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Tuesday, September 7, 2010

You Wanted More of Adrian Stephens - You Got It. Thanks Aleta!

This story is just for fun. Any resemblance to the staff at the space center is intentional. Any resemblance to a real space center mission is your imagination.
Aleta Clegg


Personal Log 2: Adrian Stevens, Entry 9

Harken slipped behind Angie. “I don’t trust her. I think we should shoot her now.”

“We don’t trust you, either,” Turner said. “You were the one smuggling, the one who got us stuck here.”

“And Perry killed.” I wanted to see if she’d wince or if she really was as cold-blooded as a snake.

“Perry’s greed got her killed. She overplayed her hand.” Harken didn’t seem bothered.

Angie patted the bag slung over her shoulder. “Well, if y’all got a computer terminal, I can plug this in and control Delphi from here. We’re fairly safe, ain’t we?”

“You are currently in mortal danger,” Caligula said from his prone position on the floor. “Everything in this room is keyed to my touch.”

Angie crossed her arms. “The ship is shut down, ain’t nothing working.”

Caligula laughed.

Chills ran over my skin at the sound. “Rafael knows where you are and he wants you dead. How can you laugh?”

“Rafael has been trying to kill me for months. He has not succeeded yet.” Caligula flexed his skinny arms. The strips of t-shirt ripped to shreds. He sat, tearing the bindings from his legs. “And you will not succeed, either. Give me your weapon and I will let you live. For now.” He loomed over me, waiting.

I handed him the rifle. He looked like a ninety-pound weakling, but he was a cyborg.

“Adrian!” Harken planted her fists on her hips.

“I’m not stupid, Harken.”

“Your friend is correct,” Caligula said as he crossed the room. “She is only slightly stupid. If you assist me, perhaps I will consent to offering you a position on my ship. Or I can strand you somewhere Starfleet might find you. Eventually.”

“What do you want from us, Caligula?” I ignored the hand gestures from Harken. I wasn’t going to jump him while his back was turned. We already proved that only led to pain.

Caligula tapped a code into a wall panel. A computer interface slid from behind a panel. He stuck his finger into a port below it. His eyes crossed. Information flowed over the screen. He pulled his finger free.

“Vasha has locked herself on the bridge. Rafael and his men are attempting to cut through the doors. The rest of the crew has deserted in the shuttles. The Odyssey remains. The computer systems were so corrupted by Delphi that the ship no longer functions.”

“Why are you sharing, Caligula?”

He ignored my question. “You, Adrian, have a connection with Vasha. You will crawl through the air ducts to the bridge and convince her to surrender. The rest will accompany me.” He aimed the blast rifle at my head. “Don’t attempt to double-cross me or you will never leave the bridge alive. Go, now.”

I didn’t see I had much choice. I crawled into the narrow duct.

“Move, now.” Caligula ordered the others.

I lay in the duct, wondering if I dared crawl back out. I had no idea where the bridge was. I wondered if Caligula had thought of that.

The vent cover slammed into place. Caligula melted it with the blast rifle.

I had no choice now. He’d sealed the way back. I squirmed through the air ducts, looking for the bridge.

Personal Log 2: Adrian Stevens, Entry 10

I wiped dust and sweat from my face. My elbows ached from squirming through ducts barely large enough to let me through. I squinted through yet another vent.

Vasha slumped in the captain’s chair. The bridge looked too dark. Only one station showed anything on the screen. The power outage must have taken out most of the systems. Smoke leaked through the doors leading to the bridge.

I searched for a release on the vent cover. It was molded into the wall of the bridge. I muttered swear words. There had to be a way to get it open.

Vasha’s head snapped up. She looked awful. Her hair was a mess, one eye was swollen shut. She wiped blood from her nose. “Who’s there?”

“Adrian Stevens. Vasha, what happened?”

Vasha jumped from the chair. She stood under the vent, peering through the slits. “Is it really you this time?”

“It’s me. Open the vent.”

“Why? So you can try to kill me, too?”

“I’m trying to help you, Vasha.”

She chewed her lip while blood dripped from her nose. She finally nodded, touching the release buttons. The vent cover slid to one side.

I dropped through, landing on the floor next to a limp body. I froze in shock.

