Subject: FRONTIER: And now for something completely different
First anniversary of the FRONTIER thread in 17 days!
Graim Fieve watched as Murray left the lounge, then turned to Lukas.
"Well, what are you waiting for?"
"It's not exactly my idea of the right time," replied the Bajoran.
"But..." He got up and walked over to sit opposite Leana. His instincts
told him to get up, walk away and pretend he'd never tried, but despite
that he managed to say, "Hi."
This was unfortunate. The conversation was literally over before it
started. He struggled for a line to revive what was seeming like a lost
cause. In an agonising second he came up with one.
"I don't believe we've met." He extended a hand across the table, "Lukas
She shook the hand apprehensively, "Leana DeLias, pleased to meet you."
Well, the old introductions line still worked anyhow. "I was just thinking
what a small galaxy it is."
"We grew up in the same town. You don't remember me?"
"I can't say I do, I moved around a lot when I was young."
"Mmmm." He thought for a bit, then asked, "Do you miss Bajor?"
Leana considered the question for a moment and then replied, "Not really, I
left as soon as I was old enough to make it on my own. I have a lot of bad
"I'm sorry to hear that."
"Look, were you wanting something?"
Lukas wasn't much surprised, but he'd prepared for it. But just getting
the words out was a monumental effort. "Well, I wanted to talk. Strikes
me as unusual that the only two Bajorans on board haven't so much as seen
She sighed and in a tired tone said, "Well I like to keep myself to myself
most of the time and I just wait for other Bajorans to introduce themselves
and tell me that we grew up in the same town."
"Well, now that I've introduced myself, what's on your mind?" he said,
turning her words back.
She looked at him incredulously, felt her temper slipping out of her grasp,
"We have just been boarded, our ship has been captured and we are now
prisoners in our own off-duty lounge! I suppose this happens to you every
"Well *sor-ry*. In case you haven't noticed, there's not a lot we can do
about it." He regretted the outburst immediately, but got up and walked
Leana shook her head as if trying to forget the conversation and went back
to looking out of the window.
Federation long-range shuttle
"I've got them," announced Kief over the intercom. "At least, I think it's
their ship. And I think they've got company." He looked again at the
readouts, amazed at the size of the ship parked next to the Frontier.
He was joined shortly by his two clients on this case, who'd insisted on
going with him despite the uneasiness of the peace which currently
prevailed between the Kzinti and the Federation.
"Hail the Frontier," said Andrew Ramsay. "If they don't answer, we know
they're in trouble."
Janet McMirren looked apprehensively at the larger ship, then at the
investigator they'd hired. After persistently plaguing StarFleet with
questions, and hearing inside information on the Frontier mission, some of
the families of the missing crew had decided to start their own inquiry.
Little did they know just what dangers their children had faced.
Kief Sampter had a personal interest in seeing this job done; he hadn't
heard from his sister in a long time. Partly it was his own fault for
going on an extended tour of the galaxy in general, as his services were in
demand everywhere. But after the Frontier had failed to come in soon after
the Scharnhorst, he'd headed for Epsilon in a big hurry and met the anxious
parents of William Ramsay and Caroline McMirren.
"Sir, a shuttle on long-range sensors is hailing us."
"A standard Federation runabout, last registered to a Betazoid named Kief
Sampter. He's a... private investigator."
Luther turned to Ramsay and Houston, who had been about to leave. "I think
you'd better take this."
Ramsay stepped forward, activated ship-to-ship comms, "This is the
Frontier, go ahead."
"I have a couple of people here who've been looking for you," replied Kief,
anxiety at the lack of visual input showing. "Permission to beam aboard?"
Ramsay looked to Luther for a response. He nodded, once.
"Permission granted," said Ramsay. He cut the channel, turned to Houston
as they entered the turbolift. "You inform the crew of our situation.
I'll go to the transporter room and see to this business."
