Chapter Notes: Lure...by Mick
“Captain Craddock,” said Kirk, finally breaking the silence. “Do you mind explaining to me just how exactly you arrived in the middle of my bridge?
Our story continues...
Robert Craddock’s eyes blinked for a moment, unsure of where he was. ‘The Draco,’ he first thought. ‘No that can’t be,’ was his next thought as he scanned the pairs of eyes looking back at him.
Captain James Tiberius Kirk was getting restless as he asked again, “Craddock, how the hell did you end up in the middle of my bridge?”
Craddock took a moment to adjust to his surroundings before saying, “It’s difficult to explain.”
“Try me,” said Kirk.
He glanced down at the figurine he was still holding, and wrapped his fingers around it tighter. Craddock held it up so that Kirk could get a look at it. “It was caused by this,” he said. Captain Kirk reached for the figurine, but Craddock pulled it back, “It was entrusted to me by an old woman on the lone inhabited planet of this system; Mehjah'Loh. Trust me Kirk; I can not let it out of my sight.”
The captain of the Enterprise leaned back in his chair assessing the situation, and the man’s reluctance to let him hold the figurine, “Craddock, what is it?”
“It is,” said the freighter captain as he nodded his head, “There are forces at work here greater than any of us can imagine. This figurine called to me as my ship was burning. It looked like a child’s toy when the old woman gave it to me, but now I know it was so much more. In fact, moments ago when I found it again in my cargo hold, I grabbed it and was whisked away to a realm where time and space had no meaning. The being I met there took the form of my wife; my beloved Elizabeth.”
Kirk nodded in understanding, not sure if the man was drunk or not, but he continued to listen as he recalled that Craddock’s wife had died three years earlier. But then again, Kirk had seen some pretty strange things in his years as the captain if the Enterprise.
Craddock paused for a moment before saying, “This figurine represents beings, evil beings. These beings were imprisoned inside the depths of that world after they had fought a war with the people of the one that appeared to me. Elizabeth, rather the being I encountered, she tells me that this figurine is meant to control the spirits. She told me of another object, an amulet. She warned me that if anyone had the amulet, and figurine, they would control the evil force; the coil of spirits. Trust me Kirk, we can’t let that happen.”
“Captain,” said Mister Spock as gazed into his viewer at the Science station, “Sensors have detected a large explosion; I believe it is the planet Mr. Craddock is referring to. Mehjah'Loh, has been destroyed.”
Kirk’s expression turned to one of worry.
“Elizabeth, I mean the being I met aboard the Draco, told me this would happen if the coil of the spirits were released,” Craddock said with a forbearing voice, “everything she warned me about is coming true.”
“Fascinating,” Spock came back with, as Kirk looked back to his first officer for some kind of input.
Craddock then continued, “If these coils of spirits come within close proximity of this figurine they will become trapped. They will try to destroy it through any means possible.”
“Mr. Craddock; where is the amulet you refer to?” Spock asked Craddock.
Craddock closed his eyes, and he could still sence the presence of the non-corporeal being who had come to him in the form of his wife. She had answer. Craddock opened his eyes...
“According to the being, the holder of the amulet is a Romulan called Vormarl.”
“Spock,” said Kirk, pivoting in his chair again to face the science section, “what do we know of this Vormarl?”
“According to Starfleet Intelligence,” Spock said as he had immediately researched the name with the library computer upon hearing in, “he is ruthless Captain. He will do whatever is necessary to win at all costs. Six years ago, it was reported that he began to research mythological and spiritual means in hopes of giving the Romulus and advantage over us and the Klingons,” reported Spock as he read from his screen at the Science station. “Of course the Romulan Empire denies any affiliation with Vormarl, however, that could be subterfuge.”
“Those devils,” Scotty added quickly.
Kirk leaned back in his chair. He looked around before saying, “These mines; we know they are Romulan origin so it sounds like both us and the Klingons are being played.”
“I would agree,” said Spock.
“Keptin,” Scotty said, “these mines are not stationary in nature. They could have been programmed to swarm around any vessel leaving the system.”
“So Captain Kirk, you believe me don’t you?” asked Craddock.
