Transporting Otrin up to the Odyssey had become a relatively simple task after transporting enhancers had been set up. It allowed McCallister to start showing their willingness to help the Uxali; that their intentions were true and sincere.
Otrin and his small entourage appeared somewhat overwhelmed by their experience when they boarded the Odyssey, especially when McCallister took him on a slight tour of the massive ship. Otrin’s eyes had almost popped out of their sockets when they had entered the Auditorium, the ship’s crew lounge.
“So as you can see Otrin, we can bring all of your people here onto Odyssey and transport you to that new home you wish to go to.” McCallister explained as he took his guests how to a secluded area of the lounge where drinks and some nibbles were prepared for them.
Looking around in his surroundings, Otrin took one more glance around the humongous room he was now in. “I’d be lying if I didn’t say your Federation technology isn’t impressive.” He said before looking back at his host. “But how do I know your intentions are true and that you’re not here to kidnap my people? How do I convince the people that still believe the propaganda spilled by Verin and his followers?”
Before McCallister could open his mouth, his chief diplomatic officer and counsellor spoke up. “With all due respect sir, Verin was the one who demanded from Admiral Janeway over two decades ago that we take you off this world, your people have already been building warp capable ships, we are only going to help you cross that line.” Duncan said in an almost stern way. “Years ago Voyager could not achieve that request, they gave you an alternative but now with the Odyssey we can help you further. By taking us up on our offer then the journey you plan to take to your new home can be significantly cut. Your people would benefit in arriving sooner and being able to enjoy a world that they can take pride in developing. We are also able to assist you in setting up your colony. Within a month our engineers can setup renewable sources of energy, clean water and shelter that can house all of your people.”
“We’re even prepared to remain in orbit for an extra month to help with further support. We won’t just up and root you then to just dump you to get on with it by yourself.” McCallister added, grateful for Duncan’s remarks. “You’ve already said that people already have the materials to get yourselves setup. Along our journey we can help you develop your warp drive capability further as well so your people can trade with others.”
Otrin looked between the two Starfleet officers and then noticed the view behind them. Below was his home. Even with the skies being clearer than they had been when he had last seen them back on Voyager, the scars of what happened were still apparent. The image made his skin tingle, it was a bizarre sensation as he could feel where his own scars had once been from the poisoning he had lived for. Eventually nodded towards McCallister and Duncan, “Both of you making convincing arguments. Let us discuss the matter-”
“Bridge to Captain McCallister.” came the urgent voice of Commander Reyas over the intercom. Reyas was currently on duty on the bridge while McCallister and Duncan were hosting their visitors and Cambil was on the surface with one of the engineering teams.
Slapping his combadge hastily, McCallsiter answered his wife. “Go ahead Karyn, what is it?”
“Sorry to interrupt you James, but we just got a call from Bexa. She’s monitoring a broadcast on the planet below that I think you and our VIP would like to see.”
Looking at Otrin with a sort of concern in his expression of what they were about to observe, McCallister asked his wife to transfer the call down to one of the nearest consoles near to them. A holographic conversion had taken place and the image of two Uxali appeared. Both of them were not treated for antimatter poisoning; it was clear from the burns and disfigurations on their face. As the transmission started, the woman was speaking and had already started her speech.
“…so it is clear that Otrin and his ruling council are committed to aligning themselves with our enemies. The ones that brought the poison to our world in the first place and whom centuries later came to clear our skies and cure us. That cure, as we’ve always said, is their way of controlling us. All it did was make our people survive for another two more decades before they were able to return to truly conquer us and now one of their largest warships sits above us in the stars, waiting to strike.”
The young man next to her stepped forward. “So we, the children of Verin, will not stand idly by and allow Otrin and his conspirators to lead our people to our deaths. Our father’s vision of living on a world far from our own will be achieved but not with the Voyagers’ interference anymore. We are Uxali and we will not let those from Earth take what is ours. We will defend ourselves and those that stand against us will not live to see another day.”
The transmission then cut off quickly and McCallister ordered Reyas to trace the transmission before turning to Otrin.
“Care to explain who they are and what they’re going on about?” He questioned the Uxali leader.
“Extremists, their followers of Verin.” Otrin started. “The man who once led my people before Brin and I took over. He was the one who opposed Admiral Janeway and held members of her crew hostage. After we got the cure and our skies were clear, he refused to join the rest of us in rebuilding on the surface. He returned to the caves with some others and would work against our progress by trying to overwhelm our people with countless conspiracies.”
“And now they plan to take a stand against us, thanks for the warning.” Duncan said sarcastically.
