U.S.S. Corsair - NX-011979
Nebula II Prototype
“Sic Parvis Magna”
(Greatness From Small Beginnings)
Dr. Artimis Ballentine emerged into the station’s operations center a sour expression plastered across his wrinkled face. The sudden and unexpected news of a Federation Starship having penetrated the system’s asteroid belt was a worst case scenario. There were no contingencies for such an event and the statistical probabilities for such an encounter were beyond calculation. Starfleet had either deemed NeoDyne a severe threat or the captain of this intruding starship had gone completely insane. Ballentine could not guess as to Starfleet’s motives. If they were here it was for one thing and one thing only. Someone or something had slipped past their security measures. It was inevitable that such a breach might one day occur however with success so close and decades of research finally coming to fruition the timing couldn’t have been worse.
The starship was here to plunder Neodyne’s secrets, destroy the facility or perhaps both. It could have no other purpose given the extreme circumstances surrounding its unwelcomed arrival. Starfleet, and especially Starfleet Intelligence, would never gamble an incursion into the Neutral Zone with one of its own ships unless the political risks of detection and confrontation with either the Romulans or the Klingons was negated by what they could gain.
As much as he hated to admit it, Merikai could have been correct despite his recent bouts of caution and extreme paranoia. Perhaps Starfleet had been quietly watching from the shadows. This alarming arrival of a heavy cruiser might indeed be the manifestation of Merikai’s growing fears.
“Doctor, they are holding position just outside the debris field since they emerged”, the operations supervisor said as Ballentine approached the viewing screen. “They have made no further movement.”
“Standard procedure. They’re no doubt checking for damages as well as scanning us.”
“What do we do?”
“You can remain silent”, the doctor callously snapped. “We must determine their intentions. We shall not tip our hand until they have shown us theirs.”
[ Aboard The USS Corsair]
The whine of the klaxon calling the Corsair’s crew to battle stations droned on as Ramius sat confidently with the realization that after so many years the next few minutes could grant him the smoking gun he needed to destroy the NeoDyne Defense Corporation and its sinister plans forever.
“Open a channel. All frequencies”, he commanded with a confident tone of authority. His communications officer nodded indicating the channel was open.
“Neodyne Station. This is the Federation Starship USS Corsair. Respond, over.”
[NeoDyne Research Station]
“They are requesting communications”, an officer stated. “They’ve identified themselves as the USS Corsair. We don’t have any records on that ship.”
Ballnetine grimaced his worst fears suddenly realized. “Intelligence”, he sneered.
“Starfleet Intelligence”, the station supervisor incredulously asked.
“YES, Starfleet Intelligence your idiot”, the doctor shouted back. “That’s why we don’t have a record for that ship. It’s nature and purpose is clandestine which means it has to be a ship assigned to Starfleet Intelligence. It is the only branch of the service who classifies its ship’s missions and purposes.”
“What do they want?”
“What the hell do you think the want”, the doctor viscously snapped. “They’re here because they know something or they think they know something.” The scowling doctor motioned for a comm. line. “It’s still possible to reason with them and perhaps salvage the situation. Open a channel.”
“USS Corsair, Dr. Artimis Ballentine. It is not often we get many guests out here. How can I be of assistance?”
The face of the infamous Dr. Ballentine appeared on the viewing screen as Ramius stood to speak with his NeoDyne counterpart in an exchange he had waited a lifetime in which to engage. Now was his chance to end a threat and bring justice to his family and countless others that had fallen victim to NeoDyne’s crimes; crimes perpetrated by the man that was now looking back at him. His entire life had been leading up to this moment – a moment which could finally end his nightmarish legacy once and for all.
“Doctor Ballentine, Captain Taverain…”, Ramius paused for a moment before saying his last name.
“I have explicit orders to perform an immediate search and inspection of your facility. Please lower your shields and prepare to receive our inspection teams.”
