.63
Time: 0811 hours
Location: Alpha Quadrant – USS Heracles

 

—Vausees Ready Room—

 

Vausees reclines in her chair as the door to the room slides open and Debrah enters. As the door closed behind her, she came to a halt beside Vausees’ chair and slowly twisted it around so Vausees was facing her.

Vausees opened her pale blue eyes and peered into her fiance’s brilliant emerald eyes. Vausees face was filled with concern as she stared into Debrah’s eyes.

“I don’t enjoy not knowing what’s going on,” she said to Debrah, who had knelt in front of her fiance.

With Vausee’s hands in hers, she continued to kneel and listened to what was spoken. Even though she thought she knew what needed to be said or done, she realized that in moments like this, she had to let her Captain and her love figure things out.

Debrah looked up into Vausees eyes and for the first time could see the pain and confusion in her eyes. Reaching up she placed a hand on her cheek and gently caressed the side of her face.

“I would do anything to take this away from you,” she whispered quietly as she continued to stare into Vausee’s eyes.

Looking down into her fiance’s eyes and hearing what she had just said to her, she smiled and turned her head to press her lips lightly against the soft inside of Debrah’s wrist. ‘I know,’ she retorted.

As she peered into Debrah’s eyes, a thought sprang across her head. Her mouth formed a smile, which quickly grew into a grin. She gently took her love’s hand from her face and turned to face the holo-monitor.

“Computer, connect to subspace communications array 2456 and send a secured transmission to Starbase 72 priority message to Prothypourgós Thý’ella,” she instructed.

The order was validated with a quiet beep and the message ‘waiting for message’ was shown. Vausees kept the grin on her face and looked at Debrah, who was now the one who was perplexed.

“Thý’ella, please contact Heracles as soon as possible. We have a scenario out here that could benefit from your experience, or rather the Angelikós Zilotís technological achievements,” Vausees explained as her fingers began to move through a file that was being holographically presented as she spoke aloud the message. “I have included a recent ships log to this message, and I need your assistance in determining what is going on,” Vausees stated as the log was attached to the message. She then tapped a luminous icon on the monitor, which resulted in a faint beep. “Computer, send the message and file.”

Debrah stood up and looked at Vausees, “What did you just do, hun?” she said, her gaze fixed on the now-empty holo-monitor.

“If I’m not mistaken, we should have a visitor soon.”

Debrah cocked her head to the side, and a chime at the door could be heard. Debrah returned her gaze from the door to Vausees, a grin lingering on her face.

“Enter,” Vausees said, as the door slid to the side.

“Captain, you have a priority communication from,” Cody said, pausing for a second to look down at the incoming name before looking back at her, “Thý’ella.”

She reached out and took the PADD, dismissing the Commander. Vausees tapped the PADD as soon as the door closed, a holographic image of Thý’ella appeared.

“Good day, Vausees. I’ve gone over the logs and, regrettably, I don’t have that type of experience as you said, but I believe one of our own Engineers should be able to help. I’ve sent for one of them, but before you get too upset, I haven’t notified them of the problem.” As Thý’ella continued to speak, the vision transformed from Thý’ella to another Angelikós. “This man will be there in a few seconds to help you with any problem you are having. I hope he can fix the Heracles,” Thý’ella remarked just as the holographic image vanished and the message finished itself.

 

—Outside of the Heracles—

 

As the Heracles and the convoy sat in complete suspension, a bright flash appeared off the Heracles’ nose and a wormhole appeared out of nowhere. A single ship emerged from the wormhole and proceeded to the Heracles.

Jonton looked up from his console for a moment as the wormhole appeared, and then his console blew up from incoming hails. Ignoring the hails, he tapped the captain’s ready room icon and informed Vausees that a single Angelikós vessel had exited an artificial wormhole.

Vausees acknowledge the Lieutenant and stepped out of the ready room. She sat in the captain’s chair, waiting for a hail from the ship. It was then that she realized Jonton’s console was chiming nonstop.

“Lieutenant, send a message to the convoy that the incoming vessel is here for the Heracles,” she ordered as she waited for the hail that she knew was on its way.

Halting of a Diplomatic Solution Part 3

Location: Alpha Quadrant – USS Heracles
Stardate: 74769.7 Time: 0852 hours

Stardate: 74769.7
Time: 0852 hours
Location: Alpha Quadrant – USS Heracles

 

—Main Engineering Bay—

 

When their Captain’s voice came over the speaker, Charles and Skirak’s limbs were deep inside an opened up bulkhead.