Otrin looked between Duncan and then back to McCallister. “It’s true there are those of my people who are against our efforts to leave. Verin changed his opinion shortly after our encounter with Voyager. He believed we should save our world as it meant saving our history, our heritage. His followers got a lot of support when we determined how long it would take to restore our world. The work is too hard and our population would not see that day. As I’ve said before, we don’t think we could sustain our society. We’ve barely been able to grow in twenty years since we last encountered your kind, who knows what state we’d be in another two decades let alone two years.”
“That’s why you began looking at how to develop your own warp drive.” McCallister said, starting to realise what was really going on here. He looked at Duncan who just gave a simple nod of support and the captain looked back at Otrin. “The offer is still on the table. Let’s do this together, we can…” McCallister stopped as he noticed something behind Otrin coming up from the planet. A large collection of moving objects with huge flares of fire behind them. It quickly dawned on him what they were. Instantly, again, he tapped his combadge. “McCallister to bridge, red alert!”
The Odyssey’s internal lighting rapidly changed under the command of its captain to show the dimmed lighting replacing it alongwith the dark red saturation the flashing lights. The klaxon also began to fill the internal speakers.
“What’s happening?” Otrin asked as he spun around.
“I think we’re about to see the first action of Verin’s followers.” Duncan answered as they quickly left the Auditorium to head to the ship’s bridge.
Turning in the captain’s chair, Karyn Reyas looked over to Lenjir at the tactical station. The Tiburon lieutenant commander was tapping away at his console. “How many bogeys Cline?” She asked him.
“I’m detecting twenty-one, all armed with antimatter warheads leaving the upper atmosphere and on a collision course with us.” Lenjir informed her. “Once each one leaves the atmosphere I can destroy them with a spread of torpedoes.”
“We need to ensure they are far from the planet to avoid the antimatter from their warheads causing any damage to the planet’s already fragile atmosphere.” Reyas remarked as she looked down at the helm. “T’Rani, take us out of orbit and move us away to a sensible position that when we destroy them the warheads don’t affect Uxal.”
The Vulcan nodded, “We will need to be at least seventy-two million kilometers away from the planet to achieve such an objective.”
“Then do it.” Reyas commanded and at that moment the aft starboard turbolift doors parted, allowing for her husband to enter the bridge with Commander Duncan as well as Otrin and his companions.
“Report.” McCallister asked as he made his way across his bridge.
Reyas informed her husband of the situation and what she had done so far. “It doesn’t make sense though why they’d attack us when we can easily neutralise those warheads. There has to be something else going on.”
Duncan looked at Otrin, “You said that they are extremists, how far will they go for Verin?”
Shrugging his shoulders, Otrin answered the counsellor honestly. “Elsin and Yanrin are known to do whatever it takes for their cause.”
Duncan looked to McCallister, “Which means there’s something else going on.”
“Agreed, but what?” McCallister asked his team. Noticing that time was against them as the missiles climbed further through the atmosphere towards them.
Reyas had returned to the science station and was already accessing the lateral sensor array to find something. “If they can gain access to your warheads that means they’ve got access to a lot more.”
“Sadly, security isn’t our strongest skill.” Otrin commented.
“Indeed.” T’Rani remarked as she turned in her chair at the helm. “Captain, logic suggests that from their speech they plan to hurt their fellow Uxali. I would suggest we look at those who live on the surface first to ensure they are safe.”
“She’s got a point.” Lenjir supported as he looked up from his console. “The settlement that Otrin’s people have built could be under attack too.”
Reyas pulled something off from the sensors and she shook her head. “It’s not under attack in the conventional way, Cline.” She spun in her chair to look at her husband, “James they’ve got control of the powergrid and from what I can see they’ve started to destabilise the warp cores of the ships that Otrin’s people have converted so far. It also looks like their radiation shielding is slowly losing power too. I can’t see how we can stop any of it from reaching critical levels. ”
“They plan to kill everyone.” Otrin remarked in a shocked and disgusted tone.
“The missile attack is only a distraction for us.” Lenjir stated.
McCallister turned to the Uxali leader, “We’ve got only two options then, either we bring your people here or we let them die below. What will it be, Otrin?”
Otrin looked at his companions, all of whom looked just as scared and worried about their people as he did. Turning back to his host, Otrin nodded with a sense of reluctance. “Do what you must captain to save my people.”
“Thank you.” McCallister looked back to his crew. “Cline, how much time we have got until those missiles reach us?”
“Three, maybe four minutes if we can stay ahead of them.” Lenjir answered.
