Personal log Eliana recording: At first I figured Marjee was being a bit excessive when she selected the vessel (small transport) for her personal use. We've just finished our third of seven stops and we're already fifty percent full. When she said her work was scattered thought the galaxy she wasn't kidding. We'll not be wanting for research equipment and her personal belongs seem small for some one who's been on her own, yet, I have to remember we've got four more stops to go.
"Well, personal effects, about four cubic feet of them. They are containerized so loading shouldn't be a problem; next stop too, just a few small boxes. Last two stops are what little furniture I have. Incase you haven't figured it out this is the stuff that wouldn't fit in the transport when I was moving constantly so I have had to leave a little bit everywhere I've been."
"I see and you've been quite a few places, are you going to be happy sitting around Shahrazad?"
"At first, I would have said no, that's when mother was still living because I'd be following after her like always… always doesn't exist anymore, mother and father are there and it's where I should be. Besides Pegasus has many secrets to revel and since we're connected, I guess I'm consolidating, gathering up the pieces of my life to start anew. Although I wished KO could have come with us I enjoy interacting with her as well."
"They couldn't let both of us be away for any length of time but I feel KO's closer than we might think."
"No KO I just came aboard Samson, Independence and Discovery are in sector sixty six and your?"
"About four light seconds off Eliana's stern, two of those stops are in not too friendly systems. I know the transports armed and there is one lone Suran cruiser with them however."
"I know I have to admit Marjee left quite an impression on that system they are taking drastic measures to talk peace."
"You realize they want the Dorian's help restarting their power grid. Don't trust that bunch and farther than I could toss their planet."
"I'll keep the link open if anything happens, you'll be the first to know."*
"Area clear; long range scan shows a disturbance between their fifth and sixth stops it's something they should be able to circumvent…"
"Orion here, Captain, Lyra and I have been monitoring a communication stream between an unknown source and the cruiser along side the transport. It's highly encrypted and Lyra's deciphering it now. I'm going to assume it's not your 'normal' traffic."
"I see; Leo, close up the distance between us I want to be along side the transport within seconds and keep monitoring them, the slightest change and you'll act without verbal commands."
"Understood Captain, a link is opening between us and Defiance…"
"KO… all hell has broken loose current position sector two twenty seve…"
"KO signal lost unable to reestablish."
"Sarah, bring us to battle stations and get Noel on the link."
"KO I'm already enroute to Defiance, Independence and Discovery are enroute. You stay with Eli and Marjee, orders from the top, we get in trouble I'll call."
"Break silence get Eli on scramble, Lyra have you decoded enough of that transmission to make any sense of it?
"Hey lady fancy meeting you…"
"Not now Eli I've just sent you a package look at it and acknowledge it."
"Crap… Noel's got my ship… we can stop anytime. What we're after can wait if you want to pick us up."
"Stand by and continue on course I'll keep you apprised."
"Captain still working on it, it's a different algorithm than the Suran's normally use I'll send you what I have."
The data appears before KO and it takes one a second for it to register…
"Leo shields to maximum intercept and encompass the transport. Orion that cruiser makes one hostile move disable it."
"Eli approaching you from the stern extending shields around you. That is not, I repeat, that is not a Suran cruiser next to you."
"KO reading an energy surge aboard the cruiser…"
"Leo have we got them?"
"Shields extended …"
"ELI brace for impact!"
The cruiser exploded and the transport suffered little damage.
"Cruiser was a bomb, I'm guessing Marjee was the target and we spoiled it for them."
"We go home, command hath ordered so, come aboard, I'll secure the transport and we're off."
"What about the…"
"The rest of your stuff… later after this blows over."
Surrounded by a force field Illusion dragged the transport back to Shahrazad once there they received the news concerning Defiance.
"They got ambushed took some damage and if it wasn't for Noel showing up when she did we'd be down one starship. An elaborate diversion this was. The only saving grace was KO decided to shadow Marjee and kept quiet about it. Face it somebody wants you dead and considering what you've done in the short time you've been here the list of suspects is quite long and impressive."
