Blinking once and then twice, Cambil Bexa wondered if she was dead and in the Celestial Temple with the Prophets. Reality then hit and she realised she was lying on a biobed in sickbay.
“Welcome back.” A friendly and familiar voice greeted her. Doctor Slyvexs held a medical tricorder in her hands as she smiled down at Odyssey’s Bajoran first officer. Taking scans of Cambil, the Denobulan physician was smiling at the results.
“Where…what…where am I?” Cambil said as she tried to talk but her body was calling out in pain in all areas, especially around her chest. Wincing at every pain receptacle that was going off in her body, Cambil had no idea how to deal with the state she was in. Trying to sit up, she was stopped by the friendly warm hands of Slyvexs.
“Easy Bexa.” Sylvexs instructed. “You’ve been through surgery and are still recovering.”
“What happened?” Cambil asked again as she calmed herself down.
“You were brought down here from the bridge and we had to operate on you” Slyvexs explained as she placed her tricorder down. “A large shed of bulkhead went through your chest and unfortunately caused a lot of internal bleeding. When we started the surgery we noticed your heart was heavily damaged. I couldn’t repair it.”
“So how come I’m still here?” Cambil asked as she tried to ignore the pain.
Loading a hypospray, Slyvexs explained it was pain relief and injected it into Cambil’s neck as she told her more of what happened. “I’m afraid I had to remove your heart and replace it with an artificial one.”
“Oh.” was all Cambil could say.
“Bexa, you need to understand that without your new heart you wouldn’t be here. I got Naprem’s consent before the surgery.” Slyvexs informed. “I’m afraid you’ll be in some agony for several days and won’t be returning to duty for some time either.”
“How long?” Cambil asked, almost breathless.
“Two, maybe three weeks. I need to ensure your body is adapting to the new heart and it to your body.” Slyvexs said. “So far, everything is going well.”
Smiling in appreciation for the doctor’s efforts, Cambil thanked the chief medical officer as she helped her sit up. Realising she was in the recovery ward, she looked to her left and saw Captain McCallister lying on a similar bed, asleep. “Is the captain…” She started and couldn’t find her words.
“He’s fine for now. We almost lost him. He suffered plasma burns to his thoracic region, internal bleeding.” Slyvexs explained. “I was able to stop a massive cerebro-vascular collapse. I’ve had to induce a coma to allow his body to heal. He won’t be returning to command anytime soon.”
“Who is in command? Karyn?” Bexa asked as Slyvexs went over to a nearby replicator and got her patient a glass of water.
Turning around with the cold beverage in her hand, Slyvexs sat on the edge of the bed as she caught Cambil up. “Max is. Karyn was crushed under the same bulkhead that hurt you. She’s currently being prepped for spinal surgery. She’s expected to make a full recovery too, but like you and the captain she won’t be up and about for some time.”
“Tell Counsellor Duncan, I want to see him.” Cambil said after sipping on her glass and as she pushed herself up further.
Stopping Cambil from moving any further, Slyvexs placed her hand back on her shoulder. “Bexa, stop. That’s an order. You’re relieved of your duties and I can tell you now that Max is doing a fine job.”
“I want to see him, along with my husband and boys.” Cambil insisted.
“I’ll comply with the latter but not on the former. Commander Duncan has enough on his plate right now and doesn’t need a lecture from you. He is dealing with the ship and the Hunters the right way. Once the ship is docked and more repairs are underway, I will see if he is free to see you.” Slyvexs said in a firm tone. “Do I make myself clear?”
Surrendering to the doctor, Cambil nodded.
“Now let me get that lovely family of yours.” The Denobulan said as she went back to her office to make the call.
Cambil looked over to her captain and friend. He looked different from where he laid. One of them had to be up and about to help with the ship, she was certain she would do whatever it took to return to duty.
Entering transporter room two with Tobias in tow, Max realised that they were about to meet with Captain Bennet from the Discovery and both of them looked like a wreck. Neither of them had gone off from duty since the attack. It had been a long day and even with the arrival of the Discovery and Shackleton, the day wasn’t going to end anytime soon.
The transporter platform came to life and the sparkling light of the beam was created. A second or two later and Captain Zack Marshall-Bennet appeared.
“Welcome aboard the Odyssey.” Max said, smiling to the captain before them.
Stepping down and extending his hand out towards the acting captain, Bennet returned the gesture. “Thank you Commander Duncan. I wish it was under better circumstances.”
“Indeed sir.” Duncan said as he turned to Tobias. “Sir, this is Senior Chief Petty Officer Tobias Court. The captain’s yeoman and our chief of the boat.”
Shaking Court’s hand, Bennet said hello before paying his attention back to Duncan. “It’s good to meet you both. I take it the repair crews we’ve sent over are helping?”
“They are sir.” Duncan said in response. “Thank you again.”
“Not a problem.” Bennet said. “And I’ve just finished reading your report about your Klingon purge. I’ve spoken to Starfleet Command and please assure those involved that the ethical decision to ‘flush’ them out into space and beam them into your brig has been cleared by Rear Admiral Beckett.”
Pleased to hear that, Duncan smiled in appreciation. “Thank you sir.”
“Now you tell me there’s something about one of the prisoners you’ve taken?” Bennet said.
“Yes sir.” Duncan said and he insisted they leave the transporter room by gesturing towards the door with his hand. “One of them identified himself as Captain Kargarth, apparently he commanded the ship that rammed us.”
As they walked out of the transporter room, Bennet was quipped back. “I hope the usual remark of he will pay for what he has done has been shared?”
