"Xoxiandelan." A voice rumbled from the silhouette on the Executor's view screen

"Emperor." Xox replied saluting. "What is it you wish of me., Liege."

"First." The deep voice rumbled. "I want to express my deep disappointment in your inability to destroy the Confederations, prototype"

"I express my deepest apologies." Xox said bowing his head.

"By doing so your failure has shifted the balance of power in your sector, a ship like that would force us to reshape the entire infrastructure of our fleet." The Emperor's voice growled not disguising the anger in his voice.. "However I am giving you a chance to redeem yourself. There is a planet in the open regions of space between us and our enemies. The planet's name is Nebulous." The Emperor paused as he hit an unseen button displaying the coordinates on the /screen. "This planet is rich in Dilithium and Numerous other resources. We must have this planet. Currently the Confederation is negotiating a treaty with the native population. You are to proceed to this world immediately and try to steal it away from the Confederation. I want you to initially try Diplomatic means, if those fail take the world by force.."
"Understood." Xox nodded.

"A detachment of our ships is being dispatched to help you.. Don't disappoint me again Commandant." With that the screen winked out

"If you don't mind my saying so Sir, it looks like you have your job cut out for you." His first officer D'jonn said walking up to him.

"Your mockery is not appreciated." Xox growled.

"I meant no offence."

"Then hold your tongue or I will remove it."

D'jonn nodded. "As you wish."

"Helm! Set Course for Nebulous Maximum speed." Xox snarled about facing and heading for the command chair his cape flowing behind him.

"Do you think we'll run into that "ship" again." D'jonn whispered.

"I'm counting on it." Xox snarled.

"Good Morning Commander."

Harry blinked and nodded in the direction of where that came from. Apparently he hadn't fully woke up yet. He'd had a rough night, completing overdue reports and personnel files took longer than he thought they would.. "Oh the joys of Command." He muttered to himself. He replied the greeting to the crewmen before they moved too far along and got a smile in response. Stepping out of his quarters and heading for the mess hall he realized he hadn't made a log entry lately. Mainly because he didn't think repeating "Star date: whatever Escorting Diplomats for yadda yadda to yadda yadda. Nothing unusual on scanners all is quiet, crew possibly dying from boredom." Harry laughed quietly to himself at that. Land's complaining was starting to even effect him. That fox never seemed happy unless they we're under attack.

The mission however had been a success, their passengers had not been happy having to be ferried on a destroyer but they arrived at their destination with no difficulties and the Raptor was making its way back home. All in all it had been on long quiet trip.

The mess hall was mostly vacant except for a few crewmen talking quietly in the corner.

Replicating his breakfast he sat down at the table and started eating.

No sooner then he had the door to the mess hall opened.

"Commander?"

Harry looked up to see Terri-Lu standing in the doorway with a padd. He waved for her to come over.

"I have a message from Fleet HQ addressed for you, non priority." She said smiling and setting it on the table. "It came in a few hours ago but since you hadn't woke up I decided it could wait."

He turned on the small data padd, and read the message.

In short it contained a request for them to investigate the sudden break of contact with the planet Nebulous. The Exeter had been on route doing much the same thing they were, (hauling diplomats) only this time, when they arrived in the system they were politely asked to leave with no explanation. Up until this time negotiations with the planet to join the Confederation had been going quite well, and now all of a sudden they had broke contact. The captain of the Exeter had asked for assistance, and with the Raptor passing through area, it was easy enough to dispatch it to the scene. Due to the close proximity of the Nebulon system to the Urthean border, such a decision seemed very prudent.

Harry nodded. "Thank you Terri. Have there been any disturbances or anything out of the ordinary."

"Not that I know of sir, however there is an unusual amount of subspace transmission activity. I've been trying to decode it but it's encrypted. I can tell you one thing, none of it is of Confederation origin."

Harry nodded; he wasn't too surprised considering that the planet sat in an undeclared area of space between them and the Urtheans. "Martinez to Jakar."

"Yes Sir?"

"Has there been any activity on long range sensors."

"No Sir, all is quiet."

"Martinez, out." Harry said. "Thank you Ms. Lu."

Terri Lu nodded and headed out of the mess hall.

Something was not right about any of this, he could blow it off, it was just a request for them to check the situation out. Obviously if it had the captain of the Exeter flustered it had to be something of significance. He would hate to be in that position, stuck in a diplomatic quagmire and not able to do anything but hold position until Fleet HQ got their asses in gear.

The Raptor would investigate, Harry finished his breakfast tossed his tray into the recycler and headed for the bridge.

IDP 2005. 09

Title: The Nebulous Imperative

Timeline: After One lost Shadow,

Note: This story may be a step backwards but due to computer errors I need to establish some background between our heroes and Xox. That and this story is my own personal tip of the hat to the Original Trek episode "Errand of Mercy." A personal favorite. Enjoy.

Disclaimer: This is a fan fic, don't sell it, It's not yours. Or mine, who's it is I don't know but it's there so um well you know the drill.

Later.

"Entering Nebulos system." Land announced as the ship dropped out of warp.

"Captain." Terri Lu spoke up suddenly. "I'm receiving an priority message from Nebulos." She was seated at the Operations station covering for Lt. Rivas who was off duty due to an infection with the Catarian Flu.

"Let's hear it."
"Confederation starships, please reverse your course and leave the system immediately. Our situation has changed and we wish to cancel the talks. We regret the urgency of this matter but you must leave the system immediately and return to your own space. Please respect our sovereignty and return to your space. Nebulous out."

