AOH :: TREK-075.TXT|
"Hunting Grounds" Ch.2
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Tubawarrior)
Subject: HUNTING GROUNDS--Chapter 2
Date: 13 Feb 92 05:52:41 GMT
Organization: St. Olaf College; Northfield, MN
Again, many thanks to everyone who's dropped me a line and given me support or
suggestions and such. I really appreciate it! I'm trying to respond at least
once to you all. Please don't feel bad if I forget (I've gotten almost 50
messages now!) :-)
As always, I can be reached by e-mail.
Victor walked through the ship from bridge to engineering. He met people,
familiarized himself with where things were, and tried to seem as nice a guy
as he could. Most people were pleased to meet Victor, and those that didn't
were the type that got intimidated by command officers or Security Chiefs.
He tried not to take those cases personally. The Security people he ran into he
made sure to say "Hi" to.
He met the rest of his staff during the 1800 hours security meeting.
He introduced himself, got to know who his people (and nonpeople)
were, let them know that he was aviailable to talk to about anything, and
know how he planned to run security on the _Excelsior_: VERY tightly.
"You all should have pride in yourselves," Victor said "because Starfleet
entrusts you with the safety of some of the Federation's best and brightest.
Never forget that. It may not be the most glorious job, but it's one of the
most important jobs there are on this ship."
Since no one seemed to object, he called the meeting closed and invited
all his new co-workers to play 0-g rugby on the Rec deck. Victor had learned
from experience that few things bring people together like a game. Play
was as important as work, and Victor began to appreciate Captain Sulu's
"no rank on the rec deck" policy. Victor had never seen people have so much
fun on a starship before the _Excelsior_. On the _Minuteman_, where Victor
was Security Chief prior, personal workouts were meant to be fast and
efficient. This was primarily because there just wasn't room to have many
people working out at the same time. There was no such thing as an organized
game on the _Minuteman_. (Which reminds me,) thought Victor after the game,
(I just *have* to get a full match with the captain sometime. Maybe with the
epee this time...)
Hikaru sat in his quarters, going through paperwork. This was the one thing
he did *not* like about being a captain. He thought back to when he didn't
have to do paperwork, but instead listened to his captain complain about
paperwork. (That's one thing I'll agree with you on, Jim,) Hikaru thought
Jim. Just plain Jim Kirk. Hikaru still had a hard time calling him Jim.
Not long after the Khitomer incident, Captain Kirk had retired from Starfleet.
He was still in San Francisco, as an advisor to the Admirality and to the
Academy. Jim had insisted that his friends call him by his first name--he
didn't want to have a title anymore; that part of his life was over, he said.
Jim kept in touch with Hikaru whenever he could, and Hikaru did the same.
There were times that he tried to figure out what it was about Jim that made
him such a famous captain--and realized that there wasn't any one thing that
set Jim apart. In fact, the only thing that let Jim succeed when others with
as much or more ability failed was simply that Jim never gave up. He was the
most dedicated officer that Hikaru had ever met in Starfleet. Because of that,
Hikaru chose to stand with him as he broke nearly every rule in the book to
bring back his best friend. Hikaru knew that he was putting his career in
jeapordy. At the time, he didn't care. That was the loyalty he had felt.
True, there were times when he didn't agree with him. There were times that
James T. Kirk could be the most arrogant SOB in the known universe. Despite
that, Hikaru loved and respected the man that he had learned so much from when
he was on the _Enterprise_.
Just then his commlink beeped. "Captain, you have a personal message coming
in from Starbase 32," Janice Rand's voice said over the speaker. "Shall I
send it down to your quarters now?"
"Please do," Hikaru said a bit too eagerly. "It's an excuse not to do
The mini-screen blinked, and a face appeared on it. Hikaru's eyes widened in
"Pavel! How are you? I haven't seen you in nearly 3 months!"
