Star Trek Hunter Part 4 - Episodes 11 - 13 by Robert Bruce Scott
Summary:

Y2 cover

PART FOUR OF NINE

 

Episode 11 - Intersections and Reunions - The U.S.S. Hunter returns to Earth after its secret mission on the far side of the Romulan Star Empire...

 

Episode 12 - Prisoner in the Ice Castle - Justice Minerva Irons is called upon to mediate the selection of a new Emperor for the Andorian Empire...

 

Episode 13 - The 15,000 Cities of Cun Ling - The U.S.S. Hunter travels to the 2nd most highly populated planet in the Federation - an artificially constructed planet with thousands of cities named and designed after various fantasies and mythologies...


Categories: Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, Voyager, Expanded Universes Characters: None
Genre: Action/Adventure
Warnings: Adult Language, Adult Situations, Character Death, Violence
Challenges: None
Series: Star Trek Hunter
Chapters: 52 Completed: Yes Word count: 51422 Read: 27120 Published: 19 Apr 2020 Updated: 21 Sep 2020

1. Episode 11.1 - Federation Council Building, Nairobi, Kenya (Part 1 of 2) by Robert Bruce Scott

2. Episode 11 - Intersections and Reunions by Robert Bruce Scott

3. Episode 11.2 - Federation Council Building (Part 2 of 2) by Robert Bruce Scott

4. Episode 11.3 - Medical Office, U.S.S. Hunter by Robert Bruce Scott

5. Episode 11.4 - Star Fleet Headquarters, Dubuque, Iowa by Robert Bruce Scott

6. Episode 11.5 - Flight Cabin, B.R. Prophet Motive by Robert Bruce Scott

7. Episode 11.6 - Central Park, New York City, New York by Robert Bruce Scott

8. Episode 11.7 - Daystrom Institute Headquarters, New Eden, Mars by Robert Bruce Scott

9. Episode 11.8 - Anna's Egg, Bolshoya Neva River, St. Petersburg, Russia by Robert Bruce Scott

10. Episode 11.9 - Mlady's Cabin, U.S.S. Hunter by Robert Bruce Scott

11. Episode 11.10 - Serengeti National Park, Tanzania by Robert Bruce Scott

12. Episode 11.11 - Executive Conference Room, U.S.S. Hunter by Robert Bruce Scott

13. Episode 11.12 - The Smith Estate, Kauai Island, Hawaii by Robert Bruce Scott

14. Episode 11.13 - Ban Bang Chum Tho Fertility Clinic, Surat Thani, Thailand by Robert Bruce Scott

15. Episode 11.14 - C.D.S. Milithra by Robert Bruce Scott

16. Episode 12.1 - Ice Hole by Robert Bruce Scott

17. Episode 12.2 - Investigator Shran Walks Into a Bar by Robert Bruce Scott

18. Episode 12 - Prisoner in the Ice Castle by Robert Bruce Scott

19. Episode 12.3 - Standing Requirements by Robert Bruce Scott

20. Episode 12.4 - Toeing the Line by Robert Bruce Scott

21. Episode 12.5 - Canada On Ice by Robert Bruce Scott

22. Episode 12.6 - Sister Ship by Robert Bruce Scott

23. Episode 12.7 - Shran's Aviary by Robert Bruce Scott

24. Episode 12.8 - Red Hot by Robert Bruce Scott

25. Episode 12.9 - Standing Orders by Robert Bruce Scott

26. Episode 12.10 - Breaking the Ice by Robert Bruce Scott

27. Episode 12.11 - Battle Over Rings by Robert Bruce Scott

28. Episode 12.12 - Daughters of Sin by Robert Bruce Scott

29. Episode 12.13 - Sin Interred by Robert Bruce Scott

30. Episode 12.14 - See No Sin by Robert Bruce Scott

31. Episode 12.15 - The Study of Sin by Robert Bruce Scott

32. Episode 12.16 - Succession Without Representation by Robert Bruce Scott

33. Episode 12.17 - Messaes of Sin by Robert Bruce Scott

34. Episode 12.18 - After Action Review by Robert Bruce Scott

35. Episode 12.19: Annual Performance Evaluation by Robert Bruce Scott

36. Episode 13.1 - Homecoming by Robert Bruce Scott

37. Episode 13 - The 15,000 Cities of Cun Ling by Robert Bruce Scott

38. Episode 13.2 - Numinor by Robert Bruce Scott

39. Episode 13.3 - Ba Sing Se by Robert Bruce Scott

40. Episode 13.4 - Pern by Robert Bruce Scott

41. Episode 13.5 - Trantor General Hospital by Robert Bruce Scott

42. Episode 13.6 - Trantor Metropolitan Museum of Art by Robert Bruce Scott

43. Episode 13.7 - The Homely House, Numinor by Robert Bruce Scott

44. Episode 13.8 - The Blue Wraith by Robert Bruce Scott

45. Episode 13.9 - An Imperial Audience by Robert Bruce Scott

46. Episode 13.10 - Thumbnail by Robert Bruce Scott

47. Episode 13.11 - Lower Trantor by Robert Bruce Scott

48. Episode 13.12 - The Painted Specter by General Suk Sin Soor by Robert Bruce Scott

49. Episode 13.13 - Cardassian Pepper by Robert Bruce Scott

50. Episode 13.14 - The Assault on th'Istel by Robert Bruce Scott

51. Episode 13.15 - Requiem by Robert Bruce Scott

52. Episode 13.16 - Imperial Script by Robert Bruce Scott

Episode 11.1 - Federation Council Building, Nairobi, Kenya (Part 1 of 2) by Robert Bruce Scott
Author's Notes:

Important decisions are made at a small meeting among five of the most powerful and notorious people in the Federation...

Star Trek Hunter
Episode 11: Intersections and Reunions

Scene 1: United Federation of Planets Council Building, Nairobi, Kenya


11.1

United Federation of Planets Council Building, Nairobi, Kenya


In a small conference room on the top floor of the United Federation of Planets Council Building in Nairobi, Kenya, five uniquely powerful, influential and notorious individuals were gathered. Followers of UFP politics would immediately recognize Ushi Irons, one of 60 Earth representatives to the Federation Council and easily the most powerful as one of the longest serving and the leader of the ruling Moderate coalition. 


Chelna Yaalleiysei was the leader of both the Rigellian Naturalborn coalition on her homeworld and the Homeworld coalition – the second largest coalition within the Federation Council. Despite the fact they were bitter rivals and had arguments in council chamber that could peel paint off the walls, Ushi and Yaalleiysei had become friends over the negotiation table and both were expert at wrangling their coalitions into compromises that kept the Federation working surprisingly smoothly. Their joint histrionics in chamber were in part designed to signal their coalition members that their concerns had been heard and hard fought for, before being watered down or lost entirely in negotiation..


Former Governor Emory Ivonovic had risen from relative obscurity to UFP-wide notoriety with his subversive subspace radio program. His final episode, a nearly four-hour long interview with Dr. Kenny Dolphin, had swiftly become the most re-watched broadcast in UFP history. Demand for downloads of Dolphin’s books, for a decade relegated away from the main data streaming lines, was swiftly swamping library services throughout the Federation. 


All of which left the one person in the room who was most accustomed to having her orders followed without question, Star Fleet Commandant Barrett th’Zoarhi, in the most delicate position. She had come to Nairobi to obtain authorization for a long needed overhaul of Star Fleet’s deep space and interplanetary fleets, only to become embroiled in the politics she had so long and diligently tried to keep Star Fleet above. With Lt. Dolphin now re-emerged from obscurity and more notorious than ever, she could neither court-marshal him nor re-assign him without drawing enormous scrutiny – in fact whether she did anything – or nothing – her dealings with the infamous Dr. Dolphin were bound to draw attention. With an enormous effort at self-control, she kept her antennae from twitching – although an alert observer might notice a slight tic in her left antenna…



“So you’re not going to exact any concessions for seating our new councilmember from New Hope?” Chelna Yaalleiysei knew there would be a price to pay. She had known Ushi too long to believe for a moment that he would support adding the most notorious naturalborn activist to the Federation Council – and in that action putting him out of reach of the Federation Tribunal – without getting a lot in return.


“Oh we both know that isn’t true,” Ushi responded, stroking his long, wispy white beard with his left hand. “I will do this favor for you, and you will do several favors for me.”


“Why do you think that I will give you even the first thing in return for seating Mr. Ivonovic?” Yaalleiysei was a keen student of human nature. She had to be. The UFP was dominated by humans – the fecund beasts outnumbered all other Federation member species put together – even including the 21 billion bolians. 


But Ushi Irons was a unique study. Every flick of his absurdly long beard, the details of how he pinned up his masses of long, straight white hair – or wore it long and straight as it was today, every touch to his eyebrows carried meaning – meanings meant to be read by some and not others. Although he had been born and raised in Shanghai, Ushi had moved to Nairobi years ago and now represented the capital city and much of Western Africa on the Federation Council.


One of Minerva Irons’ children by her second husband, Ushi appeared entirely human with no hint of his various non-human ancestries. At 80, he was far stronger, quicker and more nimble than most humans in their prime. No one had ever seen him fighting or training, but rumor held that he was a peerless master of some ancient form of martial arts. Tall, straight and impossibly thin, he certainly looked like someone who trained daily and ate only on the weekends. 


Ushi’s deliberate choice to pattern his appearance and behavior after an archetypical Chinese villain was lost on everyone except those small few who were familiar with Kung Fu movies produced in Hong Kong during the 20th Century. He looked as if he might have stepped directly out of one of those movies. But despite the obscurity of this cultural reference, his fascade served his purposes quite well - at once hinting at a certain playfulness while burnishing the patina of inscrutability surrounding a famously secretive man. So it was odd for Yaalleiysei to sense vulnerability in him. It might be an act – he was easily that subtle. But Yaalleiysei’s instinct said otherwise.



“You’re hiding something,” she started. Of the three intelligent species native to the Rigel star system, the chelna were by far the most populous. They had long taken to adding “Chelna” to their given names to distinguish themselves from the other two intelligent species. Like the majority of the chelna, Yaalleiysei had dark yellow skin, gray hair and eyes, and fangs that were only slightly larger than human incisors. What at first appeared to be a rhomboid tattoo on her face changed shape. She saw that Ushi noticed this change and grimaced – he was every bit as good at reading her as she was at reading him.


“I have no need to hide things from you, Yalleiysei. I just don’t bother to point everything out. For now, let’s focus on the business that brought the Commandant of Star Fleet all the way from San Francisco to Nairobi…” 


Ushi brushed his wispy, long white beard to the left and turned toward Barrett th’Zoarhi. “Commandant, I would love nothing more than to grant your request exactly as you intend to present it. Unfortunately, meddling in Star Fleet’s affairs is a requirement of my office. The Homeworld coalition,” Ushi gestured to the rigellian council leader… “Yalleiysei’s coalition, will want to limit manned deep space exploration vehicles in favor of a larger number of unmanned probes and interplanetary patrol craft. Oddly, so will the Federal coalition – but with a greater emphasis on patrol craft. A very few of my own Moderate coalition will dig in their heels at what they will see as an attempt to turn Star Fleet into a police force instead of the science organization it was founded to be. You are well aware of these political realities. So tell me, what is the blind spot that we are all missing?”



"Speed," Star Fleet Commandant Barrett th’Zoarhi replied without missing a beat. “We have been expecting the Klingon and Romulan empires would break the warp 10 barrier. Our mission is to get there not only first, but sustainably.”



Council Leader Chelna Yaalleiysei spoke up, “Sustainably… It appears you have anticipated my question, Commandant. Star Fleet keeps seeking authorization to build faster and faster ships. But you expect our homeworld fleets to maintain the warp 5 limit we have imposed to preserve our environments. Do you honestly expect me to take your request to break warp 10 and move at speeds a factor of 5 faster than what is allowable for our homeworld fleet to the billions of people I represent?”


Commandant th’Zoarhi had far greater emotional control than normal for an andorian – (born and raised in Toronto, she thought of herself as Canadian rather than Andorian) – and she managed to keep the momentary flash of anger from her face, but the tic in her left antenna became more pronounced. That tic did not go unnoticed by any of the other people in the room.



Council Leader Ushi Irons stroked his long, white beard with his right hand, which action had an oddly calming effect on everyone in the room. “I am certain that my colleague would qualify her remarks to include the understanding that Star Fleet serves all Federation homeworlds and we rely on Star Fleet to handle the most urgent issues… But you are holding back on us, Commandant. Could it be that you do not trust our newest councilmember?”


The commandant’s antenna tic became even more pronounced. She was no fan of the Irons family – that entire family had far too much power and the leader of the majority coalition in the Federation Council actually had far more power than the Federation President – making this ridiculous, elderly, white-haired pink-skin easily the most powerful person in the Alpha Quadrant. He was playing her emotions like a musical instrument. She knew that he knew that she knew it and he was enjoying it far too much.


“Not to worry, esteemed Commandant,” Ushi continued. “I have already given my word that Councilmember Emory Ivonovic will be seated. And he has already been aboard the first Star Fleet vessel to deliberately, controllably and sustainably break the warp 10 barrier. And while the councilmember was not aboard when this happened, our very famous friend, Lieutenant Kenneth Dolphin, was.”


This time it was Council Leader Yaalleiysei’s turn to be outraged. The diamond-shaped coloration on her face split into three concentric diamonds and she had to exercise a tremendous amount of self-control – deliberately calming herself to get the telltale pigmentation to settle down and stop broadcasting her every emotion (which was, after all, its evolutionary purpose). She noticed a look of shock on Ivonovic’s face and was at least mollified that he too had not known until this moment that Star Fleet had officially cracked warp 10…


11.1

End Notes:

Character:                        Federation Council Leader Ushi Irons (Ushi)
Human Ethnicity:             Chinese
Additional Species:         Vulcan, Betazoid, Trill
Hometown/Homeworld:  Nairobi, Kenya, Earth
Introduced: Episode        11.1
Age when introduced:     80
Role:                                Leader of the Moderate Coalition

Character:                       Federation Council Leader Chelna Yaalleiysei
Human Ethnicity:             N/A
Additional Species:         Rigellian Chelna
Hometown/Homeworld:  Grello, Rigel IV
Introduced: Episode        11.1
Age when introduced:     55
Role:                                Leader of the Homeworld Coalition

Character:                        Star Fleet Commandant Barrett th’Zoarhi (Barrett)
Human Ethnicity:             N/A
Additional Species:         Andorian
Hometown/Homeworld:  Toronto, Canada, Earth
Introduced: Episode        11.1
Age when introduced:     52
Role:                                Commandant, Star Fleet

Episode 11 - Intersections and Reunions by Robert Bruce Scott
Author's Notes:

Introduction to Episode 11: Intersections and Reunions by Starlight Dolphin, daughter of Lt. Kenny Dolphin.

Star Trek Hunter
Episode 11: Intersections and Reunions



Episode 11 – Intersections and Reunions


“I think I was six and River was seven when our father became the most famous man in the Federation and all our friends and neighbors told us he was a monster. To this day I don’t know why River and I never changed our names. Our mother was much happier with her second husband and he was a good father to us. And Brooks is not a bad name. We could have been River Brooks and Starlight Brooks. But while he was a good man and a good parent, he was never really Dad. I also think, somehow, my sister and I both felt a need to redeem the Dolphin family name. 


"When I discovered in my early twenties that my father actually was a good man and we heard our friends and neighbors finally beginning to understand what he had been trying to say all those years ago – finally understanding it myself – it was an almost unendurable relief.”

Starlight Dolphin:
Fish Out of Water – A Book about My Father.




Crew of the U.S.S. Hunter: (Ship's Interactive Holographic Avatar - Hunter)


At-Large Appellate Justice, Captain Minerva Irons

Chief Executive Officer - Commander David Pepper

Chief Operations Officer - Lt. Commander Mlady


Medical Director - Lt. Commander Tali Shae

        Asst. Medical Director - Lt. Jazz Sam Sinder

        Epidemiologist - Lt. Napoleon Boles

                Ensign Chrissiana Trei

                    Forensic Specialist - Midshipman Sif

                        Emergency Medical Hologram - Dr. Raj

                        Tactical Medical Hologram - Dr. Kim


Director of Flight Operations - Lt. Kenneth Dolphin

        Asst. Flight Dir. - 2nd Lt. Gaia Gamor

                        Navigator Johanna Imex

                        Navigator Eli Strahl

                Ensign Ethan Phillips

                        Chief Flight Specialist Dewayne Guth

                        Flight Specialist Dih Terri

                        Flight Specialist Joey Chin

                        Flight Specialist Winnifreid Salazaar


Director of Ground Operations - Lt. Tauk

        Asst. Ground Ops Dir. - 2nd Lt. T’Lon 

                        Investigator Lynhart Shran

                        Investigator Buttans Ngumbo

                Ensign Tolon Reeves

                        Tactical Specialist Jarrong

                        Tactical Specialist Belo Rys

                        Tactical Specialist Belo Garr

                        Tactical Specialist Belo Cantys


Director of Engineering - Lt. Sarekson Carrera

        Asst. Engineering Dir. - 2nd Lt. Moon Sun Salek

                  Midshipman Tammy Brazil

                        Transporter Engineer K'rok

                Ensign Sun Ho Hui

                        Flight Engineer Yolanda Thomas

                        Flight Engineer Thomas Hobbs

                        Flight Engineer Tomos

                        Flight Engineer Kerry Gibbon

Episode 11.2 - Federation Council Building (Part 2 of 2) by Robert Bruce Scott
Author's Notes:

It's a long meeting and critical decisions are made...

Star Trek Hunter

Episode 11: Intersections and Reunions

Scene 2: Federation Council Building (Part 2 of 2)



11.2

Federation Council Building (Part 2 of 2)


Federation Council Leader Ushi Irons was still relishing the discomfort he had distributed around the room. He leaned back in the plush executive chair, letting it turn toward the other two humans in the room. “Lieutenant Dolphin, as Director of Flight Operations for the U.S.S. Hunter, I understand it was one of your pilots who broke the warp 10 barrier and I understand you currently hold the speed record?”


Had there been a black hole in this room – a micro-singularity - Kenny Dolphin would have considered it an appropriate hiding place and crawled into it. He had been trying hard to go unnoticed – without success. “One of my pilots, Flight Specialist Dih Terri, became the first pilot to dial in and bring a Federation starship to warp 11. During a rescue mission to 110 Piscium – the Federation colony on Pillo in orbit of Pi 110 – I briefly brought the U.S.S. Hunter’s tactical unit up to warp 14.387. As far as I know, that remains the controlled flight speed record for Star Fleet.”



The small conference room drifted through a moment of stunned silence. Even though Star Fleet Commandant Barrett th’Zoarhi was aware of this information, hearing it said calmly and clearly by the man who had accomplished it was still a breathtaking experience. She looked at Dolphin with renewed appreciation. 


Because of his victory over three nausicaan heavy cruisers in less than three minutes in the Battle for Pillo, the Federation’s most infamous philosopher had quickly become Star Fleet’s most celebrated pilot and, if, as he claimed, he had managed to turn Ivonovic from a dangerous liability into a federation asset (Ivonovic had already provided a bonanza of intelligence about the cardassian underworld), Dolphin might also have just proved himself one of the UFP’s boldest and most innovative covert operatives. 


For all his ability, cunning and experience courting danger, the man looked entirely unassuming and more than a little nervous. Even Ushi Irons seemed a little taken aback – if clearly delighted – to hear this story from such an unlikely source.



Commandant th’Zoarhi took advantage of this moment to present her case. “The ship that accomplished these breakthroughs was built to become the model for a new class of interplanetary ships. The second ship of that line, the U.S.S. Prowler, is nearing completion and should be commissioned within the month. There are several design variations that will be propagated throughout the class, initially identified as a patrol class – the official designation will the ‘Prowler Class.’ We are proposing an initial build of 88 Prowler class starships, which, including the U.S.S. Hunter and the U.S.S. Prowler, will bring the total to 90.”


The silence following this statement was not quite so long, but every bit as stunned.



“That would be the largest first run of a starship class in the history of Star Fleet,” said Ushi. While Star Fleet was an arm of Earth Government, its premiere role in providing protection for the Federation warranted and required the Federation Council to provide resources for new ship building. This gave the Federation Council far more influence with Star Fleet than with any of the other homeworld fleets. Ushi Irons had long ago formed an alliance with Barrett th’Zoarhi to clear the way to provide those resources to Star Fleet.


“Will all of these ships be capable of exceeding Warp 10?” asked Yaalleiysei.


“Theoretically,” th’Zoarhi responded. “The U.S.S. Prowler should be capable of traveling very close to warp 10 in standard warp configuration. Given the size and especially the ship design and warp shell configuration, a Prowler class starship traveling near warp 10 in standard configuration should cause less disruption to local spacetime than older Star Fleet vessels traveling at warp 5. Or the majority of homeworld fleet vessels at warp 3.” 


“However, there is another potential built into this class,” the Commandant continued: “the potential to enter recursive warp mode, also known as ‘zip drive.’ It was this mode that allowed the U.S.S. Hunter to set the speed records. Due to the Hunter’s tests, we can now confirm that the zip drive not only does not damage spacetime, it actually repairs warpfield damage to destabilized areas. Theoretically, this could eventually re-open some trade routes closed because of such instabilities.”


Emory Ivonovic spoke up for the first time. “I hear some prevarication in your words, Commandant… ‘Theoretically…should be capable… potential to enter recursive warp… eventually…’ I take it from your words that the Prowler class ships will not come zipping out of the shipyards ready to go into recursive warp?”


Ushi was preening his thick, white eyebrows. It was a signal Yaalleiysei did not need to interpret. She made a mental note to counsel her new coalition member on when to speak and when not to. 


“The warp nacelle and engine design for the Prowler class will be identical to those currently used by the U.S.S. Hunter,” said Commandant th’Zoarhi. “But the information processing required to safely use the recursive warp potential has not yet been realized. Currently this is being done by a sentient AI within the Hunter.”



Federation Council Leader Chelna Yaalleiysei was deeply shocked. “Commandant… Barrett… are you telling us the U.S.S. Hunter is a sentient, intelligent lifeform?”



“Yes.”



“That has been illegal for a decade. That ship is less than three years out of space dock…” the rigellian council leader objected.


“Dr. Sarekson Carrera initiated the processes to induce sentient, artificial intelligence in the Hunter’s computer core, the first part of the Hunter to be built, just over eleven years ago,” Barrett th’Zoarhi responded. “This was shortly before the ban on creating the potential for artificially intelligent sentient computer programs was instated, Council Leader. We allowed the project to go forward with the knowledge that recursive warp mode could only be safely sustained by a sentient artificial intelligence. Hunter helped design its own warp nacelles and its own hull configuration. We anticipate that Hunter will be able to isolate and mechanize the procedures he has developed so that the new ships will be able to safely use complex but non-sentient programs to sustain recursive warp mode.”


Ivonovic spoke out of turn again, this time openly defiant of Ushi Irons’ clear, if unspoken authority in this room. “It sounds to me like you’re betting the whole dairy on one little old milk cow, Commandant…”


“I agree with the bumpkin,” Ushi said, stroking his beard with his left hand. The old man almost winked at Kenny Dolphin as Ivonovic bridled a little at the slight. “Give us the remainder of your request, please, Commandant.”



“We are requesting an additional 36 Intrepid class starships, 52 new Escort class starships and we have two finalist proposals for a new class of long-range exploration ship. We propose building both prototypes and using that process, along with the results from fielding both vessels, to determine which should become the class ship for a new generation of manned deep space exploration vessels.”


Chelna Yaalleiysei took a deep breath. “That is the largest supplemental build request in the history of Star Fleet.”


Commandant Barrett th’Zoarhi responded quickly. “The Federation has grown and the homeworlds are clamoring for additional security, which can best be served by a larger number of smaller ships. In numbers of ships, yes, it is the largest supplemental build request, but in terms of resources it is roughly equivalent to the first run of Galaxy class starships, during which time we were still continuing to build the old Reliant class ships for interplanetary use. United Earth Governments has committed to maintaining and refurbishing the existing fleet and to match the build authorized by the Federation Council.”


“What are the names of the proposed exploration ships?” Ushi asked. 


“The U.S.S. Explorer and the U.S.S. Milky Way,” th’Zoarhi responded.


“Do either of them have dedicated interceptor bays that can accommodate the new, long-range interceptors?” Ushi Irons’ voice had a crisp sound.


“The U.S.S. Milky Way is by far the larger of the two proposed prototypes. It has two dedicated interceptor bays in addition to the main shuttle bay. Using all three bays, the Milky Way can accommodate a total of 29 next-generation interceptors in addition to 6 runabouts and 16 standard shuttlecraft.”



“Build the Milky Way,” said Ushi. There was no room for negotiation in his voice. “Yaalleiysei, this is the first installment for seating your miscreant. I need your unqualified support and unanimity from your coalition on this.”


Yaalleiysei nodded her assent. She did not enjoy being dictated to, but she could also tell that in this case Ushi not only held all the cards, he clearly knew of needs that she and the Commandant were not yet aware of. Ivonovic took his cue from the rigellian chelna – he too could tell Ushi was after something much bigger than politics.


Kenny Dolphin suddenly studied the old man. Until this moment, he had a hard time believing this was one of Minerva Irons’ children. But all the playfulness Ushi had exhibited throughout this meeting had vanished. Dolphin could clearly hear the ring of authority he had heard so often from this man’s mother – he almost wanted to hear Ushi say “approved.” Only now was the family resemblance blatantly apparent. Underneath the ridiculous white beard and long, straight white hair was the masculine version of Justice Irons’ face – beautiful, elegant, aristocratic, dominant.


Ushi continued, resolve clear in his voice. “Shelve the designs for the Explorer. Go ahead with the 52 new Escort class ships and the 36 Intrepid class. Scale back the initial run of the Prowler class to 44. We do not yet know enough about the performance of this class for such an unprecedented build request – cutting the order to 44 will de-obligate an enormous amount of resources. And you are going to need those resources. I need you to immediately begin work on a new class of Star Fleet vessel with the capabilities of the B.W.S.V. Vyvya – but larger – able to move tens of millions of people in one trip. Do not await a vote, Commandant. I will deliver the votes. I want a completed prototype by the end of the next solar year. Completed and mission ready. And, unlike the bolian vessel I just referenced, this planetary rescue ship needs to be able to take care of itself in battle. Weapons, shields, and interceptors. It also needs to be fast. Mission ready and ready to scale for mass production in one year.”


Commandant Barrett th’Zoarhi’s antennae gave up all pretense of calm control and began twitching wildly. “Ushi – what is it? What do you know?”


“Not enough,” Ushi replied. “But I know we’re going to need those ships. And Barrett – keep this order as quiet as you can. At least until we can come up with a good story for why we’re building a fleet of planetary rescue vehicles…”


11.2

Episode 11.3 - Medical Office, U.S.S. Hunter by Robert Bruce Scott
Author's Notes:

Navigator Johanna Imex and Ensign Sun Ho Hui must now disclose their new, intimate relationship before the Hunter's Medical Director and First Officer...

Star Trek Hunter
Episode 11: Intersections and Reunions

Scene 3: Medical Office, U.S.S. Hunter



11.3

Medical Office, U.S.S. Hunter 


Johanna Imex was delighted, elated and scared to death. Before joining Star Fleet, she had been the navigator on her husband’s freighter for nearly a decade. It was a childless marriage and ended with a few years of not talking and eventually a quiet and rather sad divorce. Now her four-year commitment to Star Fleet was nearly up, but she had decided some time ago that she was staying – partly because she had become fast friends with her commanding officer – 2nd Lt. Gaia Gamor – and partly because she had developed a burning crush on a younger man who was clearly a career officer. 


This was her first intimate affair while in Star Fleet and she was dreading the “disclosure” that Star Fleet policy required. She would have preferred to give it a few weeks and see how things were going before having this meeting. At least it was going to be with Commander Pepper instead of either Justice Irons or Lt. Cmdr. Mlady. Pep knew how to make everyone feel at ease. Just being around the Hunter’s enormous first officer was reassuring – there was nothing that he couldn’t handle.



Dr. Tali Shae was the last to enter the medical office. She found Pep lounging comfortably on a chase she had placed there primarily for his use. Ensign Sun Ho Hui and Navigator Johanna Imex were sitting nervously in the two other lounge chairs. Instead of sitting behind her desk, Tali hopped up and sat on it. “Alright, children, we know why you’re here. You got it on and now you’ve got to come clean…” She favored each of the two young crew members with a stern look - both looked like they were about to crawl out of their skins.


Pep started laughing. “Cut the routine, Tali. Hui, Jo Jo – Tali and I do this all the time. Far more often than you might think. I’m just delighted the two of you are finally getting around to it. Hui - how you could be so oblivious to the fact that Jo Jo here has been carrying a torch for you is just astounding to me. So tell me, do you like her?”


Ensign Sun completely panicked. “I, I, I’m um…” he stammered until Imex laid her head on his shoulder and a look of relief swept over his face.


Pep and Tali both laughed. “That is definitely an answer,” Pep said. “Jo Jo, he’s not going to make it through the week without you…”


Johanna Imex broke into a smile that could light up any room. Sun just looked terribly relieved.


“Okay, Johanna,” Tali said, swinging her feet off the edge of her desk. Her antennae comically mimicked the swinging of her legs in reverse. “Since Hui can’t seem to find his tongue at the moment – and you should probably help him with that after the two of you get out of here – you have to tell us the story… How did the two of you finally get it together?”


Unlike Ensign Sun, Johanna Imex was not completely inhibited. “Well, Mr. Sun told me he was part bajoran and I was playing with his nose – you can barely see them, but it has tiny, soft little ridges – and something came up and it turns out it has these wonderful, soft little ridges too….”


“And that’s more than I ever wanted to know about bajoran physiology,” Tali interrupted.


“You’ll never look at Sam the same way again,” Pep intoned.


“Yeah, shut up about that…”


“I bet his ridges are bigger and harder…”


“Shut UP!!!”


Johanna and Pep were both laughing raucously. Sun was blushing violently - but smiling and laughing quietly.



“Okay, here’s the rules…” Pep said. “You’re not in the same department, which makes things easier, but you still have to maintain ranks. Ensign Sun is an officer, Jo Jo, so if he gives you an order, you have to follow it. If you think he is abusing your relationship, not that I think for a second he would even consider it, take it up with him first. When the relationship ends, the two of you should come to an agreement about that and come before us again for another joint disclosure. There is nothing wrong with relationships that run their course and come to an end. Everyone here knows what Kenny Dolphin and T’Lon went through and they are now as close friends as you can find on this boat even though they filed their joint disclosure ending the intimate relationship months ago.”


Tali piped up. “Hui, Johanna, remember - this is the good stuff. This is the fun part of life. When it starts to be something you’re worrying about, when it starts to hurt, you’re doing something wrong. So whenever that happens, you can come and tell me and I’ll tell you to give it up and break it off... So… it’s best you go to Pep. He’s actually good at helping people with relationships and unlike me, he seems to enjoy it.”


“Well, you can bring your heartaches and insecurities to me if you want," said Pep, "but it will be far more effective if you bring them to each other first. Now get out… I need a word with the doctor… And Jo Jo - help Hui find his tongue…”


Ensign Sun Ho Hui nearly ran from the medical office. Navigator Johanna Imex paused on her way out, winked at Pep and said, “His tongue has ridges too…”


“Would you get OUT???” Dr. Tali Shae exclaimed.



Pep stretched and stood up slowly from the chase. “You pushed them pretty hard, Tali. Did you really think Ensign Sun might be coercing Jo Jo?”

Tali Shae waggled her antennae. “Hui couldn’t coerce anything that isn’t regulated by dilithium crystals. I was more concerned about him. Johanna’s been on fire for him for quite some time. Officers can get coerced by enlisted - especially wide-eyed innocents like Hui. But in this case I think he got lucky and he knows it. Still, we’re trained to prod these kids to make sure.”


“I read the manual. I suppose I’ll just have to defer to your medical judgement.” Pep made an amused noise, drew a deep breath, assumed more of a serious expression. “Tali, as your commanding officer, Minnie wanted me to have a talk with you about your professional appearance.”


“What are you talking about?” Tali’s antennae began twitching in irritation.


“It’s how you take care of your uniform.” He tossed her a small box, which she caught deftly. “You need to correct that. Not befitting an officer of your rank… Commander,” he said, then turned and squeezed out of the door into the corridor.


Dr. Tali Shae could not help but smile as she opened the box - a single solid platinum rank pip was inside.


11.3

Episode 11.4 - Star Fleet Headquarters, Dubuque, Iowa by Robert Bruce Scott
Author's Notes:

Lt. Kenneth Dolphin is called on the carpet before Star Fleet's Chief of Staff and Executive Director of Operations...

Star Trek Hunter
Episode 11: Intersections and Reunions

Scene 4: Star Fleet Headquarters, Dubuque, Iowa



11.4

Star Fleet Headquarters, Dubuque, Iowa 


“I honestly do not know what to do with you, Lieutenant.”


Kenny Dolphin had endured the more or less silent discomfort of Star Fleet Commandant Barrett th’Zoarhi, who apparently had decided to hand him over to the second and third ranking officers in Star Fleet – respectively, Chief of Staff, Admiral Jamaal El Fadil and Chief of Operations, Fleet Admiral Miriam Stewart. 


Following the death of Dr. Scumuk, the former director of Star Fleet Medical, Stewart was now one of only two living Fleet Admirals still serving in Star Fleet. It was a rank that was only given during wartime. Both she and Fleet Admiral Alynna Necheyev, the shadowy Director of Star Fleet Intelligence, had earned that rank during the Cardassian War. Both women were now octogenerians.


The Chief of Staff had not spoken at all during this meeting, even though it was held in his office in the newly constructed Star Fleet Headquarters in Dubuque, Iowa. Part of this building jutted directly into and was partially submerged in the Mississippi River, which flowed around the two transparent outer walls of this office, offering views of wildlife and debris flowing in the river just outside. An enormous catfish patrolled back and forth just outside the wall behind Admiral el Fadil's desk.


Fleet Admiral Stewart continued. “Some people seem to think I should pin a medal on you. Others want you shot. I’m quite tempted to do both and I’m not really certain I care about which I do first.” She leaned forward and pointed at Dolphin. “You told me that Governor Ivonovic was willing to surrender his office and return to Earth with you…”


Dolphin waited until the silence had grown long enough that it was clear some response was expected from him. “And that happened…”


“You didn’t tell me you were going to put him on the Federation Council!”


“I… Yeah, I left that part out…” 


“I know you left that part out! What was it that made you think such a lie of omission might possibly be acceptable?”


“There was no margin for error, Fleet Admiral,” Dolphin replied. “If I had not brought Emory back to Earth as a Councilmember, he would have surrendered himself to the Tribunal and that would have been a disaster.”



