Hi, everyone! It's been a while and I apologize. Truth be told, one of the biggest things that kept this chapter delayed for so long was that I actually retooled this entire chapter. I think it's only fair that I give you the original synopsis. Originally, I was going to have a story where Abigail was attacked for creating an invention that would have offered defense to a planet by people who weren't keen to Starfleet interfering. The attack would have left her in a coma before the invention could be turned on, and The Lightyear would have been forced to try and defend the planet with all its resources while Abigail would have experienced a dream-like sequence featuring her as a writer on Earth Post-World War II, living a secret life as a lesbian. One day, Abigail's alternate persona writes a story about a female Engineer on a spaceship which she hopes will help further women's rights, but is then caught by J. Edgar Hoover and blackmailed into either abandoning her story, or having her love-life leaked to the public. The story would also feature a mysterious little girl which would eventually reveal itself to be Abigail's conscious; the whole scenario was a loose allegory for an affair Abigail had while training for Starfleet where she choose Starfleet over a girl and lost her, and potentially a new family, forever. Abigail accepts the dream world is fake and the girl tells Abigail her name is Mona. At that moment, Abigail wakes from her coma in time to give the planet the password to activate the defense shield. The planet is saved and in the epilogue, the rest of the crew theorizes about why the password was Mona. Thomek points them to the picture of the Mona Lisa and how it's never quite known who Mona Lisa really was and that Mona was the name Abigail imagined for her child that never was. Eventually I gave up on the idea as I felt it was too hard to fully write out and went with this revised version you see before you. I know things are currently tough but we must stick together as I hope this chapter will get the point across without sounding pretentious as Discovery. Oh, and if you're wondering about my thoughts on the new Picard show, I have mixed feelings. I haven't seen it, but I feel conflicted about certain decisions with some interesting, some not so much. For that reason, don't expect to see any reference of the Picard show here. That said, I hope you enjoy. As always, I own NOTHING but my OC's. This is for fan-purposes ONLY, so please don't sue!
Chief Engineer's Log, Stardate 86407.62…
We're still out here in the galaxy, doin whatever we can to keep it from tearin itself apart. As o' late, we have no been needed, so I have been hard at work developin a new engine for the Lightyear. It took me a whole day an' Captain Hartjen's permission. I am excited to get the testin underway.
Abigail Grant smiled at her handiwork. The Lightyear's Matter Anti-Matter Warp Core had finally been outfitted with her own improvements. The glow of the engines radiated with a spectrum of colors as she activated her combadge.
"Engineering to Captain Hartjen." She called, "Are ye ready, Captain?"
"Engineering." Hartjen's voice responded, "We are good to go."
With that, Grant felt the ship bump forward and then begin to pick up speed.
"Readings show that we are now at 5 times the highest speed the Lightyear had previously been recorded at without failure." Thomek's voice responded.
"Engineering?" Samuel asked, "How does the engine hold up?"
Abagail smiled, watching the display of ever-shifting colors.
"Like a Christmas Tree, sir." She responded with glee.
"Captain." Thomek responded, "Sensors have suddenly picked up an unidentified freighter approaching our vicinity."
"Onscreen." Samuel declared.
The viewscreen changed to show a medium-sized freighter heading towards them at dangerously fast speed.
"Communications!" Samuel barked, "Get a warning out!"
"No time!" Gardner cried, making a hard move with the ship, "We're going to have to dodge it!"
The ship suddenly lurched upwards.
"Captain." Thomek declared, "The ship is turning down in the opposite direction."
"Get me a visual." He requested.
The rear screen came up to show the ship was indeed going down. Suddenly, it began shooting back up in reverse, heading towards the cargo bay doors.
"It's going to impact!" Samuel declared, "Brace yourselves!"
Indeed, the ship collided with the back of the Lightyear. A few seconds later, it exploded.
"Damage report!" Samuel questioned.
"Rear shields still holding at 87% and recharging." Gardner assured.
"What the devil's going on here?" Kenzoyoshi wondered.
Abagail was regaining her footing when she noticed an outline of a person beaming in. Soon said person came into focus. It was a woman around Abagail's age with green skin wearing torn rags to cover her more sensitive areas. Her hair was long braided black and her body was covered in various bruises.
"An Orion!" Abagail declared, shocked.
Abagail suddenly noticed a disruptor pistol in the Orion's hand. Looking around, the girl aimed straight at the Lightyear's Engine Core. Specifically; right at the adjustments that Abagail had made.
"Wait-" Abagail cried.
Too late. The Orion fired, and a massive explosion occurred which shook the ship and ensured every level felt the blast on some form or another.
"Space…the final frontier. These are the voyages of the Starship Lightyear. Its continuing mission; to explore strange new worlds. To seek out new life and new civilizations. To boldly go where no one has gone before!"
STAR TREK LIGHTYEAR:
The Devil in Plain Sight
The bridge crew groaned as they all stood back up. Something had shaken the Lightyear and knocked them to the ground. Samuel groaned. Every bone in his body felt broken and his insides felt like someone had lit a flame within his body that was currently giving him a tremendous fever. His cells were telling him to remain down, but Samuel strengthened himself. He was Captain of The Lightyear now. He had to be strong for everyone and so he managed to willpower himself back into The Captain's seat. He noted his senior officers were helping each other back to their positions and though they seemed a bit out of it, they seemed like they had not suffered any serious injuries.
"Report." Samuel ordered.
Lampert did a scan.
"An explosion appears to have come from Engineering." He frowned, "I can't seem to get a good read on how they are. Whatever hit seems to have cut us off from viewing what exactly went down there. The turbolifts seem to be stuck due to whatever it was that went off."
