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"The Well of Peace"

Updated: Apr 21, 2023

Acting Captain's Log - Stardate 94314.4. The al Haytham, with her repairs now near completion, set off for POI A-7866 in the Aldebaran Sector, an anomaly first discovered by the USS Attar a few weeks earlier. Captain Timoreev said that they had detected an unusual gravitational anomaly between two uninhabited systems in the sector, A-86 and A-102 respectively. Both these systems were discovered in the early 24th Century when they were classed as uninhabited. Captain Timoreev's reports suggested that they still are uninhabited, but we will not know for sure until we arrive and scan ourselves. As to what this gravitational anomaly is...we have taken onboard a Lieutenant Sumida, from the Attar, to aid with our investigation.

"Onscreen," Sulayman leaned forward in Captain V'Lala's chair, on the edge of the seat. His fingers were entwined together and his chin rested on his closed hands as he looked at the picture that was being projected on the viewer. A mass of broken rocks littered the system like a minefield, planets with large chunks taken off them orbited erratically like half eaten apples thrown into water. Two suns stared each other from opposite ends of the space chessboard, the only two stable planets and the black anomaly being the only pieces in the game. "This is...new..." Sulayman stood up, breaking the silence that had descended on the bridge. "Where are P A-86 and 102?" he asked. "This should be 86, Commander. 102 is a few lightyears from here but...it's not showing up on any scans," Iter, the CSO, responded. Sulayman glanced at the two stars. "Was 86 a binary star system?" he asked, already knowing the answer. "No sir," "Which one of these stars is the one for 86?" There was a pause. "The one on the left sir, the K type star," "And the star on the right? An F class white dwarf?" "Yes...yes sir," Iter was surprised that Sulayman could identify the star without looking it up. "And the star for 102 was an F class white dwarf?" Sulayman pressed further, not taking his eyes off the viewer, leaning on the railing in front. "Why...yes sir..." Iter jumped onto Sulayman's train of thought. "Which means..." "Which means that we have our two systems here," Sulayman wasn't going to let Iter take credit for the conclusion he had come up with. "Looks like the anomaly brought the two systems together. This debris...is what's left when their orbits collided. Scan for lifeforms. I doubt there would be any left. Let's also send a probe over to the anomaly, control it manually to park it outside the event horizon," he ordered. There was a pause whilst the crew got to work. It gave Sulayman a chance to glance around and watch the officers work. "Probe ready sir," "Launch it," he nodded. A few seconds later the telemetry returned from the probe. "Sir, we're getting data from the probe. It seems like the field strength is strong, it's still pulling the two stars towards it. The event horizon is a few kilometres away from where we are," Sulayman tapped his combadge. "Dhakku, status report of our engines and power? We're not at risk of being pulled in are we?" "No sir, power levels and engines are at full capacity. They were designed to hold out when studying gravitational forces up close. We have time," "Keep me informed," he nodded, tapping his badge to end communication. "Sir...we have lifesigns!" Sulayman turned around, curious. "We do? Where?" "On...the two planets around the anomaly," Sulyaman looked back out to the anomaly. "They're...well within the event horizon...how are they not pulled in yet? What are the gravitational forces around the stars like; they shouldn't be able to hold back the planets when they're that close!" "I...this is really confusing sir...the life signs...aren't even minor...it's like there are two civilisations on those planets!" Sulayman was at a loss. Think, al Firawn think! What would Captain V'Lala do? She would ask for his opinion...what would he do? "Commander," he turned to Iter. "I want you to fully map the gravitational areas in the system. I want a full visual map of what's affecting what and how strong each force is. How long would you need?" "At least eight hours," "Eight hours? You have three. That's an hour more than you need," Sulayman rebuked, struggling to stem his frustration at the incompetent old Betazoid. Tapping his combadge once more, he said. "al Firawn to Lieutenant Sumida. Please report to the bridge immediately," Looking at the bridge he finally ordered. "When the Lieutenant arrives, tell her to meet me in my ready room. Maintain scans and..." The ship jarred. "Sir...our engines...they've...overloaded!" Sulayman was first on the combadge. "Dhakku, you assured me..." "I don't know Commander! The engines just shut off!" "Well get them working again, now!" Sulayman snapped and turned around to see the gravitational anomaly grow closer. "Is the ship moving?" The helmsman turned back to his console. "Yes sir," Sulayman bared down on him and swivelled his chair around. "Then why the hell do I have to tell you? Do your goddamn job or just get out!" he roared into the man's face. "Stop us from moving!" he turned back towards the centre when a crash sent him almost sprawling to the floor. "Please do not tell me that was the probe!" he said, grabbing the rail as he stood up. The bridge, now paralyzed at the anger of the young man, didn't reply. "I asked a bloody question!" Sulayman yelled again. "Yes sir...we've...gone past the event horizon..." someone squeaked. Sulayman looked at the crew helplessly. "Al'ama," he sighed. "You all had better brace for impact then," he said defeatedly, slumping into the chair. "Or...you know...do your jobs and get us out?" The bridge crew jumped into action. Sulayman shook his head. "Oh so now you decide to all work," he muttered. "Red alert, shields up, all decks prepare for impact," he punched his console and ordered. Gripping the armrests, he stared at the black anomaly as it neared and uttered a silent prayer.