[NeoDyne Research Station]
“Ramius”, Ballentine whispered as the face of man he had been scouring the galaxy for thirty years stared back at him with piercing blue-grey eyes. The doctor suddenly realized the immense irony of the situation. His life had been spent attempting to unravel the genetic secrets that flowed within the Ramius brothers’ blood and now the final key to a lifetime of work was staring back at him with the intention and capabilities to destroy everything. Fate was a cruel and ironic entity.
“Captain Ramius, such demands are highly unusual and since you have no jurisdiction in this area. May I inquire as to the nature of your inspection? We’re a modest research station in a remote area. May I inquire as to why this station has been selected for inspection?”
Ramius noticed the doctor’s slight expression change. He seemed momentarily shocked by something, but the expression was quickly replaced by the man’s cold and stoic gaze.
“Doctor, our mission is classified, however, we have reason to believe there are illegal activities being performed at your facility. The purported activities have been deemed a potential threat to galactic security and stability. Starfleet has ordered an immediate search to ascertain the situation. Your cooperation is appreciated. Lower your shields and stand by to receive our teams. If you have any objections you can file them with Starfleet Command and the Federation Council after we have conducted our inspections.”
“Captain, I’m afraid I cannot let comply with your demands”, Ballentine answered with a cool, patronizing tone. “I shouldn’t have to mention that both of us know you have no jurisdiction, authority, or right to order us to do anything. Additionally, you Captain, happen to be in violation of treaty obligations by your presence here. I am sure the Romulans and Klingons would be most disturbed to learn that a Federation Starship has violated the Neutral Zone without permission.”
Ramius laughed. “Doctor, your threat has no teeth sir. You and I both know that bringing the attention of the either the Klingons or Romulans here would be undesirable at best and fatal at worst for both of us. Contacting either party would have dire consequences for not only my ship, but also your station and continued use of this area. My initial request is non-negotiable. Lower your shields immediately.”
I am unwilling and unable to comply captain Ramius. If you want to inspect this station I suggest you contact our corporate headquarters on Rigel IV for authorization. Despite our problems here, I am not authorized to grant access to non-sanctioned personnel, NeoDyne or Starfleet alike. I’m not sure why you believe we are a threat to galactic peace, but I can give you my personal assurance that no illegal or improper activities are occurring aboard this station.”
Ramius was unimpressed by the doctor’s obvious lie. He was stalling in addition to calling Ramius’s bluff. The doctor was an intelligent man adept at both research and politics. He seemed quite skilled at manipulating both DNA and people to do his bidding, however Ramius wasn’t about to cave to this monster. He had but only one course of action. It was the one course he had concluded days ago he would be forced to take.
“Doctor, you will lower your station’s shields now or else I will lower them for you”, he said with a cool firmness.
“Strong words Captain Ramius”, Ballentine remarked. “Would you truly open fire on an unarmed research station? I’m sure the Federation Council and the multitude of news services would enjoy watching video of a Federation Starship attacking a small, undefended station without presenting hard proof to support its wild claims of illegal activity. You and I both know you cannot and will not attack this station so why don’t we dispense with the idle threats. You are here illegally and have no jurisdiction in this area of space. Your actions are both out of line and entirely contrary to Starfleet and Federation protocols.”
Ramius was undeterred by the tough language. “I do not need a lecture on Starfleet regulations from a civilian scientist aboard an illegal station in an area of contested, interstellar space. NeoDyne’s actions here are not only illegal, but in violation of dozens of treaties with two races. So now that we’ve established that neither one of us should be here and that we are both here illegally I suggest you lower your shields before I must resort to more aggressive measures.”
“You will not board this station Ramius. You can threaten me all you want from your starship as it now seems we have nothing more to discuss. Open fire on this station and I assure you Captain it will be an act you will forever regret. Ballentine out.”
The transmission ended leaving Ramius staring at a dark, blank screen.
“That went almost how I had imagined it would”, he said softly.
“Checkmate captain”, Commander Novada said quietly. “Do you intend to call his bluff?”
Ramius smiled. “You know me better than to ask Alanis”, came the captain’s sly reply.
“Helm, move us to within weapons range. Tactical, target their shield generators and adjust our phaser power to drain their shields. I don’t want to damage the station or give them any excuse we used excessive force. We will however board that station once it’s shield are down.”