On approach to ISB EPSILON
The huge form of Starbase Epsilon loomed huge on the viewscreen as the
Frontier prepared for final docking sequence. She slid in effortlessly
through the doors, mooring beams snapping on to guide the ship to its
m-Caroline watched it all intently, knowing that if they had made one
mistake, all could be in jeopardy. The logs had to be one hundred percent
watertight, though it would only be a matter of time before someone figured
out that they had been doctored. And, that the Security Officer was not
exactly on the side of the Empire anymore, although to be truthful Caroline
had no idea how much she could rely on Angus.
"Commander, you have the bridge. I'll be in my quarters," she said,
leaving the seat to Maren.
Caroline McMirren's quarters
As m-Caroline entered, she had an ominous feeling that someone was already
in. She could hear breathing, faintly. Walking through to the adjoining
bedroom, she was surprised to see someone lying on her bed.
Ruth looked up, having sensed her not-too-quickly. "Oh, hello Caroline.
How are you feeling today?" she purred, straightening her skimpy dress.
"I'm fine." Caroline was suddenly a touch panicky; if Patrick walked in
right now, things would not be too cosy. "Look, could you come back some
other time. I'm busy."
Ruth sat up, swung her legs round provocatively, and looked up at Caroline
from the edge of the bed, "You shouldn't worry about him. He's on the
other end of the ship right now."
"I'm sorry, but you know how I feel about-" Caroline began, but before she
could finish the sentence, Ruth had pulled her down onto the bed, warmly
kissing her on the lips. Caroline felt a hand traverse the back of her
thigh, lifting her skirt.
"NO!" yelled Caroline, breaking out of the hold and standing quickly. She
glared furiously at Ruth, who smiled innocently. "Out, now."
Ruth made no move toward the door, instead she reached for the back of her
dress and unfastened the clasps holding her dress up, let it fall to the
floor. She stood before Caroline perfectly naked.
Caroline was hard-pressed to use brute force to remove this irritance from
her room, so instead she turned on her heel and strode into the next room
to sit down and think.
"Get up." With a start, Caroline realised there was a phaser levelled at
her. Ruth, still sans vetements, held the weapon unwaveringly.
Reluctantly, Caroline stood.
Ruth stepped forward, snapped the phaser out of her belt, put it down on
the table next to her, well out of reach.
"Now, take your clothes off."
Caroline looked daggers at her, then sullenly removed her two-piece
uniformette. She watched Ruth's eyes bore into her flesh, and felt
"Sit down," said Ruth, moving closer. When Caroline was seated, Ruth
placed the nub of the phaser next to her temple and sat down beside her.
"Enjoy the ride."
Tears started to roll down Caroline's cheeks as Ruth entered her mind in a
violent and aggressive manner. She felt Ruth's hand roam her paralysed
body, but ti was nothing compared to the invasion of her soul. All of her
mental tricks were useless against Ruth, who'd taught her how to do them in
the first place.
Out of the corner of her eye, Caroline saw the door open and Patrick walk
in. Twisting to try and escape Ruth and the phaser held against her head,
she yelled to him, "SHOOT HER!"
She had only to ask; moments later Ruth was down on the floor in a crumpled
heap. The dark presence in her mind dissipated. Caroline flung herself
about patrick's waist in a fit of tears, and he finally took in the
"Your attention please," said Houston as she walked in. "This ship is
being evacuated. You will now be allowed to your quarters, and I suggest
you pack only essential items, as space on the shuttles will be limited."
"What's going to happen to the ship?" asked Caroline.
"It will be destroyed, in four hours. I am afraid that is the best option
we have available. And we have Lt. Murray to thank for that."
There was a general air of discontent as people argued briefly about the
situation they knew very little about.
"SILENCE!" shouted Caroline over the din. When order ensued, she added,
"You heard Houston. Now get packing."
Transporter Room 1
Ramsay watched as three figures materialised on the pad. He recognised two
of them instantly, and he could tell they looked considerably relieved at
having found the Frontier.
The graying man stepped forward first and caught Ramsay in a hug. "How've
you been?" he asked.
"Fine, Dad. But what are you doing here? We've only been gone a week and
"My dear boy," replied Andrew Ramsay, looking at him curiously, "You've
been gone three *months*."