Samuel tapped his combadge.
"Bridge to Engineering." He declared.
"Engineering!" He repeated, "Abigail!"
He turned to Dalton who shook his head.
"Nothing, sir." He admitted, "Communication is out as well."
"Captain." Thomek declared, "I am reading an energy overload which appears to be converging in the warp nacelles of the ship. If not corrected, the ship will detonate with a burst of matter and anti-matter that will destroy us completely within 6 hours."
"Can it be stopped from here?" Samuel asked.
"Negative." Thomek said, "The necessary means of stopping the explosion cannot be done from the bridge."
Abigail groaned as her blurred vision began to come back into focus. An image of an Orion Slave girl came into full focus. She remembered what had happened and nearly leapt to her feet. Upon her feet touching the ground, she found herself crying in pain. The Orion Girl shushed her and stroked her head.
"Please." She insisted, "You are injured your feet were badly damaged."
Abagail looked up at her new accomplice and frowned.
"What's yer name?" She asked.
"Jila." She said.
"Jila." Abigail repeated, "I'm Chief Engineer Abagail Grant. What're ye doing all th' way out 'ere?"
Jila was about to answer when another violent rumble shook the area.
"Ye damaged my upgrades!" Abagail pointed up, "Ye must've blew a tank that leads to th' shuttlecraft area! Unless we get down 'n' stop it, this ship will soon gang up in a stoatin muckle ball o' explosions courtesy of anti-matter!"
"I'm sorry." Jila apologized, "I barely got away and I was disoriented."
"We'll sort this out later." Abagail groaned, "Can ye help me walk?"
Jila helped Abagail to her feet and dragged her over to the turbolift. Abagail pressed a few buttons, but was sadly met with a negative beeping.
"Damn." She swore, "That explosion must have taken out the turbolift. We're just gonna have tae find another way down there."
"How?" Jila asked.
Abagail looked over to find a few metal tools.
"Improvisation." Abagail smiled weakly.
Captain's Log, Stardate 86407.93…
It has been three hours since the USS Lightyear was rocked by an unknown explosion from within. Mr. T'Kerk has informed me that a buildup of matter and anti-matter has begun collecting itself within the warp nacelles of the ship. We are unable to fix the damage from here and in three more hours, this ship will destroy itself along with everyone onboard. So far, attempts to reach the damage have proven futile and we are trapped on the bridge with no way of contacting any of the other decks.
Samuel frowned. There had to be another way. Something he'd overlooked. At every point, a Starfleet Captain was tasked with solving a crisis. Samuel had done his fair share when he'd taken command after the assimilation of Captain Miliandra, but that had been leading a ship that despite having taken many casualties, had people in contact with each other and able to coordinate easier.
"Commander?" Samuel asked, gesturing to Kenzoyoshi, "A moment, please?"
Ken nodded and joined Samuel by the corner.
"Thoughts?" He asked.
"We're looking to you, Captain." Kenzoyoshi reminded.
"And I look to my officers when under this sort of pressure." Samuel reminded, "Remember; we were cadets a few days ago. Outside of an anomaly appearing and disappearing, I've had no real experience. But you on the other hand, you were given an award after your time in Starfleet Academy. You received the Khitomer Medal of Valor and the Archer Star."
"Don't forget, Captain." Fukashima noted, "You came up with the improvised plan that helped us escape The Borg. Between you and me, those awards come in the heat of the moment."
"Well, hopefully something comes our way soon." Samuel noted, "Otherwise it won't matter in three hours."
"Sir!" Cayne declared surprised, "I'm receiving communication!"
"Which deck?" Samuel asked.
"Not from in here," Dalton explained, "From outside. It appears to be an Orion Slave Merchant Ship. He's requesting communication. I can have him onscreen, if you wish."
Samuel's brow furrowed. The Orions had remained neutral during the Klingon/Romulan/Borg Wars despite being within Klingon space. They still conducted slave trade throughout the various star systems, selling Orion Women into slavery to multiple species, but Samuel rarely heard of them personally going outside the Klingon/Federation Neutral Zone just to do business.
"Do it." Samuel nodded, readying himself for what was to come.
The screen changed from the star-filled view of space to the inside of a command deck that was definitely Orion in architectural nature. Staring back at Samuel was an Orion Male dressed in an exquisite robe of royalty in his mid-to-late 50's with short spiky grey hair that shot upwards and a greying goatee.
"This is Captain Samuel Hartjen of the Federation Starship USS Lightyear." Samuel introduced, "Please state your name and the nature of your business."
"Greetings, Captain Hartjen." The Orion bowed humbly, "I am Jekkih, an Orion Slave Trader and humble businessman. I got here as soon as I received word of a ship having crashed into yours."
Samuel raised an eyebrow suspiciously.
"That is true." Samuel nodded.
"I will be brief, Captain." Jekkih said bluntly, "That ship was hijacked by an Orion Slave Girl I'd sold recently. From what was reported to me, she managed to overtake the cargo ship she was aboard before slamming it into your ship. Now, seeing as how your ship remains still, that leads me to believe one of two things; either you refused to leave because she is my property, or she has caused damage to your fine vessel."
"We can't confirm if it is her or not," Samuel noted, "But we do have a massive problem that if not solved correctly, will destroy the ship entirely."
"Then I offer you my services, Captain." Jekkih assured, "I can beam myself onto your bridge if you wish, and using technology that I alone possess, we will find this girl, assist you in any way that I can, and once finished, take her back with me."
