The Thin Red Line
By: Ian Hunter, Commanding Officer, [PC]
Stardate: 58209.17 2200
The Captain's Ready Room was dimly illuminated by a large display console on the wall. An ancient Gaelic hymn played softly. Seated across from the display, on a large comfortable chair, was the captain. For the past several hours he watched the display as status and diagnostic reports displayed themselves on the screen as they came in.
The ship and crew were ready as they sped invisibly through deep federation space. The large screen now only displayed their current position. The little icon representing the Zion inched slowly toward a thin red line which represented the border of the Sol system. The border of their destination, the edge of their mission.
The Captain had spent much time pacing back and forth in front of this screen, watching, mentally rehearsing strategies and just thinking.
But at the moment, the captain's attention was not on the thin red line but on a small red box he held in his hand. He fiddled with the fastener holding down the lid until it yielded. Casting the lid aside, he plucked up a piece of Marsian delight, unwrapped it and ate it, savoring the exquisite flavor until it melted away. It was the last one.
The candy had come from Teilani. She had given him the box after their ill-fated flight in an old Bajoran sail ship.
A counter on the display screen ticked away the time until they arrived at the thin red line. Now it was just a matter of minutes. Captain Hunter stood up and stretched. He drew a deep breath as the little icon turned red and flashed as its proximity to the red line was imminent.
He turned and used the head. Real water ran through the his fingers. Bending low over the sink he cupped some in his hands and washed his face and dried it off with a soft towel. He starred in the mirror for moment and took a deep breath.
"Its show time" echoed Commander Wright's voice in his head as he turned and strode across the ready room to the door that exited to the Bridge.
As the door closed behind him he surveyed the scene before him. Everything being calm and in order he sat down in his chair, acknowledging Commander Wright with a nod.
As the invisible Zion arrived at an imaginary line in space, a predetermined set of commands executed. Plasma stopped flowing into the warp nacelles causing the warp field to collapse as its energy dissipated. Still invisible, the Zion emerged from subspace.
Then, the computers activated the impulse engines, burning its thrusters until it was proceeding toward station TR-35 at 270 million kilometers an hour -- full impulse. Once the speed was achieved the engines shut down and the Zion glided silently through the frictionless space.
The science officer was busy scanning the surrounding area for any thing that might betray their presence, the tactical officer monitored for the presence of Federation ships and everyone else practically held their breath.
Time ticked away.
"The away team at TR-35 is ready, Transporter room 1 is ready to beam them aboard. Their replacements are standing by in transporter room 2. Two minutes." announced the Ops officer, Lieutenant Forrester.
Two minutes of silence came and went.
"Transporter cycles have completed."
"Have Northrop bring the away team to the debriefing room in 20 minutes," instructed Hunter.
"Sir, Northrop is not with the returning away team," answered Forrester.
Hunter nodded, "get the rest of them up here then."
"That went too easy," Hunter thought to himself.
By: Ian Hunter, Commanding Officer, [PC]
Maxine Tappert , Computer Specialist , [NPC]
Samantha Carter, Security Officer, [RNPC]
Taylor , Marine , [NPC]
Stardate: 58209.17 2330
Captain Hunter entered the debriefing room followed by Commander Wright. He looked around, everyone was there who should be. Everyone except for Dr. Alissa Northrop.
"Welcome back. I know its late, and you are all tired. We'll keep this short." said Hunter.
His own face however reflected the solemness of the away team.
"What happened to Northrup?" He asked, his heart skipping a few beats.
"Sir," said Taylor, his eyes locking with Hunter's, "she was recognized by starbase security on starbase M6." Taylor did not break eye contact with him. "She was killed after a brief phaser fight."
He felt like heart stopped altogether for a long sickening moment. A whirlwind of brainwaves rushed through his consciousness.
The loss of an officer was one thing, but was the Zion now flying into a trap?
"If she was compromised why wasn't the mission aborted? Are we flying into jeopardy Mr. Taylor?"
"Negative Sir," said Taylor. He placed the sunglasses that had been in his hands on the table in front of him and continued, "We evaluated our position, and it appeared that she was recognized from activity prior to her joining the Maquis. She led base security in a chase that went away from us. This and the fact that she did not allow herself to be captured, preserved our mission once her cover was blown."
Hunter nodded, "Alright."
Then he turned to Tappert, "Your report Miss Tappert, any deviations from the mission parameters we need to know about?"
"The mission was not compromised, although there was a slight 'iccup while we were on the Tachyon Station, sir," Maxine answered. "One of the other stations was attacked which took seven stations offline including thirty-five. Starfleet sent out patrol vessels t'patrol the area. Miss Alexia affected an innovative repair which caused the patrol vessels t'leave when we were able to take up the slack for TR33 and TR34. We were then able to install the alternate Tachyon grid in place. Grid Command was going t'recommend her for a commendation." She still thought Keighlee getting a Federation Commendation was pretty funny even if it had been well deserved.
"As you know," said Hunter, "Miss Alexia will be returning to the end of our mission."
"How about you Lieutenant?" he said, directing his attention toward Carter.
"Despite Miss Northrop's death, all went according to plan Sir." Sam replied.
I agree with Taylor. Our mission was not compromised," said Mason.
"Anyone else?" Hunter asked, looking at the rest of the marines.
"Commander, any questions or comments?"
He nodded "no".
"Very well," said Hunter leaning back, "Please submit your detailed reports by tomorrow night. Good job everyone, your mission was successful. Welcome back."
He stood up, "dismissed."
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