The bridge of the Emily Maria was dark, no one moved or anything but life support ran. Everyone was just looking at one another with baited breath, all hoping that they would fall for their possum trick.
"Are they gone?" Emily whispered to her husband as they waited in the dark bridge. She was slightly nervous as to what might happen to them if they were found out.
"I donít think so," Weasly Cook, Captain of the Emily Maria, one of the last remaining Miranda Class ships in the Federation. "But I donít know how powerful their sensors are to detect us... I mean we did use an abandoned sensor probe out here to make the metal compounds signature in the asteroid... but I do not know if they fell for our trick or not."
Suddenly the bridgeís lights and power turned on and once dormant systems came online and people began to breathe a sigh of relief as they began to get back to normal duties around the ship.
"Captain... we are still under clock and power is within normal levels." One of the Science officers said, he had replaced MíRass right before the clock was activated... he was in reality a defector Romulan who was stationed on board the ship to monitor the clock. "Everything is green lighted."
"Good... Kuna, get weapons ready so that when we drop the clock that we can fire right away... hopefully they will think that we are a ghost at first... hit and run, hit and run will be our tactic."
Kuna growled in a way that said he was not pleased with the orders but would reluctantly follow them through just stared at the view screen and then his control panel.
"Kuna... when facing a foe that you know must be defeated, yet they have the superior advantage when going head to head... and you know they will fight dirty... is it not honorable to fight like the fox, cunning and sly true... but able to avoid and win over his foes." Captain Cook said as if quoting a personal proverb that he had saved for this moment.
"Mixing of different philosophyís a most interesting move Captain." His first officer said in a flat tone of voice. The Vulcan only raised an eyebrow as Kuna began to work at the controls with a more Klingon gusto then before.
Kuna only gave a klingon laugh, "The Captain knows his crew, and like any good Captain he knows how to get his men to work... he just gave me a reason to do what he wants without bruising my honor too much."
Commander Conway who was leaning against the back wall was looking back and forth. "So... are you saying you would follow the Captain anyway? It sounded..."
Captain Cook only turned around. "Commander Conway... you are here to observe and get the ropes down before Captain Tevok leaves for his command post after this mission... So, if you have any questions, ask them to me off my bridge."
Commander Conway only nodded his head, making another note of the strange habits of the crew he was to get to know... Ensign Gillian knew the stars like no one else... yet, he seemed to get lost on the way on board the ship. While Lt. Wu, hated anyone tampering with his communication station while he was on duty. He had heard stories that the Captain had pulled a prank and had a cat answer a hail from an Admiral... he shook his head, this was a strange group of people.
Kuna looked up from his controls. "Captain, we are ready... we will be vulnerable for one second during clocking and shields going up... along with weapons will be off-line for thirty seconds during the transition."
"Thank you Kuna." Captain Cook said with a smile. "Prepare weapons... charge phasers, letís be ready for our first surprise attack. Cloak is still on-line?" He got a nod from the Romulan. "Very good, set course for our friend and give him a greeting card."
"Right away captain, putting our cards in there envelops." Kuna low voice rumbled out echoing around the bridge a little bit.
Gillian also nodded his head. "Aye Aye captain, setting course to the damaged enemy vessel, engaging impulse now." With those words Gillian pushed a few buttons and the ship began to move once again towards the enemy ship.
"What do you mean we lost our engines?" The commander shouted. "We had them a second ago." He was frustrated, being an understatement. He looked ready to lash out at the next officer to speak.
Unfortunately an engineer walked in at that moment and gave a report. "It seems that we lost power because of one of the weapons hit us causing damage that worked itself into the power couplings... we... shook our own engine pod askew... we can only travel at sub light speeds right now," He looked at his feet, "We also lost the destroyer... a failure in its systems caused a chain reaction leading to destruction."
The Commander slammed his fist on the arm chair. "Our invasion counted on two Motherships and their escorts... we have lost one escort ship out of three and we are damaged. They can take on one of our ships thanks to their Lion Captain... but not two of our ships."
Suddenly alarms blared and they were shocked by weapon fire... since people had been looking at the confrontation... no one caught a look at who attacked them... of course a small panel in the back blew out letting steam into the bridge. The Engineer looked grim. "That was the Circuit Breaker Commander... we will need to repair it if we donít want fires on board the ship."
"What was that?" the Commander shouted in anger, ignoring for now the Engineers last report. "What attacked us?" He was furious at the answer, mainly because no one had been manning their posts because they felt secure. However his anger got them scrambling back to their posts right away.
