Ensign Carmina Rosa entered a briefing room and saw a rather young Echidna who looked like he was fresh out of the academy. He had maroon fur and brown bands around his spines.

"Carmina Rosa." She said, extending her hand. "And you are?"
"Danny Kyle." The echidna smiled, shaking her hand.

"Are you new around here? I haven't seen you before."

"Yeah, I just transferred here, finished my first tour." Kyle replied. "Excited to be out here on the border."

Carmina chuckled. "Well I guess it's oute enthusiasm, that's a rare commodity

"Oh, why's that?" Kyle asked.

"We spend half the time bored out of our minds and the other half getting shot at." Carmina shrugged.

"Doesn't sound that bad to me." Klye smiled.

"So what's your assignment."

"Well for now Navigator on the Raptor."

"Oh, you must be one of the replacements." Carmina replied. "We actually recently lost our last two."

"Yeah, one well we aren't sure if he will be back the other is assigned to another ship temporarily." Carmina suddenly processed what this meeting with the captain was about. "I guess that means we're it." She gulped.

Carmina was not the best helm officer on the Ratpor's roster, she could do it well enough but she flat out hated flying it. It's controls, controls outside of war flight were slippery and very strange to get used to. The only one who took to them like a fish to water was Jack Land but he was out of commission, possibly permanently for all she knew.

At that the Door seemed to open and Commander Martinez opened with two data padds. "Have a seat." he said rather informally. "This will be brief. We only have a few things we need to go over."

They both sat down across from Harry at the table.

"Ensign Rosa as you are well aware there is currently an opening for the primary helm officer position." Harry began. "With the situation with the intrepid and it's return now being pushed out to at least a few months. We have a personal shortcoming that needs to be addressed." Harry interlaced his fingers and leaned forward on the table. "I am well aware that you have problems with piloting the starship in stressful situations, but with you being the senior of the two of you, it falls on you to get over this." Harry said. "Now Mister Kyle here, has promise, he was highly recommended by his former Captain, Captain Jetrel, who is a good friend of mine and I don't take the recommendation lightly." Harry said. "He has a lot of promise, quickly adaptable and eager to learn. Am I correct?""

"Yes, sir of course sir." Kyle responded. "If you don't mind my saying so I am very excited to be here."

Harry smiled slightly. "Your eagerness is appreciated. Ensign Rosa can attest that you will find it challenging to learn to pilot the Raptor." Harry said, then turning his attention to her. "As for you, I want you hitting the simulator at least 10 hours a week, when you have free time. I have already arranged for you to have a holosuite whenever you have time to use iit."

Rosa looked as if she turned pale under her fur.

"I have already arranged for the results to be reported to me when you complete a simulation, we need to get your skills up to snuff. Now I don't expect you to be as apt as Mr. Land was, but I expect you to get better." Harry said sternly. "I also want you to work with Mr. Kyle and make sure he picks up on it as well. You may doubt your skill but you have more experience flying the ship than he does, i am sure you have learned a few things in that time and I want you to teach him, is that understood?"

"Yes sir." Roas said trying not to express the annoyance she felt, she had always dreaded this happening but orders were orders. "When do you want me to start."

"Why today of course, no time like the present." Harry said handing them data pads. "Here are the things I want you both to pass on the simulator, just so you have an idea of my expectations, are there any questions?"

"No sir." They both said in unison.

"Very well, I suggest you get started on that simulator time while it's slow." Harry said. "Dismissed."

Episode 18

Power Play

IDP 2020

Harry trudged sullenly along the corridor with his hands in his pockets. He hadn't looked forward to having that meeting but as time wore on and no word on Jack's condition improving he had to face the music and get a new helmsman for the ship. The whole affair made him feel dirty no matter how logical it was. In Jack's current state he couldn't do his job, or anything for that matter. Someone had to fly the ship and as much as Harry wanted to have Jack back it wasn't happening. Life had to move on.

Harry sighed heavily and entered the turbolift and headed up to the habitat ring, he needed to pay Rivas a visit now, for similar reasons. Terri was now gone as well, probably for a long time or permanently, the Intrepid needed a Captain, and for the foreseeable future it was her. A short ride later he stepped out and approached Rivas' quarters and hit the page. After a bit Rivas' came to the door.

"Commander?" Rivas said as the door spotted. "What are you doing here?"

"Making the rounds, how are you doing?"

"Getting around a little better every day, starting to get really bored." Rivas said.

"Mind if i come in?" Harry asked.

"No." Rivas said, stepping aside and letting him pass. Harry stepped down into the pit and sat down on the couch wearily interlacing his fingers.

"So, what's new in the world of the useful?" Rivas said following him and sitting down on the couch across from him.

"The Intrepid has been delayed up to three months from returning so we are really short handed." Harry stated. "I was hoping to get an update on you to see if you were ready to come back."

"I'd like to, but Dr. Okan won't let me." Rivas said. "Although even with this rig on my legs." he said pointing down to the bands of metal and blinking lights that helped him walk. "I can get around just fine."

"What about without it?"

"Not as good but I am getting there." Rivas replied. "One day at a time you know."
"Of course." Harry said nodding in understanding. "With Terri gone, I could really use you back at your position."

"Is that so?" Rivas said, leaning back on the couch. "I suppose I should feel flattered."

"No need for that, you are a very capable first officer even if we don't see eye to eye a lot of times." Harry said. "Honestly I wish you hadn't gotten hurt, I wish you were on the Intrepid now so you could have that command opportunity again." Harry sighed. "Perhaps things would have played out better if you had been there, I don't know."

"Thank you for that." Rivas said. "Believe me I can't help feel like once again I got screwed out of a command position while Terri just keeps shooting for the stars." He shook his head. "It's always the quiet ones you got to look out for."

