USS Bolivar Story 5: Eyes Wide Open

USS Bolivar Story 5: Eyes Wide Open
“If nature is against us, we shall fight nature…” -Simon Bolivar 1783-1830AD

2386: Mabas Star System: Third Planet
“Welcome my friend. It’s been a long time”, Gordon Bogdanović says to Commander Alexander Martin while removing the combadge from his chest, “Captain, it is good to see you again as well”.

“Have we met?” Captain Benteen asks.

“It was a long time ago,” Gordon says removing the Captains combadge. “We met before Alex shipped out to the Odyssey.”

“I’m sorry, I don’t recall”, Benteen says.

“That’s alright. I seem to be easily forgotten”, Gordon says with a stern face aimed at Martin.

Martin has not seen or heard from Gordon since his days at the Academy. He found it odd that Gordon seems to be holding a grudge against him. For what, he doesn’t know. Actually he is afraid to find out. They had had numerous disagreements during their friendship. One such disagreement was over a woman. A topic that Gordon always took very seriously.

Gordon turns to Walter Harris and says, “Walter, why don’t you take everyone over to the dining area. Molly is making dinner. It’s almost ready”.

“Are you sure you want to be alone with them?” Walter says referencing Martin and Benteen.

“I’ll be fine. Were just going to talk. Also, make sure the planetary shields are up”, Gordon says.

“You got it”, the gruff former-Admiral says walking away.
As the group of former Starfleet officers lower their weapons and follow Walter out of the open area, Captain Benteen realizes that Admirals Kempec and Atherton are not among them. The two were supposed to be apart of the inquiry on-board the Bolivar a week prior.

“Where are Kempec and Atherton, Gordon?” Benteen asks with an authoritative tone.

Without saying a word, Gordon walks over to the Captain and smacks her across the face.

“None of your damn business”, he says.

At that moment Martin realizes this isn’t the person he knew as a Cadet.

****

2366: Twenty Years Earlier: Starfleet Medical Intensive Care Unit

As Martin watches, the doctors and nurses feverishly try to revive the dying Cindy. They are shocking her lifeless body over and over. Martin could hardly stand to watch. He begins to walk away when suddenly he hears the beeping of the heart monitor on the wall. Cindy’s heart is beating again. The medical staff, looking tired and stressed, slowly begin to file out of the room. This allows Martin some time alone with the person whom he rescued from the Pacific Ocean one week earlier. He walks over to the bed and looks down at the peaceful-looking Cindy.

“Do you think we would let you go that easily?” He asks her jokingly while trying to hold back tears.

Right after he says that, three people in Starfleet uniforms walk into the hospital room. Martin, seeing that one of them is an Admiral and the other a Captain, turns to them at attention.

“As you were, Cadet”, the male Admiral says. “I am Cindy’s father Harold. Are you her boyfriend, Steve?”

“No sir. My name is Alexander Martin. I am a friend.” Martin says nervously.

The female Captain chimes in, “Ah yes, you are the young man who saved her life in the ocean. Nice to finally meet you. I am Cindy’s Mother, Captain Janet Wilson”.

“Nice to meet you too, sir”, Martin says shaking her hand.

Martin decides to retreat slowly to the far corner of the room as he observes Cindy’s parents, along with a young Ensign he could only assume was her brother Victor, stand over her and sob. He wanted to give her family space to grieve. Martin was content to be in the same room as Cindy and show his support to her family during a moment of pain.

Martin eventually decides to duck out of the hospital and spare himself the emotions of her family. He didn’t feel comfortable being around and knew it was a time for her family and close friends. Not feeling like he falls under either of those banners, Martin returns to his dorm room, picks up the bags he packed to go to his parents and walks over to the transport site. When he arrives, he sees the shuttles lined up to transport cadets around the world and beyond. The vessel that will bring him to his parents in Nebraska is sitting on Pad 5 according to the information board. Seeing that it is departing in five minutes, Martin sprints to the pad and runs on board. After all of the stuff he has seen, Martin is ready to leave the Academy behind for awhile.

