Last time, D’Magio was telling the thrilling tale of how she lost her tail. T’Chall joined in as she described how the U.S.S. Ocelot aided the crew of the Panthera.
The story was bold and well told, as both T’Chall and D’magio took turns giving details of the fire fight in the shuttlebay, the daring escape on two shuttles, and finally the pitched battle the Ocelot and Panthera had with two Jem’Hadar battle cruisers. Once it was complete, the gathered crowd clapped for a story well told and well described.
The time was growing short, however, and Flintlock needed to push off and continue on her journey. She couldn’t leave these two alone, they had no clue of the dangers out in the world. And she did promise to guide them to Rata Sum. “We’d best get going if we want daylight when we reach Holebrak,” she said as she approached the pair.
“I thought we were going to be traveling to some place called Tata Zoom,” D’Magio stated as she began gathering her things.
“I think it was called Rata Sum,” T’Chall corrected her. “But still, the point stands.”
“We’ve got a long way to walk,” Flintlock explained. “Rata Sum is about a three or four day journey from here by foot. But we can cut that down by taking the Asuran gateway from Hoelbrak to Lion’s Arch, and then onto Rata Sum. We’ll need to stop at Hoelbrak for the night, however.”
“Walking,” D’Magio said with a sigh. “Sometimes one forgets what it’s like when you’ve the ability to warp from one star system to the next in a matter of hours.”
“It’ll do us good,” T’Chall said as she hung her Bat’Leth over her shoulder. “I just hope everything is going well back on my ship.”
The Ocelot and Panthera were nearly nose to nose, as the first officers of each ship were trying to figure out just where their captains had gone. F’aat and S’Ril had been arguing heavily over the view screens for several minutes, and several times there had almost been an order to launch torpedoes.
But there was one thing that did stop them.
Sensor officers on both ships interrupted their first officers’ argument as a ship warped into the system. It was an Intrepid Class vessel, not a tactical vessel like the Ocelot or the Panthera, but the crews of both those ships recognized the name and configuration. The U.S.S. Battleford, commanded by Admiral S’rassi Turak, a Caitian science officer who had traveled up the ranks very quickly. Hails were sent out to both the Ocelot and the Panthera as quickly as possible with one message.
“I want the commanding officers and first officers of both ships in my ready room now! Do I make myself clear?”
The communication was ended just as quickly as it began. There was sudden silence on the bridges of both ships. On the Ocelot, F’aat called for chief engineer H’Rill. And on the Panthera, S’Ril called for H’Radda. Both ships had dealt with the Battleford before. For good reason; Admiral S’Rassi was one of a very few Admirals who still had command of a starship. For the most part, she oversaw scientific missions, but every so often she handled tactical orders as well.
There was another reason, though. S’Rassi was T’Chall’s aunt. And S’Rassi was D’Magio’s mother. The fact D’Magio was half Ferasan and half Caitian was not something that was spread easily. So it wasn’t surprising that there was a roar in S’Rassi’s voice when she contacted each ship. It also wasn’t surprising that F’aat, S’Ril, H’Rill and H’Radda all marched into S’Rassi’s ready room without saying a word.
As the door closed behind them, S’Rassi sat down at her desk looking over a data pad. It was her usual demeanor when dealing with other ships under her regional command. Make them wait. But with these four, it was more than just officers she had to deal with, but it was also her children and her brother’s children. Finally, she set down her data pad and addressed the four.
“I see one of my daughters and my son,” she said as she leaned back in her chair and picked up her cup of Tarkalian tea. “And one of my nieces and my nephew. There’s one daughter and one niece missing. Where is you respective captains?” Both F’aat and S’Ril began to explain, but the prospect of voices talking over each other was not something S’Rassi wanted. She held up her hand to silence them, then pointed to S’Ril. “You. Start.”
One by one, they explained the situation. The Iconian gateway on a Borg vessel. Both captains beaming over after a short battle. The sudden disappearance of both captains from all sensors. An attempted rescue as the Borg cube began repairs. And finally, a heated argument between first officers.
“We have to assume that M’iia and S’Returru both went through the gateway,” S’Rassi said before taking a sip of her tea, then looked to F’aat and S’Ril. “I know your father Haror raised you to think before falling into childish arguments. And as for you, I raised you to deal with things objectively. Honestly, if you only had joined Starfleet…”
“Oh please, mother,” S’Rill said with a sigh. “We’ve had that conversation dozens of times before. It’s a moot point right now.”
“Yes, I know why,” S’Rassi replied as she rose to her feet. She was tall, maybe six foot seven. And she towered over the others in her ready room. “Be that as it may, we have a mission to perform. No offense to the capabilities of the Ocelot or the Panthera, but the Battleford is built for scientific missions. We’ll be using this vessel.”
“For what, if I might ask, Admiral?” F’aat inquired.
“I want you to oversee a mission to infiltrate the cube, and get to the gateway, Commander,” she said to F’aat. As S’Ril began to protest, S’Rassi held up a firm hand. “Don’t even start with me, daughter of mine. And get that smug look off your face, young lady.” That last she said to F’aat. “Reach the gateway, dismantle it and bring it back to the Battleford. Once that’s done, scuttle the Borg cube. Then we concentrate on getting your captains back.”