Star Trek Hunter
Episode 21: The Enemy of My Enemy
Scene 13: Dolphin Hunting
“So where do we start to look for Commander Kenneth Dolphin?”
Justice Minerva Irons had convened a strategy session in the executive conference room. She was still weak from her recent stroke and in pain from her cracked ribs. Her acting first officer, Dr. Tali Shae, and acting second officer, Lt. Napoleon Boles, were present along with Flight Operations Director, Lt. Gaia Gamor, her assistant director, 2nd Lt. Ethan Phillips, navigators Johanna Imex and Eli Strahl, Ensign Chelna Zusa, and the pilots: Dewayne Guth, Thyssi zh’Qaoleq, Winnifreid Salazaar and Dih Terri.
“According to our telemetry,” started Navigator Strahl, “if he was not at rendezvous point #1, he must have been close to it when the beacon transmitted.”
“Which he knows will attract the romulans,” continued Lt. Gamor, “so we can rule out RP#1 – that’s pretty much the last place we would find him. If we go there, we will be warping into a hornet’s nest of romulan warbirds.”
“Why not RP#2 then?” asked 2nd Lt. Phillips.
“Because he knows when the second transmission will occur, but he does not know when we will be able to meet him,” Gamor answered. “We are assuming he has Mlady and that she has re-entered hibernation?”
Dr. Tali Shae nodded, her antennae almost comically moving in opposition to her head movement, creating the effect of the top of her antennae remaining in the same location. “As soon as she has fed, she will re-enter hibernation until she is reunited with us. Unfortunately, that means that Pep is not with her. If he were, she would not need to hibernate.”
“Do you think that means that Pep is… That he didn’t make it?” asked Gamor.
“All that we know that it means is that he didn’t make it back onboard the tactical unit,” said Irons. “Beyond that, we should avoid speculation and stick with what the evidence indicates. David is not with Lieutenant Commander Mlady. That is a reasonable assumption.”
“If I know Kenny,” Gamor said, “he will want to throw the romulans off our trail, which means he is likely to avoid a rendezvous until after the third beacon transmission.”
“Dolphin has an orderly mind,” Boles observed. “He is likely to use the five established rendezvous points to simultaneously confound the romulans and communicate with us. Assume, for the moment, that he waits at any of the four remaining rendezvous points until the second transmission, will we be able to determine which of those points he is at when the beacon issues the second transmission?”
“Easily,” Gamor responded.
“Okay,” Boles continued, “Now assume the romulans are somewhere near RP#1. Are the other four points far enough from RP#1 that the romulans would not be able to determine where the second transmission was coming from?”
“That is a much harder question,” said Navigator Johanna Imex. “It depends in part on how accurate their sensory equipment is..”
“Assume it is as good as the best Star Fleet has,” Boles prompted.
“That would get them fairly close,” Imex replied, “but it would still take them awhile to get there – even to RP#4, which would be the closest to RP#1. I think I see what you’re getting at, though. We could project, mathematically, how much time it would take for the romulans to get from one rendezvous point to another, which means he could, or at least Lieutenant Commander Tauk could. We could then project a course of action that would keep the romulans at the maximum distance from him, which would result in him waiting for us at the remaining point that would be farthest from the romulans…”
“You’re thinking like a navigator,” Boles said. “Commander Dolphin is a fighter pilot. He’s going to approach this problem differently – the way a fighter pilot would.”
Flight Specialist Dih Terri said, “Kenny really respects Tauk – he would listen to any plan Tauk comes up with.”
Lt. Napoleon Boles looked down.
Dr. Tali Shae shook her head – her antennae moving the opposite direction. “Lieutenant Commander Tauk won’t be coming up with any plans.”
Everyone in the room looked at her with the exception of Napoleon Boles.
Tali took a breath, then continued. “This was Tauk’s last mission. He knew he didn’t have long to live. Even if he is still alive, and I sincerely doubt that he is, he would probably be unable to do anything at this point but sedate himself against the pain. He wouldn’t be able to think clearly enough to come up with a plan and Dolphin wouldn’t ask him to.”
Napoleon Boles did not look up. “You should tell them the truth, Tali,” he said, quietly. “They need time to accept it.” He looked at her. “Assuming we get Mlady back, everyone needs time to accept it.”
Tali looked down, her face a mask of grief. She took a ragged breath. Looked at Napoleon’s blue hands – then back at her own – a much lighter shade of blue. “You tell them, Boles,” she managed.
Napoleon Boles ran a blue hand over his dark blue scalp, squeezed the back of his own neck. Took a deep breath. Everyone except Tali was looking at him expectantly. “Lieutenant Commander Tauk went on this mission to save Mlady. She would have needed to consume all of his blood, his heart and probably more on coming out of hibernation. The fact that she has re-entered hibernation and triggered the beacon again strongly indicates Tauk was successful in his mission. This was his mission. His plan. His idea. He came to me and Tali with it. I don’t think I can adequately explain to you just how much pain that little ferengi was in. If she took his life, it was a mercy – a mercy he went out there to find.”
Chief Flight Specialist Dewayne Guth spoke up: “Did he know? Kenny – did he know?”
“I don’t think so,” said Boles. “He trusted Tauk. He took Tauk’s plan on faith because Tauk asked him to.”
“He’s going to think like a Star Fleet Captain, not a fighter pilot,” said Thyssi zh’Qaoleq.
All eyes turned toward the ship’s newest pilot. Tali looked up at her fellow andorian.
Thyssi’s right antenna stretched up first, then her left. “Kenny Dolphin – he’s going to think about this ship, not just the tactical unit. His goal will be to put the romulans as far off our trail as possible. We want to go home. RP#4 is the closest of the five points to Federation space. He will try to put the romulans as far from RP#4 as he can, then meet us there. That means he should go to RP#3 and stay there until the 2nd signal, then RP#2 to wait to broadcast the 3rd signal. If he goes to those two in that order, which we should be able to verify from telemetry, then he will be signaling us he plans to meet us at RP#4. We should wait at RP#5 until we can verify what he is doing.”
“And what if he is waiting for us at RP#5 when we get there?” asked Ensign Chelna Zusa.
Justice Irons answered. “We reattach the tactical unit and hot-foot it home…”