Harry nodded. "I could really use you back Don, I mean that. Look there is a way out of the restriction if you can pass the general fitness exam with your apparatus, you can return to duty. All I have to do is request it."

"You'd do that for me?" Rivas asked.

Harry nodded. "I know you have got to be going stir crazy here."

"Kinda." Rivas smiled. "Fine you make him test me and I'll pass it just one condition."

"What's that?"

"What's this "Number One." crap i've been hearing about you calling Terri?" Rivas said. "You never used that with me."

"You never needed encouragement Don, plus despite my promotion, I always treated our professional relationship as though we were equals." Harry replied sincerely.

"Fair enough." Rivas chuckled. "We got a deal then."

"Good." Harry said getting up. "I have a few more things to take care of, I am glad to see you are well."

As Harry started to leave Michelle O'mara suddenly entered the quarters and suddenly stopped dead in her tracks. Harry couldn't see it but Rivas winced not looking forward to explaining this. Him and Michelle were trying to keep their relationship secret.

"Lieutenant? What are you doing here?"

"Oh well um, I just got back from the lab I wanted to tell the Commander my research on that gargantuan space amoeba has been accepted by the Confederation Science council." Michelle said, trying to put on her best poker face.

"Well that's good to hear but you could have just paged him instead of barging in here." Harry chuckled.

" I wo.. Would but he's been helping me with getting the paperwork in order and all that. Usually Terri helps me but she's been away, sir." Michelle said. "I just wanted to let him know and thank him in person was all, you know com channels are just so informal."

"I see, well congratulations Lieutenant." Harry said. "I'll just be on my way then. Have a good day."

"Yes sir, thank you sir." Michelle said, stepping around him to let him pass. As Harry left and the door to the quarters closed they both sighed.

"Shit do you think he knows?" Michelle said.

"Probably not, nice save there babe." Rivas smiled. "I wish you had called. I could have warned you."

Michelle walked down to him and hopped in his lap and made a nip at his cheek affectionately and he wrapped his arms around her. "Sorry I was just excited and wanted to tell you."

"Hey it's another discovery with your name on it, you should be proud." Rivas smiled. "I might be returning back to duty soon. Harry wants me back on the bridge."

"Really that's great!" Michelle said hugging him. "We should celebrate!"

"What do you want to do?"
"Let's do that holodeck program with the restaurant near the falls of Tarna IV we've been wanting to do it for a while, and you said to keep it for a special occasion."

"Sounds good to me, we'll make a night of it, what about a nightcap in the grotto behind the falls in the moonlight?"
Michelles feathers raised and she smiled. "Of course, that sounds great."

For once, Fara had nothing to do.

After the extensive and proper refit at Alteria, the ship was in perfect working order.

The amount of defective components that the crew had removed to bring the Raptor up to code was staggering, and securely locked away in secured containers in the ship's cargo bay.

The only things that weren't replaced were the actual alien components and the ablative armament deployment system. It was ridiculous how much even her people had missed. Even more so it was just more evidence that someone in the shadows was determined to see the ship fail one way or the other. Well that was pretty much going to stop as of now.

Fara closed the master control bus in engineering and jumped when she saw Harry standing there. "Damn it Harry, say something just don't sneak up on me like that."

"Sorry Chief, but you looked busy."

"Well not really, just being paranoid I suppose." She said dusting off her hands. "How can I help you?"

Harry looked around the engineering bay. Other than the occasional systems display active showing the ships umbilical connections it was pretty dead. The core was dark and silent and the ambient thrum it provided was absent from the bay, as well as most of the personnel.

"So how are you doing?"

"Alright for the most part you?"

"I miss him bugging me when things are slow like this. Feeling it a bit."

Fara chuckled. "Don't kid yourself I would have found something for him to do."

"Yeah you probably would have." Harry smiled. A moment passed between them. "So.. Anything exciting going on I need to know about?"

"Not really, the Altairians did such a great job my whole team actually can go home on time for once." She looked over at a wall display to check the time and sighed. "I probably should call it a day myself."

"Anything exciting planned?"

"Pfft" no." Fara shrugged.

"Me neither."

"Well aren't we just a pair of sad sacks then?" Fara said, packing away her tools.

"Just out of curiosity what do you do after hours?" Harry asked.
"Sleep." Fara said. "Sometimes Terri drags me out on some damn fool thing but not much." She closed her jit and stowed it in a storage trunk. "That's not going to happen for a while, if ever again. What about you?"

"I have models I tinker with but I am having a hard time concentrating on them. Tried reading, same problem."

"Yeah… I know the feeling." Fara said closing the trunk and leaning against the bulkhead. "So.. You want to go do something?"

Harry seemed relieved and smiled. "I am so glad you asked."

Fara laughed. "Well you were dropping some serious hints you could have just asked."

"Yeah well, I thought it'd be weird with our history and all." Harry shrugged.

"You aren't wrong, but Misery loves company." Fara sighed. "What do you have in mind?"
"Dinner and just talk, we don't really talk much, outside of work." Harry said. "Might be good for both of us who knows?"

"Sure, real food or fake stuff?"

Harry scoffed. "Real, I'll buy."

"What time?"


"Guess I better find something to wear than."

"I'll come get you."
"Don't be late." Fara chuckled. "Who the fuck am I kidding you are Mr. punctual."

"You know it." Harry said waving as he left the engineering bay.

A rather disgruntled Cornerian boar in a fleet uniform moves through the throng of people in the promenade and deeper into the station's maintenance corridors. He took care to make sure he wasn't noticed. He wound his way down through the narrow corridors and then knocked three times fast with two more with pauses. The door opened and he stepped inside. The doorman quickly shut and sealed the door behind them.

