SEASON 3: EPISODE 03
THE ONLY THING NECESSARY: Part Nine
The acolyte placed his computer on the tray and stepped through the body scanner. This was the moment of truth to see whether alien had been straight with them the night before or if it was a bad deal. The guards did not pull him up and he picked up his computer and headed towards the press gallery.
Their cover as reporters was thanks to their benefactor who seemed to have connections with the alien vessel that now orbited their world. He had been able to provide them with documentation that had held up over the months and allowed them access they could never have hoped to gained. The gallery was fairly empty, but that was because the media did not know the importance of that day. Once word got out the place would be full to the brim.
The ruling council of the Totality was still arguing about what to do about the alien visitors even though they had arranged for them to address not only the assembly but the entire Totality. He wanted to wait for the alien party to arrive before activating the device but he had been warned that they would detect the devices and remove themselves from harm with ease. They could also just remove him if they wanted to thanks to their technology. Death did not concern him, capture did. He was sure he could endure the best or worst the Totality could inflict but as for the aliens, he did not know what unholy methods they would use.
It was finally time. He opened his computer and it asked for a password. He entered the password and the screen went to a loading screen as it waited for the other computer to activate, the devices required that they were both activated at the same time. He waited a few seconds until the computer established a connection with its partner. The computer then appeared to load normally; the only difference was a clock that appeared in the corner that was counting down. He did not have much time so he placed the computer on the ground and stood up and walked away.
He walked up to the entrance of the galley where a guard stood. Without warning he struck the guard’s throat with the side of his hand. He grabbed the guard’s holstered weapon and cracked the guard’s skull with a violent blow of the butt of the weapon. He pointed the weapon at the glass at the front of the gallery that separated them from the council in the chambers below and fired as he walked down the stairs. The bullets impacted but did not shatter the glass. The crowd started to scream and stampeded to the far sides of the room away from him. He did not particularly care about the fleeing civilians, they would be dealt with. He got to the window, by now the incident had come to the notice of the members and they looked up. He cracked the gun against the glass and saw several duck. He tried again but it held firm, he had hoped to break it and personally take the life of the First Minister.
He kept hitting the glass and started to scream, “DOWN WITH THE TOTALITY! SALVATION IS IN THE HANDS OF ZADIC!” at the top of his lungs.
The members were moving away from the middle to the sides of the room, under the galleries to get cover or escape. He knew that security protocol was to locked them in as they locked down the building, cleared the corridors and dealt with the threat. At the moment they were in the most secure room in the building, unbeknownst to them it was going to be their tomb. A shot rang out and blood suddenly splattered the glass before him. It took him a second to realise it was his blood as another shot rang out. He felt his limbs go weak and the gun fell from his hand. He turned as he collapsed as saw two guards at the entrance, weapons raised and trained on him.
He fell to the floor, he was strangely numb and the only sensation he could really feel was the taste of blood in his mouth. His head rolled and he looked over to the computer. His vision spun and he found it difficult to will his eyes to focus to see how much longer he had left. His answer came in the countdown suddenly flashing in red that had to signal that not much time was left.
“Zadic is the way...” he hoarsely whispered as righteous fire vaporised his body.
“That’s the capitol building,” pointed out their escort.
The base was fairly close to the building and Masters had to admit it was an impressive looking building. They walked down to their transport that would take them on the short journey when there was an almighty explosion. Masters ducked instinctively and looked to the source of the sound to see the capitol building erupt like a volcano.
“What the hell?” he said.
There was another explosion, smaller but a lot closer. He turned to the gates and all he saw was flames. There was a crash and he saw a burning body of a vehicle amongst the flames. There was another crash and a second vehicle ram its way through. The military personnel opened fire on the vehicle but their chemically propelled bullets did not seem to do much to slow it down as it roared towards them. Suddenly energy blasts lanced through the air and struck the vehicle. It might have been armoured to withstand bullets but against phaser fire it was next to nothing. The phaser fire ripped the vehicle’s forward section apart and it veered uncontrollably, impacting against a military vehicle several metres away. He heard yelling and from the back of the vehicle exited two Echlans. They were screaming something but he could not make it out over the firing of their weapons. He ducked behind their transport with the ambassador. He saw the two marines were couched with phaser rifles in hand firing around the transport he was using as cover.
He was about to yell out an order when he felt the tingle of a transporter wash over him and he rematerialised in a transporter room. He glanced over to the group to see they were all there. The two Marines had their phaser rifles still raised and slowly lowered them now they were in a secure location.
“I initiated an emergency beam out, sir,” reported Lieutenant Elmhurst; she was in charge of the group’s security for their visit to the surface. She too was armed. “There were several more attackers coming through the gate and two of our escorts turned their weapons on us to demand we surrender our weapons.”
“You made the right call, lieutenant. Any injuries?”
None of the group reported any. By their count they had killed two in the vehicle and the marines reported they had stunned one of the other attackers.
“Ambassador, are you okay?”
“Apart from the fact we nearly got run down I’m fine.”
“If you want to go to sickbay I can...”
“No I’m fine. We have to contact the Totality. Explain what happened to us, why we beamed away.”
Masters nodded. It was the prudent thing to do; though he was not sure how they would respond given they were under attack and that they had obviously brought down weapons with them when they said they had not, something the ambassador had not yet mentioned. “Okay, let’s get to the bridge. Good work,” he said to the security contingent as they left.
Once they got to the bridge they were greeted by a concerned looking Core.
“Report?” he ordered.
