Table of Contents
Mission Title - Page Number
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Rynen's eyes slowly opened, taking in her surroundings. The morning sun cast a warm glow over the beige walls, dark wood furniture, and plain white curtains that were open to reveal the world outside. Where am I?? Rynen thought. She searched her memory, but found nothing to indicate where she was, or how she had gotten there. In fact, she couldn't seem to remember anything. Even her name drew a blank.
"It's much too early in the morning for you to be thinking that hard." A warm, deep, melodious voice suddenly said, breaking Rynen's train of thought. Looking to the source of the voice, she saw a man standing at the end of the bed. His dark blonde hair was still messy from having been slept on, and his blue eyes were focused intently on the betazoid.
"Who.. who are you??" She questioned. The man came over and sat down next to Rynen on the bed. He gently touched her forehead with his hand and tried to smooth out the wrinkles of concentration.
"You would think after being married for 3 years, you would at least remember my name, Lyn." He said, a hint of laughter in his voice. Suddenly, like a tidal wave, Rynen's memories came flooding back. Everything from growing up in Dundas in the shadow of the castle to going to bed last night. But it all seemed so.. distant. She couldn't shake the nagging feeling that something was wrong.
"Micah…" she whispered as she grasped his hand that had been touching her forehead.
"Ah, so you do remember. That's good." Micah replied good-naturedly. He stood up and pulled her to her feet. "Come on, you need to get dressed. I already let you sleep in, and we're going to be late to the castle. And you know how the King can be when we're late to work." Rynen nodded, and walked over to the small dresser that stood against the wall at the end of the bed. She knew that her clothes were in the top drawer, but it felt more like someone had told her this information than that she knew it because she had gotten her clothes from there every day for the past 3 years.
After the short walk to the castle, Micah and Rynen had to part ways. He gently kissed her goodbye on the cheek and made his way to the stables to his job as the King's farrier. She would continue inside to work as the head gunsmith in the King's armoury. She watched Micah walk up the dirt path to the large wooden structure. Although her head told her that she loved him, her heart wasn't so sure.
<= Rude Awakening, NPC: Jessica (Jess), Billybob, Johnny and the Duke =>
Johnny awoke naked and shivering. Memories painfully flashed in his mind.
He was scouting this old abandoned ghost town when he stopped short at a pale face in the broken window. The wide eyes quickly broke contact and the figure vanished inside a derelict saloon. Not wanting to frighten the person, he slung his rifle over his shoulder and said, "Hello…It's okay. I won't hurt you, I just want to talk."
He walked to the building and pushed the door open, which quickly fell off it's hinges. "It's okay," he repeated.
He scanned the room and it looked as shabby as it did from the outside. The paint was peeling, the furniture was all over the place. Then he spotted the girl in rags, she was maybe sixteen. She was as pale as snow and it a stark contrast to the purple bruises on her face and legs. She cowered in some roughly patched together moccasins, covering herself with a ratty grey blanket. She had dark circles under her hazel eyes. She looked like the world had used her and casted her aside.
Johnny wanted to make her feel safe and better, but he didn't know how to start. All of sudden, something slammed into the back of his head. He went crashing to the dusty floor. Through the stars in his vision, he spotted a blur and a boot smashed into his temples and all was black.
As he came to, he smelled something musty and heard a guttural panting sound. His face was on the floor and he struggled to turn his head towards the sounds. Scrapping his face on the rough wooden floor, his eyes came upon a horrid scene. The girl laid on a stained pallet a few meters away, her legs were held in the air and her dress was past her waist. Her eyes were glassy and she stared at the ceiling. Johnny knew that she was far far away. She did not make a whimper. A grotesque man grunted and thrusted into her, panting coarsely. His jeans around his ankles and his red checkered shirt made him looked like a brutish hillbilly.
Johnny moved about, but it was no use. He was hogtied. The monster continued to pound at the girl, making a gross, wet slapping sound. He finally shuddered and laid on top of the girl panting. He rolled off her and reached for Johnny's canteen and took a long pull. He looked to Johnny and smirked, while water dribbled down his coarse beard. "Oo ee, looks like our Junior Marshall is awake."
"Thanks for the goodies and rifle Jr," he said as he toasted Johnny and took another swig from the canteen.
The girl was curling into a ball, mindlessly straightening her clothes. Her face remained blank as a freshly primed canvas. She didn't even hear as the beast shouted her name, "Jess! Food!"
White hot rage flashed in the beast's eyes and he back handed Jess across the face. "I said food!" She picked herself up, her eyes remained unfocused as she went away to do her captor's bidding.
The hillbilly's eyes returned to Johnny. "Now we'll have a chat." He leaned closer to Johnny. His reek burned Johnny's nose hair, a mixture of whiskey, urine and sex. "Where are the other Marshalls? How many are there?"
"I was just walking through," Johnny said, "I'm heading on my way home."
"Well, ain't you the biggest f***ing lier," chuckled the hillbilly as he kicked Johnny in the ribs. "There ain't no town within walking distance off this god forsaken place."
He lifted Johnny up by his collar and screamed, "Now tell me the truth!"
Johnny spat blood into the man's face and was thrown down onto the wooden floor. He was given another kick for good measure.
The hillbilly crouched next to Johnny with a rusty knife. "This is Betsy. She ain't as sharp as I'd like so I'll have to saw a bit." He knelt onto Johnny's shoulder blade and selected Johnny's trigger finger. Johnny tried to throw the man off, but he was too heavy.
"Help me," Johnny pleaded.
The girl stood there frozen.
"P-please." stuttered Johnny as he shook in the monster's grips.
"Stop it Billybob," yelled the girl.
"Shut up you bitch or you'll be next!"
All of a sudden the door splintered open and a shot rang in all their ears. Billybob keeled over without the top half of his head. Jess screamed.
Johnny was rolled over, elated that it was the Duke. Over the Duke's shoulder he saw a dark skinned man with foreign features holding an over and under shotgun still smoking. He was rescued by Marshall Geronimo, one of the best known lawman in these parts.
< = The Castle = >
The table was full of food, full of glorious food, and everyone was eating with gusto, especially one man who was at the far end of the table where he always sat. This was King Leonidas, and everyone knew that when he ate, he ate like every meal was his last meal. The table seemed like a mile long, at least to the servants who had to travel back and forth. At the other extreme end of it seated the young but dainty Queen Valanice, who was very much the opposite of Leonidas, and ate like a bird, and watching him keenly from a distance.
"It's going to be a long day, dear.", Valanice stated with such clarity and sharpness that seemed to indicate this day would be different. In fact, it already had for Valanice just a few short hours ago.
Speaking to each other would be impossible but for the fact that they had installed a network of tubes underneath the table to act as conduits. So, as Queen Valanice spoke, it took a moment for the sound to travel and for Leonidas to register her words, look up from his meal and look at her.
"Yes", was all he could muster before his attention resumed back to the food.
Valanice regarded him with hope. Hope for her people and the future of Dundas. She wondered if she had made a good decision. Impatience was within her, though she knew she had to wait. But waiting could be too much. It could be too late before it even started. But then her thoughts went to the new inhabitants: They must not uncover the truth! That would only lead to disaster and….
"Today's your day, dear.", she replied, seeking a way to get his nose out of his plate.
Leonidas was quick with the retort. "Which day isn't?"
Valanice smiled warmly. This is what she wanted, and it was working perfectly. "I propose that every day should be Leonidas Day", he added. "Everyone shall remember who rules in these troubled times…"
Troubled times. Valanice sighed at the thought. This was good. Even his conciousness was ingrained with the thought of troubled times, and he wasn't aware of his "own" point of view of these times. Wicked smile, she thought. Don't let him see it. Smile sweetly. She laughed. "Yes, which day isn't! But more importantly, today is your Birthday, dear."
"Oh!", exclaimed Leonidas. "That's right. Sorry, my dear."
"That's quite alright. Today you are to make your visit into town." Leonidas nodded and went back to his food.
Awkward silence between the two was broken by the footsteps of High Knight Chisolm. The clank of his armour betrayed him as he tried to stay quiet. He stopped right beside Leonidas and knelt. "My Lord", he said, bowing out of respect.
Loenidas nodded in acklowledgement of his presence. "Yes? What is it you want?"
"I'm to take you around town for your visit, m'Lord", the knight said while motioning for the exit.
"Very well", Leonidas replied. It was time to say goodbye to his food. Standing up wasn't without effort, as his belly with the added weight of this meal seemed to add to the gravity. Valanice watched on as he was helped out of his seat and escorted by the High Knight. To Leonidas, this was a normal day just as any other. To Valanice, it had been one she had anticipated since setting foot here…
<= The Wilderness =>
Marshall Geronimo saw the desert hawk wheeling overhead and had heard the annoying hum of flies before he saw the men.
There were six of them dressed in typical rider's garb still slightly dusted with red dirt and they were hanging from the lowest branches of an old yori tree that stood alone at the top of a small hillock. The slightly ripe stench had already begun to fill the air indicating that it has been awhile since they were there.
The Marshall stood slightly in his stirrups to survey the area and then slowly stepped down from his saddle with the ease of an experienced rider. Once on the ground, he withdrew a loaded shotgun, his half lidded eyes never leaving the men as he did so. It was a heavy 12-bore over and under shotgun made of dark steel and dark wood stock. He cocked his weapon and stepped toward the gruesome scene for a closer look.
The men hung from the lowest branches. The blue tinged tongues and the smell of feces and urine told him that some of the men dies from slow strangulation. Some had the look of pain and struggle permanently etched on their faces - they obviously tried to stop the inevitable. Geronimo had seen lots of death in his time and he had even dealt in more than his fair share of it, but the sight like this still turned a man's stomach like sour milk.
"What does one do to deserve a fate like this?" he asked aloud as if the six men might still be capable of answering him.
The Marshall surveyed his surroundings again with a pair of sideways glances, it might still be an ambush. Experience taught him to be always alert.
Once he had assured himself that he was alone, one by one, he took them down and then drug them a short distance away from the tree and placed them on a pile of dead wood that he had collected. He dug through their pockets. Between them all they had little in the way of personal effects, only the sort of things that ranch hands might carry: some coins, a deck of cards between them, an aboriginal arrowhead that one of them must have picked up somewhere, a gold pocket watch, a few bags of smoke weed with papers, a few cartridges and a crumpled up letter that had probably been read and refolded too many times for its own good. He tossed most of the effects back onto the pile while keeping the cartridges and the gold pocket watch - it was ingraved with what he assumed was the deadman's name… J. Morrison. It also had the seal of King Leonidas on the face. These men were the King's men. Whoever attacked them had a lot of courage. Most wouldn't cross the King lightly, though lately the King's power has wained quite a bit.