“Report to the Conference Room, Chief Tanner and Ensign Skirak.”

They have nearly identical facial expressions of uncertainty when they gaze at each other. Charles tapped his ComBadge and summoned an Engineer to join them in the upper portion of the bay, and after a brief explanation of what was going on, Charles and Skirak left Engineering and proceeded for the nearest lift that would take them to the Bridge.

 

—Conference Room—

 

As Adé stood near the monitors, Vausees gazed at her two Engineers. His explanation for why the Heracles was having the problems it was having, had both Charles and Skirak perplexed. Because what the Angelikós was showing them was something that both of them had already ruled out as the reason for the computer triggering the ‘Red Alert’ in the first place.

“Adé, no disrespect intended, but myself and my second here have previously thought of it and have discounted it as the source of the difficulty with our ship’s computer,” Charles said, pointing to the monitor on which Adé was displaying the problem.

“I am completely aware of that Master Chief,” Adé nodded, “but if you will allow, I will show you where you and Skirak erred.”

“By all means,” Charles said, motioning for Adé to continue.

“You both located the source of the problem, but you didn’t bother to examine whether it was an internal or external issue,” Adé said as his finger slid over the control in his hand and the monitor shifted to a Heracles diagram. The image then enlarged to encompass the region around the ship, as well as the entire convoy, and more notably the convoy’s lead ship.

“Adé, are you telling me that the source of our problem is actually inside our convoy?” said Vausees.

Adé nodded, and the monitor switched from the Heracles and the convoy to the pulsing lead ship. “Someone or something on that ship is causing the onboard computer to believe there is an immediate threat.”

Vausees couldn’t believe what she was hearing, but denying the facts presented by Adé may be a disastrous mistake for her and her crew, as well as the entire diplomatic convoy. As the entire group in the room looked at her, she leaned back in her chair and began to consider what needed to be done.

“Here’s what we’re going to do,” she says, returning her focus to the gathering.

Everyone in the room nodded their heads as they anticipated Vausees’ idea.

“We need to figure out how to determine who can be trusted and then discreetly inform them of what is going on.  We also need to see if we can figure out if it’s a person on board the ship or a device that was planted there.” As she spoke, she looked at the officers in the conference room, evaluating their acceptance of her idea as far as she had spelled it out.

“After we figure that part out, clearly we need to find out how to disable the device or person without tipping the person off if it is in fact a person,” she added as she folded her arms over her chest and waited for anyone to contribute to what she had said.

“Do you believe you can help us with changing our sensors and scanners?” Charles asked Adé. So we can do a non-invasive scan of the lead ship without triggering their own detecting systems?”

Adé paused for a minute, his white shimmering eyes staring out into nowhere, as he considered what Charles had asked. “I don’t see why not,” he said softly as he switched his focus to Charles.

Charles then peered over at Vausees, saying to her, “If this works, we should be able to tell if it’s a person or a device that’s triggering our ship.”

“Good,” Vausees replied as she looked between the two men, “get it started. I’d like a report on how far it’s come in an hour. As well as how effective it will be.”

 

Adé and Charles both nodded. “Does anyone else have anything more to add?” Vausees asked, looking around the room. “No?” she asks as she glances at them. The meeting is then dismissed.”

Halting of a Diplomatic Solution Part 4

Location: Alpha Quadrant – USS Heracles
Stardate: 74769.8 Time: 0947 hours

Halting of a Diplomatic Solution Part 4

Stardate: 74769.8

Time: 0947 hours

Location: Alpha Quadrant – USS Heracles

 

—Vausees Ready Room—

 

Vausees was sitting at her desk in her Ready Room over an hour later when a chime went off. “Enter,” she says as she leans back in her chair, looking up from the holo-graphic monitor she had been staring at for the previous hour.

As Adé and Charles enter, the door to the room moves to the side. Charles smiles as Adé looks to be a blank slate, with no sign of what they were both doing in her office.

Vausees sat there in utter stillness, waiting for one of them to speak up. She beckoned for them to have a seat when neither of them replied. “Well?” she questioned as she looked between the two of them.

“Captain, with Adé’s cooperation, we have upgraded our sensors to the point that even if the Tactical and Operations Officers on the lead ship were aware of what we were doing. They’d be unable to notice our scans of their ship.”