Marjee sat quietly taking in everything Eliana has said. She was a marked person and will bring danger to those around her. She wasn't taking it well when Cassandra approached her and said.
"Not the first time one of us has had a bull's eye on us and it won't be the last. I suggest you unpack your stuff, after its scanned, and start piecing your life back together. Once this settles down we'll go collect the rest of your belongings."
Marjee left, Eliana was about to when Cassandra stopped her.
"A moment of your time if you please."
"What's up Cassie why the solemn face?"
"What I didn't tell you, well Marjee, was Plakia had a lot of information concerning the incident. Let me be clearer about this it was to be an assassination and kidnapping. Marjee was the target of the first part and the Dorian's were the second. Both were thwarted this time however I don't think it's going to be the last. Marjee radically upset the balance of power in the region and it's destabilized the entire system. Granted this is something I hoped for but the timing and cause are not. We didn't need to be the catalyst but we are and because of that any action we take from here on only places us deeper in the conflict. There is s special council meeting in two hours, make sure you and KO are there. Most command staff will be once we've finished we'll inform Marjee of the council's plans."
"Marjee's not invited… and I'm assuming she'll be a topic of conversation. You know how I feel about talking behind someone's back."
"I'm not overjoyed about this I tried to get the council, but they feel they can be frank about the discussion if she's not there."
"Cassie beside you and me, who else knows what you just said?"
"Plakia and the council and I'd like to keep it that way once gathered the council will inform everyone of …"
"Cassie I've got a very bad feeling about this and I'm putting you on notice there is a good possibility you're going to have…"
"A riot on my hands, I'm well aware of that fact but thanks for the reminder. You're second in command, gather the senior officers and lead them to the chamber but keep the reason close to the vest. I know it’s a dirty job and I wish there was another way but there is not. You have your orders please carry them out to the best of your abilities."
Eliana turned and walked away, Cassandra had dreaded what she had just done but it had to be and Eliana was the obvious choice. She hoped that this wouldn't start a riff between them.
"Pegasus we, um I need to talk, have you got the time to listen?"
"Marjee I sense you're troubled about something, I can listen but I don't know how much help I'll be."
"You're aware of what transpired recently?"
"The attempt on your being, I have those facts they tried but they failed and you are safe."
"Physically I might be safe, but emotionally, Pegasus I'm really scared those who tried to kill me managed to kill my mother. I'm not ready to die, not now, nor in the near future."
Pegasus's terminal went quiet a second terminal came on line and a data transfer started. Confused Marjee watched as information passed between Pegasus and one she didn't know.
"Lyra, answer me, who is accessing you?"
Lyra was quiet it was Orion who answered.
"Pegasus is interfaced with Lyra at the commander's inquiry."
"Wait you're telling me Marjee's aboard Pegasus?"
"Correct I have a record of the current conversation would you like to hear it?"
Raising her creunoc she contacted KO who in turn arrived with Eliana moments later.
"Marjee's aboard, not possible, security had specific orders."
Sarah starts the play back of the conversation KO and Eliana listen as Marjee looks to Pegasus for information.
"Damn Eli if Pegasus has connected to the network then…"
"He knows about the council meeting we've got to stop her from finding out."
Lyra returned to stand by mode and KO brought her on line.
"What information did you share with Pegasus more importantly does Pegasus know about the meeting in an hour?"
"He does not know… we covered life and death… human fears, regrets and most of the basic emotions as I have experienced them. Should I inform him…?”
"Negative he's not to know; from now on if you're accessed again I'd like to be advised."
"Captain, are there topics I should not discuss with Pegasus?"
"Lyra we'll discuss that later right now I have somewhere to be."
"Sarah, monitor Marjee if anything comes up, interrupt the meeting we don't need her running off again."