All eyes fell upon Samuel as he stood there keeping himself from showing any signs of weakness. He was being asked to return a girl to slavery. The Federation never condoned the act of slavery, but refusing Jekkih's help would mean that The Lightyear would probably not get the repairs it needed and would explode. Furthermore, the simple act of refusing to help the Orions would possibly add them to the many other factions currently at war with the Federation or worse; ally themselves with either the Klingons or even the Romulans.
Samuel considered his options, thinking hard about what would come next.
Abigail grunted as she pulled the turbolift doors apart using a wrench she'd taken from Engineering. She and Jila had made an improvised grappling hook which they'd used to scale the walls of the turbolift and allow them to reach the level where Abigail could remotely fix the damage to the warp nacelles. Jila was currently clinging to the opposite side of the door that Abigail was on. Around her was a pouch containing all the tools Abigail would need to complete her work. Abagail was impressed at both Jila's willingness to help as well as how she managed to get down without dropping one piece of equipment. Once the doors were opened wide enough, Abagail managed to fall through and Jila ran in to help her up.
"Thanks, lass." Abagail acknowledged with a warm smile.
"I find it amazing how men and women work together in this Starfleet of yours I've heard so much about." Jila admitted, "You do not see one gender as superior to the other?"
"Nae." Abagail assured, "We dinnae see any power that either gender should hold over th' other."
"It all sounds so wonderful." Jila smiled, picturing it within her mind, "Like a dream I have. I often image Orion Men and Women working together in peace and harmony without judgement for how they are born. I hope to see that one day."
"Maybe one day ye will." Abagail smiled, "Ye should hold onto that dream."
Abagail gave Jila a soft rub of her hand making Jila surprised.
"What was that for?" The Orion demanded.
"To show kindness." Abigail explained, "Surely ye knew that…"
"I…I've never known kindness." Jila explained, "Not like what you have shown."
"Well, help me down th' corridor and we'll talk more about it." Abagail told her.
Jila helped her up as they continued their journey.
"I was born on the Space Station Lanep in the Orion Sector." Jila explained, "When my parents died, I was sold into slavery by a horrible man named Jekkih."
Jila frowned as Abigail swore she could feel the goosebumps on the Orion Girl's skin.
"He's a monster who beats his girls and lies promising them the world, but they usually end up in a slum."
Jila squeezed Abigail's arm slightly in a way she hoped would show how serious she was.
"You will protect me from Jekkih, will you?" She begged, "You can't let him take me, Abigail Grant."
"I'll do my best." Abigail assured, "But even as Chief Engineer there's only so much I can do."
Abagail's words weren't those that Jila was hoping to hear, but they were somewhat comforting and showed she was gaining Abigail's trust more and more.
"We're ready to beam him over." Gardner explained.
"Mr. Cayne." Samuel declared, "Tell him the word is given."
Dalton gave the message to the Orion ship which had entered their viewscreen a few minutes ago. Everyone held their breath as a series of particles began to rearrange themselves in the bridge until Jekkih stood before them.
"Mr. Jekkih." Samuel said, "An honor to finally meet you."
"Please." Jekkih laughed jovially, "The pleasure is all mine, Captain Hartjen. I'm but a simple businessman. You are the real hero."
"Please." Samuel assured him.
"No, I mean it." Jekkih insisted, "I didn't have a chance to mention this, but I heard what happened with you and those Borg ships. It's inspiring how you managed to take them down!"
"You've heard of that?" Samuel asked.
"Of course!" Jekkih explained, "You didn't think your Federation was the only ones observing the event, did you? I hear you made a lot of Klingons mad. Mostly the ones I know who were mad were those who lost credits to me because they bet you wouldn't make it out alive. I'm actually considering renaming my ship after you due to your intelligence and ingenuity."
"I am honored to hear that." Samuel lied, "But right now we need to find this slave of yours as you said."
"Right." Jekkih nodded unaware of Samuel's hidden enthusiasm.
The Orion pulled out a device from around his belt. It resembled an old Starfleet Tricorder from the 23rd Century except it was slightly bulkier and had more buttons than the original did.
"This is a tracking system." He explained, "A few decades ago, we decided that our women would be injected with a tracking system which would be linked to this device. We should have the exact location of her very soon."
After a few seconds, Orion Words appeared on the device.
"She's on your ship." Jekkih told them, "She seems to be on the move around the bottom of your decks."
"Captain." T'Kerk stated, "Before communication with Engineering was lost, I was able to find a single transporter signal that I assume to be the Slave Girl. However, the transport was to the Engineering Section. Logically, the Slave Girl is the one responsible for the explosion that has put us in our predicament. However, it is illogical that she could have made her way to the lower decks without the assistance of someone due to the loss of the turbolifts."
"We'll sort this out later." Samuel assured, "In the meantime I take it Mr. Jekkih, you can transport us to where we need to be."
"Indeed I can." Jekkih smiled.
"Good." Samuel instructed, "Mr. Fukashima, you have the Com. Mr. T'Kerk, Mr. T'Kuvma, you're with me."
Jekkih looked the two accompanying away team members up and down.
"A Vulcan." He noted, "And a Klingon. Working together. Your Federation should be proud for getting such species to work together, Captain."
L'avih gave an uneasy growl which was unclear if she was annoyed or offended by Jekkih. Whatever the case, the Orion contacted his ship and was quickly beamed out along with Samuel, T'Kerk, and T'Kuvma.
"Well, he seemed nice." Ken noted sarcastically, "For a slave trader, anyways."
Abigail smiled as they reached the sparking electrical console.
"Can you fix it?" Jila asked.
"Jus' try an' stop me." She assured.
She removed the console and began to inspect the wiring when Jila gently held her shoulder.
"In case we don't…." Jila explained.
"We will." Abagail assured comfortingly.
"I've lived long enough to know nothing is ever simple." Jila admitted, "If you can't fix it, I want to give you something."