"It's not possible," said Will.
"It is," replied the other man, extending a hand. Ramsay shook it warily.
"This is Kief Sampter. He helped us track you down. I think he has a
relative on board as well," added Andrew.
"Your flight path, as best we can trace it, takes you through a region of
space known as the Black Sphere. It's little known, mainly because few
ships pass through it intact. I've had the experience of having done it
once. In there, almost anything can happen. It's a cosmic chaos pool.
You may just have been lucky to get away with just a minor time warp."
"Mmm-hmm," replied Will, not totally convinced. "Well, you've come at a
fairly tricky time."
"Oh?" said Janet.
"We have to evacuate the ship. Starfleet hired a third party in to find us
and bring us back without causing a scene. Unfortunately the Kzinti paid
the same group of mercenaries to blow us to kingdom come. We're lucky
their leader had sense to see he could complete both contracts so... you
get the picture."
"Would a quick tour be out of the question?" asked Andrew.
"Well, I think we can squeeze something into four hours. First, let's stop
off at my quarters and help Caroline pack." He touched his wrist-com, "Dr.
Sampter, there's someone here you might want to meet. Shall I send him to
[Yes, please do.] *Hello, brother. It's been a long time.*
*I've been busy,* replied Kief without speaking.
"If I find the time, I'll stop by Sickbay for that test you wanted."
*Busy chasing ghosts again?* she remarked.
[You might just fit it in. Sampter out.]
*Come off it, you know I'm serious about my work.* Kief turned to the
others, "I'd better go and see her."
Joanna Houston's quarters
"Enter," she said.
The doors slid open.
It was Keanu.
In his right hand was the effigy she'd sculpted. Joanna looked at him, he
looked at her. She sighed, looked up at the ceiling from the sofa she was
lying on. "Go away," she said. "You make me feel miserable." Already she
felt her eyes begin to burn with tears. She sat up, bringing her knees up
to her chest, wrapping her arms around them. Joanna looked at him again,
and said louder, "Go away."
"Houston, I'm sorry, really I am, but this is the way it is." He looked
down at the object he carried in his hand. "Nobody ever made a statue of
"Take it with you," she snapped tearfully. "I hate you, just... go away."
Keanu was disturbed. He had no idea of how to handle this, never mind
solve Houston's problem. He backed out of her quarters, perplexed. He'd
meant to try and take the sting out of his earlier words, but she did not
want to know. As far as he was concerned, things were not okay.
"You know, I almost wish he'd set the phaser to kill. I wouldn't have to
come down here and try to find out why-" m-Caroline flung up her hands in
frustration, glaring at Ruth across the forcefield.
"Yeah, I bet you did. Know this, *Captain*. If you let me out of here, the
Empire's going to know about your little scheme a bit sooner than you hope.
You'd better just kill me and get it over with." She turned her back on
"You know," said Caroline, lifting the phaser, "you're absolutely right."
Her hand tapped the forcefield control panel, and there was a single short
lethal phaser blast.
"Security," said Caroline crisply, touching the comm panel, "Commander
Sampter is dead."
"Caroline?" called out Will as he entered.
"Yes, what is it-" Caroline asked as she walked through. "Hi, what are you
*doing* here?" she added as she caught sight of her mother. "It's good to
"I thought you were pregnant," said Janet McMirren.
"Ummm, not since I gave birth," replied Caroline.
"Surely the baby must have been premature!" exclaimed her mother,
exasperated by the situation.
"No, Caroline had a little accident with some sort of bio-accelerator. It
brought the pregnancy almost to term," said Will as he walked back through
to the other room, returning with Christopher in his arms. "Dad, meet the
latest addition to the Ramsay family; Christopher, this is your grandad."
Andrew gazed down at the gurgling child and smiled. Christopher smiled
back. "I think he likes me," said Andrew.
Next it was Janet's turn to wonder as she took Christopher in her arms and
rocked him back and forth gently. "He's got your brother's nose," she said
to Caroline as she looked up from the infant. "Not quite so loud yet
though," she smiled, remembering the tough times she'd had with James. He
was such a noisy little baby. She handed the baby to Caroline, who sat
down with it.