Kirk shook his head, “It’s hard to believe, but your crew informs us that you stayed with your ship. We watched it blow up, and now you’re here long after it was destroyed. Someone, something, would have had to have gotten you off there somehow, and sent you back here.”
“A guardian angel,” said Robert Craddock, with a sound of affection in his voice.
“If ye ask me, it sounds like to me like the devil himself is at work here,” said Scotty as he got up from the Engineering station.
“It would sure seem that way,” said Kirk as he got up began to walk around the outer ring of the bridge. “Let’s rational this out; Captain Craddock you ordered the Draco here, and the Enterprise picks up your distress call. We get pulled in, as well as the Klingons, into what is no doubt a Romulan minefield.” Kirk continued to walk in front of the viewscreen before saying, “You somehow manage to get off your ship before it blows up, and yet you end up here saying the Romulans are involved.” Kirk stopped by the Science station and leaned over the railing, “Spock, start scanning the area, give me anything that could be a sign of Romulan activity. I need more than the name of a deranged Romulan as proof.”
Uhura jumped as she held her earpiece, “Captain, listen to this.” Kirk walked over to the Communications station and took the earpiece from her.
He listened for a moment as he said, “The Romulan, Vormarl, is trying to contact us on an open frequency. I want everyone on the bridge to hear this,” he added. “…on screen.” He motioned for Craddock to stand off to the side so that the Romulan could not see him.
The images of stars and the minefield were replaced by the stern look of a Romulan. His eyes were cold…very cold. But more importantly, he was wearing an amulet around his collar.
“Federation Starship,” Vormarl’s voice said, “I will detonate the minefield and destroy both you and the Klingons unless you follow my directions. I will arrive at your position in five of your minutes. Be prepared to transfer the figurine to me at that time, or you will be destroyed.”
The signal ended.
“This Vormarl has already deduced that we have the amulet,” Spock said to Kirk.
“Sir,” Sulu said from his helm post, “if the planet has been destroy, doesn’t that mean that the coil of spirits Mr. Craddock spoke of have been released?”
“Good point Lt. Sulu,” Kirk said, “I don’t think we want to be here when they or the Romulan arrive. Scotty,” Kirk said, as he looked over at the engineering station, “is there away we can detonate the minefield, and not damage either us or the Klingon ship?” asked Kirk.
“As far as I can tell, no,” said Scotty. He thought for a moment, “I cannae guarantee that either ship will survive there’s too many mines.”
“Can we equip a shuttle with a quantum beacon? We could lure both Vormarl, and these spirits, if they exist, away from the Enterprise, buying you more time to come up with a way to deal with the mines.” Kirk said.
“Aye sir, that can be done. It’ll take me twenty minutes,” said Scotty as he started to walk toward the Turbo-lift, “but we only have five, so it looks like I be doin’ya two miracles today.”
“Get started Scotty,” said Kirk with a knowing smile. Kirk walked over to Graddock. “Craddock, I’d like you to stay here on the Enterprise. You’ll be safer.”
Robert Craddock shook his head, “With all due respect Captain, from one starship commander to another, I’d like to go along. I feel somewhat responsible for all of this. I’d like to see it though to the end, and besides,”
Graddock said, "I have a guardian angel over my shoulder."
“I guess I can’t argue with that,” said Kirk, “are you injured. I can have our doctor patch you up before we leave.”
“No, I’m fine,” said Craddock.
Spock came over to Kirk.
“Captain,” Spock said, “logic would suggest that you remain aboard the Enterprise, due to our tactical situation with the minefield and the Klingons.”
Kirk was about to protest, but then again, he knew that Spock’s suggestion was the correct one. But he also knew his first officer, who was also his good friend, was no doubt trying to shield Kirk from the unknown danger of being the lure for the Romulan and the coil of spirits.
“Captain Kirk, we’re being hailed by the Klingons,” said Uhura.
“Go,” Kirk said to Spock, and then he watched the Vulcan and Graddock disappear behind the Turbo-lift doors. Kirk turned to face the main viewing screen. “On screen,” said Kirk as the image of the minefield changed to the bridge of a Klingon ship. Sitting in its command chair was the ships commander.
and coming soon...an all new star trek adventure..