"Come on KO I'm double parked don't want to get a ticket."
Eliana and KO take the shuttle to the surface and arrive at the council chambers. They inform Cassandra of Marjee's current location to which she replied.
"Actually being aboard Pegasus is a good thing it means she won't come stumbling into this meeting. I'm assuming we're monitoring…"
"Yeah Sarah's on it shall we go inside and get this over and done with?"
"Sooner it's over the sooner we can move on."
"Thank you I'm going to sit here and reflect on what you've said should anything come up, notify me."
"Yes Marjee I will do as you have requested."
Leaning back in the chair Marjee's asleep before the first reflection had a chance to occur.
Shaking her wrist and exiting the chamber she opened the link.
"Damn it Sarah why the zap?"
"I've been trying for the last five minutes Marjee's asleep aboard Pegasus…"
"So was that important enough to zap me, I don't think so…"
"You better listen to the rest conversation before you pass judgment on my actions. Tell me when you're ready."
The recording starts, as KO gets the jest of it she tells Sarah.
"Stand by I'm reentering the chamber I think a lot of people need to hear this."
Returning to the chamber KO heads directly for Gwen, places the creunoc on the table and says for all to hear.
"I'd like to have a witness express their opinion on the topic in question. That witness will be the subject herself in her own words recorded aboard Pegasus within the past two hours."
The place exploded; council members were appalled that Marjee was aboard Pegasus. Tao pounded the gavel but there was little calming the room. KO opened her jacket withdrew a pistol and fired an air blast that brought dust from the ceiling. Stunned silence filled the room KO continued.
"What's done is done; reversing Marjee's acquisition of Pegasus is impossible, that will only happen with her or the ships demise. I would like for you to listen carefully to the conversation, I mentioned earlier, I believe it will answer many questions."
Turning to Gwen, KO asks for permission to allow the evidence to be presented it is granted and the recording begins. Stunned the members listen to Marjee and Pegasus as they explore her fears, when finished KO speaks once more.
"Tyrant, no, scared out of her wits human being, yes. She, like a lot of us, was thrust into something we had no idea how to handle let alone understand. Pegasus understands this better than most of us here would … these AI's are almost human sans emotions… his plan for her defense are sound I believe we let the ship do what it can and supplement those times where he can't help. As for the actions and reactions of the events that marked her. We need to keep talking to those people understanding as Pegasus put it… 'Indirectly you have usurped their authority. You have shown, in one action, a strength none of them have, you, with my help, left them quite powerless. Something your species finds quite unsettling.' "
The council met in closed session and decided to refrain on passing judgment at this time. Marjee was to be given unrestricted access to not only Pegasus but all the research on the ships and their builders. In the mean time a coup was reported at the 'Haven' the subject of much frustration died by his own hand rather than being taken prisoner. Those now in charge seemed to be a little more receptive to the Dorian effort to bring peace to the area. Talks started once again with the Suran's supplying relief efforts. Shahrazad remained quietly on the side lines.
Those who worked to get the ship to its present status are now aboard as crew. I've been assigned an officer who will act as my second in command. Our first outing will be the final recovery of my personal effects. I await their arrival.
Marjee closes the link it is then Pegasus informs her that an officer has presented credentials at the gangway and is heading to the bridge. Turning the seat towards the door it's not long before a lot of her questions are answered. The door opens and her 'second in command' enters.
"Captain, Shawn Lynn reporting, I'm to accompany you on this cruise until a more suitable candidate can be chosen."
Marjee's balloon deflated rapidly at his announcement she was so hoping to have him… well for now she has him aboard and depending on how this works out she might convince him to stay… might.
"Temporary duty, okay let's make the best of it shall we. Welcome aboard, Pegasus, execute pre launch sequence. Commander shall we get going?"
"Ready when you are Captain."
"Moorings cleared, course laid in, message from Defiance on the main screen."
The screen becomes active and Plakia addresses Marjee.