 

Sulayman was the only one who didn't close his eyes as the al Haytham hit the black anomaly. Because of this, he was the only one to see the al Haytham go through the darkness like a curtain. On the other side, the ship gracefully slowed to a stop. On the other side, was what seemed to Sulayman, like a small moon. Only it was no moon. It was mechanical. Like a Borg sphere. Only it wasn't. It was radiating some form of energy, which seemed to coagulate to form the dark shielding around it, the dark curtain that the ship had crashed through seconds before.


"Chop, chop everyone, nap time is over," Sulayman snapped as he stood up. One of the Ensigns opened his eyes.


"Am I in... heaven?"


Sulayman turned on the poor officer. "You're in hell boyo, and guess what, I'm the goddamn devil...now...JUMP TO YOUR BLOODY STATION AND LET'S GET TO WORK!"


The boy was paralyzed in fear, as Sulayman turned away, rescued by the gentle arms of another officer as she pulled him back to his station.


"The... thing... is emitting graviton particles. The thing... we went through seems to a sort of gravity well," came a report. Sulayman stood digesting this information.


"Did anything else get pulled in?" he asked, calmly.


"No sir."


Iter looked up from his console. "Commander, I have analysed the ships' logs from when we were dragged in. It wasn't the gravity that bought us closer. It was some sort of tractor beam,"


"Tractor beam?" Sulayman asked.


"Sir, I recommend we try and hail the ship," came a voice from the helm.


"Negative sir, we don't know who might be out there and their intentions," Lieutenant Priol, the Chief of Security cut in.


Sulayman spent a few seconds in thought. "Well, we're stuck in here with whatever it is that brought us in. I don't see any other choice. Ensign, broadcast standard Starfleet greeting, all frequencies," he ordered as he tapped his combadge. "Dhakku, engine status?"


"Warp drive offline, we still have thrusters and impulse power,"


"I don't suppose I have to tell you what to get fixed,"


"Replicators?


Sulayman ended the call sharply, cursing in Arabic. "I'm starting to think that Captain Se'Lai might have been onto something when gave me that White Pages. "Lieutenant Commander Krako is beginning to look like a very capable candidate," he made a mental note to reach out to her about the Acting First Officer position if they came out of this alive.


"We're being hailed sir!" the Helm's voice brought him out of his thoughts.


"Onscreen," Sulayman said and strode to the middle, fastening his arms behind his back like he had seen Captain V'Lala do countless times before. On the screen flickered a small man, with darting eyes, reddish skin and a smooth nose flickered into view. His brown hair was wild and a pair of rather flimsy hexagonal glasses, that seemed to slide down his non-existent nose every few seconds.


"You... you're not Lorans, or Valons..." he said, rather baffled. "Who are you?"


"I am Lieutenant Commander Sulayman al Firawn of the USS al Haytham. We are representatives of the United Federation of Planets. Who are you?"


"United Federation of Planets?"


Sulayman blinked. "Yes, we're are an organisation dedicated to fostering peace and unity in the universe,"


"Peace? And unity? Oh well, that's wonderful! That's exactly what I'm trying to do here!"


"How so?" Sulayman asked.