"Something is not right." Harry mused. "The Confederation has been dealing with this system for months and after all that work of trying to establish an alliance with them they just up and end it?"

"It does seem rather suspicious sir." Jakar mused.

"Scan the system."

"Aye." Jakar said. "I'm reading nothing on sensors but that doesn't mean there is nothing there. If there is a ship, it could be one hidden in orbit about the planets pole, or behind a moon. However we won't know until we make a closer examination."

"Ok, Sciences do you have anything?"

"Nothing out of the unusual." Lt. O'mara replied. "Just lots of empty space a few planets there is a comet about nine thousand kilometers off our starboard bow."

"Ok I got it." Harry said drumming his hands

"Captain we're receiving a hail from the Exeter." Terri said. "It's Captain Garrett."

Harry nodded and the screen changed to a view of Exeter's Captain. "Commander did you receive that hail from the planet?" He was another echidna, red furred, who looked considerably older than Harry.

"Yes we did Captain, I find it very hard to believe."

"Well we just got orders from Fleet HQ they are wanting us to return with the Ambassadors on board. They want you to try to slip the Raptor into that system and try to find out what's going on. Are you up to it Commander?"

"Yes sir!" Harry replied.

"Very well you have all discretion in this matter until reinforcements can arrive. We will try to return as soon as possible, Exeter out."

"Mr. Land set a course taking us back out of the system, engage the cloak and take us back in." Harry said going back to the command chair and sounding the yellow alert. "Keep your sensors open Lieutenant."

Within a few minutes the planet grew on the screen.

"Anything yet?"

"Still nothing, if they're here they've got to be really hidden, but a large vessel of some type has been here recently I am detecting a definite warp trail." Jakar grunted.
"Keep looking, try to get a fix on the Nebulon Chancellor's office."

"I'm trying sir but there is a dampening field around the main city. I'm having trouble scanning through it."

"I don't like this at all, Ms. Phoenix come to the bridge." He said hitting the com button on his chair. "Jakar replicate some Nebulon clothing we're going down there incognito."

"Sir do you think that is wise?"

"Unless you can think of any other way of getting down there and finding out what the hell is going on I suggest you come up with one."

"No sir." Jakar replied.

"Good, we'll use as much caution as we can, Terri can you select a secluded spot for beam down." Harry asked.

"I think I can find a place." Terri replied cheerily.

Fara arrived on the bridge. "Yes Captain what is it?" She said a little more cross then usual, even for her.

"We've ran into a little trouble." He said handing her the mission brief he had received earlier. "Read this quickly and I'll fill in the rest."

Fara regarded him oddly then sighed and started scanning the data display. "There has been a bit of an problem with the negotiations with Nebulous. It has cancelled them and we've received orders from HQ to find out what happened. Jakar and I are going to beam down and see if we can't figure out what's happened. That means, you'll have the bridge."

Fara gave him a strange look as if he'd ask her to just perform brain surgery.

"Why can't one of them do it?" She said motioning to O'mara, Lu and Land.

"Because none of them have taken the Captain's test that's why." Harry growled growing a little annoyed at her obstinacy. "You have. Lt. Commander Rivas is out on sick leave."

"But Sir, I'm needed down in engineering.."

"Chief you're the only one qualified at the moment." Harry said cutting her off. "You wanted to be on this ship, so now you honor your responsibilities."

Fara bit her lip. "Fine." She sighed.

"You can do it Fara, you had to someday you can't hide in engineering all the time."

Fara sighed a bit miffed. "Understood, Commander."

"Sir I got the coordinates and I'm feeding them to the transporter room." Terri replied

"Good let's get going." Harry said. "Ms. Lu we're going to keep an open com channel, first sign of trouble get us out of there."

"Good luck." Fara said as they headed out the door.

Moments later they materialized in a small side room inside the main compound.

Jakar checked his tricoder. "We seem to be in the main compound of the Nebulon capital."

"Remind me to put Terri in for a recommendation for a promotion." Harry said impressed. "Can you get a fix on the Nebulon leaders?"

"No luck yet sir." Jakar replied. "Dampening field is still preventing scans."

"Well we're not going to learn anything standing around here.."

Jakar nodded and they quickly headed out into the main corridor. But two Nebulon guards suddenly stopped them. "Commander Martinez, Lt. Jakar. Please turn over your weapons and come with us."

They exchanged glances. "How do you know who we are?"

"Please comply we do not wish to have a confrontation." One of the guards said patiently, in their odd uniforms they pretty much looked identical

Harry nodded to Jakar and they both turned over their weapons. "Now please sirs if you would come with us."

They were escorted down the hall towards the Nebulon Chancellor's office. Harry noticed they were armed but they hadn't once drawn their weapons on them. They were then lead through a pair of large ornate doors into a rather extravagant office with their Nebulon Chancellor and his delegates.

"Welcome to Nebulos Commander, but your people were asked to leave our system. Why are you here?" He asked greeting them. Behind them was an elongated table with several chairs about it with the central one turned with its back to them.

"We had orders from our superiors to investigate your sudden cancellation of the talks, our two governments have been working towards a mutual agreement for months.." Harry replied. "Needless to say we were a bit concerned."

"I assure you Commander we have our reasons."

"Quite simply Rodent." An annoyingly familiar voice cut in from behind the Chancellor as the central seat spun around. "Because we made a better offer." Xox chuckled sitting rather pleased with himself in the luxurious piece of furniture. "Nebulous is a peaceful world when offered the terms of Surrender or be exterminated, they choose the first. Guards!"

