By Jim Guyjimguy46@hotmail.com
Disclaimer. Enterprise characters belong to the creators of the show. Only the OC's and the story are mine. Any similarity to another show is the fault of the muses. I make no income from this story. Everyone knows they do not have money on Starships
The Thebians are loosely based on the old Battlestar Galactica that was a 1979 TV series created by Glenn A. Larson. All of the Thebian characters are my own.
The 1/7th Rangers were never called Rangers in episode, The Expanse. They came into being in my story "Into the Valley of Death". So far my OC's are: Sergeant Major Benjamin Snowden, Sergeant Joe Layne, Sergeant Tina Alvarado, and Sergeant Manda Alvarado. Dana Heard belongs to Dee.
This is a continuing saga that started in Road Map to the Stars, Phoenix, Déjà Vué, Khu, Target Xindi, A Really Bad Day and Retrieval; which I highly recommend that you read first.
Newly promoted Sergeant First Class Dana Heard looked at the encrypted message on the view screen in the Ready Room of the Thebes. Commander Bethel Miw-sher paced the deck. "Dana, what does this mean? Those are strong accusations."
"Commander, three months ago, the day the Thebian fleet saved our bacon, we lost twenty crewmen. The bodies were placed in a funeral ship, as is our custom when someone dies in space. In the old sailing days, they would have been buried in the sea. If you remember we tracked the Xindi to a primitive world and found our dead being experimented on by the Xindi. They had taken DNA from the crew and were cloning them. Several embryos were discovered before the attack group destroyed everything. One of the dead was Major Hayes. Now three months later we find him alive. I believe Captain Archer is being cautious."
Bethel nodded. "A wise move. How do we make it so he is not suspicious?"
"Well, he knows nothing about our working relationship. All critical areas including the bridge and launch bays should be restricted. He is not a pilot so he doesn't need to be in the launch bay. We can explain that Tina, Manda and I are flight crew. Xris is Thebian and a Flight Sergeant and only the flight crews are allowed to be armed. We will carry only sidearms, heavier weapons will be kept under lock and key."
"That can be arranged. Dana you were trained well. I can see why you made Sergeant First Class. Have you ever thought about becoming an officer?"
Dana laughed then shook her head. "As Ben says, Sergeants are the backbone of the military. They are Non-commissioned Officers and that means that they are the working class. Officers make the decisions but it is the Non-Coms who make them happen. I earned my stripes and I am damned proud if them. No offense, Commander."
"None taken. I like it when my Sergeants speak their mind."
"Commander, on the Thebes, only Tina and myself know what is going on. Everyone else is on a different ship. Knowing Tina, I would bet Manda and Xris also know. Joe, Ben, Captain Archer, T'Pol and Doctor Phlox know, but like I said they are not on the Thebes."
Bethel nodded. "Then we will keep it that way."
Major Hayes sat in his assigned quarters, seething in anger. His attempts to wander around the Thebes and enter the bridge, the armory and the launch bay had been thwarted by three armed guards at every point. He looked up at sound of the door chime and walked over and hit the opener. As the door slid back he found Dana standing outside with a sidearm on her hip. "Dana, I demand to know why I am being held prisoner."
Dana frowned. "Major Hayes, you are not a prisoner."
"Like hell. Armed guards refused to let me enter the armory, the launch bay or the Bridge." He eyed the side arm. "Give me your weapon."
"No Sir, I cannot do that."
"I am your superior officer and your Commander. Give me that weapon or I will have you arrested for insubordination."
"With all due respect Sir, on the Thebes the only personnel allowed to be armed are pilots, Colonial Warriors and Marines. It is standard procedures on Thebian ships."
"You are a Ranger. Why are you armed?"
"I am in command of the retrieval team and I am a pilot."
"You a pilot? Good God girl, I remember when you couldn't drive a car without hitting something."
"I have had some training. I am not as good as Tina or Manda or even Joe, but I can hold my own."
Hayes sighed and sat down. "Whose orders do you follow, your boy friends?"
"Must I remind you Major that it was you who introduced Ben and me and you knew of our relationship when we came aboard. I follow Captain Archer's orders and while on the Thebes, I follow Commander Miw-sher's."
"You don't trust me, is that it?"
"Major, Command Sergeant Major Snowden has led the Rangers sinceÖ since you died. Hell, Ben and I put your body on that funeral ship."
Hayes got up and paced the deck. "I am sorry about the crack I made about you and Ben, that was out of line. Dana I am still your commander."
"Until you are cleared by Doctor Phlox, you have been relieved of all command functions. Everyone saw you die. Major how would you feel if Joanna Wheelwright walked in that door right now?"
