Literary Challenge #68 - STO Halloween, Part I
The Prometheus-class U.S.S. Phoenix-X sat out in deep space, completely unmoving, as Captain Seifer sat focused, staring at the sea of stars on his viewscreen, intently.
Kayl approached, easing into an awkward observation, as she handed him a report, "Uh, if you don't mind, why are you just glaring at nothing? Also, what's our mission?"
"Lieutenant," Seifer broke his trance to address her, "You don't need to always have a mission, or be doing something, or have a purpose. Just enjoy existing for once."
Armond turned from tactical, "Captain, as a social gesture of conversation between colleagues, will you be attending the fall harvest festivities in the Messhall this evening?"
"Dammit, I don't know. It's just that being forced to use a dank messhall isn't as glamorous as a 10-Forward, like the kind you find on a Galaxy-class starship, for example."
Armond replied, "But tables and such?"
"Forget it! You can have your pumpkin spice pie cakes lattes-- those weirdly meat-filled desserts that are also dinner and a coffee all in one."
A proximity alert went off and Ensign Dan called it, "Captain, a Klingon Vor'cha-class cruiser is de-cloaking off the port bow!"
"Destroy it, immediately!" Seifer called out.
Armond tapped at his controls, "Ah, sorry, I wasn't ready. Besides, it's just the I.K.S. B'Cnah."
"Greetings," the viewscreen blinked on to a view of the Klingon Captain, Menchez.
Seifer stood, "Armond, destroy them! Follow my orders without question!"
"Only if you come tonight, sir. Only if," Armond bargained.
The Captain then sat back in his chair, frustrated, "Ugh. Never mind," then addressed the Klingon, "What do you want, Menchez? Is this about that Klingon civilian transport ship we fired upon before knowing who they were as it de-cloaked in front of us?"
"What?" Menchez didn't catch that.
Seifer replied quickly, "Nothing."
"Whatever! We have apprehended a Human criminal for hijacking a Klingon Pach-class starship during the honoured and mostly forgotten Kot'baval Festival. He did the most hurtful Kahless impression using a hauntingly otherly-franchised, outer limit-like voice."
Seifer watched as the human, an ex-Starfleet officer, Avery, was shoved on to the Bridge for Seifer's benefit. "Dammit!" the Captian cursed, recognizing him. "You're right about that specific Human. You see, he dropped out of Starfleet after being sorely, and whine-ily, unsatisfied with how his Starfleet message board suggestions were being ignored and verily argued against."
"It's amazing I even got a Starfleet commission," Avery commented, suddenly being aware of his unrealistic luck.
Captain Seifer threw up his hands, "Don't you Klingons kill people who wrong you? Why is he still alive-- which, for the record, I am glad about--- but only for the record."
"Since our Iconian-forced allying, the High Command has ordered me to pursue acts of diplomacy with you goodie-goodie-full-body-pajama-wearers whenever possible, for the acquisition of something called Diplomacy Points. So far, I have 0."
Seifer turned away, "Forget it, Menchez. The last time I dealt with criminals, I was given to tracking Lore parts-- aka, the evil-Data who, by his very existence, trumped the Enterprise-D crew from ever having a proper Mirror universe experience."
"You petaQ! We still haven't resolved our discourse over you accidentally time-sending my ship to the 21st century Xindi homeworld!"
The Captain forced-smiled in nervous recollection, "So, you'll beam the prisoner over then?"
Later, Seifer entered Transporter Room 4 with Armond, where Menchez, two of Menchez's crew, Derok and Ch'Tong, and the Human traitor, Avery, beamed in.
"So, Avery, we meet again?" Seifer eyed him.
Avery smirked, "Your precious little Starfleet has very little time left, Captain. I hope you're ready to say goodbye to your ship."
"Ugh," Seifer half-rolled his eyes and addressed the Klingons, "All he ever did was mothball starships when he had power." He turned to Avery, "You know we can un-mothball things, right? And you don't actually fill the ships with actual mothballs."