When he was through, he stood back and looked at his completed work. It was a damn sorry excuse for a prye, the Marshall thought. He took out a match and struck it on his buckle and through the lite match on the tinder. The dry fuel went up like a drum of pitch. The Marshall was a man of few words, but he felt like he should say a few over them. So he sung:
Wait until the
war is over
And we're both a
The unknown soldier
Breakfast where the
news is read
Paper says children fed
Bullet strikes the
And it's all over
For the unknown soldier
It's all over
For the unknown soldier
Hut ho hee up
Hut ho hee up
Hut ho hee up
Make a grave for
Nestled in your
The unknown soldier
Breakfast where the
news is read
Paper says children dead
Bullet strikes the
And, it's all over
The war is over
It's all over
The war is over
Well, all over, baby
All over, baby
Oh, over, yeah
All over, baby
All over, baby
"This is all I can do for you boys," he told them. "I reckon I'll be lucky if someone does the same for me when my time comes. Well, maybe I'll be seein' you. Adas."
The Marshall tipped his hat to them and walked back to his horse. He had some idea who were responsible. People have been seeing a group of riders coming into their range some nights. They don't barely make a sound because they have the hooves of their horses muffled and all the men wear masks. They've been rimrocking groups of cattle belonging to every outfit, shooting riders who make the mistake of working alone .
He had never heard a story like it before. Riders in hoods riding muffled horses, rim rocking cattle and viscously killing range riders. Having once hired his gun hand out to anyone willing to pay a good wage, the Marshall had dealt with more than his fair share of cattle rustlers. As viscous and uncaring as some of them could be, he had never run across any that would destroy fine stock once they obtained it, let alone any that would intentionally seek out and kill riders.
The Marshall saddled up and headed off to the south west. The King needed to hear this.
<= On the Trail: The Dream =>
It was another hot hazy day as the Marshall trotted back to the city of Dundas. Three Stormhawks were circling the mid morning sun. The second sun Jenia would be rising soon. Geronimo hoped that he would get to the castle before then. Spending the midday in the shade when the temperature reached 80 degrees was not his idea of a good time. The hot dry heat weighted you down. The Marshall felt his eyes droop a bit.
Blurs of motions and colours passed. Red, yellow and blue. He heard a voice, "Engineering to the Captain, coolant levels are at critical, the warp core will not last much longer."
"Hold it just for a few more minutes Mr. Li… we'll get out of this," replied another voice.
He felt the prickliness of the grass through his shirt. The air had the smell of chlorophyll… it was like being enveloped in a sea of green. He could hear the lapping of the lake water against the dock. He saw the small wispy clouds lazily drift across the azure sky. He felt at home.
Tears streamed down his eyes as he watched her slowly walk away from him. She had short red hair and a solid build. His parents didn't approve of their love, couldn't withstand of the shame of having a single mother for a daughter-in-law. It wasn't tradition, it wasn't right, he had to follow the desires of the family, he was the eldest, that was what he told her. As he watched her disappear from his life, he knew deep down he knew he had made a mistake, she was the love of his life.
"Micheals! Watch out! It's an ambush!" he screamed. He hid behind a boulder as rocks exploded from above. Two men in gold returned blazing red fire against the enemy. More blasts could be heard. Someone yelped in pain. The butt of a rifle and blackness.
The Marshall was jostled out of his saddle. That was a strange and vivid dream. Slowly the images of the dreams faded as if begin erased from his mind. His eyes focused on the view ahead of him. The midday sun scorched land was distorting the air above the surface. Suddenly a dark shape resolved in the horizon. It was Castle Dundas. He was here. Hopefully Chisolm wouldn't take the news too hard.
Distracted by his morbid news, the Marshall was almost caught by an arrow as it whizzed through his hat.
"Shit!" he cried.
He took out his pistol and searched the hill for his assailants. Charging down on horseback was a small Mississaugan raiding band. Two were carrying axes and one was launching arrows from his saddle. The Marshall unloaded his six-shooter at the archer and his victim fell into a cloud of dust. However, the other warriors were already within reach of him. He ducked a blow from an axeman and had his horse change the direction of the other warrior's steed. Geronimo reached for his shotgun, just in time to block a mortal blow to his head. He twisted the axe out of his way and smashed the warrior's face in with the stock. With a squeeze of his legs, he commanded his ride to wheel about and quickly pulled the trigger. The last Mississaugan was blasted off his horse by the 12 gauge shell.
All this happened in a few seconds and ended as it started - with a still countryside. All that was different were a few new bodies and some wandering horses. Geronimo looked at his shotgun and saw the dents from this fight. The stock looked almost ruined. Might as well go see Lyn while he was in town. Maybe she could fix this.
Owain Taggart & Nicholas Li
< = Dundas Town Centre = >
It was a nice beautiful day, the suns were shining, the birds were singing, and the town market was quite active. Though he had to admit that it was getting quite hot, as he often stopped to mop his brow. While milling about, Leonidas smiled and waved to familiar faces, stopping for quick chats, and just enjoying the day in general. It seemed that this day would be quite ordinary, in that nothing much would happen, although he thought he had heard some noise coming from the town's borders. It sounded like fighting, bullets going off, and it was over as quickly as it had started. A concern grew in Leonidas, as he started to change his pace running towards the center of activity, though Chisolm grabbed his arm to stop him.
"Sir, I'll go check. You must stay here. Stay safe…."
But Leonidas shook his head in disagreement. "I can't allow that. There are people there that might have been hurt. They need our help."
Chisolm flashed a look of warning in his eyes, "Sir, I can dispatch the guard if there's trouble. They can handle it. I'll escort you back to the castle."
Leonidas stood there thinking for a moment, until his fleeting glances picked up the sight of Marshall Geronimo in the distance. He put his hand up to stop Chilsolm. "No need. Our help is here. Perhaps he knows what just happened, or perhaps we have our assailant." Again, he looked into the distance and walked towards the Marshall. Chilsolm drew his rifle and came up in front, his eyes on the Marshall.
"Halt!", Chilsom cried out, "In the name of the King, state your business!"
The Marshall looked at Chisolm from under the brim of his hat. He spat out the straw that he was chewing on and said, "You can put down your rifle there defender, I come in peace."
"Peace", Chisolm said with a snort and looked at the carnage around him, the dead bodies scattered around. "It's all in the eyes of the beholder."
The Marshall ignored Chisolm's snide remarks and looked to the King, "I was coming to relay some new information, when I got surprised by a raiding party over those hills. You should probably send some men to clean up that mess."
Leonidas looked over at the Marshall, then at Chisolm as he put a hand up. "I must apologize for my Knight's behavior. He tends to be very agressive, you see. Raiding party, you say?" Leonidas furrowed his brow. Now this was not right. Something was going on, more than meets the eyes, and he didn't like what he heard. "I sent some men on that hill a week ago, but they never returned."
"Yes, Mississaugan's. Just your typical hot headed young warriors looking for fresh human flesh. They think it makes them more virile. They wouldn't have been too much trouble if they didn't catch me by surprise. I've been hunting a gang of rimrocking cattle thieves and it has been a long trip. As for Chisolm's gruffness, it's alright. We have a long history of disagreements."
Leonidas looked at Chilsolm and laughed. "You have, have you?"
Chilsolm, who normally had a royal composure and a standard to uphold when beside the King, spat. It was entirely unlike him, and he did it out of disgust at the Marshall. "Disagreements, yes. Your family had no right to pillage my family's farms." He gave him an evil eye, to which Leonidas disapproved.
Geronimo grinned, "It was a fair practice, those lands were in disputed territory between our father's ranges. The previous King settled this dispute ages ago."
"Perhaps I should throw you in jail for the generations of mistreatment upon my family and their land.", Chilsolm spat out.
Leonidas grew irritated of the argument called off it off. This was no time and place for this. He looked at the Marshall and sighed. "Alright, here's what I can do. I can spare a few men if you're willing to lead them to the site of attack in order to investigate. But first, it looks like you need to get cleaned up. Head on over to the castle and I'll make sure you're taken care of."
Leonidas started walking back towards the castle, but Chisolm fell behind as he turned to shield his eyes from the burning sun and saw him face to face with the Marshall.
"You haven't heard the last of me on this.", Chisolm spat out at the Marshall. "In fact, I challenge you. You and me at Sundown, you hear? Be there or be square if you know what's good for you." Then he quickly turned and made haste towards Leonidas.
Owain Taggart & Admiral D'Rinax
— Temporary Quarters for Admiral D'Rinax, USS Horizon --
It had been several hours since the last status report from the away team had crossed Drawdè’s temporary office desk.
“Computer, Coffee, Kona blend 3 and 2 “ he spoke aloud.
As the replicator complied with the Admiral’s commands He stood from his desk, taking the PADD with him as he went to retrieve the drink. He reached for the cup never taking his eyes off the information scrolling across the small screen.
It had been pretty quiet on the Horizon over the past several days giving Drawdè a much needed rest from the daily grind of his normal duties on the station. As time went by the reports from the planet’s surface became almost routine. The away teams, each with their own assignment, had transmitted regular information regarding the inhabitants. Nothing out of the ordinary for a civilization in its current state of evolution. Some of the reports were even humorous. Citing observations that, to the away team, were barbaric in tone compared to the way things are done by a more advance civilization.
Drawdè found it interesting that, based on the history of earth’s evolution, certain ‘eras’ had been intermixed. At this location on the planet it appeared that time had been crunched together, placing the general ‘look and feel’ of the Renaissance time period directly in line with that of the Old West. Castles, Kings and peasants lived harmoniously with Cowboys and Indians. Definitely and interesting infrastructure.
Drawdè looked up at the antique wall clock that was hanging across the room from his desk. It was time to review the next set of reports from the surface.
“Computer, transfer the latest data on the away teams’ progress to this screen”
A few seconds later the computer replied. “All data has been received. No new data available at this time”
A curious look fell over Drawdè’s face, “Computer, where is Mr. Langford?”
“Mr. Langford is on the bridge” replied the computer
** Bridge USS Horizon **
The turbolift door slid open and Drawdè stepped on to the Bridge.
“OFFICER ON DECK!” shouted Mr. Langford.
Everyone stopped what they are doing and they all assumed the position of attention.
“As you were” stated the Admiral as he made his way to the center chair where Mr. Langford was previously seated.
“Admiral, to what do we owe this honor?” asked the XO.
With the same curious look as earlier he asked “Mr. Langford, are you aware that the away teams have yet to report in? We are now 2 hours past their designated contact time.”