"So, could you bring me up to speed on what's happened while we were away?"
Ramsay asked his father.
"Well, your sister's graduated the Academy. She just got a posting on the
USS Lima, and she says things are working out fine," replied Andrew.
"The Federation's signed a peace treaty with the Kzinti, although it'll
still be some time before we hear from the ships lost behind their
borders," added Janet.
"Your friend Rich Wilson's been in contact, he's worried about you. I said
I'd find you no matter what, and... here I am. You know, it took quite a
lot of persuasion to get Starfleet to cough up the details. But what we
could get out of our friends was enough to tell us where you might be,"
Hi Chris, if you're reading! I figured that Rich would maybe try to get in
touch somehow, you know. First place to check -> always the family.
And if I get a mail account, you'll be the first to know :-)
"Oh? What's Rich doing these days anyhow?"
"Well, he's Ops Manager of the Regent."
"Ah. Well, he looked better in mustard yellow anyway," remarked Ramsay
dryly. It was strange how uncanny it was; he'd had to take over Ops when
his friend Kyle Raner had left the Regent, and now Rich was doing the same
"And it's Lieutenant Commander Rich Wilson nowadays I hear."
"That was quick," said Caroline. "Last time I met him he was just a junior
lieutenant like Will here." She patted her husband on the shoulder.
"Not so fast," said Will. "By the time Starfleet's done court-martialing
me for losing the Frontier, I'll be lucky to keep my commission."
"Come on, darling. You can't be so defeatist," she replied. "You brought
back the Scharnhorst, and we know where most of the rets of the ships are.
Isn't that worth something in your defence?"
"She's right, Will. Busting you out of Starfleet is the last thing they'd
want to do," piped up Andrew. "Now, how's about that tour?"
"Okay, okay, you win," said Ramsay, placating them with both hands raised.
"Are you staying here?" he asked Janet.
Ramsay turned to his father, "Let's go."
The doors swooshed shut after them. "So, not much of a honeymoon then?"
"No, Mum. It's been gruelling all the way through, and there's only a
glimmering of a reprieve. I'll have to think twice before coming on
another mission like this."
"You'd better get thinking then. According to certain sources, Starfleet
has decided that your success was so good that if you make it back, the
crew will be a special group they will want to call on again if another
"Well, of course, I haven't been able to verify it, but it's big talk right
now... that is, for everyone cleared to Grade One security. I had no idea
the mission was so hush-hush."
Caroline thought about it a minute. "It does sound like a good idea, but
I'm not sure I want to get involved in it."
"Starfleet doesn't care. I imagine they have ways of making your
assignments hell if you don't agree to it. I don't know. The whole thing
stinks to high heaven."
"Mmmm," agreed Caroline.
Ruth Sampter's quarters
"Come in," said Ruth from her sofa.
The doors slid open and Kief walked in. "Nice place you have here."
"It's not. It's grotty. You should speak your mind more. Or have you
forgotten how?" she teased.
"Hey. I have to deal with all sorts of cultures in my line of work. The
last thing I need to do is tell some squid-like creature that he looks
grotesque. Especially not if he's got a phaser rifle stashed away in his
"So you're still a paranormal investigator?"
"Well, not precisely. There hasn't been much spooky stuff going on. In
fact the nearest I've come to a real paranormal case is our sister."
"Kief, will you quit that? Dana is *gone*, G - O - N - E. We all stopped
grieving years ago. You still think she's alive?"
Ruth sighed, "There's a few things here you may want to look at. I'll be
"You have a date?" he said, almost as she thought it.
"No, not really," she lied.
"But not with your boyfriend?" Kief was intrigued.
"Look, I promised Patrick I would have a chat with him when I got some
time. Now I have four hours, less how long it'll take to set up the
"Psi-test? What for?"
"He's been exposed to an unusual substance which had the side-effect of
boosting his psionic ability. I need to find out just how it's affected
"I could do that for you," said Kief plainly. "Go on, enjoy yourself."