****

The two weeks he spent with his parents were mostly enjoyable but Martin was ready to rejoin academy life. Stepping out of the elevator on his dorm floor, he begins the trek to his room with his baggage in tow. After going into his room and setting the bags down, he lets out a deep sigh of relief. Martin is looking forward to lying down and going right to sleep. After a pause, he walks over to his bed, takes off his boots and lies down. Just as he closes his eyes, there is a knock at the door.

“This had better be good,” he says annoyingly to the person outside of the door.
Martin opens the door. To his surprise, Cindy is on the other side. She is looking tired but somehow has a glow that Martin can’t take his eyes off of.

“Hi”, she says. “I’m sure you’re surprised to see me.”

“Hi. Yeah I am.”, he says back with a look of shock.

Cindy was out of her coma. For Martin it was like meeting her all over again. It had been months since they had actually talked.

“Sorry to bother you. I heard you we’re back. Can we talk for a minute?” Cindy asks.

“Um, sure”, Martin says casually gesturing towards the inside of his room.

Cindy walks in to Martins room and sits down on the couch by the wall. The illumination from the floor lamp nearby highlights her blonde hair. An electronic cast wraps around her right leg. She looks down at the floor for a moment and then at Martin who takes a seat on his bed.

They sit uncomfortably for a moment before Martin decides to ask; “Would you like something to drink?”

“Um, no thanks. I really just came to thank you for rescuing me. I figured a card or communiqué wouldn’t be enough and I heard from Gordon you’d be back in-town today. So… thank you.” Cindy says.

“You’re welcome.” Martin says, “Me and Gordon are both pilots and I wanted to help a friend.”

Cindy suddenly stands to leave. She turns to Martin and says, “I’m sorry I bothered you. Steve and I had a huge fight and I should probably get back. If he found out I was with you, he would kill me.”

“Really, why?” Martin asks.

“Well, actually, it started because of you visiting me almost every day in the hospital”, Cindy says, “He became jealous after overhearing you telling your friend Gordon something about me in the hospital room.

“What? Because of me?” Martin asks.

Cindy, not wanting to let go of the issue, asks “I’m curious, what did you say?”

Martin had to delve deep into his memory from the past three weeks to think about what he could have said to Gordon that would have caused Steve to be jealous. Suddenly, he recalled what it might have been but he decides to lie to her instead.

“I… I don’t remember,” Martin says.

Cindy’s face turns even more serious as she takes a step closer to Martin. “What did you say, Alex? I know you remember.”

“I really don’t remember. You have to believe me.” He says.

“I’m not sure if I do, Alex. Maybe…. Maybe it would be best if we didn’t see each other anymore outside of school”, Cindy says as she turns to leave.

Before Martin can say anything, she was gone. The door closing slowly behind her. His heart sinks again. Further than it did when he read that she was missing three weeks ago. Confused and disappointed, Martin lies down on his bed and settles in for what will probably be another sleepless night.

****

Twenty Years Later 2386: Mabas Star System: Third Planet

Commander Martin awakes to the sound of voices outside. He can see light coming from gaps between wooden planks. He opens his eyes fully to realize he is on a cot inside of a small cabin. He turns to the right to see Captain Benteen lying on another cot on the opposite wall. Martin tries to get up to see how she is but dizziness hits and he falls back. He tries again and is successful. Martin checks for a pulse on the Captains neck. He can feel a steady beat but she will not wake up.

We must have been drugged Martin thinks to himself.

Apparently hearing Martin shuffle about inside the cabin, someone outside says “Sir! I think they’re awake!”

In just a minute or two, the door to the cabin opens revealing morning sunlight. When Martins eyes adjust, the clear outline of Gordon appears.

“Rise and shine, Mate,” He says.

“What do you want, Gordon?” Martin asks.