“And Karyn how long until the ships on the surface reach critical and explode?” McCallister questioned his wife.
“About the same time.” Reyas answered after a quick glance at her console. “Don’t forget we’ve got our own people down there as well to bring back.”
“Yeah, I know.” McCallister took a breath and then tapped a button on his chair’s armrest. “Computer, prepare for starship separation sequence authorisation McCallister-four-seven-alpha-tango.”
“Authorisation accepted. Initiating decoupling sequence and awaiting further commands.” The computer announced.
Turning to his wife again, James spoke up. “Karyn, take the stardrive section and start beaming up the Uxali straight away. Launch all shuttles and runabouts to assist with it as well. I’ll take the chevron to destroy the missiles.”
Nodding to her orders as she stood up, she responded back to him. “I’ll speak to Bexa and get her and Tremt to use the Aquarius to help us.” She began to make her way over to the turbolift. “Max, fancy joining me?”
Duncan nodded in agreement and turned to the Uxali leader. “Sir, would you like to come with us as well?”
Otrin nodded and looked to McCallister as if he had just seen his demise.
“Expand the transporter buffers capacity to start to beam the Uxali up.” McCallister called after the group as they entered the turbolift. “We’ll separate the ship in twenty seconds. In the meantime, we’ll start beaming them up to the chevron until it is safe to destroy those missiles.”
USS Aquarius (NCC-80000/1)
Sat at the helm of the Aquarius, Lieutenant Commander Lukiz Jen looked over at the sensor readings they had received from the Odyssey, after the emergency call had came in from Commander Reyas. As they prepared to pull everyone off the planet, the joined Trill operations officer could hear Cambil and Hunsen behind him coordinate their efforts in recalling their teams. It was his job to find a way to quickly pull the Uxali off the planet without blowing up any of their transporters.
“Lukiz, how you doing?” Cambil asked as she moved from the aft station with Hunsen to be behind the Trill. The layout of the Aquarius’s bridge was almost like the Defiant-class, small and compact. So as Cambil approached the conn, where Jen was, she did in a few steps instead of the several she would normally take on the main bridge of the Odyssey.
“I’ve got one idea, but I’ve never done it before but read about it.” Jen answered as he pulled up his idea on to the main screen for them all to see. “We launch a series of micro-probes just above the settlements adjusted to our transporter frequencies and use them to assist in being transporter enhancers on a larger scale. We then start beaming the Uxali up up to the stardrive section of the Odyssey on a continuous loop.”
“Great idea Lukiz.” Hunsen said with a smile of acknowledgement with the idea. “Their sensors will only add to increasing the efficiency of our targeting scanners. We’ll just act as a huge relay for the Odyssey.”
“Will the transporters handle that much usage?” Cambil asked the chief engineer with concern.
Turning around to look at the Bajoran first officer, Hunsen nodded. “Absolutely but our shields can’t be in use. If one of those ships explodes while we’re above the settlement then it’s the end for us all.”
“Your tone of our imminent death is as always welcoming Tremt.” Cambil said sarcastically. “Lukiz, inform Commander Reyas of our plan and then begin straight away. Tremt get those transporters ready!”
“Yes ma’am.” Hunsen replied in his deep masculine voice as he rushed over to the engineering station and started the reconfigurations.
Within the caves, Elsin was reading what the satellite they had captured was showing them. “It looks like they’ve split their ship up.”
Giving out a “ha” in a sort of a victory tone, Yanrin felt proud of their big push against those who wished to enslave her people. “Running like cowards I bet. It doesn’t matter, we’ll destroy both parts. Recalculate your targets to include both parts of that Voyager craft.”
“We may not have the firepower to destroy both.” Elsin advised his sister as he started to flick some switches to undertake her commands.
Shaking her head to show she did not care, Yanrin stepped to stand beside him. “It doesn’t matter. We’ll damage them with the warheads we have. Once the rest of Otrin’s followers are removed we can gain access to the other missiles on the planet and use them to finish them off.”
Elsin smirked at how devilish his sister was behaving. It finally felt their cause was taking the step it needed to take. There was a beep noise from his console which caused him to turn his attention away from her and to it. “Incoming call from Spectre.”
Surprised to hear from their undercover mole, she gestured for him to answer the transmission. “Go ahead.” She said into the mic.
“Yanrin you and Elsin have gone too far.” spoke the voice of their agent. “Your move has pushed Otrin and Brin further into the hands of the Voyagers.”
“What do you mean?” Elsin spat out.
