Stardate 76334.9; May 03, 2399
Stardate 98873.5; November 15, 2421
Edited by Peter Bossley
Written by Chris Adamek
Lt. Commander Jayla Trinn
The charting never seemed to stop. After spending the better half of the last month exploring the expansive Tiyzaen Rift in a sector of the same name, the Majestic was presently en route to an adjacent sector to observe the accretion disk in a star system known only as GSC-1014738-B. The name was undoubtedly an injustice to what was most likely an awe-inspiring phenomenon, but for the time being, Erin Keller didn’t really care about that injustice.
She had just spent the past six hours reviewing the new astrometric data with Commander Franklin; prior to that, she wasted two hours in a meeting with Admiral Harrison debating the outcome of a recent encounter with a Garidian scout ship. Suffice it to say, the day had been long, and Keller was more than ready for some rest.
Much to her chagrin, less than an hour into her slumber, the ship started to rumble. It was an incredibly faint sound at first—kind of like thunder in the distant sky—and Keller was more than tempted to ignore it. But as the moments passed, the rumblings grew more potent until finally, the deck began to tremble.
And then came the alert klaxon.
Knowing her summons to the bridge was only seconds away, Keller wearily shoved aside the silky purple covers wrapped around her petite body and crawled out of bed—affording a few moments of her time to peer out the window. There was no immediate sign of an attack; in fact, there was nothing more than the vast and glittering starfield, prompting Keller to wonder if they were under attack at all…
Her communicator chirped. Keller immediately started for the brooch upon her uniform, but quickly realized that she removed her jacket before crawling into bed. It was presently on the floor with her boots—and the cat, a little gray tabby named Fluffy. Keller briefly ran her fingers through the kitten’s soft fur before plucking her jacket from the floor. “Keller here,” she said, tapping the shiny Starfleet insignia. “What’s up?”
“Captain,” came the calm voice of Za’lon, the Majestic’s operations officer, “please report to the bridge. We might have a situation developing…”
The ship gently rumbled again, and Keller’s curiosity was immediately piqued. “I’m on my way.”
She hastily slipped into her boots and jacket, said good-bye to Fluffy, and then started for the exit—when a shadowy figure appeared on the perimeter of the room. “What’s going on?”
Keller paused, and glanced at the boy standing just meters away from her. He was thirteen years old, reasonably tall, with shaggy blond hair, a thin, pointed nose, and brown eyes wide with curiosity. “Corey,” she said, somewhat startled by his presence, “I’m not exactly certain what’s going on. But I don’t think it’s anything too terrible.”
He didn’t seem too terribly eased by the sentiment. The Majestic’s recent encounter with the Garidians no doubt had the boy on edge. “It’s not the Garidians again, is it?”
“No.” Za’lon might have been an enigmatic man, but he wasn’t one to withhold critical information. If the Garidians had been attacking—or even in the vicinity—he would have said as much. Besides, after that last encounter, Keller very much doubted the Garidians would attempt to colonize the Tiyzaen Sector anytime in the near future. “It’s probably just an ion storm or something,” she summarily guessed. “I’ll let you know when I get back.”
Corey nodded, and started to slink back into his bedroom.
Keller flashed him a reassuring smile. “I love you…”
The sentiment was enough to send any thirteen-year-old into convulsions, and Corey was no different. He provided his mother with a brief nod and quickly retreated into his bedroom—where he would no doubt stay until the current situation was resolved.
“Report.” Erin Keller strode onto the Majestic’s bridge sounding calm and rested; she assumed she took some sort of nap in the turbolift, because five minutes ago she was anything but calm and rested. Of course, in the back of her mind, Keller knew that most of her higher brain functions were presently operating on sheer adrenaline. The moment the excitement of the situation began to fade, so too would her energy.
But until then, her attention was focused entirely upon the blocky little craft on the viewscreen. If it was a starship, it was easily one of the ugliest designs Keller had ever seen. It was entirely black, with a craggy hull that appeared to be a conglomeration of several other starships. There were three warp nacelles visible, all of them aglow in green—but aside from that, no windows or weapons in sight.
“The vessel is of unknown origin,” said Za’lon. He was a tall, pale-skinned Elorg—and a recent graduate of Starfleet Academy. “However, the energy output is consistent with Yelss technology.”
The very mention of the Yelss gave Erin Keller a moment’s pause. She had had more than her fair share of encounters with the gangly quadrupeds over the years, and while they ultimately proved to be uncertain allies of the Federation during the Drusari crisis in early 2398, she was still leery of them. Caution was definitely in order. “Yellow alert.”
The lights subsequently dimmed, and a pale golden aura filled the bridge. Sensing it might take some time to sort through this situation, Keller assumed her position in the Captain’s chair. She immediately turned to Commander Jerras for her opinion.
The Romulan was quick to provide an assessment. “The vessel dropped out of low warp not more than fifteen minutes ago,” she stated. “It fired a few warning shots across our bow, but that’s about it. According to our sensors, the vessel is running on minimal power.”
Keller furrowed her brow. “That is certainly an unusual tactic,” she mused. Typically, the Yelss were much more confrontational. “Are there any life signs aboard the ship?”
Za’lon checked the sensors. Having spent years manning the operations console aboard the Starlight, Keller probably knew that the scan was inconclusive even before Za’lon—still, she said nothing, just in case she was wrong.
She wasn’t, of course.
“There aren’t any life signs aboard the ship,” he confirmed, “however, I am detecting several very faint bio-signatures in one of the cargo bays.”
“Stasis?” suggested Keller.
Za’lon nodded. “That would be my assumption.”
And a logical assumption it was… The Yelss had used stasis chambers in the past—Keller had been inside of one during the aforementioned Drusari crisis—so it was certainly possible the ugly little ship on the viewscreen was some sort of storage facility. Of course, there was only one way to find out: “Beam the stasis chambers to the cargo bay…”
The Majestic’s cargo bay was somewhat lacking in the cargo department. Aside from the dozen large storage containers stacked along the back wall—and the quintet of stasis units in the center of the room—the expansive chamber was relatively empty. As he strode into the cargo bay, Justin Reinbold could hear each and every one of his footfalls reverberate throughout the cavernous chamber. And while the echoes were certainly amusing for a moment, the Doctor knew he had better things to do.
He hastily approached Captain Keller and Lieutenant Za’lon. Both of them stood congregated near the row of large stasis containers; Za’lon was already scanning the individuals inside with some success: “Two humans, a Trill, and two Yelss.” But since Za’lon was using a standard tricorder, his analysis of their frozen friends wouldn’t be much more detailed than that.
Reinbold, on the other hand, was ready for anything. He quickly pulled a sleek medical tricorder from his belt and started an analysis of his own. “The fun never ends around here, does it?” It was more of a statement than an inquiry, though he didn’t expect much of a response either way.
“Things are always more interesting when we’re having fun,” mused Captain Keller as she started to approach the nearest of the five pods. According to Reinbold’s data, it contained one of the humans, a male.
“All five of them appear to be in good condition,” Reinbold continued, “though I wouldn’t recommend bringing them out of stasis until we have a better idea of what’s going on…”
Keller nodded her acknowledgement, but curiosity had long ago blinded her to any of Reinbold’s comments. She approached the stasis pod without an ounce of hesitation, and gently brushed aside the thick layer of dust that had accumulated over the eons. She thusly peeked inside, and her jaw hit the floor about the same time as the newly discarded dust.
Inside the stasis pod was Kendall Johnson…