"Marjee take care of my first officer… Shawn, stay safe… I'll see you soon."
The screen switches to Dai she addresses Marjee.
"Orders are to escort you and while I'm at it run a couple of battle drills… we'll see how well you do, and Marjee, consult with your first, he's had a very well rounded education. I believe you two can learn a lot from each other."
The screen dims it's an uncomfortable moment for both of them, Pegasus breaks the silence.
"We're ready to depart, and we are drifting towards the platform…"
"Execute the course, set speed at factor two."
"Adjustments accomplished on course. Discovery is one quarter light second astern of this ship.
"Time to our first stop?"
"Five hours twenty five minutes present speed."
"Pegasus, allow command functions from Commander Lynn, I'll be in my cabin."
"You have your orders, I'll be back shortly carry on."
Marjee abruptly left the bridge and Shawn takes the center seat. Opening a display he becomes a bit more familiar with the ships operation to which Pegasus inquires.
"Commander I've never seen Marjee act this way before was there something I missed?"
"If I was guessing, and it's only a guess, I'm thinking my presence here came as a surprise to her, a surprise she wasn't expecting."
"I'm monitoring her vitals and they are…"
"Continue monitoring but unless something unhealthy occurs I do not want a continuous update... She left the bridge to keep me from seeing something she wanted to deal with in private. I'll respect her decision."
"Commander, do you two have a 'history'? The only reason I ask is my concern for the Marjee's well being."
"Pegasus, I'll be frank, I have no idea why she reacted the way she did but we've only know each other since her arrival on the planet. The best thing to do is monitor her and leave her alone while she deals with whatever is bothering her. AND Pegasus unless asked, leave the Captain be."
"Understood Commander, and Commander, Discovery on scrambled for you."
"Open the link put it on the main viewer."
"Are you ready for the first battle drill?"
'Negative the Captain is off the bridge.'
"Oh? Something I should know about?"
"Not at the moment Auntie Dai. But until she returns the drill will have to wait."
"I see, keep me apprised Discovery out."
"Are you on the return leg of your patrol?"
"We are about three hours from space dock why do you ask?"
"I've requested that you join me and you should be getting authorization from command shortly. I believe you maybe of use to my mission."
"Escort and battle drills? And you need two starships to accomplish this. Explain?"
"Pegasus Captain has locked herself in her cabin for no apparent reason. Her acting first officer has all command functions. Need I say more?"
"Captain Intercept course locked in… we have authorization from command to join Discovery…. Engineering stand by for high speed intercept, shields to maximum and engage… Dai we'll be there in forty seven minutes."
"Sari, Sari? Hello?"
Coming back to reality she greets Noel.
"Sorry grandmother I was um…"
"Extremely deep in thought, I'm sorry I interrupted before I go I was looking for a status report which it seems is missing. Is something going on I should know about?"
"Two items, negations are ongoing and the Dorian's seem positive, secondly Samson is joining Discovery at Dai's request it would seem Marjee um locked herself in her cabin shortly after Shawn's arrival. Shawn has operational control of the ship and…"
"Marjee spaced out when Shawn arrived… I wonder… if you want me I'll be in the command center I think I might have an idea of… I'll let you know, how soon till you're relieved?"
"Another twenty minutes why do you ask?"
"Join me when you're done I might need your expertise."
Noel leaves and Sari takes in the view from her window, a peaceful scene filled her view but, her mind, is not settling down, something she can't put her finger on is disturbing her.
Bonding with Pegasus had unlocked deeply repressed feelings. One of those was the desire to 'date' and proceed from there. She had seen Shawn from a distanced and hoped one day she would have enough nerve to talk to him… now here he was, and she was in her cabin hugging the stuffing's out of an innocent pillow instead of being on the bridge conversing with Shawn.
'Come on Marjee, get it together, calm down, get up, check yourself and get to the bridge, don't keep him wondering, tell him sometime before he leaves how you feel.'