Several Urthean troopers burst in from the adjoining rooms. Harry quickly hit his Communicator. "Martinez to Raptor two to.." But he couldn't finish because the communicator made a buzzing error as he hit it.

The Urthean guards quickly surrounded him and Jakar and lowered their weapons at them.

"Captain I suggest you surrender." The Nebulon Chancellor said calmly. "We simply do not wish to see any bloodshed."

"Are you crazy, allying yourself with him will get you PLENTY of that." Harry said pointing over to Xox who merely responded with a smirk getting out of the chair.

"Now, now, now Commander there is no need for such harsh words to be said." Xox sneered. "I have no intention of bringing harm to this planet since they so graciously accepted our offer."

"Yes your diplomacy is well known throughout the galaxy." Harry shot back.

Xox didn't flinch. "Very well Commander, tell me where's your ship. We know it couldn't have gone to far and with a good contingent of our fleet hiding behind various planets in this system. I doubt it will get to far yes..." Suddenly another Urthean walked in and motioned for him to come over. "Excuse me." He said walking over to the new comer.

"How could you have just surrender to that maniac." Harry said to the Nebulons. "He's been terrorizing our border outposts for over 5 months now. Capturing civilian ships, raiding our colonies. He's a menace. Why didn't you try to tell us, the Confederation would have been more than willing to come to your aide!"

"Commander, that would have only lead to more conflict. You must understand we do not wish to see any violence."

Harry stood somewhat aghast. How could they just willingly hand themselves over to the Urtheans that easily? Didn't they know that no matter how much the Urtheans promised they would strip this world bare of everything of possible use as soon as they could.

"Your ship is obviously in orbit. You could make this so much easier if you called them and ordered them to surrender." Xox sneered. "It would be a great reward to bring your ship in intact as a prise."

"Please do it Commander it is for the best." The Nebulon added.

Harry was furious, and he was trying suppress it. He was going to be damned if he was just going to hand over his ship and his crew over to this monster.

Harry sneered but then he had an idea. Xox's demeanor seemed to be that of someone who assumed he had the advantage. "Alright." He relented.

"Commander?!" Jakar protested.

Harry shot him a look and he backed down. "I'll need you to unjam our communications."

Xox nodded over to his aide who tapped a button on a nearby console.

"Martinez to Raptor." Harry said rather calmly tapping his combadge.

"Raptor here." Terri Lu's voice popped up. "Is everything alright?"

"Tell Fara to get the ship out of here as soon as.." Harry quickly blurted until the butt end of an Urthean blaster struck him in the back of the head sending him collapsing to the ground in a swirl of pain followed by darkness.

Jakar tried to help him but was quickly restrained.

"Now Commander that was VERY FOOLISH, very foolish indeed yes." Xox snarled angrily giving the Echidna a sharp kick to the stomach as he lay on the ground and then quickly taking his communicator and crushing it in his cybernetically enhanced hand. Take them both below to the holding cells."

"Yes commandant." The guard leader replied having two drag Jakar out while two others drug Harry out of the room. "You may think you have saved your ship but I guarantee they will not get far." Xox snarled "D'jonn signal the Excecuter and tell them to get that ship immediately! We will not let them escape!"

Later.

The message had been received, and Fara was now faced with the fact that she really was in charge at this moment. Not knowing if Lt. Commander Martinez was still alive.

"Anything yet?" Fara said trying not to sound as nervous as she felt. Her stomach was practically rolling at the moment and she'd rather be doing crack repairs under pressure.

"Nope not a sound." Terri replied. "Not since that last transmission."

" I know the captains in trouble but I don't want to leave him down there." Fara then suddenly had to grasp the command chair as the ship lurched forward. "Can't we lock onto them and beam them out."

"Not with that dampening field." Terri sighed.

"Sorry bout that." Land said. "But that Urthean ship is on the move and it was heading this way."

"Thanks for the warning lunkhead.." Fara growled. "Any idea what they're up to?"

"Fara this is Knact, we got a problem." She heard her chief assistant report.

"What's wrong Knact?"

"The cloaking device is going on fritz its, starting to malfunction." Knackt said. "We just caught it now on diagnostics, if we're needing to hide, I suggest you find an alternative I don't know how much longer it's going to stay functional."

"Gods, this is why I should be down there not here." Fara cursed. "Can anyone tell me if we've been spotted yet, what are the Urthean's doing?"

"They seem to be running an intense sensor sweep." Land replied. Suddenly an alarm sounded. "Hello what's this." Land said turning in his chair and checking the readout. "They're coming in hot, i think they mean business!."

"Great. Red Alert shields up." Fara said. "Jack don't let them near us."

"Right, that's why I'm putting us on the opposite side of Nebulos." Land replied swiveling back to the helm and firing the impulse engines. "We'll stay opposite of them for now, let's just hope more of them don't show up."

Dr. Okan arrived on the bridge and took a seat at the vacant Engineering station.

"Doctor what are you doing here, I don't remember calling for you."

"Well to be honest, it gets damn boring down there in sickbay." Dr. Okan said folding his arms across his chest. "I figured I'd come up here until I was needed, but since we seem to not be starting a fight for once I'll stay here until we do."

"Fair enough." Fara said.

Harry awoke with his head feeling like It'd been used as a drum and he groaned as he sat back up. He grunted as a rib cracked as he sat up. He looked around and noticed they were in a large empty room with a steel barred door. He saw Jakar sitting on the floor leaning against the wall looking rather relaxed despite they're situation.