Hayes blinked as he tried to remember. "Joanna?"
"The first Ranger to die in the line of duty on Enterprise. You don't remember do you? What else do you not remember?"
Hayes shook his head. "There seems to be quite a few gaps in my memory. How long before Phlox can give me the green light?"
"We were left to retrieve you when Enterprise and the rest of the fleet left. They had two days head start and we don't have warp five capabilities. More like warp three if you are looking for comparison. Thebian ships have different technology. Warp drive had not been invented when these ships were built."
Hayes stared at her. "How old are these ships?"
"Well over fifteen hundred years."
"Bridge to Sergeant Heard."
"Dana here, Commander."
"Report to my Ready Room."
"At once Commander." She turned to Hayes. "Don't worry Major. You had a strange ordeal. I will keep you posted."
T'Pol watched from the Command Seat as Degra's ship departed with Captain Archer and his team. 'I hope we don't have another attack while Jonathon is gone.' She turned to Joe Layne. "Sergeant Layne, contact the fleet and give them our position. Tell them we are waiting for them." She looked at the Armory Officer. "Lieutenant Reed, are your weapons ready?"
"Ready when you are Sub-Commander."
T'Pol nodded as a beep was heard on the communications console. Joe turned to T'Pol. "Commander Manethô has responded Ma'am. He will be here in twelve hours. Commander Miw-sher is at maximum speed and will be here in thirty six hours."
"Very well. When they arrive, I want a meeting with all commanders. I also want you and Sergeant Heard along."
"What about our guest?"
"Lieutenant Reed, I want you to meet our guest and escort him to quarters until Doctor Phlox has had a chance to thoroughly examine him. She hit the intercom. "T'Pol to Phlox."
"Phlox here, Sub-Commander."
"Doctor, please meet me in the Ready Room in an hour."
A nervous and distraught Denobulan Doctor entered the Ready Room in trepidation. He saw T'Pol seated behind a console. She looked up at him
"Have a seat Doctor. I am sorry I haven't had a chance to talk to you earlier. Before he left, the Captain asked me to speak to you."
Phlox sat down. "Sub-Commander, before you say anything, I am relieving myself from duty and am resigning as Chief Medical Officer."
T'Pol arched an eyebrow. "For what reason?"
"I made an error in judgement and allowed a live person to be sent into space. I am responsible for sending a man to his death."
"Doctor if that were the case, then I should relieve myself as I was responsible for the death of seventeen crewmen. As Captain Archer has pointed out, everyone makes mistakes, even Vulcans."
"Doctor Phlox straightened up in his chair. 'T'Pol admitting she made an error?'
"Doctor, I do not believe you made an error, nor does Captain Archer. In fact that is why I asked you here. We believe that Major Hayes is a possible clone, or as the Captain said, a plant."
"Why would anyone do that?"
"What better way to infiltrate your enemy than to pose as some one they know and trust?" She picked up a PADD. "Sergeant Heard has sent a detailed report of the retrieval operation. She included what the Doctor told her. He may be lying."
"Or he may be telling the truth, Sub-Commander. Either way I will run a full medical scan once he gets here."
T'Pol nodded. " I want you to run a psychological exam and as well as a submolecular scan. If may be that this individual is who he says he is but we can not afford to take chances."
"Understood." Phlox stood up. "Thank you T'Pol. This whole thing has weighed heavily on me."
T'Pol nodded. "Major Hayes is not to be given an opportunity to destroy us. Remember those individuals who came aboard with explosives inside them and who were ready and willing to destroy the ship. He may be the same and not even know it."
Archer was still upset with the news that the Reptilians had killed Degra. His resolve however to complete his mission was stronger as he boarded Degra's ship under the command of a Humanoid Xindi by the name of Rayado Cabeza.
Rayado watched Archer pace the bridge of the Xindi ship and shook his head. "Captain if you don't relax, you will wear out the deck. We have sometime before we catch up to them."
Archer gave a cold look at Rayado and then it softened as he looked at Hoshi, starring into a console screen. The Ensign's face showed intense concentration, worry and sorrow. "Ensign Sato. Hoshi."
She looked up at Archer.
"If I am wearing out the deck pacing, you are going to bore a hole in that viewscreen." He smiled at the young woman.
Hoshi gave Archer a slight smile. Sorry Captain. I am just trying to find any little thing." She looked back at the screen. "Like this! Just inside scanning range."
Rayado walked over and looked at the screen. "You have keen eyesight, Ensign. Captain, we get so used to using sensors that we sometimes forget about our natural abilities."
Archer nodded. "Our universal translator was made possible by Ensign Sato's very perceptive hearing. She has made it possible for us to understand some of the most complicated languages, even Insectoid."