“I just want to talk. Come on, mornings on Mabas are beautiful. Lets go for a walk,” Gordon says.

“What about the Captain?” Martin asks.

“She will be fine here. Let her sleep it off,” Gordon says

Martin finally gets his balance and is able to stand on his own. Walking out the door he can see an entire village.

Numerous cabins are around like the one he was in with people, mostly human, milling about in an open area in the center. Some of them he recognizes from the night before. One of the structures sits by itself at one end of the settlement. It has numerous antenna masts on its roof. Martin takes note of that immediately.

The midmorning sun shines across the village and shimmers in a small lake just southwest.

“Isn’t it beautiful here, Alex? Smell that air, “Gordon says as he takes a deep breath.

“What is this place, Gordon?” Martin asks as he watches the villagers go about their business.

“It’s a place to be free,” Gordon says. “We have everything we need now. Food, water, shelter. You should stay here with us, Alex. You and Erika can start a new life here.”

“I like my life,” Martin says, “Nothing against yours though.”

“Of course not,” Gordon says smiling, “Come on, I have something to show you.”

They stroll through a small field to a hill. A cabin much like the others is sitting peacefully among some trees. They arrive at the door and go in. Inside is a woman about Martin and Gordons age.

“Alex, this is Molly.” Gordon says, “She is my new wife.”

“Pleased to meet you, Alex. I have heard a lot about you.” Molly says.

“I wish I could say the same but it is a pleasure none the less.” Martin says as he shakes her hand.

“Do you have the picture? I want to show him.” Gordon says to Molly.

“Of course.” Molly says. She goes to a drawer in the small kitchen and pulls out a photo frame. She hands it to Martin.

“Do you remember that day?” Gordon asks Martin. “It was the day we shipped out.”

Martin looks at the picture. He had completely forgotten it was ever taken. It was a picture of him, Gordon, Cindy and Erika Benteen. They are wearing their new Ensigns uniforms, except for Benteen who was a Lieutenant at the time. She had graduated ten years earlier.

“Oh my god. I forgot all about this picture. Look at us.” Martin says.

“You can keep it. I want you to have it.” Gordon says.

“Really? Thanks.” Martin says gratefully.
“On second thought, you should keep it. Maybe it will remind you of the oath we took to defend the Federation.” Martin says to Gordon.

“Can I tell you something, Alex?” Gordon asks.

“Sure.”

“Do you remember back at the Academy when Cindy was in the hospital?” He asks.

“Of course.” Martin says.

“I was the one who told her boyfriend about you spending all that time with her.” Gordon says. “He didn’t overhear you. I just told him everything you said to me about her.”

A feeling of deep betrayal falls upon Martin. Gordon had sunk to low blows, even when he thought the two were best friends.

“Why would you do that?” Martin asks.

“Jealousy maybe. But mostly because I thought you shouldn’t have been spending time with someone else’s girlfriend.” Gordon says.

“That was none of your business. I was visiting her as a friend.” Martin says angerly.

“I made it my business. Think of it as a reminder not to mess with me,” Gordon says. “I think its time to go back to your cabin, Alex.”

As Gordon says that, two guards from the holding area appear in the cabins front doorway.

“Fine.” Martin says turning towards the door.
Gordon was never known to backstab him in such a manner. Martin mentally reached back into his past to figure out why Gordon would try to ruin his relationship with Cindy. He couldn’t think of anything.

Maybe it was jealousy Martin thinks to himself.

When Martin exits Gordon’s house, two shimmering figures develop into two former-admirals in front of him. They were Atherton and Kempec. When the transporter beams complete their cycle, they notice Martin.

“You must be Alex Martin”, Kempec says. “Nice to meet you. Is Gordon in there?”

“Wish I could say the same,” Martin responds coldly, “and yes he is in there.”

The two men walk into the open door. Martin can overhear them telling Gordon about the USS Aventine just entering the star system and searching for the Rutledge.

Martin breathes a small bit of relief and thinks it’s about time.

