Star Trek Helix: Phantoms, Part I

STAR TREK: HELIX
Episode: “Phantoms” by Todd Kelley

What is Star Trek: Helix

Orginally, everything was not as it seems.

In this timeline, where the Borg actually conquered the
Alpha Quadrant, the humanoid survivors waged their final
fight against The Collective. Alas, the Borg were too
powerful and the resistance was overwhelmed and quickly
destroyed. Alex Garrett and his crew aboard the HELIX were
the only ones to survive. There only hope was to use an
experimental transporter system called THE FOLD to
transport the Helix safely away from the fight. But a freak
mishap tossed the ship and it’s crew back in time. . .

The Helix’s trip back through time somehow changed the
course of history and Borg were defeated by the USS
Enterprise at Sector 001. The ship and crew are found by a
Starfleet rescue unit headed by Admiral Cynthia Porter, a
top operative for a group known as THE PROGRAM. Feeling the
crew’s fighting experience and the Borg-enhanced starship
could be an asset to her, she enlists their help. But
unknown to her associates and crew, she had a deadlier
agenda which would decide the fate of the Alpha Quadrant in
the years to come . . .

—————–

CHAPTER ONE: GENESIS

Hollis Prime was a desolate moon trapped within the gravimetric
rings of M’harian-4. A barren wasteland, its yellow-green sky
littered with hundreds of asteroids; overshadowed by M’harian’s
massive planetary silhouette. Small patches of fog crawled over the
distant mountain ranges and draped the valley below in a golden
haze.

Alex Garrett sat atop one of the mountain ranges and watched the
activity below. Over an hour ago, the Federation Transport Craven
arrived and began sending down equipment to the moon’s surface. He
watched intently as a host of Starfleet officers unloaded the three
runabouts which had just landed minutes before.

“How are you planning to explain you’re little detour here?” he
asked his contact, keeping his attention on the activity below.

She walked toward him, her Starfleet badge shining the sun’s hazy
glare. “Lets just say being an Admiral has it’s advantages.” she
smiled. “As far as the others know, we’re delivering sensor
equipment to study the next M’harian firestorm.”

According to Federation records, Admiral Cynthia Porter’s role in
Starfleet a typical one. But to a select few who know her, she is
the key navigator in the operations of the covert group known as
THE PROGRAM. When the need arises, she is given clearance to enlist
the help of questionable groups and individuals who could be
coerced into serving Federation interests where Starfleet couldn’t.
This roster spans from known terrorists factions and prisoners, and
even to timelost soldiers….such as Alex Garrett.

“I thought discretion was the key word in our relationship? I don’t
think three runabouts qualifies in that category.” Alex turned to
face Cynthia who was now figiding with her satchel.

“It has been awhile since I tasted that classic Garrett sarcasm.”
she grinned. “I guess I’ve actually missed it.”

“So, now that we have the pleasantries out the way, why are we
here?” Alex said as they stopped at the edge of a cliff. The
Admiral reached into her satchel and pulled out a standard-issue
tricorder and tossed it to him.

“A week ago, PROGRAM INTELLIGENCE received information from near
the Klingon border. There seemed to be an unusual flux in the
subspace band which peaked the Klingon’s attention.”

Alex ran his fingers across the Tricorder. “According to this, the
nebula has a high concentration of subspace interference. The
disturbance could’ve been natural…”

“Read on.”

Alex frowned. “Bromethium?”

“It seems someone was buying a large amount on the blackmarket. We
suspect the Ferengi got their hands one some and decided to make a
hefty profit with some renegade faction.”

Alex glared at his employer. “The only group in that area with
enough finances to purchase Bromethium would have to be The
Maquis.”

“Exactly what THE PROGRAM was thinking.” The Admiral turned away
from him and started to gather her things.

“That doesn’t make any sense. It’s about as unstable than
proto-matter. What would they need Bromethium for?”

“That’s what you’re gonna find out.” She handed Alex a small
container. “These is all the information I could acquire on Marquis
operations from Starfleet Command. I suggest you start in The
Badlands and work your way from their. And Alex, I don’t have to
tell you this is a highly explosive matter. If by some chance
someone’s figured out a way to stabilize the Bromethium process…”

“Understood . . .”

And as she watched her young operative making his way down the
mountain, she had to prey to the powers that be. This would be the
point in history that would never be recorded. It would be the
‘real’ point in history when the next great war begun . . .

The rocks and boulders around her began to change shape . . .

——————

A half hour passed.

