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Wednesday, December 24, 2008

An Enemy from the Dark. Chapter 1

Hello Troops,
This is the start of a story that could end up being much larger if I have an interest to continue it. I enjoyed writing our school mission 'The Children of
Perikoi'. I enjoy telling it even more. I've wanted to continue the story and did once several summers ago. The mission was told in the Galileo. It was OK but not what it should have been. I blame myself for that. Not everything you write is good. This is another attempt at a continuation of Perikoi using our own staff and volunteers as characters. Let me know if you find it interesting enough to continue.
Mr. Williamson

December 21, 2321
23:00 Hours
McAuliffe Station, Earth Orbit.

The McAuliffe Station’s Lounge was located on deck 12 near the Officer's Quarters. Large polished wooden doors separated it from the hallway. Each door had a normal sized port hole with the station’s logo etched in the glass. The hallway ended at the Lounge. Walking straight out from the lounge the hallway passed several officer’s quarters, two turbolift elevators and a small convenience shop run by the Station’s Commissary. The hallway ended on the opposite side at the entrance to the Station’s Command Training Office. This is where the Command Staff and instructors of the training facility had their offices and conference rooms. The hallway was carpeted in a speckled blue carpet. LED lights were embedded in the carpet showing the numbers of the rooms. The hallway was futuristic in design with soft lighting directed at the wall every six feet.
It was 23:00 hours and the Station’s Christmas party was in full force. The party’s noise bled out into the hallway each time the doors slid open. The noise didn’t matter . There was no one to disturb. The station’s staff and employees were all at the party. A large Christmas Tree stood on the opposite side of the room from the door. It was decorated in holographic ornaments that changed design to match the beat of the music playing in the room. False Flame took the place of lights. The tree was topped with a two hundred year old star brought to the station by the station commander’s wife. Everyone commented on what a fine tree it was.
The people in the room were divided not by design but by choice. The Starfleet Officers occupied one end of the room. They ran the day to day military operations of the Station. The educational staff were found on the other end of the room. They ran the Command Training Academy (CTA). The CTA was a special military boarding school for gifted teenagers wishing a career as command officers in Starfleet. After graduation most CTA students attend Starfleet Academy in San Francisco. Their time in the CTA always placed them well ahead of their classmates. This made entrance into the CTA very competitive. Most of the academy’s students were on home leave for the holiday. The few that remained were looked after by the house Prefects of each Form.
The Lounge doors slid open. Commander Williamson, the director of the CTA entered the room. He was fashionably late. He looked around and noticed the demarcation line between the two camps. He moved toward the largest grouping of his staff.
“Hello Sir and Merry Christmas,” Lt. Stacy said. She was the first to see the Commander. The others in her group stopped talking in mid sentence and extended their holiday greetings .
“I see you’re all having a good time,” Williamson said. He glanced around and noticed the absence of his senior officers. “Where are the old timers?” he asked.
“There were sitting at that far table. They’re gone now,” replied Lt. BJ Warner.
“I see that BJ. Anyone have an idea where they disappeared to?” Williamson questioned.
“Not a clue,” Lt. Emily Perry chimed in as she danced rhythmically in a circle to some upbeat carol. She had a drink in her hand. Some of it spilled onto the carpet. Williamson reached out, took the cup and smelled its contents. “I don’t drink Commander,” She replied curtly while taking back the drink. “Besides alcohol is banned on this base so we make due with what ‘s available - we are drunk with joy!” she exclaimed as she picked up her prancing.
“You younglings have fun. I’ll just back away before I get hurt.” Williamson moved from the table and did another glance around the room looking for people closer to his age. His senior staff were nowhere to be found. As he turned toward the door he caught the eye of the station’s commander. The commander gave Williamson a polite nod. Williamson returned the nod and the pleasantries were finished. The Admiral was a fantastic and well organized officer. His station was one of the best run in the Fleet. He was proud of what he accomplished but he did disagree with the Fleet’s decision to place the Command Training Academy in his station. It was just something else on his plate even though the school was, for the most part, self sustaining.
Williamson picked up a cranberry juice from the bar in one hand. His other hand dove into a bowl of yogurt covered pretzels . He walked out of the lounge. The hallway grew quiet as the doors closed behind him. He walked slowly toward the turolift elevators. He had a good idea where his friends were hiding.
The lift opened as he approached. He stepped in. The doors closed.
“Destination?” the female computer voice asked. He thought for a moment. Where would they be. He knew they were going to the party so they are together somewhere. He wanted to try a guess before taking the easy approach and asking the computer to locate them.