"How long?"

"A Few hours, sir."
"Is there a guard?"

"Yes two of them, both well armed."

"I wonder why they've kept us down here this long." Harry mused.

"They're probably looking for the ship."

"That's obvious." Harry said getting to his feet. "Good luck to them finding it."

"It is unwise to underestimate the Urtheans sir." Jakar said. "They can be rather resourceful." Jakar said. "How are you feeling?"

"Like someone walked all over me."

"Xox was quick to give you the boot after you called the ship." Jakar said.

Harry coughed up a little blood. "Well that explains the feeling than."

Suddenly they heard footsteps approaching.

Harry got back up to his feet and motioned for Jakar to take position out of side from the door. Jakar got the idea.

Harry stood at ready.

The latch clicked and it swung open slowly, a hooded figure stepped in. As they crossed the threshold Jakar Jumped in behind then and was about to strike.

"WAIT I've come to Free you!" A voice said as it spun around towards Jakar.

"Well who are you." Harry asked.

The figure pulled down his hood revealing himself to be one of the Nebulons they'd seen earlier. "Please come with me."

"Jakar check for guards." Martinez said.

Jakar nodded and looked outside. "They're gone sir, both of them."

"Please don't concern yourself about them, I assure you they are fine."

"Um… Ok." Harry mused. "What's the deal, first you hand us over to Xox, who tosses us in here and now your setting us free. Pardon my tone, but just exactly whose side are you on."

"Just come with me please." The Nebulon answered.

They arrived back in the council room not soon after where the Nebulon Chancellor stood waiting for them.

"Pardon my brashness Chancellor." Harry said feeling quite aggravated. "But just what in the hell is going on around here?"

"Why you've been set free." Nebulon said smiling. "You should be happy you are no longer confined."

Harry stood aghast for a few seconds. "Then why did you have us thrown in that dungeon of yours in the first place?"

"To avoid a conflict between you and the Urtheans that would have possibly lead to your demise."

Jakar seemed a little befuddled by the obstinacy of the Nebulons and shot Harry a look.

"Don't look at me I have no idea what's going on." Harry said rubbing his forehead in aggravation. "Look can we get our weapons and communicators back."

The Nebulons exchanged glances. "We will only return your communications devices. We cannot allow your weapons."

"Why the hell not?" Jakar said now obviously getting aggravated. "I haven't seen an Urthean without a side arm."

"If we returned your weapons it would only lead to more violence."

"We won't kill anybody, unlike the Urtheans our weapons are defensive, unlike them we aren't intent on vaporizing the subject if force is needed. Please just return them."

The Nebulon council exchanged glances. "Very well but it will do you no good." The chancellor said standing up and going to a cabinet. He opened it and pulled out the two phasers, communicators, and Tricorders. He set them down on the table with an audible sigh. Harry and Jakar quickly retrieved their equipment.

Jakar tossed Harry his combadge since it hadn't been destroyed. "Martinez to Raptor Come in."

Still nothing.

"Blast, the dampening field." Harry said cursing himself. "We have to find it and take it out."

"Do you think they got away?" Jakar asked.

"We won't know until we can get rid of that field." Harry asked. "The could still be in orbit for all we know."

Jakar activated his tricorder and began scanning. "It's about 70 meters in that direction."

"Here." The Chancellor said leading them over to the back of the room. He pressed his hand against a stone and a passage opened up. "Go through here and you will be undetected."

Harry nodded and headed inside with Jakar Following.

Xox's ship had been pursuing them for sometime, it had nearly caught them when they quickly blasted into warp. However Land managed to elude them by making a quick high speed warp turn and diving into one of the systems gas giants, where the Raptor sat immersed in the swirl of gasses. Two Urthean battle cruisers were patrolling in high orbit keeping an eye on them.

"I'm not liking this, I'm not liking this." Fara muttered staring at the tactical display on the main viewer. "Three more ships have arrived and still no word from the Captain, and orders be damned I'm not abandoning him down there."

"You won't get no argument from me." Land replied as she walked up to the front of the bridge. "But the way things are going were going to eventually have to do some fancy maneuvers to keep ahead of those ships out there."
"Do what you have to, just don't trash my ship." Fara replied watching the viewer.

She hit the com switch on the command chair. "Phoenix to Knact please tell me you got the cloaking device functioning again."

"Eh….. Define functioning." The Rat replied over the com.

"Just specifics, Knackt i'm not in the mood." Fara growled

"Look boss lady, if i had to guess.. Eh maybe twenty minutes tops before the whole thing goes kaputsville. I'm going to have to shut it down to really take a look at it."

"Chief I have an Idea." Jack said and then pausing. "Pardon me for speaking up, but if that's all the time we have I can make it happen. If you want to try to rescue the captain, I can get us back to Nebulous with plenty of time to spare. It'll be a bit bumpy but I think I can do it.

Fara gave him an incredulous look feeling a bit foolish. "Ok." Fara said. "Let's do that."

"Aye sir." Jack said spinning around and putting in the coordinates.

The Raptor's cloaked although not as smoothly this time and the ship vanished once again only leaving a swirl of displaced gasses as it climbed back out into space.

Harry and Jakar had made their way outside and located the source of the dampening field in a bunker outside the city. Nebulon city were quite archaic in design and simple in lay out. Using their tricorders it was really not to much trouble to track it down. Martinez wondered why they chose to stick with such an old layout for their city, it was almost medieval in concept. .