"I'm doing good," Pavel Chekov said from the distant starbase. "Sorry it has
been so long, but I have been busy with my rest and relaxation." He grinned.
"I'll bet you have," Hikaru teased. "So what's the word? Rumor mill says
you're up for a promotion."
"I know nothing of what you speak of," Pavel said calmly, as he stood a little
higher. Just high enough to show off his shiny new captain's insignia.
Hikaru laughed. "Pavel, that's wonderful! What ship did they give you?"
Pavel said, "They gave me the _Andromeda_. Looks like we'll be racing to the
end of the galaxy together."
"That's great! Let me know when you get on board. I'm happy for you, Pavel."
"I'm happy too." (Pavel always has a way of understating things,) Hikaru
thought. (If he was anything like me, he didn't sleep for days.) "I have
other news as well, Hikaru. Spock's mother died not long ago."
Hikaru's face dropped. "Oh, no. How is Spock? Have you heard from him?"
"He is on Vulcan now, preparing for her memorial service. I sent him and his
father my condolences. I know little else."
"Well, thanks for telling me," Hikaru said. "I'll get a message out before
we get too far away."
"That is good," Pavel replied. "I must go now. Soon _Andromeda_ will be here
and I must be ready to recieve her. Good-bye, Hikaru."
"Good-bye, *Captain* Chekov." Pavel grinned as the communication ended.
Without hesitation, he beeped Janice on the bridge. "Lieutenant Rand, I need
to send a message to Sarek on Vulcan."
"Sarek? Can I ask why?" Janice inquired.
"I'll tell you about it later. Is that okay?"
There was a brief pause. "I guess it is. I'll pipe it down to you." Rand said.
As Hikaru began to compose his sympathy message he thought to himself,
(Paperwork doesn't seem so bad now...)
The week travelling to Omicron Delta IV seemed to go pretty fast. Victor
and Rh'eldak drank their toast, even though it was a couple of days after
Victor's first day; the thought was what counted, anyway. Victor had met
few Andorians in the Academy or in service. Rh'eldak, in fact, was the first
Andorian he had ever really gotten to know. Victor pondered this idea; Andor
was one of the original members of the Federation, and yet it seemed that
there were more humans in Starfleet than any other species. Rh'eldak seemed
as capable as any other officer; in fact, Victor couldn't see a reason why
Rh'eldak shouldn't have a command of his own. (I might have to talk with him
about it sometime. . .but later, when we know each other better.)
"Approaching Omicron Delta system, sir,"
"Take us into the system at three-quarter impulse and initiate standard orbit
around Omicron Delta IV." Victor said from the center seat. He then tapped the
commlink on the chair. "Bridge to Captain Sulu."
"Sulu here. Yes, Mr. Pennington?"
"Sir, we've entered the system and will achieve standard orbit shortly. Any
There was a brief pause, then a response. "Nothing that I can think of. Is
there still no response from the colony?"
Victor looked back at Janice Rand, the ship's communication officer, and gave
her a nod. She understood and replied from the comm board. "Nothing, captain.
The colony has been quiet since we started trying to hail them."
"All right then," Sulu said over the commlink. "I'll be on the bridge shortly."
"We'll be expecting you, sir," said Victor. "Bridge out." Victor sat for a
moment, then thought to himself, (We should all be here. Rh'eldak will be
around somewhere.) "Bridge to Commander Rh'eldak."
"Rh'eldak here," came the soft reply.
Victor informed Rh'eldak of the same thing.
"I'll be there in a few minutes. Rh'eldak out."
Sulu walked down the hall towards the turbolift. He had felt the ship slip out
of warp, and assumed that the _Excelsior_ had reached its destination. He was
almost out the door when his commlink beeped. (Well, at least he's thorough,)
Sulu thought to himself as the turbolift doors opened for him.
"Bridge," Sulu said to the wall. Within a second the turbolift was moving.
The lift made one stop along the way, and Rh'eldak stepped into the lift.