Derok shoved Avery into Armond's custody, who then turned and took Avery out into the corridors. "That was my calling card!" Avery yelled just before the doors closed on him.
"Sorry about that," Seifer continued. "By the way, why did you guys beam over? Are you invading? If so, I want in."
Menchez stepped off the transporter pad, "We were extended an invitation to a harvest festival in your Messhall. It is rare we Klingons get to check out a Federation starship messhall; also, Diplomacy points."
"What the hell? Messhalls are the worst! Never mind. Just come with me," Seifer gave in, reluctantly.
They followed him out into the corridors. "So, here's a question, why do you eat targs but also keep them as pets?"
"Long ago, Klingons realized the usefulness of targs in all aspects of our culture. They're our friends, our farming mules, our upper class food trough delicacies," Menchez explained.
Derok nodded, "They're also great for pre-courting jitters."
"I'm just...... I'm just going to stop trying to learn about your culture," Seifer concluded.
After a short trip, Seifer, Menchez and his two officers arrived at the Phoenix-X's Messhall. Inside, was a décor of orange and black streamers, pumpkins and hay bales everywhere.
"What the Shinzon is going on here? Didn't we jettison those Bringloidi farmers out into space??" Seifer said, shocked.
Kugo, the Vulcan Chief engineer, approached, "Uh, no. This is the party that celebrates a seasonal change even though space does not have seasons. Also, you're thinking of an Enterprise-D mission."
"Sorry, it's just that Picard did all the best stuff," the Captain conceded. "Except that time, around Surata IV, he allowed Riker to under-go flashbacks; nothing but flashbacks."
Crewmembers filled the Messhall, drinking and chatting with each other, merrily. The Klingons joined the festivities and Ch'Tong attempted to head-butt Ensign Dan as a sign of goodwill.
"Captain, permission to be relieved of duty so I can go to Sickbay?" Ensign Dan walked over, clutching a gaping wound in his forehead.
Seifer was taken aback by the question, "How dare you trump my relieving you of duty, especially when you aren't even on duty to begin with. You're relieved!"
"Oh, thank you," Ensign Dan ran out quickly.
Seifer glanced over at Derok, "He's a good kid; horrible at duty."
Down in Sickbay, Doctor Lox and Armond were examining Avery, who was lying on a biobed, seemingly unconscious and pale. Ensign Dan entered.
"Lox, I've got a thingy here," the Ensign interrupted. "It's thinging my cranium thing in the most thingful way."
The Doctor glanced over, "Oh, the EMH will take care of that for you."
"You do realize the drain on resources the EMH tolls on the ship by being run all the time, don't you?" Armond criticized in Lox's general direction as the EMH took Ensign Dan to another section of Sickbay, on the opposite side of Lox's office.
Lox snapped, "Hey, I have far too many lobe enlargements on my schedule! Oh, I forgot to mention that I'm temporarily contracted to work for the Ferengi to replenish Starfleet latinum reserves. Admiral Quinn went a little overboard with the Dabo addiction last month."
"Anyway, are we even allowed to be talking to each other without a main in the room?"
The Doctor paused, "What? Never mind. What I was about to say is your prisoner, here, is dead. I'm going to have to do an autopsy to find out what killed him. The question is, do I go laser scalpel, or this new pen-knife I got as a free sample in the mail."
"I will leave that to you, Doctor. In the meantime, I'll inform the Captain of the situation, even though he hates being notified of situations," Armond nodded just before leaving.
Doctor Lox went around to prepare his tools for the surgery. As he was focused on wheeling his table around, he was delayed in noticing the suddenly empty biobed.
Gasping abruptly, he turned to observe a pale, deathly-eyed Avery slowly walking toward him. Too close and too immediate to respond, Lox was collided-into by the sleep-walking man who also gaped open his mouth and bit right into Lox's shoulder: Blood gushed out in painful abundance. "AAAAaaggghh!"