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21

“All right, so what do you need from me?” Captain Michael Owens asked his counterpart and his half-Romulan tactical officer after he had agreed to assist them.

“We need to get off this station along with the rest of my team and the people we came here to bring back,” Michael said. “There is also an artifact Altee took from us we need to retrieve.”

The other man shook his head. “There is only so much I can do. I may have a strong mandate from Command but Altee has assembled half a fleet in this system which answers to him. If we attempt to get your people back by force, he’ll have reinforcements here within a moment’s notice.”

Leva turned to his commanding officer. “Sir, I believe our priority has to be to get off the station first.”

But Michael did not like what he was hearing. “I’m not willing to leave anybody behind, Commander.”

Leva quickly shook his head. “I don’t suggest we do, sir. Presumably, Captain Owens here has a ship in orbit. It should have more powerful sensors than the shuttle and I might be able to locate our people from there.”

“And how do you propose we beam out of here undetected?” The native Owens asked.

Leva offered a small smirk. “Same way as we beamed in.”

Michael nodded. “That could work.”

The other Owens looked confused but the other two quickly filled him in on the method they had employed to beam through the base’s shields without raising an alarm. After that, it was just a matter of explaining the process to the transporter operator onboard Captain Owens’ ship.

A few minutes later the two Owens’ and Leva materialized in Eagle’s transporter room.

Captain Owens immediately stepped down the platform to approach the operator. “Report? Any sign that our departure was detected.”

The young human officer behind the controls shook her head. “None that I can see, sir. There are no alerts or unusual activity on the base.”

He turned back towards his two guests. “That was quite a neat trick. I’ll have to remember that for the future.”

Michael in the meantime was taking a moment to absorb his new surroundings. Although transporter rooms on Starfleet ships and installations were fairly interchangeable, this one felt more familiar than most, being nearly identical to the ones found on his own ship. He didn’t recognize the young woman behind the transporter console, however, indicating to him that some things were bound to be different here.

“So, what’s next?” Captain Owens asked.

Leva stepped down from the platform as well and approached the console. “I should be able to scan for our people from here,” he said and moved behind the station, glancing at the woman operating it. “May I?”

She checked with her captain first, and when he gave her a nod, she stepped aside to let Leva take over. The two Owens’ joined him there.

“I’ve located the Niners by scanning for their subdermal transponders,” he said after working on the station for just a few moments.

Michael nodded, making a mental note to thank Star for suggesting to tag the entire away team in this manner. “Beam them up.”

Sensy, Violet, and One-Shot materialized on the platform shortly after. Their confusion of being whisked away suddenly lasted mere seconds and as soon as the team leader recognized Michael and Leva, he quickly bounded down the two steps of the transporter platform. “Sir?”

Michael indicated towards his double. “We were able to get some assistance from the locals. We are on his ship.”

Sensy nodded, seemingly not particularly disturbed by the presence of two Captain Owens’.

Michael was thankful for the man taking the news in stride since he didn’t have time to explain further. Instead, he turned back to Leva. “Get my father next.”

“Wait, your father?” Captain Owens said, sounding surprised

Michael nodded. “He is one of the people Altee took from my ship and we came here to recover.”

“Jonathan Owens?” the other man said.

Michael nodded again.

“My god,” he said, looking pensive for a moment. “My father died.”

“So did mine.”

Captain Owens shot his counterpart an odd look.

Michael quickly shook his head. “Long story. Suffice it to say for now that last time I saw him he was alive. Barely. We need to get him back and provide him with medical assistance as soon as possible.”

“I would very much like to see him again,” Captain Owens said. “Even if he isn’t really my father.”

Leva spoke up. “That might not be as easy,” he said while working the console.

Michael cast him a concerned look. “What is it?”

He shook his head even while his fingers kept dancing over the controls. “The admiral doesn’t have a transponder and I’m having a difficult time locating his signature. I think I may have located Jarik though. His Vulcan bio signs are more distinct.”

“I want my father, Commander,” he said, not just because Jon Owens was much more important to him, it was also quite clear that Jarik, his erstwhile Academy roommate and close friend, had betrayed them when he had allied himself with Altee. On a practical note, Jon Owens was far more vital for the mission to succeed since he was the only person who could use the Exhibitor.

Captain Owens tensed visibly. “Jarik is on that station?”

Michael wasn’t entirely sure why. “Yes, he was taken from my ship along with my father.”

His facial features hardened. “Jarik is a traitor.”

Michael nodded. “Yes, he appears to work with Altee now,” he said, not immediately realizing that it hadn’t been a question.

“He worked with Star and was complicit in killing my brother.”

Michael exchanged a worried look with Leva before he considered his agitated double again. “You speak of Jarik from your universe. This man traveled with us from our reality. Although it does appear that his duplicitous nature is disturbingly consistent.”

“Beam him up,” Captain Owens said sharply.

“According to sensors, he is not alone. Transporting him now would raise alarms,” said Leva.

“I don’t care. Bring him in.”

Michael put a hand on his counterpart’s arm, making sure to speak softly when he addressed him. “Captain, this is not the same man you know. He is from a different universe like the rest of us. And we cannot risk getting him until we’ve found my father and the artifact Altee took.”

The look that greeted him in the other man’s eyes seemed empty and Michael couldn’t be entirely sure that he had gotten through to him.

The sudden wailing of the red alert klaxons refocused everybody’s attention and Michael immediately feared that their efforts had been detected.

But Leva shook his head, apparently sensing his concern. “I don’t think it’s us,” he said quickly as he checked the board.

Captain Owens tapped his combadge. “Owens to bridge. Report.”

“Sir, sensors have just picked up an incoming Guardian fleet. They’ll reach the system in less than five minutes.”

Michael couldn’t believe it. Amaya was making her move now. It was terrible timing.

“The rest of our ships in the system are beginning to rally to fend off the attack,” the officer on the bridge, who sounded eerily similar to Josè Carlos, Eagle’s deputy chief of security in Michael’s reality, continued to report. “We are being ordered to join their efforts.”

“We have to find my father and the artifact first,” Michael said. “We might be able to use this distraction to do it.”

Captain Owens pushed Leva aside and manned the transporter station himself.

“What are you doing?” Michael said

“I’m beaming Jarik aboard.”

“Wait, don’t.”

But it was too late; the man was already beginning to materialize on the transporter platform while Michael looked on with dismay.

Owens walked around the console and moved towards the transporter platform as if to welcome his newest guest.

Jarik looked significantly more disorientated than the Niners had when they had been beamed aboard abruptly moments earlier. “What’s happening?” he said, looking around with a befuddled expression on his face which betrayed the human part of his ancestry. “What is this?”

“You’re on Eagle,” Captain Owens said as he stepped up to the platform. “Welcome aboard, you son of a bitch,” he said and then without slowing down, cocked his fist and downed the unprepared man with one blow to his chin.

Michael couldn’t deny a small sense of satisfaction at seeing the man who had betrayed him more than once go down in a heap. The gratification was fleeting and he quickly whipped back around towards Leva who had once more taken the transporter console.

The tactical officer already knew the question and had an answer ready. “They know he’s gone,” he said before he made eye contact with Michael. “And they know we have him. They are on full alert and have altered their shield harmonics.” He shook his head sadly. “I can no longer get a lock on anything on that base.”


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