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RAVEN 2 - The Crusade Continues

©01 The Media Desk, USS RAVEN(IFT)

   Starbase 79

      "Attention all beings. This Court of Inquiry is now in Session. Admiral Mo-Wan Presiding. The Case of the United Federation of Planets, Star Fleet Command, will be brought against the Captain and Senior Officers of the USS Raven. Captain Lukas will stand for the defendants."

      On one side of the room sat the senior crew and assorted others of the RAVEN.
      Captain Lukas was standing as the list of charges was read. His face was expressionless as the list went on and on.
      "...with Causing the Deaths of, and Injuries to Citizens of a Sovereign Power Outside the Federation, with Failing to Report Same through Proper Diplomatic Channels in a Timely Manner, with Causing the Destruction to Federation and Non Federation and Privately Owned Property including Capital Space Vessels, with Directly Causing Provocation and Hostility with Another Sovereign Power Up To and Including a State of Open Warfare with the Federation..." It went for quite some time.
      As previously agreed among the crew, they had admitted guilt to only one charge before the court was called up, guilty with an explanation that is.
      At the nod from the officer acting as their defense council Captain Lukas entered their plea.
      "Sirs. I, and my officers and crew, plead not guilty to all charges except the following. To the charge of disobeying a direct order, we plead guilty with an explanation."
      The presiding admiral nodded, he had been fully briefed ahead of time. "Please state your explanation, Captain."
      "We disobeyed the order to prevent the Borg from overrunning the Federation disguised as Halian Traders."
      The Admiral nodded. "Very well. Does the Federation have any objection to the plea?"
      "Yes, Sir. There is still no evidence that Borg Drones were on any of the Halian ships they destroyed."
      "We will examine that evidence in further detail in due time. The plea has been entered. Proceed with the Federation's case."

      The lead Federation officer nodded to an assistant. She got up and walked to the center of the room and addressed the hearing panel.
      "Sirs. Approximately two weeks ago on Stardate 51748.0 the RAVEN, against standing orders, crossed into space controlled by the Halian Crown, they did pursue, fire on, and destroy three ships sailing under the Halian Flag causing the deaths of all aboard. The only reason given by the RAVEN was that they had information that the Borg had infiltrated the Halian Trade Authority and was using their ships to secretly cross into Federation Space and establish a base of operation for future actions against us."
      She stopped and nodded to an assistant, the large view screens in the room came to life. After a brief exterior view of the NEBULA class starship it switched to a standard wide angle view of the bridge. Captain Lukas was standing next to Captain Jean-Luc Piccard and Commander Rikker of the ENTERPRISE-D.
      The view tightens on the two captains. Piccard is speaking.
      "The message came from an old friend, that's all I can really tell you right now. With this business about the Ribbon I haven't had a chance to pursue it. Now with my ship gone. I can't go after them. I know you're the one man that can follow this up and take appropriate action."
      Lukas nodded thoughtfully and took Piccard's hand. "I'm honored by your trust, sir. As soon as we drop you off at the Starbase we'll get right on it."
      "Excellent." Piccard nodded with a knowing smile.
      "Continue the Crusade." Rikker said with a smile. "Nevermore."
      Lukas nodded stone faced. "Nevermore."
      Piccard picked up the chorus. "Nevermore."
      The assistant resumed her narrative.
      "After the survivors of the destruction of the ENTERPRISE beamed over to the starbase and the RAVEN left its companions to resume its mission. A few hours out from the base Captain Lukas ordered the ship to a new course."
      The screens now showed the captain in the center of the bridge. "I was given some information about Borg Activity some distance from here. He wanted me to check it out. However. This would be a violation of our orders to observe the transit of the Sarvis Refugees. I plan on doing this, if anybody wants out, we still have an ENTERPRISE shuttle on board. You can take it and join the SHRONEWAI in the convoy."
      Nobody made a break for the shuttle bay.
      Lukas looked around the bridge.
      "Nothing on the Borg frequencies in this area." Ellingsworth said.
      "All offensive and defensive systems fully operational." Ziggy said from the weapons panel.
      "Engines at full standby." Engineer Rhoades said in turn.
      Commander Ryan nodded. "The course has been laid in sir."
      "Let's go."