“Indeed.” Duncan said. “However he went on to say that ramming the Odyssey was part of a larger plan to disrupt our efforts in deploying the Archanis Array.”
“What do you mean?” Bennet asked looking at the counsellor.
“Captain, we’re not sure but we’ve been scanning the suits the Hunters used and they’ve got a distinct signature on them.” Court stated.
“My science teams are looking at them in more detail, but it appears the Klingons have used viridium to insulate part of their suits. We think it’s their way of keeping track of one another.” Duncan added.
Entering a turbolift, Duncan called down to the deck where the brig was. As the lift moved on, Bennet crossed his arms against his chest. “That doesn’t seem like the cleverest thing to do. Viridium patches can be detected at least two sectors away, depending on their frequency.”
“Exactly and we’ve already adjusted our scanners to detect them. It would seem the Hunters of D’Ghor haven’t completely left the Haydorian system.” Duncan reported as the lift came to a gradual halt. “Before they attacked us, it would appear they launched a number of small crafts, mostly shuttles or one person pods to various locations. They even transported themsevles into outer space with these suits on. ”
“For what purpose?” Bennet asked.
“That’s why we need you sir.” Court replied.
“Me?” Bennet quizzed.
“Captain Kargarth has said he will agree to deal in telling us what they are doing in return for his freedom. I felt that was something above my jurisdiction to agree to do, plus he insisted on seeing a captain and not an acting captain.” Duncan shared.
“Very well.” Bennet said as they approached the large doors to the main brig.
A number of security guards stood by the entrance and as they entered the detention area, each brig was filled with the Klingons the crew had caught. Walking past each one, Bennet could see that every Klingon they had was no longer wearing their suits but instead were wearing basic grey jumpsuits, Starfleet edition. It was clear that Duncan had not taken any chance with his prisoners. He didn’t blame him for that.
Approaching the second to last cell, Duncan and Court stopped which Bennet did as well. “Captain Kargarth, this is Captain Bennet of the USS Discovery.”
Kargarth was a large Klingon man with a full head of thick black hair and a long goatee. He stood up from the bench he had been sitting on. His muscles were pushing against the jumpsuit, his immense build and intimidating posture made him formidable to look at.
“Captain Bennet,” He said with a smirk. “I see Acting Captain Duncan has got the guts to find someone worthy to face me.”
“Captain Kargarth, I don’t care very much for your tone and I am only here as a courtesy to Captain Duncan. Whatever it is you wish to say, you can say to me as well as him.” Bennet said in a stern manner. “You want your freedom, you best share something that is worth its while.”
Chuckling at Bennet’s approach, Kargath turned away from the Starfleet trio. “You humans make me laugh as you attempt to be strong in the presence of Klingon warriors.”
“I don’t see a Klingon warrior before me.” Bennet threw back. “Last time I checked, a Klingon warrior has a sense of honour, a sense of pride and a sense of duty to the Empire. What you have done here today does not match any of that, the fact you want a deal struck here makes you more like a sniveling Ferengi bartering for his life. So if you want any form of honour to be returned to you then you’ll do the right thing and share with me what you wish to trade with and you may be given an opportunity to join the disgraced in Gre’thor.”
Sneering at Bennet as he turned around, Kargarth stomped forward and stopped before the force field. “You do not understand such things like the Klingon afterlife.”
“I know you and your fellow Hunters are keen to get to it or you wouldn’t have taken the coward’s way out by ramming this ship.” Bennet countered back. “You’re wasting my time, so if you have anything of substance to share with me then spill it now or I will be on my way.”
Laughing aloud, Kargarth gave out a belly roar. “You amuse me captain, you and Captain Duncan make a fine pair of adversaries. I only wish I had a chance to meet the true captain of this vessel to praise him for such a well fought battle earlier.”
Bennet looked at Duncan. “I’ve had enough of this.” He looked back to Kargarth. “Captain Kargarth, you will be tried for crimes against the people of the Federation. I will be advising the highest penalty possible. I believe life imprisonment, even for dishonourable Klingons, is quite unbearable.”
“That is fine, but the only thing I will say is you will not find all of my people. I promise you captain, that your new array won’t come online and the Hunters of D’Ghor will be victorious.” Kargarth remarked. “There’s nothing you can do.” He then returned to his bench.
“Well this has been a complete waste of my time, but thanks for the heads up. We’ll start to look for your crew and make sure that none of them get the chance to hurt us again.” Bennet stated and signalled for Duncan and Court to leave the brig with him.
After the three men stepped out of the brig, Bennet looked at Duncan. “I need to return to the Discovery and inform the other captains of this. We also need to step up our detection grid building efforts at once.”
“Odyssey is no shape to help out right now.” Court remarked.
“No she isn’t, but between Discovery and Shackleton we could take over.” Bennet stated.
The intercom then went off with T’Rani’s voice following. “T’Rani to Duncan.”
Tapping his combadge and giving Bennet an apologetic look for the interruption. “Go ahead T’Rani.”
“Sir, the Aquarius’ sensors have just detected the arrival of the U-S-S Endeavour into the system. They are damaged as well sir.” T’Rani reported. She was still on board their support ship, guarding the vessel while Discovery and Shackleton towed them towards the colony’s drydocks.
“Thanks T’Rani. Remain by our side while I speak with Captain Bennet.” Duncan replied and closed the combadge with a tap on his combadge again.
“That’s not good to hear.” Bennet remarked once the channel was closed. “I must get back to Discovery and speak with Captain Rourke and the others. We need to move fast on this.”
“Understood sir.” Duncan said. He looked to Court and both men knew that this day was going to get longer.