STF

[TSS Cavalier] Somewhere in Space

Posted Feb. 23, 2024, 10:43 a.m. by Civilian Lucas Elliot Holloway (Chairman - Holloway Heavy Industries) (Jerome Davis)

Posted by Civilian Molly Holloway (CEO - Holloway Heavy Industries) in [TSS Cavalier] Somewhere in Space

Posted by Civilian Lucas Elliot Holloway (Chairman - Holloway Heavy Industries) in [TSS Cavalier] Somewhere in Space

Posted by Civilian Molly Holloway (CEO - Holloway Heavy Industries) in [TSS Cavalier] Somewhere in Space
Posted by… suppressed (38) by the Post Ghost! 👻
OOC: Set after this thread.

IC:
The call had been rushed and unexpected, but when the shipbuilding magnate had ordered his personal ship to be taken out, everyone did as they were told, no questions asked.

The TSS Cavalier was the best and most technologically advanced private ship that Holloway Heavy Industries had ever built, and it was Lucas Holloway’s personal vessel. As a corvette, it was far smaller than most Starfleet exploration vessels, but it was larger than most privately owned ships. Its interior was classy and ostentatious, reminiscent of Earth’s 1930’s Art Deco style. It was one of only two transwarp starships owned by the company.

During a brief stop a few light years away from OED, a light blinked in the main console on the Bridge. An incoming message. They were being hailed, and it was not immediately apparent by whom.

J

Holloway Starlines Chief Pilot, Commander Gavin Cooper, looked up from the navigational readings he was taking in concern. No one should know we’re here? Without a second thought, the USS Dresden’s former helmsman jammed his thumb down on a single large green button on the corvette’s Central Command Console and space in a three lightyear bubble around the Cavalier was lit by the most powerful sensor suite in private hands anywhere in allied space.

Gavin Cooper

At first there didn’t seem to be anyone around them, until a small blip showed on the sensors. It was a ship, that much was clear, but it didn’t seem to have any identifying factors. The registry was unknown.

However, what the sensors relayed was a rough location of the vessel relative to the Cavalier. Knowing what to look for would make it much easier to see, and if placed on the viewscreen, a large object would be visible. It was definitely larger than the Cavalier, but it’s grey color together with the fact that it was stopped and powered down, made it easy to miss. Almost as if it was just another large piece of rubble floating in the vacuum of space.

J

Cooper instinctively tapped the internal comm stud, bringing up the one-to-one secure communication with the Cavalier’s lounge. =A= Lucas, we’re being hailed. No IFF… no security protocols. Meaning not Federation, not HHI, not friendlies… You want me to patch it through or would you like to take it on the Bridge? =A= There was, surprisingly, no response. However, about 15 seconds later, the Bridge’s aft hatch hissed open and HHI Chairman Lucas Holloway arrived on the Bridge.

Walking to the sole operational station from which Cooper was currently running the entire starship in its ‘Single Officer’ mode, Holloway looked concerned, as he asked. “Where the hell are they Gavin?” His eyes closely examining the space around them through the Cavalier’s 210 degree wrap-around forward viewport. “Here…” The veteran helmsman began, bringing up the ship of the Main Viewer. “They were powered down and didn’t show up on sensors till I did a full power scan.” He paused before adding. “I can’t bring weapons up from this station and it will be at least a few more minutes before the Nav system completes its recalibration and we can jump out. We’re… stuck Lucas. I’m sorry.”

Lucas patted his niece’s husband on the shoulder and sighed. “It’s not your fault Gavin, we had no clue. Put them on screen.” A moment later, the screen snapped to life and Lucas cleared his throat, speaking with a firm clear voice.

=A= This is Lucas Elliott Holloway, President of Holloway Starlines and Chairman of Holloway Heavy Industries, aboard the Federation-flagged starship Cavalier. To whom am I speaking? =A=

Lucas/Gavin

The moment the call was accepted the main viewscreen of the Cavalier lit up and the tall figure of a man came on screen. His hair was dark and his skin light tan. His face had all the markings of a Cardassian.

Lucas was immediately taken aback by the appearance of the Cardassian. The very last people the magnate expected to run into on his mind clearing trip were these a-holes and the sentiment was clearly shared by Gavin as the pilot let a soft expletive slip before the man began to speak.

=/\= Mr. Holloway? =/\= The Cardassian man seemed almost in disbelief for a moment. =/\= I can’t believe it. =/\= He smiled. =/\= I didn’t know you were already out and about. =/\= He paused for a moment before continuing. =/\= I’m sorry, that is rude of me. News does travel fast after all… I am Gaddill. A merchant that also deals on the weapons and ship parts market. I guess we could say we are in the same line of work. =/\= He gave Lucas a toothy grin. =/\= However, as you can see… my ship is in a state of disrepair… Our power is down and we’re trying to fix it. You were the first ship me and my crew have seen in hours… I was wondering… do you think you could take me and a few of my crew members to the nearest Outpost? We’d pay you, of course. I am so truly sorry to bother you but this area doesn’t have a lot of traffic, and there’s no guarantee we’ll see another ship before our situation becomes more dire. =/\= The man finally went silent, clearly waiting for a reply.