"I assume you're going where I am, sir?"
Sulu smiled and nodded. "What have you been able to find recently?"
"Nothing we didn't already know, I'm afraid." Rh'eldak replied. "Perhaps the
colony's log will tell us more--if they ever figure out we're here."
The turbolift slowed down, and finally let its passengers off at the bridge.
Victor stood down as Sulu approached, allowing the captain to have his
customary seat. Victor moved to the Defenses station. This was a relatively
new idea in Starfleet, creating a station that kept control of sensors and
weapons, which let the helmsman concentrate on steering the ship, and the
science officer concentrate on analyzing data. Victor liked his station.
He felt like he took a more active role in defending the ship, which was his
job, after all. Victor settled down in his seat and checked out the systems on
"Standard orbit, Mr. Sesik." Sulu told the helmsman. "Anything at all,
"Nothing, sir. I've been trying since we could do realtime communication
on subspace, with no luck."
"Try opening a channel one more time," Sulu said. "If they've got handheld
communicators, we'll be in range of them now."
Rand adjusted her controls accordingly. "Channel open, sir."
"Delta Omicron IV, this is the Federation starship _Excelsior_. Do you read
us? Can you respond?"
They waited a few minutes, and there was nothing.
Sulu shifted in his seat. This was making him nervous. (Why don't they
*respond* already?!?), he thought. "Mr. Pennington, do a sensor sweep of
Victor looked at his viewscreen and keyed in the proper commands.
(Wait a minute...something's wrong...try this again...no, that's not right.
It *can't* be--)
"What's the delay, Mr. Pennington?" Sulu was now nervous and annoyed, and his
tone of voice reflected such.
Victor turned and looked at the captain. "Sir, I checked and double-checked...
According to the sensors, there is currently no intelligent life on the
planet's surface...human, Vulcan, Andorian, Tellarite, or otherwise."
They checked. They recalibrated the sensors twice. They did everything short
of opening the window and sticking their heads out for a closer look. Nothing
changed the fact that nearly 300 scientists and colonists were simply not
"Look at the colony itself, Mr. Pennington," Rh'eldak suggested. "Has there
been a battle of some kind down there?"
Victor examined the information on the screen. "No signs of structural damage
to the buildings...and no sign of bodies, either. Whatever happened down there
happened real quietly."
"Has a ship been here lately?" Rand offered. "If the Orions found out there
was a colony here..." She didn't finish the thought.
"There are no ion trails in orbit, but that doesn't mean much. Six weeks
is a long time, and ion trails are traceable for less than a day." Victor
"Recommendations?" Sulu asked.
"There's little else we can do up here," Rh'eldak said. "I can check the
colony's computers and see what they've been doing. Sending an away team
down would seem the next course of action."
"I recommend against it, Captain," Victor rebutted. "300 colonists are
unaccounted for, and we have no idea why. Sending people down is an
Sulu thought for a moment. "Anyone else?" he asked. "Speak freely if you
"I would agree with Commander Rh'eldak, sir," Sesik said thoughtfully. "The
only way we will be able to gather more information will be to access the
colony's computers. The risk is there, but it is one that must be taken."
"That makes sense to me," Rand said.
"Both points of view make sense, Lieutenant. That's the problem." Sulu
said with a sigh. "Rh'eldak, you and Sesik will lead the landing party.
Mr. Pennington, provide them with Security personel as you see fit."
"Yes, sir." Victor thought briefly on the security roster and who would
be on planetside duty. He chose three people mentally: Ellingson, a tall
human whose reflexes were like none he'd ever seen before; Tredrex, the
Tellarite who would go up against even the biggest people in hand-to-hand,
and Yolanda, the woman he passed by at the phaser range hitting bulls-eyes
left and right.
"Let's go then," Victor said. "I'll have three persons waiting for us in the
"All right, then," Sulu said. "Let's find out what's going on here."
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