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Part of Deep Space 19: Opening The Door

Opening The Door – 6

USS Formidable (NCC-74207), Alcott Sector, Beta Quadrant
Stardate: 78503
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Captain Horin sat on the bridge of the USS Formidable, his Betazoid senses tingling with anticipation as the sleek Defiant-class starship glided through the depths of space. The mission ahead was fraught with uncertainty, yet his resolve remained steadfast. He had to prove to Admiral Jaret that her trust in him leading on such a delicate matter was the right choice. He had to impress her on his first mission as her new executive officer. 

The soft hum of consoles filled the air, punctuated by the occasional chirp of communication and the steady thrum of the ship’s engines as it forged its path through the depths of space. Rows of sleek consoles lined the perimeter of the room, manned by a dedicated crew whose expertise and dedication were a testament to the finest traditions of Starfleet. Horin had been impressed by their work since departing Deep Space 19. Their focus was unwavering. He could feel that with them all. 

Before the captain, Ensign Tate Horin manned the helm with a steady hand; his gaze focused on the swirling expanse of stars that stretched out before them. As his son, Tate’s presence on the bridge brought both pride and a twinge of parental concern for Horin, a constant reminder of the fragile balance between duty and family that defined their lives among the stars. This would be Tate’s first mission, too, and Jaxxon knew that his son was a gifted pilot. He just hoped that nothing would happen that would place Tate in harm or cause him more upset. His recovery from Frontier Day was still itched into the back of his mind. Jaxxon could sense it whenever he was in Tate’s presence. 

Across the bridge, Lieutenant Tom Hawkins worked diligently at his station, his fingers flying across the controls with practised precision. Despite his nervous disposition, Hawkins displayed his professionalism. Beside him was Doctor Parin, sitting at the science station. Though he should be sickbay, he was also a fully qualified science bridge officer, and the admiral had advised Horin to have Parin nearby. Sat to the right of Horin, at the mission ops station was his first officer for this mission, Counsellor Lenara Taf. Taf’s presence was a calming influence amidst the controlled chaos of the bridge, her symbiont pulsing gently beneath her skin as a testament to the wisdom and experience that she brought to their mission. Alongside this, he was starting to learn that her wisdom was also mixed up with a great sense of humour that helped defuse any tense situation. 

“Approaching the asteroid field, Captain,” Tate reported from the helm, his voice steady despite the gravity of the situation.

“Thank you, ensign,” Jaxxon replied, his thoughts racing as he considered the myriad possibilities that awaited them. “Doctor Parin, prepare to initiate long-range scans of the asteroid. We need to gather as much data as we can before we make our approach.” Lieutenant Hawkins, keep an open channel to Vice Admiral Jaret,” Jaxxon instructed, his tone firm yet measured. “We may need to consult with her as the situation develops.”

“Aye, Captain,” Hawkins replied, his fingers flying across the console as he established a secure line of communication with the station.

“The Reman battlecruisers are keeping close to the asteroid,” Taf announced from her station. 

Getting out of his seat, Captain Horin moved over to stand behind Taf to see what she saw. “Those battlecruisers are more than a century old; none are a match for the Formidable.”

“I’m detecting over ten thousand Reman life signs altogether,” Parin announced. “There may be more that our sensors can’t detect that are deeper within the asteroid.”

“How are they surviving within the asteroid when no one has set up artificial environments?” Horin asked.

Parin tapped a few more buttons on his console and then replied. “I’d say they came prepared to set up the environments themselves. I’m detecting several fusion-based generators, duranium shielding and force fields set up to entrap the inner parts of the asteroid. It is a self-contained habitat, sir.”

“How did a bunch of Reman refugees establish such an operation so quickly?” Taf questioned. “They must have got help from someone.”

“Maybe, and there’s too many unanswered questions here,” Horin stated. “Let’s get some answers,” he said. He made his way back to his seat and sat down. “Tate, full stop. Tom, open a channel to the Remans.”