Gaddill

Holloway had to use every drop of strength in his body not to roll his eyes at the man’s attempt to compare their respective lines of work. Like hell we’re in the same line of work, you dirtbag Lucas cleared his thoughts for a moment before speaking… something on his mind was sending up red flags and he had grown to trust that feeling.

=A= We’re not really in a situation that would allow us to take on additional… guests… at this time, Mr. Gaddill. However… =A= Holloway gazed at Gavin for a moment then back at Gaddill. =A= … we do have the capacity to drop a UFP Emergency Transponder that would enable you to signal a more… capable… Federation vessel that could assist with your… predicament. =A= Holloway remained smiling professionally as he spoke but his thoughts were darker. Like I would invite your worthless ass and your friends on the Cavalier! You’ve gotta be out of your frackin’ mind Cardassian! =A= I do sincerely apologize. Is there anything else we can do to help? =A=

Lucas/Gavin

=/\= Uh… =/\= A flash on insincere panic crossed the Cardassian’s eyes. =/\= I don’t think you understand, Mr. Holloway… our energy reserves are almost depleted… =/\= And yet, they were in an active video transmission. =/\= … even with your transponder, there’s no guarantee that we’ll get help in time. =/\= His expression turned more serious and his speech more assertive. =/\= What do you think the press would do when they found out that you left a helpless ship crew to die? =/\=

Gaddill

=A= They wouldn’t die, for one thing. =A= Lucas snapped back rather abruptly. =A= As I said, Mr. Gaddill, my vessel is not in a state to bring on additional crew or guests at this time. However, we have the capability to give you a supply drop and I would even be willing to drop a small shuttle craft that has more than the capability to get you to the nearest station. =A= Holloway’s eyes focused for a moment, then he added firmly. =A= However, you are correct in the understanding of my job… regardless of the… comparison… of our lines of work. That said… =A= Holloway’s tone became very icy. =A= If you were seriously in that tight of a spot, we would be having this conversation via voice comms alone. The last thing a power-constrained Captain would do is to unnecessarily use power to transmit visual comms. So, why don’t you just tell me what’s really going on here, Mr. Gaddill. Your stories aren’t adding up and I have somewhere to be. =A=

The frosty tone of Lucas Holloway made it clear the man was done screwing around.

Lucas Holloway

The Cardassian smirked. =/\= Ah, it seems that you do live up to your reputation, Mr. Holloway. =/\= His tone matched Lucas’s hardness. =/\= You had one. Single. Job. =/\= He shook his head, and glanced at something or someone off screen, before returning his gaze to Holloway. The Cavalier’s computer would detect the Cardassian’s ship powering up and weapons coming online. There was a little bit of everything – Cardassian, Human, Klingon, even some that didn’t have a recognizable origin. But no matter what they were, they were certainly to overpower Lucas’s personal vessel. The ship jolted forward, and slowly moved towards the Corvette, getting in a better position. =/\= So, how is it going to be, Mr. Lucas Holloway, President of Holloway Starlines and Chairman of Holloway Heavy Industries… the easy way, or the hard way? =/\=

Gaddill

There was about a half second pause between Gaddill’s last words and the sudden shift in the lights on the Cavalier’s Bridge. The ship was one of the most advanced ever built and in many ways could think for itself. In Single Pilot mode, many of the ship’s powerful systems were in standby automation at all times and, unfortunately for Gaddill’s ship, when the Cavalier was threatened… she tended to become very scary, very fast. The moment the other vessel’s weapons started coming online, a multitude of automatic responses triggered throughout the ship. So, by the time Gaddill was finishing his sentence, the TSS Cavalier was brought to maximum internal military readiness… her Corvette ‘soul’ coming to life… activating a small, red indicator on Gavin’s console. The moment he saw it, Cooper jammed his thumb down on it.

As a warship’s Red Alert klaxon sounded on the Cavalier’s Bridge, the Corvette’s eight Type XII rotary triple mounted pulse phasers visibly glowed as they came online and the ship’s formidable shields snapped into place. Even though they were WAY too close to use without killing themselves in the process, Gaddill would detect not only the pulse phasers targeting his ship but the two, single-tube Quantum Torpedos. The ship also activated its highly advanced ECM suite before quietly firing off an Emergency Transponder set to a very specific frequency.