“Sir I was aware and have been trying to contact them. I didn’t think that I should bother you with this as sometimes teams are unable to meet the deadline due to their proximity to the indigenous life forms on the planet.”
“I could see maybe one of the teams being delayed in responding but both? That strikes me as a bit odd if you ask me… “ replied the Admrial.
Commander Langford rubbed his chin, as if in deep thought. "OK, you're right. I should of called you at the first sign of trouble." He shook his head in a sad manner. "We've tried for the last half hour in contacting both teams with no result. Sadly, I fear for the worst." He looked at the Ops officer and asked him to bring up a reasonably accurate map of the active portion of the planet. He pointed at the large settlement. "This is presumably the town of Dundas, the away team's target. Now, considering there isn't much that we can see elsewhere, they couldn't have wandered off too far."
"What about comm signatures? Didn't they have their badges with them? asked the Admiral.
"Yes sir they did but as you recall there is some sort of dampening field on the surface. We lost contact with them shortly after they set foot on the planet. There is a possibility that their comm badges were removed from them as well."
"What are you going to do to find them Commander?" asked Drawde in a very stern voice.
Langford wasn't an entirely confident person, and often wondered why he had been chosen among the candidates as an Executive Officer when there were better. He looked at the Admiral and hesitated, then when it seemed he had a plan formulated, he looked back to the Ops officer. "Scan the surface of the planet and look for any signs of energy. We might then be able to pick them out."
The Ops officer nodded and changed his scanning frequency to scan deeper and wider. "Scanning…." He frowned when he thought he found something. "Sir, not sure if I've found something, but there's suddenly a spike coming from near the town center…"
Langford nodded, looked at the Admiral for assurance, "Can we identify any of team near there?"
"No sir, though there appears to have been something going on. Perhaps a brawl of some sort." Then he remembered what they were dealing with. "Firearms. There's been some firearm use. One of them might of been shot. That would corroborate with the energy spike that I've seen."
Langford frowned. "Not much that we can use to get a hold on them then." He sighed. "We can't rely on those energy spikes to know where they are. They would be too random, not to mention we can't be certain from whom they came from and who's dead." He lay back in the Commanding Officer's chair and thought long and hard about the situation. He couldn't think of what he could possibly do at the moment. To say that this was frustrating to him was an understatement.
"Admiral, perhaps you have a pearl of wisdom hidden in your sleeves? That would be mighty useful at the moment."
The Admiral turned and walked short distance away from the center chair, turned back and focused on the ops officer. "Mr. Hennessey, prepare a probe for inner-atmospheric flight, I want high level passes over the areas where the energy spikes emanated from. Make it a quick run, in and then out. We need to see whats down there." His eyes now turned to the XO. "Commander, You too have many 'pearls of wisdom' at your disposal. I know this is all new to you but you have a job to do. Your crew, your Captain is now missing. I suggest you set your doubt aside and find them." Drawdè sat down in the Captain's chair and looked over at the frustrated commander.
"Commander, I am not taking command of this vessel. She is yours for the time being. I will be here to assist when I can . Helm, take the coordinates of the last energy spike and place us in a geosynchronous orbit at that point just outside the ionosphere."
Langford nodded and realized he had to take control of the situation, as he wasn't making a good impression on the Admiral, or even his own crew. Down on the surface of the planet, they had a crew to rescue, and the crew's morale was suffering. "You all heard the man. We have a Captain and his away team to rescue." He tugged at his shirt and pulled it straight. "We have a Captain to rescue", he repeated.
Drawdè rose from the Captain's chair, as he walked away he said, "Commander, I will be in the Captain's ready room if you need me." the door slid open and he stepped inside.
"Computer, open Admiral's log. Access code Delta Delta six seven six six"
A few bleeps and tones filtered through the air and the log was displayed on the terminal in front of Drawdè who was now seated behind Captain Taggart's desk.
"Admiral's log, Stardate 61764.1. A crisis has arisen here on the Horizon, Captain Taggart and his away team have gone missing while searching for information regarding the USS Ozborn and the mysterious subspace signal that had been reported emanating from this region. Commander Langford is now in command of the Horizon but I question some of his abilities. His records are commendable but I see that he still has issues with making decisions. I have noted that an incident in his past could make him question his judgments. I don't feel, at this time, that I should take command to resolve the issues at hand, however, I am ready to do so if needed. A little more prodding may be all that Commander Langford needs to get him over his 'mental hump'. Currently I have ordered a probe to scan the areas where we think the away teams might be. This; I have left in Mr. Langford's hands. I will offer any assistance when needed. Note to self, continue updates on Mr. Li and Miss Dale after they return to the ship.- End Log"
Drawdè sat back in his chair and sighed "Mr. Langford, I want updates as to the progress of the situation every 15 minutes. Is that understood?"
"Yes sir, every 15 minutes sir" replied Langford.
Leonidas paced back and forth in his throne room. He wasn't too happy; in fact he tried desperately not to show that he was upset, even though he was fuming. If it weren't for the pacing, nobody would of known something was up, but Queen Valanice knew. She knew before Leonidas could utter a word, knew from his mannerisms and his worried look, that something terrible had happened.
Worse yet, it was even more terrible for her, and she tried not to show it as well. For her, this was an unexpected development. How could Chilsolm do such a thing? She had chosen him personally, and he was in on it as much as she was. She wondered if perhaps she had made a bad decision. He had taken things a tad too far, which risked everything.
"Don't worry, dear. It will be all right.", Valanice said, putting an arm around him in a consoling manner. "We've known Chisolm for as long as we've been together, haven't we? And that's been a long time. It's not like him to be like this. He's probably just had a bad day."
Leonidas shook her hand off and looked her in the eyes. When he did this, she couldn't help but feel a commanding presence. His eyes were piercing and searched the truth. "Bad day", he as he shook his head. "Bad Day. They're always bad days aren't they? Why can't they ever be good days?"
"Oh dear, but we've had many good days together. Don't fret yourself. This will all be over soon. And the people will love you again."
"Tell me.", he told her. "Tell me how the previous king died."
She looked at him with sadness and proceeded to tell him her story. He felt like refreshing his memory. It had been so long ago that it happened, and his memories were clouded. He only remembered the rumours that he had been poisoned. Once he was satisfied with this account, he wandered over to visit Chisolm.
< = Quarters of High Knight Chilsolm = >
"I killed him", Chisolm said, with sharp little laugh, "but surely you don't believe that…"
Leonidas shook his head, "Am I supposed to trust you now?"
"Look, it's nothing. Don't sweat it.", Chilsolm said as he brushed off the King's concern.
"It's every bit my concern. I could easily put you in jail for treason, I'll have you know.", Leonidas stated.
Chisolm sighed, "Allright. He died of natural causes, and it's the truth. It's been a long time, but I'm sure you remember when the investigations were going on about his death, shortly before you were chosen as his successor. His food was tainted. Something to do with the soil? I don't know, I'm no natural philosopher."
"If his food was tainted, that tells me he didn't die of natural causes."
"Oh, but he did. Old age, you know? His food wasn't deliberately tainted, is what I'm trying to say. He wasn't poisoned, if that's what you're trying to get at. It was in the soil… It accelerated his death; he had complications."
"The soil was tainted then." Leonidas said as nodded. He wasn't entirely convinced, but at least he was starting to get some answers.
"Yes", nodded Chilsolm. "You've finally got it."
"And where was this garden?" asked Leonidas.
Chisolm rolled his eyes, "Man, you sure ask a lot of questions. Look, I don't have anything to do with it. I was just trying to set the Marshall straight. It's on the hill. And yes, if you're wondering, that very same hill. You might want to ask the Marshall about his own crops." His eyes turned to slits as he mentioned the name. A pure hatred was in his eyes. "I don't trust him. You want to start somewhere, check his crops. They might be tainted as well."
Leonidas nodded, "Where have we been getting our food? My food?"
Chisolm laughed again. "Oh, don't you worry, we don't get our food from the hill anymore. We grow our own out back."
"I see." Leonidas said. He was pensive as he thought of the situation. He didn't think Chisolm should be involved in the investigation. "Listen, I don't think it's a good idea for you to be involved in the investigation. I'll handle it. You're too much involved. I want you to call off that duel with the Marshall."
Chisolm nodded, "I understand. But I can't do that. You see, before the King had died, we got our food from the hill. Wouldn't you know it, he was also the gardener of that garden. Afterwards, we banished him from the garden and told him to stick to his own, but he was often seen around that hill doing who knows what. I can't tell you much, as the Queen would kill me, but there have been strange reports of things happening on that hill. It's been happening as far as I can remember. That hill could be… haunted. But don't look at me like that…"
Despite the late hour, Lyn was still at work in the armoury. Micah had gone home long ago, as had her assistants. She was still hard at work, trying to catch up on two gold-plated pistols the King wanted made. Geronimo had dropped in earlier in the day, needing Lyn to repair his shotgun. The delay had been a pleasant one, but it had put her behind. They had chatted briefly while Lyn skillfully mended the weapon. It seemed that Chisolm was being his usual obnoxious self, according to The Marshall's tale of that afternoon. In her opinion, the King relied far too heavily on that weasel. He would be wise to remove the Knight from his post and replace him with a man like Geronimo.
"That's enough for today." Lyn murmured to herself, realizing she was getting caught up in her thoughts. She gently picked up the two pistols and placed them in the lock-box. Despite being safely in the castle, there were untold numbers of enemies here. She could feel it- the sinister air so many people had. There were good people, such as Geronimo and the King, but she felt as though someone, or something, was plotting against them. People such as Queen Valanice, Chisolm, her assistants, and even Micah at times.
Removing her work gloves and apron, she took one last look around the armoury. The embers of the furnace cast a dying glow around the room, making bizarre creations out of the shadows. She closed the door and locked it, then walked softly down the staircase. Hopefully going home and curling up next in her big chair next to Micah would settle her troubled mind.
Leonidas was investigating the Hill as the clues given by Chisolm seemed to be worth investigating. However, it was getting rather late, with the two suns getting ready to set, and they hadn't yet found anything that Chisolm spoke of. He had to admit however, that the wind that was coming across the hill added to the atmosphere, and suddenly he got the chills. The horses that they were all on were starting to buck wildly and neigh as if something had spooked them. After some calming, it was agreed that they should head back to the castle and investigate in the morning, as something was definitely there, in the distance.
Chisolm who had stayed at the castle during the King's investigation was hatching a plan of his own during this time. He made sure nobody was following him or was nearby, when he broke into the armoury. He had keys for nearly every room in the castle, being the high knight. Once inside, he looked around, trying to find what he was looking for. The lock-box? What must be in there, he thought. As he started to approach it, he being the clumsy self that he was, tripped and fell, causing a terrible clang in the armour that he wore. He swore and hoped nobody heard him. But it was too late. He heard doors creaking open. He had to be quick now. He looked at the lock-box and wondered where the key was. Blast! He didn't have time to search, so he just took the box with him and snuck out. Seconds later, he could hear someone opening the door and asking if anyone was there.