"Well, you see. There are these two planetary systems...the Lorans and the Valons. They have been fighting a proxy war for decades over my planet. When they destroyed it, I resolved to end this war, no matter the cost."


"Wait, did you say decades?" Sulayman looked at the Helm. "Mute comms," he ordered before turning to Priol. "What's the conflict report in this sector?"


"There are no planets in the area that have been charted with any form of warfare in the past decade Commander," came to reply.


"Then how could they have been fighting a war?" Sulayman wondered. "Ensign, unmute,"


"Channel open sir,"


"Could you tell us more about this war, and your planet?" Sulayman asked.


"It was devastating. They rained down death from above. Day and night, it was a constant bombardment. Their troops...they did the most terrible things. Murder was not enough for them; they came and stole our families, robbed us of our peace..." the man looked away from the screen.


"How did this atrocity start?" Sulayman asked, leaning forward on the railing.


"It was our fault," the man said through gritted teeth, turning back to the screen, a hatred in his eyes. "We discovered the two systems. Gave them our technology. Out of friendship. And they used it against us,"


Sulayman turned to Iter. "There were no indications of life signs on those planets, yet alone warp drive, right?" Iter replied with a nod.


"They used the Pulse Step."


"The...what?"


"The Pulse Step. We developed this system of travel that allowed for us to teleport from our homeworld to other homeworlds. It was unrefined and used a lot of power. We were lucky to make it to the two planets next to us. With their permission, we built Pulse Step hubs to let us travel between worlds using quicker and safer. We helped the Lorans and Valons grow. Then they turned on us. They both used the Pulse Step to come to our world and fought to gain control of the other Pulse Step hub."


Sulayman looked around the bridge, who were all engrossed in the tale.


"And...what was your plan to foster unity?" Sulayman asked finally.


"I was going to bring the planets together so that they wouldn't have to fight anymore and they could coexist."


Sulayman stared at the screen, awestruck. "You...you're the one who moved two entire systems?"


"Yes,"


Sulayman blinked "Well... you did it..." he finally managed.


The reddish man shook his head. "No, this was the easy bit. Now we have to make sure that this war ends in peace,"


Sulayman swallowed. If moving two systems was the easy part, he dreaded the hard part that was yet to come.

 

Acting Captain's Log, supplemental. We discovered that the gravitational anomaly was actually a ship, crewed by a single person called Johannix, who is a member of the now extinct Hereensian race. Johannix developed a device that could pull two systems together, in a desperate attempt to foster peace amongst two warring races, the Lorans and the Valons, whose war is the reason the Hereensians are extinct. I am doubtful if Johannix is sure of what he is doing, both with the gravitational device and with the peace process. If the two stars collide, the resulting implosion could drastically alter the nearby space. With civilian space lanes in the nearby sector, this could result in a catastrophic loss of life. But to turn off the device would first mean aiding Johannix in his quest for peace. With the al Haytham trapped within the sphere and with no way of communicating with the outside, this becomes a debate of the Prime Directive; would Starfleet involvement here go against the it? If so, we'll have to find another way of disabling this device...



