Mizu and Ruby had returned to the ship once they were certain that they had obtained all the information they needed that would assist the away team in completing their mission. Dressed back into their uniforms, they walked together side by side down the corridor, Mizu holding her prize pistol.
“Can’t believe they allowed you to keep that thing.” Ruby told her.
Mizu shrugged her shoulders, “Hm. Well it is out of power, and we don’t know how to recharge it, so I don’t think they care. I mean, I’ll find a way to recharge it but the computer was able to extrapolate that the pistol is completely harmless, that all it does is stun.”
Ruby frowned, “Strange culture.”
“Maybe, but it may also be that they figured that death was a complete waste. Or too cruel. I don’t know honestly, but what I do know is, this thing is pretty darn cool. Want to head to the officer mess?” She asked.
Ruby sighed, “I don’t know. It has been a long day, I was kind of thinking of just relaxing with a book.”
Mizu rolled her eyes. “Oh come on! K’Roll and Eli will be there.”
Ruby threw up his hands in defeat. “All right, all right.”
“Yay!” She threw an arm around him and squeezed him before they got to the mess hall, where they did in fact see K’Roll and Eli, so Mizu waved to them and Eli waved them over to the table. Both Eli and K’Roll were fascinated by the steampunk pistol that Mizu brought back, and all four of them discussed about Mizu and Ruby’s adventure down on the planet while Gomo, Maya and Koyda sat together at a separate table, a few tables away.
“So, Gomo. What really made you enlist in Starfleet?” May asked.
“Why are you two so interested in my reasons for enlisting in Starfleet?” Gomo asked.
Koyda shrugged his shoulders, “Because we are simply curious.”
Gomo squinted at them as he set his drink down. “Curious because I am a Cardassian? Curious because I joined my people’s saviors and not my people’s military? Curious because my people used to be your oppressors and were arrogant and egotistical?”
Maya and Koyda looked at each other then back at Gomo. “It’s not like that, Gomo, really.”
Gomo held his look for skepticism for a moment before smiling with a soft chuckle. “I was merely messing with the two of you.” He told them before taking a sip of his drink before he began. “I enlisted in Starfleet because my parents insisted I join the Cardassian Military, the new Cardassian Military under the new Cardassian Government of course. They fed me with so much hatred for both the old Cardassian Government and the Federation, that I simply had enough of it. I wanted to prove to them that the Federation was not at all what they thought it was and that as a Cardassian, I could also bring some aspect to my people that we are not all bad guys.” He saw that Koyda was about to say something but he held his hand up. “I know, you got Damar and a few other notable Cardassians, like that tailor on Deep Space Nine. But it was something else. I just wanted to do something on my own, rather than being told what to do or where to go by my parents.”
“Then why not become an Officer?” Koyda asked.
Gomo grinned, “Why not you two?”
Maya and Koyda looked at each other again before back at him. “We didn’t feel like we were Officer material, and we weren’t too sure about holding the responsibility that officers have. We just wanted to do our part, as a non-commissioned officer and we were happy with that.”
Gomo smiled, “Precisely how I felt. Even though I wanted to make my own path, I didn’t want it to be weighed with the responsibilities of an officer. And I too enjoyed where I was. Until Vakai came along.”
“Is it weird that he insisted that we take those training courses to become Officers?” Maya asked.
Koyda shrugged one of his shoulders. “We didn’t really serve with him for that long but we did do one hell of a job when we worked together.”
Gomo took another sip before setting his drink down. “That’s precisely something I wished I had been able to avoid.”
Maya frowned, “What do you mean? You didn’t want to become an officer?”
Gomo sighed, “I didn’t want to be part of a Hazard Team at all. I didn’t want to be selected for some crazy mission and be noticed for something that I honestly don’t think I am good at.”
Maya shook her head, “But you’re a good tactical officer, Gomo. You’ve proven that much against the Vorcha Cruiser we had to deal with.”
Gomo shook his head, “But I could have done better. And I had the weight of everyone’s lives on my shoulders. I did not like that feeling, not at all. I just don’t think I am cut out to be whatever it is that Vakai wants us to be.”
“I have never met a Cardassian who was this unsure of himself.” Koyda stared at Gomo. “You are definitely cut out to be what Vakai wants you to be, we all are. He sees it and so do we.”