      The presiding officer stopped the background material.
      "Yes sir." The assistant said.
      "I thought the first officer of the RAVEN was Dean, the one they got back from the Borg." Admiral Mo-Wan said.
      "He was sir." Lukas answered. "There was a slight problem with some of his implants during one of our encounters with the Borg."
      "What happened?"
      "They drove him mad, sir." Lukas replied slowly. "The Borg sphere we were being pursued by emitted some sort of mind control signal, they set his implants off and tried to force him to destroy the ship."
      "Captain Lukas killed his own first officer on the bridge during that mission. A mission which was also unauthorized I might add." The assistant prosecutor said.
      The Admiral didn't appreciate the added information. He ignored her. "I'm sure that wasn't your first choice of action."
      Lukas shook his head. "No sir. But when Jeffery came aboard I told him that if he tried to turn Borg on me I'd kill him myself."
      "He took the phaser rifle from his security officer to do it."
      "Commander Jenkins." The Admiral said to the assistant. "You've held a field command have you?" She shook her head. "If on one of my old ships I had a first officer committing what amounted to treason in a combat situation with a hostile ship in hot pursuit, I'd have done the same thing. Any First in the fleet deserves that much."
      "Yes sir."
      The Admiral stared at her until she one of the data pads on her table seemed to require her attention.
      "Captain Lukas." A Commodore said from the panel.
      "Yes sir."
      "Ma'am." She smiled thinly. "Was your mission against the Borg officially continued after your initial reconnoitering of their operations in this Quadrant?"
      "Officially? No sir... I mean, ma'am. No. But then again. The Federation has been in a state of actual war against them for over three years now. Borg actions have been confirmed on several fronts. And we have discovered installations that indicate they are making plans for a major operation in this area in the near future."
      "You and others have been saying that for a long time Captain. Except for a couple of single ship excursions into our space, nothing substantial has happened. If the Borg were such a major power, controlling over a third of the Galaxy as you say, it would seem to me that they could mount an invasion force of more than one ship."
      Lukas nodded. "They plan to."
      "I'm sure." Admiral Mo-Wan said. He paused for a moment. "Very well. Commander, please continue."
      "Thank you sir." She signaled to her aid, the screens lit up with the view of the bridge of the RAVEN.

      As the RAVEN neared the Halian systems Captain Lukas contacted the proprietor of a trading post on a large asteroid. He asked the individual several very pointed questions, and got several very evasive answers.
      "Ahhh, Captain. I don't, no, I really don't know if any of them, but, if they, some of them might have, I'm sure they would..."
      Lukas nodded to the screen. "We'll continue our mission then. Thank you."
      The screen went dark.
      "How many Borg do you think were standing behind him?" Ryan asked.
      "None most likely. But I bet some of their friends were. The Borg wouldn't be out in the open where they might be seen by people that don't like them." Lukas looked over at Ellingsworth. "Monitor every peep out of that base. I want to know who puts in a person to drone call anytime soon."
      The com officer worked on his console for a minute. "They're doing it right now. And it's your helpful friend that's making it."
      "Put it on." Ryan said.
      "Coming up." He hit a few controls.
      "It's not the ENTERPRISE that's looking for you." The voice of the proprietor said.
      The answering voice was unmistakable. "Their search is irrelevant. They will be destroyed and their ship used by us against the Federation itself."
      "How did they find out you had been here?"
      "Perhaps you told them." The voice was indicting.
      "No. No. I would never betray you." The proprietor said.
      There was no answer from the Borg.
      "I didn't say anything..."
      "They are monitoring this communication. You have betrayed us. Your service is no longer required. This transmission is ended."
      The proprietor screaming and grabbing at his head.
      As Captain Lukas and the others watched the screen, a large black object pushed itself out of the man's temple and flared with a bright yellow light. The proprietor's eyes rolled back in his head and he collapsed. The view screen showed only the empty office of the trading post.
      The captain's face got tight. "Nevermore." He muttered under his breath. Then he turned to the helm. "Set course for the post. Let's go look for some clues." He looked at Ellingsworth, "Can you trace the other end of that signal."
      "If it can be traced, I'll trace it."
      "Good." He turned and started toward the lift.
      "Sir?" Ryan said to him.
      "I'm going to go see Mr. Kada and find out what he knows about that post."
      "Oh. Good luck." The first officer grinned at him.