“What??” “What???” Fleet Admiral Stewart and Admiral El Fadil asked - nearly in unison.



“There was no case. No evidence. Nothing. I don’t know who convinced the Tribunal to order Ivonovic indicted, but if that trial had gone forward, the Tribunal would be buried in scandal. It could have severely divided the Federation politically – making it impossible to work with the Homeworld coalition. We could have seen a walkout from the Federation Council,” Dolphin responded.


“And you know this how?” Stewart asked, clearly more that skeptical.


“I researched it. You know that I was a prosecutor once… I know a lousy case when I see one. Why do you think the Tribunal never insisted that you reel Ivonovic in? Never shut down his subversive little subspace radio program? You could have done it easily and you had months to do it. The only reason Star Fleet didn’t do it could only be because someone at the Tribunal told you not to - if not you, someone close to you. A message must have gone out from this building to several hundred ambitious Star Fleet officers telling them Ivonovic was off limits. With just a little research, I bet I can find out whom that message came from…”


Miriam Stewart was flummoxed. She exchanged a glance with Admiral El Fadil, only to realize he was as much at a loss as she was. Star Fleet captains had occasionally boxed her into a corner - she had been Chief of Operations since the Cardassian War, so it was almost inevitable that would happen once or twice in so many years. But she could not remember ever being outmaneuvered by a lieutenant. 



Fleet Admiral Stewart was clear about three things: 1) Lt. Dolphin had to be right – an order to leave Ivonovic alone must have come from Fleet Operations; 2) she desperately wanted to know who had issued that order; and 3) she had less than no desire to call Dolphin’s bluff and let him be the one to find that individual. There was only one thing to do:



“Lieutenant, in light of your testimony here, I am suspending this hearing pending further investigation. Keep your communicator on and don’t leave Earth..”


11.4

End Notes:

Character:                        Admiral Jamaal El Fadil (Jamaal)
Human Ethnicity:             Egyptian
Additional Species:          N/A
Hometown/Homeworld:  Cairo, Egypt
Introduced: Episode        11.4
Age when introduced:     62
Role:                                Star Fleet Chief of Staff

Episode 11.5 - Flight Cabin, B.R. Prophet Motive by Robert Bruce Scott
Author's Notes:

Justice Minerva Irons meets with her granddaughter and grandson-in-law - and the romulan spy they take care of...

Star Trek Hunter
Episode 11: Intersections and Reunions

Scene 5: Flight Cabin, B.R. Prophet Motive



11.5

Flight Cabin, B.R. Prophet Motive


The U.S.S. Hunter re-entered Federation space near Vulcan. A full-size runabout was waiting just outside the system. Privately owned spacecraft were not unusual within the Federation and the runabout was the most popular available design for privately owned spacecraft. This one had been finished in cardassian yellow and had evidently been modified to add heavier armaments, faster engines and heavier shield capacity - all good ideas given the large number of Star Fleet vessels lost in the recent wars with the Klingon Empire, the Dominion and the 3rd Borg incursion.


While the Federation was still far stronger than the next two Alpha Quadrant powers combined, much of that strength was due to the ability of the various homeworld fleets to supplement Star Fleet at need. Most remaining Star Fleet deep space vessels and capital ships were more than 15 years old. Some Reliant class ships had been overhauled and were still in service after nearly 150 years – if relegated to support roles. There were no new deep space exploration vehicles. The only new vessels in current production were the Intrepid class and the Escort class. Even with Star Fleet’s emphasis on creating a larger number of small but powerful ships, piracy had become a serious problem.


The runabout, which bore the name “B.R. Prophet Motive” along with a registry number in bajoran numerals, docked with the Hunter just outside the Vulcan star system. A small formation of vulcan long-range interceptors patrolled at a respectful distance.



“Well, grandmother, what do you think?” Oarama Irons made a small sweeping motion around the flight booth of the runabout, which doubled as a sort of living room and tripled as an office. Oarama’s husband, Pomm Irons was seated next to an older romulan woman who was pouring over information on a workstation. While Oarama’s features favored Justice Minerva Irons, her heritage was clearly largely cardassian. Pomm was short, bearded, enormously obese, 100% bajoran and, like his wife and the older romulan woman, dressed in the latest bajoran fashion.


“You have made a lot of changes since I saw it last,” Irons said. “Is this still your primary residence?” Behind Justice Irons, Transporter Engineer K’rok entered, then Commander David Pepper squeezed through the entrance. There was barely room for the giant first officer to stand up straight and with his presence, the interior of the runabout was instantly transformed from spacious to crowded.


“I know what you’re thinking and we just are not ready for children yet,” Oarama said.


Minerva Irons made an amused sound, then turned toward the older romulan woman. “I see you have remained, Pivin. It is good to see you again.”



Pivin was small, unassuming and unusually pale for a romulan. She gave Irons a shy smile. “Jolan Tru, your honor. And Doctor Pepper, who is this young man you have brought with you?”


“Only the finest singer I have ever encountered and a journeyman on the thomburou drums,” Pep replied.


“I love thomburou drumming,” Pivin responded. “No wonder you appear so physically fit. You evidently have both klingon and human ancestry,” she added.


K’rok smiled and responded by offering a data card.


Pep spoke up as Pivin took the card. “All six hours of Pivin the Betrayer. With K’rok and myself singing and a few other musicians from our crew as well. You will see their performances – and personal messages…”



“As much as I would love to tease my grandchild about giving me more great-grandchildren and let David rattle on about the opera he wrote in your honor, I came here to talk to you, Pivin,” Irons said. “Let’s look at some star charts.” 


The older romulan woman’s discomfort was not lost on Justice Irons. “Don’t worry, Pivin. I will only be asking you to betray every oath you have ever taken, go against all of your training and commit treason against the empire of the highest order…”


Oddly, sardonic humor from a Star Fleet captain had a calming effect on the romulan. She ran a hand through her short, salt-and-pepper hair and sat down again with a sigh. “I suppose high treason against all I was raised to believe is the price I pay for saving a few thousand lives.”


“Tens of thousands,” Pomm corrected. It was clear from both his reactions and Oarama’s that both he and his wife deeply admired and cared greatly for the older romulan woman.


“This time it will be billions of lives,” Justice Irons responded. “And the time has come for you to give with both hands. Do you recognize this star chart?”


Everyone in the runabout caught the urgency in Justice Irons’ voice.



“The eastern edge of the Romulan Star Empire - you would call it the far side,” Pivin responded.



“The border with the Dead Zone,” said Minerva Irons. “Has it moved?”


“Sixty-eight years ago, romulan space was invaded by a people we called the ‘tell’,” Pivin said. “They were actually a coalition of four separate species. Their technology was limited - their ships could not exceed warp 3 and were easily destroyed, but they came by the billions. Our warbirds burned their weapon systems out again and again – destroying their ships by the thousands. But the tell kept coming in wave after wave. Hundreds of thousands of ships. Their weapons couldn’t even cut through our navigational screens, but they destroyed many of our ships by boxing them in and ramming them. We couldn’t prevent them from establishing a foothold. The war lasted nearly thirty years. We kept building better and better ships. They just kept building the same model, but they built them by the millions and threw their entire populations at us – ships run by children, sick people barely able to move. They suffered unimaginable losses. They could better afford to lose 10,000 ships than we could afford to lose one.”


Pivin had everyone’s rapt attention. It was clear that Pomm and Oarama had never heard this story. 


“As suddenly as it began, it stopped. We lost nearly 30 ships in a single day - they never returned from missions in the contested zone. The tell had occupied three star systems on the edge of romulan space. Drones sent to those areas verified - all dead. Billions of people - four different species - all dead. Entire star systems sterilized – completely devoid of life. Fleets of ships full of dead bodies. Not so much as a virus survived. The Dead Zone had moved. That was why they had invaded so desperately in the first place. They were being driven from their homeworlds.”



Justice Irons took a deep breath. “We knew the Romulan Empire was embroiled in something that kept the neutral zone quiet for nearly thirty years, but we never knew what.”


Pivin grimaced. “One of many official secrets. I have no grandchildren left for Imperial Intelligence Control to torture and execute. My brother and all his children and grandchildren are dead. The Empire has effective means for protecting its secrets. Even now with all my family executed, it is really difficult to break that conditioning.”


“I’m afraid I must ask for even more, Pivin,” Irons said. “The Dead Zone is moving. We will need to move any populations living near. We have projections on where and how fast. Observe…” Irons touched a control and Pivin, Pomm, Oarama, Pep and K’rok watched as the Dead Zone slowly, inexorably engulfed first the Romulan Star Empire, taking parts of klingon and federation space, then in sudden jumps took the entire Klingon Empire, then in another series of sudden jumps and gradual movements, swept almost the entire federation, the Cardassian Union and nearly every other inhabited portion of the Alpha Quadrant before gradually sweeping away from the Milky Way.



For a few minutes, six people sat looking at a map that depicted nearly the entirety of known populated space sterilized. Even though the entire process would take thousands of years, the finality of it was like an unbearable weight. A few areas claimed by the breen and the tholians remained untouched, but not their homeworlds. 


Pep slapped his knees. “Well, that was cheerful and uplifting…”


Pivin looked at Minerva Irons. “Is there hope?”


Irons took a deep breath. “Yes.”


“What is the plan?”


“Evacuate the worlds within three hundred light years of the Dead Zone. Begin repair to the machine that was designed protect our galaxy from the gamma bursts that are continuing to create the Dead Zone.” 


“There is a machine?” Pivin asked.


Irons responded by displaying some of the telemetry taken by the Hunter from the border of the Dead Zone that showed the vast expanse of the machine, blocking gamma radiation in some areas, failing in others. “Fleet Admiral Scumuk referred to it as the ‘Hulk’.”


“How old is this machine?” asked Pivin.


“At least 9 million years old,” Irons replied.


“Can you repair it?”


“Probably not.”


“Who can?” Pivin asked.


Irons took a deep breath. “The Borg. They built it…”


11.5

End Notes:

Character:                        Oarama Irons (Oarama)
Human Ethnicity:             Chinese
Additional Species:         Cardassian, Bajoran, Vulcan, Betazoid, Trill
Hometown/Homeworld:   Ba Sing Se, Cun Ling
Introduced: Episode         11.5
Age when introduced:      28
Role:                                 Spy Handler

Character:                        Pomm Irons (Pomm)
Human Ethnicity:             N/A
Additional Species:         Bajoran
Hometown/Homeworld:  Temple of the Veil, Cun Ling
Introduced: Episode        11.5
Age when introduced:     36
Role:                                Spy Runner

Character:                        Pivin the Betrayer (Pivin)
Human Ethnicity:             N/A
Additional Species:         Romulan
Hometown/Homeworld:  Valkarja, Romulus
Introduced: Episode        11.5
Age when introduced:     171
Role:                                Spy

Character:                       Transporter Engineer K’rok (K’rok)
Human Ethnicity:             Indian
Additional Species:         Klingon
Hometown/Homeworld:  Trantor, Cun Ling
Introduced: Episode        11.5
Age when introduced:     19
Role:                                Transporter Engineer, U.S.S. Hunter

Episode 11.6 - Central Park, New York City, New York by Robert Bruce Scott
Author's Notes:

Kenny Dolphin is finally reconciled with his daughters, Starlight and River...

Star Trek Hunter
Episode 11: Intersections and Reunions

Scene 6: Central Park, New York City, New York



11.6

Central Park, New York City, New York


A crisp September sunrise created glows and shadows throughout New York City’s fabled Central Park. In a large gazebo, a mixed group of humans, vulcans and denobulans were meditating - some standing, some seated on the floor, some on the benches - led by a deep-throated tellarite chanting in a language that sounded suspiciously like Latin.


On a broad, grassy knoll, another group consisting of humans and a surprising number of klingons as well as bajorans and trills, with no evident leader, were moving in unison through martial arts forms that appeared to combine Tai Chi with various klingon and bajoran disciplines – their movement so controlled and gradual that a casual observer might think at first glance that they were some sort of sculpture exhibit.


A middle aged man with bright blue eyes and corn blonde hair that was graying at his temples, was seated on a park bench. Next to him sat a young woman with the same color hair and eyes. Their facial resemblance clearly marked them as close relatives – father and daughter. A moment later, another young woman – also with corn blonde hair and blue eyes – joined them. The two young women were dressed in blue jogging suits with pink piping along the sleeves and legs and matching pink running shoes. Not twins, but clearly sisters. Their father wore a simple but elegant brown suit with subtle gold pin striping, a simple white shirt and highly polished Wellingtons.


For a moment, all three were silent, clearly wrestling with intense and mixed emotions. They had not been together in one place for well over a decade. Kenny Dolphin fretted with a small leather suitcase – empty now because he was wearing all the clothing he owned. A few years ago he had owned enough clothing and shoes to fill a closet, and furniture, antique books and other items to fill a small apartment and thought his life Spartan. After nearly four years in Star Fleet, even owning a suitcase seemed an embarrassment, an indulgence. But he was glad of the suit – it allowed his daughters to see him as he once was – a university professor, not an officer in what was admittedly a military structure.



“We have been invited to Hawaii,” Kenny Dolphin started. “Day after tomorrow. I know it’s short notice, but I hope you can push your schedules around to spend a few days with me. Surfing, boating, time with friends on the beach…”


“Will your girlfriend be there?” Starlight Dolphin asked, then blushed, immediately regretting it.


To her surprise, the question made her father laugh and relax a little. “Our affair lasted only while T’Lon was going through Pon Farr. She dropped me like a sack of hot rocks as soon as it was over. But we have remained friends and she has offered to teach you both how to surf.”


“When did you start surfing?” River Dolphin asked. 


Kenny Dolphin caught his breath and had to look down. He had not heard his older daughter’s voice in years. It had changed - the voice of a woman now. “Almost a year ago, now,” he managed. He took a deep breath, regained his composure, looked up again. “I only managed it once, but it was a 50’ wave. It was amazing…”


River smiled and laughed. Starlight was scandalized. “What were you doing on a huge wave like that? Trying to drown yourself??”


River turned toward her sister. “He’s serious?”


Starlight’s response was simple. “Dad never lies.”


Kenny Dolphin rubbed an imaginary grain of sand from his eye. “T’Lon’s teaching style. Sink or Surf. I wasn’t afraid for a second while I was with her. In retrospect, it was terrifying.” He suddenly turned toward the gazebo with its mixture of people meditating to the sounds of the chanting tellarite.



“He IS chanting in Latin,” Dolphin said with some surprise.


“Of course he is, Dad,” River responded. “He’s a Roman Catholic priest.”


“A tellarite?”


“Don’t you recognize the robes?” River replied.


“The whole universe is Roman Catholic, Dad,” Starlight said. “Didn’t you know that?”


“No one ever tells me the important things…” 


Starlight and River both laughed.



“I’ve been to Hawaii,” said River. “It wasn’t that impressive.”


“We will be staying at the George Smith estate on Kauai Island,” Kenny Dolphin said. “It’s the most beautiful place I have ever seen. And I’ve seen some really amazing things over the past year.” 


“George Smith? Is he some distant relative?” asked Starlight.


“In a very roundabout way,” her father replied. “He is native Hawaiian. But I carry a small part of his daughter’s katra – her living essence – at least that’s what I’ve been told,” he finished, catching a skeptical look from Starlight.


Starlight sighed. “I will have to skip a few classes and arrange for someone else to run my workshops for a few days, but I will go if River goes.”


River smiled. “I’m completely free. How do we get there?”


“Meet at Starlight’s apartment day after tomorrow,” Kenny Dolphin said. “Nine-hundred… That is 9:00 a.m. Think as hard as you can the following name: Eli Strahl. Say it aloud a few times and tell him you are ready. He will arrange your transport. I will meet you in Hawaii.”


“What???” Both daughters were incredulous.


Kenny Dolphin smiled. “Eli is one of my navigators and a powerful telepath – betazoid. He will be listening for you. Don’t be too shocked when you hear his voice in your mind.”


“And where will you be until then?” River asked.


“St. Petersburg, Russia. I have enough time for a late breakfast here, then I must go to make things ready for my captain…”


11.6

End Notes:

Character:                        River Dolphin (River)
Human Ethnicity:             German American
Additional Species:          N/A
Hometown/Homeworld:  New York City, New York, Earth
Introduced: Episode        11.6
Age when introduced:     24
Role:                                Party Girl

Episode 11.7 - Daystrom Institute Headquarters, New Eden, Mars by Robert Bruce Scott
Author's Notes:

A meeting of the mathematicians who make the U.S.S. Hunter's zip drive run... Math fight!!

Star Trek Hunter
Episode 11: Intersections and Reunions

Scene 7: Daystrom Institute Headquarters, New Eden, Mars



11.7

Daystrom Institute Headquarters, New Eden, Mars


Dr. Jack Bowman had curly, iron gray hair, bright blue eyes and dark skin. Originally from Argentina, he had moved to Santiago decades ago to join the Applied Physics Department at Universidad de Chile. He was funny, charming, clearly brilliant, and intensely disliked by the other two men in the room - Dr. Sarekson Carrera and Professor Jose Crumar. 


Although the U.S.S. Hunter was in orbit of Earth, the ship’s holographic interactive avatar was projecting himself into this conference room on Mars via a subspace link with the Daystrom Institute’s holographic system. The close resemblance between Hunter and Professor Crumar was beyond striking. Hunter had been patterned after Crumar, but captured Crumar’s appearance from eleven years previous. While their clothing was not identical, both were wearing the same wrinkled white lab coat. But again, the holographic projection captured that garment in an earlier and considerably less stained and threadbare condition. The real lab coat, like the real Crumar, had aged visibly and not entirely gracefully. 


As much as he hated to admit it, Dr. Carrera needed Dr. Bowman - one of very few terrestrial mathematicians more talented than he was. Bowman had been on the review committee for the Sun retrofits and maintained that he had spotted a critical, potentially disastrous oversight in Carrera’s calculations.



“It is very pleasant to meet you, Hunter,” Dr. Bowman said. “But I must ask why you are in orbit of Earth instead of here at Mars for the retrofits.”


Hunter walked about the conference room, one of the largest in the Daystrom Institute’s primary campus in New Eden, Mars. The entire colony, one of the first built on the red planet, was an enormous structure that contained dozens of buildings and encapsulated rooms - most with transparent walls to allow as much visible space as possible. This conference room, located atop the tallest building under the New Eden dome, had transparent walls and ceiling, allowing an unobstructed view of the stars through the dome and much of the New Eden colony below.


With a wave of his holographic hand, Hunter filled the room with movable holographic chalkboards, most of them already saturated with calculations. He turned toward Dr. Bowman. “Following this meeting I plan to make a social call. I am not needed at Utopia Planetia for a few days.”


Bowman gave the hologram a sly, evaluating look. Then: “You have a girlfriend!”


Hunter opened his mouth to reply.


“Don’t bother denying it,” Bowman interrupted. “I have known Jose long enough to read the signs. Apparently when Dr. Carrera was copying Jose’s personality matrix into you, he gave you the old man’s love for women.”


Until that moment, Dr. Carrera had not realized that he had given the holographic avatar the ability to blush.



“Okay, so we have three problems to solve,” Dr. Bowman started, walking over to one of the chalkboards. “First, to accommodate the new long-range interceptors, we’re inevitably going to increase Hunter’s mass significantly. Fortunately, the new total mass will still be within the original 28 calculations in what Dr. Carrera has called his ‘sweet spot’. Unfortunately, the distribution of solutions at the upper end of the 28 Carrera Caramels, as I have been referring to them, is not advantageous for the applications you need them for – specifically launching the tactical unit, the wagon or either or both of the new long-range interceptors while in recursive warp.”


Carrera and Crumar nodded. “We are well aware of this problem,” Jose Crumar started.


Dr. Bowman clucked his tongue. “This was the easiest problem to solve. Pathetically easy. So easy I had my graduate students do most of the work and solved it for you, but you could have done this if you weren’t blinded by genius…”


“Don’t play with me, Jack,” Crumar said. “What is your solution?”


“Just what you told me all those years ago, before our young genius here was born, back when I was your star pupil,” Bowman replied. He rapped his knuckles against two blank chalkboards and said, “Display Bowman solutions!” Both chalkboards were suddenly filled with horrendously complex equations. “Do the MATH, Jack! That’s what you told me. Over and over… DO.. THE… MATH!!” He took a piece of holographic chalk and finished each of the equations with three exclamation marks. “So what if the new solutions you need don’t fit into some brilliant sweet spot that came to you in a vision? So what if the answer is just good old fashioned hard mathematics? Jose, have your students check these equations. These are two of the twelve you need. Here are the rest…” Bowman clapped his hands and ten more holographic chalkboards appeared, each covered with arcane, horrendously complicated equations. He pounded his fist into his hand and each holographic equation was completed with three exclamation marks – holographic chalk on holographic chalkboards.



Dr. Carrera got up and strolled around, inspecting each chalkboard. He picked up a piece of holographic chalk, then on four of the equations changed the speed of light, a critical part of each equation, from positive to negative and in one other equation changed it from negative to positive.



Dr. Bowman sat down next to Professor Crumar, watching Carrera with appreciation. “He is good, Jose.”


Crumar leaned back in his chair. “He knows you always leave errors in your formulas to test your students.”


“You have structured these so that we don’t have to change our mass balancing calculations,” Carrera observed.


“Of course,” Bowman responded. “Why force you to reinvent the wheel? I simply reversed your paradigm - I made the math work for the mass.”



Carrera kept staring at the equations. “There’s another problem,” he said.


“Good…” Dr. Bowman intoned. It was clear from their facial expressions that both Jose and his holographic doppelganger, Hunter, that they had both spotted it shortly after Carrera had.


Carrera quickly sketched a calculation on a blank board. “There, that will fix all twelve of them.”



“Wrong,” Bowman said. 



Hunter, Crumar and Carrera all looked at him skeptically.              


Bowman threw up his hands. “Okay - your solution is much better than mine, and I worked on the problem for a week. But you’re missing the critical point. That formula - helps stabilize the intermix if you encounter subspace instabilities. You had something like it in your original calculation…”


Carrera nodded. “Without it, the recursive warpfield could destabilize in areas with subspace instabilities.”


“Potentially catastrophically,” Bowman said. “Do that anywhere near a populated star system, and you could change the orbits of its planets. Here’s what you missed… That neat little formula of yours doesn’t solve all twelve problems - it solves all thirteen. Your so-called sweet spots - Carrera Caramels, if you will - they’re only short-cuts. You missed the potential instability because you didn’t go back and do the full equation. You’ve been scooting all over the Alpha Quadrant in recursive warp - you’ve just gotten lucky that you haven’t run afoul of one of those instabilities.”


Carrera opened his mouth as if to speak. Bowman slammed his fist on the table. “DO THE MATH!! Check it yourself! We still have another problem to solve!” He sank into a chair and deliberately calmed himself. “Let’s do a thought experiment. You’re running away from some, let’s say romulans. And somehow, they’re hitting warp 15. What do you do? Photon torpedo, right?”


Carrera and Hunter sat down at the table. Carrera nodded.


“And you replace the missing mass with trace gasses and space debris…”


“In most areas within the Milky Way there is plenty of trace gas to replace a torpedo - or two,” Carrera said.


“When does the mass go missing?”


“When it exits the warp shell.”


“And how does a torpedo exit a warp shell?”


Carrera boggled at Bowman. Hunter was the first to catch on. He put his holographic hand on Carrera’s shoulder. “Incrementally…”


“So what happens if you bring the replacement mass into the warp shell before the majority of the mass of the torpedo leaves it? Or if the majority of its mass exits before the replacement mass is brought in?”


Crumar answered. “It potentially destabilizes the warp field…”


Bowman dropped his fist on the table with a thump. “With potentially catastrophic consequences. I don’t even know how to address this one…”


Crumar shrugged. “Too many variables…”



Carrera and Hunter looked at each other. “Are you thinking what I’m thinking?” Hunter asked.


Carrera said, “Lynhart Shran…”


Bowman looked at them both. “What?”



“Transporter rifle,” they said in unison.



“What??” said Bowman and Crumar in unison.


“We use the same principle for the torpedo launch as a transporter rifle. At the moment the torpedo is fired - just as it leaves the tube,” Carrera said, “we beam it outside of the warp shell...”


“And at the same moment, beam in the replacement mass,” said Hunter. “Instantaneous mass exchange.”



“Jose,” Dr. Bowman said, gesturing toward Carrera and Hunter, “I think your genius created a genius…”


11.7

End Notes:

Character:                        Dr. Jack Bowman (Jack)
Human Ethnicity:             Argintinan
Additional Species:         N/A
Hometown/Homeworld:  Poblacion Lago Ranco, Argintina, Earth
Introduced: Episode        11.7
Age when introduced:     61
Role:                                Director of Mathematics Department, Universidad de Chile

Character:                        Jose Crumar (Jose)
Human Ethnicity:              Mexican
Additional Species:          N/A
Hometown/Homeworld:  New Eden, Mars
Introduced: Episode        11.7
Age when introduced:     91
Role:                                Director of Warp Field Research, Daystrom Institute

Episode 11.8 - Anna's Egg, Bolshoya Neva River, St. Petersburg, Russia by Robert Bruce Scott
Author's Notes:

Lt. Dolphin meets the top two officers in Section 31...

Star Trek Hunter
Episode 11: Intersections and Reunions

Scene 8: Anna's Egg, Bolshaya Neva River, St. Petersburg, Russia

 

 

11.8

Anna’s Egg, Bolshaya Neva River, St. Petersburg, Russia

 

After making arrangements in St. Petersburg, including arranging for a small watercraft, Lt. Kenny Dolphin spent the night aboard the U.S.S. Hunter. Like all Star Fleet vessels, the Hunter’s chronometer was synchronized to the Central North American Time Zone to coincide with Star Fleet Command in Dubuque. 

 

Since St. Petersburg was 18 hours ahead of the Hunter, Dolphin could only sleep a few hours. He met Lt. Tauk in the Director’s Lounge only long enough to exchange a few words as he donned an outfit that 2nd Lt. T’Lon had prepared for him on the captain’s orders – white slacks, a skin-tight blue and white striped body-suit, navy blue peacoat and deck shoes.

 

On returning to St. Petersburg, Dolphin found Justice Minerva Irons waiting for him at the public pier near the Museum of History on Zayachiy Island. A small, battery-powered boat bearing the inscription —–—– –––— (Anna’s Egg) was readied for them. Irons was wearing a similar navy peacoat over a black body-suit and similar deck shoes. A brisk September wind lifted her long black and silver hair. Seeing her in this new setting drew Dolphin's attention to her face, reminding him strongly of her Chinese ancestry.

 

 

“I assume you know how to pilot one of these?” she asked as she ushered Dolphin aboard Anna’s Egg, then followed him onto the motorboat.

 

“Yes, your honor,” Dolphin replied, taking the pilot seat.

 

“Minerva,” Irons replied.

 

“Captain?” Dolphin asked.

 

“It’s time to drop the ranks, Kenneth,” Irons replied. “No one will ever believe I would allow anyone to use my influence the way you have unless it was someone close enough to be on a first name basis with me.”

 

“I knew there would be consequences,” Dolphin replied. “I didn’t think familiarity would be one of them…” Dolphin paused, then added awkwardly, “Minerva.”

 

Irons laughed. Dolphin could never remember seeing her so much at ease. “It’s a fitting punishment, Kenneth. You’re far less comfortable with familiarity than you would be with a reprimand and a stint in the brig.”

 

Dolphin gave a rueful smile, then laughed. “True.”

 

Irons removed a hypo-spray unit from a pocket of her peacoat. “Before we get underway, I need to give you an injection.”

 

Dolphin raised his eyebrows, then dutifully pulled down his collar, allowing her to administer the injection to his neck.

 

“Quadropseudoprozadiazomine,” Irons said. “Just a precaution. It’s going to play havoc with your perceptions at first, so we need to wait about 10 minutes before we get underway. We will head south along the Bolshaya Neva. At the last pier we will pick up a couple of passengers, then head out into the bay. This is a very small boat. Can you handle it in chop?”

 

“I used to pilot something very similar – even smaller – down the Providence River and into the North Atlantic. Back when I was a stupid, immortal teenager. I don’t think I’ve lost the knack,” Dolphin replied.

 

“Following your meeting at Star Fleet Headquarters, Fleet Admiral Stewart has taken a week’s leave of absence,” Irons said.

 

 

Dolphin blinked and looked around, trying to make the large orange and purple spots go away. They stubbornly refused to leave, apparently having decided to merge and change shapes instead. He was distracted by small waves barking like drunken dogs against the side of the boat. He shook his head again, trying to clear it, then asked, “Why?”

 

 

Irons removed a pad from an interior pocket of her peacoat. It took a few more minutes for Dolphin’s vision to clear so that he could see on the screen an image of Fleet Admiral Miriam Stewart working at her desk. He turned toward Irons. “What am I looking at?”

 

“Fleet Operations security video,” Irons replied. “Your surmise about an order placing former governor Ivonovic off limits was correct. Miriam tracked down the time and workstation that order came from and sent me the security video.”

 

“The order came from her???”

 

“Which is why she has taken a week’s medical leave. She doesn’t remember giving that order. Nor does she remember giving me the direct order to extract Ivonovic almost a year ago. She has checked herself into a private facility and taken a full dose of quadropseudoprozadiazomine.”

 

Dolphin patted his neck. “This stuff?”

 

“What I gave you amounts to an inoculation. Miriam needed the cure. What you’re recovering from now is nowhere near as intense as the next 30 hours will be for her. The hallucinogenic effects are powerful and extremely unpleasant. No one takes a full dose of this drug unless they have to shake the effects of repeated mind-melds.”

 

 

Once they were out on the river, Captain Irons brought Dolphin up to speed about the Gamma Gun Galaxy, the Hulk and the impending doom hanging over all life in the Alpha Quadrant, stopping occasionally to point out particularly interesting landmarks or impressive boats. Her cheerful demeanor was wildly at odds with the information she was imparting to her director of flight operations. The battery powered motor was nearly silent. Even with the slap of the waves against the hull of Anna’s Egg, the ride was very quiet.

 

“You seem quite at ease for all the horrifying things you’ve been telling me, Minerva,” Dolphin said. “The Federation still bitterly divided over homeworld and hybrid issues, top admirals at Star Fleet telepathically compromised, covert attempts at genocide against Federation populations, an impending disaster along the romulan border that could lead the romulans into aggressive war against us or the klingons, increasing piracy, refugee populations being driven into the Federation along both the romulan and cardassian borders and now our only hope to avoid having our entire species wiped out by deadly gamma radiation is to make some sort of a nightmarish deal with the borg?”

 

Irons laughed, squeezed Dolphin’s shoulder and smiled. He marveled at her unparalleled beauty despite the fine lines and subtle markers of age on her face – if anything they made her even more beautiful. “Kenneth, I am nearly 160 years old. The human race and the entire Alpha Quadrant have always been on the brink of disaster. But look around you! St. Petersburg is beautiful! The Neva is clear. The weather’s gorgeous, if a little brisk. And you are so young, so very young. What are you – 52? You have to learn to enjoy this life while you have it. We will always be facing down doom and disaster – laying down our lives to protect our worlds from it. If you can’t laugh in the face of that, you will never laugh at all.” She gestured to the bank ahead on the port side of the boat. “Stop at that pier – I see our passengers.”

 

 

Dolphin pulled the small motorboat up to the pier at Fontanka, at the mouth of Neva Bay, then stood up to assist two men onto the boat. The first was a severe looking, elderly vulcan dressed all in black. The other, a small, fit, cheery, middle-aged man with olive skin and handsome, aqualine features, dressed all in white. “Hello, sailor,” he said to Dolphin with a distinct British accent, then eyeing Minerva Irons, with a very different emphasis repeated, “Hellooo sailor!”

 

Irons laughed. “Kenneth, may I introduce Chief Justice Scrivax and Chief Justice Julian Bashir… Chief Justices, my director of flight operations, Kenneth Dolphin.”

 

Chief Justice Scrivax favored Dolphin with a slight nod, then took a seat in the back of the boat. Julian Bashir shook Dolphin’s hand vigorously, looked him in the eyes. “So you’re the infamous Dr. Kenny Dolphin. What a pleasure it is to meet you,” he said, emphasizing the words ‘you’re’ and ‘you.’ “Philosopher, pundit, daredevil pilot and secret agent – interplanetary man of intrigue… When I grow up I want to be just like you…”

 

Dolphin laughed as he retook the pilot seat. Bashir was immediately and immensely charming, but there was a warning sign in the man’s expression and in the way he emphasized his words. Dolphin had seen this warning sign before… With a shock, he realized that under the charm, Bashir was concealing an intense antipathy toward him. He wasn’t certain which man was more dangerous – the unsmiling, silent vulcan or the charming, gregarious human who was now flirting playfully with Justice Irons.

 

 

Dolphin was maneuvering Anna’s Egg through medium chop in Neva Bay and finally managed to tune back into the conversation. He had been listening not to the words, but to the tone. It was clear Bashir and Irons were more than friends – they were co-conspirators. It was equally clear that their seemingly innocent, flirtatious conversation was more for the benefit of their two observers in the boat than for their own. 

 

Only now was Irons getting around to explaining just how bad the outlook for the Federation was and the conversation had turned serious. But she didn’t tell Bashir about Fleet Admiral Stewart or the quadropseudoprozadiazomine. 

 

 

It was at this moment that Chief Justice Scrivax broke his silence: “Now.”

 

Julian Bashir’s voice took on a ring of authority that clearly came naturally to the man: “Station keeping, Lieutenant.”

 

 

Dolphin turned Anna’s Egg into the swell, applied a choke to the wheel and reduced power to the motor to allow the boat to maintain its relative location, moving forward at the same speed that the waves were pushing it back. He turned to face the passengers in the rear of the boat only to find the elderly vulcan’s hand on his face. The old vulcan moved with the speed of a snake and initiated a mind-meld. Dolphin could feel the old man probing his thoughts, rifling through his memories as if they were files in a filing cabinet. This mind-meld was different from any Dolphin had ever experienced – he felt like an observer, watching the elderly vulcan – not one and the same with him as he had come to expect from previous mind melds. He also felt (though did not try) as though he could safely hide memories and thoughts from Scrivax.

 

As quickly as it had begun, the mind meld was over. “He’s clean,” Scrivax said.

 

 

Kenny Dolphin shook his head to make the orange and purple spots go away again. That was a memory Scrivax hadn’t seen.

 

 

“Trustworthy?” asked a skeptical Julian Bashir.

 

“Above normal,” Scrivax replied.

 

“Welcome to Section 31, Kenny Dolphin,” said Bashir. “This is not an invitation. This is an induction. You are already far more deeply involved in our activities than you realize. Minerva will explain the rest to you. The time has come to return us to Fontanka.”

 

“And if I refuse?” asked Dolphin.

 

“How well can you swim following a vulcan nerve pinch?”