Maya slugged his shoulder, “Don’t you go puffing your chest now.”
Koyda chuckled, “What? I’m serious. If Vakai didn’t see anything in us, then why keep us around? Why request that we go through that crazy training to become officers? You know he’s going to stick us in as his senior staff when he gets his own ship, right?”
“Oh, you’re so sure about that, huh?” Maya asked with a grin.
Koyda chuckled again, “Absolutely! I wouldn’t put it past that guy. He may be the First Officer, and he may act like he’s tough as nails but he’s got heart and you know that he likes us. Especially you, Gomo.” Koyda pointed at. “That’s why he wants you, all of us, to be here with him.”
Gomo leaned back into his seat and sighed, “I don’t know. Maybe I’ve been hanging around you guys for far too much.” He smirked a little.
“Come on, Gomo. We know you’re full of it. You loved being on that crazy mission as a Hazard Team member. You were having a blast, and we all know it. Your eyes lit up the moment they saw those heavy weapons, and you were laughing like a mad man when you got to use them too.” Maya grinned at him.
Gomo shrugged his shoulders, “They were a lot of fun.” He smiled. “But, next time we go on some away mission…please don’t have killer robots in them, that would be great.”
“Uhhh, you do know that there are still Borg out there, right?” Koyda asked him.
Gomo smirked, “That’s different. They’re cybernetic beings, not robots.”
“Close enough!” Maya giggled.
Ruby came back to his friends table with their drinks and sat down. “So what were your duties like on the Tkon Space Station?” He asked.
Eli sighed, “Boring, as usual. I mean. It was great to be on an ancient space station, the materials don’t look all that different from what we use but I know there is something different about them. And their equipment is unique but…old.”
“Of course they’re old, Eli. They existed over six hundred thousand years ago.” Mizu told her before she took a sip of her drink. Then she looked at Ruby with a grin, “So K’Roll. Did you ever get to the replicator in main engineering for…oh I don’t know…a small cup of coffee?”
Ruby looked at her with wide eyes and K’Roll tilted his head at her with a frown. “Why…?”
Mizu shrugged her shoulders with a smile, “Oh was just curious, that’s all. I heard a rumor that someone was setting a trap and I was just curious if you ever got to it.”
K’Roll shook his head, “No. I don’t drink on duty. I did my rounds, as I was ordered to, and assisted Eli with her work. That’s about it.”
Mizu sighed, “God you’re so boring. Would love to have seen some white shaving cream all over that black furred face of yours.”
K’Roll’s mouth hung open, Eli covering her mouth as she giggled into a full blown laugh and Ruby…he was covering his face. K’Roll then looked at Ruby, knowing he was obviously the guilty one. “You are such a pain, Ruby!”
Ruby threw his hands up in defense. “What are you talking about?! I didn’t do anything. Well I mean, you weren’t the one who fell for the prank anyways. She did.” He pointed at Mizu.
“Yeah, I did, and I had cream all over my face. Not exactly something I like to walk around with, since I didn’t have anything but your jacket to use to wipe my face clean.” Mizu stuck her tongue out at him.
Ruby stuck his tongue back out at her and K’Roll just shook his head. “You two are such children. Do either of you ever grow up?”
Both Mizu and Ruby answered, “No.”
“Don’t any of you ever want to get promoted?” K’Roll asked them.
Again, they both answered, “No.”
Both Eli and K’Roll frowned. “Why not?” Eli asked.
Mizu groaned, “Being promoted is so boring, all right? You get handed more responsibilities, and then you have your own team, and you have to be responsible for your team, and … it’s just not for me. Okay? I rather be where I am, and do what I am good at. And that’s being given odd jobs. Like today, me and Ruby were ordered to go down to visit a small city, get some data, and I came back with a souvenir. So why the heck would I want to be promoted and miss out on that?”
Ruby sipped on his drink when all three of them looked at him, obviously waiting for his explanation. He gulped down the liquid in his mouth and just shrugged his shoulders. “Oh I’m the same way. I’m mister irresponsible here. I mean, I tried to play a prank on you, K’Roll, which backfired. It could have happened to the Chief, you know? And I probably would have been reassigned as soon as this ended, if the Chief had gotten hit with the prank I mean. I’m a ticking time bomb, I’m going to do something stupid and it’s going to get me canned to another ship until no other ship wants me.”