      The 'Raven's Nest' was the one place on the ship the Captain tried to avoid. And part of that was the man himself. Mr. Kada, Captain Lukas refused to call him Lieutenant, or any of the half dozen other titles he claimed he was entitled to, was rather odd.
      But the captain knew that he had been almost everywhere, or knew somebody that had, and was his best chance to find out what the now deceased proprietor of the trading post was about. The door to the lounge area opened and an almost tangibly thick sweet smell flowed out.
      "Oh, Captain. You are just in time. The new batch of Tori-gean porridge is just coming off."
      "Oh, that's the smell."
      "Oh, no sir, that's the tea. The porridge doesn't smell that strong." Kada dipped some of the stuff up and put a bowl on the bar in front of the captain. It was a colorful dish to be sure. Yellow cereal with red and blue things in it, and the occasional green swirl running through it.
      "Maybe after it cools a bit." Lukas said looking at it doubtfully. A couple of the crewman in the place however were coming back up for seconds. "What do you know about the Halian trading post Wearell?"
      Kada paused while dipping more porridge for the hungry crewman. Then he filled the bowl and put the lid back on the pot with a far away look in his eye. Then he turned toward the Captain with a strange look in his eye.
      Lukas had seen the man stand flat-footed and dare a Borg Drone to try to assimilate him to protect a downed crewman. Then when the drone did just that he vaporized the hulking monster with a slightly illegal plasma blaster without flinching.
      The name Wearell however, had caught him by surprise.
      "That's trouble Captain." He nodded. "I've always believed in a square deal. And a friend is a friend. But Drotsbeg wasn't into either one. The last time I saw him I almost had to shoot one of his clerks. They were more dishonest than I was."
      "The half-breed Ferringi that runs it. He didn't abide by his own rules, or anybody else's."
      "The man I talked to wasn't any kind of Ferringi." Lukas touched his com badge and had them send down an image of the proprietor of the post. He had Kada activate his viewscreen. "This is who we dealt with."
      "He looks familiar. Eat your porridge and let me think about it a minute."
      Lukas tried the porridge while the bartender/ cook/ mission historian/ procurer rummaged through his memory and the records he did have of his former journeys almost at random. The stuff in the bowl wasn't bad. But he wouldn't have said it was good either.
      "That's Harvey something-I-can't-pronounce. He's a distant cousin of one of the Halian royal houses about three times removed. How he ended up on Drotsbeg's post is one I'd like to hear from him."
      "You won't hear it now. The Borg killed him for talking to us."
      "That's a shame. I know several people who would reward him handsomely for putting ol' Drotty out of business."
      "Was he the kind that would work for the Borg willingly?"
      "Drotty would work for the Devil himself if he could turn a profit at it. Harvey, they had to have some sort of leverage to make him cooperate."
      "We're going down there soon. I want you to come with us and see if you recognize anything."
      "Sure." Kada said almost too eager for Lukas's peace of mind.

      The trace of the Borg communication proved to be more difficult than they had experienced before. It seemed to come from several different points at once. Ellingsworth was inventing ways to see if there was a difference in the time index or signal strength to give a clue as to where it had originated, but that hadn't panned out yet.
      Intense scans of the area revealed that a variety of ships had passed through the area, but nothing with an exclusively Borg trail. They scanned the asteroid, nobody had been there in the last two days that they could tell.
      "Let's get down there before the trail gets any colder." Lukas said to his landing party.
      In the transporter room they stood around and waited for Mr. Kada to join them.
      He finally came in looking rather out of place in his 'away mission' outfit, none of it Star Fleet issue.