"I say we beam across to the man's ship and take the device by force, disabling it," Priol made a fist with his hand and sent it crashing into the palm of his other. Sulayman sighed, placing his head in his hands and running his fingers through his hair. "Any suggestions that don't include attacking someone who looks like he'd die facing his own shadow?" he replied flatly, looking around at the assembled officers. "I don't believe this breaches the Prime Directive, Commander," Dr Grey said, looking to Sulayman. "Lives are at stake with this device and stopping it is our main priority. Besides, these people have already developed well beyond the technological level that Starfleet would find acceptable to make First Contact..." "But they have not yet developed the Warp Drive, our best indicator of development. And they're clearly not ready for First Contact." Iter interrupted. "I will not stand by and watch as our inaction leads to the deaths of those who ARE well developed," Grey fired back sharply. "Well, I sure as hell am not going to stand by as we violate the first thing we're taught in the academy," "You mean, you're trying to absolve yourself of any blame should this all go ti..." "Enough!" Sulayman rose and said firmly. "Captain V'Lala might have tolerated your incessant bickering, but I don't. We're a bloody team. We have to bloody well work together. And if you can't then you can grab your jacket and sod off to your quarters, do you understand?" All the officers, bar Dr Grey, were surprised at Sulayman's fierceness. Sulayman had a reputation for being a tough taskmaster but never had he yelled at so many senior officers in a gathering and certainly not as overtly as this. The crew replied with a small mumble. "Right. Well look. The Prime Directive states that we can't interfere with the cultural development of an alien species. Okay, that's what we're working with here. We just need to decide whether or not our being here alters that. Forget about everything else, just focus on this. Ideas?" There was silence as the officers thought. Dr Grey was the first to speak. "No. These people are sufficiently advanced enough. They will not be influenced by our actions." "How can we be sure of that Doctor?" Sulayman asked. "We can't. We can't predict the future." "We almost certainly would. They're in a middle of a war. A war that has destroyed an entire race. If we just came in and told them to stop, how would they learn?" Iter said. "If I may speak?" Lieutenant Sumida piped up from the back. Sulayman looked at her. "Of course Lieutenant, please, speak your mind." "Our actions here will not alter the course of the two planets. Not if we act appropriately. I believe everyone is focused here on direct interference to tell them to stop the war. We can't do that. However, we can help our friend over there act as peacemakers. We would be nothing more than intermediaries. As long as we do not force our ideas onto them, we have that right, if Johannix would like us too." Sulayman stood in silence for a long while. "Does anyone else have any other ideas?" He was met by silence. "Then I would agree with Lieutenant Sumida. I'll go over and oversee the negotiations. Sumida, given your skill set, I want you on the away team with me." "And if it fails? Then what? Best case scenario, a sector, maybe two are destroyed, worst case, we all lose our damn jobs for violating the Prime Directive!" Iter growled. The look that Sulayman gave him made him wither away slightly. "If you interrupt me one more time, I will personally SHOVE YOU INTO A TORPEDO BAY AND FIRE YOU AT THE DAMN SUN MYSELF!" he yelled, rounding on the man. "One more... one more word from you and I will strip you of your rank and confine you to quarters. Do you understand?" He grabbed the man's collar and shook him violently. Iter nodded silently, cursing as Sulayman let him go. "Priol. I want you, Dhakku and Mr Directive over there to find a way onto Johannix's spaceship. Find a way to disable the gravitational device. If it all goes wrong, I want to be able to have a way out, and stop any unnecessary deaths. Make it look like an accident or something. You shouldn't have any problems being seen since Johannix would be with us, but stay on your guard. Understood? Dismissed," he said curtly before storming out of the room. Nobody moved after Sulayman had left. Finally, Iter said, "Remind me again, is this a Federation ship, or a KDF ship?" "Shut up," Dr Grey shook her head at him as she left. The other officers looked at Iter, some passively, others sympathetically, as they filed out. Lieutenant Sumida was the last one to leave, silently wondering the exact same and wishing that she had not volunteered for this assignment as readily as she did. The al Haytham wasn't a fun ship to work on. It was a prison.

 

Sulayman sat in Captain's ready room, staring at the console ahead of him. On it was a picture of Eunha. Leaning forward, he crossed his arms and laid his head on them, staring at the picture of his wife.


"What am I going to do ya hayati?" he mumbled. "I'm so far out of my depth, I don't even know if I'm swimming or drowning. I don't even know which way is up and which way is down. And I miss you... I wish you were here with me... you'd know what to do."


"I am here Sulayman,"


Sulayman sat up, blinking at the picture. "What?"


"Look up you idiot," Dr Grey chuckled as she walked in.


"Keira... Doctor... you didn't ring?" he closed the console, turning slightly red.


"Turn any redder and I will have to suspend you from duty!" Dr Grey laughed. "Don't worry, you're not the only one who talks to pictures of their spouse when they need advice. I do it with my husband. Although there is a thing called the telephone, it was invented on Earth by a genius of a man called Alexander Graham Bell and technology has worked wonders in that time. It is almost like they're in the room with you,"


Sulayman offered a small smile. "It's late and Eunha normally sleeps at this time. She's probably in bed cuddled up next to Rana,"


"How is Rana?" Grey slumped onto the sofa. "Bring her back on board sometime, she's great for morale. And it makes you popular too,"


"Rana is fine, though she loves to be with Eunha. Doesn't like it when she spends too long away from her,"


"That makes two people I know," Grey smirked. "Listen Sulayman. Lighten up. You're doing a good job, but it is clear you're nervous and out of your depth. You're barking at every single mistake and people are being thrown off their game. You're not the First Officer anymore. You can't deal with every single action that comes your way. You've got to be at the helm, steering the ship to calmer waters, not berating officers for not swabbing the decks too, do you understand?"