From outside the front door he can overhear Gordon say, “Keep the Rutledge on the far side of the third moon. The ionization in the atmosphere will mask their sensors. I want her in top shape for the launch on Wednesday.”

After that, the guards grab Martins arms and force him back to the holding cabin.

Upon re-entering the cabin, Martin sees that Captain Benteen is finally awake. She is partaking in the small amount of food that was brought to them. As Martin steps in, the guard closes and locks the door behind him.
“Where were you?” Benteen asks.

“Gordon’s house. Here take a look at this.” Martin says as he hands her the picture of the four of them.”

“Wow. This was taken almost twenty years ago. I suddenly feel old. I remember teaching flight at the Academy between tours on the Ahwahnee” says Benteen who is in unusually good spirits. “Brutal schedule but it got me out of going to Wolf 359.”

Forgetting the picture, Martin returns to a more serious tone, “Listen, I think Gordon is planning something big. Something bad.”

“What?” Benteen asks.

“I’m not sure exactly but I imagine it has something to do with the bio weapon. I overheard him talking about some sort of launch. We need to do something.” Martin says.

“Alright. Let me know what you want to do,” Benteen says.

“I wish I knew,” Martin says, “After everything he has done, including smacking you across the face, I don’t know what he is capable of now. There is a building just South of here that looks like his base of operations. I’ll have to negotiate a tour.”

“Good luck with that. Gordon doesn’t seem open to negotiation.”

****

Gordon exits his house with former-Admirals Kempec and Atherton following closely behind. They walk down the dirt driveway and proceed to the building that Commander Martin had noticed earlier. It is a small brick structure with various antennas on-top. They enter. Inside the dark building is Walter Harris working a console. The room is full of Starfleet consoles, sensor readouts and schematics for the USS Rutledge.

“What do you see, Walter?” Gordon asks.

“The Aventine and Bolivar are directly over us in a synchronous orbit. I have the Rutledge hiding behind our third moon now.”

“Good.” Gordon says.

Harris takes a deep sigh and asks, “Sir, what are we going to do with Benteen and Martin?”

“Hopefully we’ll use the Captain for ransom. It’ll be an added bonus. I want the Federation to pay for what was done to my family. We launch in two days.”

“We don’t need to do this. There are three million people on that planet. I thought we were going to sell the ship and weapons, not use them.” Harris says, “I want to start a new state but not like this.”

“I see.” Gordon says angrily, “If you don’t agree with our agenda, then you can spend the rest of your life in a holding cell.”

“No sir.”

“Good! Now do your job and prepare the cargo. You need to figure out a way to get it onboard the Rutledge without being detected. I want my shuttle equipped to scatter sensors.” Gordon says.

“Shouldn’t we discuss this with the other colony first?” asks Kempec.

“It’s none of their business. Let Southern continent work things out on their own. I’m done trying to placate that woman leader of theirs. They just want access to our subspace transmitter. The hell with them.” Gordon says as he walks out of the building and slams the door. The three remaining men exchange glances.

“I’m worried about him.” Atherton says with a voice of concern. “If we do this, the Federation will destroy us. We’ve already lost good people because of him. Including your own daughter on the Bolivar, Walter. We need to draw the line. You promised if Steve and I got involved in this you would handle him.”

“I will but for now let’s move forward. I’ve been in contact with a Ferengi trader. He supplied us with a cloaking device. I have someone modifying it for the Rutledge,” Walter says, “In the meantime I’ll try to buy some time with Gordon.”
The communications console begins to beep. Harris walks over to it and taps a button.

“It’s a text from the Southern colony.” He says, “They probably want an update.”

The display reads: “We need a status report- C.M.”

“What should we tell them?” asks Kempec.

“For now, nothing,” Harris says. “They’ve waited 11 years to contact the Federation. They can wait a few more days.”

