Part of USS Century: 1. Videre Invisibilium

Caught Blue Handed…

USS Century
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“What is the meaning of this, Captain?!” a very agitated Bolian by the name of Vol bellowed the moment his face appeared on screen. The Captain in question leaned over to his right side, perching his elongated maw onto his balled up fist in a rather strange recreation of the Thinker statue, though he himself had never actually seen it.

“Is something the matter, Mister Vol?” Capt. Gar’rath asked as if the question had bored him.

“Why would you open fire on one of our ships?!”

The Gorn let out a hum of confusion, “It was one of your ships, Mister Vol? That is strange… it came from outside the local system. I don’t remember receiving any reports that you had any warships defending your outpost such as this one. And if you did, should it not have been patrolling the area around your mining platforms to prevent thefts from occurring?”

“Don’t try to wiggle out of responsibility here,” the Bolian growled, “You opened fire on one of our vessels without provocation!”

Gar’rath closed his eyes lazily, sucking in an exaggerated breath before exhaling dramatically, “Unprovoked… Such a strange way to describe the situation, Mister Vol. I wasn’t aware that taking action after a vessel has declared their intention to use my vessel as a means of ‘target practice’ before boarding and forcibly removing prisoners and confiscated contraband to be an unprovoked response…”

Vol sputtered and fumed for a moment before countering with, “Preposterous! That crew would never make such statements!”

“Commander Sorreth, would you kindly transfer the communication log of our conversation to our friend here,” the Gorn asked.

“Aye, Captain,” the Vulcan nodded, carrying out the request he’d been given.

As soon as the Bolian scanned the transcript, he began to shake visibly. At every turn, each and every attempt to misdirect or cover up the truth seemed to meet with cold facts and unflappable evidence. Vol ran his hand over his moistened brow as he tried to come up with some rebuttal that the Starfleet Captain didn’t have a response for. The longer he took, the more bored the Gorn he was staring at one his screen seemed to become.

“I take it by how nervous you look, the excuses you had are now all dried up and we can move on to the truth, yes?” Gar’rath inquired, finally opening his eyes again.

“How dare you accuse me of lying, Captain! Do you not know who you are talking to?!” Vol growled.

“Actually…” the Gorn said, straightening up, “I haven’t the slightest idea. You have gone out of your way to keep your identity as hidden as possible. If it were not for my inquiry when you first contacted the ship, I wouldn’t even know your name. Perhaps you would care to enlighten me as to who you are… or better yet, perhaps I should tow this ship we’ve crippled into orbit of your outpost and ask the station administration directly… in person.”

The transmission cut out a second after Gar’rath made his declaration, which made him laugh aloud at the Bolian’s behavior. “Ensign, hail the outpost again. Let us see if someone who might actually be in charge decides to answer,” the Captain requested, leaning back in his chair and lowering his raised arm. Several brief seconds later, the crew was looking up at a different face, a much more agreeable one.

“Greetings,” the Human said with a smile, “I am Administrator Roe. We’ve been monitoring you on our scanners but were worried that you would continue to refuse our calls.”

“It would seem that we were both led to believe that very thing was happening to us when we hailed your outpost on our arrival. A ‘Mister Vol’ seems to be responsible for our delayed greeting, Administrator,” Gar’rath explained.

“Vol? He’s merely in charge of our shipping fleet. He doesn’t hold a position of authority high enough to be representing this outpost,” the man remarked in obvious confusion.

“He does not see it that way, Mister Roe. It would seem, given the evidence we have collected so far, that he is party to the thefts you reached out to Gateway Station about several days ago. We encountered a hostile ship soon after we attempted to report to you that we had a lead on the suspects. It seems they were dead set on taking the stolen cargo by force, and Mister Vol attempted claim that the ship was part of your defense fleet after it threatened by ship and demanded we hand over contraband we seized from the surface,” the Gorn outlined.

The Administrator turned around to someone not in view of the screen and shouted, “Arrest Vol at once! Terminate all of his access privileges and get me an explanation of how he managed to hijack our communications network!” Once the people he’d been addressing hurried off to carry out his orders, the man returned his attention to the screen, “Thank you for telling us about this criminal activity. It shames me to learn that someone we’ve worked with so closely for years could be involved in some manner of illicit dealings. Rest assured we will bring him to justice.”

“What would you like us to do with the ship we’ve disabled, Administrator?” Gar’rath asked.

“If they attempted to harm your crew, I believe they are yours to deal with as you see fit, Captain. We would gladly offer to hold them temporarily until Starfleet could dispatch a prisoner transport here if you like, but beyond that, we do not have the means to hold anyone for extended periods of time. Our holding facilities are meager at best, and probably not advanced enough to hold hardened criminals,” Roe said apologetically.

“Your offer is appreciated but unnecessary,” the Captain said before turning to Lt. Khar, “Beam anyone aboard that ship directly to the Brig. Once you’ve confirmed they are all secure, send a security team over to search for any evidence of that vessel’s origins.”

“Aye, sir,” the Klingon nodded, setting about his task.

“Once we have what we need from the ship, would you like us to scuttle it for you, or do you think you might have use of it?” Gar’rath asked after returning his attention to the screen.

“We have a decent enough dry dock here,” the man replied, “We can send a work crew to fetch the ship and bring it back to the outpost. If anything, we can hold it in evidence for you, should you need to examine it further.”

“A solid plan, thank you for your help, Mister Roe. I believe that is all we have to discuss at the moment. Once my crew has finished their sweep, we may reach out to you again before departing the system.”

“We look forward to word of your success in locating the masterminds of these thefts, Roe out.” The screen shifted back to the image of the crippled ship, which still hung lifeless in the void. After giving the Security officer a few minutes to work, the Captain swiveled back around the face him. “Status?”

“All life-signs aboard the ship have been transported to the Brig, a security team is preparing to depart as we speak,” the Klingon replied.

“Very good,” Gar’rath said before turning to his XO, “I will make a report to Starfleet regarding our current status. You have the Bridge in the meantime.”

“Aye sir,” Abby said as she watched the Gorn trudge off into his Ready Room.