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Part of USS Daedalus: Mission 2 – The Edge of Hope and Despair and USS Mackenzie: Mackenzie Squadron : The Edge of Hope and Despair

DEHD 015 – The History of the Future

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“Tricorder’s not reading any weapons or weapon signatures.  The most they have are the farming implements.” Reid shook her head, “Is it possible that they’ve just been out here for so long they’ve left the Federation behind?  That if it weren’t for The True Way, The Maquis, or the Syndicate…we’d never have found them?”

Milton continued to study the small colony from behind the new cover, eyes searching for an answer beyond what they were starting to conclude.  There had to be a catch.  He kept returning to it as he swept each building, road, or path.  His security training left him questioning every element of the situation.  The responsibility of his away team was at the forefront of his mind.  “It’s a mystery.  Let’s circle back to the front entrance and show ourselves walking from a distance.  Give them a chance to see us.”

 

“They’ve seen us.” Atega walked alongside Ford and Reid, her eyes watching the town ahead.  It hadn’t taken long for the usual curious movement to be seen as they approached.  They stopped a few yards from the entrance arch.  

Ford stepped forward as an older gentleman approached, his face curious.  He wasn’t armed or carrying defensive measures.  He bowed as he neared them, “Welcome to our town, outsiders.  I am Holbrook Orena, and this is the Thalis Settlement.”

Ford replied, “I’m Commander Milton Ford of the Federation Starship Daedalus.  This is Lieutenant Jordan Reid, and that is Lieutenant Presley Atega.  We detected a signal from your planet and came to see who was here…we don’t have records of people on this planet.”

Orena frowned, “That is a lot of information to take in, Commander Milton.  You are from some…kind of Federation?”

Atega was already working on the Universal Translator, adjusting as the man had spoken.  She motioned to Ford to keep talking.

“It’s…a lot, I admit.  The Federation is the United Federation of Planets – a group of different species united in the collective interest of the various galaxies in the universe.”

Another frown, “Galaxies…universe?  You speak of things beyond my comprehension.  You came here on this…Daedalus?”

Milton explained starships, crews, and their mission.  He held his face in place to avoid the feelings of amusement that threatened to break from within.  “We detected a signal and were concerned that others in this sector and system would also find it.  They are not good groups.”

The man thought carefully. “You carry weapons, I assume?”

Ford nodded, gesturing to the holster at his side, “Defensive measures only, I assure you.”

“If you enter our township, you must leave your weapons with one of your people.  You are the first outsiders to visit…and while you may be clothed as we are…, the trust of outsiders has never been tested among our people.”

Milton understood.  “Atega, you’ll stay here.  We’ll take the tour and report back.”  He held up his tricorder, “This is a scanning device – it’s not a weapon.  It gives us information.”  The man inspected it gently and with confusion but gave a nod.

“Come with me.”

 

“There it is.”  McKee had led Tir and the security team down, around, and into the cave depths.  A shadow loomed before them as they came out in the bottom, and their lights soon illuminated the ship.  The security team walked alongside them as they circled the ship.  McKee ran her engineering scanners while Tir swept the area with his tricorder.  She was shocked, “This…ship is in remarkable condition.  I’d have to take a look at her insides, but everything tells me she could fly again with little trouble.”

Tir walked far from the ship and then back again, marveling at the scans. “They had to have chosen this place for the ship to remain—the environmental conditions in this cave are near perfect for retaining the ship’s quality.”  He walked up to McKee and showed her the details, “They also sealed the roof – this was open to the world above once.”  He pointed up at the evidence of mud and earthwork.  “This wasn’t a crash landing…this was planned.”

She frowned and approached the hatch, “Do we open it?  Or wait for word?”

Tir eyed the door panel console, “I think there’s enough cause to investigate.”  He tapped at the console, and the door slid smoothly open, drawing a gasp from both of them.  He stared at the door, “I’m not an engineer, but that door shouldn’t have opened that quietly.”  He examined the doorway, “Someone’s been taking care of this.”  

McKee sidled up beside him.  “More than taking care of it…they’ve taken great care here.  This isn’t just maintenance.”  She mounted the steps and entered the cabin, Tir following.  The lights clicked on, and the ship’s systems began to power up, consoles flickering online and a low hum filling the room.  She turned and stopped, shocked at what she saw.  “Shit.” Tir was behind her and stopped short, his mouth dropping open.  The body of an elderly woman lay on the floor, arm stretching out towards the cockpit.  Blood had congealed underneath her, and the skin color was developing a sicky pallor.

He swallowed his feelings, “I suppose we report this?” 

She turned to him, “Are you kidding?”