This room had been home for nearly the last year while they had carefully set up their moment to strike. There were five of them that had smuggled themselves on board the Aether's saucer all that time ago. Since then this place had been their home except when they ventured out.

They all had names, but they only knew each other by their surnames.

When it came to the great cause of freeing the Lylat from the Confederation risks were expected to be taken.

"Kursk what news do you have for me?" Said a rather distinguished looking Jackal standing near a bench where they had planned out their scheme.

"I have managed to get the explosives set at all the proper places." Kursk sighed.

"It's a target but I assumed it would be, very well." He put his hands behind his back and paced in thought. "We may have to try to commandeer it in order to leave this place."

"How do you suppose we do that, Holtz?"

The Jackal smiled. "That's simple the ship's Captain and Engineer together would have access to the codes to do so."

"You are taking a big risk doing that." Kursk grunted.

"Like we haven't already?" A Cornerian female feline with grey fur leaning against the wall playing with a vibroblade tossing it between her paws. "Besides bombing a space station could get us all a one way ticket to vacuum land if those charges are set wrong."

"I have a plan you should all know that, besides as far as individual security for sensitive military personnel these people are quite lax." Holtz said as he paced. "I am sure tracking them down wouldn't be beyond your abilities Ms. Owens."

"Don't insult me." The feline hissed dismissively.

"That's what I thought." Holtz grinned. "Korowski, how goes the transporter system."

A Cornerian gecko looked up from a pile of machinery in his own corner of the room. "It's fine, I've managed to test it well enough, we should get about one use out of it to get to the ship like you planned. I've already calculated the coordinates to the bridge, plus hacking their systems was easy enough at least for me." he cackled. "You'd be amazed how easy they make it to learn this stuff."

"So how do you plan on getting it out of here?" Kursk grunted.

"Once we have control of the ship, or at least the main systems that will be easy enough." Holts said strolling around and clapping Korowski on the shoulder. "Our rigger will see to that."

"Should be easy enough, you want phasers and torpedoes I can get that for you." Korowski cackled.

"Either way we are going to make a point." Holtz said. "This confederation has done nothing for our people except make us weak and leave the Cornerian Military in charge of what's left of our world."

"So what are we going to do with the Feddy's once and if we make a getaway?"

"Oh I'm sure they'll want them back, and will probably pay handsomely for them." Holtz said. "Credits still have a value in most of the universe. If they don't we'll dispose of them."

"Far enough, but what do we need the ship for." Kurts grunted. "We can get our own ships easily enough."

"The Raptor will be a valuable tool for us to use to push the Confederation off Corneria." Holtz said. "Capturing it would get more of the people behind us and we could draw more support to get our planet back on its feet again. We know what it could do, by itself it could cut down the mightiest ships in their fleet as if it was nothing and it treats Urthean Battle Curisers as if they are a joke, power like that would make the Patriots of Lylat, be taken seriously."

They all nodded in unison. Save for the ursine lurking near the door.

"I see you are showing your usual dedication to the cause Brunt." Holds smirked.

"I signed on to bust heads." The bear grunted. "Been a severe lack of that."

"You'll get your chance soon. . Very soon." He checked his watch. "We need to act soon, everyone move to their positions, we need to get a bead on our targets." Holtz said. "Lysa, see if you can track down the Commander if possible we'll need him."

"Sure." The feline said, putting her vibro blade away. "I'd be glad too."

Fara got home and quickly scrambled about looking for something to wear.

She had tossed the few outfits she had acquired on the bed and was trying to find the right look. She stopped and looked at herself in the mirror wondering why she was putting so much effort into this.

She looked at her reflection and scowled.

She knew why, deep down she knew why.

A memory rose to the surface, of her and Harry awhile back.

She flushed under her fur.

Maybe it was her loneliness or frustration at Nikolai being gone, or he lack of dose from those pheremones but her thoughts were going back to that incident a while ago.

It was so passionate, even with the strange virus they were both infected with.

She always wondered if he felt the same way, maybe now she could ask? What was the harm in finding out.

She glanced up at the wall chronometer and cussed starting to strip off her uniform and running for the shower.

Holosuite 25.

Rosa and Kyle were going over the control set up on the simulated helm of the Raptor. Kyle was seated in the side seat as Rosa tried the few maneuvers that she could do. She hated flying this ship it was so touchy and the controls made no damn sense. She'd been trained to fly using an intricate set of macro commands not a pressure sensitive surface that reacted to everything.

"Ok this one is rough it's a quick sliding one hundred degree spin and then a roll." Rosa said with shaky confidence. "You ready."

Kyle nodded in agreement.

"This one is called Martinez theta four." Rosa explained pushing the ship to full impulse. The simulated ship responded accordingly. "Make sure you set the g-diffusers to one hundred five percent and drop the sidf to 95 for 5 seconds. Otherwise it will be really rough." Rosa took a breath. "I am not really great at this so hold on."

Kyle nodded and gingerly sat back in the seat restraint.

Rosa put the ship through the maneuver and tried not to lose her lunch as the ship swung rapidly around although it was a bit rough but the maneuver was completed.

"That wasn't too bad." Kyle said. "A little rough but I get the idea, she's very touchy."
"It's not easy, Land and Munro seem to be able to do it well enough." Rosa said, bringing the ship to all stop. "

"Let me try, I think I got the hang of it."

"Your funeral." Rosa smirked getting up out of the com chair and changing positions with him. She strapped herself into the side chair as Kyle took the helm.

"You said it's a G-diffuser enhanced system?" Kyle said.