"You would?" replied Ruth. "That's very... thanks." She kissed him on the
cheek, and left.
Kief sat down, picked up a picture that was lying on the sofa.
It was Dana and Ruth, when they were much younger. It must have been taken
a couple of yours before she disappeared. He sighed, trying to clear his
head of the bad thoughts that sprung forth. He'd been hit hard by the
whole thing. It had influenced every day forward, to the point where he
knew he was still looking for his lost sister.
Maybe Ruth was right. Maybe he should stop looking.
Joanna sat at a table sipping a drink she frankly didn't care to taste,
looking out into the starfield, trying to think out her situation.
Thankfully Keanu wasn't around, she could do without his company right now.
It puzzled her that now she felt such bitter anger and resentment toward
the Trill, and that none of her previous loving feelings were apparent.
"I heard about what happened last night," said Ruth as she sat down
Ruth frowned. Something was up; she definitely hadn't expected that kind
of response from Houston. "Is something wrong?" she inquired.
Joanna almost snarled at her. "No, everything is just *fine*, thank-you,"
she replied sarcastically. Before Ruth could add to the conversation, the
android batted her glass side-down on the table, splashing liquid
everywhere, and got up and stalked out of 2-Backward.
"Watch where you are going you big oaf!"
Ruth turned round in astonishment to see Houston deliberately barge past
Patrick Simony and out into the corridor. He straightened up, and
continued on to Ruth's table.
"What's up with *her*?" he asked.
"Call it a guess, but I think she's a little upset by everyone knowing
about you-know-what," Ruth hinted as she cleaned up the mess on the table.
"And this is our compact lounge-bar," said Ramsay as he walked in with his
father. They sat at the bar, "Anything with some bite and a lot of fizz,
Cralk," said Ramsay to the bartender.
"I'll have an orange juice," added his father. Noticing his son's
surprised expression, "The doctor's told me to cut down on the alcohol."
"Oh. But we serve synthehol here."
"Maybe, but I don't drink it," smiled Andrew.
Riker picked that moment to introduce himself. "Hello. You must be Will's
father. You've raised a fine captain here, I have to say."
Andrew looked at the stranger up and down before exclaiming, "William
Riker interrupted, "I'm missing in action yes, I've heard the story often
enough. Thanks to the Frontier, I'm going back home at last. It's a shame
she's going to be destroyed. You know, I may be a faded memory of what
once was, but I'll fight your corner any day. Captain." He nodded at
Ramsay, then left.
Cralk leaned across the bar, "Sir, there is a minor matter I should bring
to your attention."
"Your first officer just left here. I must say I was not impressed by
"What exactly happened?"
"I think Dr. Sampter may be able to provide you with a better answer than
I," replied Cralk, indicating Ruth's table.
"Thanks," said Will. "Dad, I won't be a minute, this is private."
"You know, Patrick, I think I know why women are so attracted to you," said
"Oh, and what might that be?" he asked, smiling widely.
Ruth was about to answer when Ramsay interrupted, "Ruth, can you tell me a
bit more about what just happened?"
"What do you mean?"
"Oh. Well, I came over to talk to her, she wasn't very polite, she seemed
almost angry in a way. Is that something to do with that memo I read this
"In a way. Go on."
"Well, there's not much more to say. She stormed out, almost knocking over
Patrick in the process. It was quite deliberate, Will. Oh, and by the
way, my brother's volunteered to do your psi-test. He'll be in Sickbay
when you're ready."
"Thanks." Ramsay left their table, nudged his father, they left together.
"Now, what was that you were saying?" asked Patrick.
"Do you know, I can't remember. What a shame," grinned Ruth ruefully.
S [Captain] William Ramsay, CO FRONTIER S
D A [Cmdr] Caroline Ramsay, rodXO FRONTIER A D
R M [Lt.Cmdr] Joanna Houston, aXO FRONTIER M R
A M M A
W E "He said, `You're too late. We're everywhere'." E W
D Odo, Star Trek: DS9 D
Now *that* is a record-buster. Beat that, I challenge anybody.