Chapter Delta Ben’s POV
The ship’s XO had instantly recognized Maggie the first day. They’d attended the Academy at the same time, and though they moved in different circles, he’d always had a small, quiet thing for the blonde. She was smarter than she let on, and gorgeous, besides. His friends said she was friendly, a little airheaded, and just a little fast and loose with the rules. Her personnel file had reflected that, too, though it had ALSO pointed out that she was GOOD at her job once you got her to focus.
He saw her fall through the same chute he’d gone through, though she appeared better for the wear than he. She’d only lost her shirt and her dignity. He’d lost his glasses and weapon. At least his undershirt was intact. He sighed.
“Let’s go, then.”
He led the way down a hallway covered in dirt and reeds. It reminded him of some of the battlefields of Earth he’d read about in history books. A tropical island type of setting. If it were any other situation, it might be funny. THIS? This was the opposite of funny. He didn’t see much, and it was quiet, and smelled like a basement. Behind him, the soft footsteps of Lt. LeFebvre were silent, but every so often, a whispered curse would escape her lips, and he’d chuckle to himself. He made a mental note to discuss with the Captain about reminding staff to use professional language while on the clock, but he supposed a dressing-down NOW was not appropriate.
Suddenly, he stopped. There was light. Was it light?! He wasn’t sure. He also wasn’t sure how long they’d been walking-it SEEMED like forever but a quick glance at his wristwatch said it had only been several minutes. The light was blue, and was coming from what appeared to be a ceiling vent. Interesting. He shone his pen light into the vent.
The vent blew off, and a cloud of smoke and dust enveloped them. They were swept away, down the hallway, and deposited unceremoniously on their butts in a ramshackle concrete shed. A loud *BANG* from a far corner snapped him to his feet. A faraway, almost disconnected voice spoke out.
Who are you? Why are you here?
He glanced to Maggie, who had righted herself, and she shrugged. He spoke up.
“Um. I am LCdr. Benjamin Johnson, USS Issedon, Starfleet, Earth.” Next to him, he could HEAR the Lieutenant roll her eyes. The voice spoke again.
I sent out an SOS.
“That’s why we’re here. Lt., uh, LeFebvre here, she…she heard it.” The voice grew closer, though no body was visible, just…darkness. He realized his pen light was missing. Fantastic.
I don’t know anything about this Federation. How can I trust you?
He didn’t know about the Federation?! Ben thought up something, and thought it up QUICK.
“I can give you…this.” He fished his comms badge, now useless, from his pocket, and handed it over, the shiny brass glinting in the tiny amount of light emanating from a faraway source that Ben hadn’t yet pieced together. “It’s our communications device. With that, you can contact our….people. They will vouch for us.” HOPEFULLY Capt. Taylor would be in a decent mood!
A figure appeared in front of them, and the lights popped on. Ben was surprised to see a humanoid figure. A…Devore, if his mental Fil-o-fax was any help, and it almost always WAS. The ridges along his browbone? The protrusion above his nose? Yeah. Devore.
BUT…why was he here? And how come he said he didn’t know about Starfleet? They’d only been fighting the Devore for a half-century, at least. AND why was he this far out of the DQ?
“You’re Devore! You know the Fleet, and…why are you here?” The man sniffed.
I am here because these plants…they are alive. They need to be…eliminated.
Maggie looked at him, dumbfounded. He was, too.
“Ok. But why are you HERE? I mean, why are you outside of your protected airspace? You know that I am now legally entitled to arrest-or kill-you on sight.”
The other man raised a hand, but not before the glint of Lt. LeFebvre’s sidearm caught his eye. He moved his hand behind his back in a “calm down” motion, and saw her release it slightly. Good. He believed that MOST things could be solved by talking things out.
I was following the Blood jewels.
“Blood…jewels?” The Devoran shook his head, and pulled some things from his pocket. Tiny pieces of bright red crystals.
Dilithium. A new type.
Well, that complicated things.
“But you already have warp capabilities. What do you need it for?”
The Devoran laughed.
Stupid human. It’s a valuable mineral across the universe. We can mine it, and sell it.
Yeah, because they needed even MORE reasons to go to war. Ben made a face.
“You will NOT. This is Federation land now.” He said, his voice sounding less firm than he hoped. He looked to Maggie.
“Lt. LeFebvre, take this man into custody, and let’s see if we can figure out a way home.” The woman moved swiftly, taking the alien into a vice grip until she was able to secure him, and then, more forcefully than he would’ve preferred, stuck the tip of her firearm into his side.
Talk. Or I shoot.
If you shoot me, you’ll never find your way out of here.
He heard the woman let out a sigh.
Fine. New plan. You get us out of here, and I will let you go. But you get forty minutes to get off this planet or I DO shoot. Your choice.
Ben raised a hand, telling her to calm down again. He didn’t remember the blonde being so excitable, but it was kind of…hot. He forced his mind back into the moment.
“CALM DOWN, BOTH OF YOU.” He sighed. “What’s your name?”
Joxx. And you’re correct. I AM Devoran. Who are you?
“I am Lt. Commander Benjamin Johnson, USS Issedon, Starfleet, as I said earlier. This is Lt. Marguerite LeFebvre, USS Issedon.”