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Part of Deep Space 19: Opening The Door

Opening The Door – 8

USS Hodgkin (NCC-85017), en route to Deep Space 19, Kovar System, Alcott Sector, Beta Quadrant
Stardate: 78503.4
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Dawn Levy’s exasperated sigh echoed in the compact confines of the co-pilot’s chair. She cradled a steaming mug of coffee in one hand, its warmth a comforting contrast to the frustration she felt. With a tired gesture, she massaged her temples, as if trying to ease the persistent ache of dealing with her companion.

“Why do I always find myself in the unenviable position of dealing with him?” she muttered to herself, her gaze drifting upward to the sleek curvature of the cockpit’s ceiling.

The Arrow-class runabout glided smoothly through the expanse of Kovar’s skies, its engines emitting a gentle hum that seemed to underscore Levy’s growing irritation. At the helm, Sturok, the quiet Vulcan pilot, remained stoically focused on his duties, his hands deftly manipulating the controls with an almost mechanical precision.

For a time, silence enveloped the cockpit like a heavy cloak, broken only by the rhythmic thrum of the shuttle’s propulsion systems. Then, finally, Sturok spoke, his voice as measured and composed as ever. “It is your job, captain.”

Levy stifled another sigh, knowing all too well the truth in his words. Duty, it seemed, was an ever-present companion, even in the vast expanse of space. Levy’s half-hearted chuckle danced through the air of the shuttle’s cockpit, a fleeting attempt to alleviate the weight of frustration settling upon her shoulders. With a sigh, she shook her head, her thoughts drifting back to the recent encounter with Governor Sean Thompson, a meeting that had left her feeling more drained than any diplomatic negotiation or counselling session ever had.

“That man is impossible,” she lamented, her voice carrying the weight of a thousand unresolved conflicts.

Sturok, ever composed, offered his perspective with characteristic Vulcan restraint. “The governor does possess certain… challenging qualities,” he acknowledged, his words carefully chosen to mask any hint of his personal sentiments.

“He’s like trying to navigate through a nebula blindfolded,” Levy remarked wryly, her frustration evident in her tone. “One minute he’s demanding to be kept fully informed, and the next he’s dismissing everything unless it directly threatens Kovar’s security.”

“Indeed,” Sturok’s agreement was a silent acknowledgement of the labyrinthine complexity that was Governor Thompson’s character.

Levy reached for her coffee mug, its warmth a fleeting respite against the chill of uncertainty that permeated the cockpit. “It’s like trying to unravel a tapestry woven with threads of chaos,” she reflected, her gaze fixed on the ever-shifting patterns of the stars. “Impossible.”

“You performed admirably, captain,” Sturok remarked. “The fact he has not pulled out of the agreement is a diplomatic victory. Your persuasion on the matter ensured no further complexities on our side of the matter.”

“Thank you, Sturok, I couldn’t have done it without your support,” Levy said, smiling at her companion. “Having your calmness kept me from jumping over that desk and shaking him senseless.”

“Attacking the leader of one of the most powerful Federation worlds in this region would not be the most diplomatic approach you could have taken,” Sturok expressed.

“But it would have made me feel good,” Levy reacted as she sat up straight in her chair and placed her mug down. 

“We are approaching the station,” Sturok reported, calmly. 

Levy looked over at her controls and started to hail the station. Knowing she would not get the usual face of Hawkins at communication, she was surprised to see Anizza Horin answering the communique. “Anizza, has Layla ditched you already?”

The Betazoid chief operations officer smirked. “Thank you captain, but no, we’ve completed our prep work with the asteroid project, but the admiral asked me to keep an eye out when you two were on approach.”

“Is the station secure, commander?” Sturok piped up.

Anizza nodded. “We are, but our visitors have been quite… let’s just say they’re a handful and the admiral is keen to speak with you, captain.”

Surprised to hear that, Levy encouraged the admiral to be piped through. Moments later Vice Admiral Jaret appeared on the holographic display. 

“Dawn, please tell me you’ve kept Thompson in line?”

“Mission accomplished, admiral,” Levy confirmed. “Thompson was his charming self.”

Jaret chuckled. “That’s high praise coming from you, Dawn, thank you.”

“It was a team effort,” Levy stated, looking between the admiral and her companion. “Tell Layla, I may have to appoint Sturok as my successor.”

“That is not necessary,” Sturok pointed out. 

More laughter came from the admiral. “I’m about to head off to rendezvous with the Formidable, so I want you to assume command of things here.”

“Understood, ma’am, anything else?” Levy inquired.

“I’m taking Jacinta with me, but we’re also taking our Romulan delegation too,” Jaret informed.

“Oh?” Levy was surprised to hear that. “You need backup?”

“No,” The admiral said, shaking her head. “It’s part of the agreement I made.”

“Very well,” Levy said, reluctantly. She wasn’t impressed with that arrangement and knew that Sturok wouldn’t be either as well as Harper. “Stay in touch.”

“Likewise, Jaret out.”


After a successful docking procedure, and a quick dash on a turbolift ride to ops, Levy arrived in ops. Fitzgerald, who was currently in command between the admiral’s departure and Levy’s return, looked over at the turbolift doors. Smirking at seeing her husband arrive alongside the captain, the chief science officer gestured for them to come over and join her. She was standing by one of the science stations with Anizza Horin. 

“Welcome back, I’m glad you’re both here, we’ve got a slight problem,” Fitzgerald shared. She pointed at the holographic display hovering above the station. “The Kovar tachyon detection grid detected a crossing about five minutes.”

“A Romulan ship?” Levy asked.

“We’re not sure,” Horin replied.

“Have we conducted a metaphasic sweep?” Sturok questioned.

Fitzgerald shook her head. “No, why? Do you know who it is Sturok?”

“I will once we have conducted the sweep,” He answered his wife. 

Levy looked at Sturok, intrigued by what he was thinking, she nodded to Fitzgerald to do as he suggested.

A few seconds later the sensor sweep showed something they were not expecting to see. 

“Is that what I think it is?” Levy asked her team.

“It is,” Horin confirmed.

“A Klingon Negh’Var-class warship,” Sturok declared.

Levy was concerned as to why their ally was playing cloak and daggers with them. Crossing her arms against her chest she took a deep breath and uttered her orders. “Take us to yellow alert, inform the Kovar Defence Perimeter to do the same thing, then Anizza, open a subspace channel to our Klingon visitors.”

“Channel open,” Horin announced.

Moving closer to the centre of the operations table, Levy spoke up in her firmest tone. “Attention Klingon ship, this is Captain Dawn Levy of the Federation station Deep Space Nineteen, you have entered Federation space under cloak. As per the terms of the Khitomer Accords, I request you decloak and identify yourselves.”

She gave it a few seconds. 

Nothing.

She gave it a few more seconds.

Still nothing. 

“The Kovar Defence Grid is requesting confirmation as to what they should do,” Sturok announced from the station beside her. 

Levy looked at him and then took her next action. “Give the signal, have all orbital weapons come online and have the planetary shield grids activated.”

“Aye, captain,” Sturok replied.

“Still anything?” Levy asked the other two.

Nothing.

“Go to red alert,” Levy ordered, knowing that this wasn’t what she meant when she told the governor things would be sorted with the Romulan and Reman issue. Now they had a Klingon issue.