"You are an amazing species, Captain. It is almost unbelievable in the short amount of time that you have been in space to have overcome some fantastic obstacles. I am sorry that we had to meet under such dire circumstances."
Archer straightened up as he looked at Rayado. "I agree. We set out to explore space, not to fight a war. Maybe in the future, Human and Xindi will be friends." Archer thought of the conversation he had had with Daniels in the future where Xindi served on human ships.
Rayado checked his instruments. "Captain, did you lose anyone during the attack on Earth."
Archer shook his head as he glanced at Ben. "No, but all of our Rangers and our Chief Engineer did. He was killed in a previous attack on our ship by the Reptilians and Insectoids."
Rayado looked at Ben, who stood at parade rest at the back of the Bridge. "Sergeant, I assume that means you lost someone."
Ben sighed and sadly nodded. "My wife and daughters."
"Do you hold an animosity towards Degra since he designed and built the weapon that caused their deaths?"
"I am a soldier. I fight where I am told to and whom I am told to fight. I was taught that revenge is something that will get you killed and the mission will fail. If I hold any animosity towards anyone, it is against the people who set you on this path of destruction with their lies. Humans are not interested in conquest. War is not something we want. We learned that after centuries of struggles."
"But you are trained to fight isn't that a contradiction?"
"A wise man once said that in peace prepare for war, in war prepare for peace. The art of war is of vital importance to the state. It is a matter of life and death, a road either to safety or to ruin. Hence under no circumstances can it be neglected."
"He must be a modern man."
Archer laughed. "His name was Sun Tsu and he wrote a book called the Art of War a couple of thousand years ago when humans fought on horseback with swords. He has never been wrong."
Rayado looked Archer in the eyes. "Your Sergeant is a man of strong convictions and he is very straightforth."
"You asked the question." He smiled at Ben. "I wouldn't have it any other way."
A Xindi humanoid turned from his workstation. "Our target is three parsecs away. I anticipate interception in two hours at our present speed and heading."
Rayado looked at Hoshi's screen. "Have they detected us yet?"
The Xindi looked back at his console. "Unknown, but I doubt that our ship would cause them any alarm. The human ship would have."
Rayado nodded and looked at Archer. "You realize that on this mission, I will have to fire on my own people."
Archer nodded. "A handful of renegades or an entire species, maybe two. I think it is worth it. I would do the same if it meant stopping a mass genocide."
"Then I hope you have some words of encouragement."
Archer was grim faced as he turned to Ben. "Tally ho." Ben turned and left the bridge as he checked his weapon. Archer turned back to Rayado. "It basically means, go get them."
T'Pol and Joe waited in the Ready Room as the eighteen Thebian Commanders and the Ranger team assembled. Dana, Tina, Manda, Xris and Commander Miw-sher entered. T'Pol looked at the Rangers. "Where is Major Hayes?"
Dana nodded at Joe. "Lieutenant Reed is escorting him to sick bay. Five Rangers are guards, three on the inside and two outside. Their weapons are on stun and will fire if anything becomes suspicious."
When the Fleet Commanders were assembled, T'Pol put up a display of the sphere layout. "There are still some gaps on the location of the spheres due to having to rebuild the data that was lost. We have studied the placement and we feel that there is a ninety-eight per cent probability of a central sphere. If we destroy that one, the whole system might collapse." She walked over to the screen and pointed to a coordinate. "We have identified this one as the potential central sphere. You have a question Commander Kiya?"
"Yes. What if it isn't?"
"What do you mean?"
"Do you have a second possibility for a central sphere? There may be two spheres that are connected. Destroying one may not do anything. In addition if Ship one is connected to ship two, what is there to say that ship two is not connected to ship three?"
Commander Manethô looked at Kiya. "The Commander has a point. We have nineteen ships Maybe we should try and identify at least three ships and make a simultaneous attack on all three. If all three were destroyed at once, it would blow a hole in their grid. I am not saying it would destroy it, but it would cripple it and maybe give us time to hit three more spheres."
T'Pol nodded. "I will take that under advisement. In the meantime, I want you all to draw up your attack suggestions and forward them to Sergeant Layne. He is our Communications Officer now that Ensign Sato is on an assignment with the Captain."
Everyone left but Layne and T'Pol. "Sub-Commander, I am not a Communications Officer, I am a Sergeant. If anything I am the Communications Specialist." He grinned at T'Pol.
"My apologies Sergeant. I forget how protective you Rangers are of their rank."
"No apologies needed, I just wanted to set the record straight."