"Over there sir." Jakar whispered pointing towards a large structure. It was two stories high and fairly large. It seemed fabricated and Urthean in origin.

"I see two guards at the door, do you think Heavy stun will handle them."

Jakar nodded. "Reports indicate that level 4 although harmful to most beings, seems to has the same effect as our heavy stun."

"Then what does the stun do."

Jakar thought for a moment adjusting the settings on his weapon. "It really pisses them off, Sir."

"Thanks for the Advice." Harry said taking aim after setting his weapon. "Ready."

"Ready."

"Fire."

The two Phasers let out their familiar whine and the two Urthean guards were struck and both fell to the ground unconscious. Harry and Jakar quickly stepped past them and into the enclosure. However to see two Urthean techs sitting at a console, monitoring the equipment. Harry quickly shot them before they could raise an alarm. He motioned for Jakar to check the rest of the complex.

"Bingo." Harry exclaimed scanning a large device that hummed steadily in the center of the complex. "I think this is the jamming device."

"I'll watch the door." Jakar said.

Harry opened up an access hatch and looked around inside. "If only we had some thermal detonators."

"I think I saw some weapons lockers over there." Jakar motioned towards the back of the building. "Perhaps they'll have something more appropriate." He stepped back outside.

Harry couldn't really make heads or tails out of the Urthean Technology since he'd never really seen any before. They could simply just phaser the device. However the shut down time on it would probably not be that long. The Jamming device had to be neutralized.

"Would these do." Jakar smirked stepping inside and tossing him a bandolier.

Harry caught it. "Yes. Where'd you find these."

"They're keeping their arsenal in another shed not that far from here." Jakar said.

"You know how to operate these things."

"You would be surprised what I do know sir." Jakar nodded.

"We should get them clear of here before we blow this thing." Harry said looking at the stunned Urtheans on the floor. "I don't want any unnecessary casualties."

An enormous explosion wracked the air as the Urthean devices and their shelter exploded.

Harry looked up from the storage containers they'd taken shelter behind, along with the unconscious guards they had bound, and saw that the only thing that was left was a shower of debris.

Above the Raptor had just returned to orbit under cloak

"Chief." O'mara suddenly said. "The dampening field on the surface has just dissipated." She checked her instruments again. "It seems like something has destroyed the device emitting the jamming field."
"Terri can you punch me through to Harry." Fara asked.

"I'm working on it right now." Terri replied.

Harry looked down as his combadge chirped. "I thought I told them to leave…" He said tapping it. "Martinez, here."

"Captain is that you?" Terri said somewhat startled to finally get a response

"Yes, patch me through to Fara please." Harry grunted.

"You got it, Chief it's the captain."

Fara activated the com signal. "Captain, what in the world is going on down there?"

"We've ran into a bit of a snag , our old friend Xox is down here with several hundred soldiers, how are things up there?" Harry said as Jakar checked to make sure their prisoners were still incapacitated.

"Not much better we have quite a few Urthean ships up here we're dealing with, since you told us to lay low that's what we're doing."

"Fara I told you to get the ship out of here." Harry scolded.

"Oh well that last transmission we got from you broke up so we didn't understand it." Fara replied over the speaker.

"We'll talk about that later." Harry sighed it was a bit of a comfort to know she did stick around for them. "Well have you heard anything from Starfleet yet?"

"I haven't exactly contacted them yet." Fara replied.

Harry groaned audible over the com link. "Fara we have a serious situation down here, it's a bit over our heads, I need you to head back to Confederation Space contact Starfleet command and get help NOW." Harry said loudly over the com clearly irritated making Fara wince. We can't let the Urtheans have this planet, it could give them an tactical advantage in this sector."

"What about you?" Fara said. "Captain you can't ask me to abandon you down there."

"That's exactly what I'm asking you to do."

"But sir!?"

"No buts, not this time Chief, you get that ship back to Confederation space and bring reinforcements" Harry snipped.

"Yes sir. Good luck."

"Godspeed." Harry said. "Martinez out. Damn it all can't she follow one simple order when I leave her in charge."

Jakar said nothing but seemed amused by the situation. "Now what he asked."

"Now what?" Jakar said a bit amused over that little exchange.

"Now." Harry said "We find some place to lay low and plan our next move."

"So… do we stay or do we go?" Land ask.

"We, do as he said." Fara replied. "Take us out of here."

"Stepping on it, got it." Land said breaking orbit.

Nebulous began to fall away on the screen and it was soon filled with starfield again.

"As soon as we're clear maximum warp back to Confederation space." Fara said. "Terri please contact Fleet Headquarters and update them of our current situation."

"I'm on it Chief." Terri said getting to work.

Far rubbed her temples she was starting to get a migraine this morning. She had a terrible feeling that this situation was rapidly escalating and her name was going to be all over the history books because she just happens to be the one in the command chair at the time.

She audibly groaned.

"Fara are you ok?" Michele O'mara asked.

"Oh yeah everything is just gumdrops and ice cream right here." Fara sighed. "You want to trade places, I think i've done enough damage at this point."

"No. Thanks." O'mara stammered. "I'm fine right here."

"Engaging warp." Land announced as he slid the acceleration lever forward on the main console. The stars started to streak and the Raptor jumped into warp space.

Xox was admiring some of the delicate artifacts in the Nebulon Treasury. He was sure that many of these he could probably sell for a hefty price on the Black Market, not to mention what he could get for them from private Urthean collectors.