=A= Mr. Gaddill…=A= Lucas Holloway’s cold voice cut across space as he glared at the man on the viewer. =A=… you, sir, have clearly lost your goddamn mind if you think I’m just going to hand over my ship! I highly suggest you find somewhere else to be… now! =A=

Lucas Holloway

=/\= Well, but see… that’s where you’re mistaken, Mr. Holloway. =/\= Gaddill’s tone dripped smugness. =/\= I never meant for you to hand over your ship. Tsk tsk, what an assumption! =/\= He shook his head. The smile still on his lips. =/\= I quite like my own, after all. =/\= He looked around his Bridge admiring it. =/\= It took time and effort to make her what she is. No, I don’t want you to hand over your ship. =/\= Gaddill’s gaze settled back on Lucas. His grin widened. =/\= I won’t lie though… a few parts won’t hurt. =/\= Turning to the same person off screen as before, he ordered. =/\= Fire. =/\=

As the order came through the comms, two volleys of photon torpedoes left Gaddill’s ship and hit the Cavalier dead on. The Corvette shook, causing the deck plating to creak, consoles to spark, and the ground to throw down anyone still on their feet. But the top of the line shields held strong, protecting the Holloway ship from being damaged.

Gaddill

The fiery response from the smaller ship was swift and vicious, as the ship rolled suddenly 40 degrees to starboard and brought her bow around to face her attacker head-on… and the wrath of the ship’s eight fully charged Type XII pulse phasers fired as one. Lucas was barely back on his feet when the ship launched both quantum torpedoes on timed delays of three seconds before shooting off at full Impulse directly over the other ship, barely clearing its shields. As the Cavalier overshot Gaddill’s ship, Gavin maxed the aft shields just as the two quantum torpedoes they left in their wake turned space into a blinding hell as the two ship-killers detonated as one. Then, the Cavalier ran for it.

The other ship dodged most of the attacks with the ease of someone that was practiced on one to one fighting. Given the amount of weird parts the ship was composed of, it wouldn’t be surprising if they were. Still, the sudden roll of the Cavalier had been unexpected, causing one of the quantum torpedoes to scrape a small part of the hull. Gaddill cursed and barked orders at his subordinates manning the Bridge.

“Gavin…” Lucas said quickly. “… transfer the helm to my console, you have to get Nav back online and get us the hell out of here!” Cooper gave a single nod, transferred helm to Lucas and moved quickly across the Bridge to the Navigation Station. He was there only a moment when Lucas heard the young Commander swear savagely before turning back to the ship’s owner. “Transwarp Navigation is completely off line! Bastard’s got us with the first hit! Best I can do is redline the Impulse Drives for another five minutes then we’re down to thrusters and guns. Not a way to fight something like that, Lucas.” He looked embarrassed and defeated. “We’re dead in the water sir.”

Gavin/Lucas

For a bulky ship, the Cardassian’s vessel was quick to turn and chase the Cavalier, even though it was clear now that it was no match for its speed and maneuverability.

“Sir, they are running away.”

“Don’t let them jump.” Gaddill barked to his stunned navigator, before relaying yet another order to the Romulan manning the weapon’s station. “Bring the Disruptor Cannons online.” And then to an Orion at the Ops station. “Jalor, assemble the regulars on the Transporter. I’ll meet you there in 30 seconds.” The Orion nodded and disappeared deeper into the ship.

Outside, two large cannons were being charged. They were strange, alien, even, with no hint at what species had given them origin. If anyone on the Cavalier had managed to scan them they would have found a weird phase variance on their energy signature. However, there would likely be no time for that, as two orbs of energy left them towards the Cavalier.

The impact was not substantial, but alarms rang on the Corvette as her shields were suddenly offline. Suddenly, the intruder alert klaxons rang, and seven figures materialized on the Bridge – a motley crew of sorts composed of two Orions, a Romulan, a Human, two large Klingons, and Gaddill himself.

“Ah, so this is what the mythical Cavalier looks like. Impressive!” Gaddill said glancing around, as the two Orions raised weapons at the two crew members of the transwarp ship. The Klingons didn’t budge. They didn’t need to. They were imposing enough just standing in the middle of the space. “Mr. Holloway… I must say… I thought my presence would be a little more welcome. Do you have a private place we can talk? After all, we’re both successful businessmen… and I’d like to make a business deal with you.”

Gaddill, and crew

Lucas Holloway glared at the intruders of his most private of domains. “I am a businessman, Gaddill… you are a thug that uses hired thugs…” He nodded to the Klingons. “… to get your way. Now… as I said before you unlawfully entered my ship, I have somewhere to be and have no intention to drag you and your… crew… along for the ride.” Holloway basically growled the final words. Then, in an even more hateful tone. “Why don’t you do us all a favor and get the hell off my ship… now!”

Though Lucas was focused, Gavin looked on in horror. He knew what these kind of groups were capable of… his job to get them home safely just became far more complicated.