"Idiots, never abandon your posts... otherwise we will be destroyed... we must be vigilant in our duties."† The Commander growled out as his men resumed their posts and stations.
The lighting on the bridge was flickering and so were some of the consoles. The Engineer was at the Engineerís post on the bridge. "Fires reported in Power plant five... power flow is shaky in sectors one, seven, forty two, seventy seven... and the bottom two decks of the ship." However the next attack they got a good long look of the ship before it vanished again.
The scanner officer only looked at his Commander. Fearful of the result that might happen befall him. "Sir.... I got a look of our attacker and...."
"Spit it out will you? Donít stammer like you have some defect or something." The commander shouted out in anger, wanting to know the cause of his discomfort and the want of revenge.
Before the scanner officer could respond, another one shouted out in glee. "We did it, the station is one hundred percent transformed.... The station is now ready for beam outs onto the surface so we can destroy the station and the surrounding area, including the data."
"Good, good... tell them to proceed with all good speed," He turned to the Engineer, "Get all repair teams onto the engines.... And... stop the fake readings of weakness... we need to show them that they are not going to win so easily."
Another officer in the darkened bridge only nodded and pushed a button on his console. And groans and moans followed throughout the ship.
By this time the ship on the scanners had vanished and the Scanner officer remained quiet... he didnít want to risk the death of his mate because of a mistake that he and she made with the asteroid.
Captain Cook spun around in his chair. "What is that McCollum? What is happening?" his voice showing surprise and shock.
"It seems that the enemy Mothership is shedding its battle armor. Scans are having trouble penetrating the new armor... I believe that they have adapted to us knowing about their weakness in their command ships."
Cook only smiled, "That makes sense.... So, we are not the only fox in the woods.... Yet they are a wolf wanting to be a fox.... They cannot hide nor be limber."
He looked at his pilot. "Gillian, take us to the other vessel near the station.... If we cannot get one ships attention, then we shall get anotherís attention."
"Aye Aye Captain, setting new heading and course, engaging now." Gillian said as the ship jerked a little as it jumped to the next ship that had stopped firing on the station.
Kuna only looked uneasy. "Station is not firing nor is it doing active scans. I fear we could be too late." He smiled however when a beep told him that he was within firing range. He looked at Gillian and nodded his Klingon head. They both having developed their own tactic on the spot for working with the clock and the enemy was getting things down pat.
The Mothership was getting itself ready to start the beam out of the station and in doing so, had to lower her shields... at this critical time, the Miranda Class ship de-cloaked and opened fire upon the vulnerable Mothership. Tearing right through the outer hull that was to try and make the federation over confident, and soon in places was hammering away at the secondary and stronger hull plating. The enemy ship for three seconds didnít respond but when it did weapons pounded upon the shields of the Miranda, causing a light show of torpedoes and Phasers. However the enemy ship was damaged more and not as well protected and soon the weapons of the Miranda focused on the location of the bridge. Three Quantum Torpedoes and three separate Phaser shots tore through the metal and destroyed the bridge of the ship, before working their way into the guts of the ship.
Seconds later explosions began to rip from the inside out, while the Emily Maria vanished from view and sensors.
Onboard the enemy Capital ship the Commander was furious... a green vein was throbbing in a beating rhythm as he let his anger get the better of him. "So... they want a hunt do they..." He looked around and smiled at one of the officers that was dozing, "Human research... find me an appropriate animal that is a preditor, yet is hunted for sport... I want to know what kind of present to present to our captain since he thinks like one of those already." He looked like he was enjoying whatever event he was having in his mind. "He could make a nice trophy on my Cabin wall." He muttered as the once idol officer was off pursuing that knowledge for his commander, knowing already what might be the fate of the Captain.
He smiled and looked at the same officer. "And find out information on their communication networks and see if you can pull of some high ranking officer or something, we need an inside man and I doubt anyone will be as nice as our back stabber Mr. Ice.
The Officer didnít say a single word, just went right to work on his tasks that he had been assigned.
The Miranda ship was even though it was clocked, they were repairing the damage sustained in the attack.
Captain Cook was in his ready room and looking over the small stack of damage reports that had come in. Commander Conway was sitting in the chair in front of the Captain. Cook looked up at the new Commander. "So... what is your honest opinion of the crew so far? You will be serving as my new Commanding officer once this mission is over with... with Captain Tevok heading off to his own command. I donít want contention in my ship right now, with an enemy vessel now searching for us."