Above Hollis-Prime, the Starship Craven received the last of it’s
runabouts which was carrying the Admiral.

The craft quickly landed at bay and it’s occupants scurried out and
to their posts. Porter was promptly greeted by her second in
command, Lt. Cmd Katherine Brooks.

They quickly made eye contact, and the Admiral gestured Brooks to a
corner of the shuttle bay for privacy.

“I assume everything went according to plan?” Katherine spoke
softly.

“As well as can be expected.” she replied shaking her head. “What
have just done?” she said sincerely.

“What you had to, Ma’am. The only thing any of us could do with a
situation like this.” Brooks tried to comfort her superior. But
anyone who knew Cynthia Porter knew she had a stubborn conscience.
“There’s too much riding on what we do from here on.”

“That’s why I’m gonna need you to take care of something.” the
Admiral said. Brooks listened intently. “When are we scheduled to
rendezvous with the Crazyhorse?”

Brooks thought for a second. “Less than six hours. Why?”

They exited the shuttle bay and quickly headed for the turbo lift.
They both remained silent, greeting passing crewmates with smiles
and nods. They entered the turbolift. “Bridge” Brooks ordered. And
the small elevator quickly took off.

“Hault.” the Admiral said and the turbolift quickly stopped. She
turned to Kathy. “I’m going to need you to hitch a ride on the
Crazyhorse. Their next destination is the science station near the
Vulcan homeworld, Fultona-6. There you’ll retrieve information from
a Dr. Hinkle. He’s been doing remote telemetry readings on the area
in question, and he may be in for some unwanted company.” she
stated. “There is a slim chance he may be one them in disguise, so
watch your back. And remember, he can’t know what our true
intentions are. There’s too much at stake for us as well as The
Federation.”

——————

In the transporter bay of the Transport Helix, crewman Ian N’marus
quickly maneuvered his fingers along the transporter control. In a
matter of seconds, Alex Garrett emerged on the pad. He was shocked
to find the youngest member of the crew operating a delicate piece
of equipment. Even though Ian was the best pilot he’s even seen at
a young age, a transporter operator he’s not.

“Ian, what the hell are you doing behind that console?” Alex asked.

The youngster had to smile. “Mia told me I was in charge for next
hour or so.

“And where is she?” his voice was stern.

The boy’s smile disappeared. “She and Kyle got into it again.”

“Here we go again.” Alex started for the exit. “Scan the surface at
the previous coordinates. Their are about twenty boxes waiting to
be beamed abort. Transport them directly to the stock room and then
plot us a course for The Badlands, warp 4.”

——————

‘BATTLE SIMULATION IN PROGRESS: 45 MINUTES…’ the computer’s voice
rang out.

The lights along the corridor flickered around Mia as she stalked
the rear walkways. Her motion sensor had picked up movement two
minutes ago. She suspected her oponent, Kyle K’nar was holding up
on one of the storage bays. But she still couldn’t pinpoint where
his partner, Dr. Jaxa had taken herself.

She wore her hair long, which was unusual for a Vulcan (who was
raised as a Romulan) with military upbringing. It’s fine black
strands gracefully draped over her shoulders. Her finely tuned body
fit tightly in the newly commissioned black uniform.

She tapped her commlink. “Tash, you there?”

‘Online…’ a voice of her brother replied.

“Anything yet?”

‘Not yet. The Doc’s got a good lead on me and she’s never been one
to leave a trail. I’m near the bridge right now, so I’ll circle
around and head toward you. Maybe we can box one of them in.’

“Sounds like a plan. Mia out.”

Mia and Kyles’ competitive friendship started soon after their
PROGRAM UNIT was formed. Since she was trained in the alternate
reality where the Borg ruled, she considered her fighting skills to
be second to none. First, being a top operative for the Tolsh Yar,
then joining Alex after the invasion, she and her brother mastered
fighting techniques from over twelve races. But as Kyle, the Trill
host soon taught her, no amount of training can compensate for
sheer experience.

Mia’s motion sensors went crazy when she reached the entrance to
Storage Bay -2. She quickly positioned herself away from the door
and proceded to activate the control panel. The door opened with a
thundering slam. The darkened room was full of silhouetted
containers stacked the the ceiling. They formed a maze of cargo
boxes which lead a series of directions. She knew Kyle could be
anywhere, and could attack her at anytime.

She quickly tossed the bulky motion detector aside and preceded on
instinct. Her hightened senses caught the soft echoes of footsteps,
and she immediately knew that there were more than her own. But
they were softer, more graceful than the husky Trill warrior.