Suddenly he heard an explosion which shook the room knocking a few of the objects to the floor.
"Commandant, Commandant!" One of his men said running up to the door.

"Yes what is it."

"Our Communications and Jamming equipment has been destroyed."

"How."

"We don't know but we suspect it could be the Nebulons." The soldier replied. "Our men were hit by energy weapons of some sort. Their cybernetics have sustained trauma, and they need CR regeneration."

"A minor setback." Xox grumbled. "Start executing the Nebulons."

"How many?"

"Oh I don't know." Xox said rather annoyed passing his subordinated. "Just pick somewhere between 500 to 2000 As long as it gets the point across."

"What method?"

Xox stopped to think about it. "Firing squad. There is a large courtyard in this palace. Fill it up." He decided his eyes flashing evilly."

"Yes, Commandant."

Xox watched him go then decided to head down to the dungeon and gloat at his prey which had so easily fallen into his clutches.

He headed down the corridor for the archaic winding stairwell that led down to where his prisoners were. He grinned manically while thinking of all the possible horrible tortures he could inflict on his nemesis. He was still smarting from there first encounter and the Raptors success at disrupting his network of Raiders over the past couple of months had become quite irritating. If he could not have the ship, then he would deal with the man. He hoped the Echidna had regained consciousness so he could beat him back out of it again.

His anticipation soon turned to anger as he arrived at the dungeon and saw the door standing wide open, guards nowhere to be found, and his prisoners escaped.

Xox's howl of rage could be heard throughout the building.

Jakar managed to break through the simple lock on the abandoned home deep in the city and they quickly slipped inside.

Harry discarded the robes they had been using and when to check the sink. Using his tricorder, he determined that the tap was still connected. He tested it let it run for a bit and drank a few and fulls of water while Jakar kept watch on the door.

His stomach growled so he idly poked among the cabinets hoping maybe there was some food.

"Well no food, but at least we got water." Harry said quietly.

Jakar harrumphed and kept his eye focused on looking between the shutters as some Urthean Guards moved past.

"How are you feeling?" Jakar asked.

"Rough, Breathing is a little shallow." Harry said sitting down catching his breath. "Nothing our good doctor can't fix."

Jakar looked warily at him, and then back outside. "We should probably rest for now."

"I'll be fine." Harry grunted checking his phaser to make sure it was in proper working order.

"What do you plan to do?"

"Well if we can,we're going to get to Xox." Harry said popping out the power cell, taking a wincig breath blowing on the leads and slapping it back into the phaser. "Pay him the same courtesy he did us."

"We're only two Captain." Jakar said. "There are a lot of Urthean's out there."

"I'm still working on the rest of them, we'll wait till nightfall before we move." He then started to cough heavily, Jakar stepped towards him and he held his hand up to wave him off. Harry spit, still had some blood in it but it wasn't too bad. It was worrying but he couldn't really do anything about it at the moment. For now they'd just have to wait.

The Raptor sped through warp space in front of several other Confederation starships and three Keldryian warships for added punch. They were still several hours out from Nebulon space.

It had been a whirlwind six hours. Fara had never talked to so much brass before, she was on edge and trying desperately to keep her temper reigned in. Much to her credit she had. She was still not happy to have this dumped on her.

"Chief." She heard Doctor Okan say to her.

"What!?" She snapped.

The echidna had a cup of something liquid and warm. He patiently let her calm down a second before he spoke again. "I took a reading while you were trying to bore a hole into the viewer by staring at it." Okan said. "Your readings are skyrocketing to say the least so I brewed this up for you."

"What is it?" Fara said taking the cup and sniffing it.

"Just take a sip or two, give it a bit and you'll feel better."

"You know doc." Fara grunted. "I'm much rather be trying to contain a core breach then be doing this."

Okan nodded. "Considering the consequences of our actions today, I would say the situation is probably fairly similar. Just on a grander scale."

"You aren't going to leave until I try this aren't you." Fara scowled. "It smells awful."

"It's my job to make sure the ship's captain, no matter who it is, is operating in peak form. I suggest you drink it."

"Fine." Fara said reluctantly taking a few sips she made a horrified face as she swallowed it. "This is revolting; I don't even think putting booze in this will make it better!" She said trying to wipe the taste off her tongue.

"Well you'd better get used to it, because you have to drink the rest of it." Okan said sitting at the vacant station behind Lt. O'mara.

Fara glared and tried again, taking another sip. The second gulp wasn't nearly as foul but she forced herself to do it. Not wanting to prolong this torture she quickly chugged the rest of it.

After about five minutes she hated to admit it but she felt better, she even a lot more relaxed then she had in awhile. Okan scanned her with his tricorder.

"Feeling any side effects?" Okan said watching her bio readings.

"Despite the horrible taste compost running from my nose to my stomach I feel great." Fara allowed. "So what was in it?"

"Oh just a little idea I've been working with, developing little pick me ups designed for each of the senior officers, each based off their own biochemistry."

"So what you just drugged me up?"

Okan gave her a hurt look. "No it's made up of natural elements found on your home world." Okan grunted. "I'm well of aware of what artificial stimulants can do to the body I'm not going to do that to the people under my care unless it's needed."

"Can you work on the taste a bit?" Fara grimaced. "Maybe something less barfy?"

"I'm a doctor not a Mixologist." Okan snorted. "But… I will try."

Nightfall.

Harry and Jakar waited until darkness had fallen before they approached the palace again.