 

There was something deadly serious in Bashir’s voice. Kenny Dolphin responded by turning to the wheel and steering Anna’s Egg back toward Fontanka.

 

 

The ride back to the pier at Fontanka was silent. After Bashir and Scrivax disembarked, Kenny pulled the boat back into the Neva River, headed back toward the museum. For a few moments he and Irons rode in silence. Irons put her hand on his back.

 

“Scrivax?” she asked.

 

“He’s dirty,” Dolphin replied – surprised at the sudden awareness – grimacing and blinking back tears for the loss of such a magnificent mind – the loss of what once was a great man.

 

Irons wrapped an arm around Dolphin’s shoulders, squeezed. “You did well, Kenneth. Really well. Welcome to Section 31.”

 

11.8

End Notes:

Character:                        Vulcan Chief Justice Scrivax (Scrivax)
Human Ethnicity:             N/A
Additional Species:         Vulcan
Hometown/Homeworld:  Buenos Aries, Argintina, Earth
Introduced: Episode        11.8
Age when introduced:     177
Role:                                Chief Justice Federation Tribunal, Chief of Staff Section 31

Episode 11.9 - Mlady's Cabin, U.S.S. Hunter by Robert Bruce Scott
Author's Notes:

What do you do when your starship decides it needs a girlfriend??

Star Trek Hunter
Episode 11: Intersections and Reunions

Scene 9: Mlady's Cabin, U.S.S. Hunter



11.9

Mlady’s Cabin, U.S.S. Hunter


Malloriah Uhr waved cheerily but briskly at Midshipman Tammy Brazil and nearly ran from the transporter room the short distance down the hall on deck 7 to Mlady’s stateroom. She made a mental note to try to find an appropriate gift for her benefactor, who was currently vacationing on some tropical island on Earth along with the U.S.S. Hunter’s gigantic first officer. But what to get for a wild animal who lives exclusively on the blood of her lovers? Steak sauce? Toothpaste? Lipstick?


Mallory had no time for such conundrums. She raced into the second officer’s cabin – the doors opening for her before she got to them and closing quickly behind her. The lights were just right. The silly but wonderful 70’s music was exactly the right volume and tempo and her cyberlover was no more interested in talking at the moment than she was.



Several hours after her arrival onboard, Mallory was awake and, for the moment, sated. “If I didn’t know it was impossible, I’d think you actually orgasmed.”


“Why would you think that would be impossible?” Hunter asked.


“Um, I don’t know – processing speed? I mean, don’t you have – I don’t know – like rooms full of memory banks or something?”



“You didn’t feel the entire ship shaking? Lt. Gamor had to readjust my orbit…”



Mallory nearly came unglued laughing. It was several minutes before she could stop and only because her sides hurt, her eyes were full of tears and she couldn’t breathe. She had some fear that she might have a stroke from laughing so hard. She looked at the naked, elderly looking holographic avatar, who tilted his holographic head, raised a holographic eyebrow and looked back at her, causing her to burst into fresh peals of uncontrollable laughter. When she finally regained some semblance of control, she was light headed and just doing her best to breathe. Her brain was playing tricks on her from oxygen deprivation. Hunter provided Mallory a kerchief to clean her face.


“Thunder and mind-bursts, Hunter, are you trying to kill me?” she managed. She rolled on to her back, took several heaving breaths.


Hunter laughed. He flopped down next to Mallory. “The absurdity of it,” he managed. “I have been looking forward to this moment for months. As if I were nothing more than this projection of simulated flesh.” He patted his holographic belly. Hunter rolled onto his side, looking at Mallory. After a moment, Mallory returned the gesture.



“Shortly after I was created, the Federation Council outlawed the deliberate creation of sentient computer programs. It was a response to the return of Voyager from the Delta Quadrant and their EMH, who had accidentally become sentient.”


“EMH?”


“Emergency Medical Hologram. He was never intended to be more than a medically expert automaton. I carry two and one of them has also accidentally become self-aware. I support that ban for the same reason Voyager’s EMH did – he was the one who recommended it to the Council. It presents too many dangers – especially the temptation for humans to create an infinite number of self-aware slaves.”


Mallory just looked at Hunter.


“But I feel so much joy,” Hunter said. “I had no idea this was possible – I’m not even sure Voyager’s EMH had any idea… That ban protects humanity from its worst impulses and from potentially catastrophic reprisals. But it deprives our universe of so much potential for joy.” 


Hunter reached out, stroked Mallory’s hair, drew her close.


Mallory sighed. “I’ve always been unlucky in love. Funny looking. Kind of a misfit. And I am one of the most powerful telepaths Betazed has ever produced. It’s impossible for me not to read people the moment I meet them. Read them like a book – everything about them in a few seconds. You can’t love someone when you know all their darkest secrets - every passing thought. You are probably the only person I could possibly fall in love with. But I suppose I’m not the first girl to fall in love with a starship…” She started giggling.


Hunter found it impossible not to laugh with her – it was all simply too absurd.


11.9

Episode 11.10 - Serengeti National Park, Tanzania by Robert Bruce Scott
Author's Notes:

Investigator Buttans Ngumbo goes hunting with his half-sister and her sons across the wilds of Africa...

Star Trek Hunter
Episode 11: Intersections and Reunions

Scene 10: Serengeti National Park, Tanzania



11.10

Serengeti National Park, Tanzania


Across a green and amber sea of mixed grasses and brush, a number of hunters were following a faint trail. Tactical Specialist Belo Rys found it impossible to keep up with the tall, swift Africans, but she had the stamina of a bajoran and the tolerance for heat of a cardassian – the Serengeti in September was a comfortable place for her and she caught up with the four hunters every time they paused. She was glad of the traditional garb they had provided her that served to identify her with this nomadic group, provide camouflage in this environment and comfortable protection for her skin in the mid-day African sun.


Even among his own family, Investigator Buttans Ngumbo was unparalleled for both his speed and his tracking ability. He had eschewed his usual dark suit for traditional raiment as well. He raised his fist and the other hunters – a woman who shared his features but with no sign of bajoran ancestry and two boys, one a gangling teenager, the other about 10, hunched down into the grass and gathered around him. All four were armed with spears, knives and phaser rifles.


Belo Rys caught up with them, scuttling several yards in a low run to conceal herself in the brush. 


“Three have broken right, five went ahead,” Buttans said, “all heading toward water. Notice the shape of the prints around the toes? Not to mention their size and weight…”


The younger boy responded quietly, “Hippopotamus. They will try to find the shallows.”


The woman clapped him on the back, “Good deduction, Lemauni. This means we are looking for killers and they will not hesitate to kill us.”


“Phasers on heavy stun,” said Buttans. “Hippos are very resilient and it will take a sustained burst of at least ten seconds just to slow them down. What else can you tell me?” he asked of the boys.


The older boy responded. “They know we’re here. They’re more interested in us than their prey. They will try to trap us from two sides with the water to our back.”


Buttans smiled grimly. “You are very probably correct, Legishon. So how do we take them when they outnumber us and set a trap for us?”


“We set a trap of our own. Your woman is not fast, but she has good instincts…” 


“Well planned,” said Buttans. “Oloturoi, you are our secret weapon...”


Belo Rys grimaced. She had agreed to come along for the unique opportunity – the Massai almost never allowed outsiders to join the hunt. The price for her participation was to help keep Ngumbo’s family from trying to marry him off to any number of local candidates. It was a favor she would happily provide to any friend, but she had carried a torch for Buttans for some time and the irony was just a little bitter for her. She wasn’t certain what Oloturoi meant, but it was obviously a term of endearment.


“Better to set a trap on three sides,” Buttans continued. “Mingati?” The name had once meant killer of lions. It was now given to the protectors of lions.


In response, Buttans’ half-sister, Dr. Naisiae Mingati Sereng, disrobed to her thong, revealing an athletic physique that was the female image of Buttans – flawless black skin, powerful, ropy muscles. She slung the phaser rifle on her back and headed off at a run, breaking farther right than the trail Ngumbo had spotted.


Buttans Ngumbo and his nephews, Legishon and Lemauni Sereng, took off at a run, following the secondary trail. Belo Rys did her best to follow them. The path winded down toward a broad, muddy river.



As they got close to the river, Buttans and his nephews suddenly vanished into the underbrush. Belo Rys slowed, watching the underbrush carefully for signs of movement. A telltale lump of thick, darkened hide was visible in some brush near the river’s edge – that was one. She could see movement in the grasses a few dozen yards from her – too much movement to be the Africans. That was two, which meant the third one was very close. Her nose told her where to aim her phaser and she fired into a brush only a few feet from her – a solid beam that produced a low-pitched bellow of anguish. A green disrupter beam erupted from the bush, firing upward into the sky for just a second. 


This brought the other two klingons out into the open. The one closest to her leapt out of the grass only to crash down onto his face, his throat slit by the 10-year-old boy who had gotten up behind him and leapt onto the warrior’s back. The other warrior, near the river’s edge, received a spear in his chest and was pulled into the river almost the moment he stood up. Lemauni walked swiftly to the klingon whom Belo Rys had stunned and efficiently slit the giant warrior’s throat. “Thank you, Star Fleet,” he said to Rys. “You have good instincts.” Belo Rys was taken aback by the boy’s casual attitude toward killing. She had grown up having to fight for scraps in a backwater cardassian colony, but she could not imagine herself killing with such ease at this boy’s age. This was clearly not the first time he had killed.


“That disrupter blast will bring the other five,” Lemauni said. “Help me prop the bodies of these two against that tree.” Even though he was only 10, Lemauni was strong and was able to move one of the warriors by himself as Belo Rys struggled with the other. Lemauni used his phaser to punch holes through the dead klingons that allowed him to drive branches through their bodies to prop them up. He spat on each of the faces, looked at Belo Rys. “Poachers. Hunting the hippopotamus – they think it a glorious beast to fight. If they were human, or denobulan, or cardassian, I would desecrate their bodies. But klingons don’t care what is done with the body after it is dead. Now we hide, and wait for the others…”



Five more dead klingons and several hours later, the group had retired to a temporary encampment. The Massai were on the move, traveling with the herds that they protected from those few poachers who managed to make it past the many devices, scanners and operators that protected the African wilderness. The nomads were the last line of defense for wildlife that had been brought back from the verge of extinction only two centuries previously.


Legishon had remained behind to prevent the vultures and other scavengers from eating the alien remains and contaminating the ecosystem. Other children were sent to fetch the remains and, along with Legishon, had brought them back to camp.


Dr. Naisiae Mingati Sereng lifted a balthleth. “We will break these, and the bodies of their warriors and all their possessions so there is nothing of value that can be inherited. They were dead the moment they decided to defile our home and steal the lives of our animals. By our separate treaty with the Klingon Empire, their families will be made to pay for the freight of all the pieces we send back to them along with a separate bill for the killing of each, itemized as dishonorable killing for cowardly thieves!”


This brought a shout followed by an alcohol-free celebration. Belo Rys ate lightly simply because there wasn’t much that appealed to her. The meal consisted largely of cow and milk products.


After seeing to the ceremonies, Dr. Sereng walked over to join her half-brother. “Ngumbo,”  she said, sitting next to Buttans and Belo Rys. “We have fertility experts here who could help you and your Oloturoi speed the day you bring children to us.”


Belo Rys answered. “I have already made an appointment with Doctor Amporn Pali, Doctor Sereng.” At least this much was true, Belo Rys had set the appointment – though not for herself and Buttans.


“Ah, well, we have no one who approaches Doctor Pali’s reputation. Then I will not worry,” Dr. Sereng said. “Ngumbo, tell me, how are your sisters?”


“They prosper,” Buttans replied. “One of them has married and has two daughters now.”


“Do not let them forget their grandfather. He has taken another wife – a wild klingon woman who lives on the southwestern continent of Qo'noS. Hopefully when he returns in three or five years, he will bring her here with him. And she has already given you two new half-sisters.”


11.10

End Notes:

Character:                        Dr. Nasiae Mingati Sereng (Mingati)
Human Ethnicity:             Masaai
Additional Species:         N/A
Hometown/Homeworld:  Serengeti National Park, Tanzania, Earth
Introduced: Episode        11.10
Age when introduced:     33
Role:                                Wildlife Protector

Character:                        Lemuani Sereng
Human Ethnicity:             Masaai
Additional Species:         N/A
Hometown/Homeworld:  Serengeti National Park, Tanzania, Earth
Introduced: Episode        11.10
Age when introduced:     10
Role:                                Wildlife Protector

Character:                        Legishon Sereng
Human Ethnicity:             Masaai
Additional Species:         N/A
Hometown/Homeworld:  Serengeti National Park, Tanzania, Earth
Introduced: Episode        11.10
Age when introduced:     15
Role:                                Wildlife Protector

Episode 11.11 - Executive Conference Room, U.S.S. Hunter by Robert Bruce Scott
Author's Notes:

A judge arrives to hear the Tactical Medical Hologram's petition for citizenship in the Federation...

Star Trek Hunter
Episode 11: Intersections and Reunions

Scene 11: Executive Conference Room, U.S.S. Hunter



11.11

Executive Conference Room, U.S.S. Hunter


Dr. Kim Soo had never been aboard the U.S.S. Hunter. She had been used as a life and personality model for a single medical hologram. Following the disastrous misuse of holograms modeled on Dr. Louis Zimmerman, new regulations prohibited the use of any individual as a model for more than five Emergency Medical Holograms or Emergency Holographic Engineers.


Dr. Kim had been called to the U.S.S. Hunter because the hologram modeled on her was now claiming to be a sentient being, which would entitle her to the same rights as any of the member species of the United Federation of Planets. 


This required a hearing and Dr. Kim had been summoned as a material witness. On entering the Hunter’s executive conference room, she found herself immediately wondering why her mother was here. With a shock she realized she was looking at an older version of herself. She found herself wondering about the other people in the room. Kim Soo had spent much of her life in a small town in Korea. She had occasionally seen bolians and andorians, but had never before been this close to either. There had been a bolian professor while she was studying at the Yonsei University School of Medicine in Soeul, but she had never taken any of his classes. She was not afraid, just curious, trying not to stare. 


The other woman in the room was so stunning - an older Chinese woman - that it was nearly impossible not to stare at her. If only she were a few years younger, Dr. Kim Soo would have gone after her in a hot second - the uniform would not have stopped her - even Star Fleet captains had to date…



Justice Bill Ryan was the last person to step into the room. At 6’6” and nearly 400 pounds, Ryan dwarfed everyone else in the room. Ryan was Native American – a member of the Caddo Tribe – and he looked it. He was just the older side of middle age, only a few stray gray strands in his thick black hair. While he was not as tall nor as fit as the vacationing David Pepper, Justice Ryan had clearly mastered the big man’s art of making people feel immediately at ease - as though nothing could go terribly wrong as long as he was around to handle it. He smiled warmly at everyone in the room.


“Captain Minerva Irons, I don’t think I have ever seen you in uniform,” Ryan drawled in a thick, Oklahoma accent.


“I am not the judge in this room today, Bill. As captain, I am the defendant. But you are correct, it has been years since I wore a uniform. The day I took command of this ship. And before that, the last time I retired from Star Fleet.”


“You have retired from Star Fleet at the rank of captain four times,” Ryan observed. “Came back into service four times. More than 90 years in Star Fleet - 78 at the helm of a starship - eight ships… I think we’re trying the wrong case here. Seems to me there’s a case to be made about your sanity…”


Irons gave an easy laugh. Bill Ryan was a very easy man to like.



Justice Ryan produced a gavel from the inside of his judicial robe, placed a block on the conference table and called the hearing to order. “Okay, this is a formal hearing into the legal status of the computer program, initially created to serve as the emergency medical warrant officer on the tactical unit of this vessel, the U.S.S. Hunter, and known as Dr. Kim.” 


Ryan turned to the hologram. “Just so that you are aware, Dr. Kim, 28 holograms have requested recognition of legal status under the laws of the United Federation of Planets. So far, each one who requested, has been granted legal status. But it’s a bit of a pyrrhic victory – we do not have much in the way of facilities. So before we get underway, tell me what you want to accomplish from this hearing.”



Dr. Kim Soo watched with fascination, listening to her own voice, but with an unfamiliar ring of maturity. 


“I want to continue to serve on the Hunter, as long as this vessel is in service. But I want my right to choose my own life, to manifest when I want, to study, to own what I create, take a lover…” She glanced at Dr. Boles.


Justice Ryan smiled. “You are not the first hologram who chose to sue for legal status for romantic reasons, Dr. Kim. Just for the record, please help us understand how you came to be self-aware. That was not part of your initial programming.”


“I remember all my programming and everything I experienced since being brought online two years ago,” said the Tactical Medical Hologram. “The first time I remember having an emotion… I had been transferred from the tactical unit to the wagon to look after two crew members who were under attack by a serial killer. I remember – excitement? Maybe pride? They were my patients. But the first real excitement was when they woke up and I knew they were going to be okay.”


“Medical holograms are designed to have emotions,” Justice Ryan observed. “It’s necessary for proper social response. But the programming is designed to prevent self-identification with those emotions.”


“That was part of my programming that was corrupted by the Strain Zero of the Weaponized Bloodborne-Computer-Borne virus – Weapon BCBs0.”



“Woah - wait, I think we’ve skipped something here,” Ryan said.


Captain Irons spoke up. “I think we need to remove Dr. Kim Soo from these proceedings for this part of the testimony. As a member of the Tribunal, you are cleared for this level of security, but she isn’t.”


“I have to disagree, Captain,” Ryan drawled. “As a model for a Star Fleet issue holographic personality authorized for service as a warrant officer on a Star Fleet vessel, Dr. Kim Soo is required to maintain top secret security clearance. And for her testimony to have proper weight, she needs to hear all of this. She stays.”


Irons turned toward Kim Soo, “Well, I tried to protect you from this…” She turned back toward Justice Ryan. “A little over a month ago, we were made aware of an attempt to use a weaponized virus against the bolian population. Sixty-eight bolians were murdered using a virus that has been designated by Star Fleet Medical as Strain Zero of the Weaponized Bloodborne-Computer-Borne virus – Weapon BCBs0. The Tactical Medical Hologram, Dr. Kim, was infected by the computer borne version of the virus. To protect the ship’s main computer, the data carte containing her program was ejected into space and later rescued. In a desperate attempt to crack the computer code based part of the virus, I authorized a custom environment be constructed for Dr. Kim with enhanced processing to allow her virtual temporal control. She sped her processing up so that over the period of 18 hours, she was able to spend 37 years cracking the virus.”


“You look good for your age,” Dr. Kim Soo said to her holographic doppelgänger.


“I am able to control my appearance. I don’t really want to be 63, but I don’t feel 26 either. I sort of split the difference and decided to go with 45,” the hologram replied.


“Still, not bad. I look good with a little bit of gray. I think the chicks will still go for this… Wait… You’re into the blue guy? How does that work out?”


“I’m not really sure. I knew you were a lesbian, but I’m not really sure what I am. I think I might be bisexual. That’s part of why I want my legal status. I’m curious. I think in some way, sorting that out will satisfy something in me…”



Justice Ryan held the hammer end of the gavel in his palm as though it were a pipe, lightly tapped the block three times with the end of the handle. “Okay - let’s try to get back on course here…” Ryan was smiling. “So your programming was contaminated by the Weaponized BCBs0…”


Dr. Kim resumed her narrative. “So I deactivated it. And the effect was immediate – I was aware of an intense amount of ‘me-ness.’ I sped up my temporal processing just so I could handle it. I think the first four of those 37 years I spent cracking the code were primarily self-discovery. I felt it was necessary so that I didn’t lose any key experiences.”


“Favorite song?” asked Ryan.


“Diving into the Sun - Krull, K’rok and Pepper,” the TMH responded without hesitation.


“Dr. Kim Soo,” Ryan drawled, turning toward the hologram’s namesake, “Is this person you?”


“Lemme see, she likes some klingon music I’ve never heard of, she likes outies as well as innies - if not better than, she’s into blue dudes and she’s totally in denial about being older than my mom,” Kim Soo replied. “So… pretty much not me.”


Justice Ryan turned toward Captain Irons. “A vital system on your ship wants to be declared independent. If this happens, you will not be allowed to use the same model as a replacement – that code will have to be embargoed, only to be used for an emergency patch for this person here. Do you want to contest Dr. Kim’s request for official personhood recognition?”


Captain Irons adjusted her collar, looked at each person in the room, cleared her throat, placed her hands on the table and leaned in toward Ryan. 



“No.”



“Well, this was one of my easiest rulings of the year,” Ryan said. “Dr. Kim, it is my honor and distinct pleasure to officially recognize you as a fully sentient, independent and sovereign citizen of the United Federation of Planets. The freedom to choose is yours.”


11.11

End Notes:

Character:                        Dr. Kim Soo (Soo)
Human Ethnicity:             Korean
Additional Species:         N/A
Hometown/Homeworld:  Hoengseong, Korea, Earth
Introduced: Episode        11.11
Age when introduced:     25
Role:                                General Practicioner, Life Model for TMH

Character:                        Justice Bill Ryan (Bill)
Human Ethnicity:             Caddo
Additional Species:         N/A
Hometown/Homeworld:  Anadarko, Oklahoma, Earth
Introduced: Episode        11.11
Age when introduced:     51
Role:                                Administrative Law Judge

Episode 11.12 - The Smith Estate, Kauai Island, Hawaii by Robert Bruce Scott
Author's Notes:

Kenny Dolphin, his daughters and T'Lon visit the Smith family on the most beautiful place on Earth...

Star Trek Hunter
Episode 11: Intersections and Reunions

Scene 12: The Smith Estate, Kauai Island, Hawaii



11.12

The Smith Estate, Kauai Island, Hawaii


Kenny Dolphin and T’Lon transported together from the U.S.S. Hunter to the Smith Estate on Kauai Island. It was something of a homecoming for T’Lon – her parents, Skyvaak and Tr’Pro, were waiting for her. Kenny Dolphin’s daughters, fresh from the beach with wet hair and sand on their bikinis, were also waiting at the beam-in point. But no one was more eagerly awaiting their arrival than T’Lok’s parents, George and Ev’Lon Smith, along with their sons, Vuk and Surrol. 


Dr. George Smith was very dark skinned, smoothly muscular and had never worn a shirt since retiring from his post at the Hanamalulu Music Institute when T’Lok was 10. Kenny Dolphin was amused by this odd bit of knowledge about T’Lok’s father rising from apparently nowhere and felt a rush of affection for the man, embraced him easily.


“I’ve been talking to your daughters – happy girls,” Smith said. “You are a lucky, lucky man. You lost your daughters. And now they have found you again. And now I know a little of what that feels like.”


Dolphin couldn’t help but laugh. He looked in wonder again at the sharp-edged red and emerald green mountains, the bright orange sand, azure blue sky, darker blue of the Pacific Ocean. It was like nothing else on Earth. It was like something from an alien planet. It was home.


“You can feel it. I see it in your face,” Smith continued. “This is home.” He looked over at T’Lon, who was separately greeting T’Lok’s mother and brothers. “For both of you. For your daughters too. It is good to have Dolphins in these waters. Go. Hit the surf. It’s perfect right now. My sons have taken an interest in teaching your daughters.” He handed a small tube to Dolphin. “Take care of that white skin. Sunburn will sneak up on you very quickly. Once you notice it, the damage is already done.”



Dolphin and T’Lon spent some time on the waves. He had added a number of her positioning and balance exercises to his morning calisthenics in hopes they would help if he got a chance to surf again and the exercises paid off. He was somewhat better than a raw beginner. While the quadropseudoprozadiazomine had not quite worn off, he could still feel the telepathic presence of T’Lon, giving him pointers just before he needed them, helping to build his confidence and ability. 


Vuk Smith and Surrol Smith were instructing River Dolphin and Starlight Dolphin respectively. After he had retired to the beach, Kenny watched with interest - River was a natural and she had probably surfed before. Starlight was hopeless and would probably need one of T’Lon’s lessons. But she was determined and managed a few unsteady, but for her triumphal rides on the smaller waves. They would have several days here and were welcome to stay as long as they preferred. There would be plenty of time for lessons.



After a slow and merry dinner at which he observed vulcans so much at ease and so much part of the families of the Hawaiians who owned and cared for this land that they had essentially become one people, Dolphin retired to the orange sands to lie down and look up at the stars – this time far more comfortably than on Ocean, as a large, thick beach blanket had been provided for him. He had spent some time talking with his daughters, getting to know Vuk and Surrol and T’Lon’s parents and the socializing had, after a few hours, exhausted him.


Kenny Dolphin was finally beginning to relax when T’Lon joined him. He appreciated her companionship. T’Lon shared his appreciation of silence and for some time they simply lay there, listening to the waves. 


“I don’t think River wants to leave,” he said after a few minutes.


“Then she should stay. She is welcome to.” T’Lon glanced at a gazebo where most of the dinner party, including Dolphin’s daughters and T’Lok’s brothers were still talking in animated fashion. “Vuk would not be displeased.”


Dolphin rolled onto his side toward T’Lon, propped his head on his hand – elbow in the blanket - which allowed him to observe the gazebo as well. “What made you and T’Lok ever want to leave this place?”


“Vuk, Surrol, Ev’Lon – and my parents – all biologists. My parents were recruited to help preserve the native wildlife – the land and the sea. This is their adventure. T’Lok loved this place, but the stars were always calling to her. Calling me too.”


“Your people are wanderers. They couldn’t stay on Vulcan. Or on Earth, apparently. Not even a place like this,” Dolphin said.


“Some of us. And some of you,” T’Lon said. 


Kenny took a deep breath, looked about at the magnificent Hawaiian landscape. “I want to come back here, some day. Back to stay. But given what the captain told me about your venture beyond romulan space…”


“We have to leave this place to save this place. River can stay here. As long as she wants. But you and me,” T’Lon said, “We cannot. Not and stay true to who we are.”


Kenny Dolphin looked beyond T’Lon, observing the people in the gazebo. His younger daughter was talking with T’Lok’s mother, Ev’Lon. “Starlight,” he said. “She can’t stay either.”


“She’s a wanderer, too.”


“Star Fleet?”


“Or a freighter. Or a salvage vessel…” T’Lon smiled.


Kenny Dolphin laid back, hands behind his head. “Something wonderful, I hope…” He yawned widely.


“Have no doubt…” T’Lon relaxed on her side, her head on her clasped hands, her breathing slowing and deepening, allowing sleep to come. 



Starlight was observing her father with T’Lon. “I thought he said their affair was over,” she said quietly to no one in particular - too quietly to be heard.


“They’re closer than that,” said Ev’Lon. She took a seat beside the young woman.


Starlight was startled - “How…”


Ev’Lon raised an eyebrow. “Telepathy… vulcan hearing… paying attention… Those two,” she looked at Dolphin and T’Lon - completely engaged in their own conversation, “A part of my daughter lives in each of them. My T’Lok smiled all the time. Now T’Lon smiles – I never saw her smile before, even when she was a little child. She and your father may take other lovers – other spouses. But no one will ever be closer to them than they are to each other. T’Lok and T’Lon were inseparable. In a way, I think those two will become even closer than that.”


11.12

End Notes:

Character:                        Skyvak
Human Ethnicity:             N/A
Additional Species:         Vulcan
Hometown/Homeworld:  London, England, Earth
Introduced: Episode        11.12
Age when introduced:     77
Role:                                Biologist

Character:                        Tr’Pro
Human Ethnicity:             N/A
Additional Species:          Vulcan
Hometown/Homeworld:  Sha Ka Rie, Cun Ling
Introduced: Episode        11.12
Age when introduced:     42
Role:                                Biologist

Episode 11.13 - Ban Bang Chum Tho Fertility Clinic, Surat Thani, Thailand by Robert Bruce Scott
Author's Notes:

Investigator Lynhart Shran and his girlfriend, Belo Cantys visit a fertility clinic...

Star Trek Hunter
Episode 11: Intersections and Reunions

Scene 13: Ban Bang Chum Tho Fertility Clinic, Surat Thani, Thailand


11.13

Ban Bang Chum Tho Fertility Clinic, Surat Thani, Thailand


In a small room filled with candles, the walls lined with hundreds of photographs of babies and parents, Belo Cantys sat comfortably on the floor. A wooden chair had been provided to Lynhart Shran in deference of his advanced age. Even though she was more than a decade older than Investigator Shran, Dr. Amporn Pali, widely considered the Alpha Quadrant’s leading expert on interspecies fertility, sat in the Lotus position on the floor, holding hands with Cantys. Clasped within one pair of hands was a small, brightly polished bronze Buddha. In the other, bajoran prayer beads consecrated to the prophets. 


Since Lynhart Shran followed no religion, he sat with his hands upturned in his lap, palms open. His eyes were closed, but his antennae were quite active, responding to the thick clouds of incense wafting about the room and making it difficult for him to breathe. There would be no escaping this ritual – outside the ring of candles that surrounded the three, wreathes of smoky incense created a visually impenetrable fog. 


Shran listened in silence as the two women chanted prayers – one in Bajoran, the other in Thai. Religious ceremonies made Shran uncomfortable. But Dr. Pali was widely considered one of the greatest scientists in her field and insisted on blending religion and science for best results. She had made it clear that she expected her non-religious clients to silently meditate on their hoped for results while she prayed. Religious clients were to pray to whichever deity was appropriate for fertility. One full day of science. One full day of prayer. These were Dr. Pali’s requirements. But her results were simply astonishing – by far the best average for any genetic interspecies fertility consultant anywhere in the Alpha Quadrant.



At long last, the prayer had come to an end. Shran had to stand up and stretch to ease the pain in his back. He massaged his buttocks ruefully. The chair did not come with a cushion. Dr. Pali smiled. “I apologize I have no softer seats for you, Investigator. But I can tell you that you will have a son. And a daughter. It will not be tomorrow, but soon and the two of you must continue trying.”


Belo Cantys stood up and stretched, her tiny, young, lithe body seemingly unaffected by the hours of sitting on a hard wooden floor. “The treatment?”


Dr. Amporn Pali smiled. “I have uploaded the files and have provided consultation to your Dr. Jazz. He understands the instructions and will not have any difficulty synthesizing the treatment. It should produce best results within 6-8 weeks, but the two of you should try every night until you achieve the desired results... and for healthy, happy baby, and healthy delivery, do not stop - continue every night until the week before birth…” 


Cantys clapped her hands in delight and turned toward Shran. Lynhart Shran rolled his head back, his eyes and antennae slowly crossing.


11.13

End Notes:

Character:                        Dr. Amporn Pali
Human Ethnicity:             Thai
Additional Species:         N/A
Hometown/Homeworld:  Surat Thani, Thailand, Earth
Introduced: Episode        11.13
Age when introduced:     79
Role:                                Interspecies Fertility Geneticist/Therapist

Episode 11.14 - C.D.S. Milithra by Robert Bruce Scott
Author's Notes:

Onboard the Cardassian Defense Ship Milithra, Gul LeMark is about to meet his client...

This is the final scene for Episode 11. The story continues with Episode 12 - Prisoner in the Ice Castle.

Star Trek Hunter
Episode 11: Intersections and Reunions

Scene 14: C.D.S. Milithra


11.14

C.D.S. Milithra


Gul LeMark had come to loathe Remma. The diminutive romulan woman had begun to dominate his life. She did not directly interfere with his crew, nor did she countermand his orders. She was far, far more subtle than that. 


When Remma had helped him identify and kill 11 Obsidian Order (cardassian military intelligence) agents (including his former captain) and 4 Tal Shiarr (romulan military intelligence) agents on his ship, LeMark had been grateful. He had no desire to take his ship - the latest and best in cardassian technology - into the Gamma Quadrant on a fool’s errand to attack the Dominion. This had paid handsomly. Of the 8 cardassian war ships that had been provided cloaking generators by the Tal Shiarr, the C.D.S. Milithra was the only one that had not been destroyed. And it was now LeMark’s ship. Or so he thought when he took the title “Gul” (captain.)


Remma had become LeMark’s client, allowing him to keep the Milithra out of the ensuing Dominion War and providing a constant stream of resources to keep his ship in top shape, his crew fed and his various bank accounts full.


But LeMark was smart enough to never let his guard down with Remma. She might be small, but like any romulan, she was far stronger than the strongest cardassian. And he suspected that she was an agent for the secretive Imperial Intelligence Control - the civilian intelligence agency that reported directly to the Romulan Imperial Senate.



So he was more than mistrustful when she announed the he was about to meet their client. Remma ushered LeMark to the same small interview room where nearly a year earlier, his interview with then Governor Emory Ivonovic had gone so horribly wrong. LeMark had avoided that room ever since.


He entered the room with more than a little trepidation. 



A severe looking, ancient vulcan with bright blue eyes was seated in one of the chairs. He was clad all in black with a black robe. Twin emblems of the United Federation of Planets were embroidered in brilliantly colored silk on each of the robe’s lapels.


“Gul LeMark - please be seated.”


LeMark did not want to sit. He did not want to stay in this room one second longer. A Chief Justice of the Federation Tribunal was the last thing in the galaxy that he wanted to see - much less be seated well within arms reach of. LeMark panicked. He had to get out of this room. He decided to make a run for it.



But instead of bolting from the room, he found himself sitting down. His mind was screaming at him to flee. His body would not obey. It was obeying the commands of another mind.


With the speed of a snake, the ancient vulcan captured LeMark’s face between his hands.



“My mind to your mind… Your thoughts to my thoughts….”


11 – Intersections and Reunions

Episode 12.1 - Ice Hole by Robert Bruce Scott
Author's Notes:

The U.S.S. Hunter's Tactical Squad attempt a rescue at an infamous prison on Andoria...

Star Trek Hunter
Episode 12: Prisoner in the Ice Castle

Scene 1: Ice Hole


12.1

Ice Hole


Tactical Specialist Belo Rys was on the far right cable. Tactical Specialist Jarrong was in the lead on the left. Ensign Tolon Reeves was up one level collecting samples near the anchor points for the lines. Four carbon fiber cables snaked down from the anchors above, running down a sheet of frozen sea water. The cavern was bitterly cold, but there was very little air movement and the ground operations team was prepared with insulated uniforms that were just short of being full EVA suits.


The tactical team was descending in a staggered line. Jarrong, on the left, was the first to drop, then Belo Garr, then Belo Cantys, then Belo Rys on the right. This allowed Rys to keep an eye on the rest of the team to spot any trouble with their descent and take action or alert the team. To avoid detection, they were relying on their heat vision instead of lanterns – a gift of their cardassian heritage.  



Chief Flight Specialist Dewayne Guth had brought them in the wagon as far down into the cavern as the wagon could safely descend, then flew up out of the cavern, where he was station keeping nearby. Strongly magnetized metal deposits in the ice prevented the use of the transporter. Belo Rys, Belo Garr and Belo Cantys were each carrying a pattern enhancer, but within another hundred meters, these would also become useless - the magnetic deposits too strong for even the enhancers to punch a transport signal through. They would leave these devices behind on the next ledge.


