"Shadow Walking"
[Previous Post: "Dreams"]

<<Starfleet captains don't choose their missions, the missions choose them.>>
- Commander Chakotay

Setting: USS HATHOR, Bridge
Stardate: 63076.0510

"Helm," the Native American commanded, his words coming across as both strong and yet gentle as if trying to ease the pain of those around him.  "Release umbilical connection and docking clamps.  Take us out with thrusters only."

Erik made himself comfortable in the central chair, a position that he had held many times before and one that he still found difficult getting used to.  The fact that this had not been *his* ship had only made things a more complicated, and the emotional state of the crew that had joined him on this mission would most certainly make things interesting to say the least.

"Nice and easy," Ensign Thomas reported from the FCO station.  Although Elliot officially held the position of Chief of Operations, the cramped layout of the DEFIANT-Class ship had made it so that the COO actually piloted the ship.  From the looks of things though, the father of two seemed rather pleased with this change of pace.

"We are receiving the all-clear from NEW ALEXANDRIA," Ensign Mitshiba announced from the science console, having taking the time to monitor the communications channel.

"Mr. Thomas," the HATHOR's CO offered with a grin, "Turn us around and ease us out."

"Starboard thrusters burst," Elliot announced as he pressed the corresponding control that sent the ship into a gentle spin counter-clockwise.  As the main view screen displayed the docked form of the USS ANUBIS, a hush filled the entire ship as if each and every officer onboard the HATHOR had somehow been made to leave something behind; good or bad.

The small ship carefully made its way through the massive opening doors leading into open space and within a few minutes the USS HTHOR had emerged from the secret base into the asteroid field that could be found near the GEZA nebula.

"Bridge to Engineering," Erik called out as he took in a deep breath, their new mission now officially underway.

=/\= Fairborn here, =/\= the Oltharian replied, a distinct tone of gladness in his voice.  =/\= Warp speed and cloaking device ready at your discretion Captain. =/\=

The Native American chuckled silently to himself, never getting tired of the efficiency of the Oltharian who had truly been an Engineer at heart, a sentiment that Erik shared in many ways often having found himself wishing that he could return to the simpler life of a CEO.

"Helm," Erik began, "engage cloaking device and set us on course for the VALLA ROYAL orbital station, warp 9."

"Cloaking device engaged," Elliot announced just as the lights throughout the HATHOR changed to reflect to a red hue to indicate the change in the ship's status.  "Setting course for VALLA ROYAL, warp 9."

With the ship now well on its way to it destination the Native American turned to Ensign Dalziel who had been standing next to the CO the entire time.  Without any words being exchanged, the CNS offered a PADD to the sitting man and waited for his reaction.

"Where did this come from?" Erik inquired in a whispered voice, somewhat puzzled by the information that he had been given.

"Apparently Admiral Koniki had thought it best to keep this information from the rest of the crew until now," the Counselor explained in an equally quiet tone.  "My guess is that he was worried that her presence at the VALLA ROYAL might either cause people to want to go on this mission before they were ready or find excuses *not* to go," Eve added, her whispered voice barely reaching the sitting man right next to her.

"Why would anyone *not* want to go because she is there?" The Native American gasped quietly.  As a CO he had a hard time imagining any officer having served under him not willing and ready to jump into action to help.

"You have to remember that the crew of the ANUBIS went through a very hard time in that other universe," Eve carefully explained.  "The Admiral was concerned that some members of the crew might hold her responsible for what happened, just as she is holding herself responsible."

Erik sighed as he leaned back into his chair.  The mission to the VALLA ROYAL had been, at least at first glance, a simple one but such missions had always been prone to unexpected surprises.  The Native American feared that the presence of the ANUBIS' CO on the orbital space station had likely been the first of many such surprises that would come to pass as this mission progressed.

"Shadow walking," Captain Morningstar announced, this time loud enough for the rest of the bridge's crew to hear.

"Captain?" Akira queried, not at all sure as to what had been meant or even if she had heard correctly.

"An ancient Native American story that told the tale of a warrior searching for answers in a dark forest filled with living shadows.  Although he had set forth with his bow and arrows, they would prove useless against the trials he would have to confront; his memories and fears," Erik explained.  The CO of the USS PARADOX had figured that the story he had once heard long ago seemed to oddly fit their current situation.  Little did he knew just how accurate he had been, but not for the reasons that he had imagined.

Francois Charette

Lieutenant Elan Talak Fairborn
Chief Engineering Officer


Robotics Engineering Officer


Captain Erik Morningstar
Commanding Officer