"Oh I think I got this." Kyle said, cracking his fingers. He took a few tentative tries such caused the ship to lurch and slide a few times.

Rosa chuckled. "I told you it's squirrelly."

"Just got to get a feel for it is all." Kyle said making a few adjustments in the console and trying a few other maneuvers. "So why don't you use macros for the maneuvers?"

"Because the ship won't take them for some reason. It will let you do it all that way. Normal warp flight sure, anything sublight you have to do it manually. No one knows why Chief Phoenix can't even figure it out and it persists even through our last refit."

"That's certainly odd." Kyle said a bit confused. "I trust the simulation was updated with the refit?"

"Of course Commander Martinez insists that this simulation matches the ships current state at all times so we can train on it."

"Well that's good to know, still a bit weird. " Kyle mused.

"This ship is weird." Rosa replied.

"Ok I think I am ready." Kyle said confidently. "Let me see if I can put in a few maneuvers I wanted to try on my old ship."

He shoved the acceleration lever forward to the full impulse mark and then put the ship through a few lateral rolls followed by a rapid climb before he performed a rapid tumble. Rosa was amazed the younger officer seemed to have a knack for it. He even performed the maneuver that Rosa had tried other than g forces from rapid turn the maneuver had been performed. He was good she had to admit. She almost felt embarrassed at her own inadequacies.

"Where did you learn to fly like that?" Rosa said, impressed.

"I used to run sims of Cornerian fighter craft in the academy when I was bored. Still do in fact." Kyle confidently said, putting the ship through another roll. "This isn't any different just a bit bigger."

"Well damn, I was supposed to show you a thing or two. Maybe I need you to show me a few pointers."

"I'd be glad too." Kyle said, bringing the ship to all stop. "Tell you what, let's load up a few of my simulations and I'll give you a few pointers. Then afterwards I'd like to see the real thing."

"Sure." Rosa said. "I have access to the ship so it shouldn't be a problem."

Knackt walked up to Fara's door and hit the ringer.

She didn't answer so he hit it again, after no response he laid into it. Finally the door opened and finally Fara answered the door looking rather annoyed fidgeting with her hair. She looked like she threw on whatever clothes she grabbed from the shower. "Damnit Knackt what do you want?"

"Eh, I was going to tell you that I wanted to check out those power conduits on deck four, i think the Altarians might have accidentally redone some of our modifications we did down there. I was wondering if you could come along and help."

Fara sighed. "I am sure it's fine but if you insist on looking at it knock yourself out I have plans."

"You?" Knackt said. "What is lizard lips around?"

"No.." Fara said, scowling.

"Than who?"

"Look it's none of your business. I am having dinner with a friend, that's all. That's all you need to know. We hang out, what's the big deal if I have other friends."

"Well Terri isn't around and so I am a bit intrigued is all." Knackt mused. "You aren't one to really enjoy being out here like the rest of us.

"Cram it rat brain, go do your whatever and leave me be." Fara scowled.

"Ok fine, fine, I'll take care of it." Knackt said. "Just thought you might want to tag along was all."

"Normally I would but I think you can handle it." Fara said. "Just give me a report."

"Alright, well don't have too much fun tonight."

"Go away Knackt." Fara said hitting the button to close and lock her door. She shook her head and went back to trying to get her hair to cooperate.

"You know this would be a lot easier if we didn't have to sneak around." Don chuckled as they walked towards the holosuite. They were both in civilian garb.

"Yeah but it wouldn't nearly be as fun." Michele said, clapping his arm and leaning affectionately into it."

"I suppose it wouldn't." Don said, smiling.

"You should do that more." Michelle smirked.

"Do what?"

"Smile, you have a nice one.'

"Only for you, though." Rivas laughed. I don't want people thinking I have gone soft!""

Forward torpedo bay.

Sonya Jax sat on the base of the launcher nodding her head to the rock music she had piped through the ships com system in the hold.

"Magnetic Spanner." Jakar said below her his hand appearing from under the launcher.

Sonya blew a bubble on the gum she was chewing on fetched the tool and dropped it into his awaiting paw.

"Ya know luv, this ain't the most exciting thing we ever did together."
Jakar rolled the creeper out. "You volunteered to tag along on this."

"I'm just joshin' you." Sonya smiled. "You know I don't mind."

Jakar slid back under the launcher.

Sonya climbed down and squatted to look to try to see what exactly Jakar was doing. "So what are you messing with down there?"

"I'm removing some of the inhibitor circuits." Jakar replied. "This launcher is brand new and it's a glorious piece of weaponry but those things are going to get in the way."

"Ah don't need them slowin us down is it?"

"In a way yes." Jakar replied. He slid out and dropped a pile of the circuits. "Granted this thing will be way better than the old one, it would jam all the time but we have to make it jive with the rest of the ship."

Sonya picked up the chips and placed them in the bucket with the other ones Jakar had removed. "An' ya said the Commander is ok with this."

"He expects his ship to be in perfect working order, I am simply making it happen." Jakar replied. "I am sure there would have been a problem if we had to use the new launcher and it had malfunctioned because of these damn things."

Sonya looked around the bay and her eye spotted something. "Yah know that loader looks like it's a bit off.

Jakar's head appeared at her feet. "It does?"

"Yeah it does."

"How the hell do you see that?" Jakar asked grabbing a tricorder clipped to his waist and handing it to her. "Scan it."

"I know what I see luv." Sonya said. "That loader bay is just a hair off."

Jakar stuck his head out and gave her a look. "I trust you but I need readings to make the adjustment unless you can give me a precise measurement by eye."

"All right, fair enough." Sonya said, scanning the launcher. "Yup it's off. The bloody thing probably settled in the trip back home."

