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Part of USS Liris: Lost and Found

What We Find

Kelleg
TBA
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Lamon sat on the aging bridge, looking through the latest sector scans.  The Kelleg was fifty years old and starting to show the age of a well-worn ship.  He’d had to slam his clawed hands on the console screen three times that week to get the lines to stop interfering with what he was seeing.  His engineer was doing her best, so he couldn’t blame Leja.  She was trying to make supplies last.  The latest load they’d salvaged hadn’t been anything that would have helped the old ship.  For the Voth High Captain, it was starting to feel like they weren’t out here supporting the vaulted Voth Empire but more or less being kept away from the daily grind.  He had never been sure of the reason, but they’d asked several times in the last year to be allowed a trip home.  Each time it had been denied for different reasons, but Lamon continued to shrug his way through it.  He was starting to wonder if he’d become ignorant of some deeper truth about him and his crew’s position on the board.

“High Captain, something’s on the edge of scanners,”  Dosa spoke from where he stood at the far end of the command center.  Lamon stood and wandered over to glance at his screen.  The helm and science officer tapped his claws against the screen, “It’s faint, but it’s giving us good readings – materials we need.  It’s about two hours away.”

The elder Voth squinted his eyes at the signal.  It looked vaguely familiar, but he wasn’t sure from where he recognized it.  Spend enough time in space you start to see the same thing every few months.  “Chart a course and intercept.  Let Javi and Krell know to suit up and get ready.  I don’t want mistakes.”  He turned back to his chair but stopped, “And wake Lani up.  She needs to start carrying her own on this ship.”

 

Two hours later, the large Voth ship rumbled into the sector where they had detected the readings.  The Kelleg wasn’t the largest of the Voth fleet – that belonged to the City Ship.  They were a medium salvage – their cargo bay could fit something similar in size to a Starfleet Intrepid class.  Most ships in the Delta Quadrant that they salvaged weren;t much bigger.  Lamon sat in his chair, watching the screen.  He knew where he had seen the readings, “That is a Starfleet vessel. A Raven class.  Little ships to do the dirty work, I’ve been told.  Dosa?”

The middle-aged Vothn played with the console, “I don’t detect life signs…but I’d need to adjust our scanners for…human signatures.”

Lamon growled, “Let us pull her into the bay.  Have the salvage team armed and standing by, just in case.”

Dosa nodded and began the process of tractoring the Raven class and pulling her gently into the massive cargo bay.

 

Feeling the sudden locking on of… something, Sh’ill shot up and looked out the viewscreen and squinted. What the hell is that rust-bucket… He wondered as he looked at his XO and tactical officer and shot over to the helm. “Computer, yellow alert.”

Meanwhile, as Sh’ill was trying to break free of the tractor beam, his XO, Erti Jatia, slowly opened hear eyes and gasped in pain. “What..” She saw her Captain slowly fade from view as she dropped to the ground, her light body thudding with little noise against the floor.

Hearing the thud, Sh’ill turned around and rushed over. “Come on, Lieutenant. Stay alive.” A quick scan revealed that she had awoken, suffered a mild shock from the pain and passed out again.

“Looks like they will be alright and Xasin is probably sleeping down in sickbay. Right, I’m gonna try to hail that ship.”Sh’ill said to himself, as he often did under stress. He, somewhat defeatedly, slumped into the helm chair and entered a few commands into the console, which amounted to opening a channel to the ship.

“This is the USS Liris, NCC-88012. Release us from your tractor beam.” He spoke, trying to make himself sound as confident as he could. He checked sensors, which were not showing much good. They were being pulled into a cargo bay, quite a large one at that. The tractor beam emitter was located where he couldn’t hit it, and the ship was quite a bit larger than his own. There were zero life-signs that he could detect, but that was either due to someone scrambling them or the beam interfering with sensors.

He looked at his viewscreen as he slipped more into his thoughts. Perhaps this is the end of the Liris, after two short missions. If it is… “It’s been a pleasure serving with you all,” He said, talking to himself again, “You’ve all been the best crewmembers I could ask for, even if some of you have been a little annoying.” Sh’ill looked over at Jatia and pictured Ensign Xasin down in Sickbay. “I’m sorry for all this, Jatia. You’ve been a good XO, the best. And… goddamn it, why couldn’t I admit to myself that I loved you? And now that we’re being dragged into the arse end of some rust-bucket by Rakhar knows who, only now I admit? I mean… loving was never my thing, but that’s hardly an excuse. So I’m sorry, not that you can hear me…” As he spoke, small tears escaped his eyes, slowly making their way down his fur to where they couldn’t be seen. And the channel was still open…

 

