NeoDyne Defense Corporation
Planet: Rigel IV
“Enter The Chimera – Part One”
Slamming his hand down forcefully on his antique desk, Alistair Merikai – President of the powerful NeoDyne Defense Corporation was incensed. The computer terminal on his desk displayed the image of his chief genetic research scientist, Dr. Artimis Ballentine.
“Doctor, what you have done is inexcusable”, Merikai shouted his temper flaring. “Do you realize what the consequences could be? Did you stop to consider what damage your actions may have caused? What do you have to say for yourself?”
Ballentine, a seventy year old doctor disgraced by unethical genetic experiments forty years prior, was seemingly unmoved by the President’s display of outrage. His wrinkled face showed little sign of emotion as he maintained a clear, stoic gaze at his own communications terminal.
“Do not stand there and lecture me Merikai”, the doctor sneered. “I was traveling the galaxy long before you were born. I know how to keep a low profile. I have been doing that for nearly forty years no thanks to your father! I don’t think a short trip on a chartered transport is of any substantial concern. In any case, I have not been on the radar of any government in decades. Your overreaction is unwarranted, unnecessary, and quite unneeded.
“Doctor, as an employee of this corporation, you are required to follow procedures no matter how competent you believe yourself to be! We have protocol for a reason. My father may have kept you on a long leash, he may have promised you a great deal, but I am in charge of this company now and if you wish to continue your research you will do things as I see fit! Never forget that!”
Ballentine laughed at the chairman’s display of anger. “I am not amused by your idle threats. As the last remaining research scientist alive who has knowledge of the Ramius twins you need me if you ever intend on pursuing your father’s vision. Cutting me off isn’t an option so don’t sit there from high atop your glass tower and tell me how to behave like a father chastising his child. If you want your pet project to progress you will listen to me not the other way around!”
Merikai’s eyebrow twitched as he swallowed the tide of fiery anger building within. He needed the man’s expertise to continue his plans and the doctor knew it. The amount of leverage the old scientist possessed infuriated him.
“Nevertheless doctor we are shutting down the Nakadia facility. Prepare your equipment, personnel, and your experiments for immediate transport. I shall arrive personally to oversee their removal. I’m not taking any chances.”
“Stop being so damned paranoid”, Ballentine replied. “The Nakadia system is an empty wasteland with a dying star, radiation bursts, solar flares, worthless gas giants, extreme gravimetric currents, gas clouds, and plenty of free floating ice and asteroids to keep all but the insane away. This facility has been essential to my work for over twenty years. Abandoning such a well concealed location out of paranoia and fear is out of the question!”
“I’m not interested in your opinions Ballentine or I would have asked for them. The research is all that I care about. You have made a recent breakthrough and I want it transported to our primary facilities for immediate replication and further testing.”
“I never said it was a breakthrough Merikai, only that initial indications appeared highly favorable. If ongoing experiments prove successful then we can celebrate. I will not be opening bottles of champagne until the test results can confirm long term viability.”
“Nevertheless Doctor, I’m pulling the plug on the Nakadia station. It’s old, outdated, and costs a small fortune to maintain and supply in that godforsaken wasteland. While its location may be ideal you have made it a liability by exposing its location using civilian transportation.”
“Come off it Merikai. The captain of the transport was well paid. He’ll keep his mouth shut.”
“Do you honestly believe money will buy some silence from some backwater captain of a rusty garbage scow? Other interested parties have money and if your captain is as greedy as he is unscrupulous then anyone willing to meet the man’s price can also buy his tongue and his knowledge.”
Ballnetine’s beady dark eyes squinted on Merikai’s screen. “Who is it you are running from Merikai? I can smell the fear in your voice. Who haunts you enough to make you behave like a man with a knife to his throat?”
“I fear no man”, Merikai sneered.
“Lies”, the doctor retorted. “I’ve known you far too long. You have always come across as level headed and cool much like your father. Your behavior is rash and in my opinion reckless to our mutual goals.”