Vasha kicked the body. “She isn’t dead, although I wish I’d had a bigger weapon. She’s only unconscious.”

And bleeding, I added silently. “I thought Perry was dead.”

Vasha dropped into the captain’s chair. “She’s working with Rafael. I saw her meet with him more than once.”

“Turner told me you met with him on Starbase a month ago. Convince me you aren’t the real traitor.” I shifted away from Perry’s prone body. Blood dripped through her scalp, pooling on the floor around her head. The sight turned my stomach.

“I met with him as part of my cover. I suspected Perry and Harken. I was following a lead.”

“You’re working for Williamson, too? Harken told me the same story.”

Vasha pointed at Perry. “She’s the real traitor. At least on the Voyager. This is more than just one ship. I think an admiral is involved.”

I stared. “Admiral Williamson is a traitor now? Are you insane or just paranoid?”

“Not him. But someone close to him. We were all set up.”

The door to the bridge exploded inwards. I ducked flying shrapnel. Vasha screamed. Pirates thundered onto the bridge. Smoke clogged the ducts. Alarms hooted.

“Give me control of the ship, now!” Rafael jammed a phaser into Vasha’s face.

She flinched. “I can’t. I’ve been trying for the last hour to get control back. Someone locked everything. I can’t even access the holodeck programming.”

“She’s not alone!” A pirate grabbed my arm, shoving me into the middle of the bridge. “Perry’s body is on the floor behind her.”

Rafael’s head snapped around. “Is Emily dead?” He looked worried.

“Still breathing but she’s got a huge lump on her head.”

“Get her to sickbay!” Rafael stalked across the bridge, his face twisted with rage. He stopped a foot from me. “If she dies, you’ll wish you died, too.”

“I didn’t do it,” I squirmed, trying to escape the pirate’s grasp.

Rafael raised his hand to slap me. I cringed. The ship rocked to one side.

“Tractor beam,” a pirate muttered.

Rafael whirled back to Vasha. “Get this ship running. Now!”

“I can’t! Didn’t you hear me before? I don’t know who screwed up the ship, but someone did.”

Caligula strode through the smoke, entering the bridge like a conquering general. Rafael and his handful of pirates snapped their weapons to aim at the cyborg. Harken, Angie, and Turner sidled through behind him, moving out of the line of fire.

“It’s over, Rafael. Surrender while you still breathe.” Caligula planted himself in the center of the room, leather coat flaring dramatically.

“You should surrender to me, you freak mutant!” Rafael waved his phaser.

“I’ll let you die quickly, unlike Mad Dog.” Caligula’s calm voice echoed in sudden silence.

Rafael paled. “Mad Dog is here?”

“And Del Brugado is in the hands of the Federation. You have no power base, Rafael.”

Rafael opened fire. His pirates followed suit. The one holding me shoved me away. Most of the weapons were low on power. It turned into a fistfight, with some of Rafael’s men siding with Caligula. The bridge lights flickered and dimmed as power levels dropped further. Something in the hall exploded. Smoke poured into the room, thick and heavy.

I crawled around the edge of the bridge. I didn’t want them to remember I was there. Angie caught my shoulder as I neared the door.

“The Odyssey’s still here, we can make a run for it.”

“You can make it fly?”

Angie grinned, white teeth flashing in the dark room. “She’s my baby. Plus I stole the Delphi chip off Vasha. Why do you think she can’t get this ship to fly? She ain’t got the right controls.”

Turner and Harken joined us as we crawled from the bridge. The four of us were going to steal the Odyssey back from the pirates. I questioned my sanity.

Personal Log 2: Adrian Stevens, Entry 11

We hid from a squad of heavily armed pirates in an engineering access tunnel.

“That was the fourth one,” Turner whispered. “Who are they?”

“Mad Dog’s men, probably. His ship docked just before Caligula made his move,” Harken answered.

“I don’t care who they are,” I whispered. “Let’s go while they’re distracted fighting each other.”

“Shuttle bay is right ahead,” Angie said. “Crawl through that left tunnel.”

I squirmed my way into the tunnel, trying to ignore my bruised elbows and knees. I’d crawled through most of the ship’s access vents already. The ship shook, smoke filling the vent. I coughed, my eyes blurring as I squinted through the smoke.