      "Now Captain. Why did you allow this individual to join you on such a sensitive away mission as this obviously was?" The prosecutor looked at Captain Lukas.
      Just as he was about to speak the man in question stood up. "Your honors, Admiral, Commodore. I believe if you examine my record it will show that I am cleared for off ship activity and alien contact qualified."
      There was some murmuring in the room, Admiral Mo-Wan tapped the shiny bell for order a few times. The electronically enhanced tone carried throughout the room and the attendees settled down.
      "Commander. Call up the defendant's record."
      The prosecutor bit her lip. But didn't say anything as the court administrative officer requested the information.
      It took a minute. Then the computer began reading his vital statistics. Admiral Mo-wan let it go on a bit longer than was necessary. "It would seem to me, that Former Captain Kada IS qualified for an away mission. Next question."

      The team beamed down to the trading post. The reception area was musty smelling, the hum of the air refreshing machinery noticeably variable suggesting that all was not well with the life support hardware.
      They ran their instruments in slow circles, checking the area.
      "What'cha got Ziggy." Lukas asked.
      "A body... in there." The Lieutenant nodded toward a side passage. "It's been dead a long time, but it reads..." He looked up. "Ferringi."
      "Drotty." Kada said and turned on a beacon light three times too bright for the area. He aimed it into the side room. The body was crumpled against the far wall.
      "Is it your friend?" Lukas asked him.
      Ryan had a phaser rifle covering the room as Lukas and Kada walked slowly in to verify the identity of the corpse.
      "I think it used to be."
      "Borg weapons signature." Ziggy said getting a closer scan of a large wound in the dead alien's chest.
      "That's conclusive if nothing else is." Lukas said. "Let's find the other one."
      It was a long couple of minutes before Ryan got a positive location on what used to be Harvey.
      "Don't." Ryan said as Kada started to walk that way. "Back up." Then his voice changed. "RAVEN EMERGENCY BEAM OUT! FULL DECONTAMINATION!" He shouted to his communicator.
      "Wha..." Lukas's comment was lost to the transporter beam.
      Ensign Dickerson was on the control panel for the transporter. He had the landing party in the buffer running a full decontamination procedure on them.
      Lieutenant Rhoades and Counselor Rowell ran into the room.
      "We've got a few Borg nannites in the beam with them. I've got them isolated." Dickerson said.
      The Engineer ran over the readings and controls. "OK, bring them in. Put our univited guests into stasis."
      "Yes, sir."
      "Dickerson." The Ensign looked at her. "I am many things. A male isn't one of them."
      "Yes, sss... Ma'am." He answered as the away team began to materialize.
      "What was all that about?" Lukas said disoriented from the prolonged transport.
      "I feel like I just got run through a Tholian cell sifter, again." Kada said making a face and trying to spit.
      Ryan blinked several times trying to focus his eyes. "Nannites."
      "Did any of them get to any of us?" Lukas asked the Engineer.
      "No, a few were caught in the transporter beam, but we got to them first."
      "Whew." Ziggy said.
      "You look space sick." Lukas said to him.
      "I am space sick." He lurched off the platform.

      For many hours they didn't have a worthwhile lead to follow. They sat out of sight just inside the asteroid field, watching the deserted base and waiting.
      Ellingsworth had worked himself deaf and cross-eyed trying to figure out the signal's origin. Captain Lukas finally ordered him off the bridge.
      "We can't just sit here and wait." One of the relief ensigns said in frustration.
      "Any better ideas? You want we should just roam around Halian space looking for Borg life signs?" Ryan said.
      "Why not?" The ensign said.
      Ryan looked at Lukas at the comm station. "Good point." He grinned. "Find Captain Lukas." A plan was taking shape. "Ensign, long range scan, plot me the... say, dozen closest ships bigger than a shuttlecraft."
      "Aye sir." He grinned.

      "I want to know why Captain Lukas did not veto that idea, and put Ryan on report for planning to violate Halian Space." The Commander said to the court of inquiry.
      "I thought it was our only viable option given the situation."
      "Go on Captain." The Presiding Admiral said. "That was a most serious decision."
      "I knew there was Borg Activity in the area. And I knew there was at least a tenuous connection to the Royal House of Halia. Now I had two things to worry about. The possibility of Borg infiltration into the Federation, and a very real threat to the Halian home systems."
      "Why didn't you contact Star Fleet with this information?"
      "Sir. I didn't think I had time before something serious broke."
      "Yet you didn't take off right away and cross the border." The Commander said.
      "No. I was in the bioengineering lab chasing another wild goose."

