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Part of USS Daedalus: Mission 1 – Measure by Measure and USS Mackenzie: Mission 12: Measure by Measure

DMBM 022 – Licence to Kill

Regula Station 354
7.26.2401
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“Approaching intercept vector…dropping from warp.”  William Prentice was poised at the helm, his safety restraints secured.  He immediately slung the Daedalus 180 degrees; down below, the shuttle bay team jumped into action.  Doc Halsey stood behind the shield with a medical bed and the trauma team.  The display clocks across the ship displayed the time left before the Syndicate ship arrived.  Two minutes clicked to 1:59:00 and continued downwards as time bled away with each second they waited and watched.

Helena Dread stood in the center of the bridge; her hands clenched tightly as she attempted to slow her pacing.  It was working, for now.  The reality of command continued to be revealed to her each minute and hour she held the center chair.  She was learning, but she didn’t like it yet.  

Sadie Fowler was at science, “Shuttle is fifteen seconds out.”  She felt the tension on the bridge slowly tighten around them.  They were all concerned for their crewmates, and they were all concerned about whatever the Syndicate ship had planned for them.  The next few seconds would answer the question. Fowler reported, “Shuttle entering the system.  Thirty seconds until they reach us.” Her nerves scattered and held loosely.  She watched the clock and the path of the shuttle.  She could imagine the terse conversations within the shuttle as they prepared to commit to an emergency landing into the shuttle bay.

Captain Dread stopped behind the helm and tactical consoles at the front of the bridge.  Her eyes studiously watched the science screen against the wall and then returned to Catari’s threat screens at her console.  “How long?” she asked the Bajoran, who refreshed the estimated time.

“Forty-five seconds.  They must have picked up some speed.”  Catari reworked the intercept course, “They’re really desperate to get to us.”

Presley Atega called out at communications, “The shuttle is nearing the shuttle bay entrance.”  There was a moment when the bridge crew unconsciously held their breath, waiting for the next report.  It felt like minutes, but only five seconds until Presley followed up with, “Shuttle is secured, damage control and sickbay teams are in motion. S shuttle bay doors are closing….,”  It was another breathless wait, another seven seconds until, “Shuttle bay doors closed!”

“Resume Red Alert, battle stations.  Helm, get us…”  The klaxons and lights returned, but the Syndicate ship flashed out of warp on screen, moving quickly to intercept the Rhode Island class scout.  Dread returned to her chair and activated her restraint, “Atega, hail them.”  The obligatory sound rang through the bridge.

Atega chewed on her bottom lip out of nervousness, “They’re responding.”  

Dread waved the channel open.  The face of Captain Hensa Rigilia appeared with her snarl at the ready.  She sat back in shock, “Another woman captain.  You are as good-looking as the other one…or maybe even better.”

Helena had read the reports on Hensa, “I’m aware you have a thing for Captain Walton.  I’d hate to think she’d feel jealous if she heard you were hitting on me.”  She faked a fake smile, “You can have the station.  Your errand boy shed enough blood to keep us away.”

Hensa scoffed, “Who said he was my errand boy?”  She stood from her chair, the camera adjusting, “I’m just here to make sure you don’t dig any further into our business out here, Captain Dread.  I’d hate to have to take my best shot at you.  I might be too much for you.”

Dread caught a wide-eyed glance from Fowler.  Helena chuckled, drawing a look of surprise from Rigilia, “I may be new to this chair, Captain Rigilia…but threatening me with anything more than a good time is not something myself or the Federation will accept. We can..and will be back to investigate whatever needs investigating.”

“Diplomacy isn’t your strong suit, is it Captain?”

Helena returned the stare she was getting from her Romulan counterpart, “When someone tells us not to investigate something, or they’ll punch our lights out…diplomacy takes a back seat.  Good day.”  Atega snapped the channel shut, and Dread ordered, “Prentice, get us out of here fast.”  

He worked to shift the Daedalus to another warp vector but was soon shaking his head, “She’s moving to keep us here, sir.  Permission to go evasive.”

“Evade as you see fit, Prentice.”  She watched as he did just that, but the Syndicate ship was quick enough to get back in their way.  It was Dread’s turn to shake her head, “She’s persistent; I’ll give her that.”

Catari shouted, “New signal, coming in hard and fast…it’s the Mackenzie!”

Dread smiled wide as the larger Excelsior II class ship thundered into space, overshadowing the Syndicate ship and Daedalus.  The screen clicked to a furious Captain Walton on the bridge of the Mackenzie, “Captain Rigilia, you are ordered to either heave to and prepare to be boarded or get out of this sector.  If you do not comply within one minute  by communications signal, we will open fire.”

The face of an amused Hensa slid up against Walton, “Ah, my favorite lady with my new favorite lady.  We couldn’t have a sit-down talk over dinner…candlelight…and some…mood music?”

Walton’s face was placid.  Her eyes bored into the screen.  Not even a flicker of a smile or a scoff, Dread observed.  The squadron commander had a reputation.  “No.  Forty-five seconds.”

The Romulan Syndicate Captain groaned, “My flirting is wasted on the both of you.  Someday, you’ll come around.  And then we can…,”

Wren’s tone tightened, “Thirty seconds.”

Rigiila rolled her eyes, “Fine.  Next time, there be less flirting and more shooting.”  The channel closed, and Fowler reported the syndicate ship leaving the system.

“Thank you, Captain Walton, for the interruption.”

Wren motioned behind her and then returned her attention to Dread, “I just had Reede encrypt this channel. Chatsworth Hossa isn’t Syndicate or freelance.  He’s one of our operatives or something.  I’ve got orders to get him back to Starbase 72…and to get you out of this system for a bit.”

Dread frowned, “What?”  She was confused, as was most of the bridge crew.  They were making progress.

“True Way has been stirring up something…and we’ve got some planets acting like an out-of-alignment warp core, so we need to make friends and influence people.  There are eyes on Pandora.  Just not ours, for now.  I’m sorry, Helena.”  The channel closed, and Dread stared ahead, shocked.

She released her restraints and stood, “Prentice, set course for Starbase 72 as fast as you can.  Mr. Tir, you have the CONN.”  She stalked to and through the door to her ready room.

Lieutenant Tir stood and slid into the command chair, glancing around the bridge, “Steady as she goes, everyone. Steady as she goes.”

The Daedalus flew through space on her way home to Starbase 72.