Part of USS Edinburgh: Mission 4 – These Are The Voyages

The Ghost in the Machine

Starbase Bravo
10.5.2400
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Harris sat in his quarters on Bravo, reading the latest research on warp drives, transwarp, and the entirely unpredictable and unknowns that were being developed.  It was a fascinating read, but he was thankful he had the center chair on a starship, not a research and development chair in some deeply complex Starfleet operations center.  Those people had to deliver hard results with an expectation of genius.  He’d spent some time with that group in the academy years ago.  He hadn’t fit in – at all.

=^=Central Hospital 1 to Commander Harris=^=  He answered for them to go ahead. =^=We have a…visitor here to see you.  Says he will only speak to you.=^=

Harris sat forward, “Patient or staff?”

=^=Patient, sir.  His name is Major Tulak.=^=

Pulling up a PADD, he searched for where he knew that name. He found it in the records of Doctor Henry Longfellow.  And his eyes widened.

=^=Commander Harris?=^=

Ambrose quickly tapped his badge, “I’m on my way.”

Central Hospital 1 – Ward 2

The nurse led him to the patient’s bedside and offered him a stool, which he took.  A Vulcan male lay in the bed, his eyes closed.  He wasn’t old by the CO’s eyes, but something about the man’s presence unsettled him.  He sat for a moment before the eyes of Major Tulak fluttered open, and he turned his head slowly to see who sat beside him.

“Commander Harris.”  The voice was deep and scratchy but full of a strength the human wasn’t sure what to do with.  It exuded from the Vulcan as if poured from the Sun, fiery and scalding.  “I wondered if you would come.”

Ambrose held up a PADD with files displayed, “Your name…I remembered it from Longfellow’s reports.  Our encounter with Commodore Patra put us onto the original incident here at Bravo.  You were on the run.”

Tulak frowned, “Vulcans do not run, Commander Harris.  We are very adept at the game of shadows.  I simply stayed in the deepest darkness where they could not find me.  Commodore Patra was not as smart as he thought himself to be.”  He coughed and groaned, “You are here, and all the better.  There is more out there.  More darkness.  More evil.” He stared at Harris, “You must put a stop to it, Commander.  The light must prevail.”

A shake of his head was his first response, “I don’t even know what you’re talking about, Major.  We put Patra away for the rest of his life.  He’ll never escape.  The Romulans helped clean up his mess.  Far as we know, things are still terrible, but his people and power are gone.”

The Vulcan Major kept his eyes glued to the Edinburgh CO, “Are they?  Truly?  Do you feel it in your bones and know that the darkness has been cleansed…that there is no more reason to look over your shoulder…or to watch your back?”  The Vulcan man turned his eyes to the ceiling above, “No, there are still elements out there.  I came here because I knew it was safe.  There are places in the outer reaches of the Federation where walls are porous, and security is a punchline to every joke.  But here…Bravo is a place that keeps the darkness at bay…that shines like a lighthouse against the tempest of space.”

Harris frowned, “You a religious man, Major?”

Tulak rolled his eyes, a rare expression of emotion, “Vulcan ideology is at best simple yet complex and at worst intricately woven with layers upon layers of competing theology.  Religion is not the word you should choose to identify what is coming and what is out there.”

Ambrose leaned forward, “I suspect you want my help.”

Tulak appraised the Starfleet commander, “You surmise correctly, Commander Harris.  The trick is…I must come with you.  Because what is out there… is coming for me as well.  And I must stand at the altar of forever…and close this chapter of evil forever.”

The CO of the Edinburgh sighed, “You’re going to have to tell me a little more about…all this…evil before I agree to consider taking this to Starfleet.”

The Vulcan Major studied the face of Harris for quite some time in silence.  He pushed himself up to sit against the back of his biobed, “Very well.  It begins with Commodore Patra…but many years ago….”