“Come on out, Doc!” Mia said with a smile. “Come on Jann, I’ll take
a verbal surrender! It’s the old man I want!”

Something scurried to her left. She fired a volley of disrupter
fire into the darkness as a warning. The scurrying became louder.
Boxes frantically fell aside. Then from her right, she caught the
green sensor light of a pulse rifle.

“Damnit!” she yelled diving for cover. A shadowy figure fired a
couple of shots and then ducked for cover. Mia returned fire and
then rolled into the darkness. Looking back, she could hear Dr.
Jann Jaxa creeping around to try and catch her from behind. “Too
easy…” she whispered with a grin, and tapped her comlink.

“Tash you there?” she waited for a couple of seconds, but there was
no answer. “Tash? Answer me, damnit…”

——————

Kyle K’Nar stood over Tash’s unconscious body. He had caught the
Vulcan with a sniper’s shot from across the room. He didn’t want to
drag out the confrontation. He wanted Mia. The witch was an expert
strategist, and an excellent marksman. But compared to him, she was
inexperienced. He’s offered to train her, but that stubborn pride
of hers always got in the way. This was just another way of showing
her who was student, and who was the teacher.

Kyle has served seven lifetimes as a soldier. His last mission was
on the frontlines during the Cardassian Occupation of Bajor. He was
a valued member of the Bajoran Militia, and settled for nothing
less than victory. During an attempted to hijack a Federation
transport for weapons and supplies, he was arrested and sentenced
to the Jupiter Prison Mines. But instead of serving his sentence
doing hard labor, the Admiral Cynthia Porter decided he’d be better
served with Alex’s team.

‘Tash? Answer me, damnit…’ he heard Mia’s voice over Tash’s
commlink. He picked it up with a held in laugh.

“Sorry sweety, but your partners takin’ a nap. If you want me
you’ll have to come and get me.”

‘Don’t worry, old man. I’ll be there as soon as…’

——————

Before Mia could finish her sentence, a volley of phaser fire
exploded around her. She ducked for cover in frustratrion, but a
stray bolt tagged her in the waist. The burning shock coursed
through her body, and sent her helplessly falling to the floor.

“Bang, your dead!” Jann yelled as the lights came on. She tapped
her commlink. “Doc to Kyle. I got her. It worked like a dream.” Mia
hazily looked up at her attacker. The Doctor grinned. “The old
guy’s been teaching me a thing or two about field maneuvers! Not
bad, huh?”

Mia frown turned to smile. “You got lucky, woman. Next time, I’ll
be ready.” Doc offered her hand and Mia took it.

——————

HELIX LOG: Captain Alex Garrett recording . . .

We are in enroute to The Badlands to gather information on
a subspace discrepency which have the Klingon Empire and
the Federation in an uproar. We’ve received information
from PROGRAM INTELLIGENCE that the terrorist faction, the
Maquis may have some connection to a destroyed Ferengi
Freighter in the M’baar Nebulea. We are scheduleD to meet
with a representative on arrival… END TRANSMITTION

——————

The Helix soared through space at warp speed. It’s cloaked hull
created a ripple effect which resembled waves floating on a sea of
stars. Aboard, the entire crew had gathered at their stations.
Everyone ran routine system checks on their stations except Kyle
and Mia who were basking in the after-glow of all-out mock warfare.

“I can’t believe you sent your lacky to take me out.” Mia said
pouring Kyle another glass of Romulan Ale.

“I didn’t do anything of the sort! As a matter of fact,I was
looking forward to dealing with you myself.” Kyle replied with a
smile. “But, I knew my taunting you would nullify your senses. Jaxa
could’ve road in on a shuttlecrafted and hit you with a stick
before you realized it. Your temper’s gonna always be the deciding
factor, kid.” he took a sip of his drink. “You better learn how to
control it.”

They both glared at each other as the entrance swung open and Alex
entered the bridge. “People?” he said heading for his chair. The
others greeted him with a round of “Cappy” and turned their chairs
to face him. “O.K. Here’s what we got, people…”

He ran over the information supplied by THE PROGRAM and the others
listened intently.

“We should be in contact with the Maquis anytime now. What’s the
ship’s status?”