"I take it this is off the record?" Cook only nodded at him. "I think you are all insane... you have this strange habits that no respecting admiral would let you onboard a new starship... as well as your insane habits of history quoting, that has to be unhealthy... Gillian getting lost on board his own ship... and a klingon you borderline except his war like attitude... not to mention your cat who seems to have full reign... That all aside, I think you are a good crew and work very well. It will be fun to find my spot in the crew."
Captain Cook only nodded his head. "You could become the link between the Admiralty and our crew.... Seeing how most of them donít get my sense of humor, or my attitude at times. I guess it is working in a ship where one was not so connected to Star Fleet Command."
Commander Conway only smiled. "Iíll make sure that if it is another old ship to get you maybe guard duty around Earth.... Or back here with a decent ship, seeing how your wife is here."
The door chime sounded and Cook looked sideways from Conway. "Come in." The doors whooshed open and slide shut behind Emily. She looked rather ill and not very good.
"The entire station is full of animals... we were lucky this time... no aquatic animals showed up on the station, all life signs are accounted for, it seems that a safety of the alien vessel is to beam things back before their transporters go." She looked like she might not stand much longer.
Cook got up and moved swiftly to her side and gently led her to his couch. "Now, now, captainís orders are for you to sit down here and collect yourself... I assure you, when the Ambrosia gets back... and sees this, they will help us. We will find a cure; I know that you and those that work with you can find it." He looked at the commander and motioned him to leave. "We can continue this conversation later..." he looked at the stack of reports, "But if you donít mind, maybe you can look over those for me? I need to take care of my wife."
Commander Conway only nodded his head and took the stack of unfinished reports that needed to be looked over. He nodded his head to the Science Commander. "Good day Maíam." He then left the room.
Elsewhere in the ship, an Ensign was taking a break in his quarters and checking his messages, he had not believed that an entire sector would be in black out communication protocol, he was an officer that believed that anyone around him worked for Sector 31, and that this whole anthro and animal thing was something to cover up people knowing about something, in essence, a Federation officer that believed in conspiracy theories.
He blinked when he saw an incoming message, not a delayed communication but an actual data stream. He opened it without much thought, because it was coming from an Admiral that he had read was tfíd in transit with the original test bed planet.
on the view screen of his personal computer, the admiral, white haired with a small beards looked back at him, his eyes showing fear and horror. "Hello? Ensign Riley? Can you read me?"
"Yes Admiral, I read you loud and clear." He said with excitement, wait till some of the crew hear about this... this will show that his ideas were right and that this was just a big cover up.
"Good, first off, this is confidential and I only trust you with this knowledge... your captain is a traitor to the Federation, in exchange for the safety of his ship, he was able to tell them key locations of ships to abduct and weakness of ships and stations... I faked my own disappearance so I could research more... you captain is here to make sure that the aliens succeed here... sure he has fought... but it is right into the hands of both of him and the aliens." He looked around. "Time is short, encoded is a copy of a virus... it should allow you to incapacitate your Captain and give him his just desert for betraying the federation. But do this quietly and without suspension, once it is done... contact me and I will make sure that you are rewarded and I can send you the information needed to show the truth.... Admiral Cox out." The screen went blank before information started streaming across it, he realized that it was rather simple to do it, and with his knowledge of chemical codes, he could make sure that it would not be detected by the computer.
He smiled as he got up. "So... my so called seeing ghosts and insanity is true and I am the only sane and smart one around." He after downloading the information onto a pad, deleted the information on the personal computer.
On the bridge Commander Conway was looking over his old command station, ops and had observed a strange data stream coming to the ship... or was it away, he couldnít tell, but it was matched up with their sensor sweeps. He was about to contact the Captain when it disappeared when the sensors moved to a different location, afterwards everything was normal. Must be a Miranda Sensors, he thought to himself, I never was on board one so it could have been an old glitch. At that moment the relief officer who was late for his shift, something that he felt would be a habit showed up and he left the station, without reporting the glitch.
Captain Cook was finishing tucking his wife into bed in his quarters, he smiled and patted her head, but stopped. "Sorry, been so long with Captain Smith."
She smiled tiredly at him. "Thatís okay... I liked it." She then laughed a little as Captain Smith jumps onto the bed and curls up on her stomach. "Well, look here, it seems he wants to help me feel better."
Weasly only laughed. "Now dear, get some sleep, I need to work at my desk for a while, so I will make sure that nothing disturbs your sleep." He then left his room and went to the computer and brought up the screen. "Computer, bring up all previous information concerning the Morph Virus."
"Unable to comply Captain, information requested is under lockdown to prevent terrorist repeating same kind of attacks." The computer chirped in the dead pane voice that all ship crew members grow use to upon entering the Academy in San Francisco.