****

In orbit of Mabas III, the crew of the USS Bolivar is scrambling to find their Captain and First Officer after contact was lost almost 12 hours ago. Lt. Brenda Thompson was put in command by Captain Benteen before her departure to the planet.
This means it’s up to the Lieutenant to find the crew members and stop the USS Rutledge and its rumored bioweapon from being deployed. So far sensor sweeps have rendered nothing.

“Anything yet?” Thompson asks Lt T’Pal who is stationed at the Operations console.

“No, sir. Nothing.” The Lieutenant says.
Suddenly a beeping comes from T’Pal’s console. “Wait. I have something. It’s a Federation ship coming out of slipstream.”

“Is it the Rutledge?” Thompson asks.

“No, Sir. It reads as the Aventine.” T’Pal says.

On the viewscreen the Vesta-Class ship glides into view gracefully. The ship is the same class as the Rutledge. This causes a momentary jump in Thompson’s blood pressure. After a moment, the ship on the screen settles into an orbit with the Bolivar.

“They are hailing us.” T’Pal says.

“On Screen.”

Appearing on the screen now is the image of Captain Ezri Dax. The petite female Trill is standing with a face of concern.

“Bolivar. This is the Aventine. May we be of assistance?” Dax asks.

“Yes Captain. I am Lt. Brenda Thompson, Second Officer. Captain Benteen and Commander Martin are being held on the planet. We have not been able to locate them nor have we been able to penetrate the planetary shielding. Any assistance would be much appreciated, sir.” Thompson says.

“My first officer and I will beam over right away to discuss a plan. We will be over in 5 minutes. Aventine out.” Dax says.

The viewscreen returns to an image of the Aventine. Lt. Thompson immediately turns to T’Pal and says “You have the bridge. I will go down to greet our guests. Have the senior staff assemble in the conference room”

“Aye sir.” T’Pal says.

Down in the transporter room, Lt. Thompson enters just as the transporter cycle is completing. Materializing on the pad are two Starfleet officers. Captain Dax and her first officer.

“Welcome to the Bolivar, Captain.” Thompson says.

“Thank you, Lieutenant. This is my First Officer Sam Bowers.” Dax says.

“Pleased to meet you, Commander,” Thompson says shaking Bowers hand. “May I say it is an honor to meet you both. Please, let me walk you to our conference room.”

As the three walk down the corridor to the turbolift, Captain Dax feels compelled to make conversation.

“It’s a beautiful ship you have here. I wish we could have visited under better circumstances.” She says. “Also, I wanted to extend my ships condolences to the personnel you lost in the subspace anomaly.”

“Thank you, Captain. It is much appreciated. We are still recovering from that loss,” Thompson says.

On that subdued note, the group remains in silence until they arrive in the Deck 1 conference room. All of the senior members of the Bolivar staff are sitting and waiting at the table.

“Ladies and gentlemen, may I present Captain Dax and Commander Bowers of the Aventine.” Thompson says.

“Thank you, Lieutenant,” Dax says as they all take a seat at the conference table, “What do we know about that planetary shield?”

Commander Mike Connors, the Bolivars Chief Engineer, is the first to speak up as usual.

“Sir, we’ve hit it with every sensor we could come up with and nothing. All we can do is maintain a synched orbit over the transporter coordinates,” he says.

“So far we have run into the same problem,” Dax says.

“I think we should concentrate our efforts on the penetration of the field,” Thompson says.

“Agreed,” says Bowers. “Maybe we could use transphasic torpedoes.”

“Currently the Bolivar isn’t equipped to launch them. We might have to rely on your ship.” Thompson says.

“That could work. Commander Connors, if you want to work with our Chief Engineer Lt. Leishman, we can begin to modify the Bolivars launchers also,” Dax says.

“Sounds good. I am looking forward to taking a look at the Slipstream core you have.” Connors says.

“Let’s get to work.” Thompson says.