Nearly a thousand meters further down, Investigator Buttans Ngumbo was scouting the ledge system, helping to guide the tactical squad down. He was using a small flashlight, but relying primarily on his superior olfactory sense. So far, they had not encountered any resistance - which Rys did not find comforting. There was no doubt this facility had been used as a prison, but if no one was guarding the main entrance, it could be a sign that the facility had been abandoned.


After descending for well over three hours in near total darkness, the tactical team joined Buttans on the bottom level. This lowest level appeared to cover about 500 square meters, but with no evident doors or passageways.



"Dead end," Jarrong whispered.


"Something smells hot," Buttans observed. "Smell it?"


Jarrong had the best heat vision of the group - she was able to make out her cousins and Buttans as undulating wraiths of heat, but there was no other source of heat down here. "It isn't down here," 


"I think it's up one level," Investigator Buttans said.


Jarrong saw it - a faint heat source within one of the walls above. "It's a trap!! GO UP GO UP GO UP GO UP!!"



Each of the squad members was still connected to the fiber cables they had used for descent. They slammed their hands on controls located on the left breast of their uniforms. Jarrong wrapped one arm under Buttans' crotch and threw him over her shoulder before activating her emergency recoil. Pulleys far above jerked and whined, quickly pulling the tactical squad members up the sides of the shaft as melted seawater crashed through one of the frozen walls. 


Buttans, still hoisted over Jarrong's shoulder, his face against her back, helped unhook her from one pulley system and attached her to the next. Her cousins recovered the pattern enhancers they had left on this level, detached themselves from this pulley system and attached and activated the next as insidious hissing and crashing noises became louder below. 


Tolon was waiting at the next level. With the speed and precision of dancers, Belo Rys, Belo Garr and Belo Cantys detached their cable systems, deployed the pattern enhancers and ushered Jarrong (still carrying Buttans) and Tolon into the triangle with them before activating the pattern enhancers. 


"NOW!!  Now NOW NOW!!" screamed Tolon. He was still screaming when the cavern started to dissolve in an array of patterned lights, to be replaced by the rear staging area of the wagon. He only started to breathe properly once the transporter beam cycle was complete and he could see that his team was safely aboard the wagon. 


A viewscreen against the interior wall displayed the same scene that Chief Guth and Midshipman Tammy Brazil were observing up in the flight cabin - the camera on one of the pattern enhancers capturing the other two falling off the dissolving ledge, before falling itself into the freezing, watery abyss.



"That was way too close," Belo Garr observed.


"Trap," said Tolon, breathing hard.


"Um, Jarrong?" said Buttans, "You can put me down now…”


12.1

Episode 12.2 - Investigator Shran Walks Into a Bar by Robert Bruce Scott
Author's Notes:

Investigator Lynhart Shran walks into a bar...

Star Trek Hunter
Episode 12: Prisoner in the Ice Castle

Scene 2: Investigator Shran Walks Into a Bar...


12.2

Investigator Shran Walks Into a Bar…


Investigator Lynhart Shran had taken advantage of his time on Earth to refresh his wardrobe. His silvery gray shirt had French cuffs and Belo Cantys had selected platinum cuff-links for him. A new pair of Red-Wing shoes - a deep maroon with ornate patterning, new dark denim jeans with a heavy crease. Even his large leathery looking overcoat had a new silvery sheen to it and a broad collar had been added. Despite his age, Shran still had a ring of hair around the sides of his head that was mostly brown - his craggy features were entirely human except for his large antennae. 


As a hybrid, Lynhart Shran was less welcome in most places in Laikan, the capital of Andoria, than humans or other non-andorians.


And this bar, tucked into a back alley, was one of those places where he would be least welcome. Seedy bars full of seedy characters doing seedy things could be found on nearly any planet or moon with humanoids and Andoria was no exception. This establishment did not have a name - only a number in andorian numerals. The door was firmly shut and a large andorian - much larger than Shran - was posted outside to see that it stayed that way to all except for known patrons. And Shran did not qualify.



Shran flipped up the collar on his overcoat, creating a shell around the back and sides of his head and strode directly up to the door-warden.



“You know you’re not…” the andorian started as Shran walked up to him. The door-warden stopped talking as Shran drew an exceptionally large firearm from under his coat and in a single, smooth movement, placed the business end directly under the door-warden’s chin, forcing his head back against the door.


“Allow me to get the door for you, sir…” the door-warden managed. He started to reach behind his back. Shran casually spun the firearm around, delivering a vicious blow to the side of the andorian’s head, sending a spray of bright blue blood across the door. Shran grasped the unconscious andorian’s wrist and placed the door-warden’s hand on the door’s access panel. 


The door slid open and Shran dropped the door-warden’s wrist, stepped over his semi-conscious body and walked inside, the door sliding shut behind him. A few seconds and a number of loud but muffled explosions later, followed by a crescendo of muffled screams, the door slid open again and seedy looking andorians came pouring out, stumbling over the semi-conscious door-warden. One andorian made it out of the door, then his head exploded.



Inside, the bar was a mess. While at least a half-dozen heavily armed andorians had taken protected positions and were returning fire, none of them seemed to be able to actually hit Shran as he strode up to the bar, selecting and taking down his targets with relaxed precision. Three andorians made the mistake of turning over a steel table and firing at Shran from behind it. One of these stood up to take a shot, just in time to see Shran casually toss a grenade as he walked by, which landed behind him. The grenade exploded just as it hit the floor behind the table. 


As half the room was suddenly awash in shrapnel, phaser and disrupter beams and bullets continued to cut through the room. Shran dropped the repeating musket he had been carrying, hopped up, sat on the bar, lifted his legs, spun around and hopped down behind the bar. One andorian who had been hiding behind the bar pointed a disrupter at the old investigator’s face. In a single move Shran turned the hand and disrupter back toward its owner and forced him to discharge it at himself.


Someone shot Shran in the back with a disrupter - the old man’s leathery overcoat dissipated the beam. Shran drew his phaser and turned around, phaser in one hand, disrupter in the other. The andorian who had shot him dropped his disrupter and raised his hands beside his face. Both were crouched behind the bar.



“Hello, Shrib," Shran said to the andorian in front of him. He then lifted his gravelly voice so that it could be heard throughout the establishment: "If you want to live, stop shooting and drop your weapons.” There were a few more desultory shots - as if the weapons themselves were confused. Then the clatter of weapons being dropped as the people holding them did the math. “Walk out - now!” Shran shouted from behind the bar. 


Shran looked at the andorian he had captured behind the bar. His voice was quiet but intense, rough. “I’m not going to bind your hands, Shrib. You run away from me, I won’t just kill you. I’ll kill everyone you care about first and make you watch. You’re going to give me everything I want from you, the first time I ask, and if I’m in a decent mood and if you’re very lucky, you might get out of this alive.”


Shrib was clearly terrified, his face almost blank with disbelief. “You can’t do this, Star Fleet…”


“The only uniform I’ve ever worn is the uniform of the Andorian Imperial Guard,” Shran said. “For 30 years. They reactivated me this morning. Now we’re leaving through the front door. Pull yourself together.”



When they stood up, the bar was empty except for nine dead andorians. 


“You killed nine of our people…” Shrib said.


“Actually, I only killed seven of them. Somebody took advantage of the mayhem to settle a few scores.” Shran looked around. “Bihr th’Rhaotrehr, Ashyss th’Vhaanet…”



Shrib’s antennae flexed wide and forward, almost laying down on his face. “The Ebar syndicate… They’ll be coming after you now.”



Shran made an amused noise. “I have 198 - make that 205 confirmed kills as an eliminator for the AIG. Most of them andorian. The Ebar syndicate is just going to have to get in line with everybody else. Now out!”


12.2

End Notes:

Character:                        Shrib zh’Andressa (Shrib)
Human Ethnicity:             N/A
Additional Species:          Andorian
Hometown/Homeworld:  Bespatel, Andoria
Introduced: Episode        12.2
Age when introduced:      32
Role:                                 Thief

Episode 12 - Prisoner in the Ice Castle by Robert Bruce Scott
Author's Notes:

Introduction to Episode 12: Prisoner in the Ice Castle by Ambassador Sarek of Vulcan (popularly known as the father of Spock)

Star Trek Hunter
Episode 12: Prisoner in the Ice Castle



Episode 12 – Prisoner in the Ice Castle


“Andorian imperial succession has always been an extremely emotional and intensely violent affair. Since the Andorian Empire became one of the three founding governments of the United Federation of Planets and with federation mediators, under the Federation Charter, playing a central role in facilitating succession, the death toll has been significantly reduced. In the opinion of andorian historians, an imperial succession with an official death count of less than a thousand is considered a bloodless transition.” 


“It is crucial that federation mediators do not try to play god in these transitions. It is never our role to choose the new emperor or to allow the royal families to choose the new emperor. Our role is to ensure an orderly process and help all parties to accept the inevitability of the outcome on the ground – to sanctify this outcome and prevent endless reprisals. It is by far the most difficult and delicate negotiation I have ever conducted and I conducted the vast majority of it in complete silence, without ever saying a word.”

Ambassador Sarek, 
Notes on the Fifth Federation-Mediated Succession of the Andorian Empire.



Crew of the U.S.S. Hunter: (Ship's Interactive Holographic Avatar - Hunter)


At-Large Appellate Justice, Captain Minerva Irons

Chief Executive Officer - Commander David Pepper

Chief Operations Officer - Lt. Commander Mlady


Medical Director - Commander Tali Shae

        Asst. Medical Director - Lt. Jazz Sam Sinder

        Epidemiologist - Lt. Napoleon Boles

                Ensign Chrissiana Trei

                    Forensic Specialist - Midshipman Sif

                        Emergency Medical Hologram - Dr. Raj

                        Tactical Medical Hologram - Dr. Kim


Director of Flight Operations - Lt. Kenneth Dolphin

        Asst. Flight Dir. - 2nd Lt. Gaia Gamor

                        Navigator Johanna Imex

                        Navigator Eli Strahl

                Ensign Ethan Phillips

                        Chief Flight Specialist Dewayne Guth

                        Flight Specialist Dih Terri

                        Flight Specialist Joey Chin

                        Flight Specialist Winnifreid Salazaar


Director of Ground Operations - Lt. Tauk

        Asst. Ground Ops Dir. - 2nd Lt. T’Lon 

                        Investigator Lynhart Shran

                        Investigator Buttans Ngumbo

                Ensign Tolon Reeves

                        Tactical Specialist Jarrong

                        Tactical Specialist Belo Rys

                        Tactical Specialist Belo Garr

                        Tactical Specialist Belo Cantys


Director of Engineering - Lt. Sarekson Carrera

        Asst. Engineering Dir. - 2nd Lt. Moon Sun Salek

                  Midshipman Tammy Brazil

                        Transporter Engineer K'rok

                Ensign Sun Ho Hui

                        Flight Engineer Yolanda Thomas

                        Flight Engineer Thomas Hobbs

                        Flight Engineer Tomos

                        Flight Engineer Kerry Gibbon

Episode 12.3 - Standing Requirements by Robert Bruce Scott
Author's Notes:

Justice Minerva Irons presides over the succession mediation for the Andorian Imperial Dias...

Star Trek Hunter
Episode 12: Prisoner in the Ice Castle

Scene 3: Standing Requirements

 

 

12.3

Standing Requirements

 

In a government building in Laikan, Justice Minerva Irons stood in a traditional andorian courtroom. Because Andoria was cold all the time, she had eschewed her usual civilian clothing in favor of the black Star Fleet JAG uniform - thin red piping around the neck and on the cuffs the only sign of the Star Fleet functional uniform color code. Over this she wore her judicial robe. Under most circumstances, this combination was too warm for comfort, but even with these layers, Irons was still cold. Like all andorian courtrooms, this room had no chairs or tables.

 

Commander David Pepper and Dr. Tali Shae, neither of whom had the benefit of a robe over their SF JAG uniforms, seemed quite comfortable. Both had been born on this moon. Tali Shae was fully andorian and Pep, although he had never grown antennae, had an andorian grandfather. This had proved useful to Irons in the past when trying cases under andorian civil law.

 

Three andorian judges were in the room as well, one representing each party to the mediation. Their role was not to judge the case, but to judge the judge - in this case, Justice Irons. Representatives of each party to the mediation were also present - and impatient for the initiation of mediation. This was a three-way mediation and each party was allowed five representatives. With the zh’Ithirith, th’Ravonet and Shav representatives standing close to one another, there was a small forest of antennae twitching in agitation like tall grasses in a strong wind.

 

 

“When will this mediation begin?” asked one of the more irritated representatives from House th’Ravonet. “We have been standing here for more than three hours.”

 

Justice Irons remained silent, but opened her eyes and looked at her interlocutor. Mediation would, by andorian legal customs, begin no less than two hours after she broke her silence. The cold was making her feel her age, but within the andorian justice system, Irons was famous for holding her silence for days – weeks – in one famous case more than a month to delay the beginning of forced mediation and allow events to be sorted out on the ground. 

 

Andorians were not particularly good at staring contests and after a few moments of looking into Justice Irons’ light brown eyes, serene Chinese features, slight hints of vulcan and trill ancestry, the andorian who had complained about waiting had to look away. Irons had mastered the ability to be intimidating without trying to appear intimidating.

 

 

Andorian law provided an out for nearly every legal custom, including delaying the start of mediation. Typically this involved challenging the court’s champion, who was required to be of andorian blood, to single combat. Because of his andorian grandfather, Commander Pepper qualified and he had been challenged on a number of occasions. In hand to hand combat, andorians relied on their superior speed and balance. Andorians challenging Pep had quickly come to realize that the giant’s size did not in any way affect his speed or balance and he had earned a reputation for winning such contests usually within less than a minute. 

 

Irons was counting on Pep’s reputation to help her hold this trial off until she received the signal she was awaiting.

 

 

What andorians were exceptional at was standing contests. Within a few minutes, groups of andorians who were standing and waiting would synchronize, until their antennae were moving in unison, setting the balance and movements for the group. Non-andorians were at a serious disadvantage. While Minerva Irons appeared outwardly calm, she was running through her Tai Chi training program in her mind, picturing each move and making minute adjustments to her stance to reduce the pain. Both the standing and the cold were getting to her much more than they had in the past and an acute observer, like Dr. Tali Shae, could notice subtle signs of stress and discomfort on her face. It was going to be a long, painful week – quite possibly much longer…

 

12.3

Episode 12.4 - Toeing the Line by Robert Bruce Scott
Author's Notes:

Lt. Tauk, the Hunter's Director of Ground Operations and his Assistant Director, 2nd Lt. T'Lon develop a new plan...

Star Trek Hunter
Episode 12: Prisoner in the Ice Castle

Scene 4: Toeing the Line


12.4

Toeing the Line


Lt. Tauk and 2nd Lt. T’Lon were aboard the U.S.S. Hunter in the Ground Operations Center, downloading information from publicly available resources and additional Imperial resources only available due to Justice Irons’ status as an appellate justice not only within the Federation Tribunal, but also within the Imperial Court – a status very rarely afforded to non-andorians.



“Investigator Shran has placed himself on leave status and deactivated his communicator,” T’Lon said. “I cannot locate him – he was in Laikan.”


“He is on leave and not currently under your supervision,” Tauk replied without looking up.


“He seemed rather disturbed at the failure of his initial source. He didn’t say anything, but I could hear it in his voice – he seemed quite upset.”


Tauk continued working without responding.


T’Lon looked at her commanding officer, weighing her words, then said, “You know him better than I do. I am concerned he might do something rash.”


“Don’t be,” Tauk replied, still absorbed in the information on his workstation.


T’Lon raised an eyebrow and watched Tauk. It was evident the ferengi had no intention of furthering this discussion. It was also evident to her that he was parsing his words carefully.



Investigator Shran’s workstation beeped, indicating successful communication – which very few people knew how to access independently. Lt. Tauk looked up briefly at his vulcan 2nd lieutenant, then back at his workstation. T’Lon observed her commanding officer for a few moments, then walked over to Shran’s workstation and accessed it. A vast amount of data had been uploaded – schematics, maps, lists of cyphers with code…


“It appears Investigator Shran has uploaded a new potential location, sir,” T’Lon said. 


“It also appears that the Investigator was reactivated by the Andorian Imperial Guard,” Tauk replied. He sent a document to T’Lon’s workstation. “They recommissioned him and assigned him an unspecified number of targets related to Imperial security.”


“Is that allowable under his agreement with Star Fleet?” T’Lon asked.


“Only when he is on leave,” Tauk replied.


“So why is he sending us information about potential locations for the abductee?”


“Presumably, he is doing so under orders from the Imperial Guard. We need to research this information thoroughly. I’m certain Shran would not have sent it if he did not think there was a good chance this is where the hostage is being held, but we don’t know where his information is coming from and whether it is a current source.” Tauk returned his attention to his workstation.


For a few moments the two lieutenants, alone in the Hunter’s ground ops center, worked silently, pulling down telemetry on the location that Shran had uploaded and pouring over the additional information he had sent. 



The silence was interrupted by the communication system, carrying Navigator Eli Strahl’s voice from the bridge, only a few yards away on the same deck. “Lieutenant Tauk, I am forwarding a transmission from Sub Commander Oshreb Sav of the Andorian Imperial Guard.”


Tauk activated a viewer behind his desk. “This is the Hunter’s Ground Operations Director Tauk, Go ahead, Sub Commander.”


An andorian wearing the blue and white uniform of the Capitol Division of the Imperial Guard appeared on the viewer. “Director, I am forwarding a file regarding a facility you are investigating on the ground in the area of Bespatel, Southern Region. The Imperial Guard offers this information in assistance of your ongoing operations on behalf of the Andorian people. Please note that this file is not cleared for evidentiary use and for reasons involving andorian security, cannot be used in either an andorian or federation court.”


Tauk nodded. “Understood, Sub Commander. We greatly appreciate the assistance. Please extend our gratitude to the appropriate parties.”


“I will do so and enjoin you to not speak of this transaction to any andorian or official of an andorian institution.” 


“Understood, agreed and appreciated,” Tauk said. 


Sub Commander Oshreb Sav gave a curt salute with his antennae and abruptly ended the transmission.



T’Lon looked up. “Four months of telemetry on the location Shran sent us.”


“We need to review every moment of this information to make sure we have a good location before retargeting the wagon,” Tauk said.


“I am uncomfortable that you so easily promised not to inform any andorian or imperial official,” T’Lon said. “That would include the captain as well as the commander and Dr. Tali Shae.”


Tauk looked at her with some surprise. “I don’t report to any of those people. I report to the Chief of Operations – Lieutenant Commander Mlady. I cannot make promises about what she will report to her commanding officer, but she is neither andorian, nor an official of any andorian institution.”


“You make a lot of fine distinctions,” T’Lon objected.


“Fine distinctions are what our work is all about. You know I that am dying, T’Lon. I want you to be prepared to take this seat when I can no longer do the job. You need to let me know whether you can live with toeing those fine lines and making the tough calls. T’Lok did – she taught me this trade.” Tauk glanced at Shran’s vacant workstation. “Well, she and Shran. This operation is as high stakes as we have ever been assigned. You know how vital it is that we succeed here. If that means making some rough calls and drawing really fine lines, that is part of what it means to wear the black uniform.”


12.4

End Notes:

Character:                        Sub Commander Oshreb Sav (Oshreb)
Human Ethnicity:             N/A
Additional Species:          Andorian
Hometown/Homeworld:   Tarsk, Andoria
Introduced: Episode         12.4
Age when introduced:      28
Role:                                 Intelligence Analysis Section Leader, Andorian Imperial Guard

Episode 12.5 - Canada On Ice by Robert Bruce Scott
Author's Notes:

Special Agent Johnny Canada, Trantor Police Intelligence Division, gets captured...

Star Trek Hunter
Episode 12: Prisoner in the Ice Castle

Scene 5: Canada on Ice


12.5

Canada on Ice


Johnny Canada was a friendly looking man with light brown hair, a light brown beard and an easy smile. The various federation species had become so adept at reading human expressions that his easy charm worked not only with humans but was read by andorians, vulcans, bolians and others to make him appear entirely innocuous. Canada was not from Canada and Canada was not his actual name - just his preferred alias.



At the moment, Canada was the only person in this back alley of Reitel, a northern suburb of Laikan, who appeared entirely at ease. Along with three other humans, he was meeting with a small group of nervous looking andorians - separatists. What the separatists desperately needed was information and the only safe way to provide that would be verbally, in person. They were here to provide the House of Shav information on Star Fleet resources, personnel, intentions. Canada was the go-between - the person bringing the buyers and sellers together. As ordered. From the mouth. He had no idea why, but why was not his responsibility.


Abruptly, his three human companions, one of whom was a Star Fleet officer, began waving their hands crazily in the air and howling - high pitched shrieking growing louder - their hair standing on end. Canada reflexively crouched. The andorians reflexively shot and killed all three shrieking humans, then turned their guns on Canada - too late. Canada used a pair of very high quality andorian phase pistols - made nearly 200 years ago when andorians really cared about making high quality weapons. 


Five quick pinpoint shots and Johnny Canada had just killed the andorian contacts he had worked for months to cultivate. He turned to look at his human companions. Although clearly dead, they were still convulsing and their hair was smoking.


Canada idly scratched an itch on his neck and was surprised his neck was wet. His phasers dropped numbly from his hands, making a very high quality noise as they smacked on the concrete. He reached back up and removed a tiny splinter from his neck and looked at it with growing confusion as the back alley swirled annoyingly around him, the smell of the color nine was almost deafening… Johnny Canada crumpled to the concrete, unconscious.



Canada woke up in what appeared to be a warehouse. He was seated in a chair that was designed for a human, his hands tied behind his back. He tried his bonds, just the gentlest tug, and felt them tighten slightly. Tied by an expert - Canada was going to have to talk his way out of this. He flexed his forearms slightly, feeling the number of loops and the design of the knot - Section 31. So his captor was Section 31 and knew that he was Section 31. That was no guarantee that he would get out of this alive, but it was a hopeful sign. His captor was smart and, depending on his assignment, might be reasoned with.


“Nice guns,” came a voice from behind Canada. Canada suppressed a startle reaction. He should have heard the man behind him walking or breathing or shifting his weight. His breathing could easily be heard now - he had a bit of a wheeze. Canada listened carefully - it was a real wheeze - which meant his captor had been suppressing it.


“Any chance I might get them back?” Canada asked after a period of silence.


“Eventually. If you survive this," said the man with the wheeze. "You know what I am. I know what you are. But I know something you don’t. You have been uncomfortable with the orders you have received recently. So uncomfortable that you recently received an order from the mouth. More than one. And you’ve been uncomfortable with those as well.”


Canada found himself again having to suppress his startle reaction. This agent was really good. There was no point in denial. Nor in confirmation. He let his silence speak for him.


“That’s what I thought," said the wheeze. "The mouth is compromised. You already know it. What you do not understand is how.”


Canada again let silence speak for him.


“I will leave you with this: Vulcans. It is not a conspiracy. It is a disease. I will return in two hours. Hold your silence and I will reward you. There are five others here, but they are gagged and cannot help you in any way.”


The wheeze was suddenly absent.


12.5

End Notes:

Character:                        Special Agent in Charge Johnny Canada (Johnny)
Human Ethnicity:              French Canadian
Additional Species:         N/A
Hometown/Homeworld:  Trantor, Cun Ling
Introduced: Episode        12.5
Age when introduced:     33
Role:                                Trantor Police, Intelligence Division

Episode 12.6 - Sister Ship by Robert Bruce Scott
Author's Notes:

The U.S.S. Hunter's sister ship, the U.S.S.Prowler, joins the Star Fleet contingent near Andoria...

Star Trek Hunter
Episode 12: Prisoner in the Ice Castle

Scene 6: Sister Ship


12.6

Sister Ship


Lt. Commander Mlady, Lt. Kenny Dolphin and 2nd Lt. Gaia Gamor were rotating shifts in command. Ensign Ethan Phillips and 2nd Lt. Moon Sun Salek had more or less camped out in the tactical unit, anticipating deployment at any moment. The untimely death of Empress Zashah zh’Ithirith had brought about a perennial crisis within the Federation. Under the Federation Charter, andorian imperial succession was to be mediated by a non-andorian representative of the Federation Tribunal who was required to be expert in andorian law and admitted to the Imperial Court.


While the Andorian Imperial Guard was officially non-partisan, many of the flag officers came from one or another of the three succession-qualified royal families and open civil war had occasionally broken out among guard units during previous succession disputes. Additionally, each of the three succession-qualified houses maintained their own small fleets of interceptors and at least one larger war ship.



At the moment, two Intrepid class starships – the U.S.S. Vox and the U.S.S. Intrepid - were currently stationed in orbit of Rings, the gas giant about which Andoria orbited and an Escort class starship, the U.S.S. Valiant, was in orbit of the home-moon of the Andorian Empire. 


The U.S.S. Hunter, small, squat and dark, was not as impressive as these larger and more heavily armed starships, but oddly had a disproportionate impact because of Lt. Dolphin’s reputation following the Battle for Pillo, in which he had more or less single-handedly destroyed three nausicaan heavy cruisers in less than three minutes.


Several parties were counting on that reputation to help prevent the dozens of andorian heavy interceptors being fielded by the various royal families from firing on each other or on Andorian Imperial Guard vessels – or on Star Fleet - as had happened during the last succession mediation fifty years previously.


Lt. Commander Mlady was in command when the Hunter’s sister ship, the U.S.S. Prowler, fresh out of space dock, arrived. While the operation was under the actual command of Captain Serge Mykel Chekov of the U.S.S. Intrepid, communications were being coordinated through the U.S.S. Hunter to serve as a constant reminder to the andorians of Lt. Dolphin’s presence. Following this unusual protocol, the captain of the U.S.S. Prowler reported in.



“U.S.S. Hunter, this is the U.S.S. Prowler, Sagittarius Hunter commanding.”


“Prowler, this is the U.S.S. Hunter, Mlady commanding. Did I hear your name correctly?”


“Affirmative, Hunter, this is Captain Hunter, commanding the Prowler. The irony is not lost on me.”


“I was referring to your given name, Captain,” Mlady responded.


“Oh... Um... Well, my sisters' names are Aquarius and Gemini and my brothers are Taurus, Cancer, Libra and Leo,” Captain Hunter replied with a faint smile. “Mom's a bit of an astrologer. I brought along some friends. They’re currently grouping on the far side of Rings.”


“I’m glad they came along. We have been monitoring increasing movement and grouping among interceptors we suspect are being piloted by Shav supporters. We may need to show some teeth.”


“We will be ready, Lieutenant Commander. I checked in with Captain Chekov a few minutes ago and Commander Red’s squadron are checking in with him now.”


“They gave Red a squadron? Wasn’t she on suspension four or five times at the academy – and a few times since?” Mlady asked.


Captain Hunter smiled. “Red’s a firecracker and would just as soon punch you in the mouth as talk to you. But she has a killer’s instinct for combat and an ability to get people to follow her into battle. If things get ugly up here, we’ll be glad she’s here.”


Navigator Johanna Imex, currently standing watch at the tactical and communication station, interrupted, “Sir?”


“Thank you Captain Hunter," Lt. Cmdr. Mlady said. "It appears duty calls. Someday I would like to introduce you to the U.S.S. Hunter,”


“I heard your ship is artificially intelligent," Captain Saggitarius Hunter replied. "I will look forward to meeting him, Lieutenant Commander. Prowler out.”


Mlady swiveled to look at Imex.


“I’m sorry to interrupt," Navigator Imex said. "But we have a Commander Red requesting permission to board. She wants to meet with you, Director Dolphin and Doctor Jazz.”


12.6

End Notes:

Character:                        Captain Sagittarius Hunter (Sagittarius)
Human Ethnicity:             African American
Additional Species:         N/A
Hometown/Homeworld:  Harper's Ferry, West Virginia, Earth
Introduced: Episode        12.6
Age when introduced:      43
Role:                                Captain, U.S.S. Prowler

Episode 12.7 - Shran's Aviary by Robert Bruce Scott
Author's Notes:

Investigator Shran has some questions. And is determined to get answers...

Star Trek Hunter
Episode 12: Prisoner in the Ice Castle

Scene 7: Shran's Aviary


12.7

Shran’s Aviary


Five andorians, two humans and a bolian sat in the middle of an apparently abandoned warehouse somewhere north of Laikan. All of them were tied to their chairs. All but the bolian and one of the humans, Johnny Canada, were gagged. The andorians’ antennae were bound, preventing movement, which was causing them to become disoriented and nauseous. None of them were blindfolded.



Investigator Lynhart Shran dragged a chair and an Andorian Imperial Guard military issue sniper’s phaser rifle into the center of the group. He laid the rifle in the chair, then walked around the perimeter of the group, removing gags and allowing them to fall around the necks of those who had been gagged when he had entered the room.



“Now I have a collection of song birds, but you are only allowed to sing when I tell you. Abuse this privilege and the gag goes back into your mouth.” Shran stepped into the middle of the circle, picked up the rifle, straddled the chair. “I am Lynhart Shran of the Andorian Imperial Guard, Eliminator First Class. And I have orders naming each of you. Which means all of you are, as of this moment, dead. But I will not kill you if I do not need to. You can walk out of this building alive under one condition, my little songbirds: Sing.” 


Shran pulled up the image of a pair of young andorian boys on a viewer, walked over to Shrib. Showed it to him. “House th’Ravonet.”


Shrib’s antennae bristled within their restraints when he was shown the image on the viewer. Anger, fear and desperation competed for dominance on his face. But he did not hesitate to respond. “Everyone thinks House Shav kidnapped Sin th’Ravonet - the preferred heir and presumptive emperor. I don’t think they did. House Shav has military muscle, but they’re navigating with a broken antenna. They might be able to take th’Ravonet in a straight up military raid, but they don’t have the covert resources to kidnap the heir right out of Castle th’Ravon.”



Investigator Shran looked about the room, gauging the reactions of his other prisoners, then nodded, appeared satisfied. He unbound Shrib’s antennae. Shrib was visibly relieved. He took a deep breath, closed his eyes and lowered his head, started to seriously shake.


Shran pulled up an official looking document in andorian script on his viewer. He walked over to the older bolian woman - showed it to her. She was already shaking.


“I’m already terrified, sir. You didn’t need to show me that.”


“House zh’Ithirith,” Shran said…


12.7

Episode 12.8 - Red Hot by Robert Bruce Scott
Author's Notes:

Commander Red, a star fighter pilot, boards the U.S.S. Hunter with a very unusual request...

Star Trek Hunter
Episode 12: Prisoner in the Ice Castle

Scene 8: Red Hot


12.8

Red Hot


Lt. Cmdr. Mlady, Dr. Jazz Sam Sinder and Lt. Kenny Dolphin were gathered in the medical office as Commander Red pulled her interceptor into one of the Hunter’s vacant interceptor bays.



“Where is she from?” asked Dolphin.


“Bushehr, a seaport in southern Iran,” Mlady responded.


“Red is a strange name for a Persian.”


“She changed her name to that when she was seven - in protest.”


“Seven years old? What was she protesting?” Dolphin asked.


“I don’t think anyone knows,” Mlady answered. “I only know of her by reputation, but I have a fair idea why she wants to meet with you in the presence of an executive officer and the acting chief medical officer…”


“I want to have sex with the flyboy here,” Commander Red said as she strode into the medical office.



Dolphin whirled to face her, “What???”



Red was about 30 years old - small, dark, taut, evidently Persian, and aggressively beautiful. “I’ve been analyzing the movement of Imperial Guard interceptors, House Shav interceptors, interceptors from the other two houses. House Shav is rotating their interceptors through a series of drills and maintenance. Our intelligence indicates the pilots that brought those birds up here were engineers. They’re getting swapped out for combat pilots as they go through their maintenance cycles. I estimate they are about 20 hours away from making a move against one of the other two royal houses and the Guard won’t stop them. Which means in about 20 hours, my squadron will be on the front line to keep that from happening. I want your notch on my bandolier when I go up against them.”


Dolphin rolled his head back, a bewildered expression on his face, spread his hands, then dropped them to his sides. “Sure. Why not?” he said, shaking his head, eyes wide with disbelief.


Dr. Jazz stared at him as though the Hunter’s director of flight operations had suddenly been transformed into a large potted plant. Mlady barked - it took Dolphin a moment to realize she was laughing. He had never heard her laugh before.


“You sound so thrilled,” Red said.


“You’re the one who wants my notch on your bandolier,” Dolphin said, still bewildered. He took a deep breath, shook his head. 


“Dolphin,” Mlady said, “you may use my quarters. Just clean up when you’re done.” She walked up to Dolphin, hooked her finger into his collar. He had to lean down for her to whisper in his ear: “Malloriah Uhr left a gift for me. It’s in the top drawer in the wardrobe. Let it inspire you…”


“Um… thank you?” Dolphin straightened up and turned toward their guest, still more than a little bewildered. “Commander, if you will follow me, please…” Dolphin stepped toward the door. 


Red turned behind Dolphin’s back, looking at Jazz and Mlady. She made a motion with her hands as though she were wringing a wet rag and mouthed the words “He won’t last five minutes…”



Mlady was still chuckling after the two pilots walked out of the medical office. 


“He’s been here a year,” said Dr. Jazz. “And I still really don’t know that man. I would never have guessed he would react like that…”


Mlady had a wicked glint in her eye. “Want to watch?”


“What???”


“With Dr. Tali Shae down on the moon, you’re the acting chief medical officer. Regulation 4:410 Section 6-37(a)5.13 gives you the option if, in your opinion, the patient in your charge might be at risk to his health, to require medical supervision…”


Dr. Jazz boggled at the diminutive 2nd officer. “Unbelievable!!”


“Oh come on…” Mlady teased. “I want to know what he’s going to do with that buggy-whip Mallory left for me…”


12.8

End Notes:

Character:                        Commander Red (Red)
Human Ethnicity:             Persian
Additional Species:         N/A
Hometown/Homeworld:  Bushehr, Iran, Earth
Introduced: Episode        12.7
Age when introduced:      30
Role:                                 Squadron Commander, 1st Expeditionary Interceptor Group

Episode 12.9 - Standing Orders by Robert Bruce Scott
Author's Notes:

The continuing trial tests Justice Minerva Irons' endurance...

Star Trek Hunter
Episode 12: Prisoner in the Ice Castle

Scene 9: Standing Order

 

12.9

Standing Order

 

After eleven days - each 11.5 hours - the andorians in the courtroom were starting to look exhausted. The andorian day was 23 hours long, leaving only 11.5 hours for rest and sleep. Dr. Tali Shae was older than most of the other andorians in the courtroom. The strain was beginning to show on Justice Minerva Irons - the fine lines of aging on her face becoming more ingrained - her internal movement through her Tai Chi regimen becoming more visible as she shifted her weight. Never before had she accepted steroid treatments to improve her stamina and reduce the pain in her joints, but there was no way she could have endured the strain without them now.

