Subject: FRONTIER: Another uninvited guest

SD 80528

Patrick checked the sensor readout on the tactical display and seeing that 
there was no change in the 'echo` he returned to the captains chair.  The 
bridge seemed strangely quiet, only himself and ensigns Smythe and Calidan 
were on watch.  Most of the others were in engineering working on the new 
warp core.

He watched the two women at the consoles and noticed for the first time
that he didn't know either of them.  They had both appeared on separate
occasions and given little explanation about what they had been doing, nor
had one been asked of them.  Yet here they were, sitting in two of the
ships most important positions as if they belonged.  He found that he was
more than a little disconcerted by this thought, the ship had already been
infiltrated twice by enemies and he made a mental note to keep a watchful
eye on them.


"Sir, I'm detecting a power surge directly behind us." Calidan announced. 
"It's a ship decloaking."

"Red alert.  Raise shields." He activated the shipwide comm, "All crew to 
battle stations.  Ensign Smythe, evasive maneouvres."  The alert lighting 
switched on and the klaxon blared.

"Subspace has been flooded," Calidan reported, "our sensors can't read 

"Aft view."

The starfield on the viewer switched to a similar looking scene. "They must 
be moving round us, I'm attempting to track."

Patrick jumped off his seat and ran to the tactical console where he 
proceeded to arm the phasers.

Moments later Ramsay walked onto the bridge, "Status."

"Our echo was a cloaked ship, it's blinded our sensors and has decloaked." 
Patrick informed him.

Ramsay sat on the captains chair, the image on the viewscreen changed again 
to reveal a fleeting glimpse of a large black object, which was difficult
to make out from the darkness around it.  Suddenly there was a very brief
but intense red flash and the viewer went blank.

"Sir we're being hailed."

"On screen."

The man that appeared on the viewer was apparently human, he had jet black 
hair, a beard and moustache.  He looked at Ramsay with an expression made 
all the more intimidating by the baleful red glow from the prosthesis where
one of his eyes had once been.  "Drop your shields and prepare to be
boarded," he commanded, "Make no attempt to resist or your ship will be

Ramsay tried to reply but he was cut off by the bearded man, "You have ten 
seconds to comply."

Just as the viewer went blank Angus arrived on the bridge and went to 
Patrick's side by the tactical station.

Calidan turned to face Ramsay, "Sir I strongly suggest that we comply," she 
said urgently.  "We have no idea what that ship may be capable of."

Ramsay struggled to remain calm, "Hail them."

Patrick frantically tried to raise the other ship but with no success, 
"They're not responding sir."

Ramsay clenched his fists tightly, "Damn, just when I thought things 
couldn't get any worse.  Patrick tell them that I am going to destroy the 
ship if they attempt to board."

Patrick communicated the message and after a short wait he frowned,
"They're still ignoring us." and then in an alarmed tone he added, "Sir our
shields have..."

Before he could finish three transporter beams appeared on the bridge and 
left behind three large men who instantly raised weapons at the crew.

Ramsay tried to invoke the self-destruct code but before he could say it
one of the figures leapt forward and dealt him a heavy blow to the abdomen
with the butt of its gun, he collapsed to the floor gasping for breath.

"Move away from your positions and hold your arms in the air."  One of the 
figures ordered, his voice was hollow and sounded artificial.  The three 
were all identical, they were tall, about six foot six and were heavily
built.  They looked like they might be androids, designed to appear barely

As the crew obeyed, another two transporter beams appeared, one of the 
arrivals was clearly a Romulan and the other a Human.  There was a plate on
the side of his head and a cable ran from it to a box hung from his belt. 
He looked at the androids and no words were spoke but two of them moved to
the vacant command positions.

[Level three is secured.] said a voice similar to the android's.

"Good, move all personnel to level two and contain them." the Romulan 

The Human on the bridge looked at Ramsay crumpled on the floor and then at 
the others, "If you will kindly enter the turbolift." he said, gesturing to 
the door.

Calidan helped Ramsay to his feet and they filed into the lift accompanied 
by one of the androids.  The door shut and a few seconds later opened again 
onto deck two.