Mia handed him her message pad. “All systems normal. I’ve made some
headway in decifering the encrytion codes to the hidden subsystems.
When we were attacked by The Unforgiven [story to come soon], the
power surge from their Temporal Torpedoes activated the ship’s
transformation. I’m thinking that we’re looking at some type of
temporal frequency signature instead of a access code. I’m
experiementing with simulated temporal pulses to try and duplicate
what happened. As for everything else, we have 92% navigational
efficiency, and 87% known weapons efficiency. I’m gonna need
Kathy’s help when she gets back.

“According to the Admiral, she should be back in a few days. Tash?”

The Vulcan replied. “All weapons at normal. I’ve re-tuned the
disruptors to feed off the auxillery engines power, so we’ll be
have full weapon compliment simultaneously.”

“Good. Alright people, lets do this one by the book.”

A hail sensor sounded. Ian swiveled his chair around and analyzed
the signal. “Maquis ships are appoarching ahead. The lead ships’s
waiting for response.”

“Kyle, you and the Doc get to the transporter bay and stand by to
receive our guest…” As the two got up and left for the turbo
lift, Alex walked to Ian. “Send a coded message to The Craven. Tell
the Admiral we’re on schedule and to expect my first report in
twelve hours.”

The kid nodded and began to figid with the controls again…

——————

Fifteen minutes later, Alex sat at his desk in his quarters. With
no warning, the door slid open and his guest entered unaccompanied.

“Justin…” Alex said with a smile. “It’s been a long time.”

“That it has, Kid.” The aged man answered with a hearty handshake
and then a brisk hug. They both sat. Justin Hatcher was the crew’s
contact with the Maquis. Alex worked with him doing transport work
for escaped Bajorian prisoners during the Cardassian Occupation. “I
heard about your little escapade with that those Unforgiven
creatures. Good work.”

“Not nice enough. We only got seventy five prisoners out of two
hundred. We weren’t good enough.”

“Ask the seventy-five rescued. I’m sure they’d have another outlook
on the whole thing.”

Alex smiled. “Point taken. Now. . .” He swung his vid-screen around
so Justin could get a look at the information. “We’re trying to
find out who would have enough resources to purchase large sums of
Bromethium from the Ferengi.”

“Have you asked the Ferengi?” Justin said using the kiosk keys to
scroll through the information.

“Yeah. They just gave me the runaround.”

“Typical.” Justin occasionally glance up at Alex. “There’s one
thing I do know. They didn’t advertise.”

“Why?”

“Because there’s at least five sources i could name ready to pay
big for a Bromethium supply. If any was on the blackmarket, someone
would back leaked it to the right sources.” he frowned. “This is
strange.”

Alex came around the table to Justin’s side. The older man pointed
to a complicated schematic of the wreckage. “According to your
records, the Ferengi trader was attacked by a Romulan Warbird, and
two Cardassian warships.”

Alex saw the puzzled look on his friends face. He knew that Justin
was an experience engineer and a master at astro-pharensics.
“Cardassians and Romulans in Klingon space? That doesn’t make any
sense. Are you sure?”

The Marquis general pointed to the screen. “The data you have here
confirms this…on the surface.”

“Explain.”

“At a glance, the data of the wreckage seems correct. But, on a
molecular level, the readings are all wrong. Here, you have
confirmed wreckage of a Ferengi-style craft. According to the
readings, The Ferengi craft took shots at the other ships. The
wreckage shows pieces which match Romulan and Cardassian
configurations, but the structural integrity of the metals are all
wrong. They couldn’t have been constructed in their typical
fashions. Once more, the chemical structure of the Romulan and
Cardassian ships should be different. But their a match!”

“Meaning…”

“…meaning it looks like duck, and it quacks like a duck, but it
ain’t no duck. At least, not one that we’ve ever seen.”

Alex stood up and walk to the window. “Are you certain?”

“This is just a surface evaluation. To get a more detailed
explanation, I’ll need to confir with some friends of mine.”

“Do what you have to…”

Justin smiled. “Of course, I can’t go to them empty handed.” he
leaned back in his chair. “This is a pretty big favor you’re asking
me. My colleagues are going to need some…incentive.”

Before Justin could finish his sentence, Alex had placed a small
data-chip on the desk in front of Justin. “I understand the Marquis
has been trying to find the Cardassian supply stations in close
proximaty to your two major bases. This chip has the twenty three
flight paths with the Cardassians use for troop and equipment
transport. I’m sure your collegues will find this more than enough
incentive…”

Justin slowly grabbed the chip and nodded to Alex. “I’ll be in
contact. Expect some results in the next few days…”

——————

CHAPTER TWO: IF I SHOULD DIE

Overshadowing the billions of stars which shine brightly in their
part of the galaxy, three predators slowly cruise a remote area of
Klingon space. Three Bird of Preys led by the Chi-Mal slowly made
their routine patrol for the empire.