With that, Jila leaned in and her lips collided with Abigail's as though their lives depended on it. Abigail was taken aback at first having not expected this, but she soon decided that she enjoyed the feeling and allowed Jila to finish kissing. As they parted, her lips made a smacking sound as she looked at Abigail lovingly.
"For showing me kindness." Jila assured, "A love I might never find again."
Abigail tried to think of something to say, but found herself at a loss for words. She was familiar with how Orion Women could attract men with pheromones the women produced, but also knew that the effect could also cause migraines if used on women. However, Abigail felt just fine as she was. Better than that.
"What can I do to help?" Jila asked.
"Two things;" Abigail explained, "First, help me rearrange some o' the wires 'n' then ye can join me in kip for more o' those kisses later!"
"You do not mind?" Jila questioned, "Even though I am a women and it is often frowned upon for a woman to kiss another woman?"
"Sister, I'm bisexual." Abigail laughed, "It doesn't matter if ye were a jimmy or nae. My own personal philosophy is that I share love tae everybody because I love everybody. If there's one thing I've picked up from ye, 'tis that you're kind 'n' willing tae help a' th' same."
Jila smiled and moved next to Abigail listening closely to what needed to be done.
Samuel, Jekkih, Thomek, and L'avih suddenly rematerialized on the lower deck. They were not quite where they had hoped to be on the account of some spacial interference caused by the damage to The Lightyear, but they were on the correct deck.
"Well, Mr. Jekkih?" Samuel asked.
Jekkih looked at his tracker.
"It appears that she is not far from here." The Orion explained, "I suggest we get a move on now."
With that, everyone followed him down the hallway.
"Now let's connect this wire to this one…" Abigail instructed.
Jila did as she was told as Abigail connected her own set of wires. There was a groaning sound like something building up. Jila whimpered and held onto Abigail as though she would protect her, but Abigail simply gave her an assuring pat on the head. Jila then heard something which sounded like a calming hum. As Abigail hugged her tightly.
"Ye did it, Jila." Abigail laughed, "We saved th' ship. Thanks to our improvisation, the matter/anti-matter will be filtered through to a safe area and be deposited harmlessly."
Jila smiled. More so than having saved her own life, she felt assurance in the protective arms of Abigail. Even though Jila had carried her all the way down here, the Orion Slave had learned quickly from Abigail. Perhaps she was feeling the love that Abigail had spoken of where it did not matter whether they were women or not. She bent over and helped Abigail place the screen back as it had been, but then they heard a whistling noise.
"Hello?" A familiar voice called out.
Abigail grinned and hit a few buttons on the console.
"Grant here." Abigail greeted.
"Chief Engineer Grant." Kenzoyoshi's voice called, "We've just managed to re-establish communication. We also can tell that the warp nacelles are no longer building up with matter/anti-matter energy. What's happening down there?"
"Nothin' much." Abigail smiled, folding her arms, "Made a new friend, saved the ship with her assistance."
"Would that happen to be an Orion Slave Girl?" Ken questioned.
"Yeah." Abigail answered, "Nice guess. How'd ye know?"
"Her Slave Master, Jekkih, is here now looking for her."
Jila's blood froze as she turned around only to gasp as Jekkih now stood before them.
"Jila." Jekkih grinned sinisterly, "I see you've made a new friend."
"Stay back!" Jila screamed, "Stay away from me!"
She hid behind Abigail who stood her ground even with the pain on her legs.
"Sir." Abigail stated defiantly, "You're goin' ta have tae forgive me fer this since we jus' stopped the ship from explodin', but…"
She was cut off when Jekkih slapped her across the face with his meaty hand. Abigail went down instantly as darkness enveloped her. Without wasting the distraction, Jila grabbed the nearby wrench that Abigail was using and whacked Jekkih across the head with it. The Orion Slave Trader went down with a bleeding head. Jila attempted to pick Abigail up and run again but was stopped when she felt an overwhelming pain in her neck. Jila attempted to cry out but was unconscious before the cry could leave her throat. Instead, she fell into the arms of Thomek.
Captain's Log, Stardate 86408.04…
The USS Lightyear is saved thanks to the ingenuity of Chief Engineer Abigail Grant. But now we are faced with another problem imminently following her success in filtering out the matter and anti-matter that had dangerously been building to a massive explosion that would have otherwise destroyed our ship. The Orion Slave Girl that initially caused this problem is said to have done this by accident. Yet Jekkih, her owner, claims that she was unruly and caused the deaths of men with families. Chief Engineer Grant insists that the Slave Girl, Jila, was abusive and that she is the victim. Currently, both Grant and Jila have recovered from injuries while Jekkih remains unconscious since Jila beat him over the head an hour ago. Afterwards I then had our ship's crew inoculated to prevent being compromised by Jila's pheromones that the female Orions use to influence men. Now having contacted Starfleet Command, I have been instructed that once Jekkih is recovered, we are to turn Jila over to him and allow her to be taken back into slavery. In the time I have, I must learn the truth to get the full story so that I can sleep better at night knowing I have done all I can to help the right side of history.
Samuel entered the guest quarters where Jila was being cared for by Abigail. Misa was also there, having been asked to talk with Jila to assure her they would do what they could to help.
"I'm Captain Samuel Hartjen." Samuel introduced, "I'm sorry our introduction was less than ideal, but we couldn't do much as things are. This is my Science Officer, T'Kerk."
Thomek held his hand up in the tradition Vulcan salute.
"This means peace and long life." Thomek explained, "May you live long, and prosper."
Jila shily held up her hand imitating the salute.