Vausees nodded, listening to what her Chief Engineer had to say. “I can confidently presume that this has been tried,” she said, her voice inquiring.

“Only in simulation, Captain Vax,” Adé admitted as he gazed at Vausees.

“Simulation only,” she said again, looking at them. “I see, well, there’s no better time than the present to check if your enhancements work.”

 

—Bridge—

 

Vausees sat in the center, next to Cody, who had given up the command chair.

“Debrah, be ready to respond to any hails from Commander Ty.”

Debrah nodded as she kept an eye on her interface and scanners. “Aye, Captain,” she said.

Vausees turned to face Adé and Charles, who had taken control of an engineering console on the bridge. Charles tapped a couple of holographic icons, and the scanners proceeded to use Adé’s upgrades.

Debrah continued to examine the readings coming back from the lead ship while the Heracles began to scan. Her eyes startled as two icons appeared, “Captain. “If Adé’s scans are true, we’re dealing with not just one device or person, but both,” she explained, “and to make matters even more awkward, the person responsible is Commander Ty.”

Vausees shifted her gaze to her Chief Security and Tactical Officer. Vausees stood up and moved over to the console after Debrah nodded to confirm what she had been informed.

There were two icons on the holo-monitor, one of which was Commander Ty. She ignored the Commander for a moment and pressed on the second symbol, which immediately returned readings indicating that the device was incorporated into the ship’s main computer and, more especially, life support.

“Computer, access Starfleet personnel files,” she requested as she looked down at the icon that was pulsating around Commander Ty. A soft beep sounded when the computer awaited further input. “Access Commander Ty Reginal and send the information to my Ready Room,” another soft beep confirmed her request.

Vausees looked at Debrah as she spoke to her Senior Officers. “I want all of my Senior Officers in the conference room in ten minutes with possible solutions,” she ordered. “I am taking off the gloves for this one and I want you all to use any means necessary to disable the device on that ship and a way to legally remove the Commanding Officer of the lead ship from command.”

She then looked away from Debrah and headed for her ready room. As soon as Vausees crossed the threshold, the door slipped back into place. Taking a seat, she displayed the data that she had the computer compile for her.

Looking over the Commander’s personnel file, she discovered various inconsistencies, including how he permitted his former Captain to beam down onto a Cardassian-occupied planet during a siege that had cost the Captain her life. This didn’t sit well with Vausees, who was still reading the report he had written on how he had tried to persuade his Captain out of traveling down to the planet. As she read on, her jaw tightened as she realized that this man was more than eager to use his ship as a weapon to destroy any Cardassian planet.

“Computer, are there any personnel still on the lead ship who were with Commander Ty when his Captain was killed in action?” she inquired, looking away from the monitor for a moment. A gentle beep validated the request, and the monitor displayed the ship’s manifest, with one member showing on the display, “Computer, did this member file any reports pertaining to the death of the former Commanding Officer of the lead ship?”

 

Halting of a Diplomatic Solution Part 5

Location: Alpha Quadrant – USS Heracles
Stardate: 74769.81 Time: 0957 hours

Stardate: 74769.81

Time: 0957 hours

Location: Alpha Quadrant – USS Heracles

 

—Conference Room—

 

Soft voices spoke to one another as the Senior Officers waited for their Captain to enter into the conference room. The tension in the room was heavy as all of the officers spoke softly about what they knew so far and what they had come up with.

 

Vausees entered the room and it became silent, that you could have heard a pin drop and that it would have echoed off the bulkheads. She looked about the room before she took her seat at the head of the table, “So what do you all have?” She asked as she looked at each of her senior officer’s.

 

Charles and Adé looked at each other for a moment before Charles spoke up, “Adé and myself believe we can modify the transporters to beam Commander Ty off of the ship and into our brig, however, the device itself is shielded.”

 

“And not just by its own shielding,” Adé stated, “but also by the main shielding around the computer core.”

 

“This does complicate thing’s,” she said as she looked at the two men, “See if you can do something about the shielding,” she stated as she looked at Debrah and Cody, the two men nodded and sat back in their seats with PADD’s out. “What about you two?”

 

Debrah looked at Cody who nodded, “The Commander and myself have a contingency should we need to either board or beam a small team into the rather empty cargo bay of that ship,” Debrah stated as she looked at her fiancee and captain.

