Stardate 75120.9; February 14, 2398
Written by Chris Adamek
As his eyes fell upon the dreaded Overseer Xi’Yor, Alan Christopher was quick to trade his wrist-light for a phaser. In this sole instance, Christopher did not consider diplomacy the most viable option. “What are you doing here?” he demanded, pointing the weapon directly at the Overseer’s chest.
Xi’Yor’s malevolent grin was unwavering—just as it was nearly a year ago when Christopher faced him in battle on the surface of Ciden II. The Overseer gently hefted his weapon, and likewise pointed it at Christopher—and in the blink of an eye, all the old hatreds returned. “My purpose here is the same as yours,” he smoothly stated. “My vessel has sustained damage. It is in need of repair.”
Christopher’s eyes narrowed to slits. “I didn’t know you had a vessel. In fact, I was under the impression that you were dead.”
Xi’Yor shook his head to refute the statement, and his demonic eyes glistened in the harsh light falling from Harrison’s beacon. “You should not have dismissed me so easily, Captain.” He took a small step forward. “In fact, you should have terminated me when you had the chance… You had the photon saber to my throat—one small maneuver would have severed my head, and your troubles would have been over once and for all.”
Evil glinted in Xi’Yor’s eyes. “But you hesitated,” he readily recalled. “…And I have returned.”
Christopher shook his head. “Not for long,” he hissed, firmly pressing his weapon into Xi’Yor’s chest.
But if the Overseer felt threatened, he showed no sign of it. “What will you do?” he beckoned, his voice calm as ever. “You do not have the will to terminate me.”
“Perhaps not,” Christopher replied. “But then again, I’m not a murderer.”
Xi’Yor chuckled. “Ahh, the noble dignity of the Federation,” he said, his grandiose—and sarcastic—words echoing throughout the Odyssey’s cavernous bridge. “They can clandestinely exterminate forty thousand individuals—but no, they are not murderers…” Xi’Yor’s fiery eyes narrowed to slits as he drew himself closer to Christopher. “If not a murderer Captain, what then do you see yourself as? A hero?”
Having spent weeks strapped to a chair in Xi’Yor’s interrogation chamber during the war, Alan Christopher knew exactly how the Overseer operated—and to him, this was little more than a mind game, an attempt to provoke Christopher into action. It would fail. “The dark deeds committed in the Beremar System were unfortunate,” he stated, “but I had nothing to do with them.”
“Of course not,” said Xi’Yor. His brow suddenly arched, and a curious look fell upon his face. “So you were enraged by the treachery of your leaders? Infuriated by their total disregard for innocent Elorg lives?”
His tone was far more sympathetic now, but Christopher knew it was all a part of the game. “I was disappointed by the Federation,” he said, unwilling to give Xi’Yor any edge in the conversation—in fact Christopher saw no need to further the little chat. “Unfortunately for you, the Beremar System is not relevant to this conversation.”
“Not relevant?” Xi’Yor scoffed.
Christopher shook his head. “I wanted to know what you were doing here—and since this is not your interrogation chamber, I am the one asking the questions. Not you.”
The statement clearly did not please Xi’Yor, for his already narrowed eyes grew increasingly malevolent. “So in your enlightened opinion, the lives of the forty thousand are merely an unfortunate statistic?”
Unwilling to perpetuate this conversation any further Christopher shook his head and retreated to what he felt was a safe distance. “In my enlightened opinion,” he tersely replied, “this conversation is over.”
And the manic gaze upon Xi’Yor’s evil face suddenly vanished, replaced with something far more neutral. “You would make a pitiful Overseer, Captain.”
Christopher shrugged. “And you would make a pitiful Starfleet officer.” His gaze lingered upon Xi’Yor for only a moment longer. “Bator,” he said, turning to the Phobian, “escort our guest to the Starlight’s brig. I’m sure he’ll feel right at home.”
Bator expelled a satisfied grunt as he removed the disruptor from the Overseer’s hands. “You won’t be needing this anymore,” he said, handing the weapon to Commander Harrison.