Commander Konag sat in his command chair, going over the gunner’s
latest report on the weapon’s systems. He was not impressed.

“These readings are pathetic!” Konag screamed in Rage. Before the
underling could react, The Commander backhanded him, sending him
over the nearby railing post. The other bridge officers laughed.
The gunner pulled himself to his feet, as Konag approched him. “Get
it right, boy, or next time, I’ll….”

Before he could answer, the communication’s officer called Konag to
his station. They listened to a faint coded signal which seemed to
be automated and coming from the nearby source.

“Explain!” Konag said.

The Com-Officer quickly formulated a reply. After all, he didn’t
want to end up like the weapons officer. “It’s an automatic
distress call coming from about 3 lightyears away sir. I’m not
sure, it looks like an old Cardassian military transmission.”

“Cardassian!?!” the Commander smiled. At last, he was going to get
a chance to shoot somebody. “Helmsman, plot a course for the
signal. This can be nothing else but a sign of agression from the
Cardassian Order!” He laughed and then flopped back into his
commander chair. “We will show them how we treat unwanted guest in
Klingon space!”

With a whisper, three ships cloaked and pushed into warp…

——————

Alex Garrett walked the one of the few corridors aboard the Helix.
His thoughts slowly ran over all the data on the incident that they
had retrieved thus far. Nothing made sence, at least on the
surface. But he knew all it would take is on simple link to put
everything together. And he wanted to find that link before anyone
else got hurt.

He entered the rear most storage bay where he found Ian cataloging
the most recent cargo supplied from Admiral Porter.

“Hey Cappy.” Ian said, not even raising his head up from his
tricorder. The youngster had been given a lot more responsibility
as of late. He was determine not to let Alex down.

“What do we have?” Alex asked. Ian handed him the tricorder.

“Well, so far it’s been the usual. There’s dilithium composites for
the warp core, medical supplies for the Doc, repaired modules for
the replicators, etc.. etc.. I just put in the order for more
torpedos. We should have them by next week.”

Alex smiled. “You think you can handle loading everything all by
your lonesome?”

Ian’s eyes lit up. “REALLY? I mean…of course, sir. I’ve passed
all the requirements for operating the loader.”

“Fine” Alex started to walk away and tossed the tricorder over his
sholder. “Get to it then.” Ian caught it and quickly scurried to
the loading controls.

On his way out, Alex was met by Mia, who had been observing the two
of them. Alex loved they way she wore her hair now. Over the years,
he had grown extremely fond of the Vulcan warrior. He just wished
the feeling was mutual.

She spoke worrily. “You know he’s gonna blow us all up if he
doesn’t adjust the artificial containment vessals with the
proper…”

“Mia….” Alex stopped her. “The kid’s been watchin’ you do that
ever since we rescued him. I’m pretty sure he can handle himself.”
Alex stopped in front of her. “Have you been in touch with The
Craven?”

“Yeah. The Admiral says Kathy will have the Bromethium specimens to
study with her when we rendezvous. Apparently PROGRAM INTELLIGENCE
diverted her for special mission.”

“Good. Now, I want you to get Tash and meet in my room within the
hour. I need a counsel to discuss our current situation.”

“Counsel?” she replied with a smile.

Alex nodded. “Yeah. That’s Starfleet talk, you know…”

——————

“Commander, the Cardassian warship is in visual range.” the Klingon
helmsman reported to Konag, who was busy still intimidating his
weapons officer. “They appear to be damaged.”

“Put it on screen!” Konag ordered as he rushed to his command
chair. The Kelven-Class Warship sat in the blanket of space alone;
no signs of energy expendature.

It was dead.

“There appear to be markings which suggest they were under attack.
But…”

“But what!?” Konag grew impatient.

The helmsman restudied his data. “There isn’t any sign that their
was life aboard. All the escape pods are intact…..but no life.
There seem to be residual traces of matter which could’ve been
Caradassian DNA, but it’s as if….”

“As if what!?!”

“…as if whatever bodies were on the ship, deteriated over a
matter of years.”

“Years?” For an instant, Konag was puzzled, but then he leaned
forward and smiled. He knew the Cardassians could be extremely
crafty when neccesary. “It is some kind of trick. Arm phaser
banks!”