There was an android standing outside the lift and others stationed along 
the corridor.  They were taken to 2-Backward where the rest of the crew was 
assembled, and guarded.

Angus sat down on one of the tables and looked around at the people in the 
lounge, some of the others had the giddy look of the recently stunned and 
some who had not yet recovered were laid out on the floor.  He couldn't
help but notice the efficiency with which the boarding had been carried
out, no more than five minutes could have passed before the whole crew was
subdued and detained.

Patrick glowered at the various guards and then turned to Angus, "Well?"

Angus shrugged, "I have no idea, there's no documented faction that
operates in this area."

"Pirates maybe?  Or mercenaries?"

"Could be, but pirates tend to stick to commercial space lanes.  It could 
be mercs but if so then who's hired them?"

"The Kzinti probably, they finally realised that they're far too inept to 
catch us on their own so they hire some pro's to get us instead."

Angus sighed deeply, "Well, mercs or not, they sure got us."

At that moment the man that Angus recognised from the bridge walked into 
2-Backward and consulted a PADD briefly, "William Ramsay, Joanna Houston
and Angus Murray, come with me."

The three who had been called walked to the doorway and followed the him 
towards the turbolift.  He looked at each of them in turn paying particular 
attention to Houston, "'Senior staff` you call yourselves, you look a bit
young to me." he said and looked at Houston again, "Tell me android, when 
were you made?" he asked curiously, "And by whom?"

"I was created by doctor Bruce Maddox, approximately seventeen years ago." 
she answered with a blank expression.

"Ah." he said, raising his eyebrows, "The Maddox prototype, I was quite
interested in Maddox's little experiment at the start, in fact I
contributed a great deal to your programming.  However I left the project
before you were finished, Bruce and I had some serious disagreements.  Tell
me, how far has your development taken you from your core program?"

"I believe I am now capable of limited emotional response to certain 
stimuli," her face still neutral, "and my behaviour has become more complex 
and unpredictable."

The man nodded, he ran his hand across his scalp and over the implant on 
the side of his head, "I created a number of prototypes with emotions 
myself, but I soon found it was a bad idea, their emotions seriously 
compromised their efficiency."

Ramsay suddenly decided to butt in, "I'm sorry to break up this little 
conversation but would you mind telling me who you are and what the hell is 
going on?"

The man calmly put a hand on his shoulder, "My dear Mister Ramsay, I am 
doctor Albrecht Gustavus Erich Bernard Von Wagemuellerstein.  But you can 
call me doctor.  As to your second question, that will be answered when we 
reach the conference room."

They walked into the turbolift and when the lift opened onto the bridge
they saw the Romulan sitting on the captains chair which spurred a low
growl from Ramsay.  The Romulan smiled at him, Mr Murray, I need to have a
few words with you," he gestured at the other two, "You may proceed to the
conference room."

Ramsay and Houston walked into the conference room, there was one of the 
ubiquitous androids and sitting in the seat at the head of the table was
the black bearded captain of the other ship.  He was just under six feet
tall, but was heavily set, with wide shoulders and a barrel chest.

Ramsay met the gaze of the man, "Now are you going to tell me what the hell 
you're doing or am I going to..." He realised that he couldn't think of 
anything to add to the demand.

The man laughed briefly, "Before you try to make threats mister Ramsay make 
sure you remember what situation you're in,  your crew including your wife 
and son are at my mercy and your ship is no longer under your command."

"I can blow this ship up at any time and I will happily sacrifice my crew 
and family if I knew that you were going to die with us." Ramsay said 

The man stood and walked towards Ramsay and Houston, "Your computers have 
been paralysed and your authorisation codes have been frozen, I assure you 
that this ship will not be destroyed unless at my instruction."  He waited 
for a moment for a response from Ramsay but when none was forthcoming he
continued, "I expect you're wondering what exactly I'm doing here, so I'll 
tell you this much, I've been hired to make contact with your ship and to 
ensure that you do not cause any further trouble."