      "Yes, sir. We've got several ships in this area. A couple of them have garbled life sign readings."
      "Garbled life signs." Lukas repeated. "Well, we're not getting anywhere chasing the control signal on the nannites."
      "I'll keep on it." Rhoades said tapping the side of the molecular scanner with her nails.
      "But sir. There is a problem with the ships."
      The communicator panel was silent for a second. "They are all in Halian space."
      Down in the lab Lukas looked at his Engineer. "I'm going for it. They are here. I want them."
      She flipped off the scanner. "I'll make sure the number six shield generator is still having a good day."

      The first ship checked out OK. No Borg. Same with the second.
      Then the third ship turned and led them on an evasive course through a dust cloud.
      "No doubt about it sir. I've got five drones on that ship!" Ryan said.
      "Battle Stations." Lukas ordered. "Pursue."
      The chase was on. Then it got more interesting in a hurry.
      "They've fired another one. Evading." Ziggy said.
      "Shields still at ninety five percent." Dickerson said from his station.
      "Get us into tractor range." Lukas said.
      "Too much interference from the cloud. If we can get them clear I've got a lock."
      "They're doubling back again." Ziggy said at the same time.
      "Fire phasers again. Aim for that port engine. Take it down."
      "Firing. Same story. Shields intact."
      "Dangit." Lukas said slamming his fist on the arm of his chair.
      The ship bucked slightly. "That was a little closer." Ziggy said.
      "Return the favor." Lukas ordered.
      "Torpedo away." Dickerson said.
      "Got Him!" Ryan said from across the room.
      "His starboard shields got it all. They're down to about half strength."
      "Phasers." Lukas shouted.
      The forward view showed twin beams of searing energy strike the Halian ship dead amidships on the starboard side. The smaller ship was thrown sideways by the impact, then it fired another torpedo at its attacker. But it was far too little too late.
      "They've set off their self-destruct" Ryan said from his scanning console.
      "And a Halian distress call." Ellingsworth added.
      "Nice touch." Lukas said. "Can we disable either one?"
      Ryan shook his head.
      "Get us out of here. Best speed."
      The Halian ship added more dust to the cloud.

      "Who's next?" Lukas said looking at the tracking of the other ships. "I don't for a minute believe there was only one batch of them here."
      "Sir. The Halian Triumverate is requiring a reply." Ellingsworth said. "They accuse us of an unprovoked attack on one of their transports."
      "Send them our scan records and the log of the battle."
      "I did. They say there was no Borg on the ship. Our sensors are faulty."
      Lukas shook his head. "Set course for that ship that changed course away from us. Warp six." He looked at Ryan. "Tell them we engage Borg wherever we find them and I suspect there are more on the transport at those coordinates."
      Ellingsworth transmitted the message. In a minute he shook his head, then he seemed surprised. "They are changing to voice."
      "Put them on."
      A very important sounding voice began speaking. "I am the Master of this Sector of Halian Triumverate Space. You have committed an act of Aggression against the Triumverate. I require that you stand down your engines and weapons and prepare to be boarded."
      Lukas stood up straight and tried to answer with a smile. "Sir. Sector Master. There are Borg in your space. They have killed a trading port operator and contaminated that post with ninnites. I am in pursuit of the Borg that committed this act. You are welcome to join in the chase with us."
      "Unacceptable." The voice was very abrupt. "I do not believe there are any Borg in this area. I think you are a rouge element from the Federation and I will have you treated as such. If you do not stand down, you will be destroyed."
      "Ship on viewer. Our scans are being disrupted." Ryan said.
      "It's sending out a Borg call for assistance." Ellingsworth said.
      "Are you tracking us?" Lukas asked the Halian.
      "Of course. Our ships are on their way."
      Lukas looked at his crew. Several of them adjusted their instruments and shook their heads.
      "Then scan the ship we are closing on. You will see it transmitting a Borg code."
      "We will investigate that ship. Do NOT fire upon it."
      "Sir!" Ryan said. "Evade!" He ordered the helmsman who was already doing it.
      "Too late, it just launched three torpedoes at us." Lukas said.
      "It is in our space..."