Lucas/Gavin

Shaking his head and with a menacing smirk, Gaddill walked towards Lucas. “Tsk tsk, Mr. Holloway… You’re in the middle of nowhere, outnumbered, outgunned… do you really think you’re in a position to tell me what to do?” He scoffed and shook his head again. The smirk never leaving his lips. “No matter how powerful you are… do you really think anyone will be able to find you here?” His gaze met the pair of Klingons and he did a sharp motion with his chin to Gavin, still sitting at the navigation console. The pair responded immediately, one of them violently grabbing Cooper’s hair and shoving his face on the console, the other aiming his weapon at the back of his neck.

“Do you want to go home, Mr. Holloway? Then I suggest you do as I say.”

Gaddill, and crew

“Stop!” Lucas’s heart sank when they went for Gavin. He’d already caused both the girls so much hurt, now him running his mouth with terrorists could end up costing his youngest niece her husband. “I can’t fly this goddamn thing Gaddill… and neither can you!” Holloway was speaking quickly. “The Cavalier in only equipped with Impulse engines and the Transwarp Drive! Gav… Commander Cooper is one of a handful of people in the galaxy qualified to fly her! Now call’em off Gaddill, or else you’ll have a VERY expensive piece of floating debris! NOW GADDILL! For Christ’s sake, let him go!”

There was a soft groan escaping Gavin, his nose bleeding… possibly broken. Though in pain, the only people on his mind were Erin and her Uncle.

Lucas/Gavin

With another quick glance and a chin motion from Gaddill the Klingons stopped, one letting Gavin go and the other lowering his weapon. With the same sly smile, the Cardassian walked towards Lucas.

“Well see… that’s not my problem now, is it? I have a perfectly well functioning ship out there…” He motioned outside of the main viewer. “All I need is parts and I’ll be happy.” He grinned wider before laughing softly. “But of course, I’d prefer a ride while keeping your ship in one piece.” He walked to the center chair and sat down, crossing his legs and testing the chair for a moment, before making himself comfortable.

It took everything in Lucas’s body & spirit not to rip the bastard’s ears off then throw him and his buddies out the airlock. He knew that that would be pointless and likely get he & Gavin both very dead, very quick. That didn’t take the roaring fire from the man’s eyes as he sat in his chair.

“I was going to make a trade arrangement with you, but since your ship has transwarp capabilities, I’d hate to miss this opportunity.” He paused for a moment before continuing. “There’s a place called Ancora VI. It’s a trade hub of sorts. I need to get there but it takes about a week at full warp to arrive. Your ship can get me there in a matter of hours. So, how about you give me a lift and I leave you be? I promise you’ll just have to endure my presence for a few more hours and then I’ll leave you alone. How does that sound?”

Gaddill

“Exactly how… ‘alone’… Mr. Gaddill?” Holloway asked flatly. “Is this chauffeur duty and I leave with my ship after dropping you off or are you going to drop Commander Cooper and I ten lightyears outside Federation space?” Lucas paced with his hands behind his back, his barely controlled rage nearly tearing him apart. “While not thrilled with the arrangement, I will happily take you somewhere and dropping you off with Commander Cooper & I going home. Is that a fair assessment, Mr. Gaddill?”

Lucas

“Yes, Mr. Holloway.” Gaddill’s smile widened. “I am a man of my word. Just a lift, and after that, you and Commander Cooper are going home.” He paused, glancing around to see which of his men were with him. “Jalor…” He turned to one of the Orion men that had beamed with the group. “… send Devva a message. Tell her we’re going to Ancora VI and tell her to wait at the usual place. We meet them there when we’re done.”

The Orion nodded and stepped away to do as he was told.

The Cardassian looked back at Lucas. “Thank you so much, Mr. Holloway. You have no idea how grateful I am for your help.”

Gaddill, and crew

Holloway begrudgingly showed Gaddill down to the Cavalier’s Main Deck while Gavin punched in the coordinates and began the 20 minutes worth of repairs needed for the Transwarp Nav computer to safely make the trip. While under the console of out of sight of his watchers, Cooper sent a brief message via the Emergency Transponder to a specific frequency, that read:

Code 47. TSS Cavalier Code 1-Alpha-Zero… Ship taken by Cardassian named Gaddill… LH & GC OK… En route under duress to Ancora VI. Ending Coordinates enclosed. Cooper Clear

With that done, Cooper climbed from under the console, walked to the Command Console and the TSS Cavalier shot off for Ancora VI.

Cooper


Several hours later
(OOC: After the events here.)

There were times when her job had its perks. Being able to take a company ship out in the middle of the night without anyone asking questions was one of them.

Molly sat alone at the controls of the TSS Lancer as the star-drawn streaks filled the void outside. Transwarp. The fastest way of traveling known to the Federation, reducing weeks of warp travel into hours. The ship she currently helmed being one of the fastest at that in existence, second only to the one she was headed towards. And yet, to Molly, it felt like the longest trip she had ever made.