For a few hours they had seen the Urtheans lead several groups of Nebulons into the palace.

"Wonder what they are up to."

"Most likely." Harry growled. "They're going to punish them for our little light show earlier. That's the last thing I wanted to happen."

"It is too late to take back now, Sir." Jakar said.

"I can't let this happen, I don't want innocents to die. We're going in there, now." Harry said angrily. "Come on."

He crept up through the darkness to the lightly guarded balcony behind the castle. Most of the soldiers had been sent away on whatever dark task Xox had sent them to do. A single guard stood watch, a shot rang out from Harry's phaser felled him easily and he hit the ground with a hard thud. Harry and Jakar gained reentry into the palace.

"WHERE ARE THEY CHANCELLOR!" Xox roared at the council of Nebulons.

"We do not know." The Nebulon replied.

"Obviously you know, one of you wretched creatures set them free!" Xox snarled slamming his fist down on the table and cracking it.

"Even if we knew we would not tell you, it will only bring more violence."

"Not telling me will guarantee violence you spineless worms!" Xox snarled. "Yes indeed!"

"Do what you will; we will have no part of it."

Xox backed away from the table. "Very well, You had your chance. I will execute five hundred Nebulons for every ten minutes they are not found. Until they are returned."

"Do as you will, it is of no matter to us."

Xox growled aggravated at their lack of concern and stomped out of the chamber.

Harry's communicator buzzed quietly. He activated it. "Martinez here."

"Captain!" Fara said. "Good to hear you're in one piece still."

"Did you get reinforcements?"

"Yes I think half the damn fleet is following us." Fara replied. "We're going to be a sight for those Urtheans when we get there."

Suddenly Harry heard the sound of multiple energy weapons firing coming from the direction of the courtyard.

"It's started." Jakar said grimly.

"Captain?" Came Fara's voice said over the speaker.

"Get here quickly." Harry's voice replied sounding a bit shaken. "They've started executing the populace."

The bridge fell silent.

"Understood sir." Fara replied. "We are moving as fast as we can.".

"Commandant I have news." D'jonn said entering Xox's room in the palace.

"What is it." Xox asked watching a new batch of Nebulons being lead into the courtyard. It aggravated him that they all seemed so docile and detached from the situation much like lambs to the slaughter. He wanted them to beg or fear him or anything but instead he got nothing.

"Our back up array has been activated and we have received word that a Confederation fleet consisting of nearly one hundred and seventy five vessels, and ten wings of Arwing star fighters. The Emperor's first attack wing has been ordered to intercept them and they are on their way."

"Ah good." Xox mused. "They will be outnumbered four to one."

"It will be a glorious battle." D'jonn added.

Harry and Jakar entered the council chamber.

"Welcome back, we are glad to see you are well." The Chancellor said as they entered.

"Why aren't you resisting them!" Harry said irritated shuddering at the sound of another volley of weapons fire outside. "They are exterminating your people!"

"It is not our way."

"It is not logical to sit by and allow them to do this." Jakar added. "Surely you must feel some sorrow for your people who are dying out there."

"You do not understand." The Nebulon said shaking his head. "They are not dying."

Harry was getting visibly disturbed he felt sick to his stomach. "Where is Xox, if you won't put a stop to this. I damn well will. Even if I may die in the process at least I'm willing to fight when you will not."

"We cannot tell you that, and again it is not our way."

"Fine." Harry growled. "Come on Jakar." He quickly turned and headed out of the room.

As they started to search the palace they came to a corridor junction and they heard footsteps approaching they ducked to the side of the wall. Harry grabbed some sturdy rope off of a hanging tapestry.

They waited until the Urthean passed them and Harry hopped behind him and quickly got the Rope tightly around the Urtheans Neck and slammed him against the wall.

The Urthean being caught completely by surprise yelped as his muzzle slammed into the wall and gagged as the rope choked off his air supply.

Jakar somewhat surprised at his captain's aggressiveness, being somewhat stronger restrained the Urtheans arms. Upon capturing him Harry noticed they had snagged an officer, the uniform did not match that of the guards.

"Where is Xox!" Harry shouted.

"I don't know." The Urthean choked.

"Tell me damn it!" Harry said tightening the rope even tighter.

"Never." The guard snarled his voice weakened.
"Tell me Jakar." Harry growled wrapping the cord around one hand and taking the Urtheans dagger and holding it up to his neck. "They can't regenerate if they're head is removed can they?"

"I do not believe so."

"Ok ok!" The Urthean yelped. "He's down the way I came."

"Thank you." Harry said letting the rope loose so the Urthean could breath. "Jakar."

Jakar got the hint and grabbed the still gasping Urthean by the ears and slammed the his head into the stone wall as hard as he could. The Urthean collapsed unconscious.

"Lets go."

"I see terrible violence." One of the Nebulons said to the Chancellor. "Billions dead, worlds destroyed. Much suffering and pain in the future."

"I do as well." The Chancellor said solemnly.

"If this continues, the Balance will be disrupted. The whole galaxy will be a loss. The after effects of this battle will have disastrous effects to come. I see all life exterminated as a result of this coming conflict." Another Nebulon spoke.

"We must intervene." The entire council agreed.

"Welcome, Welcome, Welcome." Xox said as Harry and Jakar burst into the door.

"You frelling monster." Harry snarled. "Don't you dare make a move." Harry said upping his phaser setting up high enough to kill. "Because right now I have no compunctions about turning you into a pile of ash at the moment."
"I'm flattered." Xox sneered. "But you should be excited dear captain. History is being made as we speak; far above us our fleets will intercept soon and they will determine the future of this planet and this quadrant."