Just as the nervous weapons officer complied, the helmsman’s
console went crazy. “Commander!” he swiveled around. “I have
multiple ships decloaking!”

Suddenly a Bradbury-Class Federation Starship appeared directly
between them and the Cardassian warship. The Starfleet heavy
cruiser turned toward Konag’s craft in defiance. “A Federation
craft with a cloak…”

From behind, two Romulan Warbirds materialized and opened fire. Two
of the Klingon ships were caught offgaurd. The Romulan disruptors
ripped through their hulls and tore them completely apart in a
blazed of firey hell.

“Attack position!” Konag ordered.

The Remaining Bird of Prey veared hard to the left, avoiding the
Warbirds’ attack patterns. The Starfleet vessel countered with a
barrage of photon torpedos which managed to easily cut through the
Klingons shields. The ship buckled and began to slowly turn end
over end.

“Sir, they’ve found a way to penetrate our shields! We’re
defenseless!!!”

“Return fire!” the Commander ordered. A wide spread of torpedoes
and two phaser shots crossed the Warbirds’ paths. The ships were
struck head on. They answered with another barrage of torpedoes.

Konag’s chair uprooted and tossed him aside. He howled in rage as
he saw the Romulans and Federation banned together against him.
“Federation dogs! I knew they could not be trusted!” he staggered
over the weapons station. His former weapons officer layed slumped
over the his console. Konag pulled him back and found the large
piece of shrapnel which had all but severed the young boy’s torso.
He pushed the lifeless body aside and began to run his fingers over
the console. “Status report!”

The helmsman steadied himself. “The warp engines are offline.
Aft-torpedo and Aft-disruptor bays are destroyed. The engine core
is still intact, but we’re losing power fast. I believe I can get
us up to impulse…”

“No!” Konage replied as the weapons console sprang to life. “We
will die today…with honor!! Defending the Empire!”

The Romulan crafts formed an attack formation and started to close
in for the kill.

The helmsman scanned their enemy. “Commander. The left ship has
vastly weaken sheild integrety in its forward deflectors!”

Konag’s fingers ran feverishly over the weapons console. “Then that
is where we will strike! I need all the power you can give me to
the disruptors!”

The Bird of Prey pulled itself directly in front of it’s attackers.

“Ten seconds until optimal firing range!” the helmsman yelled.

Konag smiled with anticipation as he listened to the countdown; his
bloody finger gently touching the fire button. “FOR THE EMPIRE!!!”
he cried as his fingers slammed onto the console.

In a blaze of glory, a barrage of phaser blasts struck the left
ship head on. It’s shields quickly buckled and the warbird started
to vear off.

“Ahh, no coward! There is no escape for you!” Konag said as he
watched his remaining torpedoes shower across the ship. A series of
small impacts led to a massive explosion which ripped the Warbird
to pieces. It’s right wing pushed off from the blast and topple
directly into the Federation ship’s path. It tried to brake apart
the obsticle with a series of phaser shots, but it was too late.
The wing buckled the shields and collided directly with the
Federation Heavy cruiser’s saucer section, totally destroying the
ship on impact.

Konag and his remaining crew roared in victorious pleasure. It
seemed almost too easy. But he didn’t matter. He was about to die,
but with great honor for haulting a joint Federation/Romulan
invasion single-handedly. Unfortunately, his joyous celebration was
met with the remaining Warbird’s attack. Two more torpedoes struck
Konag’s craft blowing half of the rear section apart. Consoles
around the bridge erupted; the roof opened and gave way to tons of
equipment which rained on the bridge crew.

A few moments later, all was silent.

Konag pulled himself from under the wreckage. He quickly realized
everyone else was dead. He wasn’t too far off himself. His right
leg was completely torn to shreds, and his stomach was pierced by a
piece of broken guard-rail. Even though he knew it was the end., he
smiled with utter happiness.

“Ha! It was a good battle. Glorious!!!” he laughed as he saw the
last Warbird idlely waiting on his faultering viewscreen. “What are
you waiting for! I destroyed your conrads! Now you destroy me,
Romulan dog!!” But his plea was only met by two more spacecrafts
which decloaked directly alongside the Warbird. At first he
squinted at the sight of his viewscreen, but slowly his eyes grew
wide in betrayal. “What sort of madness is this!?!” he whispered in
astonishment. And as the two new crafts unleashed a swarm of
torpedoes at his dying ship, Konag could do nothing but remain
speechless in awe. Because though his viewscreen’s image was
severly covered with static, his faultering eyes recognized what
the angels of death truly were.

