== Trenetor IV ==
= Suburb of the Capital City =
*Claryx completed the visit of the barn she had rented for the duration
of the shoreleave. Formerly a storage area for tools and hay, it had
been converted into a rudimentary bedroom, with just a bed and a
wardrobe, set so close together that the whole area felt
Claryx : *To herself, as she opens the only window, looking on rows upon
rows of fields.* Interior designers are probably as rare as gold on this
*Although simple, the view had its beauty, specially when one was so
used to the high-tech environment of a starship. No beeping or buzzing
noise, just the wind and a relentless sun. It was the ideal surrounding
if all you wanted was a bit of peace.
One could even raise a family here, far from the troubles of the galaxy.
Not that she would want to... After all, no place was ever safe.
Claryx's mind was being drawn to memories of the occupation of Betazed
by the Dominion forces, when a distant sound brought her back to
reality. The computer that she had left downstairs was cheerfully
announcing the reception of an incoming message.*
Claryx : *While running down the stairs.* If it's an invitation to join
a banquet with the city's officials and their clique, I swear that I'll
spend the rest of this shoreleave in sickbay, pretending I'm too sick to
*But when she sat down in front of the terminal, instead of the jovial
face of the Mayor, she saw the serious features of the ACSO.*
Gol'Khar : *With his usual loud voice.* +Will you be joining me tonight
at the Colonial Commerce Building? There is a ... *searching for the
english equivalent of the Klingon word he had in mind.* party, given in
honour of the delegate sent by the Klingon High Council.+
Claryx : *Discreetly turning down the volume of her computer.* I had
other things planned, Gol'Khar. *Seeing that he wasn't buying her
words.* You know very well that this kind of gathering isn't for me!
Gol'Khar : +But I have already told the delegate that you would be
Claryx : Well, since it's out of the question that you could have lied,
as it would damage your honour, tell him that I have changed my mind.
You can even insist on the fact that it's a Betazoid trait if you want.
Gol'Khar : +I will not lie, in any way! The delegate is a woman. And you
_will_ join me!+
Claryx : *Catching a red light, blinking at the left hand corner of the
screen, announcing another message.* Oh no, I won't!
Gol'Khar : *Looking behind him, to check that no one was around.* +P l e
a s e!+
Claryx : "Please" is no longer a magic word on Betazed. Listen,
Gol'Khar, in as much as I would like to torture you a bit more, I have
another communication on hold. I will come to your party, but I'll be as
sulky as hell, so you are forewarned!
Gol'Khar : *Big grin.* +Forewarned, and happy. The party starts at
20.00. I'll wait near the door for you.+
*Claryx smiled as she ended the communication, thinking he would look
like a mere bodyguard waiting outside like that. Then she took the
second call and an unknown face appeared. One that told Claryx that
troubles were on their way...
The woman on the screen, an Admiral from her uniform, and most certainly
in her sixties, had that fake smile she had seen many times on
instructors. The kind of expression that betrayed a hint of sadism as
they were about to reveal news they knew were going to upset the
Admiral (npc) : +Commander Vahl?+
Claryx : *Raising both eyebrows at the question. The message was after
all addressed to her via a private channel.* That's me, yes. You have me
at a disadvantage!
Admiral : +Admiral Tiral. I am here to announce that you have been
selected to participate in a special project. Data about the objectives
are being downloaded to your terminal as we speak. You are to get
familiar with this information and report to the SS Katara, a Betazed
merchant ship that will arrive on Trenetor IV in 5 days. Your Captain
has received a scripted message concerning your new assignment.+
Claryx : *Blinking nervously.* Betazed people don't do secret projects,
and, no disrespect intended, Admiral, but I already have an assignment,
that I don't intend to shorten.
Tiral : +Your reluctance is only natural, and I must say, typical of our
new recruits. Do not forget, however, that your career belongs to the
Federation. Your expertise, both as a telepath and an engineer is needed
on Darona, were you will be working with a team of experts that have
been specially selected.+
Claryx : *Still finding that all this sounded like a bad joke. Maybe she
should have Crewman Locke trace the origin and path of this
communication?* Darona is at the other end of the galaxy, it will take
Tiral : +Do not worry about transportation, Cmdr. It is not your field
of expertise. We are all more efficient when we limit ourselves to what
we know. The download is now complete. Bon voyage. Admiral Tiral out.+
*Claryx blinked again, almost unaware that the screen had turned black.