****

2367: Nineteen Years Earlier: Starfleet Academy

In the months that followed his fallout with Cindy, Martin concentrated as best he could on his studies. He wanted to finish his third year at the Academy on a high note. He wasn’t going to let a little personal disappointment hinder his grades. One day after class, he decides to go to the cadet’s lounge for a drink. Martin grabs a stool by the bar. After getting a synthehol from the bartender, Gordon walks in and sits next to him.

“How’s it going, Mate?” he asks Martin.

“I’ve been better but I guess I can’t complain. I can’t wait to finish and ship the hell out of here.” Martin says.

“I don’t blame you. It’s been a bad year,” Gordon says.

“Yeah, for sure,” Martin says with a sigh.

“I do have an idea for you though. This friend of mine has a friend interested in a blind date. I have no idea who she is but I figured it would be good for you,” Gordon says.

“I don’t know,” Martin says, “I’ve never had any luck with blind dates.”

“Come on it’ll be good for you to meet someone!” says Gordon as he waves at the bartender.

“Alright, I guess,” Martin says reluctantly.

“That’s the spirit, mate!” Gordon says slapping Martin on the shoulder.

****

In a late afternoon in March of 2367, Cadet Alexander Martin finds himself doing something he hasn’t done in a long time: waiting for a blind date to show up. He finds it kind of nerve-wracking. This is why he chose his favorite type of restaurant, Chinese. He figures that if he is going to bomb, he’s going to do it eating comfort food. This is the best Chinese restaurant in all of San Francisco according to everyone Martin knows. He wants things to go perfectly. The near-emptiness of the place allows for few distractions.

As he awaits his blind date, he looks around at the traditional Chinese décor. Martin sips some tea while listening to his stomach rumble. Not only is he hungry, he’s also nervous. He has no idea who this person is or what her name even is.

This is crazy. I should leave. Martin thinks to himself.
Something keeps holding him back though. He isn’t sure if it is the loneliness or just pure curiosity. It doesn’t really matter to him. Martin figures it will be interesting either way. Setting down his tea cup, he looks up to see the front door open. In steps a beautiful young woman with blonde hair flowing about her shoulders with the ends curled. She is wearing a black dress and has bright blue eyes. She walks over to the table where Martin is sitting.

“Is this a joke? You’re my blind date?” Cindy asks.

“Yeah I guess so”, Martin says surprised.

“I should leave.” Cindy says.

Martin stands and says “No. Cindy, wait. Please sit.”

“This wasn’t some sort of plan was it?” Cindy asks as she takes a seat.

“Not that I know of. Gordon just told me a girl was coming and I showed up.” Martin says. “I hope you’re not disappointed.”

“No, actually I was really nervous about meeting a stranger here,” Cindy pauses then continues, “Well since we’re here; I’ve been wanting to tell you that I feel really bad about what happened the last time we spoke. I really didn’t want to shut you out of my life.”

Martin is completely taken by her. He really did not like being excluded.

Martin smiles and says “I’m glad. I was hoping we would be able to talk again. Can I ask what happened with Steve?”

“It, um, ended. Badly. I don’t really want to talk about it.” She says.

“Oh, I’m sorry.” Martin says.

“Don’t be. I’m not.” Cindy says.

They sit awkwardly across from each other for about two minutes when Martin decides to break the silence.

“Can I confess something to you? I hope you don’t think it’s too weird.” He says.

“Sure.” Cindy says.

“I’ve been thinking about you a lot. I didn’t talk to you because I wanted to respect your wishes of not having any contact,” Martin says.

“I appreciate that. I guess I needed time to think about what happened last fall with the shuttle accident and everything with Steve but every time I thought about stuff, you entered my head,” She says, “I have been having trouble moving on from you.”

“Who says you have to?” Martin asks smiling playfully.

At that moment, the waiter comes by to take their orders, “Are you ready?” he asks.

“I’m sorry. I need a few minutes,” Cindy says.

“No problem. I will be back,” the waiter says.

A few moments pass as Cindy looks over the menu. She abruptly closes it and sets it down on the table. She looks up at Martin.