“Klingons…. ”

———-

HELIX LOG: Captain Alex Garrett recording . . .

We are enroute to rendezvous with Kathy and regroup our
investigation. Phantom starships… phantom terrorists, and
an assignment which is quickly turning sour. We’re gonna
need some answers quick, ’cause there’s a good chance
whoever’s behind this will be coming after us pretty soon.
END TRANSMITION.

Tash said tossing a tricorder onto Alex’s desk. “You trust
information coming from a known terrorist?”

“He’s a reliable source, Leuitenant!” Mia snapped back at him.
“He’s come through for us on a number of occassions.”

“She’s right.” Alex replied. “Justin is a trusted friend. And
besides, with the information I’m supplying him, he has no reason
to double cross us.”

Tash leaned back in his chair. “You’re right, Commander.” he said.
“I apologize for my outburst. I just don’t like undertaking
missions with fragmented information.”

“The feeling’s mutual. And don’t apologized for anything. I need my
people unafraid the voice their opinions.”

Mia stood up and walked to the large wall viewscreen which display
the data supplied by Starfleet Intelligence. “Frankly, I don’t
understand how THE PROGRAM can have this much information, and not
have formulated some type of hypothesis by now. Cappy, we’re gonna
need more to go on than this. ‘Cause we could be way out of our
league on this one.”

“I agree.” Alex patched a call through on a secured line. In
seconds, Admiral Porter answered the hail.

“Alex. I assume you have information for me?” she said; her
transmission was rough, but understandable.

“We don’t have too much. What we did find out from some outside
sources is that the remains of the Romulan and Cardassain ships
weren’t accurate. Somebody’s going through a lot to make it look
like a beginning of intergalactic war.”

She paused. “Are you saying that it wasn’t the Romulans and
Cardassians who attacked that freighter?”

“Again, we can’t say…” Mia replied for Alex. “But it looks like
somebody wanted us to think it was. It could be anyone; even
…some new superpower. We don’t have any leads, yet.”

“Admiral…” Alex stood up and walked to the viewscreen. “Are you
sure there isn’t any other information that you can give us. This
is turning out to be a hell of a lot more than just blackmarket
smuggling.”

“THE PROGRAM is just as lost as you, Captain. But if I hear
anything else, i’ll contact you. Porter out.”

With that, the viewscreen went black, and the Helix senior staff
looked at each other.

“Did you see it, too?” Mia asked. Alex smiled and looked over to
Tash

“There were shadows behind her. There was obviously someone in the
room with her.” Tash replied with a nod.

“I guess our little discussions aren’t as private as we thought.
This is more than a recon mission and they knew it all along. As of
now, we assume all sides are compromised.”

“My sentiments exactly.” Tash grabbed the tricorder. “I’ll check
with some of my connections and see if anyone else has anything to
offer.” With that he left the room.

Mia smiled at Alex, who was shaking his head.

“I think he’s warming up to you.” she said.

“Whatever you say. Get through to Kathy an confirm out rendezvous
ETA”

Before he could finish, the door swung open and Ian quickly
entered.

“Alex, I just picked up a some strange readings about six hours
behind us. There’s residual traces of weapons fire. And also faint
traces of radiation which could’ve been triggered by a Bromethium
burn.” he said.

“Turn us around. Get us there, maximum warp. I want everyone at
their stations and ready for the worst.”

As the senior officers exited the room, Kyle entered for his daily
discussion with Alex. He was large man. His six and a half foot
frame was finely condition by a lifetime of warfare. He had taken
Alex under his wing as soon as the youngster welcomed in into the
fold, and began ot teach him the fine ways of combat and strategy.
Alex began to see him as the resident father figure of this rag tag
bunch. Because even though Alex brought them all together, and it
was Kyle who reaffirmed him with the role of leadership.

Kyle sat and studied his pupil. “By the looks of the others, it
seems we’re about to get some action.” he said.

“It seems that way.” Alex replied looking at the information Ian
just recovered.

“Good. All of these boring transport missions are making us rusty.”

——————

Within the calm blanket of Federation space, the enormous science
station known as Fultona-6 sat anchored to a large fragment of a
long destroyed planet. Within the large specimen, it is believe to
hold the last remnants to a lost civilization. By closely exploring
the moon-size fragment, it is the hope of archeologists to find
caves and crevaces which house valuable artifacts from that
civilization.