"Mind taking care of it I am almost done down here." Jakar said sliding back underneath.

"Not at all." She said grabbing the tools she needed from the toolbox.

Knackt arrived at the gangway at the same time as Rosa and Kyle. "Eh what are you two doing here?" He asked seeing the gangway open.

"Captains orders, we need to practice, I figured I'd show the new guy the bridge, he wants to see the controls on the real thing." Rosa said.

"I thought the ship was supposed to be mostly empty right now?" Knact asked.

"Well it looks like there are a few people on board doing miscellaneous tweeks all with clearance." Rosa replied. "Lt. Jakar is in the forward torpedo bay according to the computer."

"Well alright, just don't be taking the ship joy riding or anything." Knackt said. "I got some power conduits I am going to be checking out so I better not get zapped."

"I wouldn't worry about it." Rosa smiled. "If anything we'll just be making a few adjustments to the con."
"Alright but I'm warnin ya I get shocked there gonna be hell to pay if I find out it's you two messin' around up there." Knackt said heading up the gangway.

"You got nothing to worry about." Rosa replied.

"He's the punchy sort isn't he?" Kyle snickered.

"He's harmless, his boss will actually launch something at you if you get on her bad side. Come on let's go." Rosa said smiling.

Harry walked up to Fara's quarters and hit the ringer. He was dressed in a nice silk shirt and slacks. It was about the nicest casual outfit they had since they were going to a place that actually cost credits he figured he'd look the part at least.

The door parted and Fara came out dressed in a black sheath dress with her hair done up in a bun held in place by long decorative hair pins.

Harry was taken aback. "Well I wasn't expecting this. You look great."
"Thanks I used to be a rich girl when I wasn't getting my hands dirty." She smiled. "You don't look bad yourself, Ready?"

"Of course, after you." Harry said heading down the corridor.

They walked for a few moments. "So no work stuff right."


There was a pause. "Ok, well. Huh this is just a little weird. Harder than I thought it would be." Fara chuckled.

Harry nodded. "Well… tell me something about yourself, I don't really know a lot about you other than scuttlebutt."

"Ok." Fara said putting her hands behind her back as they walked together down the corridor. "I draw, I'm pretty good at it. Not just ships but people, plants, you know stuff like that. When I have time that is." Fara chuckled. "Usually when I'm home. Most don't know that about me except Nikolai. Ok your turn, why do you make those little ships of yours?"

"Always have since I was a kid. They are fun to put together and I put antigrav floaters in them and lights for effects." Harry replied. "It's relaxing."

"Do you fly them around?"

"Sometimes." Harry smiled. "When time allows."

"I always wondered." Fara said. "You know it takes some work to get a floater and a power supply in something that small. I'm impressed. You'll have to show me sometime."

"Really?" Harry said "I figured you'd think it'd be silly."

"Nah, everyone's got a hobby." Fara shrugged. "Takes fine delicate work to make something like that happen, most people i know who do that are happy just to get them to have lights."

"Thanks." Harry smiled. "I'll be glad to show you sometime. See this isn't as hard as you thought."

"Well it'd be a lot easier if we were screaming at eachother or arguing." Fara laughed.

Harry stopped at a lift and hit the call button. "Perhaps." He smiled. "However let's try not too."

"I am making no promises." Fara chuckled.

Owens was heading through the promenade when she spotted her target exiting a nearby turbolift and then heading up to the upper part of the promenade towards the restaurant district. She fell instep behind them following at distance. It seemed the Commander was with the Chief engineer, this was an unexpected stroke of luck. She raised her wrist communicator to her face.

"Owens to Holtz."

"Go ahead."
"Target is spotted currently following."

"Understood. Keep an open channel." Holtz responded. "Let us know when the moment presents itself.

"I will don't worry about that." The feline smirked, closing the channel.

"Well here it is, I told you it's not much different." Ensign Rosa said as they stepped onto the bridge.

"It is different, it's the real thing." Kyle said eagerly heading for the flight console. "It's beat up, worn, well used, a simulation won't replicate that."

"I suppose but all the controls are in the same place." Rosa said. "And you can't go joy riding in it."

"It'd be a kick wouldn't it." Kyle chuckled.

"Until we got thrown in the brig."

"True." Kyle smiled looking over the controls. "Definitely be memorable though." Suddenly he heard a transporter wine and they turned and saw a large Cornerian Ursine and Geko beam in behind them with weapons drawn.

"Easy there kids, nobody moves no one gets hurt." Korowski cackled.

"You aren't authorised to be here, who are you?!" Rosa demanded.

"Just relax Darling, don't make us do something you'll regret." Brunt rumbled.

Rosa's eyes darted to the intruder alarm just slightly out of reach. She could tell Kyle was making that same assessment being as he was turned in the chair.

"Just do us all a favor sweet cheeks and back away from the console." Korowski said motioning with his disruptor pistol. "Do you really wanna gamble that I'm using a stun setting, guy like me really has no use for it. Now back away. You too Junior."

They both glanced at each and put their hands up and backed away.

"Good, that's more like it, you got your whole careers ahead of you don't want to cut them short. The badges give them here."

They both reluctantly removed their combadges and reluctantly, handed them over.

"Brunt, Cuff em, together shove em over there." He said motioning to the auxiliary station to the starboard aft part of the bridge."

Brunt moved in and cuffed the two back to back and then shoved them over to the And you two keep Quiet I have work to do." Korowski snapped quickly walking over to the door controls to each of the entrances and toggling the door locks. "Keep an eye on them and knock the shit out of anyone who comes to those doors, I need to get my gear set up."