      "We are the Borg. Lower your shields and surrender your ship. Resistance is Futile."

      "The other ship is coming in fast. It's not Halian, looks like a converted Ferringi trader. It's full of Drones... wait, they just scrambled our sensors."
      "The Ferringi have a trade agreement with us. They are not Borg."
      "Full shields. Bring the metaphasic on line."
      "We are the Borg. You Will Be Assimil..."
      "Shut that off."
      "Our scans are not showing any Borg on the Ferringi sh..."
      "Shut that off too."
      "Metaphasic shields are up. Not to one hundred percent yet."
      "It'll be enough."
      "I've got two Halian ships on the screen. They're coming after us instead of the Borg or Ferringi or whatever they are."
      "They're hailing both of us."
      "This is nuts."
      "The Ferringi are firing on the Halians."
      "Return fire."
      "The second Halian ship is firing at us And the Borg. Errr Ferringi. The bad guys."
      "Hang On!"
      "The first Borg ship is bugging out. The Halian's are trying to stop it."
      "Throw everything we got at the Borg Ferringi ship."
      "Firing phasers. Torpedoes away."
      "The Halians are getting plastered by that ship. They don't have the shields for it."
      "Aim for the other Borg ship. Fire!"
      "Got it."
      "Another Halian ship coming in. It's a Prince Class cruiser. The TIPAR"
      "Now we've got some backup at least. If they'll shoot at the right ones."
      "The Ferringi ship is sending out a distress call. I don't believe this. It's the same one the other ship used. Halian."
      "They're hailing us."
      "Who is?"
      "The Halians. They want us to back off and let them sort it out."
      "The first Borg ship just activated their self-destruct."
      "Incoming torpedo."
      "Shields are stable."
      "It didn't detonate. The shields got it."
      "There it goes."

      The prosecutor stopped the replay. "So you did fire on an Halian Vessel."
      "No. I fired on a Borg vessel."
      "It was operating in Halian Space under the Halian Flag with Halian Telemitry. That's what the evidence says."
      "I know what we had out there." Captain Lukas said slowly.
      "The Halian Ambassador says otherwise."
      "He wasn't there."
      "They say there were no Borg Drones recovered from the battle site." Admiral Mo-Wan said. "How do you explain that?"
      "The self-destruct worked."
      There was some laughter until the Admiral rang the bell again.
      "Of course Captain. But almost intact Drones have been found at the site of every other Borg ship we've destroyed."
      "These were not Borg ships."
      The Admiral saw the futility of continuing that line of inquiry. "Continue Commander."
      "Captain Lukas. After the intervention by the TIPAR what did you do?"
      Lukas took a deep breath and tried to explain.

      "Sir!" Ryan shouted above the bedlam. "I've got a Borg Sphere on long range. It's trying to open a conduit."
      "Lock onto, set course, maximum warp."
      "The Halian's are still ordering us to stand down." Ellingsworth said.
      "Give them the coordinates of that sphere and tell them to scan it." Lukas turned back to the helm. "Let's go."

      The RAVEN jumped to warp eight five and was gone in a flash of massive amounts of energy being barely controlled by the ship's engines.

      Ellingsworth was shaking his head. "The Halian's are saying about nine different things. They can't scan that far out, they don't believe the Borg are here, they want us arrested for piracy, and stuff like that."
      Lukas waved him off.
      "Closing on the sphere." Ziggy said. "They're having trouble opening the conduit."
      "They've seen us, they're running!" Ryan said.
      "Let'm. Full pursuit. Shields to maximum."
      The Sphere couldn't outrun the RAVEN. And while it was being chased, they didn't have a chance to diagnose and fix their conduit problem.
      "They're leaving Halian space." The helmsman said.
      "Stay on them."
      "Captain, you are not going to believe this." Rhoades said from the engineering panel.
      "Try me."
      "The Borg are draining power from our engines and using it to generate their conduit opening."
      Lukas looked at the others on the bridge in disbelief. "You're right. I don't believe that."
      "Confirmed sir." Lukas looked at Ryan. "I'm showing a build up in their ship that matches our engine signature."
      "Shut it down. Stop the transfer." Lukas said, then he paused and nodded to himself. "Let me guess. To do that you've got to take our engines off line."
      "Probably sir."
      "Back us off. Drop a full warp factor. But stay on their course."
      The RAVEN slowed its relative speed. The sphere pulled out ahead and then vanished into a transwarp conduit.
      Lukas stared at the screen for a minute. "Set course back to the trading post. I want to finish off those nannites."
      "What should I tell the Halians?" Ellingsworth asked him.
      "You'll think of something. I'll be in my ready room."