"That is not possible and if this is your only demand then I'll adjourn this meeting. Since that was not the reason we came here in the first place."
Realizing they were losing the chance to negotiate the 'Haven' started talking in 'good faith'. Their first point was co-operation in repairing the damage Marjee had caused. To which Zachary countered with help, on the condition that the 'Haven' enter into a non aggression agreement with the Alliance. The bantering went on for hours with little progress. Zachary called for a break to cool off and objectively consider what both sides were saying, because he realized they were on the same page just starting from different ends.
"Your thinking is sound however your reaction time is too slow, if you continue to second guess yourself failure awaits you that said you have an advantage, this ship will not let you place it in jeopardy. It's relying on you to determine how to attack; left on its own this ship is capable of taking on any foe with survival as its ultimate goal. Let's run the drill again, go with your gut feelings and see where it gets you."
Operating well out of her comfort zone Marjee was getting very aggravated and Shawn had not been diplomatic either. She was sitting there getting more and more… then suddenly she reverted, placed her emotions on hold, and let logic rule the moment. Looking at what she did it made sense what Shawn had said although she would have like his delivery to be better structured, it made sense, now what to do?
"Pegasus, signal Discovery and Samson we're ready to sortie. Shields at sixty percent, weapons set to thirty percent."
"Configuration acknowledged, Discovery off starboard beam and commencing attack run."
"Hard to starboard, Z minus ten thousand and open fire on their underside, Samson's position…"
"Moving to our port side and opening fire…"
"Return fire and reverse course set up for the next pass…"
"We've got company approaching from sector one ten and targeting Samson."
"Battle stations full power to the weapons, notify Samson and put a shot across the approaching vessels bow."
"Marjee they’ve broke off the attack on Samson and are opening fire on us."
"Evasive target their power source and fire."
As Marjee issued the order the incoming fire hit them. Pegasus absorbed most of it but the ship yawed sharply almost knocking her out of the seat. Shawn fell in her lap. Pushing him back to his feet she continued the attack. The next salvo did considerable damage and the vessel withdrew… Marjee was starting to pursue when…
"Pegasus, hold your position we've got it from here and thanks we never saw them coming."
Samson departed in pursuit of the unknown vessel and Dai commented on the link.
"Are you two doing alright?"
"We're fine; I'm analyzing the data from the attack, that ship is not in my data base but I believe it's…"
"I suggest we leave it to Eliana to supply the data. I suggest we return to our original course and gather your stuff. I really don't want to go back and tell Cassie we didn't get it all."
"As you wish I'm going to keep a defensive profile thou we barely detected that ship I'm not in the mood for any more surprises."
"As you wish, we're ten thousand meters off your stern next stop in two hours twenty minutes present speed."
As they were proceeding with the next pickup the link between Dai and Eliana became active.
"Found it. Man Pegasus packs quite a punch. I'm downloading the data and Dai it's pretty much spent. Cassie's not going to be very happy about this."
"We wondered what that ship was capable of, its met expectations and Marjee, I don't know what's happened but her reactions were spot on. Now did she do this on her own or was it her first officers doing?"
"We'll have to wait till we get back I've gather the data and putting this drone out of its misery."
"Hopefully this was a useful experience for Marjee."
"Deed is done, on our way to you rendezvous in twenty minutes."
"Careful approaching, Marjee's still at battle stations. I'm sure you don't want to feel her wrath even accidentally."
"Thanks for the warning we'll give her a call on approach."
"Was it your idea to team Shawn with Marjee?"
Confused Cassandra stared at Noel and then Lafiel before saying.
"Shawn's with Plakia I don't know what you're talking about…"
"He's aboard Pegasus with Marjee I've confirmed the temporary transfer."
Cassandra looked at Lafiel and then in unison they said.
"What is she thinking...?"
Noel finished the sentence.
