And so it begins…
The Delta Flyer came to a stop on the outer edge of the asteroid field that was just beyond Mars. Inside it, Jim Hawkins was checking the sensors at the same time. He also checked for subspace distortions, which were usually indicative of cloaked ships. There weren’t any though, so his reason for being there hadn’t arrived. Or their cloak, if there was a ship in the area, was better than his sensors could detect. This wouldn’t have been surprising to him, considering that the person he was there to meet was a covert ops agent.
Jim knew why he’d been chosen for this ‘cloak and dagger’ mission. With extensive past experience in Intelligence and covert operations, this made him the ideal choice for this task. It was ordinary for him now, but he’d come to accept it. Every now and again, they would make use of his experience to carry out one objective or another. He smiled to himself, thinking back. Once you’re in Intelligence, you’re never out of it.
Before he had a chance to relax, his console beeped at him, registering a subspace distortion approaching fast. Raising his shields, Jim waited. He wasn’t hiding, so they would make themselves known to him sooner or later.
It was sooner… An encrypted identity request was received by the Delta Flyer which, under normal circumstances, was not likely to be picked up by anyone who didn’t know the exact frequency, since it was piggybacking on the background noise of space. Replying with the correct response code, Hawkins dropped his shields and turned around, drawing his phaser as he faced the transporter pad that hummed into life. He hadn’t survived this long by not being prepared for anything. However, he wasn’t prepared for who appeared on the pad. President Spock.
Jim’s jaw dropped in surprise as the President materialised in front of him. He holstered his weapon, standing up to greet the Vulcan.
“Mister President,” Jim said, moving closer and saluting. “I can’t say I expected to see you here…”
“Subterfuge was necessary, Mister Hawkins,” Spock replied, nodding his head in a greeting. “We are alone?”
“Yes sir,” Jim replied. “This ship is secure, and there’s no detectable activity within sensor range However, I’ll take us into the asteroids to make sure they provide interference to anyone that might be trying to detect us.”
“Very good,” Spock said, moving over to a chair and sitting down, watching Hawkins take the Flyer into the asteroid field. Sitting as calmly as you would expect a Vulcan to sit, he watched the asteroids flying towards them, only to streak past as Hawkins maneuvered around them.
A large,tumbling boulder was ahead, the size of a small moon, and was coming straight at them. Matching velocity with it, Hawkins rolled the Delta Flyer to match the tumbling of the asteroid, making it seem as if the asteroid was completely still below them while he brought the Flyer in to land on its surface. He made it look easy, which, to him, it was. Too many years of flying shuttles and small ships in extremely hostile environments had given him skills that most pilots never had, and which would probably fade only when he was too old to dance his fingers across the flight controls.
Turning around, Jim sat back and looked at President Spock expectantly, waiting for the details of what they were out here for.
“Your record is exemplary,” the President began. “You have experience leading highly critical covert operations against the Federation in another universe.”
Jim nodded cautiously at Spock’s statement. He wasn’t sure where this was headed, but he didn’t think he’d like it.
“I’m sure you are aware of the strategy the Erratan Galactic Republic has engaged in over the past few years to bring about the result we have today.” Without waiting for an answer, Spock continued. “The Federation has become a puppet government, Mister Hawkins. To ensure the survival of the Federation, I had to bring about our capitulation. Fighting them was illogical.” Spock frowned, looking closely at Jim. “Do you understand the logic in this?”
“Yes sir,” Jim replied, nodding. “I never liked it, but I understood your motives. I remember your words, about the sleeping lion.”
Spock nodded, and relaxed slightly, his frown seeming to lessen slightly. “I had thought you would. Now is the time for us to start acting behind the lion’s back, Mister Hawkins.”
“Isn’t it too late though?” Jim asked. “They control the entire galaxy, and have eliminated all the races that could have helped us. We don’t have the resources to go to any other galaxy, as they control the jump gates, and we’ve never been able to get hold of their hyperdrives. I know that we lost too many people trying.” Jim paused, taking a breath. He was letting his frustration get the better of him.
“It is not too late,” Spock replied. “In fact, now is the best time, when the lion is sleeping. They have destroyed all threat in this galaxy, with the remaining races unable to threaten them. The Federation has willingly subjugated itself to them, and now their attention has been relaxed. They are letting the Federation do what it will in regards to maintaining the cohesiveness of its infrastructure, while they are in maintenance mode rather than conquering mode. We have a small amount of freedom.”
“I understand,” Jim nodded. “But I don’t know what we can possibly do.”
Spock looked straight at him as he said, “You need to find the Sernaix.”
Jim’s face went white as the blood drained from it. The Sernaix. The guardians of the alternate universe that he’d spent 5 years in. They were an incredibly powerful race that had the ability to travel between different universes in the blink of an eye. They were also very temperamental about people who came into their universe from outside of it. In his 5 years over there, Jim had very little to do with them, but when they did involve themselves, it was brutal and decisive. They only let him stay there because of their relationship with the wormhole aliens, who had plans for him…
“Mister President, I don’t know if they’d be willing to help us. As far as they’re concerned we are an inferior race of insects. We’re not even in their own universe, so their interest in us would be even less.”
Spock nodded in agreement, but then said, “I believe Captain Aldous, from the original USS Scorpion, had developed a relationship of sorts with a Sernaix Ship Mind. You may like to get Captain Aldous in on your mission.”
Jim’s eyebrows raised. “I thought Aldous was destroyed with his ship at the Battle of Veragnos?”
“The ship, and Captain Aldous, are fine and well at Jupiter Shipyards. They returned only a few days ago, which led me to decide on this course of action.”
Jim looked at his hands, thinking about everything that Spock had said. This was what he hadn’t wanted to hear, but which he had subconsciously known was coming. If Jim accepted this mission, there was almost zero chance of success, and a high chance of being killed by either the Federation themselves or the EGR. Being a rogue agent would be a threat to the Federation. He knew that. Federation personnel rebelliong against the EGR could result in their retribution against the Federation, and already had over the past year or so. No one on Earth or in the Federation wanted a repeat of the Cardassian destruction, or the various other acts of violence done against the Federation because of attempted rebellions. As a result, the Federation would officially try to stop him.
There were, of course, various Federation personnel who tried resisting the EGR after the Carddssians were destroyed, but they failed, violently. President Spock had been forced to align the Federation with the EGR to avoid further bloodshed, and order all resistance to cease. The past year included some dark times for the Federation.
He looked back up at Spock. “If I accept this…”
“You must, Mister Hawkins,” said Spock, interrupting him. “You are the only one who has the experience to do this. No one else in the Federation has led a rebellion of this nature. You are our only chance.”
Jim sighed. “Yes Mister President. I understand.” He’d never heard a Vulcan beg before, especially President Spock. But this was certainly begging. He couldn’t refuse.
To be continued…
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