“Alex, why did you come for me in the ocean?” Cindy asks bluntly.

“I told you before. It’s because you were my friend and I was a pilot. It was a no-brainer.” Martin says.

“I ask because, I don’t believe that’s everything. I have a few other friends that were pilots. None of them volunteered,” She says.

“Well, that’s their problem. If they chose not to help their friend, who am I to judge? I’ll be the hero then.” Martin says.

Cindy stares at him in disappointed silence for a moment trying to see the cracks in his explanation. Not being able to take her accusatory look anymore, Martin finally folds.

“Alright! You really want to know?” He says partly annoyed, “I’m no hero. I did it for selfish reasons. It’s because you are special to me and I didn’t want to lose you. There, you happy? I knew from the moment we met that you were meant to be a part of my life in whatever form. Friend or whatever. I was afraid. I was afraid of losing you forever. I couldn’t live knowing I could have done something. And when you were in the hospital, it made me feel better just being near you and talking to you. Even if you couldn’t talk back. I’d read to you, tell you about my day. Stupid stuff. It didn’t matter because I cared. I cared about you. That will never change. I don’t know where our friendship will lead but it really doesn’t matter to me. I just want to know you.”

Martin pauses for a moment and then continues “When you came to my room the night of our falling out, I lied to you. I did tell Gordon something. I… I said to him how much I care about you and that if anything happened to you I don’t know what I would do. That’s all I have to say about the whole thing.”

Cindy, not knowing what to say to Martin, who just poured his heart out to her, stands up and walks to the other side of the table. He looks up at her as she leans in and kisses him softly on the lips. They hold it for a few seconds before she pulls back. Martin looks at the tears forming in her eyes. All of the emotions and near-tragedies that had occurred in the months before seemed to build up to this moment. Martin felt purely happy for the first time in a long time.

****

Nineteen Years Later 2386: Mabas Star System: Third Planet

Commander Martin and Captain Benteen sit quietly in their private cabin locked away from the rest of the colony. Gordon has numerous guards and a planetary shield in-place to ensure his captives don’t get away. After hours of being alone, the lock on the door begins to turn. Walter Harris and former-admiral Atherton walk in. The husky, graying Harris looks disturbed.

“What is it Admiral?” Benteen asks.

“We’ve made a big mistake,” he says, “I think Gordon is going to deploy the bio weapon. He is going to target a planet about 3 light years from here. There are about 3 million people on the surface.”

“Why would he do that? He knows the Bolivar is in orbit. They would stop him.” Martin says confidently.

“Not with the phasing cloak we put onboard the Rutledge,” Harris says.

Martin and Benteen exchange another worried look. It was one thing when Gordon was the local fanatic, now there are over 3 million lives at stake.

“What do you want us to do?” Benteen asks intently.

“Here’s the keys. Go to the communications cabin at the south end of the village. Call your ship. Let them know. We’re going to see if we can talk Gordon out of genocide. There’s a shuttlecraft he’s going to use to remotely control the Rutledge. We will attempt to disable it.”

“Understood,” says Benteen.

As soon as the word left her lips, a loud jet engine blast erupts from a clearing near the village. The shuttle that Harris described was preparing to launch.

“We’re too late,” he says, “Gordon is doing it.”

“Come on. Let’s go,” says Captain Benteen.
The four leave the cabin. Captain Benteen and the Admirals run across the village to the communications room while Martin takes off after Gordon. He runs as fast as he can across the small field to the shuttlecraft. Martin sees Gordon walking up the rear ramp to the cockpit.

“Gordon! Stop!” he says.

Martin runs up the ramp and tackles him. Gordon manages to get back up and punch Martin across the face. As Martin stumbles, the shuttle begins to slowly lift off on Gordons command. Martin, still dazed by the punch is approached by Gordon once more. He grabs Martin by his uniform collar and looks at him dead in the eye.

“Goodbye, Mate,” He says.