I found the hatch for the shuttle bay by snagging my fingernails on it. The smoke filled the vent, stifling us. I coughed, wheezing for breath, as I searched for the releases. I couldn’t find them in the dark. I finally squirmed sideways, bending myself into a knot. I slammed my boot into the vent cover. The cover popped free, clattering to the floor of the shuttle bay.

The ship shuddered, slamming to one side. I tumbled into the shuttle bay, sprawling on the hard floor. The Odyssey waited on the far side, past empty docking ports. The others scrambled out behind me. The ship rocked again, sending all four of us to the floor. The wide launch bay doors creaked as they began to slide open.

“Run!” Angie slapped my shoulder. “We’re about to lose our air!”

I sprinted, faster than I had in years, trying to keep up with Angie. Turner and Harken still reached the shp first. I grabbed the hatch as the air rushed from the bay. Turner grabbed my uniform, yanking me into the Odyssey’s airlock. Harken slammed the doors shut.

“Hang on!” Angie shouted. “I’m blowing the docking clamps.”

The Odyssey rocked as the explosive bolts blew. The rush of air from the docking bay pulled us free, yanking us outside Caligula’s ship. The power umbilicals snapped, plunging us into darkness as we tumbled into space.

I grabbed for a handhold in sudden freefall. I hadn’t been in zero G in years. My stomach churned. Turner flailed in midair, spinning wildly. Harken swam to the front of the ship, her marine training proving useful. Angie wedged herself under the command console, up to her armpits in the ship’s systems buried underneath.

The lights flickered on. The ship stabilized. The gravity field re-established itself. Turner hit the floor with a loud thump. I landed next to him.

“Got it.” Angie grinned. “Main computer, activate Delphi.”

“Confirmed.”

The control stations powered one by one. The computer announced each system as it came online.

“Fully functional and ready to fly.” Angie dropped the access cover back into place.

“I think we have a problem,” Turner said. He nodded at the main viewscreen.

Caligula’s battleship hung in space, leaking flames and air from every port. Looming behind it, was a giant ship, a flying fortress armed to the teeth.

“What is that?” Angie stared at the thing.

“Cardassian battle ship,” Harken answered. “I heard rumors Starfleet captured one from the Romulans. I think we found Mad Dog’s ship.”

“Who’s Mad Dog?” Turner asked.

Harken glanced over her shoulder, her face white. “The real leader of the pirates. No one knows what he looks like.”

“I think we’re about to find out.” Angie pointed to the flashing light on the communications screen. “He’s calling us.”

Personal Log 2: Adrian Stevens, Entry 12

“Stall him, Harken. Tell him the video link isn’t working, whatever you can think of.” I waved Angie and Turner close. “Can you get Delphi to set a course? We’re going to have to run fast.”

Angie frowned. “Delphi won’t operate beyond the safe parameters. We can’t go faster than warp six. Plus, it’s going to take a few minutes to find reference points for the nav computer.”

“We’ve got a bigger problem,” Turner said. “I checked the power levels. If I’m reading things right, we’ve battery power but no reactor core. We might make it to warp speed but not for long.”

“What if we shut everything down and play dead?” Angie suggested.

“They just scanned us, too late for that,” Harken said.

“Do we have weapons? Anything?” I didn’t want to escape just to die.

“We’re going to fight that?” Turner jabbed his finger at the monstrosity on the viewscreen.

“We have to do something.”

“We’ve got empty torpedo casings and probes,” Angie said as she clicked through the controls. “I’ve got an idea. Hey, Rachel, you got things up here?”

Harken nodded.

“Buy us some time. You two, come with me.”

Angie’s grin scared me, just a little, but I followed her to deck two, Turner on my heels. She took us to the torpedo bay.

“We got extra exocomps on board. Caligula didn’t find them, I checked.”

“How are repair robots going to help us?”

“Change their programming, sweetheart, and they break things just as well as they fix them.” Angie waved at the empty torpedo casings. “You get those ready to fly and I’ll get the exocomps ready to load.”

“What makes you think Mad Dog is going to let these anywhere near him? We have to get them on board his ship to do any damage.”