Both officers complied with their orders, and when Horin had the signal he was on with the Remans, he spoke up.

“I’m Captain Jaxxon Horin of the Federation starship U-S-S Formidable. We are from Deep Space Nineteen and have monitored your presence on the incoming asteroid while in our space. We bring no hostile intentions but would like to open a dialogue to discuss what is happening here.”

Nothing happened at first until the viewscreen changed to show the appearance of a Reman surrounded by darkness. He wore the uniform of an officer within the Reman Commando. “I am Colonel Shivux, and we Remans claim this shard of our homeworld in the name of our people. We do not recognise your sovereignty or your right to approach it. We are prepared to defend it.”

“Greetings, thank you for sharing your intent with us,” Horin said diplomatically. “However, you are in our territory, and we cannot permit your presence to go by without knowing more.”

“There is nothing else to discuss, leave or be destroyed.” spoke the Reman leader with determination in his tone. His fangs were a menacing appearance and a reminder to Horin just how strong-willed the Reman people were. 

“Your ships are no match for mine. They are over one hundred years old. The Formidable is battle-tested and has the latest technology Starfleet has to offer. Alongside that, several Starfleet ships nearby can be reassigned to deal with your incursion into our space.” Horin stood up and tugged on his jacket as he took a position just behind his son at the helm. “Now, we have a deal with the Romulan Free State over this asteroid, and we are willing to discuss it more with you.”

“The Free State have no right to place a claim over it. We Remans were born and suffered on this rock. We are taking back what is rightfully ours.” 

“And I sympathise with what your people endured under the Romulan Star Empire, and we are prepared to give you a forum to discuss your grievance, but we will not tolerate a blatant disregard for our territory,” Horin said firmly. “Now, will you meet with me to discuss this matter or not?”

Several seconds passed as the Reman considered his position before he spoke. “We are sending over transporter coordinates.” He pressed a button off-screen, and the channel closed instantly. 

“Wow, this is certainly going to be fun,” Taf remarked from behind. “Maybe we should see if Captain Levy wishes to join us.”

“No,” Horin snapped. He wouldn’t let anyone else deal with the Remans except him. “She has her hands full with the admiral; we must deal with the Remans ourselves. Lenara, Jowain you are with me. Tom, the bridge is yours and have three security officers meet us in the transporter room.”

Hawkins was surprised to hear that and looked at the captain and the others before nodding a few times. “Umm, yes, sir.”

Tate turned around in his chair and reached out to his father mentally. He sent him a telepathic message of hope and said he would watch his back. Jaxxon smiled back at his son just as he left the bridge. 

Moments later, the away team materialised deep within the heart of the asteroid, the dimly lit tunnels enveloping them in an eerie silence broken only by the faint echoes of Reman voices. They were met by several guards who offered to take them to the central chamber where Colonel Shivux awaited them.

As they pressed forward, the air grew heavy with the scent of desperation and despair, mingling with the faint traces of hope that lingered in the shadows. Their journey through the labyrinthine passages brought them face to face with the harsh realities of life on the asteroid. Reman men, women, and children huddled in the darkness, their gaunt faces etched with the weariness of survival. Hunger gnawed at their hollowed cheeks, their eyes pleading for relief from the relentless grip of deprivation.

The away team pressed on, their hearts heavy with the weight of compassion and empathy for those they encountered along the way. Horin could feel both Parin and Taf wanting to help these people more. He shared the same sentiments. 

Eventually, they reached a set of large doors that had been built into the rockface. Reman guards stood on either side of it. Their escorts took them into the dimly lit room.

“Captain Horin, welcome to our humble abode,” Shivux greeted them, his voice tinged with a hint of defiance as he regarded the Starfleet officers with a mixture of suspicion and curiosity.

Horin met Shivux’s gaze with steely resolve, his Betazoid senses attuned to the subtle undercurrents of tension that hung in the air like a palpable presence.