"We have a few questions about how you came to be here." Samuel explained, "But with your permission, we'd like to have T'Kerk do what's called a Vulcan Mind Meld with you."
Truth be told, while Thomek was not a true Vulcan, he had picked up a few tricks from the Vulcan Academy and one of them was the Vulcan Mind Meld.
"It is a process where I will connect with your mind and reveal any information that you might have lost." Thomek elaborated.
Jila looked nervous, but Abigail and Misa held her hands caringly.
"It won't hurt at all." Misa assured, "We'll be with you all the way."
Jila nodded as Thomek touched her face, beginning the mind meld. He closed his eyes and focused.
"Our minds are coming together." He explained, "Closer. I… see what you see. I feel what you feel."
There were a few seconds that passed before Jila spoke.
"I'm on the ship of my new master." She explained, "After being sold to a group of Gorn. One touches me. Then the other."
The others noticed Jila begin to tense up.
"They laugh." She continued, "The Captain tries to stop them, they hit him."
Samuel, Abigail, and Misa noticed a small tear fall down Jila's left eye.
"They hit me. They beat me until they feel I have been subdued. They grab my legs and begin to spread them…" She cried, "The Captain's gun is within reach…I grab it…"
"I fire." She and Thomek said simultaneously, "The Captain sees this…I…I fire again!"
"The Captain is dead." Jila and Thomek declared.
Jila cried as Thomek broke the connection, the Romulan taking a minute to catch his breath. Jila cried burying herself into Abigail's shoulder.
"Please don't let Jekkih take me!" Jila sobbed, "I've come too far to lose my freedom. My message of freedom must be heard! There are Orion Women suffering, dying! I can be the symbol of hope, but I can't go back with him, please!"
A few minutes later, Samuel had gathered his senior staff in the meeting room save for Naomi who was still tending to Jekkih and would inform the leading crew when he recovered.
"So as it stands." Samuel stated, "We need to decide whether or not to return Jila to Jekkih."
"Are ye out of yer mind?!" Abigail declared.
"Chief Engineer Grant…" Samuel began.
"With due respect, Captain," Abigail interrupted, "That Slave Trader wasn't at all civilized when I attempted to try an' get the full story from him."
She turned to Thomek.
"T'Kerk." She begged, "You of all people must know how 'ard it is."
"This is true." Thomek nodded, "I admit I was not fully prepared for what she had been through. But there are other things we must consider."
He looked at her sternly.
"She is dangerous." He admitted, "We know she killed the crew of the ship she was sold to."
"And that she killed her master that she was sold to." Thomek reminded, "Finally, we know that she intentionally crashed her ship in what would logically be assumed to be a means to cover-up the evidence and nearly destroyed the USS Lightyear. She is not at all innocent."
"I don' believe this." Abagail spat, "We're Starfleet! We're supposed ta stand fer the freedom o' everyone!"
"This is true." Ken nodded, "But in the current time, we cannot allow to have one more enemy to add to the war Starfleet is currently in just because of one girl. If the history of any culture shares one thing in common, it's that putting everything on the line for one individual, rather than an entire group of people, always ends in the destruction of the society who sides with one over everyone else."
"Then what exactly do you suggest we do?" L'avih questioned, "The Orions are not known for their civility. If they take her back, they could beat her to death."
"If Starfleet were here, maybe they'd see things differently." Misa noted.
"But they are not." Thomek reminded.
"Abigail." Estela told her, "Even if we refused to give her up, I have a feeling that Jekkih would simply blow up The Lightyear just to make himself feel better."
"Like L'avih pointed out," Gardner added, "Orions are not the most forgiving species that Starfleet has ever encountered."
"Which I guess means that it's Samuel's final verdict what we do next." Dalton said.
"Well, Captain?" Estela asked, "Do we give Jila up, or start another war we know we can't possibly win?"
Samuel thought hard. He literally felt his hands were tied to the point where his wrists would break. Suddenly, a single thought came into his head. An idea that could possibly work he hoped. It would be better than doing nothing and allowing Jila to be taken to her death.
He looked up with a face of optimism and determination.
"Dinner." He answered with a smile.
His Senior crew looked at him confused.
"Captain?" Ken asked.
"We'll treat Jekkih to a dinner when he wakes up." Samuel declared, "The finest dinner he's ever had and hopefully one I think he won't forget. I would like all of you to be there for it. Formal wear only. Dismissed."
Everyone left, but Abigail stayed behind.
"Permission ta speak freely?" Grant questioned.
"Sir." Abigail stated, "I hope you know what yer doin'."
"If it goes the way I hope it will." Samuel told her, "It will. But you must be prepared both mentally and physically. You're free to leave now."
Abigail nodded and went for the door.
"And Grant?" Samuel asked.
Abigail stopped halfway through the door to look at him.
"I will do everything I can to help." He admitted, "Dismissed."
Upon finishing getting ready, Abagail decided to visit Jila one last time. Once she had permission, Abigail entered the room and let Jila gaze upon her. Abigail had the replicator create a stunning silver dress with a sparkling floral pattern made from glittering jewels. Abigail had also put on some makeup which helped cover the damage she'd received from Jekkih.
"You look beautiful." Jila said, almost on the verge of tears.
"I'm off tae set ye free." Abigail assured, "I thought I'd give ye something in th' meantime.."
She handed Jila two things the first was a blue version of the dress Abigail was wearing. The second was a book about the Fall of the Roman Empire.
"The second is a book about a civilization that destroyed itself due tae th' irrational leadership." Abigail explained.
"It sounds like something that should happen on Orion." Jila sighed.