In her mind, her thoughts ran rampant. Everything that she had ever wanted to say to her uncle but never had. For many reasons, but most of all because she had been too proud to say them. And now… there was a chance she might never be able to say them at all. Molly sighed, kicking herself for ever letting Lucas leave the holodeck. Certainly, her uncle’s newly found relationship with Dominique was not worth him being gone forever. And why was she so opposed to the woman in the first place? As he had told her himself… her own mother would want him to move on. Well… or so Molly felt it was true, given the meager six years she had known her for. Lucas had known Mary for much longer, but was he making a fair assessment of her late mother’s wishes, or were his feelings for Dominique clouding his judgement? How could Molly ever know? And did it even matter?

=/\= Arriving at destination. Exiting transwarp in five… four… =/\=

The computer voice cut Molly’s thoughts. This was it. Looking ahead, Molly braced herself.

=/\= … three… two… =/\=

Even though it was perfectly functioning, the Lancer was a prototype, meaning that the jankyness that came with experimental ships hadn’t been completely ironed out from most procedures. Molly absolutely hated it.

=/\= … one. =/\=

The transwarp bubble was gone, and the ship was propelled into normal space. Inertia keeping its momentum forward as the dampeners tried their best to make it as comfortable as possible for her only occupant. Molly closed her eyes, her hands holding on so tightly to the console in front of her that her knuckles turned white. And then, as suddenly as it started, it stopped.

Molly laid back against her seat. This time it was better. She had at least managed to keep the contents of her stomach in place, which was definitely an improvement. Outside, the black and gold silhouette of the Cavalier could be just made out in the distance, orbiting what seemed to be some sort of outpost, or scrapyard, or both… Whatever it was, it was massive, with more movement than Molly had expected. It was crucial that she wasn’t seen. With a few button taps, she cloaked the ship and moved slowly towards Lucas’s private vessel. She kept going until she was just below it.

Another one of the advantages of being HHI’s CEO, was the fact that she knew the Cavalier like the back of her hand, and was privy to information that the general public couldn’t have, including the seed to its rotating shield modulation. She also had her profile saved on the ship’s systems, which meant that the ship would welcome her with open arms. Or so she hoped.

With a few more taps on the console, she matched the transporter systems of the Lancer to the shield frequency of the Cavalier, and within a few moments she was gone. The prototype ship nothing but a ghost in the void.

Molly

An instant later, HHI CEO Molly Grace Holloway’s personal biosignature appeared on Gavin’s control console. There was a soft corresponding tone that came with the visual indication of her arrival but the guards on the Bridge with Cooper didn’t seem to hear over their card game. The moment after Gavin cleared the signal in relief, his heart froze as one of the guards shouted at him and stalked towards him. Thinking quickly, Gavin tapped three additional keys as he turned and glared at the guard. “What?!” The Cavalier’s Chief Helmsman snapped before the guard thumped him hard upside the head. “What did you just do?!” Boomed the guard. It was a sudden movement but enough to make the guard step back as Gavin rose angrily from his seat and barked back in the guard’s face. “I was stirring the goddamn fresh water tanks, you jackass! You don’t have to frackin’ whack the only son-of-a-bitch that knows how to fly this thing when you have a question!” The guard stared at Cooper in confusion and just a bit of anger. After a moment, he said gruffly. “Why?”

Cooper scrubbed his face with his hands before sighing, returning to his seat, and pointing at his quickly shifted Internal Ops screen. “Ya see this? Before you whacked me, a tone reminded me that the freshwater tanks needed to be stirred… as it has been more than 24 hours since the last cycle. I pushed these two orange buttons to acknowledge and clear the reminder, and this blue one to stir the 50,000 liter tank that runs the bottom centerline of the ship. I know the tone and what it means. There are tons of little, station-keeping things that need to be done ever so often. It’s how ships at anchor, if you will, work.” The guard looked even more confused for a moment before huffing. ”Well… just don’t do anything funny!” Then turned and huffed off… as Gavin felt his stomach start to finally unknot from BSing his way through what many would consider actively threatening their captors.

Gavin & the Bridge Bums

With a faint glow, Molly materialized on the Cavalier’s main corridor, close enough to the Bridge to make it a reasonable distance, but far enough that she wouldn’t alert any systems. She held her phaser in front of her, ready to fire, but a quick look told her that there was no one immediately close by.

Silently, she approached the nearest wall console and tapped a few buttons. The computer had already recognized her profile. She was counting on it. A small notification of her beam in had been sent to the status console on the Bridge, but other than that, everything was silent. With expediency, she disabled the notifications. If she had been lucky, Gavin had seen it.