"We will not let you have this planet." Harry said keeping his phaser trained on Xox.

Just then several armed guards burst into the door and trained their weapons on him and Jakar.

"And you rodent." Xox smiled. "Will not be leaving here with your life."

Just then Harry dropped his Phaser because it suddenly started burning his hand. He yelped and dropped it. The Urtheans also screamed in pain and dropped their weapons. Harry and Jakar saw this as an opportunity and they lunged at the guards.. However as they grappled they noticed even the Urtheans felt hot to the touch.

"YEE OUCH!" Land said quickly jumping out of his chair. Fara also yelped and leaped out of the command chair and so did the rest of the bridge crew.

"What in the hell?" Land said rubbing his paw.

"All the consoles are searing hot." Terri said trying to activate the other consoles only finding them just as hot.

"What treachery is this!" Xox snarled.

Suddenly the Nebulon chancellor and his entourage entered the room. "It is our doing." He said calmly. "All your weapons and devices of destruction are now radiating at a temperature of 500 degrees Celsius. We will not allow you to continue this violence and destroy yourselves in the process. Your vessels are inoperative as well. You may confirm this."

Xox snarled and stomped over to his communicator and Harry activated his. "Fara what's going on up there."

"We don't know sir, we were just about to engage the Urthean fleet when all the consoles got superheated. We can't touch them without getting burned. And as far as we can tell all the other ships are that way as well."

"It's true." Xox said shutting off his own communicator. "Our ships are also incapacitated. What right do you have!" He snarled.

"We can't let them have this planet." Martinez added. "They'll destroy it like they have their own worlds. They'll strip this place bare of every resource it has!"

"Our actions are not for your benefit, they are for that of Posterity. We will not tolerate any hostilities between your two peoples in this region of space. There will be peace."

"What makes you think you can do that, there will be not peace between us as long as those vermin are around." Xox snarled.

The Nebulons exchanged glances and suddenly they dissolved into luminescent orbs of light. "We have power you cannot even begin to understand, that is why even though you thought you were slaughtering us." It said to Xox. "We did not die. There is no way you can harm us. We have evolved beyond the needs of corporeal bodies like yours, we appeared as we once did long ago for your benefit."

They all stood in awe of the luminescent beings before them. "Why didn't you tell us beforehand." Harry asked.

"We tried to warn you away. To avoid the conflict between your two peoples." The Nebulons replied. "However, sometimes the very young do not listen. We have contacted your respective governments and will work out a peace agreement. There will be no hostilities between your peoples in this region again. If there is .we will stop it. Now return to your ships."

With that the Nebulons faded away.

D'jonn came in with a bloodied nose and scowled at the Two echidnas that had inflicted it upon him earlier. "What happened Commandant?"

D'jonn came staggering into the room his muzzle bloody and dented and glaring angrily at Jakar and Harry.

"Get my shuttle ready." Xox snarled at D'jonn. "Were leaving, this is not over yess." Xox sneered at Harry. "Far from over. I shall have my revenge!"

D'jonn nodded still trying to clear his head and called the shuttle crew to be ready for take off.

"Fortunately not today." Harry shot back and then with much sarcasm. "See you around, pal!."

Xox snarled some swear the UT couldn't translate and spat at the ground and left with his men.

"That… was unexpected." Jakar mused.

"You're telling me." Harry said activating his communicator. "Martinez to Raptor, two to beam up."

A few days later.

The Nebulons had firmly insisted that their area of space remain neutral between the Confederation and Urthaens. The Nebulons were quite clear about their demands and stated that they would not tolerate any incursions or engagements in at least 10 sectors of space around their home system.

They would still participate in trade with both Governments but only in a limited fashion and any vessels that entered their system with weapons system ared would be disabled and have to be towed back home.

The Negotiations were pretty much the Nebulons setting the terms and both sides diplomats having to agree to them. Both Entities could have bases and support depots in their system but any hostility would simply not be tolerated and any offending parties would be dealt with.

A treaty was drawn up, and signed between all parties.

Harry and the rest of the crew were present for the signing.

Xox never returned and instead Urthean Ambassadors signed the agreement.

Harry couldn't help but notice that they seemed a bit nervous when they did so, perhaps the Nebulons had an exchange with their empire that they weren't aware of. They seemed rather relieved to get off the planet as soon as possible.

The Raptor was in orbit of Nebulous ready to get underway, they were the last to go. Harry and Jakar had taken the time to explain their adventure and experiences down on the surface.

"I'm glad I didn't go down there." Land commented. "That sounds like some crazy stuff that went on down there. People turning into orbs, and waving god like powers, no thanks."

"The funny thing is I went down there not wanting to start a conflict." Harry sighed. "But the longer it drew on the more angered I got at the Urthean's the more I wanted the conflict."

"You're only Echidna." Jakar said. "We're not perfect."

"True." Harry replied. "Those Nebulons, I've never encountered anything like them before. To think life like us can evolve to a higher form like the Nebulons.."

"It's not that hard to understand." Doctor Okan added. "Our species' evolved from simple single celled organisms, in essence we could be to them what the amoeba is to us."

"There's a disturbing thought." Land chuckled swinging back around and entering the coordinates for home.

"We were fortunate it worked out the way it did." Harry mused. "Take us home Mr. Land."

"Course already set." Land said turning in his chair.

"Let's get out of here."

The End.