“We make it look like we’re jettisoning cargo. He’ll sweep it up.”

I wished I had Angie’s confidence.

“You know, Vasha said something to me once about probe self-destruct commands,” Turner said. “We can always try to blow him up that way.”

I shook my head. “We’re going to take on that battleship with empty torpedos and armed probes. Am I the only one who thinks this is insane?”

Turner grinned. “No more insane than taking over Del Brugado’s ship with a handful of Klingons. You managed that, Adrian.”

The comm beeped. Harken’s voice came from the speakers. “Whatever you’re doing, you have about fifteen minutes to do it. Caligula’s ship is about to blow and that battleship is impatient. It’s moving this way.”

“Go!” Angie pushed Turner from the room. “Get those probes launched.”

“How many torpedos do you need?” I asked.

“Twelve, if you’ve got them.” Angie typed furiously on a keyboard.

I opened the first empty shell, loading it onto the cradle.

Personal Log 2: Adrian Stevens, Entry 13

“We’re out of time,” Harken snapped over the ship’s speakers. “That ship will be here in less than five minutes.”

I wiped sweat from my face with my ripped sleeve. “That’s the last one. Locked and loaded.”

“Sending the new instructions now.” Angie hit a final key. “We can launch torpedos any time now. Are those probes in place?”

“Turner launched them,” Harken answered. “The commander of that ship just laughed. He’s not a nice person.”

“Mad Dog?” I slammed the cover on the torpedo launch queue.

“I don’t think so. He said his name was Scorpius.”

“Well, if we’re ready, give them all we’ve got.” Angie grinned. “I’ve always wanted to say that.”

The torpedo tube shuddered as the first one shot away from the ship. Angie and I went back to the bridge.

Harken swiveled in her chair. “He’s laughing, calling us fools.”

I studied the viewscreen. The giant battleship approached our position, eclipsing Caligula’s ship. “Can you send the probes behind the battleship?”

“What are you thinking?” Turner moved so Angie could sit at the scanning station. He slid over to the weapons station, keeping the torpedos firing.

“A handful of probes aren’t going to make a dent in that thing. But they could blow Caligula’s ship to kingdom come. We run away in the confusion.”

“I’ve got a lock on our coordinates,” Harken said. “And plenty of footage of that ship for Starfleet.”

Angie sat back in the chair. “Probe commands sent. The destruct code is loaded and ready to activate.”

“Can you target the shuttle bays with the torpedos?” I asked Turner.

“I can shoot them, don’t ask me to target things. I’m a cook, remember?” Turner sent another torpedo with its exocomp shooting into space.

Angie tapped her screen. “Scorpius is taking the bait. He’s scooping up those torpedos like they were candy. Probes are in position.”

The battleshipt turned to face us. Gun ports lined both sides, aiming for our tiny ship. It’s bulk hid Caligula’s ship completely. Which meant his engines would be square on to the explosion we were about to create. We just might survive.

“Angie, we need Delphi to set our course now. Is there some kind of emergency procedure you could activate with it?” The only flaw to our plan that I could see was our ship getting caught in the shockwave. We’d be ripped apart.

Angie typed rapidly on the computer. “I’ve got a course set to Starbase fourteen, but I don’t think I can override the safety protocols, not without pulling the whole thing from the computers.”

“Scorpius just gave us thirty seconds to surrender or he’ll open fire.”

I took the captain’s chair. It felt right. I was the one giving orders. “Everyone, hang on. Send the destruct code, Angie. Harken, go ahead and connect to the viewscreen.”

Scorpius’ face filled the main screen. He was the ugliest thing I’d ever seen, angry Klingons included. Warty green scales covered his face. His eyes were yellow with vertical black slits for pupils. Gold chains dangled from the spikes growing from his skull.

“You amuse me with your antics,” he said. “You will surrender. You have no choice.”

Angie whispered, “Code sent.”

I sat taller in the chair, straightening my filthy uniform. “I think you’re the one with no choice, Scorpius. Tell your master we’ll find him. If he’s lucky, we’ll let him surrender instead of killing him.”

Scorpius barked a laugh. “The arrogance of Starfleet amazes me. You have no weapons, limited supplies, and yet you threaten me.”