With a lock-box and no key, he dashed madly out into the open courtyard and into the town center where he found the Marshall. It was sundown. Drat! And there was the Marshall, as promised, only now, Chisolm didn't have any way to counter-attack, so he just did his best. The Marshall looked at him and laughed. This was akin to a knight getting caught with his codpiece down.
"I…. This is not what it looks like, trust me!", he told the Marshall. " I was simply looking for the King so that I could give it to him, but maybe since you're here, you could give him this.", he said as he walked over to the Marshall and gave him the lock-box. "I'm sure he'll appreciate to see you with it.", Chisolm said
Armet Amenan was a hobbyist. During his spare time, he liked to look at the sky through his telescope. To him, the vistas were an amazing place, and he often wondered if anyone else was out there. He could easily spend hours, up until the morning daylight, and often friends would come and join him, and they would talk, hours on end about the things they could see.
Here tonight was a beautiful night, and the moon was starting to come out. It would appear to be a normal night like any other, but as he put his eye to the eyepiece, through it he could of sworn he saw the silhouetted image of something he'd never seen before obscure his view of the moon. Was he really seeing something or was it just his mind playing tricks on him? He wasn't sure. He looked again, but it was gone. He had to tell everyone else about what he saw tonight…
<-= Ready Room =->
Fifteen minutes seemed like an eternity to Mr Langford. Patience was not one of his strong qualities. He very much wished that he could skip this day and be in his bed, but no, he had duties. This mission had given him the duty of command in an unnatural circumstance that was racking his brain. He was having a hard time dealing with the Captain being gone, and he couldn't simply believe that he wouldn't come back. The Admiral had drilled in him the responsibility for his crew; the duty to perform as an officer of Starfleet. And he was determined to show that Admiral that he could and wouldn't let any of his crew down.
Another fifteen minutes were up, and another report was sent to the Admiral. Nothing had changed since the last one, and he was anxious to see some progress. At this point, he would much rather be observing some newly created supernova. He wasn't much of a scientist type, but he figured it would have to be more interesting than what he was doing now.
A bright flash of light obscured his vision momentarily, and he simply put it down to being tired, and wished he had some coffee, so he was about to reach for the replicator when, out of the corner of his eye, he saw someone unfamiliar approach him. He shook himself out of his daydream and looked up. What he saw was someone who didn't belong on the crew. Rather, it looked like someone who was disobeying dress code purposefully, wearing stockings on his head like a hat, and a uniform he didn't recognize. Time to be the Executive Officer, he told himself with a sigh.
"Can I help you?", Charles asked the man.
The man beamed a wide playful smile. Mischievous, you could say. "I think the real question you want to ask is whether I can help you."
"Pardon, Me? I'm sorry, I don't think I caught your name.", Charles asked. He could tell his would go on for a long time, and so he resigned himself to it.
"Oh", the man started, his lips forming an O, as if completely pleased with himself; like a child feeling like his plan was coming together. "My friends, my colleagues, and the feared ones simply call me Q."
Charles' shields went up immediately, and his mind called a red alert. "You're…." He began as he tried to look up in a hurried manner, the files belonging to this character that everyone knew as Q."
"Yes, the one and only Q", Q said nodding. "Quite frankly, i'm often viewed as a quantum singularity; a problem. Or rather problems gravitate towards me and then officers such as you tend to blame me for them."
Suddenly Langford flared with anger he hadn't shown before. "You did this, haven't you? You put my friends in danger, with no way to contact the ship."
Q shrugged his shoulders and put out his hands as if to show he had nothing. "Again, you see the pointing, don't you? It's rather gotten tireless. Starfleet and the Federation blaming me for its problems. Please… I'm only here to tell you that my hands are clean. No wonder you people get so stressed when seeing me. You seek to blame the first ones you see. No matter. I've gotten used to it over the years. Bring on the clowns, the jokers and buffoons. You see, I've had the time of my life, and the life of my times, among the company of fools."
Langford sighed. "Why are you here, Q?"
"As I said, maybe I can help you."
"Help me? How?" asked a perplexed Charles. He had heard stories of the Q not being particularly helpful. In fact, some of them, maybe even this very one, had thrown ships doing their exploration missions off their courses into inevitable danger, all in the name of a game. He was wondering if he should even be trusting a Q, but then, he figured he should at least listen to him and see what he had to say, afterall, he was in a bind here. He wanted to help his friends, his crew.
"My friend", Q said as he put his arm around the Commander, "Your crew is in grave danger." You don't think?, thought Charles. "But I can help you. I can tell you what you need to know in order to help them. You see, your crew are not themselves, acting in the interests of a third party. Something needs to happen in order for them to start to realize who they are. Someone needs to get the ball rolling, as you humans would say. That someone would be", and Q poked his finger at the Commander's stomach, "You."
Not exactly sure what he was doing, Charles nodded absent-mindedly. "Sure, Ok. What do I have to do exactly?"
"In about 5 minutes time, something will happen. Or rather, something should happen. You, my friend, will need to make yourself be seen, without giving yourself away. How you do this will be entirely up to you. But I should remind you, this should be done discretely. If this isn't done in time, you will never see your crew again."
Puzzled about Q's statement, he still wasn't sure what he had to do. If this isn't done in time, you will never see your crew again. The words had a tremendous impact on him. He had to act. He had no excuse now.
If this isn't done in time, you will never see your crew again.
He thought what about what he had to do and how to do it. He had very little precious time now. He thought about the planet and its people, and what they would be doing at this hour. What would a society such as that one do at night, something that would allow him for the Horizon to be seen. He thought about his childhood, his father, a prominent astronomer with many accolades. His father told him many times that Earth was a very curious society, always wondering what was out there… then it hit him like a brick.
He turned to thank Q, but he was gone. With a grin, he stood up and almost knocked the Admiral down who was coming for his reports as he rushed onto the Bridge.
"Helm, bring us about into the dark side of the planet."
"Aye sir, Working.", the helmsman replied
He watched as the ship set itself into the dark side's orbit. "We are about to be observed." Langford stated as he smiled.
Nearly being knocked off his feet didn't bode well with the Admiral, but, this was not his ship nor his command. In essence, he was just a bystander. Drawde was about to reprimand the commander for running him over but decided not to and instead, followed Langford on to the bridge.
When the door swooshed open the entire bridge was buzzing with some sense of urgency and save for the smile that graced the commander's face it looked as if something had possibly gone wrong.
"Commander Langford, a moment of your time please." asked the Admiral
Langford looked at the Admiral then back at the view screen and replied, "Admiral, Please forgive me but I am unable to talk at this moment. I have something very important to take care of and it needs to happen now."
Admiral D'Rinax was taken aback by the reply of the commander. It was a major change from what he had known the commander to be earlier on in this mission. Something had changed and in spite of the hard attitude given by Langford, Drawde was pleased. Please that the Commander had finally realized what is duty was.
Drawde removed the PADD from his breast pocket and began making some entries.
'Langford just may have what it takes after all' the Admiral thought to himself.
::Happiness spreads around::
Kain sat in the bar. He looked around worried all the people seemed to be concerned about the away teams who hadn’t reported in yet. Kain had tried a lot of things to cheer them up a bit. He had some music played new drinks and snacks. He had long talks to some of them but nothing seemed to work. “I should have listened to my friend he told me this captain was good at getting lost” he said and stood up again to move to his side of the bar as a few more came in.
One of the group walked to him. “2 whiskey 1 martini 3 rum” the crewman said. Kain nodded and check his small terminal to see if all the man where off duty to see if he need sintanol replicated stuff or the true deal. They all checked out so he went to get the correct bottles. Just the average stuff as they didn’t specify which brands. And in those cases Kain just took of which he had a good stock and was not to expensive. He pored the glasses and placed them on a plate and moved to the table the group had taken seats. “2 whiskey 1 martini and 3 rum anything ells I can get for you?” The crewman who had ordered the drink shook his head.
Kain moved back to the bar picking up a cinnamon cookie along his way. But wile he did that he bumped into a young crewman or better said crewwoman. “I am sorry I lost my balance I guess” He said to her. “No problem Happens to the best and at least the plate was empty” She said with a smile. Kain nodded and placed the plate on the table picking up a other cookie. “Yes lucky indeed. Can I ask your name madam?” He said with a soft smile. “Liari, Liari Ciquin. I just came onboard before we left for this mission.” Kain nodded. “That’s a beautiful name Quite unusual or at least I have never heard it before. Anyway can I get you something? I think I own you one after my bump in.” Liari nodded “Bring me something I never been much of a drinker but you’re the expert so bring me what you use to drink” She blushed a little Kain noted but he nodded. “on its way”
Kain moved back to the bar picking up two glasses and picked his personnal bottle of whiskey. He doubted she would like it but she wanted what he drank. He also picked up a bowl of freshly backed chocolate chip cookies. Once he had it all he moved back to Liari. “there you go and I brought some freshly backed cookies to.” Kain stould on the other side of the table looking at her. “Thank you. Your very kind and so happy it seems in this situation. I wonder…” before she could finish her sentence she coughed and Kain laughed a little as he knew it was coming. “And how do you like this 20 year old single malt of the Garion family?”
Liari shook her head a little and than looked at him. “You could have warned me damn you.” And she laughed to. It had a reaction on those in the room and Kain felt their moods lift a little. “And ruin the fun? No thanks but you wanted what I drunk so that it is try sipping it.” Kain picked up a cookie and chewed on it. Liari brought the glass back to her mount and sipped from it. Her face got a little red from it. “That is better indeed. Still next time I would prefer it if you warn me.” Kain nodded “I will. What would you think about a little holodeck adventure at 2100? I have a beautiful program of a lake in the wild very serene. Quiet a sight if you ask me.” She nodded setting the glass down. “I hold you to that 2100 holodeck 2” Kain smiled “I be there, but now if you excuse me I have costumers to aid.” With that he stepped away taking his glass with him and raised it in a toast as he walked and drained it.
As he stepped back behind the bar he saw Liari sipping from the whiskey and clearly in deep thought. But than he focussed on the 3 persons at the bar. “How can I be of service?” He took their orders and went back to work but setting a alarm at 20:30.