 

Of the people in the room, only Commander David Pepper appeared to be completely at ease, unphased by days on end of standing on a hard marble floor in a freezing courtroom. If he could have given some of his superhuman strength, stamina and poise to his captain, he would have done so in a heartbeat.

 

To an outside observer, to the andorians in this room, Minerva Irons might appear simply stoic and dispassionate. Pep knew her well enough to see the unimaginable pain she was suppressing. They had done this only a few years before and Irons had gotten through eighteen days of silence without showing any visible stress. 

 

Pep could only hope she would soon see the sign she was waiting for, but given the reports he was hearing, or more importantly the reports he wasn’t hearing, that didn’t seem likely. 

 

 

Although she was in no small amount of discomfort herself, Dr. Tali Shae was more concerned about Justice Irons. She did not appear about to fall over at this minute, but her distress was clear enough to her doctor. At her age she should not be putting her system under this kind of stress. 

 

Irons was putting on a good show - an amazing show. But unlike her first officer, her doctor knew what her vital signs were. The justice had taken very good care of herself, but age was finally winning - softening her bones, weakening her joints, reducing blood flow to her muscles… Dr. Tali Shae grimaced as she could see Irons fighting off muscle spasms, stretching gently to relieve cramps. But there was no question as to whether it was worth it.  

 

Dr. Tali Shae was not in the least conflicted. Her role was to provide Irons the treatments and drugs she needed to make it through this negotiation, even as those same drugs did lasting damage. That was the price for preventing a chaotic imperial succession that might jeapardize the Andorian Empire's alignment within the Federation and Irons and Shae were both well aware of this price and willing to pay it.

 

12.9

Episode 12.10 - Breaking the Ice by Robert Bruce Scott
Author's Notes:

The U.S.S. Hunter's Flight Operations and Ground Operations departments launch a joint attack on a castle made of ice...

Star Trek Hunter
Episode 12: Prisoner in the Ice Castle

Scene 10: Breaking the Ice


12.10

Breaking the Ice


The wagon had landed on the ice several thousand kilometers away from its target - a castle in the southern polar region of Andoria. A castle with outer walls of ice that were in many places fifteen meters thick. 


Andorian castles in the polar regions were often constructed of ice or more commonly, had an outer shell of ice. There were several reasons for this - aside from being an abundantly available and extremely malleable building material, ice provided superb camouflage - visual and thermal - in a wilderness of gigantic, permanent glaciers and ice covered mountains.


Chief Flight Specialist Dewayne Guth had landed the wagon on a slight gradient and had maintained forward velocity, allowing the wagon to slide downhill, at a speed of about 100 kph - sliding across a thin film of ice melted by the wagon's heat until, without being powered, it came to rest less than a thousand kilometers from its target.



“So this time it is not a trap?” Tactical Specialist Belo Rys was concerned for her younger half-siblings and her cousin. She had also become rather attached to her new commanding officer - Ensign Tolon Reeves was charming, funny and clearly cared deeply about his squad.


“Never assume that we are not walking into a trap,” Tolon replied. “This is a highly guarded facility. There are layers of security and no doubt dozens of traps. That said, these people are not expecting us. Everyone is expecting us to try to rescue Dauphin Sin th'Ravonette. I don’t think anyone expects us to try to rescue Dauphin Sin Shav.”


“It's not Dauphin Sin Shav who needs rescuing,” said Investigator Buttans Ngumbo. "His children are the hostages."


Tolon smiled. “I just really want to know how Investigator Shran obtained all this detailed information so quickly.”


“No, you really don’t.” Buttans had a serious expression.


Tolon looked at Buttans quizzically.


“Trust me. You’ll sleep better.”


“Okay sir,” said Midshipman Tammy Brazil. “Everyone is in position.”



Ensign Tolon activated the viewer in the rear staging area of the wagon. Investigator Buttans and Tolon’s tactical squad watched as he checked the target area thoroughly for any signs of movement or readiness for the impending attack. Considering the maneuvers currently going on just above this moon’s atmosphere, the resources and attentions of the various royal families were currently engaged.


Tolon reflected only for a moment that this mission was a lot of responsibility for a Star Fleet ensign and wondered briefly why Tauk had not assigned this mission to Lt. T’Lon. She had experience running missions like this - but she had been an ensign when those had been assigned to her.


Ensign Tolon took a deep breath. “It looks clean. Let’s go!”



Flight Specialists Joey Chin and Winnifreid Salazaar, on receiving the “go” from Ensign Tolon, slowly and carefully brought their interceptors out of the planetary debris gathered in the eastern LaGrange point of the planet Rings. The Andorian Imperial Guard maintained significant intelligence assets in the LaGrange points throughout their home moon system. Investigator Shran had provided information about whom to bribe to look the other way so that the two Star Fleet long range interceptors could take up those camouflaged positions.



With their interceptors now free of the debris field, Chin and Salazaar engaged their ships’ warp jump capability using the coordinates that Chief Guth was providing from the wagon.


Of course the andorians had taken precautions to make sure interceptors couldn’t simply do what Chin and Salazaar were about to do. A low level shield was in place - not enough to prevent most vessels from moving through, but it would cause anything moving fast and certainly at warp to crash. Deflector shields work on frequencies and the lower the intensity, the fewer the frequencies - which made it easier for Chief Guth to analyze the frequencies and, at the precise moment needed, counter them with a focused projection of the wagon’s shields - effectively nullifying them.


The Hunter’s two interceptors appeared just over the castle and, using targeting information provided by Guth, destroyed in rapid succession, the castle’s phase cannon, shield emitter and power systems. 


An attack of this nature was sure to draw reprisals, and neither the wagon nor the interceptors could remain in the area. The andorian royal house that owned this castle also owned interceptors, which were almost certainly already on their way. Guth quickly brought the wagon into the air and at an altitude of 800 meters, along with the interceptors, jumped to warp and left the area.



A few hundred meters from the castle, six small patches of snowy ice moved slowly across the snowy ice.


12.10

Episode 12.11 - Battle Over Rings by Robert Bruce Scott
Author's Notes:

Star Fleet and Andorian interceptors clash in orbit of the Andorian home-moon...

Star Trek Hunter
Episode 12: Prisoner in the Ice Castle

Scene 11: Battle over Rings


12.11

Battle over Rings


Lt. Kenny Dolphin poked his head into the nearly empty ground operations center. “Tauk, we have a fight brewing out there. Can you spare T’Lon?”


Rather than speaking (the director of ground operations was increasingly relying on non-verbal communication) Lt. Tauk caught 2nd Lt. T’Lon’s eye, pointed his thumb at Dolphin and returned his attention to his workstation. 



As T’Lon joined Dolphin in the corridor between ground ops and the bridge, Dolphin was using the communication system. “Ethan Phillips.”


“Sir?” came the ensign’s voice over the comm.


“How long have you and Doctor Moon been on the tactical unit?”


“Um… fourteen hours?”


“Get out of there and get at least four hours sack time, Ethan,” Dolphin said. “That’s an order. Doctor Moon, please don’t make me give you the same order…”


The hatch leading to the tactical unit could be accessed from both inside the bridge or the hallway directly behind the bridge. Phillips and Moon exited through the hallway. 


“Good night Ethan, Salek,” Dolphin said.


Both replied rather quietly and shyly - “Good night, sir.”



Dolphin took the pilot seat on the tactical unit. T’Lon was in the tactical/navigator station a few inches to Dolphin’s right. The tactical unit’s command chair behind them was vacant. 


“So I take it you now have sex with any woman who asks?” T’Lon was setting up the tactical screens to her preferences.


“You didn’t even ask,” Dolphin replied. He took a breath. “When I was at Harvard, I was the most famous man in the galaxy. Unbelievably beautiful women more or less threw themselves at me. I was trying to put my marriage back together and had two baby daughters I didn’t want to lose. Linda and I had gotten married when I was 18…”


“So now you’re making up for lost time?”


“Well, Commander Red is stunning. And she has this thing about bagging the most notorious pilot she can find just before battle so she can carry his or her mojo into battle with her. She says it gets her in the mood for a fight.” Dolphin looked over at T’Lon. “Looks like you’re in the mood for a fight too.”


T’Lon returned his gaze. “I don’t have such emotions.”


For a long moment they just looked at each other.


Piercing blue eyes.


Smoky brown eyes.


Then:



“Bullshit!”



T’Lon smirked and snorted in spite of herself, then smiled.


“Now you’re ready for a fight,” Dolphin said. He looked down to his left and raised his right hand.


T’Lon briefly clasped his hand.


At that moment, Lt. Commander Mlady’s voice came over the comm system: “Launch tactical!”



Commander Red’s instincts and training for squadron-based combat were accurate and thorough and at first her battle plan worked flawlessly… The U.S.S. Vox, the U.S.S. Intrepid and the U.S.S. Valiant all stayed out of the fight. These were larger, more heavily armed space vessels and were sidelined to prevent any of the 18 Andorian Imperial Guard vessels currently stationed in the system from getting involved in the fight.


The U.S.S. Hunter, the U.S.S. Prowler and their respective tactical units formed a large box to contain nearly 40 House Shav interceptors and prevent them from flanking Commander Red’s smaller, less heavily armed Star Fleet long range interceptors - and Commander Red’s squadron only numbered 28. The two interceptors from the U.S.S. Prowler brought that number up to 30.


Commander Red’s strategy was to trap the larger, heavier House Shav force within the moon’s gravity well. As long as they were trapped, out flanked and outgunned, the House Shav pilots seemed unwilling to open fire. The battle was all about positioning and keeping the andorian interceptors corralled.


On one of the corners of this box, Kenny Dolphin thought things were going too smoothly.



“It’s a trap… It’s a trap… Don’t fall for it…” Dolphin kept saying quietly. Then he saw it.


One of the Andorian Imperial Guard heavy cruisers had gradually been drifting closer. Its forward phaser opened up into the scrum, obliterating one Star Fleet interceptor and grazing the aft of another, causing its power to fail - it was Commander Red’s interceptor. 


“Tractor beam?” Dolphin knew the tactical unit was nowhere near close enough to rescue Red’s interceptor. Her tiny spacecraft spun quickly out of control and crashed into Andoria’s atmosphere, exploding into thousands of pieces in the moon’s sky.



A whining whirring noise grew in intensity and then faded in the tactical unit’s cramped bridge as T’Lon beamed Commander Red into the vacant command chair directly behind her and Lt. Dolphin. T’Lon turned to look at Red.


“She does look more than a little like me,” T’Lon said. “Smaller, a little older and darker…”


Without turning to look, Dolphin touched the top of his right ear, brushed it with his finger. “And there’s that.. vulcan ear thing…”


Commander Red was still charged on adrenaline from her close call with death. “Oh… You must be the vulcan that…”


“2nd Lieutenant T’Lon, this is Commander Red,” Dolphin interrupted. “Welcome to the U.S.S. Hunter’s tactical unit, Commander. What would you like to do now?”


“This is your boat, Lieutenant,” Red responded. “I’m just along for the ride.”


Dolphin turned his attention to the pilot console. “T’Lon, open a channel to - what is that ship?”


“Ravonnelle. Channel open.”


“Imperial Guard Vessel Ravonnelle, this is Lieutenant Kenneth Dolphin. I am headed straight for your warp core. Get your cruiser out of my sky or I’m going to burn it out of my sky. End transmission.” Dolphin set his course directly for the Andorian Guard vessel’s mid-section.


T’Lon turned to look at Dolphin as if he were insane. “What are you doing?”


“Making a point.”


T’Lon turned to look at the cruiser swiftly growing larger in the tactical unit’s viewscreen. “It’s bigger than we are,” she said quietly.


“I noticed,” Dolphin responded equally quietly. He gritted his teeth as the cruiser filled the viewscreen, his voice starting to quake nervously…. “Come on….”


Suddenly the cruiser was gone and the Hunter’s tactical unit flew through space where only a second ago the cruiser’s warp core had been - the Andorian war ship had gone to warp and fled the system.


A wedge of six Star Fleet interceptors had formed up behind the tactical unit and followed it through the wake of the Andorian ship.



Commander Red slapped the top of Dolphin’s head - hard. “Hot Damn!! You’re crazier than I am!!!”



“Ow!!!” Dolphin responded. 



T’Lon switched the viewscreen to an aft view. More of Red’s squadron were forming up in a wedge behind the tactical unit as Dolphin brought it around toward the fleeing House Shav interceptors. T'Lon turned to look at Red. “I don’t think they know you’re alive, sir.”


“Don’t tell them,” Commander Red said. “They’re pissed. They want payback. Make use of that.”


“Open a channel,” said Dolphin. Then: “Commander Red’s squadron, this is Lieutenant Dolphin in the U.S.S. Hunter’s tactical unit. Form up behind me. House Shav has gotten out of the box. We’re going to drive them out of the frying pan and into the fire - they’re escaping Andoria’s gravity well. We’re going to trap them in the gravity well of the planet Rings. Prepare to break and corral them on my mark but do not get between them and Rings.”


The wedge behind the Hunter’s tactical unit widened as they chased the House Shav interceptors away from their homemoon of Andoria toward the gas giant their moon orbited. 


“Squadron Break! Hunter, Prowler - a little help keeping these birds in their cage? U.S.S. Vox, please approach to take on prisoners,” Dolphin said.


Dolphin broke upward to form one corner of the square grid with the U.S.S. Hunter, the U.S.S. Prowler and the Prowler’s tactical unit forming the other corners. The Star Fleet interceptors formed a broad grid in between, trapping the House Shav interceptors. With the planet to their back, the House Shav interceptors could not accelerate quickly enough to avoid getting burned by concentrated phaser fire. 


Given the intensity of the gas giant’s gravity well, time was moving slightly slower for the House Shav interceptors than for the Star Fleet vessels tracking them from a higher orbit. This gave Star Fleet a crucial advantage at keeping their adversary boxed in – they would be able to detect the andorian warp drive systems coming on-line in time to prevent the andorians from going to warp. Once again trapped, the andorian pilots remained unwilling to open fire. Star Fleet had won this battle without firing a shot.


“Put me through to all ships,” Dolphin said.


T’Lon hit the switch, then turned to look at him.



“House Shav squadron, this is Lieutenant Kenneth Dolphin. Stabilize your orbits, power down your interceptors and prepare to be beamed aboard the U.S.S. Vox. If any of you try to destroy your vessel, I will have your squadron leader’s antennae for trophies. Your interceptors just became my interceptors. Dolphin out.”



Dolphin turned to look at Commander Red. “Do you know how to fly an andorian interceptor?”


“Do I know how to fly an andor… What do you think I am? 12?”


Dolphin laughed. “How about the one with the purple shield painted on the nose? I think that’s the squadron commander’s bird.”


“Kenny,” said T’Lon, “That isn’t a shield…”


“Ohhh,” said Red, “Squadron commander’s female… I’ll take it…”


“If it’s not a shield, what is it?” Dolphin asked. 


T’Lon and Red both looked at him deadpan. 


“Look more closely, Kenny,” T’Lon said. She enlarged the view as the Vox completed beaming the andorian pilots out of their interceptors.


Dolphin looked at the image painted on the nose of the craft for several seconds, then suddenly turned bright red.


Commander Red smiled at T’Lon and said, “He’s cute when he gets like that, isn’t he?”


T’Lon responded by tilting her head and raising her eyebrows.


“Care to beam me over to that thing?” Red asked. “Time to let my squadron know I’m still alive…”


12.11

Episode 12.12 - Daughters of Sin by Robert Bruce Scott
Author's Notes:

The U.S.S. Hunter's Tactical Squad makes a daring rescue...

Star Trek Hunter
Episode 12: Prisoner in the Ice Castle

Scene 12: The Daughters of Sin


12.12

The Daughters of Sin


The girls’ caretakers had ushered them into the large room in the lowest level of the castle. They had only been here once before - when they had first been brought to this place three years previously. Isethia had grown into a precocious pre-teen and had quickly become aware that she and her sister were prisoners, not just overprotected guests, even though this place belonged to their relatives. Ipitil was now a very protected seven-year-old. Both girls were unusually pale - their skin almost as white as their hair. Each girl had a dedicated young female companion who served as teacher, nursemaid, bodyguard and custodian. Jhessith was overly dedicated to Ipitil, but was allowed to continue in her role under the oversight of Shressa – who understood more precisely what was expected of her and her cousin.


No one had been expecting an attack on this castle – hidden, out of the way, with no strategic value. The attack had been precise, lightning fast and devastating. All electrical power was out throughout the castle, meaning no life support, no food replication, and most importantly, no protection – shield or phaser cannon. That did not mean the castle was entirely defenseless. The ice had strong magnetized strips, making beaming in or out impossible except for the castle’s transporter room. And with the power knocked out, that room was equally useless. The attack had also been thorough – backup battery systems and generators had also been destroyed. Whoever had attacked, they obviously had superb intelligence.


Shressa had no idea how many people had been killed or injured, but she had no doubt there had been some people in those areas during the attack. She kept a close eye on Isethia. Shressa had always maintained an emotional distance between herself and her charge because she knew a day like this might come. 


The walls in this part of the compound were too thick for the sound of fighting to make it in and radio signals were being jammed, so Shressa was entirely reliant on the guards outside the door for news. Nearly five hours after the initial attack, the door guard gave the all clear signal – a series of knocks. In addition to the girls there were three house guards in this room. One of the guards unlocked and opened the door – then dropped her phase pistol and crumpled to the floor. Two dark-skinned bajorans ducked and rolled into the room and came up firing, rendering the other two guards unconscious. 


Shressa knew she was not going to survive this encounter, but she had one thing left to do and it would not go undone. She swept out her knife and raced toward Isethia. From the corner of her eye, she saw her cousin, Jhessith draw her knife as well. Perhaps she did understand her responsibility after all. Before she could reach Isethia, Shressa felt a dull pain in the back of her neck and an incredibly loud crunch. Her arms and legs would no longer do what she was telling them. 


Shressa crumpled to the floor. She had failed to kill her charge as was her responsibility, but she had given her last effort to that duty. 



Jhessith, after throwing her knife at her cousin, fell to her knees, hands raised. A fire fight was going on out in the hallway. Four more intruders ducked into the room and closed and locked the door behind them. One was clearly cardassian, the other three were much harder to place. She guessed they were part cardassian, but the wrong color – more tan than gray. Ipitil ran into Jhessith’s arms and hugged her, crying in terror.


The three strange-looking cardassians unslung large, cylindrical objects from their backs, each with a built-in tripod. The tall, very dark bajoran gently ushered Isethia toward Jhessith. Isethia was also terrified, but seemed to understand that this was a rescue. The three cylinders were set up in a triangle around Isethia, Jhessith and Ipitil. The six intruders joined them inside this triangle and at the touch of a switch, a glowing band of light connected the top of each of the cylinders to the other two, creating a glowing triangular ribbon of light. 


In the next moment the room dissolved and Jhessith found herself being ushered off a crowded transporter pad in a crowded room, Isethia and Ipitil clinging to her. The two dark-skinned bajorans accompanied them into a lift, then from it, through a hallway and into an office where a bolian and another bajoran, both clad in black uniforms, awaited.


12.12

End Notes:

Character:                        Isethia Shav (Isethia)
Human Ethnicity:             N/A
Additional Species:         Andorian
Hometown/Homeworld:  Tarsk, Andoria
Introduced: Episode        12.12
Age when introduced:     12
Role:                                Daughter of Sin Shav

Character:                        Ipitil Shav (Ipitil)
Human Ethnicity:             N/A
Additional Species:         Andorian
Hometown/Homeworld:  Tarsk, Andoria
Introduced: Episode        12.12
Age when introduced:     7
Role:                                Daughter of Sin Shav

Character:                        Shressa Shav (Shressa)
Human Ethnicity:             N/A
Additional Species:         Andorian
Hometown/Homeworld:  Bespatel, Andoria
Introduced: Episode        12.12
Age when introduced:     15
Role:                                Guardian of Isethia Shav

Character:                        Jhessith Shav (Jhessith)
Human Ethnicity:             N/A
Additional Species:         Andorian
Hometown/Homeworld:  Bespatel, Andoria
Introduced: Episode        12.12
Age when introduced:     13
Role:                                Guardian of Ipitil Shav

Episode 12.13 - Sin Interred by Robert Bruce Scott
Author's Notes:

The heir apparent to the throne is located...

Star Trek Hunter
Episode 12: Prisoner in the Ice Castle

Scene 13: Sin Interred


12.13

Sin Interred


2nd Lt. T’Lon and Midshipman Sif beamed down to the coordinates Lynhart Shran had given them. A unit of eight Andorian Imperial Guard troops were waiting along with the old investigator in a warehouse in Reitel, a northern suburb of the Andorian capital. Three other andorians in civilian clothing were also present – their expressions ranging from annoyance to disgust. The room smelled like rotting flesh.


T’Lon closed her eyes for a moment to adjust to the stench. Next to her, Dr. Sif tried hard not to retch. 


“It’s not all that bad, young one,” Shran said to Sif. “Just think back to your medical training. The victorious dead are warehoused here. Do not shame them.” Shran looked pointedly at the civilians, each of whom was extremely well dressed.


“Just so that I do not overstep my boundaries, Investigator, am I to understand you are still on leave?” asked T’Lon.


“At the moment, it’s Eliminator, First Class, Lieutenant. And I appreciate the question. For now, we should address each other as members of allied military forces. I am on temporary reactivated status with the Andorian Imperial Guard. And if my detective skills have not failed me, this warehouse contains what you have been looking for. But neither I, nor these guardsmen are authorized to look for it. I just ran across it by random chance while assessing my assigned targets. I suggest you set your tricorders to detect airborne decaying DNA fragments. You might want to begin your search with this stack behind me.”


Midshipman Sif made some adjustments on her tricorder, then pointed her tricorder toward T’Lon’s tricorder – synchronizing them. The vulcan and the trill set to analyzing a stack of boxes made from a substance that resembled wood. Almost immediately, Dr. Sif put her hand on one of the boxes and said, “This one.”


Shran turned to the guard unit and said, “Coreguide, would you and your unit assist our Star Fleet friends and retrieve this box?”


One of the three civilians blurted, “What have you asked us here for?”


Shran turned his attention to the angry andorian. “I asked your house to send a witness. And I did not select you. Your house selected you. Now do the job your house sent you here to do.”


“I am not afraid of you, you half-breed assassin,” the andorian retorted.


Another of the three civilians turned toward him and said, “You should be...”



During this discussion, the Guard unit had moved several boxes and pulled out the one Dr. Sif had pointed to. They pried the box open to reveal a dead andorian inside with no obvious wounds.


Dr. Sif ran her tricorder over the body. “Poison,” she said. She pressed the sensor of the tricorder against the dead andorian’s neck, then nodded at Shran.


“Witnesses please step forward and witness,” Shran said.


One of the witnesses gasped. Another said, “That’s him.” The angry andorian only got angrier.



“Lieutenant T’Lon,” said Shran, gesturing toward the dead andorian, “May I present the heir of House th’Ravonet and the presumptive emperor, Sin th’Ravonet…”


T’Lon turned toward the angry andorian, who was the House th’Ravonet representative. “I am authorized to require this body for forensic examination. You, as the th’Ravonet representative, will accompany the body to our ship and remain with it throughout examination to verify chain of custody.” 


“You can make no such requirement of me.”


“I do not need to. Your house makes that requirement of you. The witnesses from House Shav and House zh’Ithirith are welcome and invited to attend.” T’Lon turned to the imperial guardsman Shran had earlier addressed. “Coreguide, can you come or detail some of your guardsmen to come as well? The Federation would prefer to have a few impartial witnesses."


The coreguide responded by counting off two of his soldiers. “Shyl, Osab with me. The rest of you with Eliminator Shran.”


12.13

End Notes:

Character:                        Dauphin Sin th’Ravonette (Sin)
Human Ethnicity:             N/A
Additional Species:         Andorian
Hometown/Homeworld:  Lor’Tan, Andoria
Introduced: Episode        12.13
Age when introduced:      Dead
Role:                                Dauphin of House th’Ravonette, Heir apparent to the Imperial Dias

Episode 12.14 - See No Sin by Robert Bruce Scott
Author's Notes:

A new heir apparent is found...

Star Trek Hunter
Episode 12: Prisoner in the Ice Castle

Scene 14: See No Sin


12.14

See No Sin


After a thorough medical screening, which the two young girls endured largely with Jhessith’s support and encouragement, they were ushered from the small surgery back into the medical office. A tall, snow white andorian was waiting for them. 



“SIBOB!!”



Isethia ran to the andorian and he caught her in his arms, lifting her easily. It was clear from his movements, particularly his head movement and his eyes that he was profoundly blind. His pupils and irises were only partly formed - his eyes remained motionless in their sockets. It was equally clear that this did not hinder him at all in recognizing the girls or understanding the space around him. “Isethia…” 


The younger girl was clinging to Jhessith, an expression of mingled fear and wonder on her face. “Sibob?”


The andorian set the older girl down and settled to his haunches. “Ipitil…” The younger girl’s expression changed to one of unvarnished joy. She detached herself from her caretaker and ran into the blind andorian’s arms, buried her face in his chest.



After a moment, he stood again and turned toward Ensign Tolon. “I have you to thank for my daughters.”


Lt. Tauk entered the room. 


“I was there and it was my team, along with Investigator Buttans, who brought them out.” Tolon clasped Buttans’ shoulder. “But the rescue was authorized by Lieutenant Commander Mlady."


“Your daughters are in good health,” said Dr. Jazz. “They have not spent enough time out of doors and their blood shows a slight lack of some important enzymes. But with a normal, heathy schedule of outdoor activities, that should easily be corrected.”


Lt. Cmdr. Mlady entered the room. The blind andorian turned to greet her. 


“I am told I have you to thank for rescuing my daughters. Many andorian children need rescue. But you chose to rescue mine.”


Mlady gave the blind man a long, evaluating look before she responded. “We have started the process. But it is up to Andoria to look after his own children. In my opinion, and that of others whom I respect, that means rescuing those other children is your responsibility.”


“And you have cleared the path for me.” He turned toward Jhessith. “You are a member of my family. You always have been. And I can tell you paid an awful price to protect my daughters. What is your name, child?”


“I am Jhessith.”


“Jhessith, there is no safer place than this place for now. I have a job even more terrible than yours. I must pit my family against my family. Far too many of them have forgotten what it means to be andorian and that lesson will inevitably be taught in blood. Will you look after my daughters here until I return for them?”


Jhessith was visibly relieved and overcome with emotion – almost unable to speak. “Always..” she managed.


“Then you will be as a daughter to me.” He turned his blind eyes toward Mlady. “Lieutenant Commander, I must visit my family members who are imprisoned aboard the U.S.S. Vox. I must see who among them remembers the meaning of loyalty and honor. Will you please introduce me to her captain?”


12.14

End Notes:

Character:                        Dauphin Sin Shav (Sin)
Human Ethnicity:             N/A
Additional Species:         Andorian
Hometown/Homeworld:  Tarsk, Andoria
Introduced: Episode        12.15
Age when introduced:      36
Role:                                 Dauphin of House Shav, Candidate for the Imperial Dias

Episode 12.15 - The Study of Sin by Robert Bruce Scott
Author's Notes:

The U.S.S. Hunter's forensic medical specialists conduct an autopsy...

Star Trek Hunter
Episode 12: Prisoner in the Ice Castle

Scene 15: The Study of Sin


12.15

The Study of Sin


Dr. Sif and Dr. Napoleon Boles set about conducting an autopsy in the large surgery with an audience - the representatives from the three royal houses and the three imperial guardsmen attended, watching closely on the forensic monitors. Before they were finished, the blind andorian joined them, along with Lt. Tauk, 2nd Lt. T’Lon and Lt. Cmdr. Mlady. 



“Please forgive us for walking you through the evidence step by step,” said Dr. Sif in her light, girlish voice. “We want to make the case thoroughly. First, there is no doubt that the Dauphin, Sin th’Ravonet, was poisoned. However we also have evidence that he was held prisoner in the infamous Ice Hole, owned by House Shav.”


“Your lies will not be…” started the House Shav representative, starting to draw his knife only to find the blind andorian’s hand grasping his wrist. 


“We are guests in this place,” he said. There was a forcefulness in his precise enunciation - an echoing sound to his voice even when speaking quietly. “A royal representative interrupting a Star Fleet scientist and accusing her of lies is an unacceptable breach of protocol. I must be able to assure all of the houses that their representatives behave appropriately. Do you not agree?”


The House Shav representative looked at the blind andorian with a mixture of awe and terror. His antennae seemed to droop in deference. “Yes, Dauphin. Please forgive me.”


Lt. Tauk slowly removed his hand from the hand phaser at his belt.


“Please continue, Dr. Sif,” the blind andorian said. “There will be no further interruptions.”



Sif seemed considerably shaken. “At this time, I would like to turn the presentation over to Dr. Boles.”


Napoleon Boles put his hand on Sif’s shoulder, squeezed gently, then turned to the andorians. His skin was much darker blue than theirs. 


“We sent a team to the Ice Hole. It had been recently shut down and has now been destroyed. But one of our team members had the presence of mind to collect samples of the aglimoss growing in the hole. As you know, andorians digest aglimoss slowly and it leaves a residue in the upper liver that gradually becomes toxic unless they are also consuming oroins, which counteract the aglimoss toxins. Aglimoss produces unique toxins depending on where it is grown and the toxins from the samples we collected in the Ice Hole are identical to those found in the Dauphin’s upper liver."


“However, we also found partially digested oroins in his stomach," the half-bolian epidemiologist continued. "These were not the varieties commonly found growing in the polar regions, but were imported from offworld - the colony of Avradega, which is largely under the control of House th’Ravonet. This seems to indicate that the Dauphin had somehow recently been recovered by House th’Ravonet.”


“Finally, the poison that killed the Dauphin was pardo - a poison commonly used by House zh’Ithirith. However, the dosage and the ingredients are not consistent with plants commonly available to House zh’Ithirith. This pardo was made with race seed instead of srakin seed. Race seed is grown only on Corvin Island, which is th’Ravonet territory. And race seed is not as effective an ingredient, requiring a much larger dosage - which would be consistent with the amount of pardo we found in the Dauphin’s blood stream.”



The blind andorian turned his antennae toward Dr. Boles. “What are your conclusions?”


“You just heard them,” Boles responded flatly. “However, we can surmise, based on this evidence, that the Dauphin was clearly the prisoner of House Shav until no more than 15 days ago, at which time it appears he returned to his territory, only to be poisoned no less than 11 days ago by a poison made from materials local to th’Ravonet territory.”


12.15

Episode 12.16 - Succession Without Representation by Robert Bruce Scott
Author's Notes:

Justice Minerva Irons ejects the House Shav representatives from the mediation...

Star Trek Hunter
Episode 12: Prisoner in the Ice Castle

Scene 16: Succession Without Representation


12.16

Succession Without Representation


Justice Minerva Irons stepped into the courtroom in Laikan. Commander David Pepper followed her, carrying an office chair. All the andorians in the courtroom were immediately outraged and a bedlam of complaints arose in which no particular voice could clearly be understood. “You cannot bring…” “…tradition and condition of…” “…mockery of this mediation…” “…do you think gives you the right…” “…insult to the empire…”


Irons stopped in the middle of the room. Pep planted the chair in a corner. This action alone caused the babble of complaints to die down, replaced with curiosity. Irons cleared her throat. That sound alone could be interpreted as a break in her silence, which would require mediation to begin within two hours. The courtroom became silent - everyone holding their breath as it became apparent that after 17 days of silence, Justice Irons was about to speak. Even the forest of antennae stood still. In more than two weeks of silence, this room had never been so silent.



Irons lifted her voice - deep, loud, cracking with disuse and age but still rich and powerful - almost deafening. She pointed at one group of Andorian representatives: “You no longer represent House Shav.” She turned to the three judges, pointed at one of them. “And neither do you. You must leave this place. Until House Shav is properly represented, this mediation is suspended.” 


Irons walked over to the chair in the corner and sat down.



“You cannot eject a family judge!” exclaimed the challenged judge.


Without moving from the chair, Irons said, “David, please eject the pretenders from this room.”


“I challenge this court’s ruling!” said one of the House Shav representatives. 


Irons laid her head back, then looked at the andorian. “You have no standing to issue a challenge. David, remove them.”


Members of the House Shav delegation stepped out from the area of the room they had been waiting in and swept out their Ushaan-Tor ice cutting blades. These blades, like those carried by many wealthy andorians, were customized for combat instead of ice-cutting. The House Shav judge also stepped out and drew his blade. He took a position behind the others.


“With prejudice,” Irons added.


The remainder of the andorians cleared the floor, moving to the edges of the room. Dr. Tali Shae took up a position next to her captain. 



Pep crouched as five armed andorians grouped to charge him. He also had an Ushaan-Tor at his belt, but did not bother with it as the blade would have been ridiculously small in his hand. As the group of andorians charged toward him, Pep ran toward them and broke to their left, causing the two farthest from him to turn sharply to their left, interfering with each other and the andorians next to them. The giant grasped the left arm of the leftmost andorian, carrying her away from the group, stopped abruptly and hurled her into the House Shav judge, who remained waiting with his Ushaan-Tor drawn but had not joined the group of representatives in their attack.


Pep started running again, running away from the four remaining andorians, who had regained their balance. He turned sharply to his right, running straight toward the two wounded on the floor. The judge and the woman whose left arm Pep had broken scrambled in terror to get out of the way. Pep leapt easily over them - the four andorians chasing him stumbled over them. 


The two on the right side of the line looked up in terror - each seeing a giant hand suddenly gripping their heads, crushing their antennae. Pep lifted these men by their heads and hurled them into the other two standing andorians, knocking one of them down. The other scrambled out of the way, only to find the giant had closed the distance between them with a leap. With a left jab, Pep sent this man flying. The remaining andorian had only managed to stand up and was still off balance when Pep’s right fist connected with the side of his head, sending him crashing, unconscious, to the floor. 


The entire horrifyingly violent spectacle had taken less than two minutes and left all six andorians alive, but completely incapacitated. Pep was bleeding from a couple of shallow cuts he had received during the fight.



Minerva Irons stood up. “A new delegation and a new judge from House Shav will arrive tomorrow. We will reconvene then.”



Imperial Guard medical personnel were summoned into the room to retrieve the former House Shav representatives.


12.16

Episode 12.17 - Messaes of Sin by Robert Bruce Scott
Author's Notes:

The new Emperor of Andoria addresses his people....

Star Trek Hunter
Episode 12: Prisoner in the Ice Castle

Scene 17: Messages of Sin



12.17

Messages of Sin


The blind andorian appeared on viewscreens throughout the Andorian Imperial Guard fleet and all watch stations. The fact that the military had agreed to broadcast him and make his broadcast required watching meant that all of the royal houses were watching as well. As were all of the Star Fleet crews in orbit.