"Methinks she's match making, wishing for great grandchildren. Unfortunately In my humble opinion I don't think…"
"You're right Noel you're not thinking… Shawn and Marjee no …"
Raising her creunoc to her lips Lafiel said.
"Mother, are you busy?"
"Not at the moment what can I do for you?"
"Why is Shawn aboard Pegasus?"
"They needed an experienced officer and I supplied one, are there any other questions?"
"I find your honesty in this admirable however why do I feel you have something else in mind."
"Feel what you wish, think what you will, if there is something else say so if not I do have matters that will need my attention."
"No mother that is all for now thank you for your time."
The link closed and Lafiel said.
"My apologizes, Noel you might be on to something. I guess we'll need to pay attention to them from here on and Cassie we need to leave them alone, if it seems there is a 'them'. Okay?"
"As you wish mother I'll keep my eyes open."
"Didn't figure we'd see you this soon and your method of conveyance just what is that?"
"It's a star ship and I command it… is my stuff where I left it?"
"Never figured you for a … your stuff is where you left it… need any help with it?"
"If I can borrow a hover dolly I can manage it by myself. How is the research going?"
"Going nowhere at the moment we're stuck… um if you have a moment want to take a look at what we've got maybe you can figure it out."
"Tell you what, let me get my gear aboard, inform my first officer of what you requested and I should be back shortly."
"Hover dollies are still in the same area if you need help please contact me."
Marjee left the manager and proceeded to the area where the dollies were stored. Along the way familiar sights filled her mind and… this was the last place she… the memory of her mother parting to join… at first she though it was the suit but checking it the cooling unit was on line, then she realized it was her anger at the loss of her mother that was… taking a deep breath clearing her mind remembering why she was here she took the dolly and proceeded to the far end of the station. Once loaded she returned to the ship offloaded her cargo informed Shawn she was returning to the station.
"I should not be more than a couple of hours should anything arises…"
"I'll let you know just remember we're not here alone. I'll inform the others of the change in plans and Marjee, do be careful."
Leaving the ship and making her way to the research office Marjee dove headlong into the data the station had acquired. It took her an hour to make sense of it and just as the pieces came together she realized.
"I'll be he called me by name wonder why he did that?"
A confused researcher looked at Marjee, feeling a bit flush she returns to the data, once complied she gives it back to the researcher and says.
"This should point you in the right direction if you have any other questions. I'm stationed on the planet Shahrazad in care of the command center. They'll know my whereabouts and can forward your requests to me."
Once aboard Marjee communicates with Dai telling her they're done and can return home at anytime. Opening a link to Eliana, Dai passes on the message to which Eliana's response was quite unexpected.
"Proceed as planned, however I'm this close… I'm going to make a detour that I just got approval on… and um KO is going to meet me so I won't be alone."
Dai acknowledges the orders and departs following Marjee. Once they are clear of the area Eliana opens a scrambled link and says.
"Did you make arrangements for our visit?"
"I have, sending you the entry coordinates, we'll be escorted so meet me there and no aggressive moves we're being judge by our actions."
"Be honest KO do you think we have a chance…"
"If we behave ourselves and make no provocative moves, I believe there might be hope. It's worth a shot but understand we have more to lose than they have to gain. One stupid move on our part could place us in a worse position than we already are in. But if we can relieve the tension then there might be some hope."
"You realize we're not the guilty party, I … okay you've worked hard to get us this far I'll go along but at the first sign of…"
"Curb yourself… we're not here to start a 'shooting war' but that said if they feel, um are crazy enough to … I don't want a conflict so if they get belligerent we may have to retreat. Hopefully they'll listen and we'll listen too that's what happened last time nobody listened."
"These coordinates and this requested speed you realize it'll be ten hours before we get there."
"I do, can't be helped; I'm waiting for you, approach as directed because I can guarantee you're on somebody's display and if you don't comply…"
"See you in ten hours."
To be continued in: Patience is a Virtue