Brunt grunted in acknowledgement and forced them down to the floor and then took some cord and ran it through the interlinked cuffs and up through a brace on the underside of the console, seeing that they were secured he moved to a better spot on the bridge to keep eye on the doors.

Rosa winced trying to get comfortable with her arms cuffed behind her. "What was that you were saying about a memorable event."

"This wasn't what I meant." Kyle groaned behind her.

Harry and Fara had just been seated at their table.

"The Starfarer, Harry?" Fara chuckled. "Are you trying to impress me?"

"No, it's quiet and you said you wanted good real food, this is the best place for it." Harry said. "I mean outside of a three day flight to another planet."

"It's fine I'm just teasing," Fara said. "And maybe I am a little impressed."

Harry smiled and grabbed the wine list. "What are you in mood for"
"Something dry." Fara said. "I'm not particularly picky. Not a big fan of sweet."

"What about a Zapodian Blanco." Harry asked.

"Never tried it."
"It pretty much goes with anything and it has a little bit of kick." Harry said. "I tried it once back on the Neosho a while back it's a good one to just relax to."

"Sure I'm game." Fara said grabbing a menu and flipping through it she whistled looking the selection. "Most of this might be a bit much for me."

"How so?" Harry ask.

"I usually just eat from the little takeout places or the replicator, I don't know if my stomach would be able to handle this stuff."

"I can relate, just don't over do it, if you feel full stop eating." Harry chuckled.

The waiter came over and they placed their orders and he took the menus.

"So since we're here to talk," Fara said. "You always say you used to be an engineer, tell me about it."

"There's not a lot to tell." Harry said reluctantly.

"Aw come on I want to know." Fara said, smiling.

"Ok, well my first assignment was on the Phoenix a long time ago. It was an old Darrian Class vessel that was pretty much near the end of it's run when I was assigned to her."

"Ah I see." Fara said recognising the name. She wondered if it was the same ship that she had rebuilt into the Raptor. If it was, the irony wasn't lost on her.

"I wanted a command position and well that was the first assignment I got. I spent my first month on that thing trying to repair everything my predecessor had just given up on."

"So you really got your hands dirty then?" Fara asked.

"You have no idea, every damn day I had to replicate a new uniform because the one I came home with was singed, covered in grease , sweat, blood and anything else just trying to keep up." Harry sighed. "I got it done though, have the scars on my hands to prove it. Needless to say I do appreciate what you do unlike a lot of starship captains."

The wine arrived and the waiter popped the cork and poured their glasses.

They clinked their glasses together. "Well I have to admit, when you first came along I had my doubts. I thought here comes another damn officer who thinks he can just walk in here and start throwing his weight around."

"I know better than that, however getting you to perform up to my expectations has been a challenge." Harry said, taking a drink.

"Yeah but would you really want to deal with anyone else?" Fara chuckled.

"Not really."

"You know it's been two years since we started this whole crazy mess?" Fara mused.

"Really?" Harry said. "Feels a lot longer than that."

Fara nodded. "Time flies when your… well I don't know if you'd call it having fun."

"Busy would be more appropriate, fun… donsn't really fit the bill." Harry said taking a drink

"Despite a few .. bumps in the road it hasn't been that bad." Fara said, taking a drink as well. "Usually."

Harry nodded.

"You ever think they'll bother to make you a full Captain?" Fara asked.

"I don't know, maybe." Harry said. "I don't really dwell on that, I was shocked I even got my current rank." He took a long draw from his glass finishing it off and then pouring another one. He offered to refill Fara's glass and she accepted. "Fleet Headquarters is going to do what their going to do. You ever thought about how long you are staying on?"

"How so?"

"I mean you were a civilian contractor to begin with, I know you took the accelerated officer school program. Do you have any long term plans outside of the Raptor?"

"No.. not really." Fara said. "I don't really want to do anything else, the damn ship is falling apart half the time until recently."

"How long did Admiral Kramer ask you to stay?" Harry asked.

"Not this long." Fara said taking a drink. "He tried to have me replaced. I chose too find a way to stay, I had to beg Stiles to help me."

Harry hmmed. "He wouldn't have asked you to stay. You would have refused if he had."

Fara traced her finger around the rim of her glass. "Probably. Is that guy psychic or something?"

"No he's just really good reading people." Harry replied. "Scary at it."

"You know whatever happened to him."

"No, no one does." Harry sighed. "You might have been the last person to see him in the flesh."

"You think he's still alive? He didn't look well when I saw him." Fara said quietly.

"I don't know." Harry said, taking a drink and noticing the waiter approaching with their meals. "Foods here."
"Good, I was starting to get antsy." Fara smiled. "Oh hell… i just remembered something!"


"Terri's cat thing… did anyone ever take care of it?!" Fara said, looking mullified.

"Yeah I did, a long time ago." Harry said. "Relax, I know how Taber cats are, I contactacted Stiles from Altairia and had the little guy shipped to the Intrepid as fast as possible. She's had him the whole time."
"Oh, good." Fara said relieved. "She would have been utterly heartbroken if he'd died."

Harry nodded. "I had her covered, she was very happy to get him."

"I'm impressed you did that for her."

"Well hell Fara, she was a godsend the brief time she was my first officer and she's done a lot for me." Harry said taking a drink. "It was the least i could do for her."

"It was really sweet that you did." Fara smiled.

Kurtz, Holtz and Owens made their way through the maintenance corridors.

"The targets are located toward the back of the restaurant. We should be able to secure them rather quickly." Owens said.

"We will only have a few moments before station security respond." Kursk said.