"It very well could." The Chief Engineer insisted, "All it takes tae make a change is th' right kind o' body wi' th' right kind o' folk backing them in a noble cause. A person tae be th' one tae help everybody else. No matter th' cost. But I promise that I won't let Jekkih hurt ye anymore.
Abigail leaned in and softly kissed Jila.
"I swear." Abigail assured.
Jekkih groaned as his vision began to come back into focus. He looked to see a beautiful human figure smiling over him.
"I must be in heaven." He joked.
"No such luck, I'm afraid." Samuel called out.
Jekkih sat up and noticed Samuel had changed uniforms. He was now dressed in an outfit that looked like the kind that the Federation Wore around 2280 before the Federation and Klingons became allies after years of being enemies. The suit Samuel wore however was pure white except for a few red-and-gold straps and the current Starfleet Combadge.
"Captain Hartjen." Jekkih grinned, "Come to give me a proper send-off?"
"Actually, we were hoping you'd let us show our gratitude for your help and invite you to dinner." Samuel offered.
"Well, I've never been one to turn down a free meal." He declared, "How could I refuse?"
"Good to hear." Samuel responded, "Doctor Engstrom will check you over once more to be safe and then you will be free to join us for dinner once she's changed."
"I look forward to it." Jekkih grinned.
A short time later, Jekkih was cleared by Naomi, and after she had changed into her uniform, the two had joined the rest of the Lightyear crew in the cafeteria which had been reserved exclusively for the Senior Crew and their guest only.
"What a fascinating dish." Jekkih declared, looking at his meal, "What did you say this was called again?"
"It is an old Earth delicacy called Shawarma." Thomek explained.
"Delicious." Jekkih approved, "It tastes like a Wing-Slug. Do the ingredients squeal as well?"
"No, they do not." Thomek answered simply.
"And what of this drink?" Jekkih asked, "What did you call it again?"
"An Earth drink called Champagne." Samuel told their guest.
"Fascinating." Jekkih noted impressed with the beverage, "I can't take the alcohol."
"I can." Abigail muttered under her breath.
Jekkih didn't seem to notice. Abigail couldn't take it and finally spoke what was on her mind.
"Jila says yer a monster." Abigail spoke bluntly.
There was a deathly silence as all eyes fell on the Chief Engineer. Then Jekkih laughed loudly.
"Captain." Jekkih assured, "Your Chief Engineer seems greatly misinformed. Jila is… how you humans put it; bipolar."
"You'll have to forgive Chief Engineer Grant." Samuel noted, eying Abigail, "She's been an exceptional Chief Engineer since I took over the Lightyear. But it appears that recently she's forgotten her manners at times like this."
"Don't worry." Jekkih said, "Captain, we're both adults. You helped me recover Jila and have treated me to this fine meal. Anything you want to know; just ask. I'm more than willing to answer."
"Okay." Samuel shrugged, "It's my understanding that your people practiced slavery since the discovery of fire."
"Correct." Jekkih answered.
"But surely it wasn't the entire basis for your society." Misa noted, "I imagine that perhaps a war or two broke out as a result because of slavery?"
"Perhaps." Jekkih shrugged, "Though I can't say for certain. The Orions never bothered to document our ancient history."
"How do you expect to progress if you can't look back on the facts of the past?" Misa questioned.
"Easy Counselor." Samuel warned, "Who are we to judge a system that has worked for the Orions after all these years? I mean, men or women, whoever held control seemed to know what they were doing."
"Very wise, Captain." Jekkih smiled, "You know, after the Civil War the men led against the women, the women had no place. It fell upon us men to help them find their place in society."
"But would it make a difference?" Samuel asked.
"I'm sorry?" Jekkih questioned.
"Suppose that the women crushed the male resistance." Samuel pointed out, "Would it make any difference?"
"I guess I would still be a slave along with my father." Jekkih theorized.
"And you wouldn't fight with every fiber of your being to be free?" Samuel questioned.
"Not unless someone else came along and inspired us." Jekkih mused.
"Exactly my point." Samuel noted, "If that Orion Male hadn't inspired revolution then, who's to say that there wouldn't be another inspiring figure decades later? Or for that matter, whose to say the women won't find a symbol to rally behind at some point later? It all comes from the decisions we make in life that affect and shape the future which becomes history. Every great decision causes ripples. Like a huge boulder dropped in a lake. The patterns move and disorient the image until it becomes unrecognizable but is eventually considered to be the new normal by the next generation who witness the boulder in the lake and the distorted ripples that it's caused."
"Well spoken." Jekkih nodded, "You are quite the philosopher, aren't you?"
"Actually my original major was in security." Samuel noted, "But like I pointed out, life throws different unexpected twists at you. Take Chief Engineer Grant. As mentioned, she's recently begun to challenge my command at every turn."
"I'm curious." Samuel wondered, "How much would you pay for her?"
Now all eyes were on him as Jekkih looked the most shocked.
"What?" He questioned.
"How much is Abigail worth to you?" He repeated, "She could be your next best slave girl."
"Captain." Jekkih chuckled, "Please. I couldn't put a price on her. This woman's educated, refined, civilized."
"But she's challenged me." Samuel insisted, "You've seen it yourself."
"Captain, be reasonable!" Jekkih shot back, "She's clearly competent and capable in spite of those shortcomings."
"And what about Jila?" Samuel questioned.
Once again, all eyes were on him. But this time it was the Federation Officers who looked at him with approval and agreement while Jekkih shot back a long stare that was barely concealing an unbridled fury from within.
"Jila is as skilled and capable and competent as any Starfleet Officer." Samuel continued, "And even without proper Starfleet Education, she is still a woman with a right to be free. She has consumed more knowledge than you have with your meal. She deserves to be on her own now without control over her."