“Observation Deck,” he replied. The lift began moving upward and then sideways. Seconds later it resumed an upward journey. The lift stopped and opened on deck 3. In the doorway stood two of the Academy’s students, Midshipman Aland and Midshipman Merryweather. They stopped dead in their tracks upon seeing their Commander occupying the same lift they were waiting to enter. They were caught. They were suppose to be in their form’s common room enjoying their own party. Instead they were loose.
“Well, well, well..... what do we have here?” Williamson asked. Both boys jumped to attention. “Two cadets roaming the station without clearance. I do believe that is a violation of curfew. Please correct me if I’m wrong,” he asked. Neither of the boys spoke. Their gaze was unbroken on a spot on the wall.
“Sir, we were on our way....” Aland began speaking only to be cut off by the Commander.
“Not interested. Sorry. If I want to hear a fine piece of fiction I’ll go to the theater. Let’s see, what is playing tonight on the holoscreen? Yes, I believe it is ‘Caught in a Web of Lies’. No gentlemen - words would be a waste of breath at this point and we don’t want to overwork the oxygen generators.” Both boys squirmed every so slightly. Merryweather’s eyes rolled upward and then toward Aland. He knew it was pointless to explain a breech of curfew. He was surprised Aland had tried. “Gentlemen, you will take the next lift and go straight back to your dorm. You will report to your Prefect, explain what you were doing and then go straight to bed. You will bypass the party in your Common Room. Tomorrow we will sit down with your Prefect and decide on a suitable punishment. I don’t want to make such an important decision now. This is something that needs thought. You know what I say - the punishment must fit the crime. Now step back and you have my permission to breath.” The boys took one step back. The lift’s doors closed.
“Resume,” Williamson said and the lift began moving. Seconds later the doors opened again. Williamson stepped out onto a solid floor. The rest of the room appeared to be open space. He was right - there at one of three tables sat his senior officers. “I thought I’d find you in the Observation Deck,” he said moving toward the table.
“Too noisy in the Lounge,” Comm. Mark Daymont said. Sitting with him were five other senior officers. When they were alone they called each other by first names. On Mark’s left sat Aleta, Lorriane, and Sheila on his right sat Dave and Bill. The table was full of snacks all hand carried up from the party below.
“You’ve got the right idea,” Williamson said as he moved a chair out and sat down. “This view never gets old.”
“That’s why we came up here. Quiet talk and a great view,” Dave explained. The blue and white Earth nearly filled the sphere over their heads. Beyond was the star studded black of space. Their conversation wound it way through many topics. Time was spent on the students. They discussed the new simulations being prepared for the Fourth Form Cadets. Lt. Megan Warner, assisted by several of the younger instructors, was writing a complete military campaign involving several simulations to be told in three of the station's training ships.
Before long two hours had passed. It was late. They all agreed to call it a night. Suddenly an alarm sounded. The klaxon's pitch caused some in the party to cover their ears as it reverberated around the transparent ceiling of the Observation deck . The alarm stopped just as suddenly and was replaced by the voice of the Station’s Commander. “Alert Condition One. This is no drill. Alert Condition One. This is no drill,” his voice sounded firm and without panic.
“We are under attack?” Lorraine asked with a puzzled expression. Everyone in the room starting looking through the sphere into space. There were no ships. All seemed peaceful.
“Control,” Williamson said as he tapped the communicator pinned to his uniform. There was a slight pause before the call was answered.
“What can I do for you Commander?” the voice responded.
“Where is the attack?” Williamson asked.
“We’ve received word from Command that Farpoint Station has been destroyed,” the duty officer answered.
Farpoint Station?” Williamson was surprised by the answer. Farpoint Station was one one of the Federation’s furthest starbases. It would take two months to reach it at maximum warp. He wondered why the station was placed on battle alert if this attack occured so far from Earth.
“Farpoint was attacked by an alien race we only recently encountered,” the officer began answering his unasked question. “They use wormholes.” That statement made it clear.
Anyone able to use wormholes could strike anywhere.
“Who are they?” Williamson asked almost fearing the answer.
“I’m not sure what they call themselves but we encountered them at PCX2214. It is also referred to as Perikoi. Two of our ships engaged them there. We lost the Copernicus and they lost one of their ships. It appears they are back and in force.” The conversation ended. The room was still.
Everyone knew the implications of wormhole travel. The Federation was in danger from an enemy that could strike anywhere at any time.
“Well ladies and gentlemen, life is about to become very interesting.” Williamson said to the small gathering. “Let’s go to the Common Rooms and explain this to our cadets. I’m sure they are as concerned as we are.”
The group moved for the turbolift. The doors opened and closed leaving the quiet of space behind.
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