Spectre answered quickly, “They’re using their teleportation devices to rescue our people. They’re taking our people off the planet.”
“Then let them go, it means there’s plenty left here for those of us who remain!” Yanrin said with a sense of rejoicing in her tone. “Now get yourself out of there and back to us at once!”
“I can’t!” Spectre announced. “Plus even if I could my mother would work out what I’ve done. I made my promise to you to provide you with intelligence and in return you didn’t harm her.”
“You’re mother is responsible for what’s happened here Tomrin!” Elsin snapped back, revealing the man’s real identity. “If she hadn’t raised that rifle on Verin years ago then we may have lived a better life and not the childhoods we’ve had to suffer!”
“God damn it Elsin, you’re a fool. Get yourselves out of there, you won’t survive the explosion of the warp drives you’ve set to detonate. I’ve heard my mother tell someone else that their detonations will more than likely rip the landscape apart. There’s no way those caves will keep you safe. You’ll be buried alive!” Tomrin stated.
“Lies!” Yanrin remarked. “We will survive, like we’ve done before-”
The signal then was cut off before she could say anything else.
Elsin checked the computer one more time and turned to her. “He’s not there.”
Yamrin looked at her brother and for an instant second guessed their decision. Had they gone too far she wondered.
USS Odyssey (NCC-80000) – Chevron Section
“They’re coming into range now.” T’Rani announced from the helm.
The chevron section of the Odyssey was now fully separated and operational from its stardrive section. It had spun around to face the incoming missiles.
Looking over to his tactical officer, McCallister ordered him to raise their shields and suspend transporting the Uxali up. “Fire your spread of torpedoes Mister Lenjir.”
“Aye sir.” Lenjir replied with and began tapping at the targeting scanners and stopped before he proceeded to fire their weapons. “Sir,” He said when he realised what was happening. “Some of the missiles are altering course and heading to the stardrive section. They’re increasing speed.”
Alarmed at the change in circumstances, McCallister looked over at the helm. “T’Rani, place us between those missiles and the stardrive section, full impulse!”
“Yes captain.” His pilot answered with and she instantly moved the ship to its new position.
“Transfer all available power to the forward shields and fire at will, Cline!” McCallister ordered.
Bolts of pure white and blue sprung from the belly of the chevron section as the ship’s quantum torpedo turret fired multiple shots at the missiles. Their explosions took out a number of the missiles and after another spread removed the last remaining, their eruptions flashed against the shields of the Odyssey’s primary section.
“Report?” McCallister asked once the ordeal was over and done with.
“Shields are down to thirty-eight percent. Some minor damage to the outer hull, but nothing that Tremt can’t fix.” Cline shared. “But all of the missiles are destroyed, sir.”
“Good, resume beaming the Uxali up. We don’t have long until those warp drives detonate as well.” McCallister remarked.
USS Odyssey (NCC-80000) – Stardrive Section
Sighing a sense of relief that the missiles were now removed from play, Karyn looked over to Otrin who shared the same expression as she did. Standing now next to him was his right-hand woman, Brin. She had been beamed up in the last group.
“We should have done more to stop Verin from having access.” Brin vented. “This should never have taken place.”
“We’ve got almost everyone up here. You’re people will be safe.” Reyas said, trying to assure the Uxali woman. “You’ve got to remember that.”
“But at the cost of us losing our planet entirely.” Brin responded in an angry tone before calming herself down. “I’m sorry Commander Reyas, I had just always imagined that my people would have the chance to return to our homeworld at some point and rebuild. When those warp drives detonate that will never be the case. This is the end of Uxal.”
“And perhaps it’s the start of New Uxal.” Counsellor Duncan offered. “With your homeworld now behind you, this could be the break your people need to restart. As you originally intended.”
Not wanting to hear anymore, Otrin ignored the counsellor’s optimistic look on the situation and just turned to the science officer. “Commander Reyas, how long until the first detonation?”
“Another minute or so.” She answered after peeping over the shoulder of the operations officer in front of her.
“And my people? Are they almost on board?”
“It looks like it. The last of our shuttles and runabouts are returning now.” Reyas said, taking another glance at the sensor readings. She squinted her eyes and noticed the Aquarius was moving from its position above. “One second,” She said and then opened a channel to the ship’s smaller support craft. “Odyssey to Aquarius, Commander Cambil, we’re noticing that you’ve moved from your last position and not heading towards home. What’s happening?”
The voice of Cambil came over the battle bridge speakers. “Karyn, we’ve detected lifesigns in some nearby caves. To beam them out we need to get closer as the magnesite ore is making it tough on our transporters. Standby.”