Next, Molly brought up life signs across the ship. Eleven dots lit up the screen. Among them, Gavin Cooper and Lucas Holloway. Molly breathed in relief. They were both still alive, she just hoped they were not severely hurt. Gavin was on the Bridge, on the navigation station. With him, there were three other life signs: two Romulan, and one Human. Outside in the corridors, two more lifesigns seemed to be on patrol – this time they were Orion. Molly could see their position relative to her own dot on the terminal. It would take some thinking to get through them. Lucas was on the main living space of the ship, the place where he usually spent his time when on board, either reading or holding business meetings, in the rare occasions he would bring people onto the ship. There were three more life signs with him – one Cardassian, and two…

“Klingon…?” Molly’s whisper accompanied the furrow of her brow. There was no universe in which Klingons would work for a Cardassian… or was there? Quickly, she analyzed the Klingon’s life signs for any signs of abnormal phase variances, and when she found them, her heart skipped a beat and the realization froze Molly in place for a second, memories coming back into her mind followed by fear and helplessness. Closing her eyes, she shook her head to dismiss her thoughts. Right now was not the time. After a quick analysis of the remaining ‘passengers’, no other life sign revealed anything abnormal. Not even the Cardassian one.

With a sigh, Holloway’s gaze went back to the two Orions that stood between her and the Bridge.

Minutes later, Molly moved stealthily through the familiar corridors until she could see the pair on patrol. They were tall and imposing, but as they stood between her and the Bridge, she needed to find a way to bypass them.

Eyeing a nearby console, Molly keyed a code, connecting her wrist chronometer to the ship, and downloading a specific file into the system. It didn’t take long for a guttural noise to come from the left side of the corridor. It sounded almost like a low growl belonging to a wild animal. A maintenance hatch opened and closed, as if whatever it was had just walked inside it. Hiding in the shadows, Molly watched as one of the Orions pointed in the direction of the sound. Slowly, both men held their weapons and walked to the source of the noise, there, they would find exactly what they were looking for.

There was only one chance and Molly wasn’t making it go to waste. Stepping behind the pair, the sound of the hatch being opened hid the noise of the beam that left Molly’s phaser. The first Orion fell to the ground unconscious. As for the second, their gazes met briefly as he started to turn, but before he could even do so completely, he too dropped into a pile near his comrade. His last sight, the smirk of a petite red headed woman.

It had been quick and easy. Perhaps too easy for Molly’s liking, but from what she could gather they didn’t seem to have been able to alert anyone. Holloway inspected the two guards thoroughly, removing their weapons before pushing them into the maintenance hatch, and locking it with a few taps of the console nearby. She didn’t remove the sound effects, choosing instead to lower their volume, hoping that it would make the pair less likely to try anything other than waiting in place whenever they woke up.

With a deep breath, Molly closed the distance between her and the Bridge. The moment the doors swooshed open, everyone in the room was staring at her.

First, her gaze landed on Gavin, sitting at the navigation console. She had never been so happy to see him well. And then she eyed the small group huddled around a table playing cards.

Molly

The moment after Molly opened the door, several things happened almost at once. The trio rose as one, with the largest one swinging a weapon toward Molly and shouting “Who the hell are y-” He was cutoff mid-sentence as a spanner Gavin had used to work on the console struck the Romulan in the side of the head, stunning him and sending him crumpling to the deck. The other two, a Romulan and a smaller human, paused only long enough to look at each other before the human drew down his own weapon on Molly. Behind him the roaring Romulan charged Gavin as the helmsman dove for his tool box.

Gavin & Bridge Bums

With the speed and agility of years of rigorous training, Molly easily dodged the weapon that had been thrown in her direction, only to see a spanner landing square on the Romulan’s head, disabling him immediately. Before she could look at Gavin, her eyes caught the weapon drawn on her and the other Romulan charging in the direction of the Dresden’s former navigator. It was as if suddenly, the world moved in slow motion. Diving forward, she aimed in the man’s general direction and fired her phaser, hoping that it would hit him, and that the momentum from her dive helped her dodge his incoming fire. The same momentum landed her on Gavin’s pushed him out of the way of the charging Romulan, tools scattering across the deck in the process.

Molly

A moment after Molly crashed into Gavin, the Romulan landed on top of them as the human Molly had blindly fired at collapsed to the ground. Her stray shot struck the man’s right cheek causing the stun to hit even harder than a center mass shot. The Romulan that had charged at Gavin grabbed the back of Molly’s shirt and lifting her violently, prepared to slam her into the deck. It was then that the Bridge glowed a bright blue light and the Romulan screamed in agony before dropping Molly back to the deck.

The moment Molly felt the pull on the back of her shirt, and her body lifting the deck she prepared herself for impact, but the impact never came. Instead, there was a blinding flash and she dropped back unceremoniously to the ground together with the Romulan by her side.