Gordon pushes him overboard through the rear hatch. Martin lands flat on his back in the field. He looks straight up at the sky and watches Gordon quickly accelerate into space. Lucky for Martin he only fell a few meters onto the ground. He picks himself off and begins a brisk trek to the communications cabin.
On one of the consoles in the communications room is the position of the starships Bolivar and Aventine in orbit. Benteen sees it and immediately talks to the computer.

“Computer, open a channel to the USS Bolivar,” she says.

“Channel open.”

“Bolivar, this is Captain Benteen please respond,”

The small viewscreen clicks on and displays the bridge of the Bolivar with Lt. Thompson standing in the middle. Captain Dax is at her side.

“Lieutenant, there is a shuttle leaving the surface. We need you to intercept it,” Benteen says.

“Sir, we’re not reading any shuttles launching yet,” Thompson says.

“Keep looking. Trust me it’s there,” Benteen says.

Thompson, on the bridge of the Bolivar frantically walks back to one of the sensor consoles, “There it is! Helm: course TWO EIGHT SIX MARK FOUR FIVE. Full impulse!”

The Bolivar leaves orbit and heads in the direction of Gordons shuttle with the Aventine following.

“Prepare weapons,” Thompson says.

“Sir, we have an incoming message,” says Lt. T’Pal.

“On screen.”

Martin arrives inside the communications room as the image of Gordon appears on both the cabins console and the Bolivars viewscreen. The bridge crew of the Bolivar watches as Benteen and Martin view from the surface.

“All of you are about to be witnesses. Witnesses to something momentous. We are striking a blow for our freedom against the Federation. Now everyone in this tyrannical organization will take us seriously. As I speak, the USS Rutledge is headed to a planet to deploy a bio weapon. 3 million people at the Federation colony will become the symbols for our cause. To prove my devotion, I will turn my shuttle around and surrender myself. The Rutledge, however, cannot be stopped,” Gordon says.

The starship Bolivar and the starship Aventine are in parallel paths racing towards Gordons shuttle. Captain Dax and Commander Bowers have since beamed back to their own bridge. On the Bolivar viewscreen appears Dax.

“Lieutenant, go after Gordon. We’re going to try and intercept the Rutledge,” she says.

“Yes, sir. Were on it,” Thompson says.

The Aventine turns and changes course, going to warp in the process. The Bolivar slows as it approaches Gordons shuttle near the third moon of Mabas III.

“Security, prepare an away team and secure the shuttlecraft,” Thompson says over the comm system.

“Aye, Sir” Security responds.

As the security officers beam on board the shuttle, Gordon turns to them and says, “You’re too late.”

The USS Aventine begins to approach the starship Rutledge at warp. Just before Dax can give the order to fire weapons, the Rutledge cloaks.

“We’ve lost them sir,” The tactical officer says.

****

Back on the planet in the communications room, everyone stands stunned at the message that was just given by Gordon. A nearby console begins to beep.

“What is that?” Martin asks.

“It’s another incoming message,” Harris says.

“It’s probably from the Bolivar,” says Benteen.

“No, It’s from the other colony,” Harris says.

“There is another colony on this planet?” Benteen asks.

“Yeah, on the Southern Continent. About 4 thousand kilometers from here. Their leader has been badgering Gordon for access to our subspace transmitter.” Harris explains.

Martin walks over to the control panel and activates the screen. On it appears a face from long ago. It’s a woman with long blonde hair and bright blue eyes. Her gaze turns to confusion.

“Alex?” she says softly.

Martin stands stone faced and begins to slowly walk backwards. He knocks over a couple of pieces of equipment in the process. Captain Benteen notices his reaction.

“Commander, what is it?” Benteen asks.

Martin continues his slow retreat. He puts his arm up and points at the screen.

“Cindy…” he says.

The screen goes blank.

TO BE CONTINUED IN THE USS BOLIVAR STORY 6: “Aint It a Shame”.

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