“Colonel Shivux, we come in peace,” Jaxxon replied, his voice calm yet commanding as he sought to establish a rapport with their enigmatic hosts. “We seek only to understand your intentions and find a peaceful resolution to this matter. Furthermore, we certainly want to help your people.”

Shivux regarded Jaxxon with a measure of respect, his eyes betraying a flicker of uncertainty as he weighed his options.

Parin spoke up. “Surely receiving Federation aid to help the thousands of starving men, women and children we’ve just seen isn’t bad.”

“It depends on how long that aid lasts us,” Shivux uttered back.

Horin looked at the Reman leader, curious to know what he meant. “Can you elaborate on that point?”

Shivux reacted quickly, “We Remans are treated with the same distaste by the Federation as our Romulan suppressors did. Why would anything change now?”

“We could have easily opened fire on your ships and this asteroid, colonel,” Taf stated. “But we didn’t; instead, we are here and want to start something that brings about an outcome that all of our people will be happy with.”

“And does that include the Free State and their Tal Shiar puppet masters?” Shivux questioned as he turned his back to the away team and approached a large oval window that looked down upon a large section of the asteroid where Remans were huddling together around make-shift shelters. “No, we Remans stand alone.”

“What stops you from standing with others who want to help you?” Horin inquired as he took a step closer to Shivux. 

“Captain, there are forces at play here that you cannot begin to comprehend,” Shivux said cryptically, his voice echoing through the cavernous chamber like a whisper in the darkness. “The Reman people have suffered enough at the hands of the galaxy’s powers. We will not be subjugated again.”

Horin exchanged a knowing glance with Taf and Parin, their shared understanding of the Remans’ plight fueling their determination to find a solution that would satisfy all parties involved.

“We understand your concerns, Colonel,” Horin replied, his voice steady as he sought to bridge the divide between their two worlds. “But we cannot allow this asteroid to endanger the lives of innocent civilians on Kovar. We have a plan and an agreement with the Romulan Free State to ensure this asteroid is caught safely and its resources shared. Surely, there must be a way we can work together.”

As the negotiations continued, Jaxxon couldn’t shake the feeling that there was more to the Remans’ plight than met the eye. 

“Why do we need help from you or the Free State? Not even the Romulan Republic can properly help us. This asteroid is the last remains of our home. We will not let you or anyone else take it.” Shivux said with determination. 

“Then you will be placing Starfleet in a very difficult situation, colonel. We would have no issue relocating your people to a suitable environment and possibly even having you involved in the mining project, but remaining here is not an option.” Horin said firmly.

“More of your people could be harmed,” Parin added.

“We won’t be,” Shivux said as he turned around. He wore a long cape from his shiny uniform. “We are protected.”

“As we said, your battlecruisers are no match for the Formidable, let alone the combined forces of a Starfleet task force,” Taf countered. “This sabre rattling won’t get us anywhere. Can we be reasonable here?”

Before Colonel Shivux could respond, a booming voice shattered the tense silence, echoing through the dimly lit chamber with startling intensity. The away team turned as one, their eyes widening in surprise as they beheld the unexpected arrivals.

A figure strode into the chamber, his imposing presence commanding attention as he moved with the grace of a warrior born. His eyes burned with a fierce intensity, his brow furrowed with the weight of untold battles fought and won.

Horin stepped forward, his Betazoid senses tingling with the unmistakable aura of danger that surrounded the newcomer. “And who are you?” he demanded, his voice steady despite the sudden turn of events.

“I am General Kurak of the House of Konjah,” the man declared, his voice a thunderous rumble that reverberated off the cavern walls. “And Starfleet is not welcomed here!”

The shock of the Klingon general’s arrival hung heavy in the air, casting a pall of uncertainty over the proceedings. Horin’s mind raced as he considered the implications of this unexpected turn of events, his instincts urging caution in the face of an unknown adversary. But in the back of his mind, he could hear both Parin and Taf sharing the same sentiments: Damn Klingons!