The Federation Runabout Rushmore docked at a pilon and shut down
for refueling. Leuitenant Commander Katherine Brooks disambarked in
civilian attire, in hopes not to draw any attention. Although it
was considered a Federation runned facility, there were certain
people who shouldn’t even know she had arrived….for their own
protection.

She quickly accessed the computer terminal and found the route to
Dr. Hinkle’s laboratory. After a quick turbolift ride and a quarter
of a mile of walking, she rounded a corner and found Hinkles lab at
the end of the hall. That’s when she heard the shouting , and then
the weapon fire.

She grabbed her phaser, tapped her comm badge and made a dash for
the lab. “This is Lt. Cmd Katherine Brooks! Security alert in
sector 7D! Phaser fire in Dr. Hinkle’s lab…”

——————

‘WARNING– SHIELDs ARE OFFLINE. HULL INTEGRITY AT 42%’ the small
fighter’s computer told Justin Hatcher as he tried to maintain
control escape from the onslaught of three alien crafts. He had
just left the rendezvous with his contacts and was ready to deliver
Alex’s information when three ships decloaked and began to fire on
him.

“Computer!” Justin shouted. “Sent out a distress call the The
Helix, all frequencies!”

‘COULD NOT COMPLETE REQUEST–‘ the computer replied.
‘COMMUNICATIONS HAVE BEEN DISABLED BY UNKNOWN SOURCE!’

The ship was hit again and Justin heard the engines go offline. And
as he tried to re-establish power, he didn’t see the two humanoid
figures armed with large blades materialize in the rear section of
the ship. . .

——————

Kathy reached Dr. Hinkle’s office in record time. At the door she
quickly positioned herself out of possible firing range and then
opened it. The lab entrance open to a darkened room which smelled
like charred metal.

Phaser in hand, Kathy crouched and manuvered herself through the
room. “Doctor! My name is Lt. Cdr. Brooks, I’m hear to help you!”

“Run child!” a voice cried out. “It’s a trap! They’re after you!!!”

Kathy stood up and scanned the area. She caught rapid movement to
her left and quickly dove for cover. There was a small explosion
which was followed by three phaser shots which streaked passed her
and destoyed some nearby equipment. That’s when she saw the doctor
stood up and ran for the door.

“Doctor! No!” she cried.

Suddenly an orange beam sprang from the shadows and struck the
doctor in the back. He immediately stopped in his tracks and cried
out a screeched of intense pain. Kathy’s eyes widened as she saw
the doctor’s body begin to melt like hot ice cream. His legs gave
away and he fell into the wall. His body shattered for the force of
the collision, and Kathy watched as his wet remains dripped from
the walls to form a pool on the floor.

“Damnit!” Kathy said as she stood up and started to fire
sparatically into the dark. But after a minute or so, their was no
response.

The lights quickly came on as a security patrol of five entered the
room. Kathy came from her hiding place and identified herself as a
Starfleet officer.

“We had no information of anyone from Starfleet…” the security
leader said.

“It was something that needed to be kept quiet. Obviously it wasn’t
quiet enough.”

“We detected an unauthorized transport of three individuals from
here to a cloaked ship just inside our shield parimeter. It was
Romulan.”

She stared down at the Doctor’s remains which had now turned to a
fine powder. “No. It wasn’t Romulan. Something much much worse.
Where’s the comlink?” A security officer pointed to the other side
of the room where Kathy put a call out to the Admiral. In about a
minute, her face came on view.

“Commander?” Admiral Porter inquired.

“We’re too late, sir. They got to Hinkle before I could. He’s dead.
I haven’t checked yet but I’m pretty sure they wiped the computers
clean already” Kathy said wiping the sweat from her face.

“Damnit! Did you get a look at them?”

“Yes ma’am. They were definately Jem’Hadar.”

“Dear God…” the Admiral whispered.

“They were here to get me.” she blurted out, trying to contain her
fear. They both stared at each other for a few seconds. “I’m the
next target, ma’am.”

“Not if I can help it! We’ll find another way to get Alex the
Bromethium.”

“I can’t do that, Cynthia.” the young woman said in defiance. “The
truth is their gonna get me no matter what I do. Our…my only hope
is to figure out where the Dominion is massing their forces. If any
of us is gonna survive this, we have to stop it before it starts.”

“Very well. Report to Commodore Anderson there on the station.
He’ll arrange for you to borrow a Runabout. We’ll rendezvous at the
designated point after you’re drop point on Obinous.” she sighed.
“I guess there’s no way around it. OPERATION: DEFIANCE begins now.
. . .”

TO BE CONTINUED. . .

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