“This is a restricted area,” said the Na’kuhl captain on the viewscreen, “Especially for anybody affiliated with the Federation,” the captain spat the final word.
“Although we are in a Federation vessel,” said Administrator Kuumaarke, “This is an entirely Lukari operation. We are on a peaceful scientific and humanitarian mission, attempting to reignite the fusion in your star. We had great success-“
“Enough. We have had enough of your Federation lies.”
“Captain, while it’s true this mission was requested and organized by the Federation, I assure you-“ she was cut off by the viewscreen going blank.
“Administrator, they are powering weapons,” said Lieutenant Commander Tivol, her Andorian tactical officer, “Should I raise shields?”
“No. No evasive maneuvers, either. Just hold position. They won’t fire,” She hoped they wouldn’t fire, at least. But it never served to worry the crew, even if those worries were justified.
The Na’kuhl ship fired a beam across the bow of the Defiant.
“Sir?” said Tivol.
“Hold position. Continue hails.”
“Aye, sir,“ he said, sounding noticeably nervous.
“They are hailing us,” said Lieutenant Brothaw, her Operations officer.
“Onscreen,” she said.
The captain of the Na’kuhl ship appeared on the screen, seeming somewhat conciliatory, “Your courage and persistence speak well of you. I would rather not destroy you. Please depart immediately.”
“If you would just listen for a moment. Our star was dying, and the Federation and Kal Dano used the-“
“Do not speak that name to me.”
“Very well, but we were able to reignite the star. And we have all the data. We hope that perhaps it might help us reignite yours as well.”
The Na’kuhl captain sighed, “I understand, and I appreciate your efforts. But my orders are clear. I am not to allow any ships into the system, especially not Federation ships.”
“I understand your anger and frustration. And I understand you have your orders. But if we do nothing, your star will continue dying. Can you afford that?”
“There are no guarantees that you can restart the star.”
“No, but can you afford to take that chance?”
“It’s not up to me. As I said, my orders are clear.”
Kuumaarke sighed, “Very well. Will you at least talk to your superiors?”
“I will. Although I doubt it will do much good,” the Na’kuhl captain cut communications.
“Helm, take us outside the system and hold position,” Kuumaarke said.
“We are in position, sir.”
“Very well. Activate cloaking device.”
“Cloaking device engaged.”
“Set course back to the star.”
“You heard me.”
Kuumaarke knew that if they were discovered, they risked a diplomatic incident. But she wasn’t going to let the Na’kuhl star die without a fight. It was too reminiscent of her own star. And she’d be damned if she’d let the Na’kuhl destroy themselves if there was a chance she could help. Especially when they blamed both Kal Dano and the Federation, who had saved her homeworld from destruction.
“Approaching the star now, sir. We don’t appear to have been detected.”
“Circle around to the far side of the star. Hopefully the magnetic interference from the star will mask our scanning beams.”
“Aye, sir. Activating scanning beams now.”
“I will be in Astrometrics.”
It was still a bit strange to have command of a starship, even if it was a temporary command. Starfleet felt that having a Lukari in command would be more palatable to the Na’kuhl, especially a scientist with her background in solar physics.
Not that they had much choice, after the Na’kuhl rejected every other diplomatic overture.
She reached the Astrometrics lab and began to review the telemetry.
It was, unfortunately, just what she expected. They would be doing in-depth analysis of the data for weeks to come to confirm, but she could already tell that it was as she feared. The fusion in the star had been permanently disrupted. And without the quantum phase inhibitor, or even Kal Dano, it was unlikely they would be able to do much to reignite the star.
But that didn’t mean she wasn’t going to do everything she could.
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