"I saw something", Armet Amenan thought to himself silently. Had he really seen something or was it part of his imagination, his want of seeing something after observing the sky since a boy? Was it geniune? His mind raced and his heart beat quick; he could almost feel it leaping out of him in excitement. He'd finally be known as someone who discovered something…. "I saw something!", he this time said aloud. Heads turned to see the man, his arms in the air in a cheer of exultation. Some were curious and approached, while others were more reserved.
"You found something?", someone asked. "What is it you found?"
"Aww, you leave him alone!", someone else interrupted, putting a hand on the other's shoulder. "He couldn't have found anything important. Not after the last time he thought he saw flying dragons…" The man laughed heartily. "Tall tales if you ask me."
The first man turned towards the second man and said, "It wouldn't hurt to know what he saw." Then he turned and gestured towards the astronomer. "Come on Armet, you going to tell us or not? We're all dying to know what you saw."
The aging Armet looked at the both of them, concern in his eyes; a certain longing sadness. "It looked like a great bird."
"A great bird!", exclaimed the second man. "Well, that's a start, I suppose. Though it doesn't sound much different from those dragons of yours."
"It covered the whole moon. It looked like it had a long pointy beak and two wings, but I couldn't see much detail.", Armet explained.
The first man started to see the second man's point, as he pointed out it could have just been a bird flying in the distance. Doubt filled him.
"But would a bird appear at such an altitude?", explained Armet, and the both of them looked at him. He looked like he had a point, but the second man approached, and pointed a finger at the sky.
"It depends. If it was a swallow, it probably didn't have the velocity needed for such an altitude."
The first man was getting impatient. He couldn't see these two men argue. "We can't keep arguing about this. There has to be a better way of explaining what you saw."
Armet was pacing, thinking, and then it hit him. "In 15 minutes, you can see it for yourselves. If my calculations are correct, the great bird should reveal itself again in that time. All we have to do is wait."
Word of his discovery grew around town, until there was a line waiting to see the object through his telescope. During his preperations, he prayed to the holy spirit. "Oh lonely spirit, please show me that the great bird of the galaxy is real!"
The first person in line was actually the skeptic as proving him would help his cause, and show him that he really wasn't crazy. At first, as the man put his eye to the eyepiece, he saw nothing out of the ordinary. He was disappointed. But then…. His eyes nearly popped out of their sockets. "Great scott! He's right! It's a great bird!", he exclaimed in excitement. "But…", he began, but the sound of his voice was drowned out by the sound of a shot coming from the other end of town.
Suddenly, those who were in line no sooner than later dispersed towards the noise to see what the noise was all about, including the astronomer, leaving the man alone on the ladder up to the eyepiece of the telescope. "My God…", the man exclaimed, but attention was no longer on him and was unheard.
Kain heard some beeps and knew it was the alarm he had set. So he walked forward to the only group of 4 who where still inside and asked them to leave as he was going to close down. They nodded to him and one took a bowl of the cookies with him. “I want that bowl back when you’re done with the cookies.” Kain said with a laugh as they left. As soon as they where outside Kain closet the door and made a quick sweep of the bar. Throwing away all left over cookies and rink and cleaned the place up. Once done he made his way to his quarters.
Once inside he took a quick sonic shower and dressed up in plain clothes and belted his hunting knife to his back. When done he made his way to the holodeck. He arrived 5 min early and walked to the access terminal. “Computer start program Kain Garion lake alpha” A beep later and Kain walked inside. He found himself on a small wooden port looking at a large sail boot. The Seafox some long gone family member once used this sleek ship to smuggle gold to India. She was a beauty to look at.
As he came onboard he was greeted by it captain he had named Chion. “How’s the weather today Capt?” Kain asked as he walked to the bow. “Perfect better as yesterday lots of wind and rain.” Kain looked around and nodded. “Good well prepare for a trip along the shore we have a lady guest today so make sure everyone is dressed properly.” The captain smiled. “aye sir I will begin with the preparation now” And he shouted some lines. Kain took place in one of the convertible chairs on the bow and took a whiskey that one of the servants brought to him.
Liari Walked in casual clothes around the ship towards the holodeck. She was a bit nervous she never went this fast on a date but it was hard to resist that smiling face of the barkeep. As she arrived at the holodeck she saw that a program was already running so she stepped inside. Once inside she was stunned Kain Hadn’t lied about the view it was stunning and so peaceful. She looked around for a view min before she focussed of the large sailing ship. Guessing it was the place to be and thinking she spotted Kain on the bow she walked towards it and boarded. As she stepped on-board, she was greeted by a Captain. “Welcome onboard the Seafox miss Liari. Mister Garion is on the bow would you like to meet him?”
Lari had to hold back her laugh this was the joking barkeeps ship? It wouldn’t have misplaced for a rich English lord. “I would love to and you got a nice ship here captain”. The captain bowed and moved towards the bow. When the two arrived he bowed again and spook to Kain. “Sir miss Liari.” Kain nodded to him and the captain left. After that Kain rose for his chair. “Welcome onboard and how do you like the Seafox Milady?” Liari found it all to funny. “It is perfect. Also my full name is Liari Faquin please inform your captain about this for the next time.” Kain bowed “My apologies I will make sure it wont happen again. Would you like a seat miss Faquin?”
Liari nodded and took a seat and Kain followed her. Just as they where both seated servants showed up with drinks and refreshments. Also the captain came around the corner again. “We are all ready for departure sir” Kain smiled “Understood take her out” With hat he left again and so did the servants.
“I hope this refunds my bumps in the bar” Kain said normal this time. “I would think so, but I have to be honest I never expected to find this in a holodeck program on a barkeep” Kain laughed. “I have stile to milady. I even arranged your favourite drink a good whiskey” He said and offered her a glass. “your still a barkeep“ she said and raised the glass in a toast. After that they both went quiet for a wile and enjoyed the view.
Lyn was restless. She'd been laying in bed for about an hour, and her mind was still racing. She couldn't shake the feeling that something was terribly wrong. Finally, she quietly got out of bed and slipped into a comfortable over sized sweater and a pair of jeans, trying not to wake Micah. He had been overly protective of her recently, and she knew he wouldn't like the idea of her going out at night. On her way our the door, she grabber her pistol in its holster and secured the belt it was attached to around her waist. It never hurt to have it.
As she walked under the clear night sky through town, Lyn found her feet leading her towards the outskirts. She was just about to turn back to town when a voice from off to her left startled her. "This is crazy…", the voice murmured. She grabbed her pistol and dropped low to the ground. Crawling over to the cover of a rock, she peeked around the corner, trying to see who the voice belonged to. Upon seeing one of her assistants standing on a ladder up by Armet's telescope gazing at the sky, she stood up and went towards him. I should have know it was nothing bad! Guess I'm a little on edge Lyn thought to herself.
"How are the stars tonight, Simon?" Lyn asked as she stopped by his side. The tall, lanky man jumped and turned to look at her, his eyes wide with surprise.
"Oh! I didn't see you there, Lyn!" He replied, as his body untensed. "Look at what Armet found! I think it's a ship or something! Everyone else was here too, but they left when they heard the shot from across town. We didn't believe Armet at first. You know, the with the whole dragon incident.."
Lyn nodded and tried to suppress her laughter. "What did he find?" she inquired.
"I was hoping you would ask! Come take a look!" He exclaimed, coming down the ladder so Lyn could come and have a look. Lyn sighed, not really wanting to look. But he had been a good worker in the armoury and he seemed like a trustworthy person. Pressing her eye to the eyepiece, she gazed at the sky, looking for some sort of abnormality. A small wisp of cloud hung lazily in front of the moon. Then she realized it wasn't a cloud at all. It was a ship! A starship!
Suddenly daggers of pain shot through Lyn's temple. She grasped her head and collapsed to the ground. Though her eyes were closed, intense pictures flashed through her mind- a space station, seeing that very starship hanging in space through a window, a man with spots on his face and dark brown hair..the images kept coming like a torrent of water having smashed through a dam. Then abruptly they stopped and Lyn was left on the ground. She slowly opened her eyes, and she saw Simon's concerned face above her. "McCorski..?" Lyn said quietly, her eyes narrowed in concentration.
"Lyn..? What are you talking about?" Simon asked, looking perplexedly at her. It was like he knew what she was talking about, but couldn't figure out why he knew.
Lyn stood up are grabbed his sholders. "Don't you remember?" Simon grasped his forehead, too."We work on a starship.. it's called the.. um.."
"The Horizon." Cyrus McCorski blurted. "You're right.. I do remember something about it. You're not Lyn. You're Rynen Dale. But- but what about all this?" He asked, gesturing around them.
"I'm not sure." Rynen replied, shaking her head. "But for now, we have to find the rest of the crew. They're probably where the gunshot was heard. Follow my lead. Given what's been going on, I think someone here would prefer we didn't know about our lives on the Horizon."
Owain Taggart & Rynen Dale
Leonidas had tried sleeping, but it was no good. He had heard the noise, and it had sounded terrible, and he was concerned that someone had been shot. Quickly, he got dressed and was out and about. He mounted his horse and rushed to the scene. Along the way, all he could think of were the words said by Chisolm; the challenge he had sent to the Marshall, and was afraid that one of them had been shot.
Upon arriving, a crowd had gathered as they all had come to see what the commotion was all about. They parted away to clear a path when they saw him. He dismounted and kneeled down, looking both at the Marshall and Chisolm, who had both been knocked down onto their backs. They looked unconscious, but he couldn't tell. He waved a hand in the air, searching for some aid while searching the crowd.
Rynen and Cyrus arrived shortly after the King. She saw the Marshall and Chisolm on the ground. Neither were moving, and Rynen feared the worse. She ran over and kneeled next to the bodies and Leonidas. Quickly searching for the wounds that were the source of the blood slowly covering more and more of the ground, she snuck a glance at the King. It was Owain, alright. Perhaps with a little more facial hair and wearing a crown, but it was him for sure.
"Sir, I need to talk to you about something very important as soon as possible." She said quietly enough that no one else could hear her. Rynen didn't want anyone to know that she had finally realized the deception.
Leonidas looked at the woman, and wondered what was so important. He had to get Chisolm and the Marshall back to the castle for some aid, or they could die. "What is it? It better be important."
A slight smile tugged the corners of Rynen's lips. How could she not have seen it before? He may be going by a different name, but this man was obviously Captain Owain Taggart. "If you don't mind, sir, I'd prefer if we could talk about it in a more.. private setting. I'm not sure who I can trust with this information. And anyways, we need to get these two back to the castle."
Leonidas nodded. He knew what she meant, and he could hardly trust his own people back at the castle anymore. He didn't know who was telling the truth, and this latest event made it all the more unsettling. "Very well, if you insist."