 

“How small are you talking, Ms. Fergouson?” Vausees asked as she kept her eyes on the Commander.

 

“Three, including myself,” Debrah stated.

 

“Vausees nodded, “Let us hope that we do not need to take that ship.” 

“Agreed, let’s hope not.”

 

“Anything else?” Vausees asked as she looked at her senior officer’s.

 

When no one spoke up she nodded, “Dismissed,” she ordered and then turned to Debrah when she stood up, “Commander Fergouson, stay for a moment please.”

 

When the door slid shut she turned and looked at Debrah, “Why must you lead the hazard team?” she asked her fiance, “Why not let Zyvia or hell even Commander Bettencourt?”

 

Debrah placed a hand on the side of Vausees, “I know where this is going Vausees, I know you fear for my life, but I didn’t come back to the fleet to be coddled. I love you Vausees and I know when we get the chance we are going to be married but in the meantime please let me do my job. We both know the risks of wearing this uniform.”

 

Vausees knew that Debrah was right, and she nodded in agreement. Debrah leaned over and gently kissed her fiance, “I love you baby.”

 

Vausees returned the kissed, “I love you too Debbie.”

 

—Bridge—

 

Vausees sat down in the command chair and looked up at the viewscreen as the image changed to that of Commander Ty. 

 

“We may have identified the issue on our ship, it will take us a little time to isolate it and then we should be on our way post haste,” she stated as she looked at the man that was, in her eyes, a traitor to the Federation.

 

“That is good to hear Captain Vax. Is there anything that we can do to expedite this issue?” He asked her.

 

Vausees shook her head, “That will…”

 

Suddenly the Commander was enveloped in a circle of light and he was transported off of the lead ship and into the Heracles brig. Where several security officers and crewmen stood with phase rifles aimed at him.

 

A woman appeared on the screen, “Excuse me Captain, but I demand an explanation?

 

Suddenly behind the woman three streams of transporter energy appeared.

 

—Lead Ship—

 

Debrah stood there with Zyvia and Adé. Without explaining herself Debrah raised her rifle at the Chief Security Officer, “Give me a reason,” is all that she said as Zyvia took aim at the security officer that had moved to pull his phaser.

 

“Drop it,” Zyvia stated as she motioned for the officer to place the phaser on the floor

 

“You too, Commander,” Debrah stated as she looked at the Chief Security Officer.

 

“What the hell is going on?” A Cardassian diplomat asked as she stepped forward. 

 

“All will be explained once we have finished our task,” Debrah stated as she looked at the diplomat and then to Zyvia, “remember Lieutenant we are not here to hurt anyone.” She then looked at Adé, “Let’s go.”

 

Moments later Adé contacted Vausees to let her know that the device was removed from the main computer core and that it had been disarmed. Vausees nodded and tapped her Combadge and a second later she stood on the bridge of the lead ship. 

 

“Diplomat Zer, I am Captain Vausees Vax, the Commanding Officer of the USS Heracles, your Federation Escort. I am sorry that I had to seize your ship but the Commander that you trusted to take you to Cardassian space was in fact planning to destroy this ship and make it look as if it was attacked by a Cardassian,” she stated as the door to the bridge opened and both Debrah and Adé emerged with the device in a container surrounded by a level 5 force field.

 

“Zyvia, Adé take that back to our ship and neutralize it in our ship’s vaults.” Debrah said as she stopped next to Vausees.

 

“Now without any further delays I am sure that you all would like to get moving to Cardassian space,” Vausees said as she looked at Diplomat Zer, who in turn nodded and returned to her seat.

 

Halting of a Diplomatic Solution Part 6

Location: Alpha Quadrant – USS Heracles, Starfleet Headquarters, Fergouson Ranch
Stardate: 74806.08 Time: 2008 hours

Stardate: 74806.08

Time:  2008 hours

Location: Alpha Quadrant – USS Heracles

 

-Captain’s Ready Room-

 

Vausees sat in her chair, her eyes closed, her mind playing over the past two weeks. Most of it had been uneventful other than the discovery of the Commander of the Diplomatic ship that she had been tasked with escorting into Cardassian space. Now she had been ordered to return to Earth for the trial of the Commander and she was not entirely sure what she could do or why she was even being brought into the light of this heresy committed by this highly decorated and up until recent highly honored man. 

 

A sigh left her lips as she suddenly felt a familiar hand in hers and opened her eyes to look into the bright emerald eyes of her fiance’s eyes. She opened her mouth to once more apologize but was stopped by a finger on her lips.