“Aye sir, I’m scanning the station now”, came the reply from tactical.
Meanwhile – NeoDyne Research Station
“Doctor they have initiated intense sensor scans and are moving closer. They appear to be jamming communications and have activated their ECM and ECCM systems. (ECM = Electronic Counter Measures, ECCM = Electronic Counter Counter Measures)
Ballentine grumbled. Ramius was a determined individual sharing his twin’s single minded tenacity. It was obvious he was moving in to attack. Ballentine had lived long enough and performed enough human experiments to identify human emotions and intent simply at a glance. He had seen Ramius’s eyes. They spoke volumes even when the captain himself had said little. A fire raged behind his eyes, a fire that was no doubt fueled by his thirst for revenge against NeoDyne.
“What defenses do we have”, Ballentine shouted.
“Few”, the operations officer replied. NeoDyne never equipped the station for full combat. Who, other than that captain out there would be stupid enough to brave the debris field? We have a single outdated phaser bank, a disruptor emitter, and an ancient Romulan plasma torpedo launcher.
“We have our deflection system”, a disheveled man said from a corner cubical.
Ballentine spied a poor human specimen who he recognized as one of the station’s main engineers.
“Explain”, the doctor commanded.
Simms nodded. “We could use our deflection systems as a weapon. The station was outfitted with two independent dual-mode type six deflector arrays which are linked together to provide…”
“Spare me the technical details and get to the point”, the agitated doctor quickly interrupted.
Simms swallowed struggling to speak clearly under the pressure. “We use the deflector arrays to move large rocks to keep our orbit clear of debris. We also use it to clear paths in the debris field to allow ships safe passage. The system is many times stronger than the units installed aboard a starship. We could use our deflector system to in essence push the ship back into the debris field and destroy it against one of the larger rock fragments. Once activated the starship would be unable to escape the beam.”
Ballentine stared at the man with an intense gaze. “Are you sure? Will it work?”
“Yes”, the engineer said with sufficient confidence. "We can push and pull objects many times the mass of that ship."
“Then do it”, Ballentine said coldly. “We cannot afford to have Starfleet aboard this station. It would mean the end of our work here in addition to our personal livelihoods should that ship manage to beam in combat personnel. Starfleet Intelligence will seize everything including this station’s human cargo. None of us will ever taste freedom again if they seize this station and secure it. I doubt we will be permitted to live assuming any of us survives the inevitable interrogations. I suggest for all of our sakes that you men find a way to destroy that ship.”
Turning the doctor ordered the communications team to quickly send a coded emergency signal to NeoDyne headquarters alerting them of the danger and to request immediate assistance. He instructed the officer to ensure the message indicated who was in command of the USS Corsair.
“That ship cannot be permitted to breach our defenses”, Ballentine stated. “Every person must do their duty to prevent that. Starfleet is on a witch hunt and I assure you they will burn us all if they are allowed to board. Keep that in mind.”
With other preparations to make, Ballentine left the operations center. Fighting a battle was not his particular expertise. He would leave the fruitless act of fighting to others. There was much work to be done as the NeoDyne pawns worked to delay Captain Ramius. Perhaps they could stall him long enough for assistance to arrive. Who could say – perhaps they could defeat Ramius?
He longed for the opportunity to secure Captain Ramius having finally met the man he had sought for so long. The answers to questions he had toiled on for years were no doubt coursing through the captain's veins. The definitive solution to his work sat outside and yet there was nothing he could do to obtain the last piece of a complex puzzle that had taken a lifetime to unravel. The starship had to be destroyed and along with it the only known key to a genetic paradox. However, his recent discoveries and techniques were slowly showing that the man was not necessarily required to complete his work. With additional time and research, Ballentine was confident that Taverain could be made superfluous.
Entering the lift, Ballentine disappeared behind its doors as he descended into his laboratory to complete final preparations to transport his latest and perhaps greatest achievements thus far.
[ To Be Continued...]
Captain Taverain Ramius
Commanding Officer, USS Corsair
Commander Alanis Novada
Doctor Artimis Ballentine