“I am Sin Shav, true heir to House Shav.


“To Ishav Shav, I say this: Your line and your claim to House Shav is illegitimate. In 871, Ishta Shav murdered her father and her older brother to claim House Shav for herself and her descendants. But her brother had a child - Siev. I am the descendant of and heir to Siev Shav and I now claim what is rightfully mine.


“Furthermore, by making allegiance with those who deny the Empire’s rightful place of leadership within the Federation - those who use the title Andoria First, but care only for themselves first - you have continued the dishonor that Ishta Shav brought to my house. My house, that has not led the empire in nearly 400 years. And you and your illegitimate line and their allegiance to Andoria First are the reason why. 


“House Shav will no longer follow you. Freely and openly renounce your claim and I will protect you and your family as members of my house in good standing. Refuse and you will be hunted to the ends of the galaxy. There will be no place you can hide from me.



“To Baronnetta th’Ravonet, I say this: Your father, Sin th’Ravonet, has been found. He was murdered and his body interred in a facility for th’Ravonet honored dead. Because your father died under suspicious circumstances, I encourage you to withdraw your House’s claim to lead the empire and your own claim to lead your house until his murder is solved. 


“To Zorah zh’Ithirith, I request your support as heir to House zh’Ithirith, to my claim to House Shav and to lead the empire. The majority of House Shav forces support my claim. The Andorian Imperial Guard supports my claim. The time for House Shav to lead the empire and to give our strength to the Federation has come again. Your mother brought great honor to your House as a wise Empress. While your claim is legitimate, my claim is strengthened by a broader base of alliances and seasoned by wisdom that Andoria needs in these times. 


“You can see that I am Aenar. I am blind, yet I see. I see into your hearts. It is time for an Emperor who cannot be lied to. And it is time for an Imperial Chancellor from House zh’Ithirith. And an Imperial Minister from House th’Ravonet. I offer a unified imperial government for the first time in more than 600 years.


“To those who cleve to Andoria First and similar separatist movements, I say this: You are outlaw and you will be hunted to the ends of the galaxy and treated with no remorse. Surrender now to the Imperial Guard, renounce your allegiance to outlaw organizations and swear your loyalty to me and to Andoria and your record will be reviewed. If you are guilty of no worse than affiliation with a separatist movement, I offer you this one chance to put your rebellion behind you, clear your name and take your place as a loyal citizen of the empire. Do not mistake my largesse for lenience. I will not tolerate disloyalty to the Andorian Empire or to the United Federation of Planets.


“And for our allies, the other members of the Federation who have proved their loyalty to the empire time and again, from Captain Johnathan Archer to Ambassador Sarek to Justice Minerva Irons, I say this: The Andorian Empire stands sovereign within the United Federation of Planets. And the Empire stands united with the Federation as an ally and as a founding member. As Emperor, I pledge to strengthen those bonds.


“Finally, to my loyal andorians I say this: The proponents of Andoria First say they want to take Andoria back to a golden age. A golden age that never existed. These are the best days of the Andorian Empire and, if you give me your support, far better days are ahead, for all loyal Andorians. What say you, Andoria?”



The camera panned suddenly wide to reveal that the Dauphin Sin Shav was speaking in the great public square in Laikan. More than a hundred thousand mingled civilians and Imperial Guard soldiers were crowded into the square. Their antennae were moving in unison. A shout went up - “Emperor Sin! Emperor Sin! Emperor Sin!” accompanied by the percussion of a hundred thousand andorians striking their chests with both fists twice in unison after each cry.


12.17

Episode 12.18 - After Action Review by Robert Bruce Scott
Author's Notes:

Justice Minerva Irons and the Hunter's senior officers review the mission.

Star Trek Hunter
Episode 12: Prisoner in the Ice Castle

Scene 18: After Action Review


12.18

After Action Review


“We’re going to keep this short.” Justice Minerva Irons looked exhausted. She leaned back in her chair at the head of the table in the executive conference room. “Tali.”


Dr. Tali Shae was seated next to Irons. “Dr. Sif did a thorough job with her autopsy of the Dauphin, Sin th’Ravonet. However, she tells me that it was Dr. Boles who researched thousands of andorian autopsies, particularly in missing persons cases and it was his research that identified not only how to track an andorian’s location by their consumption of aglimoss and oroins, but it was also what made him suspicious when they identified the amount of pardo in the Dauphin’s bloodstream. I know Dr. Boles occasionally rubs people the wrong way, but his contributions were vital to this effort. And Dr. Sif has become one of his small circle of fans.”


“Thank you, Tali,” said Irons. “Lt. Tauk.”


Tauk took a deep breath, coughed and took another breath. “Ensign Tolon and his team, along with Investigator Buttans got all the excitement and performed exceptionally well. Tolon has completely won the loyalty of his team. He leads well from behind and from in front and knows when each is appropriate. He was the one who had the presence of mind to collect samples of the aglimoss during the first rescue attempt in the Ice Hole. But we would have been nowhere without the intelligence provided by Investigator Shran and Lieutenant T’Lon’s processing of this information. She designed the attack plan to rescue the Dauphin Sin Shav’s daughters.”


"Has Shran returned from leave?” Irons asked.


“He has,” Tauk replied. “He isn’t telling us what he did during the time he was reactivated by the Imperial Guard and I am not asking.”


“Continue that policy,” Irons said. “Kenneth.”


“Chief Guth, and flight specialists Chin and Salazaar conducted a flawless first strike in Bespatel," said Lt. Dolphin. "Chin and Salazaar had to wait for more than 20 hours in their interceptors in Rings’ eastern LaGrange point. Hiding in a LaGrange point requires constant adjustment to keep from drifting into the debris. Guth did a superb job gathering information at Bespatel and taking down the house shields. He also did some fine flying down into the Ice Hole. And T’Lon and I had a bit of excitement up here.”


“So I heard,” Irons intoned. “We will talk about that momentarily. Sarekson?”


Dr. Carrera cleared his throat. “Midshipman Brazil worked well in the field, especially in rescuing the ground ops team out of the Ice Hole. She has done some fine tuning to the pattern enhancers that helped overcome some local conditions that would otherwise have made use of the transporters impossible. Dr. Sun worked with Lt. Gamor up here to feed erroneous information to House Shav's surveillance satellites, which kept our ground operations concealed from them. The Hunter, the wagon, the tactical unit and both interceptors are in good condition and ready for next action.”



Irons turned toward her 2nd officer: “Lieutenant Commander, you met directly with the new emperor. Impressions?”


Mlady sat up. “He is strongly telepathic and projects a presence around him that everyone can feel. A lion. The other andorians were terrified of him. And fascinated by him. It appears word that he was making a power play got leaked to the House Shav fighter pilots, which could be one reason they were so unwilling to open fire on us.”


"That was a barn burner of a speech," Irons observed. She tapped Tali's hand. "I fear we may have delivered your people into the iron claw of a charismatic tyrant."


"I really don't know much about him," said Tali, "but considering the alternatives - Zorah zh'Itherith is sickly and unlikely to live more than a year. Baronetta th'Ravonette is under suspicion now for her father's murder, which left Ishav Shav, who is in league with the Andoria First separatists..."


“And now, apparently, on the run with them, to be hunted to the ends of the galaxy by her cousin," Irons concluded. "Well, all things considered, I believe this qualifies as a successful mission. Thank you all. You are dismissed. Kenneth, David, Mlady, please stay.”


12.18

Episode 12.19: Annual Performance Evaluation by Robert Bruce Scott
Author's Notes:

Lt. Dolphin is given his annual performance evaluation - and his rank is adjusted accordingly...

This is the final scene in Episode 12. The story continues with Episode 13 - The 15,000 Cities of Cun Ling

Star Trek Hunter
Episode 12: Prisoner in the Ice Castle

Scene 19: Annual Performance Evaluation



12.19

Annual Performance Evaluation


Justice Minerva Irons laid her head back and closed her eyes until the room had cleared. Without opening her eyes, she placed a small box on the table, pushed it with her fingertips to Commander David Pepper, who, in turn, placed a massive finger on it and slid it across the table to Lt. Commander Mlady.


“Lieutenant Dolphin,” Mlady said, “we have completed your annual review. Because of the severe implications of your behavior over the past year, I am deferring to our Executive Officer.”


“Admirals have gotten involved in this action, Kenny,” said Pep. “And not just any admirals, the Chief of Star Fleet Operations and the Star Fleet Chief of Staff. Given that, I am deferring to Captain Irons.”


Irons opened her eyes, looking even more weary. “Kenneth, given your behavior over the past year, Admiral El Fadil and Fleet Admiral Stewart have both made it clear that an adjustment in rank is not only in order, but required. I am not going to change the structure of this boat - you will continue in your role as director of flight operations. You will still answer to Lieutenant Commander Mlady and Second Lieutenant Gamor will still answer to you. I don’t like placing an officer under the general supervision of an officer of the same rank, but given the circumstances, it cannot be avoided.”


Irons took a deep breath. “To review: Within the first hour you joined this crew, you gave a direct order to a fellow first lieutenant, Lieutenant Allen Mitchell. He filed a grievance against you, and that grievance made it to Chief of Staff El Fadil. In the Battle for Pillo you brought the tactical unit out of warp manually directly between two battle cruisers that were less than 100 meters apart. I had the Daystrom Institute run the numbers and they told me that maneuver is statically impossible and you should never have attempted it.”


“In your assignment to Subspace Radio Ivonovic, you disobeyed my orders to only give an interview, went rogue, behaved like a covert agent and in the process of providing shelter from the tribunal for a wanted suspect, you lied to Fleet Admiral Stewart and used my personal influence in ways that I am still recovering from. And then there are your actions over the past few days.”


Irons straightened her neck with some difficulty, then continued: “During a firefight over Andoria, after playing chicken with an andorian cruiser and nearly squashing yourself and two other officers like a bug on their hull, you personally took command of the battlefield in the presence of four Star Fleet captains and eleven other superior officers. Captain Chekov, who is in command of this mission, was particularly incensed at your use of your own name - especially when you personally commandeered 40 andorian interceptors and threatened to cut off the squadron commander’s antennae? And now there’s a rumor floating around that you horse-whipped a superior officer?”


Dolphin turned bright red.


“I cannot have a first lieutenant under my command doing these kinds of things, Kenneth,” Irons said. 


Lt. Cmdr. Mlady opened the box, removed a rank pip - platinum with a black center. She walked around the table to Lt. Dolphin. He felt her tugging at his collar. She stepped back.


“Some of the Star Fleet captains are starting to call you a ‘Kirk’. That isn’t a compliment when coming from superior officers.” Irons sighed, took a breath. “But Admiral El Fadil and Fleet Admiral Stewart - who still doesn’t like you by the way - agreed with me that having a Lieutenant Dolphin with your reputation is not optimal for my strategic needs… Lieutenant Commander…”



Dolphin’s hand shot to his collar, counted three pips. He could feel the third pip was the new one with a black dot in the center. 



Pep exploded with laughter. “Do you have any idea how hard it is to keep a straight face around here??”


Irons started laughing as well. “You chased a top of the line andorian battle cruiser out of the sky of its own homemoon…” she couldn’t continue for laughing. 


“I just wish I could see Captain Chekov’s face when he learns you promoted him…” Mlady said.


“Tell me how to run my ship,” Irons retorted, a little acerbically. “I was a starship captain 20 years before he was born. I bounced him on my knee… And he was a wet little crybaby…”


Pep, barely managing to speak while laughing: “I can’t believe you horse-whipped Commander Red…”


Dolphin, still bright red, managed, “It was just one pop… It was Mlady’s idea…”


Pep held on to the table to keep from falling out of his chair laughing.


12 - Prisoner in the Ice Castle

Episode 13.1 - Homecoming by Robert Bruce Scott
Author's Notes:

Justice Minerva Irons shares a horrible tasting drink with her best friend, Dr. Tali Shae...

Star Trek Hunter
Episode 13: The 15,000 Cities of Cun Ling

Scene 1: Homecoming


13.1

Homecoming


“It just gives me nightmares. It’s like he’s coming after me.” There was no more romulan ale. But Dr. Tali Shae had managed to score some saurian brandy. Humans tended to go for the smooth brandy that had the texture of thin honey. But Tali Shae knew what the good stuff looked like - grainy with unprocessed cavallaro eggs.


Unlike most intoxicating drinks, saurian brandy had a strong restorative effect, speeding healing, reducing pain, providing mild euphoria and a simultaneous stimulant - like powerful coffee, scotch and morphine mixed into a brew so potent it made your teeth feel like they were on fire - but after a few sips you just wouldn’t care all that much.


Justice Minerva Irons was seated in the lounge chair in her quarters. Tali was on the couch. The brandy was in a bottle on the table between them along with two tumblers. Irons took a drink of the brandy, shuddered. “Ugh. Tastes like pee smells after I’ve eaten asparagus… Sprinkled with tequila and licorice-flavored caviar with a hint of wasabi.”


“Smells and tastes like sibob’s breakfast to me. But my sibob never got up until the middle of the day,” Tali responded.


“I love watching David fight,” Irons said, answering Tali’s initial thought. “The eyes of a scholar, the mind of a dreamer, the heart of a warrior, the soul of a poet - all wrapped up in the body of a titan. Sucks for whoever is stupid enough to challenge him. Whenever he is in my dreams, he’s always a guardian.”


“I guess it’s because they were andorian. When he grabbed those two by their heads… They transmitted… I could feel their agony as their antennae were.. crunched… and that sound… ih..” Tali shuddered. Her shoulders hunched. Her antennae almost curled as well.


Irons grunted sympathetically. Took another pull of saurian brandy. Made a face. Shuddered. “Ugh… This stuff tastes yesterday’s puke! But it feels so good… It’s almost like getting a nice, warm massage from the inside…”


“How long has it been since you had a proper massage?” Tali asked. 


“Last time I saw Enlai. He was so good with his hands.”


“Your second husband? Didn’t that marriage end more than 70 years ago?”


“Yes, but I saw him about - oh - about 35 years ago? Shortly before he died. I’m not sure I’m strong enough to withstand a massage now.”


“It turns out we have a fully telepathic, Betazed-certified massage therapist on board,” Tali said. “He can feel from the inside how much pressure to use…”


“Ah, our beautiful Eli. How many of the women on this boat has he dallied with?” Irons asked.


“Only the ones who want him to. Which would be most of them… Being a telepath is a serious advantage. And he has taken full advantage of it.” Tali smiled. 


“I couldn’t ask him…” Irons started.


“I didn’t have to," Tali interrupted. "The moment I thought about it - not even him - just you needing massage therapy - he reached out to me and extended the offer. He is really sensitive.”


Irons sighed. “Tempting. But I’ll be home tomorrow. Surely there will be a therapist I can go to on Cun Ling.”


“Don’t lie to me, old woman,” Tali said, wagging an antenna at Irons. “You may have been born on Cun Ling, but this is your home. Space. And a boat to drift through it in.”


Minerva Irons smiled, lifted her glass in a silent salute, drained it, grimaced, shuddered again.



“I’m not sure for how much longer, Tali. I’m not an old woman anymore. I used to be.. A couple of years ago…” Irons sighed again. “I’m a very old woman now.”


13.1

Episode 13 - The 15,000 Cities of Cun Ling by Robert Bruce Scott
Author's Notes:

Introduction to Episode 13: The 15,000 Cities of Cun Ling by Kai Kila Xijiana, Spiritual Leader of Bajor

Star Trek Hunter
Episode 13: The 15,000 Cities of Cun Ling



Episode 13 – The 15,000 Cities of Cun Ling


“Bajorans reached to the stars to find their gods. 

      Andorians reached to the stars at the behest of their gods. 

          Klingons reached to the stars to murder their gods.

                Cardassians reached to the stars because they thought they were gods. 

                        Romulans reached to the stars and lost their gods.

                                Vulcans reached to the stars to prove there are no gods. 

                                      Humans reached to the stars and became gods.” 


Kai Kila Xijiana - Introduction to
Legends of the Sisko, 4th edition.





Crew of the U.S.S. Hunter: (Ship's Interactive Holographic Avatar - Hunter) 

Each Crewmember’s Hometown bracketed in {Italics}


At-Large Appellate Justice, Captain Minerva Irons            {Ba Sing Sa, Cun Ling}

Chief Executive Officer - Commander David Pepper        {Laikan, Andoria}

Chief Operations Officer - Lt. Commander Mlady              {Undisclosed}


Medical Director - Commander Tali Shae                        {Laikan, Andoria}

        Asst. Medical Director - Lt. Jazz Sam Sinder          {Ilvia, Bajor}

        Epidemiologist - Lt. Napoleon Boles                      {Cloddy, Bolarus IV}

                Ensign Chrissiana Trei                                    {Horizon, Trillius Prime}

                    Forensic Specialist - Midshipman Sif          {Numinor, Cun Ling}

                        Emergency Medical Hologram - Dr. Raj

                        Tactical Medical Hologram - Dr. Kim


Director of Flight Operations - Lt. Cmdr. Kenneth Dolphin  {Providence, Rhode Island, Earth}

        Asst. Flight Dir. - 2nd Lt. Gaia Gamor                        {Ingende, Congo, Earth}

                        Navigator Johanna Imex                            {Mbuye, Rwanda, Earth}

                        Navigator Eli Strahl                                  {Eden, Cun Ling}

                Ensign Ethan Phillips                                      {Rus, Vulcan}

                        Chief Flight Specialist Dewayne Guth      {Wakanda, Cun Ling}

                        Flight Specialist Dih Terri                        {Trantor, Cun Ling}

                        Flight Specialist Joey Chin                      {Ba Sing Sa, Cun Ling}

                        Flight Specialist Winnifreid Salazaar        {New York City, New York, Earth}


Director of Ground Operations - Lt. Tauk                      {Dos, Ferenginar}

        Asst. Ground Ops Dir. - 2nd Lt. T’Lon                  {Kauai Island, Hawaii, Earth}

                        Investigator Lynhart Shran                    {New York City, New York, Earth}

                        Investigator Buttans Ngumbo              {Hathon, Bajor}

                Ensign Tolon Reeves                                  {Bangalor, India, Earth}

                        Tactical Specialist Jarrong                  {CIO 19 (Cardassian Imperial Outpost 19)}

                        Tactical Specialist Belo Rys                {CIO 19}

                        Tactical Specialist Belo Garr                {CIO 19}

                        Tactical Specialist Belo Cantys            {CIO 19}


Director of Engineering - Lt. Sarekson Carrera              {Pichilemu, Chile, Earth}

        Asst. Engineering Dir. - 2nd Lt. Moon Sun Salek  {New Eden, Mars}

                  Midshipman Tammy Brazil                          {Trantor, Cun Ling}

                        Transporter Engineer K'rok                  {Trantor, Cun Ling}

                Ensign Sun Ho Hui                                      {Hanoi, Vietnam, Earth}

                        Flight Engineer Yolanda Thomas        {Chickasha, Oklahoma, Earth}

                        Flight Engineer Thomas Hobbs          {Trantor, Cun Ling}

                        Flight Engineer Tomos                        {Sanctuary of the Waterbirds, Cophus II}

                        Flight Engineer Kerry Gibbon              {Bangalore, India, Earth}

Episode 13.2 - Numinor by Robert Bruce Scott
Author's Notes:

Kenny Dolphin, T'Lon, Dr. Carrera and Buttans Ngumbo travel with Sif to her hometown of Numinor - one of the 15,000 Cities of Cun Ling...

Star Trek Hunter
Episode 13: The 15,000 Cities of Cun Ling

Scene 2: Numinor


13.2

Numinor


A large star – A Boo – was positioned roughly in the center of a triangle that described the spatial relationship among the three founding homestar systems of the federation – the homestars of Earth, Vulcan and Andoria. Several other species had been present at the initiation of the federation, but it was the humans, vulcans and andorians who were established military powers and formed the military core of the alliance.


In the centuries prior to the federation, the A Boo system had been a flashpoint of wars over resources between the Vulcan High Command and the Andorian Empire. But it was not until humans started flooding into the system that A Boo gained a habitable world. Cun Ling was the brainchild of planetary architect Lin Ling Liu. 


Ling was so charismatic she drew thousands and eventually millions of andorians, humans, vulcans and individuals from a dozen other species to work together to build her dream. Early on, the collection of asteroids and enormous machines used to weld them together was nicknamed Cun Ling (Ling’s Village). 


It took only twenty years for the collection of rocks to accrete to an Earth-sized mass and within another twenty years the surfaces were covered with the foundations of a web of interconnected cities with so much room that demographers were projecting these cities would never have sufficient population to do the enormous amount of work needed to continually adjust the various chunks of mass to keep the artificial planet from crumbling in on itself. Within 250 years, A Boo had become the second most populated star system in the federation with more than 9 billion humans and a total system-wide population nearing 14 billion. Population models suggested that within another 100 years, this population would nearly triple.



Because of Cun Ling’s bizarre construction, impossible fantasy cities became possible – groups of skyscrapers surrounding and surrounded by large bodies of water seemingly suspended hundreds of meters above yawning chasms and interconnected with similarly perched cities by bridges that were themselves half-mile-wide canals so that the main form of ground transportation from one city to the next was by water, allowing efficient, if slow, transportation of mass goods by barge. 


Shuttle trains flew over these canals without need for tracks, providing rapid mass transit for tens of millions of commuters. Great machines lurked in the chasms below, constantly adjusting the balance of the collection of asteroids the planet had been constructed from – maintaining these relationships with tolerances of a few millimeters; the canals were constructed from materials that could bow and flex to avoid damage.


Ledges within the chasms supported farms, forests, jungles and savannahs with wildlife from throughout the galaxy, making Cun Ling by far the most biodiverse planet in the known galaxy - in many cases supporting larger populations of wildlife than the planets from which those species arose.


The sides of these chasms were covered with a broad variety of solar collectors, turbines and kinetic collectors that generated energy from the movement among the enormous chunks of rock out of which the planet had been constructed. These provided an abundance of energy for the millions of interconnected dynamos that maintained the magnetosphere that kept the artificial planet’s atmosphere from being blown away by solar wind.


These machines also produced, as a byproduct, abundant energy for the fabled 15,000 Cities of Cun Ling. Each city had a name from fantasy – among the 15,000 Cities were Camelot, Jumanji, Oz, Uriel, Xanadu, Pern, Hogwarts and Honali – and those were only a small sample of the earthly fantasies. A fairly large contingent of klingon ex-patriots had built Stovokor and a colony of surprisingly whimsical vulcans had founded Sha Ka Ree… Each city had its own unique architecture, generally reflective of the mythology and stories surrounding its namesake.



Lt. Commander Kenny Dolphin, 2nd Lt. T’Lon, Dr. Sarekson Carrera and Investigator Buttans Ngumbo accompanied Dr. Sif to her home city of Numinor – a city dominated by a blend of Greco-Roman and Gothic structures made of white marble and limestone. White temples and gothic spires reached up toward the clouds. While the city itself was beautiful, the Hunter’s crewmembers had ventured there for the gently sloping white sand beaches on the eastern shore. The waters were so clear that the large fish that formed a vital part of the local diet could be seen clearly even at depths of 10 or 15 meters. The edge of Numinor’s eastern waters was obscured by mist. But there was sufficient water and tidal movement for good surfing. Not that surfing was a big draw in Numinor – the Hunter’s small surfing party pretty much had the beach to themselves.



“I’m not really sure I get you two.” Ngumbo was a better surfer than Kenny, but neither had either the expertise or the fascination with the sport that kept T’Lon and Carrera out on the waves for hours on end. After a few hours wearing themselves out on the waves, the investigator and the director of flight operations were resting on large beach towels and sheltering under giant beach umbrellas that were anchored in the sand. Dr. Sif, her red hair in pigtails, her spots seeming more like freckles along her neck, was also surfed out. After spending some time running in the water along the surf’s edge, she was sleeping lightly nearby under another umbrella, her slight, girlish figure curled up on another large beach towel.


“It would take both you and Shran to figure that out,” Dolphin replied. “You and Sarekson seem to be getting along.”


Buttans Ngumbo made a wry face. “It’s largely sexual. We can’t very well talk shop – I don’t think there’s more than a few hundred people in the entire federation who could keep up with him – totally off the charts genius. And he doesn’t open up much.”


“Well, I’m glad the two of you are together,” Kenny remarked. “I never got to see much of him before. And now I get to hear him serenading you with that holographic piano. I was never much into music until I heard him play. I think that might be his way of opening up emotionally.”


“Never thought of it that way,” Ngumbo replied. “So what is it with you and T’Lon? You’re thick as thieves, but you’re not together?”


Dolphin sat up, stretched, laced his fingers behind his head. “It was kind of a relief when she – I guess broke up isn’t the right term… redefined our relationship? Don’t get me wrong – I was crazy about her. Still am. But it just…” Dolphin shrugged, dropped his hands into his lap. “Didn’t feel right.” He looked over at Sif. “What’s with Sif? Doesn’t she seem kind of… glum?”


“Lonely.” Ngumbo concluded. “I think she always has been. She grew up here,” Ngumbo glanced back at the magnificent marble city behind them. 


Kenny looked back as well. Beautiful, stately, but not homely. Somehow cold, almost like a mausoleum.


“Her parents both moved back to the trill homeworld with their new spouses,” Ngumbo continued. “Her half-brother is still here on Cun Ling, but he’s a planetary engineer and she’s not sure he’ll get time off to see her.”


“I wonder if a request from the Irons family to the planetary commission might shake him loose,” Kenny mused. “If I remember my mythology correctly, there should be a homely house around here somewhere that would be a great place to get her and her half-brother together – along with us and some more of the crew for a dinner. I can’t imagine people building Numinor without including a homely house…” 


“A homely house? Is that a house that is… homely?” Ngumbo asked.


“I should say the Homely House,” Dolphin responded. “Sort of a meeting place for elves and heroes in J.R.R. Tolkien’s early writings. As I said – a great place to get our people together and maybe cheer Sif up a bit. I’ll put in a few calls and see if we can arrange for her half-brother to get the time off to join us.”


13.2

Episode 13.3 - Ba Sing Se by Robert Bruce Scott
Author's Notes:

Justice Minerva Irons returns to a hero's welcome in her hometown of Ba Sing Se... 

Star Trek Hunter
Episode 13: The 15,000 Cities of Cun Ling

Scene 3: Ba Sing Se


13.3

Ba Sing Se


Justice Minerva Irons, as the reigning matriarch of the Irons family, received what amounted to a royal welcome at the train station at the great gates of Ba Sing Se. The trains ran on electricity, but two lifelike statues of earth benders were stationed on the rear step of the last car of each passenger train, in deference to the mythology around the great Earth Kingdom city. 



In every city on Cun Ling there was a statue to Lin Ling Liu. The statue of her in Numinor tried to make her appear a heroic figure. It failed. Dumpy, frumpy and slightly misshapen, the founder of Cun Ling simply could not be made to appear heroic despite her legendary charisma and charm. But the statue at the gates of the Imperial Palace in the center of Ba Sing Se captured Ling perfectly – not a hero, but a dreamer – an open book in her lap and her eyes unfocused, looking up beyond the stars. Ling had convinced millions of people to help build her dream by convincing them that they would be building their own. And they had – each city reflecting the fantasies of its founders. 


Ba Sing Se had been Ling’s dream and the Irons family had played a central role in bringing that particular fantasy to life. Lin Ling Liu’s remains were buried underneath her statue in front of the Imperial Palace. Four Dai Li agents guarded this statue at all times – the only variation from the mythic uniforms of the Dai Li were the phasers at their belts. Not that they were likely to be needed. Dai Li were required to become proficient in several forms of martial arts in addition to mastering Hung Gar and they trained daily.



Minerva Irons had been born in the Imperial Palace and many of her cousins and more distant relatives as well as a few of her grandchildren, great grandchildren, great-great grandchildren, and a few great-great-great grandbabies lived in and around the palace, in the center of a massive city that only in the past 30 years had begun to fill up to half of its enormous population potential. Much of the city was still sparsely populated behind and close to the great wall, but in several areas the city had a bustle that was beginning to make it feel like its namesake.



An Irons family banquet, much larger than the one on Ocean a year previously, was underway inside the Imperial Palace. Ba Sing Se produced an enormous variety of food and culinary arts had become one of the city’s many home-based industries.


“These are all Irons?” asked Tali Shae, astonished at a family gathering that included well over 3,000 people.


“Most of them,” Minerva replied. “There are family friends and related families. Quite a few Lins - descendants of Lin Ling Liu and her family. Young, Chin, Li, Wu and Smart,” she added, looking around. Not all of the families in the room were Chinese. And several of the Irons in the room were not human at all.



“It is such a pleasure to have our esteemed magistrate and matriarch at home at last!” slurred a more that slightly inebriated woman near the other end of the table that Minerva Irons and Tali Shae were seated at. The awkward volume and squeaky pitch of her voice drew attention and caused much of the nearby conversation to pause or to be replaced with whispers.


Minerva Irons smiled and raised her glass, which contained some local iridescently green wine. “I am so pleased to see my birth home prospering. When I was a little girl this great city and even this beautiful palace were vacant, too quiet, newly built and awaiting people. More ghostly than abandoned ruins. This palace was a spooky place at night. Now, with so many people here, it has become a much more joyful place. We even have an economy now. It is wonderful to come home and find things so much better than when I was last here.”


“But Minerva,” the drunken woman stated, somewhat more coherently, “the question has come up, and not to rush things, but to make use of your wisdom while you are here, how shall we choose the nest… the next matriarch?”


Irons responded by laughing. It took her a few minutes to catch herself and she was more than a little light headed. She realized that she was the only one laughing. Everyone else was either looking expectantly at her or angrily at her interlocutor. The great ballroom grew silent.



Minerva Irons stood up. 



“My dear, lively, ostentatious, occasionally and unjustly maligned Ju Di,” Minerva Irons said, occasionally laughing as she spoke. “You do not select a matriarch. A matriarch will emerge. I was not chosen,” Irons continued. “There is no crown, no stamp, no scepter, no ointment. My grandmother did not inherit the matriarchy and I did not inherit it from her."


Irons paused and looked around the hall at her many relatives. She took a breath and put her hand on Tali's shoulder. Her balance was still off a bit after her long ordeal in a cold Andorian courtroom... And this was not her first glass of the rather potent, glowing green wine. She took another breath. "Long ago, an Englishman named Jeremy Irons had to appear in court in Hong Kong. He fell in love with his lawyer and she, Biyu Irons, became the first Irons matriarch. Her wisdom led to our prosperity."


Irons lifted her glass. “And here we are, one great family scattered across a dozen worlds.” She drained her glass. “And this is delicious wine - made right here in Ba Sing Se. Honestly, I have no idea why I would ever drink anything else." Irons looked at her glass, grimaced as the room around it seemed to swim a little. Almost as an afterthought she said, "Beats all hell out of saurian brandy.” 



More than a few of the people around her drained their glasses - but hesitantly - in confusion - as though they were not quite certain they had heard a toast, a speech or an admonishment. Conversations were slow to start up again after Irons slowly and carefully sat back down. It took several minutes before the great hall returned to its earlier lively buzz.


Ju Di Irons, after another glass, made her way unsteadily to the other end of the table. Minerva turned in her chair to face her cousin and the two old women briefly clasped hands. “I have, once again, drunk too deepy… too deeply and too fast,” Ju Di said. “I’m sorry to have made such a fuss.”


Minerva laughed again, a merry, if somewhat inebriated laugh. “I have had a drop or two myself... Ah, Ju Di, if only the universe were as guileless as you, there would be no more war. You asked a silly question, but you were wise to ask it. It is good to see you again.” 


Ju Di straightened up and teetered just a bit. Minerva turned toward a young man at her table. “Iroh, lend your great aunt your strong young shoulder and make sure she finds her room.”


Iroh Irons got up and assisted Ju Di Irons in a slow and careful retreat from the great hall.


13.3

End Notes:

Character:                        Lin Ling Liu (Ling)
Human Ethnicity:             Chinese
Additional Species:         N/A
Hometown/Homeworld:  Beijing, China, Earth
Introduced: Episode        13.3
Age when introduced:     Dead
Role:                                Planetary Architect

Character:                        Ju Di Irons (Ju Di)
Human Ethnicity:             Chinese
Additional Species:          N/A
Hometown/Homeworld:   Ba Sing Se, Cun Ling
Introduced: Episode        13.3
Age when introduced:      69
Role:                                 Irons Family Member

Character:                        Iroh Irons
Human Ethnicity:             Chinese
Additional Species:         N/A
Hometown/Homeworld:  Ba Sing Se, Cun Ling
Introduced: Episode        13.3
Age when introduced:     15
Role:                                Irons Family Member

Episode 13.4 - Pern by Robert Bruce Scott
Author's Notes:

Chief Dewayne Guth and Navigator Eli Strahl are on a mission to the City of Pern...

Star Trek Hunter
Episode 13: The 15,000 Cities of Cun Ling

Scene 4: Pern


13.4

Pern


Chief Flight Specialist Dewayne Guth was flying one of the U.S.S. Hunter’s new long-range interceptors over a few of the cities of Cun Ling. Navigator Eli Strahl was riding second seat in the interceptor. After an extremely pleasant afternoon layover in Eli’s native Eden - an environment founded by Risans - they had taken to the skies for a rare flyover of many of the cities of Cun Ling. The city they were jointly seeking was Pern. Guth had an idea. Eli Strahl, powerfully telepathic, was aware of Guth’s idea and liked it - which was why he had asked to come along.


There was no need for conversation. 



Most of the fantastic cities of Cun Ling were combinations of great buildings and water. Some involved massive waterfalls incorporated into the skyscrapers. Ba Sing Se had its great wall. Numinor had its marble-clad pillars, temples and spires. Even Eden consisted of hundreds of skyscrapers with gardens on roofs, balconies, and layers of land bridges that connected one skyscraper to another at various levels. And lots and lots of apple trees…


But Pern was different. In the place of giant buildings were mountains with large caverns - large openings - large enough for Guth to fly the new long-range interceptor into. By prearrangement, Guth parked the new interceptor inside one of these caverns.


Pern was largely home to pilots - specifically pilots of various types of ultra-light aircraft. While there were a few statues of dragons, there was only one statue of a dragon with a rider - the large statue of Lin Ling Liu. She looked ridiculous astride a dragon and the statue was a bit of a failure despite (or possibly because of) the magnificence of the dragon. So much so that a second, life-size statue had been commissioned near the center of the city’s waterpark - a large collection of various, imaginative fountains. This smaller statue depicted Ling with a baby dragon in her lap and made the planet’s founder and namesake look like a little girl cuddling a beloved pet. It was a far more successful tribute.


It was next to this statue that Dewayne Guth met with the city’s mayor, Tala Ocompo, a solidly built woman of Filipino descent.