K’Roll growled, “So you two are basically taking the whole service in Starfleet as a joke then, is that right?”
Mizu looked at Ruby then back at K’Roll. “It’s not that we’re taking it as a joke, bud. We joined Starfleet because we wanted to do our part.”
Ruby shook his head, “Nah. I just want to mess around really. If I can get my hands on the helm controls, oh boy, we will be doing barrel rolls for days.”
Mizu frowned at him, knowing the real reason but she wasn’t going to spill it, it wasn’t her choice in that matter. “Point is, K’Roll. We are doing our part, as Ensigns. We’re taking the load of odd jobs and boring jobs that no one else wants to do. We’re making life easier for other Ensigns. So what’s the problem with that?”
K’Roll got up from his seat, “The problem is, that there is no honor and your paths lead to no future.”
“K’Roll!” Eli stood up but Mizu pulled her back down.
“Let him be, he’s just having one of his days.” Mizu told her.
“Still, it wasn’t very nice of him to force his opinion on you two.”
Mizu and Ruby shrugged their shoulders. “He means well, but he just doesn’t understand that there is so much more than getting promoted.” Ruby told her.
Eli sighed, “I wonder how the away team is doing.”
The team had spent about an hour inspecting the glyphs from one end to another, trying to get some clue on how to open the door. But they were finding things to be a bit off. For one, the glyphs almost made no sense and what words there are, were not in the Tkon language.
“I just do not understand.” Sivol said to Vakai. “I have seen the Tkon language plenty on the station. But this is certainly not it.”
Styles overheard when he was just walking over to them. “That is because it is our ancient language, from the times of old. Here.” Styles handed his journal to her.
“You still write on paper?” Vakai asked as Sivol took the journal and started skimming through it.
Styles smiled, “Of course! Nothing beats the feeling of an ink pen in one hand, the smell of paper and the sound that the pen makes when you scribble on the paper. Plus it allows me to view my findings faster than a data recorder.” Styles then looked at the wall and his eyes lit up, so he began to read the wall as he walked away, heading back towards the center.
Sivol was flipping pages until something had caught her eye, which made her turn back a page and the surprised look on her face got Vakai’s attention. “What is it?” He asked. She pointed at the drawing and the scribbles of this culture’s current language. She looked at him, “This looks very familiar to a matter and anti-matter formula to potentially a warp engine.”
Vakai raised his brows and then waved Gomez and Ryker over while Sivol pulled out her tricorder to translate the written language. When Gomez arrived, Sivol showed her the drawing and the translated text. It only took her a couple seconds before she looked at all three of them. “Styles just discovered a way to develop a warp engine.”
“Are you certain about this?” Ryker asked, and Gomez just nodded. Ryker looked at Vakai, “Looks like this culture is much closer to warp travel than we thought.”
“But if he discovered a way for interstellar travel, then why is he here? Why is he not presenting this, and helping his people move forward into a whole new era?” Gomez asked.
Ryker sighed, “Those are really good questions. Ones that we-” he was cut off by some rumbling that made all four of them run towards the center, just in time to bear witness the door opening and Styles laughing.
Styles turned to them with a huge grin on his face. “It was simple! I mean, after I started looking at the glyphs as numbers, not words, I finally figured out how to open the door. I don’t know why I didn’t think of it till now but, the answer was simple.”
The four looked at each other then back at Styles. “What answer?” Gomez asked.
“The answer to the question was Forty-Two. Then walla, the door opened. Come on! Discovery awaits!” Styles chuckled and hurried inside, the four of them looked at each other again before running in after him.
After they caught up with Styles, they walked through an odd winding tunnel until finally, they reached an opening, and opening to a vast interior that revealed the one thing that definitely was not of this world. The Tkon Beacon. Styles laughed cheerfully, “I knew it!! I knew we were visited! This will prove to those half wit, pea brains back at the university that I was right, all along!”
The team looked at each other, then back at the beacon. “Well, looks like we can get to work on getting this thing back online.” Said Gomez.
“Yeah, and it also looks like we can drop the Prime Directive too.” Said Ryker.
“So it seems.” Said Sivol.
Vakai sighed, “then we better tell him.”
Styles’ smile faded and he turned around to look at them. “Tell me what?