Lani stood outside the cargo bay.  She was only thirty Earth years old, practically a teenager if she had grown up in the Federation.  But Lani was not Federation.  She was a Voth, and she had been sent here to learn how to be one, although recently, she’d started to wonder.  It wasn’t a particularly up-and-coming ship, and the crew had been tied to it for twenty years.  The high captain wasn’t well known for his recent exploits.  Most of the songs and tales told were of his first few years as a warrior and battle-tested fighter.  She adjusted the blaster weapons holstered at her side as the small Federation ship was brought aboard.  She’d been working to find out what had happened to her cousin, Cardamon.  Once a high-placed official, he’d vanished…and suddenly had been rumored to return.  Just as sudden as the news of his return came was the sudden dearth of information about his status and that of his escort.   She’d been sent to the Kelleg for ‘training’ off and on over the years, but she’d always been called home.  This time there had been no call home, and everyone was ignoring her messages.  Something had come into her message box.  It was an untraceable message.  It imparted upon her the fate of her Cousin, including the fact that he had nearly been murdered on his way back.  That he had escaped and been aided back to life by Federation officers.

It read as if it was a foreign tale meant to teach her some kind of morale.  It also read as a reminder that she wasn’t sure where she fit in within the Voth.  To have such doubts was heresy or even a crime to some Voth.  She shifted on her feet, wondering about her future, the Federation, and her cousin. 

Javi growled, “Ship’s secure.  Let’s move.”  The door struggled open, and the three salvage officers stepped into the cargo bay, moving quickly towards the damaged Raven class ship.  Javi aimed his weapon at the door, “Krell, get your grenades ready.  We want to dismember them quickly.  They’re rumored to fight to the end and loudly.”

Sh’ill continued murmuring to himself, not realising that touchdown was imminent. The Liris hit the floor of the cargo bay, causing several alerts to go off and the bang and screeching nearly yeeted the Caitian out of his chair, not that it would have done much damage to his cat self.“Much uglier from the inside.” He slowly said, taking in the cargo bay. “Computer, cameras on the airlock. Raise port and starboard shields.” Good, he thought, now I have a little more time to prepare to deal with these whoever they are.

He looked over at the MSD, which showed major damage to the nacelles, which had taken the brunt of the harsh landing.“Fucking… now I couldn’t get home even if I had my crew.” The Commander muttered, rushing over to the small weapons locker near the MSD. He looked at the three phaser pistols in it, looking over them. “Am I really going to shoot them?” Was a thought that passed through his mind for but a moment before he grabbed the phaser and rushed into the hallway and opened the airlock door to look into the cargo bay.

 

The two aggressive Voth snapped up their weapons and moved to fire.  Lani heard the voice of her cousin in her head shouting to her.  She could not ignore Cardamon.  She jumped in front of Javi and Krell, her hands up, “Don’t kill them.  You can’t kill them.”

The Lieutenant Commander slowly raised one eyebrow in minor confusion. The Voth? But what could they need with a Federation corvette that’s sitting in space?“THIS is a final warning!” Sh’ill shouted, angry at them, himself and the universe for all this, “Release my ship OR I charge the six phaser banks on my ship and blow my way out of here!!”

Lani explained the story of her cousin and his rescuers, pointing to the officer at the door, “These people saved him. Well, not these people but the people of the Federation.  You see them… they are hurt. What would the teachings tell us of killing someone who barely lives?”

Javi was tempted to shoot her.  He keyed the channel, “High Captain?”

There was quiet breathing on the other end and a grunt, “Lower your weapons.  I’m coming down.”

Sh’ill saw the two lower their weapons, and so he holstered his too. “So, will you be releasing me?” Well, probably not, but at least I’ll get to talk to whoever the hell is in charge here. Why… why me? He looked out at the pair, talking to someone on comms. He couldn’t quite make out what they were saying, even with, what most Federation members would call, excellent hearing.

It didn’t take Lamon long to reach the cargo bay, but he cursed the whole way down, angry at himself for being in a place that had to consider murdering a Federation crew for scraps to keep their ship together and angry at Lani for getting in the way.  He had been made aware of her connection to the infidel Cardamon and had largely dismissed it as not having anything to do with him.  Besides, Voth had hundreds of cousins spread through space.  He didn’t keep track of any of them or care much for what was going on.  Belatedly, he discovered Lani was different.  She was getting in the way of salvage.  Alive salvage, but salvage all the same.