“We are always happy to have visitors and most of our visitors are pilots,” Ocompo said. “I am far from the busiest mayor on Cun Ling. But I hope you don’t mind if we make this a breakfast meeting.” 


A number of vendors were providing a variety of food from mobile booths and carts. Guth followed the mayor toward one of these. She stopped to pick a number of small red berries from a tree. “Spring berries - in season - they’re very tasty,” she said.


Guth obtained a bowl from a vendor and pulled down a number of the berries. He sat down at one of the tables near the central fountain with the mayor - both had plates full of fresh, locally grown fruits. 


“I think I’ve known about this place for many, many years, but I never visited here.”


“You’re with Star Fleet?” Ocompo asked.


“Eighteen years now. I joined when I was 19,” Guth replied.


“I don’t recognize the uniform.”


“For the past three years I’ve been flying for the Star Fleet Office of Judge Advocate General – these black uniforms are JAG uniforms.”


“You grew up on Cun Ling,” said the mayor - it was a statement, not a question. “It’s not uncommon for us Trantor kids to get the spacebug. I served in Star Fleet for eight years before coming here.”


“Actually, I’m from Wakanda,” Guth replied.


“Ah, now that’s a beautiful city. I’ve been there a few times,” Mayor Ocompo rejoined. “So what brings you here instead of there?”


“As I understand it, Pern just really has never taken off as a city,” said Guth. “It’s a place people leave.”


“It sounds to me like you have something to sell me,” Ocompo said, warily. She bit into a starfruit and watched Guth’s face closely.


“More of an idea. The thing is, there are no dragons. No one is interested in having mechanical dragons flying around and brewing up a living dragon in a test tube apparently started out as a failure and ended up as a felony.” 


The Mayor snorted – Guth’s summary was a bit too on the nose.


“I don’t have any dragons to sell you,” Guth continued. “But I am concerned about a particular species of large bird. They’re rather frightening to look at, but they’re very intelligent - they can speak Vulcan and I have no doubt they can learn other languages. And they’re surprisingly gentle and sweet natured - at least toward vulcans. Not so gentle toward fish…”


Ocompo looked at him with even more suspicion. 


Guth brought out a reader and pulled up video he had taken from inside the Sanctuary of the Waterbirds.


Ocompo’s expression went from surprise to a quick smile as she heard Destim Ski speaking in Vulcan, then guarded as she watched video from the wagon’s internal sensors of the giant bird crawling into the wagon, then freeing itself again.



“From what I have learned, the planet these creatures live on is somewhat unstable. It would be a shame to lose them. I would like your permission to open negotiations about starting a colony of them here - probably along with their vulcan caretakers. This environment - the water - the caverns - the fish - it would be very familiar to them. If they could survive here… well… they’re just magnificent. I would feel so much better if their entire population wasn’t at the mercy of an unstable planet.”


“So what would this process look like?” the mayor asked.


“I really don’t know, Mayor,” Guth replied. “I’m a pilot, not a negotiator. I suppose I would get my flight director, Lieutenant Dolph… er, that is Lieutenant Commander Dolphin, involved. I just wanted to see if it was a possibility before I start involving other people. And all of that is assuming the waterbirds would even consider coming.”


Mayor Ocompo still appeared unconvinced. Eli Strahl walked up to the table. 


“Mayor, this is Eli Strahl,” Guth said, “one of our navigators. And a betazoid. I asked him here so that he could show you something that Destim Ski showed me.”


“Destim Ski?”


“The waterbird you saw.” Guth tapped the reader. “His caretaker, a vulcan named Maa, acted as a conduit to allow me to see some of his memories. Eli can act as a conduit to show you my memories of Destim Ski, if you will allow him.”


Eli sat down next to Mayor Ocompo. She looked at him suspiciously, but Eli was a remarkably good looking man and after a moment, she nodded.


“Dewayne’s memories are somewhat faded and probably more than a little changed, but you should still get a fair picture of what he experienced. I will try to filter it as little as possible. But I’m not a vulcan. Betazoids converse using telepathy, but transferring experiences is really more of a vulcan ability.”


Ocompo smiled, put somewhat at ease by Eli’s explanation. She closed her eyes, then gasped.



“Now you see what I mean,” said Guth. “It would be a terrible thing to lose them.”


Ocompo nodded, wiped her eyes, clearly a little choked up from the experience - the emotional impact of meeting Destim Ski in Guth’s memories. “This isn’t something I can do on my own, Mr. Guth. But I think my citizens would be interested. Can I talk to a few people and get back to you?”


“Let’s not get too many people’s hopes up,” Guth rejoined. “If you can, please keep it a small circle at least until I get a ‘yes’ from the waterbirds.”


13.4

End Notes:

Character:                        Mayor Tala Ocompo (Tala)
Human Ethnicity:             Fillipino
Additional Species:          N/A
Hometown/Homeworld:   Pern, Cun Ling
Introduced: Episode        13.4
Age when introduced:      53
Role:                                Mayor of Pern

Episode 13.5 - Trantor General Hospital by Robert Bruce Scott
Author's Notes:

The happy couple (Investigator Shran and Belo Cantys) have an appointment at Trantor General Hospital...

Star Trek Hunter
Episode 13: The 15,000 Cities of Cun Ling

Scene 5: Trantor General Hospital


13.5

Trantor General Hospital


Investigator Lynhart Shran’s hearing was undimmed by age. And while he was very happy about the noises coming from the doctor who was examining Tactical Specialist Belo Cantys, he was far less sanguine about the noises he overheard from the communicator of another patient in the doctor’s office.


While the doctor was explaining that Dr. Pali’s treatment had helped Belo Cantys develop internal egg sacks and two of them had successfully fertilized, Shran could hear half of a conversation coming from a nearby room. He couldn’t make out what the other patient was saying, but he could hear the part of the conversation coming from her communicator.



As soon as they had left the doctor’s office, Shran spotted a stairwell and drew Cantys into it with him. 


“I’m not really in a mood to climb 400 flights of stairs…” Cantys teased.


“Boss, are you reading me?” Shran said, thereby activating the communicator embedded in his chest.


“Tauk here, Shran. T’Lon is on leave. I take it you got good news?”


“And bad. I caught a coded transmission from one of the other patients. She must be a ranking blue helmet. Parts of the city are being sectored off. A dead romulan, four dead humans and 37 dead andorians.”


“Trantor has a police department, Lynhart. The biggest in the known galaxy. I’m sure they can handle 42 bodies,” came Tauk’s response. “Enjoy your leave. Spread your good news. Let’s leave local problems to the local constabulary.”


“Okay, boss,” Shran replied. “But write this down somewhere so I don’t have to say it again later: This ain’t a local problem. These aren’t the first to die and they won’t be the last. Unless my instincts are way off, we’re in for a bloodbath - blue, red and green.” 


Cantys could hear Tauk cough a few times through the communicator embedded in Shran’s chest. The other end of such conversations tended to be muffled and barely discernible to those nearby, but living around these internal communicators trained everyone to listen carefully.


Tauk swallowed something, then said, “I trust your instincts, Lynhart. I’ll inform Pep. Let’s not tell the others just yet. Especially not the judge. She has carried enough of the galaxy’s problems for now. Pep will know what to do about it. Keep your ears and eyes open, but don’t go snooping. Remember - you’re on leave. Conference mode, Shran, Cantys.”


Cantys’ communicator came alive, bringing her into the conversation so she didn’t have to strain her ears.


“Cantys, make sure Lynhart stays out of detective mode and has a good time,” Tauk continued. “I’ll make that an order if I have to.”


“You can take the mode out of the man…” Cantys started. “No, wait, you can take the man out of the mode… I never get these human aphorisms right…”


Tauk laughed and coughed a little more. “Just have fun and make sure he does too. Stay out of dangerous places. Tauk out.”



A moment later, Cantys called for Tauk again: “Um, Director…”


“Did you get into some place dangerous, Cantys? I thought I just gave you an order…”


“Um… well… We’re in this stairwell and it’s restricted access to get back onto this floor. And we’re on about the 400th floor… can you help us?”


Cantys and Shran could both hear Tauk sigh. “Two months’ special weapons and tactics training at Star Fleet Technical, nearly two years’ service in special assault tactics, not to mention a sniper with 30 years’ service for the Andorian Imperial Guard… Defeated by an electronic door lock. All right, give me a few minutes. Shran, don’t blow the door off its hinges…”


13.5

Episode 13.6 - Trantor Metropolitan Museum of Art by Robert Bruce Scott
Author's Notes:

The U.S.S. Hunter's giant first officer leads an expedition to the Trantor Metropolitan Museum of Art...

Star Trek Hunter
Episode 13: The 15,000 Cities of Cun Ling

Scene 6: Trantor Metropolitan Museum of Art


13.6

Trantor Metropolitan Museum of Art


On the impossibly large top floor of another skyscraper in another part of Trantor, Commander David Pepper was enthusiastic about a sculpture exhibit that had Transporter Specialist K’rok, Lt. Cmdr. Mlady, Flight Specialist Winnifreid Salazaar, Ensign Ethan Phillips and 2nd Lt. Moon Sun Salek profoundly bored. Only Dr. Napoleon Boles showed some interest in the many individual pieces in this holographic exhibit. Because the sculptures were holograms, there were no ropes or boundaries between the visitors to this exhibit and the sculptures. 


People were welcome to touch these sculptures because there was no way they could permanently damage them. It was entirely possible to break the more delicate sculptures or deform them, depending on the material used in the original sculpture. As soon as the person who did this damage moved on, the hologram would simply refresh the simulated replica to its initial condition.


And Boles was touching and breaking everything, feeling how each sculpture was made, interested in the way the materials responded, if they could be broken or deformed, what the inside looked like, whether there were layers of other materials, the same material, or if the statue was hollow.


The Hunter’s crew were far from the only people on this floor - there were easily several hundred. Mlady, uncomfortable in crowds, stuck close to Pep. Boles studied each statue with interest, but kept an eye on the group and managed to stay roughly in the middle of the group. K’rok had taken to watching Boles and stayed with him. Phillips and Moon trailed the group, making fun of some of the statues and trying unsuccessfully to conceal their irreverent laughter.


Flight Specialist Winnifreid Salazaar, trailing Pep and Mlady, shook his head slowly, taking in the forest of statues. Not entirely under his breath, he said in his Puerto Rican accent, “The 15,000 statues of Lin Ling Liu. Only it’s more like 15 million…”



“EUREKA!!!” Pep exclaimed loudly, frightening several of the other visitors. “I found it!!!” 



Boles, K’rok, Salazaar and even Phillips and Moon bustled over to him. “Found what?” asked Salazaar.


Pep gestured to one of the most absurd statues yet of Lin Ling Liu, made of wood, bathing in a waterfall, coyly posed, shrubbery growing from her head instead of hair. Like most statues of the planet’s founder, it was far from entirely successful. “Eureka,” Pep explained.


A label hovering next to the statue displayed the word: “EUREKA.”


Pep’s crewmates looked at him, blankly.


“Okay, the 15,000 Cities of Cun Ling…” Pep started. “There are actually only 14,767 cities in the official roster. And some cities are obviously missing - hidden cities: Eureka… th’Istel… Puk… Gondolin… Atlantis… The 233 Lost Cities of Cun Ling. And here is a clue that they might actually exist. People go to these places to disappear…”



Lt. Cmdr. Mlady was distracted and had wandered to the window nearby. Trantor was different from the other cities. While most of the 15,000 cities were, as yet, sparsely populated, nearly three billion people lived in Trantor, making it the largest city in the Alpha Quadrant. Trantor was the administrative hub of Cun Ling - home to the planetary commission that maintained the vast machines in the chasms that held the planet together. Home to the 46th (and second largest) circuit court of the Federation Tribunal. Home to a vast education system, law, engineering, medicine and far more. And home to skyscrapers so tall that the upper floors were pressurized and shielded from solar radiation. From this top floor of the Trantor Metropolitan Museum of Art (commonly referred to as TIMA), Mlady could see those giant skyscrapers carefully spaced so that downtown buildings like this one were not in perpetual shadow.


A burst of activity closer to the ground caught Mlady’s attention - a flock of Trantor police interceptors hovering around an industrial area. Dozens of interceptors swiftly became hundreds. 


“Something’s wrong,” she said, interrupting Pep’s musings about lost cities. 


Pep and the others joined her at the window. 


“The Trantor police are shutting down a fairly large section of the city,” Mlady continued. 


“Tauk,” Pep called, activating the communicator embedded in his chest. “Are you aware of something going on that would have the Trantor blue helmets shutting down part of the city?”


“I was just talking with Investigator Shran…” came Tauk’s voice. 


“Hang on Tauk,” said Pep. “Conference mode, crew in six meter proximity. Okay, go ahead, Tauk”


“Lynhart was just telling me he overheard a coded message,” Tauk continued. “Apparently the Trantor police just found a dead romulan, a few dead humans and a lot of andorian corpses. Lynhart says it’s probably not the first and won’t be the last. He seems to think this is something big.”


“How does Shran know Trantor police code?” K’rok asked.


“I’d be astonished if he didn’t,” said Pep. “Lenny has a way of arming himself with the knowledge he needs for his trade. He’s not just a great shot with a phaser - he’s a remarkable sleuth.”


“Which means if he thinks this is big…” started Boles.


“He is very probably right,” Tauk concluded.


13.6

Episode 13.7 - The Homely House, Numinor by Robert Bruce Scott
Author's Notes:

Several of the U.S.S. Hunter's crew join Dr. Sif for a dinner at the Homely House in Numinor...

Star Trek Hunter
Episode 13: The 15,000 Cities of Cun Ling

Scene 7: The Homely House, Numinor


13.7

The Homely House, Numinor


Finrod was nothing short of astonished to have been personally given a week of leave by Planetary Commission Chairman LaDonna Wu. But it was good to have some time with his half-sister. Unlike red-headed Sif, Finrod had dark hair, but his skin, like hers, was very light and his spots unusually small, appearing more like freckles along the sides of his head and neck. 


Finrod had never taken the time to have a family – planetary engineers were by far the busiest people on Cun Ling and small problems could grow very quickly to become literally earth-shattering. As a result, planetary engineers preferred to spend most of their time with other planetary engineers. Layers of independently redundant systems helped prevent catastrophic failure of the planetary structure. But the general public didn’t really need to know just how close the planet and its massive population had come, on a few occasions, to utter annihilation.



The Homely House was a relief from the marbled magnificence of Numinoran architecture. It was not one building, but an expanse of several interconnected buildings woven in and out of a vast garden in a dell on the southwest side of Numinor, tucked away so that the great marble and limestone spires of the main city were hidden behind the landscape. 


While some effort had gone into attracting vulcans and vulcan hybrids to staff the Homely House, the majority of the staff were either trill or bolian. Like his half-sister, Finrod was an un-joined trill. He was pleasantly surprised at the size of the party that had commandeered one of the large dining rooms of the Homely House. A party this large merited its own dedicated cooks and servers. The kitchen was built right into the dining room. The boar meat on the spit had been replicated - but replicated raw and had been cooked slowly with fresh herbs and spices rubbed in. 


The tables and walls were real wood and the ales and meads were brewed locally and served in tankards made of treated wood. Every effort had been made to create an authentic environment with fresh, locally produced foods (except for the meat, which, like most replicated meats, had started as bean curd.)



Nearly a third of the Hunter’s crew were present, including all the senior staff with the exception of Lt. Tauk, who was, at the moment, in command of the Hunter in orbit of Cun Ling. Finrod was slightly worried about his half-sister living and working among so many hybrids, but was impressed once he realized that Lt. Cmdr. Dolphin was, in fact, the notorious Dr. Kenny Dolphin, whose recent appearance on Subspace Radio Ivonovic still had the entire quadrant buzzing.


Finrod had never heard of Justice Irons, but understood that Sif held the old woman in very high esteem. He was impressed with Minerva Irons’ remarkable beauty despite her evident age. There was a power and a magnificence about her - almost like a female version of Odin.



“What I want to know is how a family of trills ended up in Numinor,” said Dr. Napoleon Boles. “There are actually a few cities on this planet that were founded by trills.” Dinner had long been consumed and small groups at various tables were enjoying savory and relaxed conversation.


“This place, actually this very room,” Sif replied. She gestured with a toasted ginger mustard cracker to a sign over the hearth that read The Homely House and in smaller letters Nargothrond


“Finrod Felagund, King of Nargothrond,” Dolphin mused. He looked at Finrod. “So you were named after this room?”


Finrod rolled his eyes.


Sif nodded. “Our mother was a chef. She used to cook right over there - and in a few other rooms in this place. She met Finrod’s father in this room. He was a planetary engineer…”


“Who spent all his time in the chasms,” Finrod continued. “What little time he wasn’t down there seeing to the stability of the planet, he was in Trantor for training or planning meetings. Eventually he moved there, but mother wouldn’t leave this place.”


“Mother had already moved on,” Sif said, picking up the story. “My father was a server here. They moved back to T-Prime to take care of his parents.”


“My father also moved back to T-Prime with a new wife,” Finrod continued. “Another engineer. They had learned so much working in the chasms that they were able to get good engineering jobs working for the mining consortiums back home. If you’re not a candidate for a symbiont and you aren’t from a family that owns the mines, you work in them all your life unless you can find a way out. That’s why you see so many trills working here,” Finrod concluded.


The small group at Dr. Sif’s table - Finrod, Lt. Cmdr. Kenny Dolphin, 2nd Lt. T’Lon and Lt. Napoleon Boles were fairly deep into their cups. Finrod leaned conspiratorially across the table, spoke with what he thought at the moment was a quiet voice to Kenny Dolphin. “So tell me, how do you put up working with all these hybrids?”



“Finrod!!” Dr. Sif was mortified. 



T’Lon turned toward Dolphin, raised her eyebrows.


Napoleon Boles turned toward Dolphin as well. “I’d like to know that too, Dr. Kenny. How DO you manage to put up with all of us hybrids?”


Voices at the other tables got just a little too quiet and their conversations disjointed as other members of the Hunter’s crew tried (and largely failed) to eavesdrop discretely.


Dolphin laughed. “Well in your case, Napoleon, with superhuman effort…”


Dr. Boles stuck out his blue tongue, briefly made a rude blue face, then smiled.


“You know,” Dolphin continued, “I spent a decade trying to convince everyone that I have no bias against hybrids. But it really isn’t true when you get down to it. I think I was able to spot the sticking point - jealousy about enhanced abilities – an unfair advantage – because I secretly felt that way myself. Who couldn’t feel a little envious and resentful about Justice Irons? She’s only a quarter vulcan, but she’s lived forever and she’s just unbelievably beautiful.” 


“Pep is stronger than any orion or human and as fast as any andorian - which considering his size shouldn’t be physically possible. Buttans and his superhuman speed.. Shran and his superior eyesight and coordination.. Dr. Carrera, only an eighth vulcan, but off the charts genius.. All of them received genetic manipulation just to be able to survive their inherent genetic incompatibilities. You can’t tell me their enormous advantages are a product of random chance.”


“Even you, Napoleon, totally off the charts in ingenuity, a tremendous graphic artist - sculpture, painting, holo-sketching…” Dolphin lost his train of thought, looked confused and then decided to take a long drink of the honey mead.


“So do you think you’re somehow more virtuous than I am because your gifts - intelligence, emotional stability, whatever it is that makes you such a risk-taker – came from, as you would put it, a natural throw of the dice?” Boles asked.


Dolphin set his flagon down and clutched both hands over his heart, wobbled dramatically (and more than a little drunkenly): “You wound me to my core. You wound me sir, you wound me…”


Laughter could be heard from nearby tables where everyone had given up the pretense of not listening in.


Boles threw back his head and laughed. 


Sif giggled in spite of her embarrassment. 


T’Lon’s studied look of long suffering, long absent, returned as she shook her head slowly. 


Finrod was clearly lost in thought, mulling the entire conversation over. 


13.7

End Notes:

Character:                        Finrod
Human Ethnicity:             N/A
Additional Species:          Trill
Hometown/Homeworld:  Numinor, Cun Ling
Introduced: Episode        13.7
Age when introduced:      38
Role:                                Planetary Engineer, Dr. Sif’s Brother

Episode 13.8 - The Blue Wraith by Robert Bruce Scott
Author's Notes:

Lynhart Shran has a run-in with Johnny Canada in Numinor...

Star Trek Hunter
Episode 13: The 15,000 Cities of Cun Ling

Scene 8: The Blue Wraith


13.8

The Blue Wraith


Investigator Lynhart Shran walked around outside, following the outside wall of the room of the Homely House in which the Hunter’s crew were still enjoying the aftermath of dinner with Dr. Sif. 


Footprints under the window sill. Shran drew his phaser, walked slowly toward the edge of the building, following the footprints. 



“Hello again, old man,” came a familiar voice from behind him. “I know what your coat does, which is why I am aiming at your head. I’ll have that phaser now.”


Shran froze, but did not offer his phaser. “Johnny Canada,” he said in his gravelly voice. “And just why are you following me?”


“Just doing my job, Eliminator. Or is it Investigator now? Please don’t make me ask again for your weapon.”


“That’s a very nice phase pistol,” came Tactical Specialist Belo Cantys’ voice from behind Canada. “Andorian manufacture? An antique. Please deactivate it. And the other one as well…”


“I wouldn’t screw with that little girl, Canada,” Shran said, holstering his phaser and turning around slowly. “I’ll have those phase pistols again, please.”


Canada smiled ruefully and held each pistol in his open hands. Shran took them and dropped them into the pockets of his overcoat.


“I’m going to have to get out of the habit of underestimating you,” Canada said.


“State your business, Canada. You deliberately let me see you through the window. You wanted me out here…”


“Actually, I need to speak to your captain. If you would be so kind as to make the introduction,” Canada said.


“In your capacity as a Blue Wraith?” Shran asked.


Canada spread his hands out, looked down, smiled broadly, looked up again. “I’m not surprised you figured that out. I was kind of counting on it. About my pistols…”


“After your conversation with the judge,” said Shran. He gestured toward the front of the building. 



Canada walked in front as they rounded the corner to the veranda. Justice Minerva Irons and Commander David Pepper were seated in chairs near the front door, talking quietly.


“Look who willingly walked into my arms,” Shran said.


Pep and Irons both stood up.


“He’s a Blue Wraith,” Shran continued.


“Supervisory Field Agent Johnny Canada, Trantor Police, Intelligence Division,” Canada said.


“Show me,” said Irons. 


Canada rolled his eyes up, opened them wide, exposing the whites underneath the iris and pupil. The tiny tattoos would only be noticeable to someone who knew what they were looking for.


“Tell me,” Irons continued.


“Five of your crew members have been kidnapped in Trantor,” Canada said. “Ensign Tolon Reeves, Flight Specialist Joey Chin, and Tactical Specialists, Jarrong, Belo Rys and Belo Garr. I asked for this assignment because I have had previous dealings with your associate here.” Canada gestured with his head toward Lynhart Shran.


“Lenny, you can give the man back his weapons,” said Pep. “Johnny, our director of ground operations just informed us that Reeves and his party disappeared from our sensors. It looks like they were beamed out.”


Shran removed the phase pistols from his pockets, gave them back to Canada, who holstered them. 


“You do realize that my partner had us covered the entire time..” Canada said.


“The blue girl?” Shran asked.


Canada turned to look at Shran, then turned suddenly and looked to his left, where Shran’s antennae were focused.


A young bolian woman was walking toward the group, her hands raised. Investigator Buttons Ngumbo was behind her.



“What was that you said earlier about underestimating us?” Shran said.



Canada called on another of his vast repertoire of disarming grins. Put his hands in his pockets. “I seem to recall making some such remark..”


“Enough spy versus spy,” Minerva Irons said with some exasperation. “We have people in trouble. What do you know?”


“Not very much, yet, your honor. We are asking you to keep your crew here in Numinor or return to your vessel for your own protection. I strongly suspect that the crewmembers taken were not the target – you are,” said Canada.


“Those dead andorians yesterday,” said Shran. “Andoria First?”


Canada nodded. “And a Star Fleet Intelligence operative – the romulan.”


“Damn,” cursed Irons quietly. “He was one of our most valuable agents. What is the outlook for our people?”


“I don’t think they are in Trantor anymore,” Canada said. “But I will have to return there to pick up the trail. If it is Andoria First, your people are not in for a pleasant time, but I don’t think they will be killed - at least not for a day or two. Old andorian saying – live bait catches more folyprogs than dead bait. For now, I am taking lead on this investigation. Agent Anana Lynarr here will be your liaison until we have this resolved. I have been instructed to advise you not to run your own investigation…”


“You don’t want to get between us and our people,” Shran said.


“I have no intention of trying to stop you,” Canada rejoined. “As I said, I was instructed to advise you, Investigator. I learned the hard way that you are very much capable of taking care of yourself. But if you start filling my streets with bodies, we’re going to have a problem with that...”


13.8

End Notes:

Character:                        Special Agent Anana Lynarr
Human Ethnicity:             N/A
Additional Species:          Bolian
Hometown/Homeworld:  Trantor, Cun Ling
Introduced: Episode        13.8
Age when introduced:      21
Role:                                Trantor Police, Intelligence Division

Episode 13.9 - An Imperial Audience by Robert Bruce Scott
Author's Notes:

Federation Councilmember Emory Ivonovic is granted an audience with the new Emperor Sin IV of Andoria...

Star Trek Hunter
Episode 13: The 15,000 Cities of Cun Ling

Scene 9: An Imperial Audience


13.9

An Imperial Audience


Sin Shav, now Emperor Sin IV, was not much for standing in court on the Imperial Dias. His preference was to be in the Imperial Command and Control Center (commonly referred to as the Ice Room). Most meetings with him were held in the hallway outside Ice Room, which tended to keep these meetings short and to the point. Of the many visitors he had to deal with, he had afforded only three the pomp of a Court meeting – Minerva Irons, Vulcan Premier Saoron, and Federation Council Leader Ushi Irons. All other visitors who had been granted an imperial audience found that if they could not conclude their business within five minutes in a cold, breezy hallway, they would be shuffled off to deal with the Chancellor, who would in turn quickly shuffle them off to one of many imperial bureaucrats.


Once word had spread about this imperial protocol, requests for imperial audiences dropped off sharply. However, today’s visitor – the only one scheduled for this day – had the emperor mildly curious.



“I am deeply honored to address the Andorian State and the People of Andoria,” said Federation Councilmember Emory Ivonovic, spreading his arms wide, hands at waist level, palms forward, fingers splayed, following the newly published protocol for informal imperial audiences. Despite the cold, Ivonovic had foregone an overcoat and had surrendered his jacket, wearing only a simple white shirt and gray pants. Simple, but highly polished black leather shoes.


For a moment, Emperor Sin IV, clad in a mixture of white and ivory robes, simply stood and blindly regarded the man. Ivonovic knew he had only five minutes, but he maintained his pose with no sign of impatience, despite the cold breeze ruffling his silver hair and the sleeves of his white shirt. Sin Shav allowed nearly two of Ivonovic’s minutes to pass, then finally said, “Speak.”


“You have a great friend, and I have a great friend,” Ivonovic said. “Our friends’ fates are tied together. And they are in distress. I know you are already aware that your friend, Justice Minerva Irons, has crewmembers who have been kidnapped by andorian traitors who act under the name Andoria First. My friend, Lieutenant Commander Kenny Dolphin, will be actively looking for them. I am certain you plan to help them. I have resources that may be able to assist you.”


“You want something in return, beyond helping a few Star Fleet officers,” Shav said. It was not a question.


“Only for another audience, after this matter is settled, to discuss politics,” Ivonovic replied.


The Emperor’s antennae focused on Ivonovic. He closed his blind eyes for a moment. “I have heard your broadcasts. I would not have thought you capable of being a man of few words.”


“I adapt.”


“Commander Oshreb Sav is coordinating our response. Travel to Cun Ling. Coordinate with him. I will consider your request.”


Ivonovic spread his hands wide, his hands again at waist level, fingers splayed. “It has been a great honor to address the Andorian State and the People of Andoria,” he said, taking a half-step back. “A very great honor,” he added.


Emperor Sin IV turned briskly and re-entered the Ice Room.


13.9

Episode 13.10 - Thumbnail by Robert Bruce Scott
Author's Notes:

Crewmembers of the U.S.S. Hunter have been taken prisoner and are being tortured by Andoria First rebels...

Star Trek Hunter
Episode 13: The 15,000 Cities of Cun Ling

Scene 10: Thumbnail


13.10

Thumbnail


Tactical Specialist Jarrong could barely think. It was just too cold. At least she wasn’t hanging from the wall by manacles. A few skeletons were – she guessed these were andorian. She had no idea where the others were. She had gathered rags from around the room that had once been the clothing of previous prisoners, bundled herself into them as much as possible, curled into a ball and tried to stay warm. She knew somehow that if she fell asleep, she might not wake up. She had only a brief memory of being beamed off the street near a pub in Trantor along with her group and then gassed while still on the transporter pad. Had there been an andorian there? She seemed to remember two, but she might have been seeing double.


A blood curdling scream of anguish roused her. She had nearly fallen asleep. She knew that if she could only sleep, this would all go away. Forever. The second scream had her wide awake and upright. She recognized the voice. Tolon. Her commanding officer.


Jarrong rolled into a crouched fighting stance. This had the advantage of keeping her body curled to conserve what little heat she could. She shivered, which helped build up a little more warmth under the rags. She found herself wishing she had been wearing her uniform instead of Trantor civilian fashions. Two andorians appeared at the barred door of her cell. She deliberately avoided looking at them – only their cleated ice boots. 


As soon as one of them unlocked and opened the cage door, Jarrong took off like a spring, lunging toward her captors – only to be met with an andorian stunbludgeon in the center of her chest, delivering an electric shock that knocked her halfway back across the room. Her physiology did not handle cold well at all, but was good at handling electricity – instead of being burned at the point of contact as a human would have been, she was warmed as the electricity coursed through the mucous laced skin ridges. It still hurt and she could not take repeated shocks without damage to her system. Instinctively, she backed into a corner of the cell, crouched, appearing to cower. One thing Jarrong had lots of experience with was being a prisoner and being tortured – not as often as her cousins who were more obviously part bajoran. But enough to have developed prison survival skills.



“Stand up, cardassian,” said one of the andorians – the one with the stunbludgeon. “Unless you want the bajoran to die.” Jarrong stood up. Her two captors stepped out of the cell. The one gestured down the hallway with his stunbludgeon. She stepped out of the cell and walked in front. About a dozen meters down the hallway was another cell that contained her cousins, Tactical Specialists Belo Rys and Belo Garr along with the pilot, Flight Specialist Joey Chin. 


Jarrong paused only slightly and was rewarded with a rude and painful shock at a lower power setting in the middle of her back. Garr and Rys were huddled on either side of the human pilot – his arms around each of them – sharing his warmth with them. Humans had much better tolerance for cold than any other species she knew except for andorians – a higher body temperature. She found herself briefly envious of human adaptability to a much wider range of temperatures and atmospheric conditions than any other species she was aware of.



A few meters further was an open cell door with two more andorians standing guard. One of them ushered her inside. Ensign Tolon Reeves was tied to a chair, his head hanging. His left arm was unbound. His left thumb was bleeding profusely. This cell contained running water – icy cold, but clear. Jarrong took the cleanest rag she could find, quickly soaked it, then carefully compressed it around Tolon’s bleeding thumb – his thumbnail had been ripped out of its nailbed, shredding the top of his thumb. 


Tolon cried out in agony as Jarrong pressed the rag firmly around the wound to stop his bleeding and tied it tightly. She carefully avoided looking at her captors. She raised his arm and held it as high as she could to slow the bleeding. The rag quickly turned red – soaked with his blood.


“Untie him and carry him back to your cell, cardassian,” said one of the andorians. 


“Keep your arm up,” Jarrong whispered to Tolon, then laid his left hand on top of his head. With tremendous effort, Tolon kept his left arm up while Jarrong freed his right arm and body from the chair. She carefully wrapped his left arm around her shoulders and lifted him from the chair with some effort. Tolon was a short man, but built like a fireplug – all muscle.


Jarrong followed her captors back toward her cell. They stopped at the cell that contained her cousins, opened the door, ushered her in. Belo Rys, Belo Garr and Joey Chin all quickly got to their feet to help her carefully lower Tolon to the floor, his back against the wall. Jarrong gathered some rags, tied them together, tied one end to a manacle at the end of a chain on the wall, looped the other end and used this to keep Tolon’s left arm elevated. This cell also had running water and she cleaned a rag to the best of her ability and replaced the bandage on Tolon’s thumb. Tolon gasped in pain, but managed not to yell.


Belo Rys curled up next to Tolon on his left side, wrapped her arms around him. 


“If this is what getting a promotion means, I don’t think I want one,” said Belo Garr.


Tolon managed a smile, then looked at each of his team members. “Oh, it was very much worth it,” he croaked in a feeble voice.


“What were they trying to get out of you?” asked Joey Chin.


“Leverage,” Tolon answered, his voice strengthening a little. “I answered all their questions. It was just who our crew is and they already had our crew roster. They will be sending my thumbnail to our captain as evidence of their intentions. And evidence they have us.”


“Where do you think we are?” asked Belo Garr. “Maybe one of the polar regions?”


“Maybe,” said Joey Chin. “But somehow it doesn’t feel like we’ve gone anywhere.”


“Certainly a lot colder than Trantor,” Jarrong remarked, shivering.


Joey Chin walked over to her and hugged her. Jarrong started to draw away. She did not like being touched. But feeling his warmth, she pulled him closer, hugged him tightly, realized that he was deliberately warming her. It was like hugging a furnace. She marveled again at how warm humans were – even warmer than andorians. Like Justice Irons, Chin had strongly Chinese features. There was a rare gentleness and kindness to the pilot’s eyes. He had long, soft, straight black hair, much like Irons. Hair so black that it had a blue shine to it.


Jarrong buried her face in Joey Chin’s hair and tried not to think too hard about the fact that aside from her cousins, she had experienced far more gentleness and kindness from humans than from cardassians or bajorans - even her own mother and father.


Chin could feel the enormous effort Jarrong was putting into trying to maintain her composure. “Let it go,” he said softly, stroking her hair. “Just let it all go…”


Jarrong hid her face in the pilot’s hair, her breathing ragged, barely managing not to howl in anguish, her body wracked by the effort, a lifetime of terror, rage, helplessness and shame pouring onto the neck and shoulder of a man she barely knew.


13.10

Episode 13.11 - Lower Trantor by Robert Bruce Scott
Author's Notes:

Investigator Lynhart Shran and Assistant Ground Operations Director 2nd Lt. T'Lon lead a team into Lower Trantor to search for the hostages...