Merikai’s patience with the doctor was running thin. “This project has always been black doctor, or perhaps you are the one loosing your nerve? Perhaps you regret your actions in your old age?”
Ballentine laughed. “I won’t be stopped by something as petty as regret, but you had better deal with your own demons Merikai. My research is too fragile and important to be carting around the cosmos every time you cannot get off to sleep at night. I will indulge your request this time, but I shall not make this a habit.”
“Have the specimens and staff ready for transport. My ship will arrive in one week. I will personally escort you and the research to other facilities.”
“Do what you will. Perhaps we can talk when you have had time to come to your senses. Ballentine out.”
The screen went dark leaving the young, charismatic president alone in his office enraged at the scientist’s blunt and acerbic personality. Merikai was convinced that Ballentine, sensing trouble, had left the Astate colony too quickly without waiting for NeoDyne assistance. The prospect of the doctor being noticed was remote, but Merikai was too close to realizing his father’s dream to take any chances.
Starfleet Intelligence’s own Captain Zane Akina had also been on Astate and had escaped via an unknown starship. It was still unclear what information he had managed to obtain. The man had nearly ruined the company once ten years ago and Merikai wasn’t about to give the captain a second chance to try again. His presence on Astate gave Merikai cause for considerable concern. The man was again sniffing for the scent of blood. Merikai knew that if he found it he would continue to stalk NeoDyne and its activities with uncanny tenacity and dedication. However this time around things were different. Merikai had prepared for every contingency; even Starfleet’s annoying meddling. The more Zane Akina knew the shorter his life would become.
Tapping a button on his desk Merikai opened a channel to his assistant. “Mrs. Baker, inform the Chimera to make ready for immediate departure. I will be beaming aboard in one hour. Cancel all of my meetings and appointments for the next week.”
“Yes sir. Will there be anything else?”
“No. Just inform the captain to be ready to depart quickly once I arrive. I don’t want to be kept waiting.”
Closing the channel, Merikai adjusted his tie and suit jacket his anger subsiding but only slightly. If it wasn’t for the doctor’s continuing progress and solid results Merikai would have little need for him despite his unquestionable brilliance in his particular specialty.
Throwing several padds into a fine crafted briefcase, Merikai headed out of his office toward the transporter room at a brisk, even pace.
In orbit waited his personal ship the X01-Chimera. The first of her kind, the Chimera was a NeoDyne prototype constructed in secret. Small, fast, and armed with the latest technological advances in weaponry and defense, the prototype starship was the tactical equal of most ships twice her size except for all but the largest heavy cruisers and front line capital ships produced by the quadrants’ major factions. Bristling with the latest weaponry and equipped with a modern cloaking device based on stolen Romulan and Klingon designs the ship was as nimble and stealthy as it was venomous and deadly.
Merikai felt practically invulnerable when he had first stepped aboard after her completion. The Chimera was an ideal vehicle from which to conduct certain business as it enabled him to travel unseen. The Chimera also had the advantages of allowing him to quickly and easily deal with certain unique business problems that negotiations were unable to resolve.
As Merikai headed toward the transporter room there was a modicum of satisfaction to be had with the current situation. He was anxious to see the progress Ballentine had made at the Nakadia facility. All reports indicated that certain breakthroughs had been made. If additional testing bore out the new results, Merikai might at last have what he sought without the hassle or need to locate the final twin Taverain Ramius who had eluded him and his father for so long. Despite his heated conversation with Dr. Ballentine, perhaps the aging scientist’s new discovery would help ease recent tensions.
It now appeared he was one step closer to realizing his father’s grand master plan. If the doctor had indeed been successful he could quickly move to Phase II and slowly begin the process of moving his pawns and chess pieces into final positions at long last. Bolstering NeoDyne’s influence and might would be crucial to the final phase which would establish NeoDyne as the preeminent power in the known universe and reshape the galaxy and its billions of inhabitants forever.
[ To Be Continued … ]
President Alistair Merikai
Neodyne Defense Corporation
Dr. Artimis Ballentine
Chief Research Scientist
NeoDyne Research Division