He lumbered through the cargo door and stepped forward, eyeballing his crew first with fury and then at the cat-looking creature with a furred hand resting on his weapon.  It had been holstered.  The high captain stepped forward, “Please accept my…regret at your…situation.  We initially thought you were dead.”  He gestured to the creature, “Clearly, you are not.”  He turned to Lani, still angry, “My…what is the human word…intern is interceding for you and your crew.  Apparently, her cousin was a vict…benefactor of the Federation recently.  I cannot fathom why she cares so much for him or you…but here we are.”  He glanced at the ship, “We can release you but I do not think you’ll make it very far.”  He looked around for the stairs unit, “We could come to an..agreement of some sort?”

Sh’ill leaned on the doorframe, thinking about what he could do to help them.“Well, I’m a doctor, if any of your crew need medical assistance, I could provide it. We… don’t have much else, this is only a corvette, we don’t travel with a lot.” Sh’ill saw them looking for a way to access the ship and looked into the ship.“Computer, shields down.” Now at least they won’t get bounced back into the wall when they try to enter.“Perhaps I could transport you…” The Lieutenant Commander was stopped in the middle of his sentence by a groan further into the ship.

Delvok opened one of his eyes and looked at the ceiling. I appear to be on the floor, he thought, , and, rather curiously, I appear to be on the Bridge. A few moments after these thoughts, he heard a deep yell from.. somewhere on the Bridge.“Are you my security officer?!” It yelled, “And are you under the influence of the dilithium?” He turned to face the voice and saw his Captain, Sh’ill, yelling at him from the other side of the Bridge with a phaser in his hand.

The Caitian was quite close to just phasering Delvok, but elected not to do that until he was sure that he was still not himself.“Answer me!!”

The Vulcan simply raised one of his eyebrows and, as calmly as was possible, responded while not moving a bit.“I assure you, Captain, I am quite myself. And how was I under the influence of dilithium?”

Lieutenant Commander Sh’ill holstered his phaser again and turned to walk off the Bridge.“Ask my XO, Delvok, ask her.”

Lamon waited for the cat commander to step back to the door, his claw tapping mindlessly on his wooden staff.  Soon enough he appeared and the Voth asked, “Do…you or your crew require…medical assistance?”  He glanced at Lani, his annoyance tempered with the reality of the situation with a long sigh, “We are part of the cause of this mess…we are willing to offer you and your crew a berth to rest while we assist in effecting repairs to your ship.”  The two salvage officers turned, their eyes narrowing at their high captain’s words and he growled menacingly at them both, “Do not challenge your high captain, fools.  The last time was not your greatest moment.”

Sh’ill raised one of his lushious eyebrows and slowly spoke, hoping to establish more of a friendship with the Voth, perhaps even gain some friends here.“Yes, however it would need to be in the form of a surgeon trained in mammalian physiology. Otherwise, you could help us with getting us back on our feet and flying again. I would also appreciate any info you have on the Barzan Wormhole which we used to get here.”

Lani smiled.  On a Voth face, it looked less like a smile than a snarl, but you had to know what to look for to tell the difference.  “I’m skilled in repairs.”  She looked back at Lamon, “The High Captain could help with Barzan.  He has a timer that counts down until it opens.”  A chuckle from her as Lamon leered at her, “I see a lot of things.”  She returned her attention to the cat commander, “You have the word of my high captain that we’ll get you back in shape.”

Once again, Sh’ill raised one of his eyebrows, generally confused about how a ship this disorganized could even function or drag in a Starfleet ship. “Would you like to come aboard? I can see that you have some stairs, or I could beam you aboard, whichever one works best.”He turned towards the airlock console just by the open door and lowered the shields, which caused a large amount of white flickering in front of the Voth team.“There, shields down. And a condition of your coming aboard is that no one brings weapons aboard. Is that understood, Captain?” Turning back towards the open door, he looked more to Lani and the other officer than to the Captain, hoping to make it clear that he was specifically talking about them.

Lani tossed her weapon to the side, “Easy for me.  I’m not a fighter.”  She smiled a mild flirtatious look, “I’m more of a…”  She shut up as the high captain loudly cleared his throat.

The two salvage operators gripped theirs tightly and turned to the high captain, who sighed roughly, “We’re not in the business of killing Starfleets.  That’s everybody else’s job around here.  Put the weapons down.  We can find some hapless transport captain to satiate your murderous needs.”  Lamon unholstered his blasters and set them on a nearby table while he slipped his knives, half sword, and throwables into a wall holster unit that had gone unnoticed until this moment.  He patted himself down and chuckled as he removed two pulsar grenades and slotted them into the wall.  “There.  All clear.”  He moved forward, shoving the two salvage officers aside and motioning Lani forward, “You, with me.  You two – complete a scan of the exterior damage we caused and build a repair list.  Get started as soon as you have the materials assembled.”  He stared at each for a moment after he made the order, and they nervously skittered off, muttering Voth curses under their breath.