"That's what the transporter tag guns are for." Holtz said, reaching to his bandolier and handing them two of the small pistol-like weapons. "Save them for the targets, blast anyone else." Holtz said cooly. "Use the heavy stun, it'll look like we're using lethal force without doing so." He said unholstering a phaser and checking the setting." He then tapped the earbud in his ear. "Korowski, how are we doing?"

The Gecko had the auxiliary console in the aft of the bridge completely opened and was patching in his own equipment. "Another few minutes and I'll have complete control of the ship."

"Do you have our little transportation system set up to receive our guests."

"Of course I do, what do you take me for an incompetant." Korowski gumbled.

"If I did you wouldn't be working for me." Holtz chuckled. "Anyone see you."
"Two officers were on the bridge when we arrived, we have them subdued so they won't be any trouble. We'll toss them in the brig when we get underway. There are at least three other people on board but I don't want to draw attention to ourselves."

"Very well we'll deal with them when we can." Holtz said. "Be ready on my signal."

"Don't worry, I will be.""

Jakar crawled out from under the torpedo launcher and admired his work.

"It finally to your liking luv?" Sonya asked.

Jakar nodded.

"Good maybe we can go do something else now, the night is still young ya know?" she said, putting her arms around his neck.

"It is, I think you would want me to clean up first I smell like a burnt out plasma relay." He said putting her arms around her. "You could help me clean up."

"I could." She cooed kissing him on the lips.

"I've had enough of this ship for one day." Jakar said grabbing the tool kit. "You want to eat before or after?"

"After of course." Sonya said.

"Alright, I can wait." He grinned heading for the door to the bay but as he approached it didn't open.

"That's… weird." Jakar stated. He walked over to the wall panel and noticed it was un responsive. "Computer open the Torpedo Bay door, Jakar authorisation omega seven charlie three."

The computer didn't respond.

Jakar tapped his combadge and it was unresponsive as well.

"Well, that isn't good." Sonya said trying her's as well.

"What the hell is going on?" Jakar wondered aloud..

"What is all that stuff?" Rosa whispered.

"Looks like some sort of data scrambler." Kyle said. "Looks pretty sophisticated."

"They must be trying to hack into the ships computers but why?" Rosa said, trying the bonds that were fairly secure.

"Is that possible?" Kyle asked.

"Well yes, you'd probably have to be a topnotch hacker but why?" Rosa whispered.

"Knock it off you two or I'll give you both a sluggin." Brunt grunted threateningly. "Zip it."

They both stopped talking and exchanged looks, Ensign Rosa nodded resignedly and they both fell quiet.

The meals had been delivered and as expected the food was amazing. Harry had noticed Fara had gotten a little quiet, as if she was lost in thought.

"Penny for your thoughts?" Harry said breaking the silence.

"Huh?" Fara looked up at him.

"Well you seemed a bit distracted." Harry replied.

Fara smiled at him. "It's nothing, really just… remembering something is all. I don't even know why I'm thinking about it." She chuckled.

Harry regarded her the moment she was keeping something from him, she was subconsciously giving off the same body language as she did when she was trying to avoid telling him something about the ship.

"Fara, you are drumming your fingers, you only do that when it is important." Harry said putting his fork down and sitting back in his chair. "What is it, spit it out, what's wrong with the ship now."

Fara glanced down at her hand and noticed she was drumming her fingers against the table and clenched her hand together and stopped. "Nothing's wrong with the ship, for once." She smiled.

"Then what is it, we're here now, talking." Harry said, feeling relieved and returning her smile. "I thought that was the point."

"Ok, fair enough." Fara said. "Just give me a minute it's a little awkward." She said taking a rather large drink of wine causing Harry to raise a brow in amusement. She then got up and sat in the chair perpendicular to Harry's so they could talk quietly bringing her glass with her.

"Gods damn this is awkward but I need to get it out." Fara said nervously.

"Take a deep breath you're not breathing." Harry said calmly.

"Yeah I know, just give me a minute." She said filling her glass and taking another large drink nearly emptying the glass.

"Ok I am taking that away too." Harry said patiently, taking the wine bottle out of reach. "At least for now. Come on Fara, whatever it is, you have probably been through and survived worse just collect yourself and spit it out."

Fara nodded and then scooted in close and motioned him to get close too so she could talk quietly.

"So, remember a long time ago back when that virus went through the clue and we all got a little.. Off kilter." Fara asked.

"That's not something I can easily forget but yes."

"Ok, well, do you ever think about us?"

Harry let out a breath and leaned back in his chair blushing a bit. With that one little question he was now on the back foot.

"Well do you?" She asked.

"Now I need a drink." Harry said grabbing the bottle and filling his glass. "I gave you a moment to compose yourself and allow me the same courtesy."

Fara nodded and allowed him to take a few drinks, waiting patiently.

"Honestly, yes." Harry said. "I do think about it from time to time."

This seemed to bring Fara a bit of comfort and she smiled. "Well… I meant what I said back then. Honestly, other than whatever happened before my coma, you and Nikolai have definitely been highlights in my life."

Harry blushed.

She reached over and put her paw on his. "I was wondering if when we're done if…"
Suddenly there was a commotion in the back of the restaurant and they both heard weapons fire from the kitchen.

There was a moment of confusion and Harry quickly grabbed her paw and pulled her to her feet just as a crimson beam blasted a waither through the back doors who came crashing to the ground on his back.

"Nobody move and no one gets blasted!" Kurtz said firing off his repeater blaster at the ceiling causing the other guests to scream and cower in their chairs.

"Commander Martinez, hold it right there." Holtz said bursting through the door. "You go for that exit a lot more people are going to get hurt. Now hands in the air where I can see them. You too Ms. Phoenix."

Harry stopped and did so albeit reluctantly Fara followed suit.