Gavin knelt next to her, an arching power conduit in his right hand. “Are you OK Captain?” He said without a second thought, the stench of charred flesh filling the Bridge.

Gavin & the Bridge Bums

Holloway breathed out, an expression of genuine gratitude on her face as their eyes met. She nodded and smiled warmly. “Thank you Commander.” She winked. “I owe you one.” The latter sentence was uttered in a more serious tone.

Surprisingly quick back on her feet, Molly dusted off her clothes before holding out a hand for Gavin to help him getting up. “Are you okay?”

Molly

Gavin accepted the proffered hand and climbed to his feet, the slightest traces of a smirk on his face. “I’m fine Captain, thanks.” He nodded his head toward the goons. “They aren’t… but considering they invited themselves aboard my ship… I really don’t give a damn.” There was a coldness to her brother-in-law’s statement Molly had never heard before and there was a distinct challenge in his eyes for the briefest of moments.

Opening her mouth to interject on his use of her rank, Molly closed it when Gavin continued to speak, choosing not to interrupt the man. She could hear the coldness in his tone, and she understood where it came from. It would be best if she let him continue. At least, if the situation was reverse, that would have been what she’d hope he would do.

“I can keep these fools corralled up here…” Cooper continued as he disarmed and restrained the intruder he had knocked out with the power conduit, tucking the man’s phaser in the back of his belt and returning his own small phaser from the unconscious goon’s thigh pocket to his holster. “… their boss seemed more interested in the ship than in either of us. But… I doubt they didn’t plan to dump us on some rock when they were through with us.”

There was a slight squint in Molly’s gaze as she listened to Gavin’s words, but with the task at hand it would be unlikely that he would have noticed it. So the Cardassian was interested on the ship… Molly quietly stored that piece of information for later.

After moving the Romulan to the back of the Bridge, Gavin disarmed and restrained another goon hauling him to the back of the Bridge as well. “Is Erin OK?” He asked in a far more concerned tone. “I know she’s gotta be worried sick.”

Gavin Cooper

Leaning against the main console, Molly watched her uncle’s helmsman work. She had to hand it to him — he was certainly more expedient than she’d given him credit for. After all, they had never been in a situation like this together before, and this was the first time she had the opportunity to witness his Starfleet training at work, other than sitting at the Dresden’s navigation console all shift making the massive dreadnaught move in ways that Molly could ever dream of.

“She was worried.” Molly said blankly, looking around the Bridge and at the unconscious forms of their uninvited guests. “But she’ll be okay.” She paused for a moment, her mind clearly more preoccupied with taking in every detail of the scene around her. “She was mad at Uncle Luc at first, for not having you back home for dinner.” Molly chuckled. “She ended up staying the night with us. I left as soon as I knew where you were… thanks for the message by the way.” She glanced at Gavin with a soft smile on her lips. “I hoped you’d still remember the frequency but I wasn’t sure.” Holloway’s eyes returned to the room, and her expression turned more observant again. “I wrote Calvin a note. Erin will be alright. Calvin will make sure of it.”

Gavin sighed and shook his head. “At least I know Raven can keep an eye on her. I hate that all this happened… she always worries about me.” He smiled warmly and looked to Molly. “I can’t begin to imagine where she got it.”

With a deep breath, Molly stood back up and walked up to Gavin. “I need to get to Uncle Lucas. The computer has them in the main room… My uncle, the Cardassian and two Klingons. Is there anything I should know before I go?”

Molly

“Mean sons-of-bitches Molly… the two Klingons.” Gavin began. “Something just didn’t seem…” It was at that moment the remaining intruder activated a wrist comm and shouted =A= Bridge here… we have an intrud… =A= The snarl of the disruptor Gavin still had in his hand ended the goon’s call for help.

Molly’s gaze turned immediately to the source of the voice, her own hand searching for the phaser she had brought with her, but Gavin was faster.

“Goddamnit!” In their entire history of knowing one another, Molly had heard the Helsman swear in her presence twice… both of which had just happened on the Bridge of the Cavalier. The Helmsman looked from the slightly smoking figure on the deck, to the disruptor in his hand, to Molly. “Jesus… this thing has a kick!” He smirked for a split second before sighing. “Well… there goes the element of surprise. I’ve got the Bridge… you go get Lucas, OK?”

Gavin Cooper

Molly nodded. “Here.” She started, holding out her phaser to Gavin. “You keep this. You might need it more than I do. You never know when it might come in handy.”

She took a few steps away in the direction of the turbolift before turning back to face the Cavalier’s navigator. “Oh… I took out two Orions in the corridor. They are inside one of the maintenance hatches. I may have given them an… incentive to stay there after they woke back up, and I don’t think they are going anywhere. I figured you should know about it.” Molly smiled knowingly. “And don’t worry, Uncle Luc will be fine. Just make sure you’re fine too. You won’t like it if my sister gets hurt because of you being reckless.” There was a joking nature to her words, but Gavin would know better than to take them at face value.