“You have exactly ten seconds to surrender, Scorpius.” I motioned to Harken to cut the connection.

The screen flickered back to the giant battleship and its massive guns. A giant flare of burning gas and debris erupted behind it, engulfing the battleship. The lights on the Odyssey flipped to red.

“Warning!” the main computer said. “Warp core breach detected nearby. Activating emergency procedures.”

The ship banked sharply, engines whining as they were activated. The ball of flame spread, closing the distance.

“Brace for emergency speeds,” the computer said.

We shot out of the expanding explosion, streaking away at least warp nine. I clutched the arms of the chair as the whole ship shuddered at the strain. Smoke leaked from the air vents. Systems flashed red warning lights. Sparks danced over the controls.

“Stop us, Harken!”

“I’m trying,” she shouted. “Delphi’s got control of the whole ship!”

“We’re running out of power,” Turner said. “What happens then?”

“I think we’re going to find out,” Angie said. “Whether we want to or not.”

Personal Log 2: Adrian Stevens, Entry 14

The engineering pod exploded with a bang. Clouds of smoke and showers of sparks blew from the opening. The ship shuddered, slowing to a full stop. The lights blinked twice before dying. The control screens all went black. I coughed on the thick smoke filling the ship.

“Angie? Turner? Harken?”

“I’m here,” Harken answered. My fumbling hand found her sleeve.

“I think Turner bumped his noggin,” Angie said. “He’s out cold, but he’s still breathing.”

“Anyone have a flashlight?” Harken asked.

“There was one back in engineering,” Angie answered. “I don’t think it’s going to be any use now. If you could even find it. If you got another plan, Adrian, now’s the time to spill it.”

“I’m making this up as I go.” I found a chair and sat, trying to breathe through my sleeve. “Anyone else?”

“The computer blew,” Angie said. “Even if we could get power, we got no way to control it. Every system’s dead.”

“I wish I’d never heard of Delphi. I should have taken the job as a prison cook when Williamson offered it to me.” I slumped lower, laying my head on the desk.

“And miss all this fun?” Harken sat in the chair next to me. “I just hope someone finds our records log.”

“We ain’t gonna die, stop thinking that way. If we rewire the stations, we might be able to get something.”

I closed my watering eyes. “I doubt anything on this ship will ever work again, no matter what we do. We don’t have any light, no supplies, and no engineer.” I wished I had Angie’s optimism. “And if you say we still have each other, I’m going to hit you.”

The ship lurched as a tractor beam attached.

“We still got an emergency beacon,” Angie said.

Harken snarled. “How do we know that’s not Scorpius or some other pirate?”

“Because I sent our coordinates to the Voyager right after I got Delphi installed.” Angie beamed.

“And how do we know the traitor isn’t still on the Voyager? It might be Captain Herring.” I lifted my head, wondering why I even bothered to argue.

“Nah,” Angie said. “He should have smoked them out of their holes by now. We got the worst of them off the ship for him. Though I couldn’t tell which of you was the real traitor.”

I glared in the direction of her voice. “You mean this was all a setup?”

“Yep. Harken, Perry, and Vasha we planned on. Getting you and Turner was a bonus, for me, at least.” Angie still sounded just as chirpy.

“Don’t tell me you work for Admiral Williamson, too.”

“Captain Herring asked me. Of course, I had to get approval from my own captain to do it. Why do you think we made it so easy to steal the Odyssey? Herring wanted information on the pirates. He set himself up to get it.”

The tractor beam shut off. The Odyssey scraped across metal. We sat, blind and deaf to our location.

“Did you know about this, Harken?” I asked.

“Not a word. How did you find out about us?”

“Vasha isn’t the only computer genius in Starfleet.”

The lights blinked on as the external power supply connected. Turner groaned as he woke. Angie sat on the floor next to him. Soot streaked her face, but her grin was as wide as ever.

The door opened. Starfleet marines charged inside. I raised my hands. They swept the ship with their weapons.

“All clear,” the leader said. “But it looks like we need a medic. Man down.” He waved his hand. Two marines scooped Turner up and carried him away.

“Admiral on deck!” the one in the doorway shouted. The marines snapped to attention.