Reyas was frustrated that they were taking such dangers in such a small amount of time. “Understood, but you don’t have time for a long detour, Bexa.”
“I know.” Cambil answered back before closing the channel.
Reyas looked over to Otrin and Brin, “Who are in those caves?”
Looking at each other at first, Otrin turned back to the El-Aurian and answered honestly. “Most likely the followers of Verin.”
Disturbed at hearing that, Reyas instantly relayed the information to Cambil and advised her to have a security detachment waiting for their upcoming guests.
“Yamrin, I think Tomrin was right.” Edrin stated in a panic tone. “If these calculations are right the computer is projecting that we could end creating a huge canyon across this part of the planet and heavy volcanic eruptions. We won’t survive.”
“Nonsense!” Yamrin said. “Verin said we will retake the land once Otrin and Brin have been removed and we will.”
“You’re not list-” Edrin didn’t get a chance to finish his sentence as they were engulfed in a stream of blue and white fizzle.
USS Aquarius (NCC-80000/1)
Phaser rifles drawn at their new targets, Commander Cambil stepped through the large gathering of the security personnel she could muster in the cargo bay of her ship and towards her guests. All of them appeared startled and surprised at what had just happened before realising they were surrounded with weapons aimed at them all.
“Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome on board the Aquarius.” She approached both Edrin and Yamrin whom she had been briefed about by Commander Reyas, “if you try to do anything then you will actually experience what it is like to deal with Starfleet’s bad side.” Looking between the two of them, the Bajoran woman appeared to be enjoying the moment. “That said, I hear you believe you can take us out but from what I can see your missiles have been destroyed and your people saved from that horrendous attack you’ve attempted. I believe Otrin and Brin have something to say to you both, so why don’t you both take a seat on this lovely floor and we’ll see what we can do in making a reunion possible.”
Defeated and frustrated, Edrin and Yamrin surrendered and sat down. Their followers copied their actions.
USS Odyssey (NCC-80000)
En-route to New Uxal, Gradin Belt, Delta Quadrant
Sat behind his glass desk in his ready room; silently writing his report for Starfleet, Captain McCallister reached over to pick up his mug that was sat on the surface on the counter nearby. Bringing it up to his mouth, he paused and realised it was empty. Getting up, he made his way over to the replicator and ordered himself another mug of tea. As the hot beverage was created his door chime went off.
“Come in.” He said as he picked up the silver mug and turned around to see who it was. Surprised to see his son Alfie come in, James instantly smiled at him. “Alfie, what are you doing up here? You haven’t skipped school have you?”
Rolling his eyes at his dad’s assumption, Alfie shook his head. “No, I’m on my lunch break and thought I would come and see you.”
Appreciating the gesture, James walked over to his teenage son and gave him a hug. “That’s very kind of you. Are you okay?”
Nodding in response after returning the embrace to his father, Alfie spoke up. “I’m fine dad, I just thought you might want some company that doesn’t include someone in a uniform. Uncle Tobi said I could see you.”
Gesturing towards the large sofa that swerved under the slanted bay window, James offered for Alfie to take a seat. “Well I best say thanks to Tobi.” He turned back to the replicator. “You want something to eat and drink?”
“Yeah, but can it be a hamburger and chips without mum knowing?” Alfie asked.
Smirking at the request, James agreed. “As long as you don’t tell her.” He answered as he ordered the same for him and his son.
“I noticed earlier at breakfast you seemed quiet dad, I take it this whole thing with the Uxali has you concerned?” Alfie questioned as he dad brought their food over and placed the tray it was all on down on to the small rounded coffee table. “Some of their kids were in our classes today. They seemed nice but didn’t seem keen to interact with any of us.”
“That’s understandable Alfie.” James said as he took out a napkin and placed it over his leg after sitting down next to his son and giving him a serviette as well. “They’ve just lost the homes they knew and our people are seen as the enemy.”
“It’s not our fault.” Alfie said as he picked up a chip and dipped it into some tomato sauce.
“Not directly, no but if we hadn’t arrived to render any more help then they may still be safe in their homes.” James said. “I can’t help but think we are responsible for what has transpired.”
“But we get to help them build a brand new home. Surely that’s exciting?” Alfie asked in between eating his chips.
Shrugging his shoulder. “I hope so, but it’s going to be a tough job.”
“You can do it dad.” Alfie said with a supportive smile.
Appreciating the vote of confidence from his son, James picked up his burger and wondered if they could truly complete their mission with the Uxali.