 

“You do not need to explain anything to me, baby,” Debrah stated as she smiled at her, “I will, as I have always said, follow you to the burning and dark gates of hell and back through to the light of our love.”

Vausees couldn’t help but tear up slightly at this statement. She had only felt this one other time and fate had been unjust and unkind to that part of her life. But here she was feeling that same feeling, but the timing was wrong. It should have been with their friends and family while they were listening to a pastor while they were being married, not on a ship heading back to Earth under orders to return.

 

Gently she removed the finger from her lips and kissed it before looking once more at Debrah. She stood up next to Debrah and the two of them exited out of the ready room and onto the bridge.

 

Cody had been sitting in the command seat since his Captain had left the bridge for her ready room. He stood up when he heard the door slide open and both Vausees and Debrah exited out of the room. 

 

Vausees held up a hand to halt him.

 

“Commander the ship is yours. Let me know when we have reached SOL, and if anything that requires my attention,” she said to him as she headed for the main lift.

 

Cody nodded and retook the command seat as he watched both of them leave the bridge. He logged the change of command on the computer and looked over at Trever.

 

“Mister Neif, reduce speed to warp 4,” he ordered.

 

This caused Trever to look back at the Commander with a funny look on his face. It was met with a grin and a motion toward the almost closed lift door. Trever returned to nod and input the command into the navigation console and the stars in the view screen gave a noticeable slowing; even though no one on the ship felt it.

 

-Vausees and Debrah’s quarters-

 

Both Vausees and Debrah lay in each other’s arms; Debrah was playing circles on Vausees back as they lay together, her eyes closed with her head back and rested on the bulkhead of their room.

 

Vausees stirred and raised onto her hands as she looked at her soon-to-be wife. “I am glad that you are here,” she said before she leaned in and gently kissed her.

 

A smile crossed Debrah’s lips; after their lips parted, “I could never see myself anywhere else.”

 

“Not even back on your ship?” Vausees asked as she straddled Debrah’s thighs, her kimono exposed her legs as she sat there on Debrah.

 

“Well,” Debrah grinned as she teased Vausees, “now that you mention it,” she continued to tease her Captain and love, “I think I should check in on my ship that I handed over to the closest thing I had to a brother.”

 

She watched the shock on Vausees face and tried to hold a straight face only to fail. As she burst into laughter she wrapped her arms around her. “No, not even back on the Torgus. Unless you were there with me,” she stated in a tone that meant that she was done with this part of their conversation. “Now  lay your ass down next to me and close your eyes.”

 

Vausees couldn’t help but still at how playfully aggressive her love was being and submitted. She slipped over her love’s legs and laid beside her. The feeling of strong, tender, protective arms was all she felt before she succumbed to the much-needed and long overdue silence of sleep.

 

*** two hours later ***

 

Deep in the thralls of sleep, a soft chime echoed in the darkness of her mind as she slept. Again she heard the chime and she cracked her right eye slightly open as she looked into the dim light of the room. She felt a movement behind her, as Debrah slept, and then her arm.

 

A soft groan escaped her lips, “Computer, time,” she said softly into the room.

 

She was greeted by a soft beep, and a soft voice, “The time is 2200 hours.”

 

‘It has been only two hours,’ she thought to herself. “Where is the chime coming from,” she requested as she pressed herself against Debrah, who responded by wrapping her arm further around Vausees.

 

Another soft beep and the soft voice replied, “The chime is coming from the Bridge, and Commander Bettencourt.”

 

Turning over she placed a soft kiss on Debrah’s nose, and in a soft voice she spoke, “Wake up my love.”

 

Debrah slowly opened her eyes and slipped her arm from around Vausees as she stretched, which gave Vausees a tantalizing view, which sent heat into her body.

 

“Is it time?” Debrah asked.

 

“It is,” Vausees replied as she carefully covered her loves chest, resisting the temptation that lay hidden now.

 

Debrah grinned as she lowered her arms and sat up, and leaned over, “We could have a bit of fun in the shower,” she suggested in a teasing tone as she slipped from the bed and walked toward the adjacently attached bathroom; along the way she dropped her kimono and looked over her shoulder before she disappeared from Vausees view. Taking the hint Vausees followed her, her kimono falling to the deck on top of Debrah’s.

