The contents of the Ship Logs are considered to be a
"compilation" under the provisions of Title 17, U.S. Code (known as
the Copyright Act): that is, "A work formed by the collection and
assembling of preexisting materials or of data that is selected, coordinated or
arranged in such a way that the resulting work as a whole constitutes an
original work of authorship." As such, it is the property of the ship’s
Captain; however, automatic transfer of ownership to STARSHIPS OF THE THIRD
effected upon publication of this mission by the ship’s Captain ipso facto.
As outlined in Circular 1 (Copyrighted Basics, Library
of Congress, Washington DC, USGPO 1989-262-309/12), "copyrighted in each
separate contribution to a periodical or other collective work is distinct from
the copyright in the collective work as a whole and vests initially with the
author of the contribution."
This mission may not be reproduced in any form without
the express, written authorization of STARSHIPS OF THE THIRD FLEET.
Monday – 0715 hours – Captain’s Ready Room
An Andorian in a Starfleet uniform strode quickly into
the room and stood, ramrod straight before the Captain. His collar pips put him
at the rank of commander, but he bore no device to indicate what command he was
from. With a curt bow, he held out a glistening silver package. "Captain, I have
a priority tasking from Admiral Daniel Evans, 3rd Fleet Commanding
for USS PHOENIX. This tasking supersedes all current tasking’s until this
priority mission is complete. Please summon your Chief Intelligence Officer."
T.E. took the package and glanced over the markings
and wordings – it was all official.
EYES ONLY – CAPTAIN TANYA ELIZABETH LAWRENCE, C.O.
LIEUTENANT COMMANDER SEABROOK, C.I.O.
Code Name: CASTLED KING
DO NOT ACCEPT FROM COURIER IF SEAL IS BROKEN
Agency courier is required by Federation law to demand
proof of security clearance by seeing your card 7006. This file cannot be
relinquished without such positive proof of identity and clearance.>>>>
T.E. nodded. "Thank you, commander," she said as she
tapped the intercom to SMIDGEN, the ship’s intelligence bay. "Commander
Seabrook, please report to my ready room ASAP. We have a visitor."
In less than a minute the hatch hissed open and, as
Seabrook entered, he gave the courier a curious look, but took a seat. The
Captain traded glances with him and then she tore the red seal from the
envelope. She tilted the envelope down and a PADD along with digital photographs
spilled out onto the table. T.E. picked up the PADD and began reading it.
"Your target is a man known as Don Alonzo, a known
terrorist who has joined forces with several human and Orion cartels. Until a
year ago, Alonzo was content to ply kidnappings, hijacking and assassinations
targeting only other gangs. However, recent events have taken a more serious
turn. Starfleet Intelligence has evidence that a secret interstellar cartel,
whose existence has only been suspected, is supplying and arming individual
terrorist groups as well as providing professional military training."
Captain Lawrence looked over to her Intelligence
Officer, expecting to see some expression of recognition in his eyes and her
nod, pointing to the image of a middle-aged man with a receding hairline and
thick jowls. "I’ve had some dealings with Don Alonzo. He was just small time
then, acting as a recruiting agent for both the cartels and the Tal Shi’ar. I
once had him cornered, but he fled into Klingon space. I suspect he might have
had some further training there."
T.E. looked back to the Andorian. "Is this
The man shook his head. "No. We’ve located Alonzo’s
personal headquarters, a large, well-guarded compound on the asteroid,
Reconquista. A HUMINT source has been able to tell us that the compound has
three floors and a large basement as well as over fifty mercenary guards, some
of them Klingon. Your orders are to capture Alonzo alive."
"What’s our window of opportunity?" asked Seabrook.
"The source says Alonzo will be there only a week and
that was a day ago."
T.E. thought for a moment, playing out the scenario.
Colonel Horn could fly in a strike team and fifty mercenaries shouldn’t be too
difficult for him. She knew better though. "What’s the catch?"
The Andorian smirked. "The asteroid is just inside the
Neutral Zone. Stealth is the priority. No further assistance will be provided
and no one will come to your rescue. When you have Alonzo, he is to be detained
in secret aboard your vessel and no one other than your command staff is to have
access to him."
The Captain and Seabrook traded glances again. "Well,
she said, we best get underway then."
Tuesday - 0300 – 1000km from asteroid Reconquista.