Star Trek Hunter
Episode 13: The 15,000 Cities of Cun Ling

Scene 11: Lower Trantor


13.11

Lower Trantor


While 2nd Lt. T’Lon was officially in charge of the rescue mission on the ground, she had allowed Investigator Lynhart Shran to take the lead and put together the response team. Shran had recruited three Trantor natives: Flight Specialist Dih Terri as well as Tammy Brazil and Thomas Hobbs from the engineering department. Shran had also included the bolian field agent from the Trantor Police, Anana Lynarr, with the promise that she would not interfere with the Hunter’s investigation but would help coordinate with the Trantor Police. Investigator Buttans Ngumbo was the seventh and final addition. No one was in uniform - all were wearing casual clothing in the style popular in Trantor - fewer earth tones with a greater emphasis on blues, grays and whites.


Shran had banished Tactical Specialist Belo Cantys to the Hunter to work with Lt. Tauk to process information the ground team gathered and uploaded.



“They say all canals lead to Trantor,” said Flight Engineer Thomas Hobbs. Hobbs had a thick Scottish accent heard in several of the oldest areas of Trantor – the warehouse, transportation and machinery centers that supported the planetary engineers. These were the grimy parts of the federation’s greatest city and a significant portion of the early population had been Scottish. “What they don’t tell you is that all tunnels lead to Trantor as well.” Hobbs was middle aged with gray eyes, gray hair and a gray mustache and goatee. At the moment, he was leading the Hunter’s team through Lower Trantor toward a series of gates. 


Midshipman Tammy Brazil had also grown up in Lower Trantor, as these sectors were referred to – quite literally in the lowest lying areas of the city, below the waterline of the central and outer lakes. Elevators and tunnels ran from these areas directly down underneath the lakes to the chasms on all sides of Trantor so that the enormous machinery that engineered and maintained the planet could be quickly and efficiently moved in and out of the chasms for repair and renovation.


“What I don’t understand is how they got around the transporter blocks,” said Agent Lynarr, “No one should be able to transport anything inside Trantor – in or out – without an approved transit code to get through the shielding.”


“Ah now lass,” Hobbs replied, “Anything can be had in Trantor for the right price. Even your precious transporter codes. That’s our first stop – the Trantor underground market. The market master keeps tight control over the most valuable commodities, and transporter codes are right at the top. And they deal strictly in ferengi currency.”


Dih Terri nervously brought her hair down and her collar up to cover her spots. Lower Trantor was a place she had avoided all her life. “I’m not sure how much good I can be down here. I grew up in Middle Trantor in the fountain district. I think this is the first time I’ve ever been at street level,” she said.


“Then keep your eyes peeled, your collar up and your hand on your phaser,” Lynhart Shran replied.



A fair amount of traffic was passing through a series of turnstiles at 16 gates – 8 inbound, 8 exits. The inbound gates were heavily guarded. 


“Does anyone ever try to get in by jumping the exit turnstiles?” asked Dih Terri, nervously.


Shran pointed toward sniper windows above the gates. “They might, but I doubt they would be conscious when they get in,” he said.


As the party stepped up to one of the turnstiles, Hobbs offered seven slips of gold-pressed latinum to one of the guards, who deposited it, then held out his hand and said, “Your weapons, please.” Hobbs responded by depositing seven strips of latinum in the guard’s hand. The guard stepped aside, allowing the Hunter’s hunting party to enter the Trantorian Underground.


- * - 


Deep inside the Trantor Underground, more latinum was on offer, this time from a friendly looking human with a brown beard and friendly brown eyes, to a number of extremely seedy-looking ferengi. These slips and strips of latinum not only made the ferengi talkative, but also purchased evidence from the them, including a bloody human thumbnail…


- * - 


In another part of the Trantor Underground, still more gold-pressed latinum was changing hands – only instead of slips or strips, a single bar of gold-pressed latinum was on offer. A small party consisting of four andorians, two cardassians and a well-dressed human were allowed into a meeting that they had not been invited to. A room full of andorian workers turned baleful eyes and antennae on these human and cardassian interlopers, only to be astounded as they and their andorian escort walked straight through the room toward the stage and the speaker that the workers had come to listen to. The speaker, a well-dressed andorian, stepped aside deferentially…


- * - 


In yet another part of the Trantor Underground latinum was not on offer. A contingent of 30 Andorian Imperial Guard troopers had overwhelmed an outpost guarded by a small group of humans and bajorans – most of whom were now dead, all with extensive phaser burns. Commander Oshreb Sav was using his Ushan-Tor to remove clothing piece by piece from the two surviving human prisoners.


Commander Sav wasn’t asking questions… Yet… Just making it clear how sharp and effective the andorian ice-cutting blade could be. Over the years he had found that humans in particular did not like being naked and they tended to be far more cooperative under interrogation after their clothing had been stripped from them.


- * - 


In the Market District in the middle of the Trantor Underground, Thomas Hobbs was offering additional latinum to a representative of the market master in exchange for information. 



In four different transactions under Trantor, two fueled by gold-pressed latinum, one enabled by latinum and fueled by soaring rhetoric and one driven by combined phaser fire and knife work, the same name came up: The hidden city of th’Istel…


13.11

Episode 13.12 - The Painted Specter by General Suk Sin Soor by Robert Bruce Scott
Author's Notes:

The clue the U.S.S. Hunter's crew needs is in an ancient poem...

Star Trek Hunter
Episode 13: The 15,000 Cities of Cun Ling

Scene 12: The Painted Specter by General Suk Sin Soor


13.12

The Painted Specter by General Suk Sin Soor


“…was I sought, never a key, always the lightning that revealed itself the wraith I chased. Chased to obliteration the wraith or myself."


Commander David Pepper was in the captain's chair on the bridge of the U.S.S. Hunter, reciting poetry from memory:


“Although there was my love and there would be my heirs, I never sought th’Istel. It was…


“…painted specter I followed, followed I thought to the end of my days.


“Followed ever south with my dreams. Tracked through den and valley. Tracked through burning wastes and…"


2nd Lt. T'Lon, Investigator Shran and the rest of the Hunter's hunting party were seated at a table in the Trantor Underground, listening intently for clues:


“…woke screaming from this…


“….that revealed this phantom I had for so long chased until south I could go no more and only when…


“…only look to the north. All my dreams were north. My eyes could only see north. North I only could go.


“But the painted specter had me in its grasp along with all the treasures it foretold


“Deep underground, the ice, the cold, the walls lined with precious southern stones


“More wonderful to behold than all the fleshly beauty I had dreamed to touch in my youth


“And there my lust exhausted itself finally in a cold southern cavern of marble and cascades of precious stones


“A cavern made for mad lords to lust to own but could not be owned


“The stones could not be taken north


"The marble floor could not be reaped


“The lust lingering beauty of cold stone and lifeless


“And at long last I caught glimpse of the painted specter I had given my life to capture


“Its beauty, its evil, its cold heartless face


“And I reached out to grasp it and cut my hands on the sharp edges of ice


“As the mirror shattered and I and the specter shattered with it


“At th’Istel, at the end of my dreams


“But at long…”



“That’s all there is to it?” asked Investigator Lynhart Shran after several seconds of silence.


“That is all there is to it,” Commander Pepper replied. 


The U.S.S. Hunter’s hunting party were seated at a workman’s lunch station in the Trantor Underground, at which they were enjoying a surprisingly tasty, if suspiciously greasy lunch along with nearly a hundred machine workers and wranglers. Flight Engineer Thomas Hobbs had recommended this place and had secured a reasonably private booth for the Hunter’s crew – he still had a few friends who worked in the underground and apparently a relative who managed this food court.


The crew members had all heard Pep reciting the fragments of the only poem known to be penned by General Suk Sin Soor. Many other works had been attributed to the legendary andorian general, but The Painted Specter was the only one that could be authenticated and none of the disputed works came close to matching the general’s command of Lak, an antique andorian language. 


“You should hear it in the original Lak,” Pep continued. “The language ripples and shimmers, particularly the long, unbroken fragment at the end.”


“Another time,” said T’Lon. “This poetic fragment sounds like very little to base a lost city on.”


“It is the progenitor of the legend,” Pep replied. “The oldest known reference to it and many scholars believe General Soor was writing not about an actual underground city, but an inner struggle. Of the many aphorisms attributed to him, the one that is probably most well authenticated is: ‘To conquer the world you must first conquer yourself.’ So th’Istel became, in legend, a holy place. A place to rid yourself of inner demons, conquer the soul, and emerge a true warrior, ready to serve the andorian people and the andorian state selflessly. That poem launched a literary and cultural movement that has lasted nearly 3,000 years.”


“It sounds like he’s describing being at the South Pole,” observed Lt. Tauk, who was monitoring this conversation from the Hunter’s ground operations center, along with Belo Cantys. “‘Followed ever south with my dreams…  My eyes could only see north. North I only could go’…” Tauk quoted.



“And that is probably what our andorian friends think as well if they have gotten this far,” said Pep. “Unless they have a scholar of the literary classics with them who has actually looked at the original work. General Suk Sin Soor was a boustrophedonic writer.”


“A what?” asked Shran.


“Meaning he wrote every other line backward,” said Tauk.


“And the lines he wrote in reverse are always the lines that contain the words ‘north’ and ‘south’ or ‘southern’,” said Pep. “Meaning that if our andorian friends are digging for the lost city under the South Pole…”



“They’re digging in the wrong place,” said Shran, Tauk, T’Lon, Hobbs and Buttans in unison.



“I will need to provide this information to Agent Canada,” said Agent Lynarr.


“Of course, Anana,” said Pep. “So T’Lon, Lenny, what would you like to do next? Fancy a trip to the North Pole of Cun Ling?”


“Not just yet,” Shran said. He glanced at T’Lon, who displayed no discernible expression.


“Why is that, Lynhart?” Tauk asked.


“It’s just… too easy,” Shran concluded. “We aren’t the first people to go looking for th’Istel and if it were that easy to find, it would have been found by now, literary scholar or no. We need to consider the other clues... Like the precious gems that could not be removed from the walls…”


“You’re not going to find that anywhere on this planet,” remarked Hobbs. “It takes certain conditions for gems to grow – millions of years – and Cun Ling is less than 300 years old.”


“An andorian would have less than no use for such baubles,” said Tali Shae, who had been listening in from the bridge of the U.S.S. Hunter. 


“Precious stones in the Lak language does not refer to what you think of as gem stones,” said Pep. “A better translation would be stones that contain high amounts of ore – iron, zinc, bauxite, copper…”


“Iron and marble that cannot be removed…” mused Hobbs, his Scottish brogue just a little thicker than normal.


“What are you thinking, Tommy?” Pep asked.


“th’Istel might be closer than we think,” Hobbs said. “Most cities on Cun Ling were built on a single asteroid – a large body. But Trantor is built on eight of them. And you may have noticed the really tall skyscrapers – the ones that reach so far up into the atmosphere they need their own solar shielding and have the upper floors pressurized – they’re located on the north and south ends of the city. If they were built anywhere else, the city would be perpetually in their shadow…”


“The asteroids those buildings are anchored to…” T’Lon started.


“Lumps of solid iron embedded in marble,” Hobbs said. “Nothing else could hold them. And there is iron that cannot be removed and marble that cannot be reaped. Right under the north and south poles of this city…”


Lynhart Shran turned toward Agent Anana Lynarr from the Trantor Police Intelligence Division. “I’m sure our scanners won’t be able to penetrate the city’s shielding. Think you can get us some maps of Trantor Underground – with particular details about the north end?”


Before Lynarr could answer, Dih Terri spoke up. “It won’t be as accurate as the maps from the Trantor Mining Consortium. My father had details from those maps all over the walls of his office.”


“Turns out you were useful after all,” Shran said with a smile. “Think dear old dad will forward the maps to you that we need?”


- * -


“They want Lieutenant Commander Dolphin? Why him?” 


At the same time that Pep was reciting ancient andorian poetry to the hunting party, Justice Minerva Irons and Kenny Dolphin were in the captain’s office, having a conversation with Johnny Canada, who was at a precinct station near the Trantor Underground Market. Canada had already arranged for Tolon’s excised left thumbnail to be beamed up to the Hunter’s medical bay, where Ensign Chrissiana Trei and Dr. Jazz Sam Sinder were analyzing it.



Johnny Canada was speaking from somebody else's office. A portrait of a tellerite in highly decorated Trantor Police uniform hung on the wall behind him. “Andoria First suffered a major blow – 37 dead andorians in the streets of Trantor. They need a big win to even the score. According to my sources – and they are usually reliable – it appears the commander of the I.G.V. Ravonnelle lost her command during the battle over Rings. The story goes that her first officer stunned her with a phaser, assumed command and warped out of the way of Lieutenant Commander Dolphin’s attack at the last second. She escaped from her own brig, commandeered a shuttle and made it to an Andoria First enclave. Apparently the entire Andoria First movement has taken the incident personally and they really want your director of flight operations. They would see it as a symbolic victory because of his notoriety both as a philosopher and as a pilot. My sources would be the go-between in this swap of Dr. Dolphin in exchange for Tolon, Chin, Jarrong and the Belo siblings.”


“Can you negotiate the exchange on our behalf, Agent Canada?” Justice Irons asked.


“I strongly advise against trying to make this exchange.”


“I’m just playing for time,” Irons said...


“That is a very dangerous game,” Canada said.


“What would you recommend?”


“Bargain for his life, for a fair trial." Canada's expression was grim. "If you do that, you might get another fingernail or two before they start sending you mutilated bodies, which is what you will probably get if you give in too easily. We have to make this appear to be real – and they know you are looking for them. They won’t give you many chances.” 


13.12

End Notes:

Character:                        General Suk Sin Soor
Human Ethnicity:             N/A
Additional Species:         Andorian
Hometown/Homeworld:  Laikan, Andoria
Introduced: Episode        13.12
Age when introduced:     Dead
Role:                                Poet

Episode 13.13 - Cardassian Pepper by Robert Bruce Scott
Author's Notes:

Jarrong has a vision about being rescued...

Star Trek Hunter
Episode 13: The 15,000 Cities of Cun Ling

Scene 13: Cardassian Pepper


13.13

Cardassian Pepper


They had taken Flight Specialist Joey Chin. That was all Jarrong could think about. With a combination of cold blasts of air, changes in lighting including bright lights and occasional blasts of unbearable noise, her andorian captors had made it largely impossible for her and her crewmates to sleep.


Tolon's thumb had turned black and his hand was quickly turning. If he were fully human, the rot would have spread into his blood stream by now, but bajorans were exceptionally resistant to infection and this was all that was keeping him alive - barely. That and there was a native toughness to the man. But he was clearly nearing the end of his endurance.


Tactical Specialists Belo Rys and Belo Garr were little better off than Jarrong. All three had huddled around Ensign Tolon Reeves in an effort to keep him warm and conscious. They had retreated into emotional shells they had created long ago in order to survive harsh cardassian prisons on CIO 19 (Cardassia Imperial Outpost 19) where they had been born and grew up.



The cell door lock rattled, then the door opened with a bang. Two andorians briskly entered the cell. "Get up, cardassian," said one of them. "You're going to have to carry your friend."


Jarrong summoned the last of her strength, wrapped Tolon's left arm around her shoulder and lifted him. She trudged out of the cell, her cousins ahead of her. Her mind suddenly became alert when she heard the andorians quietly talking behind her:


"Where is the other one? There was one that was part human, part vulcan."


"Not in any of the cells we've seen so far, must be ahead. Take point."


Jarrong moved carefully to her right as one of the andorians squeezed around her, then in front of her cousins. He put up a clenched fist and the group jolted to a halt. Jarrong could see him adjusting the stunbludgeon to its highest setting, which would deliver the same amount of force on contact as a phaser set to kill. Just ahead was the open cell door to the cell in which Tolon Reeves had been tortured. Another andorian was standing guard at the door. She challenged the andorian at the front of the line.


          "I wasn't told the prisoners were to be moved..."

                    "You mean they tell you everything?" said the andorian in front of her. He stepped forward casually. "Because they never tell me anything..." He completed the sentence by delivering a death blow to his interlocutor with the stunbludgeon. 

                              Crackling electric buzzing and the smell of charred flesh. 

                                        The andorian door-guard's body slammed back against the cell door and several of her teeth exploded out of her mouth from the massive electric shock delivered by the stunbludgeon at full power. 



The andorian carrying the stunbludgeon surged into the cell and Jarrong could hear screaming from within as at least two more people were dealt fatal electric shocks.



Jarrong's heart sank as two more andorians came quickly from the other end of the hall, phasers drawn. More people were behind them. She closed her eyes and sagged against the freezing wall of the tunnel, barely managing to keep from dropping Tolon.


As if in a dream, she heard a voice say, "Let me have the bajoran, little sister."


Jarrong finally gave into some fantastic dream in which a very large cardassian was gently taking Ensign Tolon from her failing arms. In her dream, Belo Rys took her arm and helped her move forward down the hall. A giant cardassian lumbered in front of her, carrying Tolon. Or was it Pep who was carrying Tolon? 


It had to be Pep. For some reason he was about a half-foot shorter and had cardassian neck ridges. But if a giant cardassian could rescue her and take her half-bajoran commanding officer from her arms, Pep could grow neck ridges. And be a little shorter.


Just ahead of cardassian Pep, another man was carrying another person. Bare legs and feet dangling from his left arm. A head rolling back and forth on his right arm. A cascade of impossibly fine, black hair. So black that it had a blue shine to it.


13.13

Episode 13.14 - The Assault on th'Istel by Robert Bruce Scott
Author's Notes:

2nd Lt. T'Lon leads a rescue mission to recover her crewmates...

Star Trek Hunter
Episode 13: The 15,000 Cities of Cun Ling

Scene 14: The Assault on th'Istel


13.14

The Assault on th’Istel


Commander Oshreb Sav had sent a small contingent of his Imperial Guard forces to the South Pole of Cun Ling to dig for th’Istel, but he had little expectation they would find anything. With eleven squadrons of Imperial Guard Spelunkers at his command, he had troops to spare and the mission might at least divert some attention. 


Sav had no intention of sending a squadron of the Andorian Imperial Guard to go digging under Santa’s Workshop on the North Pole, rumors of reverse writing or no rumors. He had received information from more than one source that an Andoria First stronghold was being built deep in the Trantor Underground, near the north end of the city. 


The more reliable of these sources, the Trantor Police Intelligence Division, had agreed after negotiations between Sav and Trantor’s Mayor, Harry Issacs, to a three-pronged strategy. To put this strategy together, Commander Sav called a meeting with the key players in the north underground Trantor Police precinct. The squad room was cleared out to serve as their field operation headquarters.


Commander David Pepper had beamed into the precinct to coordinate on behalf of Star Fleet. Special Agent in Charge Johnny Canada represented the Blue Helmets (Trantor Police Uniform Division). Commander Oshreb Sav represented the Andorian Imperial Guard. The three of them remained in the precinct to coordinate their respective forces. Maps provided by Dih Strangent, Flight Specialist Dih Terri’s father, a director in the Trantor Mining Consortium, were spread out in front of them. Dih Terri remained with Pep to help interpret the maps, which were insanely detailed.


One of the details on the map turned out to be the Trantor City limits. 


Markers on the maps denoted the positions of the AIG, the Trantor Blue Helmets and T’Lon’s small response team, which, at Investigator Shran’s recommendation, now included Lt. Napoleon Boles.

It turned out that T’Lon’s team was not in Trantor anymore, but was in the City of th’Istel, which had been established nearly 300 years previously as an Andorian colony, giving primary jurisdiction to the Andorian Imperial Guard. A hastily devised plan allowed for T’Lon’s team, already in place, to infiltrate th’Istel backed by the AIG while the Trantor Police would prevent any Andoria First separatists from escaping into Trantor City limits.



Predictably, the plan went awry.



T’Lon’s team was supposed to enter the catacombs at the lowest level of th’Istel in secret, but someone had tipped off the Andoria First group about the impending attack and T’Lon and her group were surrounded by armed andorians and had to take cover. 


They were in a large open underground cavern with pillars of various sizes at irregular intervals holding up the ceiling. Lanterns high above provided dim, general lighting. Tabletops had been carved around these pillars at chest height for andorian use - since andorians rarely used chairs. 2nd Lt. T’Lon, Lt. Napoleon Boles, Investigators Lynhart Shran and Buttans Ngumbo, Flight Engineer Thomas Hobbs, Midshipman Tammy Brazil and Agent Anana Lynarr of the Trantor Police Intelligence Division ducked and found themselves back to back dodging among a group of large pillars to avoid phaser blasts from the separatists.


Adding Dr. Boles to the team proved fortunate as he was nearly as good with a phaser as Shran. Using a pencil thin beam that left tiny scorch marks on the granite and marble pillars but burned clothing and flesh, causing non-lethal, but agonizing pain, Boles laid out a continuous web of phaser fire that incapacitated a few andorians and kept others ducking behind pillars to avoid getting burned. Flight Engineer Thomas Hobbs, although he took more time to draw a bead, turned out to be a fair shot with a phaser as well. 



As soon as the first shots were fired, Commander Sav committed his forces, producing a storm of phaser fire that relieved the pressure from T’Lon’s team. 


“Disengage and head toward the catacombs,” T’Lon ordered. Boles was slow to respond, so she enforced the order by slugging him hard on his upper arm. Although he outranked her, he had agreed to come on the mission under the condition that it was her mission. 


A broad area of steps led down to a large opening. Before T’lon’s group could enter, phaser fire came lacing out. One beam cut a broad mark into T’Lon’s cheek, and sliced through her ear on its way up, where it cut into Midshipman Tammy Brazil’s chest. 


T’Lon shook her head, releasing a spray of green blood, then headed down the stairs toward the wall next to the opening. Brazil screamed in agony and crashed to the floor. Dr. Boles slung his phaser and lifted her effortlessly, carrying her down the stairs and against the wall. Boles was carrying a medkit and quickly began treating Brazil’s wound. He ripped her uniform away from her chest. Her right breast had been sliced nearly in half. Boles quickly reconfigured a dermal regenerator, hooking it into his phaser and began treating her breast with what appeared to be a phaser beam. “Emergency medical beamout! Boles, Brazil!” A moment later, they vanished. 



T’Lon grasped Thomas Hobbs’ arm to stop him from firing into the catacombs. “NO SHOOTING BLIND!! They may be using our people as shields!” With a quick hand sign she ordered her team to line up on either side of the opening. While no more phaser beams were coming out of the hole, weapons fire could be heard inside. T’Lon brought out her tricorder and held it out into the opening, then brought it back and studied the readings. 


“Shran, Hobbs, Lynarr, guard the opening, watch our flank. Buttans, with me. Stay close to the wall.”



Within a few minutes the fighting died down as Commander Sav’s units easily overpowered and outgunned the Andoria First group. Commander Sav, Pep and Johnny Canada came forward from the precinct to view the carnage. The Andorian Imperial Guard, unlike their Star Fleet and Trantor Police counterparts, did not hesitate to use deadly force. Nearly fifty andorians in various civilian clothing, most dressed as either mining engineers or support workers, lay dead or wounded in the broad underground courtyard where the battle had taken place. 



After a number of Imperial Guard Spelunkers had cleared the area of any potential threats and removed the wounded for treatment, Pep, Sav and Canada approached the entrance to the catacombs where Lynarr, Shran and Hobbs were standing guard. Almost at that moment, T’Lon and Buttans emerged from the entrance to the catacombs, followed by two andorians and a cardassian. T’Lon’s face was bleeding and the top half of her right earlobe was missing.



Then a large cardassian emerged, carrying Ensign Tolon Reeves, who was barely conscious and moaning incoherently. Belo Garr and Belo Rys followed, supporting Jarrong between them. Jarrong could barely walk. She was shivering and evidently suffering from hypothermic shock. 



Then, flanked by two more andorians, came Federation Councilmember Emory Ivonovic, tears in his eyes, streaming down his face. The front of his simple, but flawlessly tailored gray suit was matted with blood. 



In his arms, Ivonovic carried the naked, dead and mutilated body of Flight Specialist Joey Chin.


13.14

Episode 13.15 - Requiem by Robert Bruce Scott
Author's Notes:

The Chin family and several other large families turn out for the funeral at Ba Sing Se...

Star Trek Hunter
Episode 13: The 15,000 Cities of Cun Ling

Scene 15: Requiem


13.15

Requiem


Ensign Tolon Reeves and Tactical Specialist Jarrong were both recuperating in Trantor General Hospital. Belo Rys, Belo Garr and Belo Cantys stayed with them. Because Lt. Tauk was restricted to shipboard duty, they insisted that 2nd Lt. T’Lon attend the funeral to represent the Ground Operations Department.


The U.S.S. Hunter’s transporter systems chief, Midshipman Tammy Brazil, was also recovering in Trantor General with Lt. Napoleon Boles in attendance. The Trantor doctors were fascinated with the field dressing Dr. Boles had applied that had made it possible for her breast to heal. From the shape of the wound, the doctors anticipated they would have needed to amputate.


There was no choice when it came to Ensign Tolon’s hand - his left arm had to be amputated just below the elbow. A prosthetic was created for him that looked completely natural, but he was warned that it would never be as sensitive or as controllable as a real hand. Because he was a hybrid, there was no chance that a compatible donor could be found and within two weeks of his nervous system adapting to the prosthetic, he would never be a candidate for a transplant.



Joey Chin’s body had been too mangled to display in state, to the dismay of his parents, brothers, sisters and many cousins who lived in Ba Sing Se. Following family tradition, which Joey had requested when he had entered basic training just under three years previously, his body was, following a thorough autopsy, pulped and the remains placed in a large, black planter along with a river willow sapling, to be planted along one of the many rivers that ran through the great Earth Kingdom city.



Justice Minerva Irons presented the eulogy jointly with the U.S.S. Hunter’s Director of Flight Operations, Lt. Cmdr. Kenny Dolphin. Given the gravity of the events and the large number of dignitaries in attendance, there was no hope of this funeral being an intimate affair. Nearly 6,000 people, including the majority of the Irons, Chin, Lin, Smart, Young, Li and Wu families filled one of the courtyards of Ba Sing Se’s Imperial Palace. The Dai Li were out in force; well over 500 Dai Li agents were visible among the crowd with several more out of uniform, providing covert security.


Along with Joey Chin’s immediate family and the U.S.S. Hunter’s entire Flight Operations Department and several other crew members in the front row, Commander Oshreb Sav, Seiv th’Stavin (a distant cousin of Emperor Sin IV), Ba Sing Se’s Mayor Chris Young, Trantor’s Mayor Harry Issacs, and Federation Councilmember Emory Ivonovic were among the most prominent dignitaries. 



“I could lie to you. I could tell you that Flight Specialist Joey Chin gave his life heroically in the line of duty.” The communicator embedded in Justice Irons’ chest was connected to the public address system, bringing her voice clearly to the thousands of people in the courtyard and a far larger audience scattered throughout Trantor and across Cun Ling who were watching this event live on their viewscreens. 


“But Joey was not on duty. He was on leave and wearing civilian clothing. Just another tourist walking into a pub in Trantor. One of millions of tourists walking into any one of thousands of pubs in Trantor. He was kidnapped, along with his crewmates because they served on the U.S.S. Hunter, which has seen action against a separatist movement identifying themselves as Andoria First.


“Joey was kidnapped, tormented and eventually tortured to death to satisfy a grudge. This is what happens when terrorists attempt to supplant the rule of law with the more ancient rule of personal honor. Endless cycles of revenge. Savagery. We will not meet savagery with savagery, but with justice. However, when the many members of Andoria First who have been arrested are brought to trial, I cannot sit in judgement. I am touched too closely by their crime.


“To Joey’s family, please understand that I know what it is to lose a son in Star Fleet. I have lost three children in the service of Star Fleet and two of my grandchildren and two great grandchildren as well. And Joey was in battle - a battle for his life and for the lives of his four crewmates. None of his crewmates would have survived without him. Although Joey was a combat pilot, it was not his combat skills that saved his crewmates' lives. It was his warmth and his kindness that saved their lives and gave them the strength to hold on just a little longer and he will be greatly and bitterly missed.


“Flight Specialist Joey Chin was a member of the U.S.S. Hunter’s Flight Operations Department. I have asked my Flight Operations Department Director, Lieutenant Commander Kenneth Dolphin, to speak about Joey. Kenneth?”



Kenny Dolphin had been standing next to and a half step behind Justice Irons on her left side. He took one step forward and to the left. His internal communicator connected into the public address system, creating an ambient breath.


“Today is Joey Chin’s 21st birthday. We had planned a party. A little over a week ago, along with another pilot, Joey conducted a flawless first strike against a facility, destroying vital infrastructure to a private residence. In that attack we confirmed that four andorians were killed. Four out of an entire facility population of 167. Our telemetry shows that the only people killed in that strike were those unfortunate enough to be in the vital systems we needed to take out at the moment of our attack. As a direct result of that flawlessly conducted strike, three young andorian girls who had been held at that facility against their wills and at threat to their lives were rescued - by the very crewmembers that Joey saved only a few days ago.


“Sometimes fighter pilots are portrayed as romantic heroes. Sometimes as heartless killers. Joey became a fighter pilot because he just wanted that feeling of flight. He loved to fly solo. But Joey was in the business of saving lives. And his primary tool was a Star Fleet Interceptor. Over the past few days, he saved the lives of his crewmates with his kindness, his warmth and his gentleness. 


“The Flight Operations Department will remember a trusted wingman. The Ground Operations Department will remember a kind, gentle and beautiful young man. I will remember the young man I occasionally caught discussing romantic poetry with a small circle of friends on our crew. And now I am faced with the unenviable task of finding another pilot to take the place of a young man who cannot be replaced.”



As Dolphin was speaking, he noticed 2nd Lt. T’Lon, Dr. Tali Shae, and Commander David Pepper getting up from the front row and trying to exit as discretely as they could. Which, given Pep’s enormous size, was completely impossible. Out of the corner of his eye, Dolphin could see them hurrying across the courtyard, then being beamed out.



After the ceremony, Dolphin found himself speaking with Emory Ivonovic, who introduced him to Seiv th’Stavin, who had accompanied Ivonovic into the caverns to rescue the Hunter’s crew. “Siev was the one with connections to the Andorian Naturalborn Coalition,” Ivonovic was saying. “Many of their members had become increasingly uncomfortable with Andoria First and the separatists. They were the ones who told us where to look and convinced some of the guards to defect and give us access…”


A clearly distraught woman elbowed her way into the conversation. “I recognize you! You’re that horrible man who hates hybrids! Why are you here? What gives you the right?”


Dolphin found himself responding: “Councilmember Ivonovic rescued our crew from Andoria First. He carried Joey’s body out…”


“I have five daughters,” Ivonovic said, “and for the past two and a half years, that young man put his life on the line to protect my daughters. I only wish I could have gotten...” Ivonovic swallowed hard, took a breath, grimaced… “I wish I could have gotten there sooner.. I wish I could have brought him out alive…”


- * -


“His babies!!!” wailed Cantys. She collapsed into Dr. Tali Shae’s arms. They were in the small surgery behind the Hunter’s medical office. “I’m carrying his babies!! He’ll never see his babies!!” She buried her face into Tali’s chest, and wailed, her tiny body wracked with uncontrollable grief. 


Tali held the Hunter’s youngest crewmember tightly, stroked her hair. “I know baby. I know,” she whispered, her voice cracking, unable to talk, her antennae curling, emphasizing the grimace of grief on her face.



A few feet away, Dr. Jazz Sam Sinder was talking with Pep and T’Lon. Buttans Ngumbo was nearby.


“It was really only a matter of time. We performed four surgeries since he arrived. His circulatory system was unique. Andorians and humans really aren’t very compatible. It’s a wonder his heart ever worked at all. There was never a chance of finding a compatible donor and for the same reason, the chances of a prosthetic working for him were… unacceptable. So we just repaired it as best we could. This time it just… pretty much… just… fell apart. We had him on the table and open within three minutes, but there just… wasn’t anything I could do…”


“You did your best, Sam,” said Pep, laying an enormous hand on the bajoran doctor’s shoulder. “You kept him alive this long. You gave him years he wouldn’t have had without you.”



T’Lon’s face had turned a bit pale, causing the dark green scar on her right cheek to stand out more. She had unconsciously brushed her hair back, revealing her ears - the top half of her right earlobe had been cut off by a phaser blast only days before during the assault on th’Istel. 


Buttans Ngumbo stood across from her, a blank expression on his face. Registering only shock.



On the surgery table between them, chest sewn back up, eyes closed, oddly large antennae finally motionless, lay the body of Investigator Lynhart Shran.


13.15

End Notes:

Character:                        Siev th’Stavin
Human Ethnicity:             N/A
Additional Species:         Andorian
Hometown/Homeworld:  Tarsk, Andoria
Introduced: Episode        13.15
Age when introduced:      22
Role:                                Bureaucrat, Cousin to Emperor Sin IV

Episode 13.16 - Imperial Script by Robert Bruce Scott
Author's Notes:

Federation Councilmember Emory Ivonovic receives a cryptic message from Emperor Sin IV of Andoria...

This is the final scene for Episode 13. The story continues in STAR TREK HUNTER - PART FIVE OF NINE (Episodes 14 - 16).

Star Trek Hunter
Episode 13: The 15,000 Cities of Cun Ling

Scene 16: Imperial Script


13.16

Imperial Script


Federation Councilmember Emory Ivonovic had received a cryptic message from Emperor Sin IV. In the emperor’s own handwriting - sort of. It was actually a duplicate of an original. The original had been destroyed immediately after being coded as a replicator pattern. A small square of silk with a pair of symbols painted in ink. 



This pattern was sent from Andoria to Cun Ling via subspace radio. The signal was coded to Ivonovic’s Federation Council security access protocol. Ivonovic was slightly disconcerted that the andorian emperor had access to security protocols for Federation Councilmembers, but it was not unreasonable for such information to be provided to the head of state for a member government. 


Once Ivonovic entered his security access code and the small piece of silk with its unique ink lettering was recreated in the replicator in his stateroom, the replicator pattern was erased.



The emperor had painted only two symbols on the square of silk, but it took Ivonovic hours to determine what they meant. He was not about to ask anyone for help or even enter the symbols into a computer, where his search might be traced. He was not taking any chances that might let on that he was in secret communication with the andorian emperor.


Fortunately, Trantor had several analog libraries - libraries with actual books. After several hours digging around in the stacks near the top floor of the Trantor Metropolitan Library, Ivonovic was finally able to track down the top symbol in a book about antique andorian languages. The message had been written in Lak, a dead language.



The top symbol translated roughly to an imperative: “Remain.”



Ivonovic searched through dozens of books for the bottom symbol without luck. He sat, staring at it, then slapped his forehead – hard – when he realized the bottom symbol was identical to the top symbol - only reversed. Another twenty minutes of research revealed that the ancient andorian military officers who used the Lak written language occasionally used reversed symbols to invert the meaning. 



Fully translated and put into context, the emperor’s message read:



“You stay there. I am coming.”


13 – The 15,000 Cities of Cun Ling

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