 

-bridge-

 

Vausees sat in the command seat as the bright blue orb of Earth came into view as they passed by Jupiter. They were greeted by three Federation runabouts.

 

“This is Captain Viktor of Earth Defense. Please identify yourself and the reason for your entrance into Earth space, before transmitting your security clearance and code,” a voice said over the Heracles’ intercom.

 

“This is Captain Vausees Vax, Commanding Officer of the USS Heracles, I am under orders to report to Earth,” Vausees stated as she swiveled the armrest console toward her and input her security clearance and then her Earth Defense code.

 

A moment later the runabout captain’s voice came back over the intercom, “Please follow us and do not deviate from us, otherwise you will be fired upon and destroyed.

 

The ego of this captain had Vausees smirk at his confidence and reminded her of someone else that was onboard. “Understood, Captain,” she replied and then closed the comm’s.

 

“Cody when we get to ESD give everyone orders for shore leave, and if Chief Tanner gives you any lip feel free to relieve him of his command and have him escorted off the ship under further orders to not return until the reason for our return is concluded,” she said as she looked at the Commander.

 

-Earth – Fergouson Ranch-

 

Debrah closed the wardrobe and then the door to the closet, having unpacked both hers and Vausees bags. She took a seat on the porch that overlooked the beautiful scenery of a lake and the rocky mountains that were on her and now Vausees ranch. Her eyes closed as she thought about the look on Vausees face when she left her in San Francisco.

 

Vausees had asked her to accompany her to Starfleet Headquarters but Debrah shook her head. “This is the only time that I cannot,” Debrah said as she had taken Vausees black duffle off of her shoulder and placed it next to her, on the ground next to her duffle. “I’ll see you tonight,” she said before she kissed the corner of Vausees’ mouth.

 

-Starfleet Headquarters-

 

Vausees sat in a waiting room as she had been ordered to do so. She felt like she was waiting for her own court marshall or the dean of her former school. She swallowed the feeling down and was greeted by a familiar feeling of her symbiont. 

 

‘Vax it is good to feel you once more,’ she thought to herself as she sat there in silence

 

‘You have no reason to be scared,” the Vax symbiont told her, ‘You are being called forth to testify as to why you placed Commander Ty Reginal under arrest.’

 

‘I know but it still feels weird to be back here again,’ she replied, as the last time had been to testify against her number 1’s father, and that had been hard on her. As she didn’t know how the trial would go, let alone how it would affect her, then Chief Security and Tactical Officer.

 

Suddenly the doors to the waiting room slid open and a man dressed in solid red stepped in. 

 

“Captain Vax?” the man asked her.

 

She stood up, “That is correct,” she replied as she stood there.

 

“Follow me,” he ordered as he led her out of the waiting room and into a hallway that led toward a courtroom. 

 

As they needed the room Vausees paused for a moment as the man held the door open for her. The look on his face was one of confusion. “Captain, are you okay?” he asked her as he stood there with the door open.

 

Vausees took a breath to steady herself and nodded, “Yes, sir, just needed a moment to gather myself,” she stated and then entered the courtroom.

 

After taking her seat she looked about the room and noticed that it was mostly empty except for a couple of assistants and security officers. She sat there in silence and closed her eyes wishing that Debrah was by her side. She hated being alone, even if it was just for a testimony against another Senior Officer.

 

Suddenly one of the assistants yelled out, “All rise!”

 

Vausees instinctively knew that meant to get up as top brass was about to enter the room. As she stood there she felt all of her nervousness suddenly leave and she silently thanked her symbiont.

 

‘We’re going to need to work on your nerves, Vausees,’ she heard in her head as she stood there, her chest slightly puffed out; the sign of a confident and steadfast Commanding Officer of the Federation.

 

The next thing she heard rather than saw was the doors behind her slid open and several pairs of boot fall heading her way. Turning her head she saw Commander Ty being escorted into the room, his uniform stripped of all insignia and rank and his wrist bound together by a pair of energy cuffs.

 

“I hope you know what you are doing, Captain Vausees,” he said in a gruff tone.

 

“Putting a traitor and terrorist away,” she snapped back before she turned her attention to the panel of Admirals and Top brass. 

 

“Commander Ty Reginal, you have been brought before the council to stand accused of treason and attempted terrorism,” an Admiral stated as he looked up from a PADD that was in front of him. “How do you plead?”