“We’re at yellow alert. As soon as we detected the explosion I ordered it but as per the ambassador’s suggestion I have not ordered our shields raised and we have not detected any signs of orbital weapons targeting or aggressive movements towards us.” Masters had been opposed to the ambassador’s ‘suggestion’ about not activating shields in a yellow alert situation so not to accidentally create an escalation with the Totality but in this case with the shields down it had allowed for a quick emergency beam out as they did not have to wait for the ship’s shields to be lowered. Core brought up a map of the Totality capital on the viewscreen as she continued, “We’ve detected seven major explosions in the capital, all in areas that had significant gatherings of people. The most powerful was at the capitol building. There seem to be four fire fights around the city. The attackers seem to be in small teams of half a dozen. Only the one against the base you were at was a military target. The rest have been in civilians areas. So far we have one confirmed hostage situation. It’s chaos down there.”
Masters nodded. What Core had said was an understatement. “How much of the chatter is blaming us?” he asked.
Letac answered that question. “Some. I should mention that just before the explosion we intercepted chatter about a security breach at the capitol. All I really got was that it was at least a single armed person and that they believed him to be an “acolyte of Zadic”. Seconds before the explosion reports were coming up that he had been shot. Given that and that the other attacks are believed to be suicide bombing most of the early blame is focused on these acolytes with some on the Coalition and us a distant third.”
“Let’s hope it stays that way. Can you contact the Totality government? Maybe the defence chief?” asked the ambassador.
Karak attempted to do as the ambassador requested. “I am unable to contact any government officials. From our sensors there is a very high level of communications over their systems, it is stressing their capacity.”
“It might be some time before they cool down. Someone blew up their capitol so we’re looking at a possible immediate political vacuum,” said the ambassador. “Without a central hand to guide them we might get some individual forces moving or at least threatening us. I ask that we do not take any action that will cost any Echlan lives.”
Masters wanted to reply, “what about our lives?’ but held that comment back. “Of course, ambassador. Keep monitoring their communications. Also tap into the Coalition’s and see what they’re saying. This might be part of some sort of prelude to a full scale attack against the Totality.”
“Captain, if the Coalition invades the Totality you’re to intervene,” ordered the ambassador
“What?” he said with surprise. “You want me to intervene in a domestic dispute on a non-Federation planet?”
“Yes. I’m not saying destroy whole armies but show that we are up here and we will not let a war happen while we orbit this world.”
Masters suddenly felt nearly all the eyes on the bridge looking at him. The ambassador was asking a lot of him now; he was possibly asking him to disregard the Prime Directive. Did the ambassador have the authority do give him such an order? He had been told in no uncertain terms to follow the ambassador’s lead in this situation, but there had to be limits. He would not blindly follow the ambassador’s orders.
“If we detect a full scale invasion I will authorise the use of force to discourage such an action,” he said. “By either side. If the Totality tries a counter-invasion under the idea that we are going to assist them I will put a stop to that as well,” he clarified.
He and the ambassador locked gazes. They both knew that if that latter happened he would sink the ambassador’s mission. He hoped that he had shown the ambassador how far he was willing to go.
The ambassador nodded slowly. “Very well, captain. Let’s hope that neither situation comes about.”
Masters silently agreed. The active involvement of his ship in an armed exchange with the powers on Echla only led down a dark and bloody road.
Defence Chief Qual called his aide and handed him a revised set of orders. Things were still confusing as it had only been twenty minutes since the Totality’s government had been wiped out. He had come very close to being one of the casualties. He had been on his way to the capitol and was a block away when the bombs had exploded. He had quickly ordered his driver to take him back to the Totality’s military headquarters. Now he was far under that building in a secure bunker trying to keep the military under control. Initial reports pointed to religious extremists but some of his generals were quick to advocate a strike against the Coalition in case they were shaping up for a massive invasion of the Totality.
“Has the hostage situation been resolved?” he asked one of his stressed staff.
“No. They have killed another hostage but their demands have not changed.”
“Send in the assault force, this has gone on long enough. Where is the report from our western borders?” he yelled.
“Sir, you have an encrypted transmission coming in,” said his aide.
Qual thanked his aide and gave him a quick rundown of his instructions before he moved into a private room to receive the transmission. He was wondering when he would receive this call.
“I was wondering when you would contact me,” he said.
“I wasn’t sure you had survived the attacks. I’m glad to see you have.”
“Thank you. I assume your people escaped unharmed. My forces described them as disappearing in a swirling of light.”
“They were transported to safety.”
“I also have reports that some of your people had weapons despite the agreement.”
“That may be so but they did help defend one of your military installations. I think we shouldn’t dwell on such small things at this junction.”
“I agree. I am having a hard enough time controlling the situation at the moment. I have half my generals wanting to launch an invasion against the Coalition and the other half demanding a nuclear strike against them. They all fear that this is part of some larger plot by the Coalition to invade our territory. To use the confusion from the murder of our government to bring us to our knees. In fact some have asked me to ask you to help us in launching a counter-offensive against the Coalition.”
“That is out of the question. The captain of this vessel will only maintain the status quo. At best he would use this ship to stop a major invasion.”
Qual had hoped that the Federation vessel would aid them, maybe even launch a retaliatory strike against the Coalition if they were behind the attacks. That was now out of the question, though he had to admit the inclusion of the Federation ship would have only made the situation more confusing. “What happens now?”
“This ship will remain in orbit. The crew will be waiting for contact from your government as to what happens next. You can expect a gesture of help but nothing that could be considered military support.”
“Very well. I must return to my duties,” he said to his accomplice.
“Of course. Good luck.”
Qual switched off the monitor. The help of the Federation ship with its technology, even if not military, would be welcome. The problem was the situation was far too chaotic to allow a bunch of aliens to run freely on the surface. First thing was first, he had to regain control of the Totality and then continue with the negotiations. As long as the talks were kept alive the Totality would remain the true power on this planet. Their society’s future did not lie in the hands of a few politicians it was in the assistance that the Federation had promised him. That was all that mattered now.