The lagging sensation and accompanying descending noise from the warp nacelles indicated that the Trent had dropped out of warp just beyond Starbase 72. As the runabout made its final approach towards the station, a feeling of nervousness, anger, and frustration surrounded its whole crew, including it’s commander.
Vex had left the unknown alien device for the time being and had returned to his seat at the front of the vessel. Tapping his two index fingers together as he bridged his others, the Trill sat with his right leg folded over his left, his eyes locked on the station.
Answers for what he had been forced to do were all that were on his mind currently, and the strange and ancient machine had taken a backseat to the atrocities he had partaken in prior to it’s securement.
“We’re on approach sir and have been given docking clearance, sir. Runabout bay 16.” Ensign Cho informed him.
“Very good,’ he replied sternly, ‘proceed.”
The atmosphere in the runabout was tense, to say the least.
Neil knew for now they were out of the water. He didn’t know what Starfleet had in mind once they got back and for the moment he didn’t care. “First thing when I get back I’m going to hug my kid a little tighter and try to put Koruku behind me,” he stressed as he leaned back in his chair. His mind still thinking too the object they were hauling back, “any idea what the brass will do with that?” He asked but he really wasn’t addressing any one in particular just talking out loud.
“I imagine more than a few people will want to get their hands on that,” he added.
“Probably,’ Yanrel started, ‘I cannot shake the feeling that this thing is somehow related to our mission, however incidentally.”
He got out of his seat and paced a little before heading back into the rear of the runabout.
He stood once more before the contained object, staring it down as if locked within it were the answers to all of the questions he had running through his mind.
“Come hell or high water, I shall make sure that I am part of the team investigating this device, Harrington. I am not about to take a backseat to yet another secret arm of Starfleet. Not after going through what I did to retrieve this. I know that such things do not interest you so much, Commander, but I would put latinum down on this device being the key to the mystery of Koruku III, and our actions there.”
As Vex spoke, the portholes of the runabout were suddenly flanked by the massive interior bulkheads of the runabout bay. With a hiss and a small jolt, the Trent had landed once again on Starbase 72.
Neil wasn’t sure what Vex was implying. He didn’t have a problem with the science aspect of the device or even what mysteries Koruku held. Neil’s problem was their actions while on the planet. Those actions went against every fiber of his being. “I imagine Starfleet will approach this with a two fold project. One part working on this device and unlocking it’s secrets, and another back on the planet seeing what else is hidden there,” Neil sighed, “for once I am relieved I don’t have a command yet. That is not one task I would want.”
He thought for a moment, “but I would agree, Commander, that whatever that is,” he gestured to the device and whoever left it there was the key. Finding this device is only the start, I have a feeling.” He looked to the hatch as the doors started to open. Grabbing his duffle, “still,” he thought outloud, “I would like to know what happened there to warrant all this attention.”
“Certainly, and I have the sneaking suspicion we might never find out, Mr Harrington. Everything about this mission screams erraticism and secrecy in equal measures, and I feel as though Starfleet will be rushing to contain whatever hidden agenda they have had us deployed for until the day that the organization should collapse. In fact, it would not surprise me if this device too turns out to be classified to beyond my rank’s parview.” Yanrel said.
As he spoke, a group of science officers walked up to the device and carefully loaded it onto a hover-truck. Vex eyed it carefully as it slowly hovered past them.
“Enough of this,’ he added, ‘It is time I got some answers for what went on out there.”
He began to storm off before stopping and turning on the spot.
“For what it is worth, Commander, I appreciate your help and cooperation during this mission. You make a fine first officer. I do hope we see each other out there again someday, doing what Starfleet was always meant to do.”
Neil nodded, “thank you, Commander Vex,” Neil offered a hand, “this was an, ” he paused, “interesting assignment. I hope we get an opportunity for a redo in the future maybe worth less secrecy next time,” he let out a small chuckle.
He gave Harrington a polite bow before turning back to his determined stride.
Neil couldn’t help if the thoughts that were reaching through his own mind were also running through Vex’s mind as well. Mission like this had a way of sticking with you for some time. He tapped his comm badge, “computer, location of Tess Harrington,” he ordered. He needed something to take his mind off the events of Koruku III.