 

“I do not deny any of it, but I hold the values of the Federation above all things and I firmly believe that the Cardassians will strike us once more. As such I will be vindicated when that happens,” Ty stated as he stood there and looked at the Admiral.

 

Vausees shook her head and for a moment looked at the floor ahead of her. She knew his kind and knew that he could not be trusted to uphold every law and value that the Federation stood for.

 

“Captain Vax, it has come to my attention that you had outside help in locating the device that Command Ty Reginal had attached to the Diplomatic ship that he was in Command of. Is this correct,” the Admiral asked Vausees.

 

Vausees nodded her head and replied, “That is corrected, Admiral.”

 

“Can you be one percent certain that your outside source did not co-conspire with Commander Ty?”

 

Once more Vausees nodded, “I can Admiral.”

 

“How can you be so sure, Captain?” the Admiral asked her.

 

“I am without any doubt confident that my source could not have placed the device or for that matter known about my mission ahead of time, Admiral, as I had contacted my source after the Heracles went into the “Red Alert” status and I had exhausted all of my resources to located the cause of the alert status,” Vausees stated.

 

“And who is this source?” the Admiral asked her.

 

“My source is Thý’ella, the Prothypourgós of the Angelikós Zilotís. Who are descendants of the Tkon,” she stated as she looked at the Admiral, “I also request that the title that she bears and the name of her people be stricken from the record.”

 

This request shocked the Admiral, “And might I inquire as to why you have made this request, Captain?”

 

“The Angelikós Zilotís is not a member of the Federation at this time, and since we all know of how potentially dangerous the Tkon were I request the aforementioned title and species be stricken,” Vausees stated as she stood there.

 

The Admiral nodded and looked at the courtroom recorder and motioned for the title and the species name to be removed from the log.

 

“That having been said Admiral I have total trust and confidence in Thý’ella and her people. Without them I doubt that myself and my ship would have made it back and Commander Ty would have accomplished his own mission to cause another war with the Cardassians,” Vausees said as she glanced over at the man standing near her.

 

A sharp sound of a gavel sounded off and the Admiral gave Vausees a warning. Vausees apologized and began her testimony. Shortly after her testimony the Admiral dismissed Vausees and she left the courtroom feeling much better about herself.

 

-Fergouson Ranch-

 

An hour later a shuttle landed on a pad just outside of an elegant ranch-style house and lowered its ramp. Vausees walked slowly down the ramp and away from the shuttle. As she walked toward the door it opened and Debrah stepped out.

 

“Welcome home, baby,” she said as she stepped off the porch and wrapped her arms around Vausees. After a long kiss, the two, headed inside.

 

Vausees lay inside of a deep tub, steam billowed from the edges as Debrah walked in with a glass of wine, and offered it to her.

 

“So how long are we here for, baby?” Debrah asked as she sat on the edge of the tub.

 

“As far as I am aware just until after the court hearing and sentencing,” she stated as she took a sip from the glass and then leaned her head back; enjoying the heat from the water in the tub.

 

“That long,” Debrah said after she swallowed the wine that she had taken from her glass.

 

“I could request leave for us,” Vausees said as she turned her head and looked at Debrah, “After all Cody is more than capable of handling the Heracles while we are away,” she stated as she closed her eyes and leaned her head back again.

 

A grin crossed Debrah’s lips as she heard what Vausees had said. “I am glad to hear that you are enjoying the luxuries of the Fergouson Ranch.”

 

“Oh I most definitely could get used to this, however, I do need to pay my respects to someone first,” Vausees said; her voice somber as she spoke.

 

Debrah instantly knew who she was referring to and nodded before she leaned down and gently kissed her lips. “I love you Vausees,” she whispered

 

“I love you too,” Vausees whispered back and smiled at Debrah.

 

***Two days later***

 

Vausees leaned against Debrah and held a PADD in her hand. On the screen was the courtroom that she had been in a couple of days ago. Ty stood there as the Admiral delivered the council’s verdict. A smile crossed Vausees’ lips when he was pronounced guilty of treason and attempted terrorism. The smile faded slightly when he was sentenced to hard labor at a penal colony instead of life behind bars.

 

“Well at least he will no longer be a Commander within the fleet,” Debrah stated as she looked at the slight smile on Vausees’ face.

 

“Yeah, there is that,” she said as she looked back at Debrah realizing that she was correct and that it was a small victory, even if it wasn’t completely the sentence that she thought the man deserved.