Sulayman sat back in the Captain's chair and sighed. "I'm failing Kiera. I really need help,"


"Then ask for it... Listen. Iter's an ass. Priol wants everything to be a huge conspiracy. Dhakku is... Dhakku, I have no other word to describe her. But have you noticed how Iter is never one to skimp out on detail? He may be slow, and I know you hate that, but he never, ever misses anything. Priol is a rock. He is unwavering in his loyalty to you and the ship. Dhakku may have her humour which annoys you, but has she ever missed a deadline? No. Each one of your crew is flawed, deeply. But each has their strengths. As First Officer, your job is to make sure each individual component works and works well. You're excellent at that. But as Captain. You have to make sure each component works well and as a team. That's what you lack. The bigger picture. Get your head out of the sand and start to look at the beach. You'll find it has a lot more beauty when you look at it like that,"


Sulayman pondered. "You're right..."


"Of course I'm damn right you idiot," she said, jumping up and walking to the door. "Now buck up your ideas, I didn't come here to offer you a pep talk. I came in here to tell you that Johannix managed to get representatives of the Lorans and the Valons onto his ship. And from the looks of it, it's going to be a one-shot opportunity. You can't mess this up. My last advice? Look for areas of common ground between the two. It's how you're able to build bridges between two people. How did you and your wife get into a deep relationship?" she asked him.


"We went to the hot tub and had..."


"Oh, that's your cue," Dr Grey looked behind as one of the officers gave her a signal. "Good luck Commander!"


Sulayman was beamed across to Johannix's vessel.

 

