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Part of USS Horizon: Episode 1.1 – Secrecy and Bravo Fleet: Phase 1: Omega

Caught Red-handed

Gradin Belt, Delta Quadrant
Stardate 76426.37
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It was early into the afternoon hours. Crew all over the ship were running rampant to either complete important tasks that had been assigned to them or relieve personnel that had been. If there had been anyone aboard the ship at that moment that wasn’t a member of the crew, they might have guessed that the ship was at red alert. Though there weren’t any alert klaxons or flashing red lights to indicate such.

Inside cargo bay one, the doors had just closed behind two crewmen led by an ensign, the three of whom were just entering the shuttle bay to relieve some of the men and women already working hard on getting the large piece of technology assembled per the captain’s orders. The ensign was toting a medium sized Starfleet issue clamshell case while one of the crewmen was in control of an anti-gravity until loaded with a myriad of engineering components.

“Hand me that hyperspanner would you!” came an unknown shout from across the room.

Through all of the hustle and bustle, and various crew vying for a piece of Commander Nichol’s attention, the ensign managed to eye the commander looking over schematics and delegating new tasks to each one in turn. He approached the commander and offered him the case, “Excuse me Commander. Here is the flow regulator you requested.”

“Thank you Ensign. Please go and relieve Lieutenant McKinley.” Phil replied, taking the case from the man without even looking up to acknowledge him.

Phil keyed in a few sequences into his console to account for the newly acquired flow regulator. Simulations indicated that power would still be too high, but not by much. “Petrov,” he called out, “decrease power output by one-point-two terrawatts.”

Xenie acknowledged affirmatively before questioning, “Commander, what do you think this contraption does?”

“I haven’t the foggiest idea, but the captain seems to think it’s crucial to the mission.” Phil replied.

“Ensign Chu seems to think it’s a new kind of weapon against the Borg with us being so close to their territory here in the Delta Quadrant. Personally, I think that’s a little far-fetched.”

“That’s a distinct possibility, but then again it could also be a new type of pizza oven. Unfortunately, the captain is not at liberty to discuss her plans and this mission with us unless it’s necessary. There might be one way we can find out.”

Phil set down his PADD and motioned for Xenie to follow. The two proceeded to another nearby computer terminal, one that was typically dedicated to inventory management in the cargo bay, but with the commander’s command codes, could be reconfigured to access any kind of data he requested. He configured the terminal to query the ship’s library and pulled up the schematic for the machine they were building. “Computer, pull up any associated files to the schematic on the screen.”

“That information is restricted.” the computer replied.

“Of course it is.” he murmured to himself.

Phil then knelt down and yanked a panel off the base of the pedestal that housed the computer terminal, exposing the various isolinear chips that made the computer work. Instantly he was reminded of his academy days when he and some of his fellow classmates decided to prank their instructor. He began to swap chip after chip attempting to bypass some of the security lockouts.

“What are you doing Commander?” Xenie whispered with concern.

“An old academy trick,” he replied, “we did something similar when we tried to mess with the Commandant’s graduation speech.”

He was swapping the final sets of chips when suddenly the terminal went black. He looked up at Xenie and was about to ask her what she did when the comm system sounded.

“Hess to Commander Nichols. My ready room. NOW!”

Treylana was going over the multitude of reports that had been sent in from the various departments. With her first officer working on the resonance chamber, it was up to her to pick up the slack that he normally would have dealt with. Though with just having called her first officer to her ready room, she was beginning to wonder just how much longer he might be her first officer.

Paul informed her that the shielding was nearing completion, though he wasn’t sure if it was going to live up to the expectations. Sumiko informed her that they were able to get structural integrity increased by twelve percent. Allan reported that the arithrazine was ready to be administered at a moment’s notice and the mess hall staff stated that spaghetti bolognese was on the menu for this evening. She had also been lucky enough to receive a response to her message to Commodore Bennet.

“Captain Hess,

Let me first say that your message was received and understood regarding Omega. I regret that you were not given an adequate briefing on the subject, so I hope that your library computers were able to provide you with enough information to complete the task. As I am sure you are well aware by now, your mission is of the highest classification so I need not remind you that you are not to divulge anything regarding your assignment or the Omega molecule to your crew. This will no doubt test the limits of their trust, so I wish you all the best.

Commodore Zack Marshall-Bennet
USS Discovery”

She had just finished reading the message from the commodore when the chime for her door went off. She knew exactly who was on the other side of that door. She was not thrilled about the conversation that was about to follow, but called him in nonetheless. “Enter.”

“Sit.” she commanded as she stared at him blankly.

Phil walked in and sat down in the seat across the desk as Treylana stood up and walked around her desk and slowly paced back and forth around her first officer continuing to stare at him and think about what she was going to do. He could feel her stare as if it were a knife piercing into his skull trying to find an explanation to what was going on inside his head.

“Captain, if you’ll let me explain—”

“I don’t want to hear it,” interrupted Treylana “What you did was a clear violation of security protocol. If we were back in the Alpha Quadrant right now, I would have you brought up on charges and had you court martialed for what you did. The fact of the matter is right now, I don’t have that luxury. We have a critical mission to deal with and I need your help. I need to know that if something goes wrong, I can count on you to get this ship and her crew to safety.”

Phil didn’t like the way the conversation was headed. To him It sounded like she was talking about a suicide mission. He preferred to assume that she meant what she said in a worst case scenario. “Of course, Captain. My first duty is to this ship and crew. That’s precisely why I did what I did.”

Treylana moved back to her seat and looked Phil square in the face. “I’m not excluding you from information because I enjoy keeping you in the dark Phil. I’m doing it because I’ve been ordered to. One day you will look back on this incident and understand why, but until then I need you to follow my orders to the letter. If you can do that, I will allow you to resume your duties in the cargo bay. Otherwise, you will spend the duration of the mission in the brig.”

She paused and looked to him for a response, “Well?”

“Yes Captain. I’ll continue the work in the cargo bay. I’m sorry I let you down.”

“So am I.” she thought to herself.