She could have probably stayed like that quite a while, lost in
contradictory thoughts, but her commbadge chirped.*
Crowley : +What the hell is happening, Claryx?!? I have just received
the weirdest message ever telling me that the Fleet has deemed necessary
to send you on a different assignment? Did you request a transfer?+
Claryx : I didn't Captain. I... I've just received the same message
myself, from an Admiral Tiral.
Crowley : *Checking the info still displayed on his screen.* +Yeah...
Coming source, Jarkana City, on Darona.+
Claryx : *Absent-mindedly.* That's the 6th planet ringing the Betazed
sun, Captain. Nothing much there except farms and a prison for the
mentally insane... I know they had some troubles over there before the
Crowley : +I'll tell you what, it's this whole thing that is insane!!
StarFleet Command has even sent me the regular red tape for the
nomination of a new First Officer!+
Claryx : *White voice.* Who will it be?
Crowley : +Am I the only one to be shocked, here, or what? For your
information, I haven't consulted them yet!.+
Claryx : *Biting her lower lip.* I need to spend some time alone,
Captain. Besides, seeing what appears on my screen, I have a huge load
of data to review...
Cmdr. Claryx Vahl
==Main Science Department==
Once again, during yet another of the Arizona's more
challenging periods, specialists from the science team
were aiding communications expert, Lt Archer, in
modifying a class six probe. This being more ideally
suited to the task expected of it, especially if they
were to relay a convincing message that appeared to
originate from Cardassia Prime.
Gol'Khar, Archer, Havet Storm and Angus McDuff(npc)
were huddled together over the now open casing of the
probe. The workbenches beside them were filled with a
bewildering array of components and tools, each part
ready to be put into place once the final decisions
were settled as to how they would mask the identity of
the probe itself.
"I want some ideas on making this as anonymous as
possible." *Gol'Khar said, looking at the faces around
him.* "We can't have any sign of its federation
origins, or this plan simply won't work."
"Firstly, sir. I think we should remove all traces of
its main sensing devices." *Storm suggested after some
consideration.* "After all, the probe shouldn't need
its whole complement just to run this errand."
"Yes, that's true!" *Archer agreed, noting the excess
payload.* "Also, I think that once it's completed its
task, we should make sure that it has some sort of
self destruction mechanism built into it?.
"Och aye!" *Angus said, adding,* "It will cut yon
message off suddenly, ye ken. Sort o' make it harder
for them Cardassians to get a triangulation and lock
on the source o' tha bonnie message o'oors." *Smiles.*
"You know... I like it!" *Replied Gol'Khar, thinking
carefully about the logistics of their proposals.*
"We'd best get working on it right now. The sooner we
can get this probe on its merry way, the better I'll
like it. *Frowns slightly.*
"We'll need some extra power to boost the
holo-emitter." *Archer said, thinking about the nebula
and how the signal would have to be strong enough to
penetrate it.* " I suggest an output ratio of five
point two to one should be adequate to allow for the
nebula's density, and for all the distortion that will
be encountered by our probe's signal."
Each of the team worked quickly and efficiently as
they stripped away all the non-essential parts,
replacing them with items required to let the probe to
carry out its deed. Archer prepared a device that
would send out recognised Cardassian emergency ID
codes at repeat intervals, just in order to make the
message appear more authentic. Whilst Storm took very
special care to fit a small shielded detonator
and explosives, making doubly sure that it was
powerful enough to destroy the probe completely, once
it became necessary.
Although the team worked in unison to complete their
jobs, each had their own thoughts about why they were
in this predicament in the first place. But no one
voiced their feelings openly, since there seemed
little point in trying to talk about something they
had little or no control over. The only sounds were
from material brushing against material, metal ringing
against metal and a good deal of sighing...
Lt Cmdr Gol'Khar