About an hour later, Rynen and Leonidas were back at the castle. She had been waiting outside the barracks for Leonidas to come out. He'd been in there with the doctors, Chisolm, and the Marshall since they had gotten the two back to the castle. Finally the door opened and the King stepped out, a weary look on his face.
"Well, the Marshall will survive, but Chisolm has lost a lot of precious blood. I'm not sure if he'll live to see the morrow." He sighed and gestured towards a wooden bench and looked at the woman. "I knew I should of stopped them, but when Chisolm puts his mind to it, there's no stopping him, even when the situation outnumbers him. What is it you wanted to tell me?"
Rynen sat down on the bench next to Leonidas. It felt so odd to have such a distant conversation with this man. She'd known him for such a long time, but now it was like she was talking to an entirely different person. "Well.. I don't really know where to start. I guess.. Have you noticed how things have been odd lately?" She began, staring at her hands, "Don't you feel like something's not right? Like half the people Dundas are conspiring against you? Like you can't trust them?" She looked to the King, trying to read his expression. She still hadn't gotten her empathic and telepathic powers back entirely yet. Probably a side effect of whatever technique the crew had been brainwashed with.
Leonidas nodded. He certainly noticed a few odd things happening, but he couldn't tell when they had started happening. "You mean with that witchy woman I call my Queen?" He let out a laugh that had seemed so uncharactiristic of Leonidas, more like someone… else.. "Yes. I feel as though this latest event is perhaps connected, though I can't fathom what. I only know I can't quite trust her" He put a finger on his lips and then looked at her in the eyes. "But I get this odd feeling that I often don't know who I am anymore or why I am the King."
Rynen smiled at the comment about the Queen. She could tell Owain was in there somewhere. She just needed to find him. "The reason you feel you can't trust her is because frankly, you can't. You aren't actually the King of Dundas. And I'm not actually a gunsmith. And my name isn't actually Lyn." She looked him in the eyes, trying to read what he was feeling. She was glad she normally didn't need to rely on this human method. This was much harder than just knowing what people were feeling.
"I'm not?" he asked her incredulously. He couldn't quite make up his mind, though instinct right now was telling him to trust her. He was trying hard to accept the information she was giving him as it was coming all at once. He shook his head in disbelief. "Then, who am I? And why am I, or you, or anyone else here? What is our purpose in life?"
"Your name is Owain Taggart. You are the Captain of a starship named the Horizon. We were here looking for the USS Ozborn. We came down as part of an away team. I'm not sure what happened after that. I just regained my memory after looking through Armet's telescope at our ship." Rynen explained. There was no turning back now.
Leonidas was thinking. He got up from the bench and started to pace, much like he did on the Horizon. "That man has had a lot of tall tales…. Likes to believe what he sees. But…. maybe he isn't as crazy as we made him out to be. If what you say is true and I'm really a Starship Captain, then someone is out there trying to put a stop to our discovery. Something tells me Queen Valanice needs a visit.", he said while looking at Rynen. "Something also tells me she isn't a Queen. Are you up for a little adventure?", he asked her with a twinkle in his eye. "I believe that's what Captain Taggart would do…"
Rynen smiled, and impulsively hugged the Captain. "It's good to have you back, Owain. And I'm always up for an adventure." She replied, a mischievous look on her face.
"Owain Taggart", he replied. "I always knew I liked that name. It's a relief to find out I don't have a name like… like Leonidas.", he said with a laugh. He smiled back and put an arm around her shoulder. "Do me a favour and never let me be anyone else but me…"
"Done." Rynen said. "Now what shall we do with this Queen of yours?"
"Sign the divorce papers," he said playfully as he winked at her.
Owain Taggart. That's who he was. He wasn't Leonidas, as Leonidas was part of someone's imagination, and that whoever that someone was, they were definitely a sick and twisted individual. It was a feeling of great relief to finally know why things didn't quite feel 'right' like they should be feeling. His surroundings finally felt foreign again, and he wondered how he could have even called this home. It was quite primitive, to say the least. As he felt the top of his head, there was the crown. He laughed and held it in his hands. It was actually quite heavy, and he didn't really know how Kings could wear them for long periods of time. He sighed and put it back on top of his head. While he was no longer Leonidas, he still felt he had to create the illusion that he was.
Then he looked back at Rynen, who was waiting for orders, and he knew what he must do. He was tired and worn out, as this whole thing had put a physical strain on him and he couldn't wait to get back to the ship, his real home. The twinkle in her eyes actually put him at ease and reminded him that he was doing this for his crew. His crew; that's right… he had a crew and they were all out there doing whatever. Not all of them he knew, had realized who they were yet. They needed that swift kick in the pants; some convincing that this had been a trick.
He knew he couldn't do this all on his own; that's what his crew was for. They needed to get this over and done with and find what they really came here for. He grasped her shoulders, looked at her in the eyes. "Before we do this, I think it would be best to try to find the rest of the crew. If she finds out, she may get the whole castle after both of us. Find the rest of the crew and then come back here. I'll be in my quarters. For this to work, I have to pretend that I'm the King, one last time. Then I'll confront her. That will be when it's time to storm the room with your security team. If I know her, she'll back down when she knows she's surrounded." He gave her a squeeze of the shoulder, a knowing affection which he didn't show lightly.
-= King's Quarters =-
One last time around the block, one would say. Owain was tired and weary, and wanted to just get it over with. He was also nervous, but couldn't show it as Queen Valanice, or whoever she was, would most likely see right through him that something was up. As he thought about it, he was narrowing the possibilities of who this person was, which caused him an uncomfortable feeling in the pit of his stomach. Was it really?
He heard the door open. It was hard to not notice, actually, as it squeaked when it opened and closed, and there was Valanice. He was drawn to her beauty which made her hard to resist, much like an Orion woman had pheremones to make her irresistable to men. But he had to shake himself out of that thought. Now was not the time.
"Well?", she asked, tapping her toes with unpatience, her arms crossed.
He turned to look at her, and he knew what she was asking. He lowered his head again, as if to show resignation and concern for the fallen. He took a deep breath. "The Marshall will survive. He was lucky. Unfortunately for Chisolm," he turned again to look at her, his eyes piercing at her, yet full of sadness. "Unfortunately for Chisolm, he took the brunt of the damage and has lost too much blood. The prognosis isn't good. He will die in the morrow."
The cold woman, her temperature being felt clearly in this room, with Owain getting chills, sat down at the edge of the bed and grasped Owain's chin, looking straight into his eyes. "He was a good man. He was my son. Yet, you couldn't do anything to save him."
Full of chills, Owain didn't know what to do. He didn't know if what she was saying was a statement or an accusation. All he knew was that… He wasn't a doctor, or a king. He was a Captain. "I'm sorry…"
"It was foolish to think it would work.", she admitted. "What have I done?"
Owain looked at her. Her manner had changed. Was she admitting her wrongdoing? He had to test her. "I'm sorry? Have you done anything?"
Eyes wide, it looked like she was deeply afraid that something had gone terribly wrong. She was shaken. This time Owain grasped her shoulders and shook her a bit, reminding himself why he was here. "Captain Ogleby. Does the name ring a bell?"
She grasped her crown atop her own head and held it dearly. "I…. yes. I've done so much wrong, haven't I?"
He heard the door opening again. He knew who it was, and when Rynen came in with others from her security team, he held a hand out as if to tell her to stand by. She was just in time to hear a confession, or so he hoped.
"Captain Ogleby. I'm no King, I know as much. I'm Captain Owain Taggart of the USS Horizon, here to investigate your mysterious disappearance. I believe we've found you." He smiled at her; she smiled back, and she knew it would all be Ok. He smiled at Rynen.
Kain was ready to open his bar again after a short night sleep. His memories of the holodeck where still fresh and he felt a little dizzy. But for the good of his business he cleared his mind and opened the door. He welcomed the first view early birds with some good coffee, energy bars and sandwiches.
Most of the people he recognised at once but most familiar was a group of 5 crewman of the engineering team who had made it some sort of a ritual to start the day at his bar. He walked towards the group with a smile. “Coffee and some nice sandwiches I presume.” He didn’t await a answer but just paced the plate on their table. One of them looked up and smiled. “Glad you remember I am to tired to do it myself” Kain smiled and walked of to prepare more sandwiches from other people. He was glad he had started this service to as it did make him some more profit.
20 min Later the bar was empty again as all the people had to start their shifts. Kain was glad for this break as it gave him time to bake his cookies and clean up the place again. “In a whole day they make less of a mess than in the first 20 min” He said as he cleaned a table.
“Not surprisingly the last thing in the morning they think of is to clean or keep things clean” A voice said and Kain smiled. “Crewmen Liari shouldn’t you be working to now?” Kain said as he turned around to face her. She smiled “I am you reported that one of your ovens had broken down I am here to fix it.” Kain shook his head. “I wouldn’t have placed you in engineering when I saw you. But you are correct number 3 broke down and I have no idea what is wrong with it. You can find it in the kitchen area it is the only one not on at this time” Liari nodded and moved the kitchen area.
Kain shook his head. "After all these years," he thought and went on with his work.
-= On The Hill =-
They had all assembled on the hill now. Owain had his officers, and those who had been Ogleby's knights were actually her officers. They were all assembled now as her crew was showing Owain's crew why the hill was of so much importance. Ogleby walked towards an arrangement of tall shrubs and vines and trees which had overgrown, and as she got closer she parted them away to reveal a wooden surface; a shack Owain hadn't seen at night when he had investigated earlier. Right next to it was a garden, and Owain remembered what he had been told about the soil. He grabbed a handful of soil and sniffed at it and was about to put some on his tongue before one of his science officers glared at him. "Sir, tricorder is reading that the soil is irriadiated. I wouldn't do that if I were you." Sure enough the crackles seemed to indicate that there was much radiation coming from the soil, and even more as it was pointed towards the shack. He promptly dropped the soil and looked on at Ogleby who was now unlocking a padlocked door. She motioned for him to follow, and he did the same to his team.
They moved forward and inside, and there, the tricorder readings went off the scale. Phasers were drawn in caution and the mood was tense, the lightning not being very good. But as far as he could tell, the shack was full of machinery, looking to belong to Starfleet. He looked at Ogleby who seemed to understand and approached him. "Yes, that's one of my shuttlecraft, or what was left of it anyway.", she explained as he looked down, ashamed of what had happened. "Her propulsion is what's causing all this radiation. We had to quickly build something around it as to not attract attention to it. I didn't want anyone like you discovering what was going on."