Now that Samuel was finished, Jekkih continued to look upon the Starfleet Captain before wagging his finger playfully.
"Captain." He teased, "You are a shrewd and clever man. More so than I initially gave you credit for."
He sighed, putting his napkin down.
"But I've had my fill." He admitted, "And I need to get going. So with your permission, I will take Jila and be on my way."
With that, he stood up and left the room.
"Sir?" Abagail asked, terrified.
Samuel sat there at a loss for words.
"I was trying to illustrate the point." Samuel admitted.
"Which was?" Estela asked.
"I thought that if he understood how we saw Jila, he'd let her go."
"Well, it didn't appear to work." Estela noted sarcastically, "So what now?"
"I'm afraid there's nothing more that can be done now." Samuel admitted, "We are to simply let Jekkih take Jila and say nothing more of it. Dismissed."
Everyone rose, but Abigail once again stood there defiantly.
"Sir!" She declared, "You can't be givin' up now!"
"We've done all we could, Abigail." Samuel said, defeatedly, "There's nothing more that can be done."
Abigail looked saddened at him. She turned to her fellow Senior Officers hoping for something, anything, that would let her know she wouldn't be alone in her thinking. No such luck.
With tears in her eyes, Abigail ran out of the cafeteria. The rest of the crew followed suit.
Chief Engineer's Personal Log, Captain Hartjen's given up. It falls upon me ta save the woman who I respect, admire, and will not allow ta go back tae bein' a slave!
Grant arrived at the Guest Quarters where Jila was staying to see the Orion Slave Girl now wearing the outfit Abigail had made for her. Unfortunately, Jila looked miserable as Jekkih was currently in the process of beating her and pulling at the outfit.
"I'm taking you back home!" Jekkih declared, "AND YOU'LL BE LUCKY IF ANYONE WANTS TO PURCHASE YOU WHEN I'M THROUGH WITH YOU!"
Abigail had seen enough. Without missing a beat, she leapt into the room and got on Jekkih's back. She then slammed her fists into his ears. While Abagail was not a fighter, she had spent time watching recordings of James T. Kirk in action and had picked up on a few moves. But Jekkih was not a simple thug when it came to fighting. The ringing in his ears suddenly stopped and he threw Abigail over his back, causing her to crash into the wall on the opposite side. Abigail quickly recovered and ran back at him, throwing a haymaker which stunned him briefly. Unfortunately, Jekkih responded with a solid push back into the wall she'd crashed into. Gathering all her strength, Abigail ran forward and then leapt to the side sticking both of her feet out and knocking Jekkih to the ground, now dazed.
Seeing an opportunity, Jila quickly approached and grabbed the knife from his belt pushing it to his throat.
"Do it!" Jekkih begged, "Do it and show her the devil in plain sight!"
Jila's eyes teared up and she dropped the knife. She could not bare any more murder on her hands. Jila collapsed into Abigal's arms crying. Jekkih just laughed.
"You should have stayed out of this, Ms. Grant!" Jekkih lectured, "You had no right to interfere with my property!"
"Ye call yersel' a civilized man!" Abigail shouted, "Civilized men do not beat women violently! They are not property! But if that's all ye understand... how much do you want for her?"
"Nothing." Jekkih defied.
"I wish tae buy Jila from you, how much?!"
"There is no price that can be paid." Jekkih spat.
"Why not?!" Abigail demanded.
"Because you want her." Jekkih smirked smugly, "By denying that, I take great pleasure in knowing that I have defied you."
Abigail went to punch him, but this time Jekkih was ready and caught her punch. He then kicked Abigail in the left knee, causing her to drop down before him before Jekkih's boot hit her face, knocking her out.
"ABIGAIL!" Jila cried.
At that moment, the rest of the Senior Crew showed up. Samuel looked at his unconscious Chief Engineer and then at Jekkih.
"Captain." Jekkih explained, "That Chief Engineer of yours…"
"Save it." Samuel interrupted, "You lay one more blow on her and I swear…"
"What?" Jekkih laughed, "You can do nothing to me, Captain. Not without starting a war with the Orion Syndicate. By the time we would be finished with your Federation, you'd be lucky to be Captain of a Waste Ship."
Samuel stood there fuming.
"Get the hell off of my ship." Samuel ordered.
"My thoughts exactly." Jekkih nodded, dragging Jila by the arm.
A few moments later, Jila and Jekkih were at the transporter bay with Samuel overseeing their departure.
"May our paths never cross again, Captain." Jekkih declared, "And you can forget about me naming my ship after you."
"That's fine." Samuel assured, "I wouldn't want my name to go with a ship like yours."
He turned to the transporter officer.
"Energize." He said.
With that, the two turned into beams of light and then were gone. As soon as they left, the door opened and Abigail walked in being helped by Naomi.
"Where is she?!" Abigail ordered, "Where's Jila?"
Samuel looked down at the floor.
"How could you?" Abigail demanded, "HOW COULD YOU?!"
"I've told you one too many times, Chief Engineer!" Samuel shouted back, "We cannot afford to go to war over one single girl!"
"THEY'RE GOING TO KILL HER!" Abigail screamed.
"Chief Engineer Abigail Grant." Samuel shot back sternly, "You are currently relieved of duty until you are deemed fit for service again. Dismissed!"
Abigail fumed out of there. Once she was out, the words of the past few hours flew into her head. Then came the mental image of Jila; scared, sad, and broken. She imagined horrible images of Jekkih beating her constantly, Jila screaming for Abagail who would never come to rescue her, until Jila died broken and beaten and her dream of freedom for Orion Women dead with her.
Abagail looked up.
No, She thought defiantly, I won't let it end like this.