Acting Captain's Log - supplemental. After having decided that as long as we acted as independent mediators, we could try to forge a peace between the two warring races. However, given the gravity of the situation, we also hoped that our being at the negotiation table would buy time for a small away team to beam across to the Hereensian ship and disable the gravitational device. The crew of the al Haytham is on standby, ready to quickly beam back the away team and warp away as soon as we are able. Hopefully, we will be able to achieve lasting peace in this system. Hopefully... Sulayman found himself in the middle of a deathly staring contest between the two races, interrupted when he and Sumida had beamed inbetween them. "Are we here to discuss the terms of the Lorans' total subjegation?" The Valon roared. The representative looked like the illegal child of a Nausicaan and a Gorn. Thick leathery skin, claws for hands, a bony head that lead to a point resembling a rhino's horn. And the tusks. Sharp, yellowed tusks reeled out of the Valon's mouth as if he had thrown too many teeth in and was struggling to keep them all in. When the Valon spoke, it was more akin to a lion's roar tan a human's speech. The Loran looked much more like the successful child of a Gorn and a Saurian. Her dark grey skin was smooth and soft, almost looking wet. The slender face dominated by a large muzzle, with thin teeth that could be seen whenever the Loran smiled, which happened to also be her resting face, making her look unsettling, as if she was plotting. Sulayman noticed that the Loran had no eyes at all. This did not seem to handicap her at all; she moved with extraordinary grace. Between these two creatures, Johannix, with his red skin and no nose, looked the most human. "No," Johannix said firmly, pressing his glasses to his face. The glasses fell back down immediately. "We're here to talk about peace," "Peace? Peace when we are close to victory?" The Loran smiled at Sulayman. "Yes," Sulayman found his voice."You are close to victory, both of you. You are close to deciding something that could end the deaths of many and allow your children a space to grow up free from devastation," "Who are you? We have never seen you before," the Valon roared. "I am Sulayman al Firawn. I am here as an impartial mediator. You can rest assured I have no favourites in your conflict," "That's good. I'm sure we can win you over to our side," grinned the Loran "No. He will surely side with the mighty!" said the Valon. Sulayman glanced at Sumida. "I am principled; instead of trying to win me, why don't you try and win each other? Please, let's sit," Oh Eunha, if only you could see me now... Sulayman thought as the two races argued over each other. "The Lorans are nothing but slimy beings that have no place in the worlds but as slaves to the Valon master race," the Valon smashed his fist on the table. "They must be made to kneel, like the scum they are," "The Valons...such grace. What would you expect from a barbaric race that eats their own excrement and parades around the streets hollering like Herhtas before a kill?" The Valon stood up. "You dare mock the ancient passage of Her Highness Derlitza? You insolent Gargh! I ought to strike you down where you stand!" "Clearly such a specimen as yourself is the pinnacle of this "master race". In our society, people like you are put in their place. As test subjects to our scientific experiments!" Sumida tapped Sulayman on the shoulder and leaned in. "This is just a power play. It's obvious that neither side is going to back down," she whispered. "We have to make them see a common ground..." Sulayman nodded and looked back to the two who were arguing heatedly. Johannix's eyes ping-ponged between the two sides, his glasses hanging on valiantly. "If I may, it is clear that both of you want peace," he said, breaking up the argument. "Can we agree on that?" "We want peace. But only after the complete subjugation of the Loran race!" the Valon growled. "There will be no peace until the Valon barbarians are all used as lab Fowtons for the Loran scientists!" Sulayman slumped back into his chair as the argument continued. "It's progress I guess...right?" he looked to Sumida. She merely shrugged. In Johannix' ship, the three members of al Haytham crew were sneaking around, trying to find the source of the gravity generator. "Stay back!" Priol held his arm out to stop Dhakku and Iter from following him down the corridor. Then, with extreme extravagance, he jumped around the corner, rolling and pointing his phaser forward. "All clear," he nodded, allowing the other two to move on. "You're a right nutjob you know that?" Iter shook his head as he stepped over Priol. "I think it was kinda nice," Dhakku smiled as she followed. "Iter, these tubes seem to be getting thicker. I think we're close," she whispered. Iter nodded, using his tricorder to scan the surroundings. "Graviton strength is increasing...this way," he began to walk down the corridor but was interrupted by the flying body of Priol as he dived to take the lead. "I take lead," he said before carefully inching his way down the corridor, phaser uplifted. "This is why I never come to the bridge," Iter mumbled as he shook his head. Dhakku giggled as she followed. Sulayman was having a very hard time keeping the two from ripping each other's throats out. After a small agreement on what they would call the war (The War for Herenz, since the Hereensians were the only other enemy of the two races), there had been no progress. In fact, Sulayman had thought that the war fervour had increased during the time they were here. "This was a mistake," he whispered to Sumida, as the Valon and the Loran were locked in a staring contest. "They want peace...but they aren't willing to do anything towards it," Sumida said. "They're not willing to give the other anything. I wonder where this aggression comes from," "I don't know but we were right about one thing...they are really lacking Federation standards..." he sighed defeatedly as he watched the pair begin to argue yet again, this time about which one of them had really defeated the Hereensians. Johannix looked increasingly frustrated and Sulayman wondered what his plan would have been if they hadn't had shown up. Well for one they'd be looking at a catastrophic event that was for sure. "Enough!" Sulayman looked up. Johannix had somehow forced his way in between the two and was holding a device in his hand. He looked strangely calm. "Enough. If you can't have peace, then everyone will die!" Johannix said. The Valon laughed. "And how will you do that Hereensian? We wiped out the last of your people," "No," he shook. "You did not. I did," The silence was surreal. "You? A Hereensian coward?" the Loran said slowly. "You lie," the Valon growled. "You are nothing but a Loran puppet!" "A Loran puppet? You insult our intelligence. We have nothing to do with the Hereensians. They are weak. We are powerful," "At last you speak the truth," the Valon replied before turning to Johannix. "And how will you kill us all?" "With this," Johannix held the device aloft. "This is the device that destroyed our planet. That killed billions and billions of Hereensians, Valons and Lorans alike!" The Loran and the Valon looked at each other then back at Johannix. "You lie," the Valon growled. "The death of those Valon warriors was due to Loran treachery!" "No! The Loran troops were killed by the Valon superweapon," the Loran cut in. Sulayman, Sumida, the Valon and the Loran all realised at that moment. "Why... why did you destroy your own planet?" Sulayman asked. "I did it so that the war would end. With no more Pulse Steps, there would be no need to fight!" "Only... you created more death," Sulayman shook his head. "No! I will have peace! If not in life, then in death!" Johannix was growing increasingly unstable. "When I press this button, the gravitational device will overload, creating a black hole which will pull the stars in. It will be painless for all!" Sulayman glanced to Sumida, his own fear masked by concern for his crew and his ship. "Now Johannix... let's not be hasty..." "Forget haste!" The Valon roared and pulled out a weapon, firing it at Johannix. The shot hit the Hereensian square in the chest and he flew backwards, hitting the back wall. With one defiant move, his thumb pushed the button on the device. "Forgive me," he muttered. A siren began to wail loudly. "Gravity Device Activated. Overload in T minus thirty seconds," "Quickly Valon!" the Loran yelled above the noise. "We can blow this ship from the sky if we attack it together!" "Agreed. Initiating site to site transfer," he pressed a button and disappeared. Sulayman blinked as the Loran disappeared too. His hand flew to his combadge. "ITER STATUS REPORT?" "Something's turned on," "I damn well know that Iter, can you turn it off?" "Dhakku's working on it!" "Time?" "Fifteen seconds," "You have ten!" he slipped his combadge and ran over to Sumida who was crouched by Johannix. Sulayman checked for a pulse. It was faint. "He's still alive!" In response, Johannix coughed slightly. "Sor...ry...for...mess..." "You did what you thought was best," Sulayman replied gently, his hand pressing the wound on the chest to try and stem the flow of blood. "For...give...me..." "Come on Johannix, don't give up on us!" Johannix's hand grasped Sulayman's forcing them away from the bloody hole. He shook his head. "Remember..." he said, pressing a device into Sulayman's hand. With that, his head dropped, the glasses falling from his face. Sulayman picked them up. T minus ten...nine... The ship started to shake wildly as the combined might of the Valons and Lorans pound the hull. "Iter, status report?" "We've disabled the device Commander!" came the triumphant response. Sulayman wasted no time in pressing his combadge. "Away team to al Haytham, five to beam up now!" T minus Two...one...

