The Last Days of the USS Starlight Pony (Chap 17)
A note to all readers:
Sorry for the delay. Over the last half a year I have been working on a variety of stuff over life. Thanks to the recent Movement Control Order in Malaysia I have more time to dedicate to my stories.
I hope to make more progress soon, I got three weeks ahead to finish my story.
So, back to the show... after a hiatus.
Till then, Enjoy.

Previously... Chapter 16:
Still struggling from the shock of the news, Neytiri was only able to ask,” What is my specific task Admiral?”

“I am assigning you to be my adjunct for the duration of the rest of this assignment,” Admiral Janeway replied, “Due to your standing in Caitian society, I would like you to be my eyes and ears on the Caitian delegation. What they are thinking, what is on their minds, basically anything that we should look out for as we get them to Ferenginar and ratify the trade deal.”

“I will have a report in the morning,” Neytiri calmly replied.

“Good girl,” Admiral Janeway said approvingly, “You will be transferred to the Chimera until we finish this.”

And Now...
The Last Days of the USS Starlight Pony (Chap 17)

Fludicus let out a sigh of relief. The Starlight Pony had entered the Badland with just minutes to spare.

“We won’t be so lucky next time,” he remarked to himself.

The rest of the bridge crew was going about their business. Lieutenant Commander Mirra was going from one station to the other to assess the situation. Ensign Gepba was laying down multiple courses and possible corrections for their journey ahead. Specialist Sirol and her team were asked to stay out of this round: the mission now was getting too dangerous for personnel of her kind to continue their jobs. Ensign So’lur was now taking up the science station, while Lieutenant Kyzia took up the sensors station, liaising with Commander Thron on sensor calibration and maintenance.

 Mirra went to Fludicus who was now smugly in the Captain’s seat, “Everyone's like clockwork Commander,” she then looked at the viewscreen showing the scenery of the Badlands.

“Everything as much as we can,” Fludicus remarked, “If only if we got more intel...”

“Considering that we have so little time to prepare, I am surprised we got any at all,” Mirra commented.

“I guess we got to go with what we have. They were still decrypting the datalogs,” Fludicus said, “Besides, we have a duty after all...”

“It would be a few more hours until we can... resume our search from where we left off...” Mirra began.

“I could use some down time,” Fludicus said on hearing the news. He got off his chair, “Take command Mirra. I could use some stretching and some root beer down at the galley.”


Captain Nog's log. USS Chimera.

I am giving Captain Neytiri a tour of the USS Chimera as instructed by Admiral Janeway. My colleague would be attached to the Admiral’s staff while we witness Ferenginar ratify the trade treaty between the Caitians and the Ferengi.

Neytiri and Nog emerged from the Turbolift and turned right into a corridor. Both captains had good moods by the expressions on their faces.

“I am surprised by the sheer size of our ship,” Neytiri remarked, “Even I wonder how do you cope running such a fine ship like this.”

“I know this ship like the back of my hand,” Nog replied, “After all, I helped design this ship.”

“Must have been a crowning achievement,” remarked Neytiri.

“It is...” Nog replied, “In fact I am most proud of the engines. Did you know Chief O'Brien attended the launching ceremony?”

“I read that he overhauled the first USS Defiant after Sisko took it out from the mothball fleet.”

“A lot of lessons were learnt from his tinkering of the engines and the hull,” Nog explained, “I was glad to be mentored under him and take much from his ways.”

“His expertise is well studied,” Neytiri was then distracted by a flickering of the lights, “Was that me?”

“We still got some wrinkles to iron out here,” Nog explained, “We launched the Chimera a month earlier than scheduled. If I had it my way we would be putting her in dry dock just to deal with all these minor nuisances.”

“You really need a dry dock for this?”

“We have had little down time since Vega. The Chimera has been travelling up and down the frontline and all over the place. It may not look like it but every other day I would get reports of some glitch, leak or some abnormality that was not discovered earlier.”

“You were that rushed into service?” Neytiri asked Nog as the two captains turned a corner towards their destination.

Nog nodded, “You weren’t meant to see her until after your graduation,” Nog shook his head at the matter, “long story but to keep it short, the brass wanted her out in the field without due consideration of her untested systems.”

“Don’t be so harsh on Starfleet Command,” Admiral Janeway’s voice was a surprise to the two captains, “Launching the Chimera was a very hard decision: We could not afford to lack the numbers against a determined foe. And the Klingons are a foe who have seemingly unlimited determination.”

Nog and Neytiri found themselves looking at Admiral Janeway standing at the door to the briefing room. In one hand she held several PADDs. On seeing that she got their attention, the Admiral simply said, “Let’s get in.”

Captain Neytiri never saw the Chimera’s briefing room until that moment. It was a long, narrow room akin to some designed for larger vessels like this. As with so many briefing rooms of this kind, it had several common features: a set of windows to open up the room to the cosmos, a table that matched the room’s dimensions and a screen allowing for presentations. The one true thing that caught Neytiri’s eye was the screen: this one stretched across the bulkhead it was placed on, turning it into some sort of interactive mural. On it were some schematics of warp drives, a picture of Ferenginar and a profile of Nog’s father Rom, the Grand Nagus for the Ferengi Alliance.

“Take a seat captains,”Admiral Janeway said. Neytiri and Nog took up seats facing the screen, while  the Admiral went to the opposite side to drop her PADDs on the table before reaching for the screen. She touched the section featuring Rom and flicked it to the middle of the screen, expanding it as well as banishing the rest of the display in the process.

“Right,” Admiral Janeway turned to her subordinates, “Down to business, as they would say. You all know what the game is.”

“Exactly,” Nog replied, “My father wants good relations with the Federation. It’s a long-term investment that he believes will profit everyone.”

“Maybe except for those left out in the cold,” Neytiri interjected. “the issue we have is the Caitians and the Ferengi had made a separate deal a century earlier and it was falling apart. Not good.”

“It’s a good thing we patched it up,” Admiral Janeway said, “Take the PADDs.”

Nog and Neytiri took a PADD each. As they both accessed the information inside, Admiral Janeway continued to pursue the topic.

“We need to assess the situation and what would be the outcome as well as other possible deviations,” Admiral Janeway said, “no matter how improbable it may be.”

“My father fears assassination,” Nog said, “but Leeta believes it to be very miniscule.”

“I can get nothing from the Caitian delegation as of now...” Neytiri added.

Admiral Janeway raised an eyebrow, “I did assign you to keep an eye on the Caitian delegation didn’t I?”

“Yes Admiral,” replied Neytiri, “right now though I can tell you there is nothing that I can foresee that would endanger the stance or sentiment of the Caitian delegation. As a matter of fact, most have been discussing holding a trade exhibition on Ferenginar or asking to meet the Grand Nagus himself.”

“Support of my father as the Grand Nagus is high,” Nog said, “The Congress of Economic Advisors have expressed willingness to support the agreement and allow for its ratification with minimal opposition, if there is any.”

“I prefer it to be that way,” quipped Admiral Janeway, “Let’s hope there are no last minute bribes to sabotage the deal.”

“With it being a century long and having limitless potential for growth, I see little purpose in anyone doing such a thing. It would not be... profitable.”

“Indeed,” agreed Neytiri, “there is nothing worse to a Ferengi than destroying your own profits.”

“Right.. Is there anything else to report?” Admiral Janeway asked. Both the captains shook their heads, “Good, because it’s time to go to our more... complicated assignment.”


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