"Sir!" Gardner declared, "Someone's stollen a shuttlecraft and has made an unauthorized exit!"
"Heading." Samuel questioned.
"It appears to be locked on an intercept course for Jekkih's ship." Gardner declared.
"Abigail." Samuel whispered, muttering to himself.
He sat down determined.
"Take us in and prepare to intercept shuttlecraft." Samuel demanded.
"Aye, sir." Lampert acknowledged.
"Sir." Thomek called, "Sensors indicate a dangerous buildup of energy in Jekkih's ship. Detonation of his ship is imminent."
Samuel looked over at Dalton.
"Dalton, get a message to the shuttlecraft!" He ordered.
"Communications are blocked, sir." He informed.
Samuel pressed the intercom to the transporter room.
"Transporter room!" Samuel declared, "Do you have a lock on Abigail Grant's signature?"
"Yes, Captain." The Transporter Technician assured.
"Beam her back now!" Samuel ordered, "To the bridge!"
Soon, the familiar light beam was seen within the bridge and there stood Abigail. She suddenly realized her location and looked horrified.
"No!" She declared, "NO! NO! TAKE ME BACK!"
She ran to the viewscreen.
"JILA!" She cried screaming out.
But then she stopped when she saw Jekkih's ship explode. The result left nothing behind. Horrified, Abigail dropped to her knees. Tears ran down her face as she knelt down. Then she let out a noise that seemed to be a cross between a battle-scream and a cry of anguish.
Later, Abigail arrived outside of the captain's quarters. She was about to ring when Misa stepped outside. The two said nothing, but Misa offered her a look of sympathy and a nod.
Abigail nodded back and entered. She could see how Samuel had redecorated from Captain Miliandra. Behind his desk was a painting that showed the evolution of every ship that had shared the name of the Enterprise up until the Enterprise-J. Samuel was in front of a monitor when Abigail walked in and motioned her to take a seat in front of his desk. She did so as Samuel's eyes laid upon her.
"Abigail Grant." Samuel informed, "You are charged with multiple acts of defiance against superior officers, assaulting a guest onboard the Lightyear, and stealing a shuttlecraft in a foolish attempt to illegally board said guests ship and retrieve that which you hold great value to. How do you plead?"
"Guilty, sir." Abigail admitted, "I won't try tae make excuses. I knew what I was doin'. But I did it because I believed in what I was doing and because I felt it was my duty to defy your orders at all costs."
"Your previous acts of defiance would get you removed and imprisoned on a prison planet." Samuel admitted, "However, Starfleet is willing to pardon you because of the family heirloom that was lost when Jekkih's ship exploded."
Abagail looked up confused.
"Sir?" She questioned.
"It is a shame." Samuel pointed out, "You gave Jila something you treasured and forgot to take it back. Because of the understanding of what was lost, all charges are dropped."
Samuel looked at her with a friendly smile as she smiled back.
"You're free to return to duty when you feel." Samuel noted, hitting a button on his console, "Off-Record, you were right. I should be doing more. That's why Misa and I will be having routine sessions late at night from here on out. But there's something else I wished to tell you about."
"Growing up." Samuel explained, "Two of my favorite bedtime stories was the Battle of the Mutara Nebula and the Revival of Spock. The reason why I loved them was because I saw how Kirk had lost so much but was willing to give it up to save his friend. But as I got older, I realized those sacrifices Kirk was willing to make were ones he fully intended to face the full consequences of. Were it not for the Whale Probe, Kirk would surely have spent the rest of his life in Federation Custody at least satisfied that he had saved Spock's life. But there was no third factor today, and I had to do what I felt was right. Just as you did what you felt you had to do what was right. But I will continue to do as much as I can within reason without compromising Starfleet. Are we in agreement with each other?"
Abigail nodded. Samuel pulled out a recording tape.
"I think Jila would have wanted you to see this." He told her, as Abigail took the tape from him, "You're dismissed for the night, Chief Engineer."
Abigail nodded and left the captain's quarters.
Abigail sat on her bed in her personal quarters. She had instructed her Engineers to keep The Lightyear in check while she processed everything that had happened today. Finally, she inserted the recording tape into her personal computer and pressed play. Soon an image of Jila appeared on there.
"To anyone who sees this." Jila explained, "My mission to escape has failed. Jekkih has taken me back into custody, and my only option was to make his ship explode, taking me with it."
Jila took a deep breath.
"I do not see my death as an ending." She continued, "But as a beginning. A beginning of a signal that I hope will react Orion and all the other worlds that cry out for freedom from oppression. I scream and feel that no one is listening. But it was through the kindness of one individual that I stood up for what I believe in. I hope my actions will inspire others to stand up for the compassion that Abigail Grant showed me. Until my message becomes the belief we all share; freedom at all costs."
Abigail cried, but her tears were that of satisfaction. She promised when the time was right she would spread this message to everybody throughout the Orion System and hopefully begin to turn the tide. But as it stood, she needed to be aboard the Lightyear. Who knew how many other new worlds were out there? How many others were being oppressed like the Orion Girls were? The Lightyear would help as best it could and Abigail would be there to assist in any way she could.
"I have all the time in the world." Abigail promised, "I'll make sure yer declaration for freedom lives on."
She put a kissed her hand and then placed said hand on the screen.
"Goodnight, Jila." She smiled.
Man! That was a lot to get through. Anyways, I hope you enjoyed this chapter. Next time, an old familiar face from Trek Canon makes his appearance as the team undergoes a mission through time to try and stop an individual from altering the future. I'll do my best to make more updates, but we'll see what happens. Stay safe until then! As always, I own nothing but my OC's. This is for fan-purposes only so please don't sue!