 

Acting Captain's Log - supplemental. Our mission of peace ended in failure. Though the gravitational device is destroyed and the system safe once again, I cannot help but think what the outcome might have been if we had ended the war. Would Johannix still be alive?

Sulayman sat in V'Lala's ready room looking at the stars whiz by. His thoughts were interrupted by the beep of the door. "Come in," he said without looking over. "Commander?" Sulayman turned his head to see Sumida walk in. "Lieutenant. Please, come sit," he smiled. "You are a credit to Captain Timoreev. He is lucky to have a fine officer like you," Sumida smiled. "You flatter me, Commander. I came in to apologise for not being able to help more," Sulayman waved. "Nonsense Lieutenant. You did more than enough. I should apologise to you. I am not a diplomat, and I should not have tried to be one," "May... may I be so bold as to offer you some advice Commander?" "Hmm?" Sulayman looked at her. "You seem very grounded Commander. But your attempts to control everything often leads you to flounder. I've seen Captain Timoreev do the same, only..." "Only what?" "Only he has a First Officer who reminds him of his duty. I think you would do well to have one," Sulayman was quiet for a long time. "Thank you, Sumida," he said finally. "Thank you for having me here Commander," "The pleasure was all mine. We'll be arriving back at DS13 in a few hours," Sumida nodded and made her way back to the door. "You can be sure that I will sing your praises to Captain Timoreev," she smiled before she left. Sulayman's eyes shifted from the door to Johannix's broken glasses. "People seem to want to sing my praises. If only I could live up to their expectations," he sighed. "I failed you Johannix," he said quietly. "May you find in heaven the peace you so longed for in this world. "Inna lillahe wa inna illayhe rajioon" he muttered, before looking at the blood-soaked device next to it. He wondered what was on it. What secrets it held. "First things first," he shook his head. Pulling up a console, he began to type. He knew what he needed. He knew that there was no other choice for the job. She would be perfect. TO: LCDR K. Krako SUBJ: A temporary posting.

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