Strike team from USS PHOENIX enroute to the target. Action imminent.
Colonel Lewis Horn grew increasingly impatient at
being kept in the dark as he led the marine strike team deeper into space
towards a seemingly benign asteroid field. He jinked his Nazgul fighter
port and starboard to ensure that no hostile force was creeping up on his team.
"This is King Cobra. The area is clear to our six. Keep scanning people. We
don’t know what’s out here."
"Cobra Three thinks that this could be a goat rope,"
the speaker crackled with Tasi Maavasa’s voice that came from the cockpit of the
Xanadu assault transport, packed with marines, security officers and
specialists from the ship.
"Cool it, Maavasa," Major Kendra Pel said in
chastisement from her nearby fighter.
A Highlander heavy fighter zipped up alongside.
Horn looked over and could just make out Triana Edwards and Alice McConnell in
the cockpit. "This is Cobra Four," said Alice who was manning the electronic
warfare suite, "I’m picking up long range sensor pulses from the asteroid. Pulse
frequency is low so I don’t think they’ve seen us yet."
"Good," King Cobra said. "Activate the scatter program
and power down emissions. We go in quiet and hit the compound on foot." He was
about to throttle back when a red light flashed on his communications panel. He
flipped the channel over to an ultra low, encrypted frequency. "This is King
It was the Captain. "This is Firebird Actual. Priority
Code Omega Two Niner transmission. Acknowledge."
Something was wrong. Horn keyed his mike. "Firebird,
this is King Cobra. I authenticate Epsilon Two Niner Beta. Go ahead."
"Abort present mission. Repeat, abort present mission.
Are you ready for new instructions?"
"Roger Firebird Actual. Standing by."
There was a short pause before the Captain spoke
again. "Cobras, change heading to Zero Seven Five. Stand by for new briefing,
Code Name SICILIAN DEFENSE."
King Cobra snapped the flight stick to the right to
take the new heading as did all of his formation. They were well trained, but no
doubt curious as to the change.
"King Cobra," the Captain continued, "At 0210 this
morning, an armed group seized control of the M/V Azure Sky enroute to
New Canton colony, just outside the Neutral Zone. Intell says they have a HUMINT
source aboard that has provided information that a human/plant hybrid is aboard
and that the unknown group intends to infect New Canton. Do you follow, King
That had to be the Jinkson mutant. What else could it
be? "Roger Phoenix Actual. Continue briefing, over."
"The purpose for such action is unknown and it is
unknown if this is, in any way, connected to Alonzo. Commander T’Prel’s findings
indicate that infection is spread through contact with open wounds or ingestion.
Do no allow yourself to be cut or bitten by the mutant."
"I’ve already been there, Phoenix Actual, so
"Direct the science team with you to begin immediate
synthesis of DNA countermeasures. Additionally, target vessel has altered course
to heading of Two Eight Five, direct course to New Canton, E.T.A. in three hours
and five minutes. Immediate action is imperative. HUMINT source indicates twenty
to thirty armed individuals with disruptors and explosives. No communication has
been received from the group. Security orders have been issued to New Canton.
Stand by for mission briefing, SICILIAN DEFENSE."
"Cobras, standing by, over."
"Come to vector Zero Four Five to intercept target at
grid coordinates CY 8259. Estimate time to intercept at twenty minutes. Mission
objectives as follows: Retake M/V Azure Sky, secure or destroy any and
all mutant samples without contamination, rescue HUMINT source and all
passengers and crew left on board, determine who is behind this. King Cobra,
"This is King Cobra. Mission parameters received and
understood. Immediate vectors to new target as ordered. Returning to EMCON
"Phoenix Actual…good luck and God Speed. End
USS PHOENIX - 0500 – The Nest
Captain Lawrence and Commander Stryker leaned over the
map before them as Seabrook drew a line of the PHOENIX position to the
asteroid." I think this area is the safest to go in at."
"I don’t have a good feeling about this, Seabrook. I
don’t like the idea of our marines on another mission when we need all the help
we can get. We have no idea what we are up against." TE took a sip of her hot
"Come on T.E., you’ve been through tons of these "no
win situations" and came out with flying colors. Let’s get in there and
give them bloody hell!!!"
Lawrence smiled at Stryker. She looked at Seabrook,
"Let’s do it!"