I didn’t bother. I was filthy, tired, bruised, and didn’t want to stand for anyone. Besides, I didn’t think Admiral Williamson would mind.

It wasn’t Admiral Williamson. It was a short man, with dark hair and a fat little mustache. He sniffed, delicately wiping his nose with a cloth before speaking. “I’m Admiral Tagus. Who are you?”

Harken saluted as she struggled to her feet. “Commander Rachel Harken, sir.”

Angie didn’t bother to salute or stand. “Evangeline Lewis, sir, computer specialist for the Odyssey.”

Admiral Tagus turned his glare on me.

I sighed as I stood. “Adrian Stevens, Quartermaster of the Voyager, last I checked.”

“And the others? I believe Commander Emily Perry and Ensign Vasha Gorubnikov were also on this vessel.”

Harken cleared her throat. “They’re either dead or captured by the pirates, sir.”

Tagus twitched his mustache. “Not the best news I’ve heard today, but not the worst, either. And the Delphi protocol?”

Angie handed him the chip from her pocket. “It worked exactly as you predicted, sir. The virus should permanently deactivate it within a week.”

He slipped the chip into his pocket. “Good. Ship programming has been changed on all Starfleet vessels.” He turned to leave.

“Wait a minute, sir,” I said. “Why are you here, not Admiral Williamson? He’s the one who gave me my orders.”

Tagus raised his expressive eyebrows. “Williamson was arrested three days ago by Admiral Earnest Weatherly on charges of treason. “


Personal Log 2: Adrian Stevens, Entry 15

Admiral Tagus motioned to his marines. “Put Harken and Stevens under arrest until we can clear them of all charges. Good work, Evangeline.”

Angie jumped to her feet. “Wait. Admiral, I think you need to see some of the files we stole from Scorpius just before his ship blew up. Admiral Williamson isn’t the traitor, Admiral Weatherly is.”

“I sincerely hope your information provides proof,” Tagus said. He turned to his marines. “Get an engineering squad up here, now. I want all computer files from this ship sent to my quarters. And escort those two to the brig. They are still under arrest.”

The marines escorted Harken and me from the Odyssey. The halls of the Voyager were marked with scorch marks and half-repaired controls.

“Someone put up a fight,” Harken commented.

“The mutiny?” I asked the marine holding my elbow.

He grunted. “Captain Herring had it under control by the time we arrived with the Admiral.”

The other guard spoke, “Everyone’s upset. It’s chaos on at Starfleet Command. Everyone accusing everyone else of treason. The Romulans have pulled out of peace talks again. The Klingons annexed half a dozen planets last week. And the Andorrians accused the Federation of breaking the trade agreements.”

We turned the corner to the brig. Captain Herring stood in front of the door, one arm in a sling. The marines saluted.

“You can let those two go,” the captain said.

“But Admiral Tagus said to arrest them,” the marine on my left said.

“They can consider themselves confined to quarters for at least the next twelve hours. I don’t think they’ll argue. The brig is full.”

“Yes, sir.” The marines saluted again, then marched away.

Harken nodded to me as she left for her quarters.

“A word, Adrian?” Herring asked.

I stayed, though I could smell smoke, soot, dirt, and days in the same uniform. I wanted a bath and sleep. “Sir?”

“Perry was the traitor?”

I glanced after Harken to make sure she was out of earshot. “Harken said she was working undercover with Perry, but Perry decided the money was better to smuggle for real. Vasha was the real traitor, I think. Things were a bit confused, sir. You may want to track a man named Rafael. He met with Vasha several times.”

Herring nodded. “It makes sense. Consider yourself restricted to quarters until I have your full report. And if it takes you longer than twenty-four hours, you’ll find yourself restricted to the brig and under suspicion of treason. Good work, Stevens.” He turned on his heel, walking rapidly up the hall to the lift.

I blinked, watching him. He threatened me and complimented me in the same breath. I’d never understand him. I shook my head. It didn’t matter, not this time. I was back on my ship, and this time, I wasn’t going to let anyone mix me up in more spy missions. No, I was going to my kitchen and I was going to stay there, cooking and cleaning until my enlistment was up in another year.

Then I was going to move to a quiet little planet and open a boutique. I’d had enough excitement to last me the rest of my life.
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