      The hearing room was silent.
      "Those are Borg nano-machines. I agree. But so what? There is no proof they came from anywhere near Halian space. And they are most certainly not Borg Drones." The Commander pointed at the view screen showing a very magnified image of the technological wonder.
      Captain Lukas bit his tongue.
      "Captain. I will admit I was on your side when this started. Any threat from the Borg must be met instantly and without mercy. However. In this case. I am not sure I see a threat. At least not enough of one to justify causing multiple border incidents and indeed, several fire fights with the Halians. If there is no further information. I will be forced to bind you and your crew over for an official Court Marshal."
      Lukas nodded to the Admiral.
      "The Court recognizes Ambassador Marshall."
      A gentleman stepped out of the audience and approached the bench. "I have information that may be of interest to the court. If I may be allowed to call for it, they can be here in about twenty minutes. My contact is on a ship nearby waiting."
      The Admiral looked at him suspiciously. "Why wasn't this information brought forward before now?"
      "My contact did not wish to come forward with it unless it was required." The Ambassador nodded. "It is required."
      "I see. Make your call. This inquiry stands in recess for one half an hour."

      When the court reconvened the Ambassador was once again standing up front.
      "Call for your contact." The Admiral said with a slight smile on his face.
      "I present to this court evidence and testimony supplied by His Royal Highness the Erasitor of Halia. Second Heir to the Throne. Overseer of the Realm's Defenders. Sire Marfini Plinor."
      "All rise." The Admiral said as the back doors opened.
      Everybody stood up and faced the back. Mr. Kada was the last to his feet and did so only under the glare of the Admiral.
      The being had a regal air to him worthy one of high blood and position. He was dressed in a rather ornate costume and openly wore a dress sidearm in spite of Star Fleet Command's standing orders for the Star Base. He strode to the front and bowed slightly to the Admiral.
      "At ease." Admiral Mo-Wan said to the room after he returned the bow. "It is nice to see you again Erasitor Marfini."
      "You are most gracious Admiral. I wish it were under more social circumstances." His speech was slow but unhesitating. He was speaking English without aid of a translator.
      "I understand you have information in this case, your Excellency." The Commodore said to the Erasitor.
      "Yes, sir." He answered nodding to the officer, then he turned to one of his aides at the back of the room and nodded sharply. The doors opened and another Halian pushed in a large cart covered by a large heavy fabric tarp. "I have Borg Drones. Pieces of the sphere they were pursuing, and testimony from the captain of the TIPAR that he had been ordered by my subordinate, the Master, to deny Borg activity in our space."
      The aid stopped the cart and pulled off the covering. Broken bodies of several drones lay on the cart.
      "The pieces of the ship are being deposited in one of your cargo areas." The Erasitor said.
      "How did you come across this material." The Commander said. "You Highness." She added quickly.
      "It fell out of its transwarp conduit not long after it entered under pursuit by Captain Lukas and his crew. Its reentry to normal space was, shall we say, most abrupt." He smiled slightly. "There was still Star Fleet energy residue in its conduit generator matrix. Fortunately, my command ship was nearby and I reached it first. Until that instant. I too, believed the Master that the Borg were not in our space."
      The Admiral nodded to him. "Your Excellency. What happened to the Master."
      He looked down briefly. "He. Left. The Royal Family."
      "I see." Admiral Mo-Wan tried to remain expressionless. To resign from the Royal Family meant the Master had also resigned from life.
      "I am also authorized by my position as the Chief Officer of The Defense to ask for assistance in searching for and eliminating any further Borg Activity in our space. Do you have a particular ship and crew experienced in such matters?"
      "Yes, your Highness. I believe I do."

The Crusade Continues

End Raven 2

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