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Beta Base

Posted on Tue Oct 20th, 2015 @ 3:13pm by Lieutenant Commander Vanora Stele

Mission: Heart of Stele
Location: Tellun System
Timeline: After "Subspace Love Lines"

It had been a week. A week of hurtling through much of Federation space, completely alone, in a stolen Razor Interceptor. Stolen twice, Vanora reminded herself, as she was certain that Starfleet hadn't simply handed over the fighter to the Molai bounty hunter, Kanoa.

The Razor wasn't tiny enough to make one claustrophobic, and it had clearly been Kanoa's primary home. Vanora had found that the bounty hunter had actually made the interior of the vessel quite comfortable. In addition to a replicator (not standard-issue for Razors), he'd set aside designated space for bedding, as well as a nook that Vanora assumed was for some sort of prayer or worship.

The latter space was a constant reminder to the lieutenant commander of all the accusations and ugly pain that Kanoa had hurled at her. Not accusations, actually; accusations were statements that might be true or false. What Kanoa had said about Vanora's people, the Elasians, had been completely true. They had not treated the Molai justly, and Kanoa had every right to be angry with her. Not because Vanora had done anything in particular to oppress the Molai; she had left home at the age of 16. No, Vanora's guilt came from the fact that she had left, and hadn't taken on the responsibility for trying to make things right. Even if she was not the daughter of a powerful Chief, she would still have had a duty to uphold the Federation values that were being ignored in the Dohlmanus system and on New Elas. As part of the Augusta family, however, she had influence to make changes. Or at least she used to have influence.

Of course, as Vanora dropped out of warp right outside the Tellun system's edge, there was a thought that kept repeating in her mind: how close to home she was. It was a matter of minutes now to get to Elas, then maybe ten more minutes dealing with Elas Space Command. And then, home. What she used to think of as home. Her father would most likely be there alone. Her mother, Helen, and Ajax would all be out training, fighting, making their presence felt. Bedwyr, on the other hand, tended to spend this part of the day in his home office, pouring over new journal articles or taking care of other paperwork, before heading back out into the "field" again. Funny to think that even after all these years, after raising five children, at the end of the day her father was still an embedded anthropologist, studying Elasian culture.

Vanora knew she could get home and see her father before any of the rest of her family returned, but she wasn't ready for that, either. So she excused herself by believing that it was too dangerous: notifying Elas Space Command of her presence would in turn notify Starfleet, and risked ending her time here before she did what she had come here to do. Maybe that was true. Maybe not. But in either case, her reunion with her father would have to wait. There was another reunion that she was hoping to make happen first.

Besides a replicator and decorations, Kanoa had also modified this interceptor in a much more notable way. There was a reason the Gladiator had not been able to detect the fighter before Kanoa snuck aboard and tried to abduct the ship's new bartender: it had a cloaking device. How and when the bounty hunter had acquired it was not information stored in the Razor's memory banks, but that was unimportant. The important point was that the cloaking device made Vanora's flight of fancy a possible success: she had been invisible the whole week's journey, avoiding Starfleet vessels and listening outposts, and now she was invisible to the Elasian Timariot ships that patrolled the edge of the star system, as well as the Troyian satellites that swarmed around the planet. It was Troyius's natural satellite that Vanora was focused on now, and she switched from impulse to thrusters as she rapidly approached the moon.

This was the moon that Kanoa reported held a secret Troyian prison, and within that prison, Tang. But Vanora had initiated scans as soon as she'd dropped out of warp, and there was no sign of a prison. There was only the official Troyian lunar outpost, Alpha Base. Alpha Base had once been a heavily fortified and militarized part of the Troyian planetary defense system, during the long war between Elas and Troyius. Since the royal marriage over a century ago and with both planets having joined the Federation, Troyius had converted Alpha Base into a museum and memorial. It was now just a memory of the history of strife and war that the enlightened Federation citizens of Troyius had little use for. So it was not surprising that Vanora's scans also showed Alpha Base nearly empty, with only a dozen or so museum employees and security guards milling around the grounds. Visual examination also showed not much happening on this moon.

Had Vanora been lied to? She had considered the possibility many times over. She had taken the Molai at his word, trusted that what he had been saying to her about the moon's prison, and about meeting Tang on board a prison transport ship. Vanora had decided, during her week alone, that there was a fifty-fifty chance that her judgment about Kanoa's veracity was probably just about as good as her judgment to knock out her best friend and take off without asking for help from the Gladiator crew and command staff. Which was to say, her faith in her own judgment was not currently very secure. And the fact that scans were not turning up anything else was not helping with that confidence.

The Elasian woman leaned forward, her elbows propped up on the console and her face propped up by her hands. "What on Elas have I gotten into?" she asked herself out loud. By chance, one of her elbows had hit the communications settings, and opened of audio of a normal space frequency. She sat up with a start as the voices started coming in clear.

"Timariot transport, what is your heading?" came the voice out of the invisible speakers, such that it felt like someone was standing right next to Vanora. The voice's accent was Troyian. Vanora checked her console and, just as the invisible speaker had stated, there was a transport headed toward the moon and her cloaked ship; she'd been so focused on the worthless scans that she'd stopped monitoring the other traffic in the planet's immediate area. The transport bore the identifier of the Timariot, the Elasian's paramilitary forces that were barely tolerated by Starfleet.

"This is Sir Ammon, Knight of Baetulo. Heading is straight for you, Beta Base."

"Affirmative, Sir Ammon," the Troyian voice said after a momentary pause. "Prepare for boarding and inspection."

"Copy that," replied Ammon.

Beta Base? Vanora wondered to herself. She searched the computer for any information about a Beta Base in the Tellun system and found none. The pieces came together quickly in her head.

She'd finally found what she had come looking for.

 

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