Harrison swiftly took the weapon from Bator’s hand—and then grabbed the secondary weapon adhered to Xi’Yor’s belt. “Expecting trouble?”
The Overseer flashed a devious smile. “Always.”
Erin Keller’s heart thumped rapidly as she followed Lucas Tompkins into the Yelss lab. Like the rest of the station, it was dark and foreboding. She could only make out the faintest hints of her surroundings, but as far as she could tell, the lab was a small, circular room—and it was hot. The temperature was a good ten degrees warmer inside the lab, with humidity so oppressive that Keller could feel her clothes begin to cling to her body. “Pleasant place,” she chirped, hoping to lighten the situation. “You would think they’d build a few more lights into it, though.”
“As far as I can tell,” said Tompkins, “a lot of the station’s lighting is bioluminescent. There are tracts built into the ceiling.”
“I know that,” Keller replied. Apparently Tompkins was not in the mood for humor, and she thusly decided to keep her side of the conversation pertinent to the matters at hand. “So how do we turn them on?”
“I don’t know,” Tompkins admitted. “From what I’ve seen, they work automatically—they turn off at night and on during the day.”
“Maybe they run on a biological clock?” suggested Keller. “I mean, we don’t know anything about this station. It could be far more organic that we realize.”
“Or it could all be a holodeck simulation designed to confuse us,” Tompkins summarily suggested. “Or a virtual simulation. I wouldn’t put it past the Yelss to do something like that.”
“Of course, we don’t know much about the Yelss, either,” said Keller, peering into the darkness. Very slowly, her eyes were starting to adjust, but she still had difficulty seeing anything more than vague boundaries. She took a few more hesitant steps forward—and then banged into the side of a table of some sort. “I’ll have to have my eyesight checked when we get home.”
“It looks like a console of some sort,” Tompkins stated from the other side. Keller heard him tap a few commands into the darkened interface, but his efforts proved fruitless.
“It doesn’t look like anything to me,” Keller mused. She gracefully ran her fingers over the table’s smooth surface, hoping she might activate something by happenstance—but she found little more than Tompkins’ hand. “Sorry.”
He grunted. “For what?”
“I didn’t mean to interrupt you.”
“You didn’t.” He tapped a few more commands into the interface, but again, nothing happened.
Keller abruptly paused, and took a step away from the console. “So whose hand did I just touch?”
“That’s a good question,” Tompkins replied. He immediately abandoned his attempts to activate the console, and retreated to Keller’s side. “Hello?” he tentatively called—but the only response was a faint echo in the distance.
Keller immediately tensed. Though it was perhaps a bit childish, she had yet to outgrow her fear of the dark—but as something began to rustle in the space before the console, Keller suddenly felt those fears were justified. “Lucas,” she whispered, “I don’t like this.”
“You still have your weapon, don’t you?”
Keller suddenly looked down—and though she saw little more than a shadowy outline, she realized that she did indeed have the weapon she procured from one of the security lockers. And without so much as a moment’s thought, she quickly pointed the weapon at the ceiling and opened fire.
A surge of fiery green light streaked from the emitter, casting verdant shadows across the chamber as it arced into the ceiling. Keller found herself momentarily stunned by the chamber’s unique architecture—but her attention was quickly drawn to the dimly lit figure standing before the console.
“It’s about time you got here,” said the entity, it’s voice cold and dejected. It quickly tapped a few commands into the console’s interface, and within moments, both the console and the bioluminescent lights were fully activated.
Keller summarily found herself standing in the center of an expansive domed lab of some sort—and unlike the rest of the Yelss station, this chamber was anything but organic. The walls almost seemed crystalline in nature, and shimmered in the fading beams of starlight from above. A pair of immense liquid pillars guarded a gateway toward the back of the chamber—and they seemed to defy every last bit of physics known to Keller; the hazy liquid gracefully swelled toward the ceiling without so much as a single forcefield to keep it in place.
“What is this place?” Keller asked, her eyes slowly falling upon the frail Yelss standing at the console in the center of the room.
The alien extended its long, branch-like arms in a grandiose fashion, and its lone bloodshot eye peered toward the starry sky above. “This is our salvation,” it happily rasped.