Star Trek Hunter
Rock of Ages
Scene 3: Adding Insult to Injury
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3
Adding Insult to Injury
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And the least dignified thing that could possibly happen to the al semoran people in their last days was for the ferengi vultures to arrive and begin salivating over a star system that would soon be off the prohibited list and legally available for them to conduct mining operations. A star system rich in dilithium, one of the most precious resources for any spacefaring species.

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Lieutenant Lin Sui Yi, standing watch at the tactical station behind the captain, announced their arrival: "Captain, sensors are picking up a ferengi cruiser. Registry indicates it is the F.M.S. Usotro."

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Captain Elizabeth Shelby exchanged an exasperated look with her 1st officer, Commander Jingfei Irons - well, exchanged wasn't exactly correct. Cmdr. Irons was mostly Chinese, but also more than a quarter vulcan and was generally more emotionally reserved than the average vulcan. She could easily be mistaken for one.

"Now what?" Shelby groused. "Can't these vultures wait until after the funeral to begin scouting their plunder?"

Cmdr. Irons raised her eyebrows slightly in response. Which was about as intense an emotional response as the partially vulcan officer ever displayed.

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Her first officer's reserve was almost as annoying as the presence of the ferengi. "Hail them," Captain Shelby ordered.

"Um… sir," said Lt. Lin. "They're hailing us. They want to send a delegation."

"No more than three," Shelby responded. "Have them escorted to the mission briefing room next to the main transporter room. We're not giving them a tour." She touched a comm link on the arm of her chair. "Lieutenant Commander Tarrokh to the bridge." Shelby stood up and turned toward her first officer. "Jingfei, you with me. Sui, you have the con until Farid gets here." She swept off the bridge, Cmdr. Irons in tow.

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Shelby was concerned. The U.S.S. Trident was an upgraded Galaxy Class ship - cutting edge technology - for 10 years ago. She was familiar with the F.M.S. Usotro - a top of the line ferengi cruiser. It was more than a match for her vessel and Shelby had well over a hundred civilians aboard - mostly the children and other family of her crew. If the ferengi were to press the issue, she might have to withdraw. She was determined not to do that, which meant she had to win this confrontation in the conference room.

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But the newly promoted captain was unprepared for the delegation that awaited her.

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. Author's Note:


For those who recognize the name Irons from the Star Trek Hunter series, Jingfei Irons does not appear in the trilogy (The Man Who Broke the Federation, The Destroyer of Worlds and Kingdom Come (published on FF as Episodes 1 through 28.))

Commander Jinfei Irons is Justice Minerva Irons' first cousin once removed, one of several hundred first cousins in a very large family that is equal parts Chinese tong and political dynasty. Minerva's vulcan grandmother, R'huar Irons, is Jingfei's great-grandmother. Jingfei also has a vulcan grandfather, making her somewhat more vulcan by both blood and temperament than Minerva (a.k.a. Shiva).