Owain nodded, and prodded the discussion forward. "And what did go on then? A few months ago, you sent your last transmission and we never heard from you again
Ogleby took a deep breath, looked on nervously at Owain and continued, "Well, we were minding our own business sending sensor data back to Starfleet. In fact, you could say the whole crew was very excited and the scientists were very happy about being able to do research about dual suns. Some of us were getting ready to head to the surface and investigate the mysterious subspace signals. It was then that we were ambushed by nothing we had seen before. Nothing in the database matched what was being seen. I tried my best to hold them off, but it quickly became apparent, that the Ozborn was no match. My Away Team and I, including Commander Holmes, who you know as Chisolm felt it was best to leave in the shuttlecraft you see here while the rest of the crew left in escape pods. The Ozborn disentegrated, and whatever attacked us never seemed to bother us again."
"We resigned ourselves to living on this planet and making the best of it when we realized we probably never would have been saved. We used the resources on this planet to build us a society and try to live as much a nornal life as possible. Things were going pretty well, and you came along. By then, you could say the radiation created by the shuttlecraft was starting to really affect us, to the point that I thought we could make you stay here and help make our society survive by not letting you leave; by making you think you were something you were not." She let out a nervous laugh and then started a muffled cry, "To think of all the stupid things I've done…"
Owain shook his head. "You do of course realize I have to put you and your crew under arrest? You've endangered your crew, not to mention me and my crew, and Starfleet will not look at this lightly. In fact, as soon as you arrive back to Starfleet controlled airspace, the first thing they will want to do is give you a court-marshall for losing the Ozborn."
Ogleby sighed and dropped to her knees in front of Owain in protest. "No, Captain. I believe I belong here. This is my place. I'd only be labeled an outcast with Starfleet. At least here, I can live my life as I see fit."
"What about your crew then? Will they want to stay with you when they know what you've done?", Owain asked, looking over to her followers. None of them said a word, however they all looked at each other and then shuffled on towards him.
Ogleby looked on incredulously, a shocked look on her face, and shrugged with resignation. "Ok, you win, Captain. Take me away."
Owain stared at her sternly and nothing happened for what seemed like an eternity, and then finally as if finally noticing that something was wrong, she threw up both arms. "What?"
"The commbadges. You took them away from us when we first appeared on the planet.", Owain told her, "We can't leave until you give them back."
"Nothing gets passed you", she said with a crooked smile as she fished for the communicators in her pocket. "Alright, here they are."
Owain took them and distributed them among the crew and finally whole again when he pinned it back onto his makeshift uniform. "This is Captain Taggart to the Horizon. Do you read? I repeat, this is Captain Taggart to the Horizon.", he said as he tapped the commbadge.
Endless wait on the Horizon
Sam was one of the few left on board the Horizon, as the eloquent Captain Taggart had said "Someone has to stay behind."
He now sat in the Helmsman's chair, it had been hours since they had heard anything. It was unnerving to think how easy it would be for them to be boarded and taken. He slipped Commander Langford a quick glimpse, Sam's first opinion of the Commander was that he had been given the misfortune of being born without a good pair of balls, but he now seemed to be slowly stepping up to his role.
Sam looked over his controls they were still orbiting the planet and the longer they waited the less likely to hear from them they would be, it would be unlucky if the Captain and his crew died he had enjoyed the little time that he had spent with the crew, and the Captain seemed capable.
The admiral had been in the ready room for a long time, more than likely going over everyones profiles. Which still didn't sit well with him, his own record had been expunged but who know what an admiral can pull up, and if Sam's smuggling arrest or any of his other rather illegalities or run ins with Star Fleet was pulled up he was sure there would be questions into his background.
"These thoughts won't help me or the Captain and his crew,"thinks Sam.
2 hours later
"Commander Langford we're receiving a transmission from the Planet…it's the Captain."
Sam awaited Langford's response heart beating faster than it had in years, adrenaline pumped through his veins like drugs would, giving him a rush of energy, finally the had heard from the Captain…finally they could get away from this damn planet!
-= Bridge | USS Horizon =-
Waiting was often the hardest part of a Starfleet Officer's job. You often never knew if your decision was the right one taken until the very last minute. It was especially hard when one didn't have any contact with an Away Team awaiting results. This moment of moments was often called a nailbiter among high ranking officers, and it also meant for the possibility that an away team wouldn't make it out alive.
Commander Langford was in this very situation. He had given an order and hoped against all odds that his decision had been the right one taken, and waited for what seemed like an eternity for any sign that he had been right. The thought had even crossed his mind that he might have to leave the Captain if he didn't hear from him soon, though wished that to be an unlikely scenario. The mood was tense; the wait unbearable.
"Commander Langford, we're receiving a transmission from the Planet…it's the Captain!", exclaimed the Operations Officer on duty.
Suddenly, a smile formed upon Langford's face as he stood up to walk over to the Operations Officer and placed a hand on his shoulder. "Let's hear it."
"This is Captain Taggart to the Horizon. Do you read? I repeat, this is Captain Taggart to the Horizon.", said the familiar and welcome voice at the other end. This was a welcome indeed, and Langford felt the relief immediately.
=/\= "This is Commander Langford. We read you. Welcome Back, sir!" =/\=
"Damn, it's good to hear your voice, Commander.", Owain said with a relief in his voice, "We're ready to beam up. We've got Captain Ogleby and her crew with us."
Langford nodded, even though he knew the Captain couldn't see him. =/\= "Acknowledged, sir. Transporter Room will be ready to receive you in a moment. Stand by." =/\=
Communication was cut, and Langford was grinning from ear to ear. It seemed everyone on the bridge shared the same sentiment. "Sir, feel like coming to greet our Captain back on board?", Langford asked the Admiral through his communicator.
He had done it. They had all done it.
"It worked.", Langford mumbled under his breath. "It really did work."
Sam sat at his post reading the sensor information that was fed to his station, so that he could fly the ship without hitting anything. It was a good bit of information, but his eyes skimmed over it quickly, seeing nothing had changed since the last time he looked at it he allowed himself to take a second to think of the thing that had happened, and ponder what would happen next.
The Commander, who was finally believing in himself, had gone with the Admiral to meet the Captain and the returning crew. Sam looked around at the crew left on the bridge it was full of mainly lower officers that probably hadn't even been in too many battles, soon the old crew would be coming back on and him and the rest of the now bridge crew would be bumped back to the boring but sometimes exciting night shift.
As he shifts in his seat he remembers the week or so that he had with Ginny before coming on board the Horizon it had been complete bliss but now she was undoubtedly down in the medical bay checking over the crew as they came back. Sam longed to get back into space where things were somewhat normal again, or maybe they would be attacked and then he would be able to show off his skills as pilot, this last mission had been just little bit boring for him at least, he was not the type to sit and do nothing while all the action happened somewhere else.
Sam looked at the small numbers at the top of his station, that told the time, his shift would end in about 3 hours, he sincerely hoped that they would be gone before then…back to a station would be nice his personal selection of alcohol was running low and he hated synthesized alcohol…
-= Transporter Room | USS-Horizon =-
Commander Langford stood by, smiling, yet anxious for his Captain's return. It seemed that despite the transporter technology, how fast it brought people back from where they were, there was still an air of nervousness as crews waited, perhaps due to the stories from the early days where transporters were primarily for cargo and not tuned to reconstitute matter and cells into recognizable beings.
He took a deep breath and nodded towards the transporter technician on duty to go ahead. The technician worked his magic, and fuzzy blue shapes that appeared over the pads became more and more recognizable as the moment wore on until they were unmistakably the away team.
As Owain and the rest took a moment to get their bearings, he heard a friendly familiar voice welcoming back aboard.
"Welcome back, sir!", exclaimed Langford.
Owain turned his face towards his XO and smiled warmly as he stepped off the pad. "Good to be back.", he said, still taking in the Horizon's atmosphere which was quite the change from the planet. "Where's the admiral?"
"Oh, I guess he's still busy doing reports.", explained Langford.
Owain nodded, but suddenly frowned as he saw a hand wave from behind Langford that didn't belong to his XO. It belonged to a smug looking person who seemed to be smiling with glee and hadn't been there a moment ago. It had seemed to just "appear". "Welcome aboard, my friend. Welcome aboard", it said.
Owain looked at him with disgust. "I'm not in the mood for games. Get off my ship, Q." That had more or less been an order.
"Oh, you should be thanking me, Captain. I helped save your life!", Q exclaimed with a certain pity.
Smug as ever, Owain thought as he lunged for Q. Langford had a WTF look on his face as it looked like Owain was coming straight toward him. He had just enough time to dodge when Q was taken by surprise, the hit connecting with Q's nose with a crack causing Q to stumble backwards on the deck.
Owain shook his hand and smiled while turning towards Langford as they both started for the door, "That felt good."
"You wound me, Captain.", Q said. "And I thought you were so unlike Benjie. It's over between us." And then with a puff of smoke, disappeared.
Langford looked over his shoulder, "You know, I wouldn't have done that. He helped me to realize what I needed doing to rescue you. Couldn't have done it without him."
"Really.", Owain exclaimed in a disbelieving manner, "Do me a favour and set up a debriefing for an hour from now."
Langford nodded, "Welcome back, sir."
Kain Was overjoyed with the news the Captain and the away teams where back. Even more overjoyed when he got permission to make a party in the bar to celebrate it all. He closed down the bar so he had time to prepare. He moved all the low tables to the back and stacked them so they where out of the way. In their place he dropped down a few more high tables meant to stand at. =/\=Crewman Chung please report to the bar I need you aid=/\= He said in his combadge wile working.
5 minutes later some one knocked on the door and Kain let him in. “Chung good to see you. I need you help I am organising a party for the Captains return and you always said you where such a great kook of the Asian kitchen.” Chung slapped Kain on the back. “And you want me to kook for them huh. In you bar.” Kain smiled. “Indeed that I want I have a duel wok setup which we can place behind the bar or no wait place it in front of the windows there you deserve to be seen.” Chung laughed at Kain busy talking. “count me in you know I love to cook.” Kain smiled. “thank you chung You are a good friend.” With that Chung left back to his duties.
Kain didn’t stop moving he placed silver plates on all tables and on those silver bowls for snack cookies and small cakes. Once that was all ready he readied Chung area and started to replicate all the ingredients the man would need save for the seasoning which he knew Chung would bring himself. Once all was done he looked around happy in a hour the party could begin. =/\= Garion to the bridge Party is a go in 1 hour=/\=
Sam was relieved of his station by another crewman, he was more than happy to leave the bridge, he felt edgy, ready to leave. This had been a bad luck mission and for his first on board the Horizon, he was excited to see what else awaited them, in the vastness of space.
Sam walked to the turbo lift and took it down to the ships bar, but after seeing the hurried movements, he knew that the crew had set up for a party, he didn't feel like going to any party, so he headed back to the turbolift this time for his quarters.