"Computer, Access code Cook Alpha one nine one two April," Weasly said, the computer chirped again and information streamed down the computer screen. He began to reread the accounts of different captains and crew members. As well as the science data reports about the Ambrosia crew, along with those on Planet Moreau trying to help his wife in finding something of a cure. Next time he looked at his chronometer he realized that six hours had past and then the reason that had taken him out of the knowledge gathering sounded again, his door chime sounded. He looked to the quarters and back to the door. He got up and walked to them, allowing him to see the Ensign in front of him. "Can I help you Ensign?"
During those six hours... the enemy Command ship had finished her repairs to her engines and had taken up a pursuit course... there was no way the commander would risk the animals on the station just yet, they would need to scan the station, along with retrieve the data recorder that had survived the ships destruction. So, they were hunting for the small vessel. Of course the Commander was happy that six hours ago he was able to use the information hacked remotely from the Science station had allowed him to find the perfect officer to use for their eyes and hands on board the ship, an officer that saw hidden plots in things that couldnít hold them... so the Commander had sent him on his mission on getting him his trophy.
The rest of the crew were looking at their commanding officer with a worried look, he was getting an almost insane look on getting this captain now.
"Commander," An officer asked as he walked up to his side. "Are you sure you want to give the ship the formula to make the virus? They could reverse engineer it."
"No, they wonít be able to." The Commanding officer said with a grin, "They were given a totally different Virus, one that has only one animal programmed into its viral DNA changer... and it is meant to be used only once... you see, I will get him to plug in any data PADD he used and delete the information that way." He smiled and looked at his officer. "Of course you donít plan on telling anyone else wills you?"
"No sir," The officer said giving a salute. "You know I am loyal to you." The commander grinned and motioned with his scaly hand that he may go."
"Are you sure Ensign?" Captain Cook asked that young officer in front of him. "Youíre saying that my cabin filters need changing now?" He looked rather strangely at the Ensign as if he didnít believe him.
"Yes sir, in fact you are one of the last oneís to be replaced... since you donít like to be treated above the rest of your crew." Theodore said with a level face.
Weasly only sighed. "Very well... but please be quiet my wife is sleeping in the bedroom." He said before turning his back on the Ensign and moved back to his computer.
Theodore momentarily stopped, he was unsure of if he should go on, or abort the mission and hope the Admiral would understand... but he mentally shook his head and walked forward, if she was here, and she was in charge of the science station... then she too must be in on it, after all, why would she be on the ship and not on the station when it got attack? He thought to himself. He quickly moved to the first filter in the room. He had timed it so that the virus would be released until well after he had left. He just hoped that his targets wouldnít leave just yet. He had three filters to work with, and so he stopped thinking about anything else except for the job at hand.
He was soon finished... having had the Captain install the filter in the bedroom, which freed up time even more, and got the captain distracted. As he left he heard what sounded like a female voice giggling. He moved right away to his quarters.
Weasly Cook only yawned as he slowly opened his eyes and stretched his arms over his head, for some reason his arms felt stiff and he needed to limber up. However when his eyes came into focus, he noticed something right away towards the bottom of his vision. It was red, and rather long with a black tip at the end of it. He moved his hand up to touch it when he stopped moving his hand. He saw that it had black fur on it, he still had a thumb and the workings of a hand, yet... he had the pad and short claws of an animal, he noticed at around his wrist or so the fur turned to a reddish brown color, he looked at his chest to notice a white fur pelt there as well, his mind, which was clogged on what was what, got unclogged and he realized what happened. He reached over to his comm. Badge on the table next to the bed. "Bridge, Come in, We have a problem, as in...." He stopped and looked at his wife to see a vulpine face staring at the ceiling, the bottom of her chin now muzzle had white fur that become reddish brown on the top of her muzzle. But the muscle around where the muzzle meet the face area was crunched up in annoyance, he realized that his hearing had also improved.
"Captain, are you still there?" A voice, he recognized as Conwayís asked. "What is the problem?"
Captain Weasly Cook looked at the badge and at his wife. "Somehow we have the virus on board... Tell Captain Tevok he is in charge." He was worried, was this just a midway point? Or did something he or science did stop it halfway? He needed to find out.
However his wife woke up at that moment and took one look at her husband, now a humanoid Red Fox, and then at her own paw hand and blinked, right before screaming out loud, making Cookís fox ears to flatten against his skull. "Dear, please donít scream so loud. I have sensitive hearing now as well." He looked hurt now and Emily seeing this closed her mouth and now was shaking silently; fear in her eyes... and strangely in the air around her.