"Who hired you?" Ramsay asked, not really thinking that he would get a 

"Starfleet high command initially, they gave me most of the information
that I would need to find you but the Kzinti stepped in more recectly and
offered me a substantial payment to locate you for another purpose."

Ramsay looked at the man incredulously, "Why would Starfleet need to hire 

"It would seem that you are not aware of this, but a rather tentative
treaty has been drawn up between the Kzinti and the Federation, and
Starfleet want to see this ship recovered without risking an incident, so
they couldn't get involved directly."

"And the Kzinti?" Ramsay asked.

"Fairly obvious I should think," he replied, "They want to see you and your 
crew properly punished for your transgressions into their space, but again, 
they didn't want to cause an incident by sending their fleet after you.  I 
don't suppose you can imagine the dilemma I have to face, the Federation
are a dangerous enemy to make but the Kzinti are offering so much more for
your recovery, or destruction."

"Tell me," Ramsay asked, "Did either of them pay up front?"

The man grinned, "They both did, I always demand payment in advance."

"And people pay?"

"Of course," he said, "I'm the best freelance that there is."

At that moment the door hissed open behind Ramsay and Houston and Angus 
walked into the room, when he saw the man a look of recognition passed 
across his face, "Luther, what in every gods name are you doing here?"

Luther looked at him for a moment before replying, "My job."

Angus expressed disbelief, "I thought you said you were captain on a 
merchant ship."

The man nodded, "We do *some* trading, occasionally." Then he strode across 
the room and caught Angus in a rough embrace, "It's good to see you, it's

"Four years?" Angus suggested.

Luther released him, "Really?  You were just starting at the academy last 
time I saw you."

"Well, I'd only just graduated when I got this assignment."

Ramsay turned to Angus, "You *know* this man?"

Angus nodded, "You could say that, this is Luther Murray, my brother."

Houston raised one eyebrow, "There is no discernable resemblance."

"We were fishing from opposite ends of the gene pool." Angus said.

Luther sat back down on his seat, "This puts a slightl differant complexion 
on things.  I'd sooner break a stained glass window that sell my own
brother to the Kzinti." he shrugged, "I never liked them much anyway."

Ramsay gave him a shocked look, "You weren't actually going to were you?"

"Well I was considering it, you have to make some difficult descisions in 
my line of work."

Angus glanced at both of them, "Have I missed something important?" he 

"Yes." Ramsay said, "I'll fill you in later."

Luther rubbed his beard thoughtfully, "I hope this ship doesn't mean too 
much to any of you."

"Why?" Angus asked.

"It's going to be destroyed.  I've decided that I can carry out both 
contracts.  Your crew are going to get back to Starfleet but the ship's 
wreckage is going to be my evidence that I carried out their contract, and
I can alter the flight recorder to suggest that it went down with all

"So how do we get back?" Ramsay inquired, "I mean, our shuttles won't carry 

"I suppose I could give you a loan of one or two of my runabouts."

"You can't let the Kzinti get this ship!  There's valuable equipment on 

"Relax, It'll be so badly damaged that nothing will be recognisable and 
Starfleet told me that most of the stuff doesn't work anyway."

Ramsay slumped into one of the chairs, "Great!  I'm going to get court
martialled and I'm not even a full lieutenant yet."

"I imagine a court-martial is infinitely preferable to being handed over to 
the Kzinti.  I've heard quite a lot about their torture methods,
disturbing, yet somehow inspiring, to quote one of my medical officers."

"You have a point of course, I'll tell my crew to pack." Ramsay said.

"I'll give you four hours to get ready, and I'll have a couple of ships 
standing by.  Dismissed."

Ramsay stood uneasily for a moment and then left with Houston in tow.

Luther looked at Angus, "You better get ready as well, we'll have plenty of 
time to talk later."

Angus nodded and left the room.

                       Respectfully submitted;
                        *  Allan MacLennan   *
                        *                    *
                        * [Lt.] Angus Murray *

          "Put your faith in God and keep your powder dry."
                           Oliver Cromwell

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