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The First Maje

Posted on Thu Jan 26th, 2023 @ 8:03pm by Captain Björn Kodak

Mission: Predators and Prey
Location: USS Sojourner, Bridge
Timeline: Mission Day 1 at 1020

[The Bridge]
[USS Sojourner]
[MD 1: 1020 Hours]

"Report," the Captain had ordered, his raspy voice suffused with a note of concern as he exited his Ready Room and strode onto the Bridge. The officer at tactical had commed him with a report of two contacts appearing on sensors. Falling into his chair, Kodak also ordered a yellow alert. The Bridge's lighting changed to slowly flash amber threads throughout the panels of the control center's walls.

Ensign Somla's fingers danced across the Operations console, reapportioning power to the ship's systems given the new alert status. The Bajoran drew energy from non-essential systems and fed it into the active, primary ones. Technically she didn't need to audibly report this -- it was standard procedure for a yellow alert -- so she remained quiet while the Captain waited for his ordered report.

"Looks like a shuttlecraft is being chased by a much larger vessel, sir. It appears to be heading for Shaddam II," reported Ensign Nevek at Tactical. The Andorian's antennae waggled with anxious energy as the young officer studied his holographic readouts. Confirming energy signatures on file, he felt a sense of dread settle in the pit of his stomach but matched it with equal parts determination. "The shuttle is sending out a distress signal. And sir...contacts read as Kazon," came Nevek's additional commentary, his tone even-keeled.

"On screen," Kodak ordered, directing his eyes to the viewscreen. The Kazon? Here? the Chameloid wondered. Encountering the Kazon was pretty much a forgone conclusion at some point but they were far from their normal region of space. What brought them out so far?

The image switched from the dustball that was Shaddam IVa to the pair of vessels that had appeared on sensors. The larger vessel was firing at the shuttlecraft, which was doing an admirable job of avoiding most of the phaser blasts until a blue-white beam scored a hit on one of the shuttle's engines. Slowing given the reduced engine output, the shuttle changed its trajectory, a closer destination than Shaddam II now chosen.

"The shuttle is now on course for the far side of Shaddam IVa, sir," came Ensign Sohlare's report from the helm. The Trill had used the holographic interface of her console to calculate the shuttle's new course. "If we're going to intercept, we might want to hurry," the joined woman advised, old beyond her youthful years and anticipating that the Captain might want to intercede.

Sohlare had anticipated correctly: Kodak nodded and gave the order. "Get us there, Ensign. Fast as you can. Hail the larger vessel," he rasped, rising to a standing position. He preferred to address potential adversaries on his feet. When Nevek gave the nod to indicate that the channel was open, the Captain addressed whoever could hear him on the Kazon warship.

"This is Captain Kodak of the Federation vessel Sojourner," the Chameloid said, watching the continued chase play out onscreen. The shuttle continued to avoid the phaser beams, owing to its smaller size and superior maneuverability, but the warship was now gaining ground on it. "Please explain why you're firing on that shuttlecraft," he said, unable to stay out the situation given the distress call: it was their duty to render aid.

"Federation?" came a harsh, grizzled reply. The visual of the chase was replaced by a hard, mud-colored face with lined cranial ridges and upswept hair that was suspended in matted clumps. On that face hung a sneer dotted with broken, jagged teeth. "Your Federation has no business here. This is a private matter. Business of the Kazon-Lidrum," the haggard-looking man replied. "I am First Maje Subrek of the Kordra-Lisrit and I bring you a warning, Federation: do not interfere." The channel then cut out, the Maje no longer interested in talking.

"The shuttle is entering the atmosphere, Captain," Nevek said, antennae waving with concern. "The Kordra-Lisrit is taking a stationary position in orbit."

"They aren't made for that," hissed a new voice, this one from Ensign R'Mol, the half-Klingon, half-Tellarite manning the Engineering station. "The shuttle, I mean," he clarified with a growl. "Judging from our scans, it clearly wasn't designed for atmospheric operations. It's going to break up," he predicted, eyeing the shuttle's fiery flight now on the viewscreen.

Normally the Captain would take his time figuring out their next move: weigh potential actions and lay out the pros and cons. But time was not on their side, it seemed. They needed to act now if they were going to save the shuttle. Kodak took his seat again and decided on a course of action. "Whoever's on that shuttle needs our help. Helm, prepare to take us into the atmosphere. Tactical, prep the tractor beam. If we can--"

The Captain was cut off by Nevek. "Given these readings on the Kazon vessel, I'm not sure that's a good idea, sir."

"Why?" Kodak turned to ask, surprise on his face. "This ship should be more than a match for the Kazon," he said, remembering Voyager's data about the aliens and their sub-par, scavenged technology. "We'll save the shuttle and then sort it out with Subrek after. They're hardly in a position to--"

Nevek shook his head, interrupting the Captain again. "Sir, this particular Kazon ship isn't what we'd expect. Somehow it's got weapons and technology on par with our own. If we pick a fight, it'll be a lengthly one. That shuttle will have crashed long before we can do anything about it."

"How the hell did they advance their technology so much?" Kodak asked incredulously, not expecting an actual answer. He'd read all of the reports on the known alien races encountered by Voyager thirty years prior. The Kazon shouldn't be so technically advanced, even after three decades of potential progress. He blew a breath outward, his mind wheeling. Nevek was right, even though it galled him.

"Sir, the Kordra-Lisrit just launched a couple of shuttles," Nevek said. "They're heading down into the atmosphere. I suspect--" a beeping from the tactical console interrupted his thoughts. "The Kazon are hailing, sir," the Andorian said, looking up from his display. Given a nod by the Captain, Nevek tapped his controls and opened the comm channel.

Subrek once again appeared on the viewscreen. He looked furious. "We have detected your vessel on the surface, Federation. And I see your people have already violated our sacred ground," he sneered with malice, his maw of craggy teeth coated in shiny, strandy saliva. "We shall remove them in short order," the Maje threatened darkly. "I suggest you leave while we are feeling...charitable," sarcasm threaded his tone, "about your transgressions here. Kordra-Lisrit out." The channel, once again, terminated.

Kodak sat in silence, wishing that his First Officer were here to talk options through. Now, not only was that shuttle beyond their ability to help, but the away team was in danger as well. Subrek didn't exactly seem open to diplomatic solutions and the Sojo was the only Starfleet ship within weeks' of their present location. Options seemed few given the situation but perhaps there were avenues of action he hadn't thought of himself. Making a decision, the Captain nodded.

"Helm, back us off for now," Kodak said, rising again from his chair. "We can't help the shuttle but perhaps the away team will see them on their scans." He felt sick to his stomach at the thought of being unable to aid the shuttle and its pilot. "For now, our priority is figuring out how to get our people back safely. Conference," he ordered, looking around his third-string Bridge crew. "Let's see what we can come up."

And with that, Kodak made for the conference room, the other officers handing their stations over to their replacements and following in his wake. They'd talk it out and come up with the best course of action. If there was such a thing...

=/\= A post by... =/\=

Captain Björn Kodak
Commanding Officer

and a bunch of NPCs


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