Archer walked over to the porthole and looked out. He thought back on the strange things that had happened on this mission. He had been sent to stop the attack on Earth with one ship. Now he had help from the Thebians with their 18 ships as well as the Arboreal, Humanoid and Amphibian Xindi. The problem was that the Reptilians and Insectoids had launched the weapon, but they only had two of the three necessary codes that were needed to activate it. He and Hoshi had met with the council. Now he was chasing the weapon on a Xindi ship. When Enterprise had attacked the weapon, it had taken a hit on the starboard nacelle just before the Reptilians escaped into the Vortex. Worse yet, they had transported Hoshi to their ship.
"Hayes to TíPol"
TíPol looked at the comm and appeared to scowl. "What is it, major?"
"I heard Hoshi was kidnapped. I wish to lead the recovery team."
"I donít think that would be advisable, Major."
From his station Reed looked at TíPol. "Sub-Commander, he does have the respect of his people. Maybe it would be a good idea."
TíPol nodded. "Very well, Major, report to the Armory. TíPol out." She looked at Reed and nodded.
Three hours later the recovery team beamed aboard with an unconscious Hoshi. Minutes later a critically wounded Hayes beamed aboard. Shortly afterwards he expired.
Reed walked into the Ranger area and informed them that Hayes had died. When volunteers were requested, they all moved forward. He nodded to them with an expression that showed he was proud of them. Still unconscious, Hoshi was removed to Degraís ship along with reed and three Rangers. On board, Hoshi recovered.
"Archer to TíPol."
"Go ahead Captain."
"The Reptilians have entered the vortex and we are following. We only have ten hours to stop them. Are your plans ready?"
"Yes Sir, we will attack Sphere 41. That should cause a chain reaction. If it doesnít the fleet will attack other spheres simultaneously.
"Good. We each have our mission. Good luck."
"Be safe Captain. TíPol out."
Archer was shocked when Shran appeared on the view screen of Degra's ship and offered to protect the Xindi ship while the Amphibians helped Enterprise get close enough to attack Sphere 41. Archer, with Snowden and Reed led the attack team and after the reactor was tampered with, everyone transported off the weapon, everyone except Archer. After a hand to hand round of combat with the Reptilian Commander, he ran for his life as the weapon exploded.
Hours later Degra's ship re-emerged with Enterprise and relayed the news that Archer had not made it off the weapon. News spread throughout the ship and the fleet of the Captain's demise.
A somber Dana met Ben as he emerged from the airlock. Ben looked at Dana and slightly shook his head. Dana felt a tightness in her throat as Reed told T'Pol of the Captain's fate. Dana took Ben's hand and then hugged him as T'Pol turned away, saddness clearly registering on her face.
Later as T'Pol visited Phlox in sickbay and felt compassion for Porthos, the beagle started wagging his tail excitedly.
Phlox looked at the Vulcan and the beagle. "Interesting how his dog is reacting to you, Sub-Commander."
T'Pol looked at Phlox. "Indeed. If you don't mind, I think I will look after him for awhile." She stood up and walked to the door. She turned to the quadruped. "Come, Porthos."
The beagle looked at T'Pol and bounded to her side. As the sickbay doors opened, the dog raced down the corridor as he bayed. T'Pol ran after him. She slowed down as she rounded a corner and found the quadruped scratching at the Captain's door. She punched in the door code and was shocked when the door opened. Standing in the center of the room was Captain Archer.
"Jonathon!" T'Pol launched herself into Archer's arms and kissed him. She pulled her head back. "How?"
"Our Andorian friends pulled me out at the last moment. I think Shran has a sense of humor as he transported me here instead of someone else's room or the brig."
T'Pol kissed him again. "I thought I lost you."
"I had doubts of my survival myself."
"Trip to T'Pol."
Hanging onto Archer's arm as she walked over and punched the comm button. "T'Pol here."
"I want to discuss a memorial service for the Captain."
"Later. T'Pol out."
She looked at Archer. "T'Pol to Ensign Sato."
"Sato here, Sub Comm er Captain."
"Give me a ship wide comm line."
Archer grinned. "This is the Captain. The news of my death has been greatly exaggerated. I am happy to report that our mission was a success. The weapon has been destroyed and Earth is safe. I congratulate the crew on the destruction of the Spheres. We have made some new friends." He paused as he heard cheering over the intercom. "Hoshi please notify all Fleet Commanders and the Rangers scattered through the fleet to report to Enterprise at 0800 tomorrow."
"Yes, Sir! It is good to have you back Captain."
"It's good to be back. Archer out." He pulled T'Pol back into his arms. "Now where were we?" His mouth found hers.
Porthos looked at the Captain and the Vulcan as he found his bed and sat down, tail wagging a mile a minute.