"Good, I was hoping you'd come quietly." Holtz said grinning. "Owens, Kurtz. Tag and bag them."

"My pleasure." Kurtz said, taking his free hand and drawing the transporter tag gun. Owens did the same and they both fired.

Harry winced and pulled the needle out of his skin and quickly noticed that they were in the Raptor's brig.

"Seriously, right in the soft part of my arm!" Fara complained gingerly trying to pull the tage out.

Harry reached over and quickly pulled it out. Fara yelped in surprise.

"Sorry." He said.

"Well i guess that's one way to deal with it. Going to ruin this blouse though." She pouted.

"I think we have bigger things to worry about right now." Harry said, throwing the tag at the opening of the brig and seeing it hit the forcefield.

"It's a nice blouse." Fara groused. "Please tell me this wasn't part of what you had planned."

Harry chuckled. "I'm not that creative."

Fara nodded and then tapped the wall to have a small seat extend from the wall before sitting down. "So… this isn't good. If they got the forcefield working they've found a way to get around the computer lock outs."

"Computer deactivate forcefield, Authorization Martinez Omega three."


"Well it was worth a shot. Proves your theory though." Harry said quickly.

Holtz arrived back on the bridge. "You." He said pointing at Ensign Rosa. "You will fly the ship where I tell you to."

"I don't know how."

Holtz grinned. "I don't have time to argue. I know who you are, you will fly the ship or i will kill him." He said pointing the barrel of his blaster against Kyle's head. "I'll give you till three. One, two…"
"Ok ok!" Rosa said. "I'll do it."

"Glad you see it my way." Holtz said unhooking her bindings, refastening Kyles and forcefully standing her up and shoving her towards the con. "Fire up the engines and prepare to take us out. Any funny business i'll blast you, got it?"

Rosa nodded and quickly got to work starting up the ships engines. Suddenly and alarm sounded as the station went into lockdown.

"Kurtz are those charges ready?"

"Yup, just say the word."

"Excuse me but we have to clear the umbilicals if you want to take the ship out that has to be acknowledged by the dockmaster." Roas spoke up.

Holtz just laughed. "Oh don't worry about that we've planned for that, Kurtz if you would."

Around the docking clamps that held the realtor in place several explosions went off as well as above on the umbilical connections that held the ship inplace.

The Raptor shook from the explosions but they were not powerful enough to damage it's thick reinforced hide.

In the torpedo bay Sonya Jax and Jakar felt the shakes on the ship.

"Ok now that isn't good, just what in the hell is goin' on now?" Sonya said

Jakar just growled. "We need to get out of here."

"What you got in mind, Luv."

Jakar spotted an access hatch that lead to one of the access tubes that ran throughout the ship. "We have tools, computers be damned, that hatch is getting opened."

"And then what?"

"We get to the armory first and then find out what is going on." Jakar grunted.

"That's not good." Fara said, noticing the power fluctuate as they felt the ship shaking.

"Is there any way out of here?" Harry asked.

"Not really, we're kind of stuck unless all power and the axillary fails." Fara sighed.

"Or they let us out." Harry said in thought.

"Why would they do that?"

"Easy, the Raptor is a just a ship, a rather tough ship but even if hey have bypassed the majority of the systems they can't use the attack mode protocols without command codes." Harry said pacing. "Hence, why they took care to capture us."

"They looked Cornerian, I wonder what the hell they want with the Raptor." Fara mused.

"Who knows." Harry replied. "I am sure we will find out soon enough."

Rosa brought the ship around and headed for the door.

"Attention Raptor, this is Captain Stiles you do not have permission to disembark."

"Ah yes Captain stiles." Holtz said, triggering the viewer from the command chair. "This is Holtz, and that is the only name you will get, I and my men are part of the Patriots of Lylat and we will be commendaring this vessel for our own purposes.

"We won't let you leave." Stiles responded.

"Oh you wont?" Holtz sneered. "Korowaski, give them a demonstration please."

The gecko cackled from the com station activating the aft photon torpedo launcher. "Target locked and firing!"

The Raptor's aft launcher flashed and a single torpedo shot out and slammed into one of the maintenance arms of the stations blowing a huge hole through the unprotected interior and causing the station's power to fluctuate.

Holtz sneered. "Now Captain the next volley will target the habitat ring, then ops, then the power core if needed. Do not test me, I mean business so kindly open the doors or the death of every man woman and child on his station will be on your hands."

Stiles reacted to something being said off screen. "And how far do you think you'll get?"

"As far as I need to. Now open the bay doors or else." he said motioning to Kurowski.

"Full spread targeting the habitat ring."

"Alright, Stop Damn you." Stiles cursed. "Open the doors." He said to someone off screen.

The bay doors began to open and the Rapor moved toward them.

Deep in the bowels of the ship Knackt spitting mad. His tool kit was everywhere and the sudden moves of the ship had sent his tools scattering down the access hatch.

"What in the smeggin hell is going on!" He said to know one in particular. "Ey computer, where is the ship going? Why wasn't there an alert."

"ACCESS DENIED." the computer replied.

"Oh yeah? Let me get my rigger kit and you'll be singing a different tune." Knackt said spinning around and grabbing up his tools.

Rosa was terrified she didn't know what to do as Brunt kept a blaster pistol aimed at her.

"Take us out Ensign, time is of the essence." Holtz growled.

Rosa nodded and eased the ship forward,

"Set a course for the badlands maximum warp." Holtz ordered.

"Course laid in, engaging warp." Rosa replied.

Holtz waited till they were underway. "My brothers, we have completed phase one of our mission. Ms. Owens i think it's time we go have a little talk with our quarry."

The Feline grinned. "It'll be my pleasure."

To be continued.