He walked in and a wave of emotion came over him it took him a minute to figure out what it was…
He saw flashes of fire, and people screaming…
Then he knew what it was it was his last bad luck mission on his parents freighting ship, he shakily sat down on his bed and pulled out the bourbon that he kept under his pillow and drank from the bottle. These visions kept popping up in his head, they were the reason he was in Star Fleet, but no record was kept of what happened on board that ship…
Sam shook his head he hated thinking about those things…those awful screams.
He lifted the bottle to his lips and drank the bourbon heavily. Then laying on his back he passed out, praying that he would have dreams of Ginny and not of his screaming dead crew.
-= A Few Short Hours Ago =-
As Owain stepped onto the Bridge, he felt grateful for the Horizon; grateful for its crew and grateful to be home again. There was a time, unbeknown to him where he could of been stranded on the planet. But its crew worked for a solution to bring the Away Team back; would never disappoint their Captain. As Leonidas, he was a ruler of a world, here he was Captain of a crew. The main difference between these two was that Owain actually cared for his people, knew he would miss them if something ever happened.
This was his home, no doubt about it. He would never let anything get in the way of that. Would always do his damned best for his crew even if it meant losing some dignity for it. His home. His Bridge. His Horizon.
He sat in his chair, staring at the vastness of space, wondering what else was there, where else this ship would take them. "To Infinity and Beyond", Erizmus Taggart, his symbiont told him.
"Good to be back.", he told the bridge. They smiled and knew exactly what the Captain meant. "Mr Jones?"
Startled, the helmsman looked at the Captain. "Sir?"
"Plot a course for Jericho Station. Warp 6", Owain ordered the officer, who smiled in turn.
"Aye, sir", he said as he pushed some buttons. "Course plotted. Engage?"
Owain nodded, "Yes, let's get the hell out of dodge…"
-= Ten Forward =-
The Debriefing would start soon, and he knew everyone wanted to know just what happened down there and what was found. He had called for an informal debriefing to be held in Ten Forward, with the idea that it would be feast time once all the details had been exhausted.
"Dundas. A Town of danger, mystery and intrigue.", Owain started off by saying, all eyes on him,. "Allow me to say that this mission was beyond unsual. What started off as a routine mission was decidedly not so. We were ordered here to this dual sun System, this M-Class planet to investigate the disappearance of Captain Ogleby and her crew of the USS Ozborn. Transmissions from the ship had ceased, and Starfleet was convinced that something had happened.
The dual suns became an opportunity for good research to be done by science teams while some of us went down to the surface to investigate the colony that was detected, where we thought we may have a chance to find Captain Ogleby. Technology level was said to be close to Earth Medieval period and so we went down, trying to blend in as best as possible.
Upon first glance, Dundas would seem to be a quaint town where nothing much ever happens, however, it's very much deceiving. Upon arriving, we were all greeted rather awkwardly by an ambush after not finding any life. Apparently they were all hiding on us, watching our every move.
We were all brainwashed into thinking we were different people, I a King.", Owain said with chuckle. "There was also a Queen, who wasn't really a Queen afterall. She was in fact Captain Ogleby. The inhabitants of the town were her crew. Her ship was destroyed by an attack by an unknown assailant, her crew perishing. Her Away Team was what was left, crashing onto the planet's surface, leaking radiation on a hilltop.
This had made the crew act in somewhat dire consequences. They had lost all hope and started building a civilization and were willing to do whatever it took for their settlement to survive. When we arrived, Captain Ogleby, made herself believe that we were a different kind of hope altogether. From a distance of her radiation affected mind, she knew we were Starfleet Officers and devised a plan to prevent us from leaving, hence the brainwashing.
She believed that the only way to survive was to keep us here, to procreate and grow the settlement. It was only with the help of Commander Langford and Lieutenant Dale that I was able to break free. Upon careful placement of the Horizon by Commander Langford, Lieutenant Dale was able to see her with a telescope, bringing back vivid memories of something familiar. From that point on, I knew I wasn't King, and that Ogleby was no Queen. It was all fabrication.
Crimes have been comitted by Ogleby, to be sure. She is currently in the Brig and will await a tribunal back on Jericho Station to determine her fate. I am pretty certain that this will mark the end of her Starfleet career."
Owain ended his debriefing then looked at the crew assembled, "Time to eat, I'm starving. Barkeep, bring me some of the best stuff you have!"
"Time to eat, I'm starving. Barkeep, bring me some of the best stuff you have!"
Kain smiled. “Chung show us some magic cooking!” He shouted and pointed towards the crewman who started to heat up his woks. Kain was glad he had installed a air vent above the man to suck up all the oily air and the intense heat.
Kain walked towards Chung who already had finished the first two plates. Kain load them off and dropped them before the Captain and XO. Like this they went past all the senior staff at good speeds. Once all was served Kain spook. “Have a nice dinner and don’t fear to ask for more Chung is one of the best chefs I know. Once you are done I have some large Cake that I also need to get rid off. I am sure you are all willing to aid me with that.” Kain smiled and started to take drink orders.
Rynen Dale & Owain Taggart
This last mission had taken a lot out of Rynen. Just now were her telepathic and empathic abilities coming back to her. On some level, it was almost needing to re-learn how to live with them. She had retreated to Stellar Cartography to try and stop the impending flood of voices interrupting her consciousness. Even here, in possibly the most secluded part of the ship, she would catch the occasional phrase of people's thoughts as they came to close to the room. Rynen was focusing partly on the beautiful images of far away stars on the screen and partly on her own mind. Sitting cross-legged on the floor, she went through the exercises she had been taught as a child, trying to retrain her brain.
Owain was exhausted. To him, this mission had taken a lot out of him too, although on a different level. He felt violated, in that he was manipulated into thinking he was someone else for someone else and do their bidding. It was an extraordinary experience for sure, and he wasn't keen on repeating it. Although the positive it did do was made him appreciate life and those around him much more, including Erizmus, his symbiont which he felt disconnected with during this mission. Relaxation is what he needed, and the bar was not the sort of place that would provide it. But he knew just the place that would.
Pausing in the doorway to Stellar Cartography, he could feel as though someone were already there, though he couldn't physically see the person with the door closed. He hesitated for a moment, wondering if he would disturb someone, but there was a pull to the inside; a welcome pull. He keyed in the entry codes and smiled under his breath as the doors parted. "Someone has good taste, I see.", he said aloud.
A smile slowly spread across the Ensign's face as she turned to look at him. "If you're referring to your taste in women, then I agree." She replied with bluntness and honesty, in true Betazoid fashion. Really, she wasn't to blame. With her empathic abilities not yet under control, she couldn't help but notice a feeling of attraction coming from Owain.
Owain blinked and let out a chuckle. "The stars aren't the only thing twinkling here."
Rynen laughed quietly at the comment. "And what brings you here tonight, Captain? I'm sure you must had piles of work to do. I do, anyways."
Owain nodded silently and approached her. "The mission. I came here to think. It sure has given us something to think about, hasn't it? For one thing, I'm glad to be back aboard as me, not some crackpot King who thinks he has power over anyone… "
Rynen looked down at her hands, remembering being on the planet. It was unnerving, to think how easily her identity had been stripped from her. "I'm glad you're back, too." She replied finally, looking up at him.
He put an arm around her and looked at her, "It made me realize how much I do care for this crew; how much everyone means to me. To think I could be someone else, I'd be losing all that; losing all of what makes me who I am."
"Ah yes.. care for the crew.." She said jokingly, a teasing smile directed his way.
He turned towards her. "To think I almost lost… you."
Her expression softened. She was a little startled to actually hear him say something that.. direct. Owain had often been so cold, not showing his true feelings. " I was terrified that I wouldn't be able to save you. That I'd lose you for good. You're all I have left now- you and this ship."
Owain nodded. He understood what she meant. This experience had changed something in him, made him value everything more. He didn't know if he could have lived knowing he had lost her. "I know." He hugged her for a good full minute not knowing exactly what to say, but it felt right.
Rynen gently rested her head on his shoulder. She felt safe in his arms, knowing he would protect her no matter what. It was an odd reversal of roles. She was the Chief of Security and he was her Captain. She was supposed to make him feel safe.
"Don't know what I would of done without you down there", he told her. "You're my Security Chief; my anchor. It could of gone to hell down there, but you realized what was going on…"
"I'm just lucky they didn't bank on needing to brainwash a Betazoid, I think… But you know I'll always be here for you, not only as your Security Chief, but as your friend." Rynen replied quietly, feeling his heartbeat beneath her ear.
He agreed and couldn't help but think that they had miscalculated having a Betazoid as part of the crew. It had helped her with an extra layer of awareness. "A big miscalculation on their part. Now they'll know better than to mess with someone with a Betazoid on their crew," he said as he kissed her forehead. It had surprised him, but it also felt right.
Smiling, Rynen slowly moved her hand to his face, gently feeling the stubble growing on his jaw. "Where is this leading us?" she asked in a whisper.
He shrugged and smiled. He didn't know the answer to the question; only felt like being in the moment, though he was wondering if she thought this was all happening too fast. "Is…. is it wrong, do you think? I don't want to feel like I'm inconveniencing you…"
"That's not what I meant at all!" Rynen said quickly, sitting up straighter and looking him in the eye. "I was more thinking the fact that you are my superior. I'm not sure Starfleet would look to kindly upon.. well.. this."
Owain nodded, "Well, they don't have to know. What they don't know won't kill them, will it?", he told her with a gentle squeeze to the shoulders.
"That's kind of a silly saying.. but you're right." She replied playfully, taking his head in her hands.
He chuckled lightly, "I've always felt that an officer's business was his own business, not everyone in Starfleet's business. This is me, my person, not the Starfleet Officer."
"I agree entirely." She said, softly kidding his cheek.
"You wouldn't happen to be getting hungry, would you?"
A smile spread across the Betazoid's face. "You sure know how to ruin a moment, don't you?" She asked, a hint of laugher in her voice. "But now that you mention it.. I could do with a little something to eat. Your quarters or mine?" She tilted her head and looked at him, waiting for an answer.
"Well, it would rather look bad if I were in yours, so mine", he said as he kissed her. "Picnic at my place? If anyone notices, you were delivering reports." Rynen smiled and kissed Owain one last time before untangling herself from his arms and standing.
"If you'll excuse me, sir, I have some very important reports I need to finish." She stated, winking at him as she turned to leave.
"Sigma Delta. That was the star you were looking at when I came in, wasn't it? Make sure it's in your report", he said with a laugh. "And that's a friendly suggestion, not an order!", he called out as she left Stellar Cartography.
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