Molly

“Again… Captain Spacing is still considered a war crime.” Gavin smiled. “They won’t give me any trouble. Soon as you’re out of here, I’m fixing the two things I removed to make the console inoperable, and laying in a course for home. These fools really thought a ship designed by your grandfather would have only a single set of redundant relays. I can have us set for home in 10 minutes.” With a chuckle, he added. “Please be careful.”

Gavin Cooper

“Well, I won’t tell if you don’t!” Came Molly’s joking reply.

“Aye aye.” She said at Gavin’s plan. Even though it didn’t show in her voice, she felt a slight pang of guilt as he mentioned the ship’s original designer. Clearly, Gavin was already a much better grandson than either her or her sister would ever be. “Don’t worry about me. Get the ship ready to go. The Lancer is cloaked underneath us, but I can take it out once we’re set to leave.” There was hurry in her step, but even so she paused for a moment, before looking back at Gavin. “Oh… and Gavin… thank you.” And with that, Molly turned around and left to the turbolift.

Once inside the turbolift that would take her to the ship’s lounge, Molly unholstered the old Earth weapon she carried almost everywhere. If her suspicions were correct, this Cardassian’s body guards were not the average Klingon, and a standard phaser was no match for them.

The journey was long. Too long, even though it had been nothing but a single deck. She was surprised that no one had yet come down to the Bridge. Molly could only hope that that didn’t mean they had done something to Lucas now that they knew there was an intruder on board.

As the small lift’s cabin finally came to a halt, Molly waited expectantly for the doors to open. They had barely started doing so when there was a loud noise followed by a sharp pain in her shoulder. Her weapon fell from her hand, and her body followed, limp and unconscious, to the floor of the turbolift.

Molly Holloway


Meanwhile, a few moments prior in the ship’s main lounge…

=A= Bridge here… we have an intrud… =A= The comms interruption was unceremonious, and the words cut off by the distinct sound of disruptor fire. Gaddill’s eyes moved to each of his two Klingon body guards and finally back to Lucas Holloway.

“What is this?” The Cardassian said trying to hide the sudden note of panic in his voice. “How come there was no intruder alarm? Was anyone else on board that we didn’t find before!?” His gaze searched the Klingon’s for answers but the two behemoths simply stared back at him. It was clear that fear was giving way to anger. Getting up from his place on the luxurious couch, he took a step closer to Lucas, staring menacingly at the man. “Who were you hiding? It’s impossible for anyone to find us out here! And even if it was, my men would have alerted me if someone had beamed in. So, I will ask this again. Who are you hiding?”

Gaddill

Lucas glared back at the man. “The hell if I know!” The magnate boomed, throwing up his hands before coming to his feet and preparing to defend himself if necessary. “You frackers beamed on without my ability to stop you! All it tells me is I need better redundant systems since bastards keep boarding my ship without asking!” The fire in the man’s eyes glowed with fury. “You stole my ship… so clearly that’s your damn problem now but as a goddamn hijacker, don’t you dare come at me thinking this is my fault… because it isn’t!” Holloway was trembling, rage simmering behind his words. “Could be someone else… maybe a buddy of yours that wants to claim the ship as their own. If I’m lucky, they’ll kill you for me!” The last words were cold as ice before Holloway added. “And I might still keep my ship because every man has his price. Couldn’t happen to a better pile of space trash!” With that, Lucas walked to the bar and poured himself a Scotch.

Lucas Holloway

Even though he didn’t look happy, Gaddill backed off. Lucas’s words seemed to have given the Cardassian some food for thought. With a low grumble and a quick motion of his chin, one of the Klingon’s left the room, presumably to check what was going on on the Bridge.

Gaddill paced for a moment before sitting back down on his original seat. His eyes didn’t follow Lucas, staring vacantly at the coffee table instead. His mind was clearly not in the room with them. The other Klingon remained alert half facing the door, half facing his boss. Silence settled in the room.

Returning to his seat, a chilled glass of Scotch in his hand, Lucas sipped as he watched the door… knowing damn well that the chair he was sitting in was bulletproof and phaser resistant in the event things got a bit too ‘exciting’ in the next few minutes. He was really hoping that however boarded would kill Gaddill where he stood and would be willing to take a very large check as a reward.

The Klingon was quick to come back, carrying an unconscious body over his shoulder. Its slim silhouette was concealed by the black clothes it was wearing, but the red head of hair hanging from it would be unmistakable to Lucas. The moment the guard stepped foot in the middle of the room, he threw the body unceremoniously into a corner, leaving no doubts as to its identity.

The surprise washed quickly through Lucas though his expression showed none of it. The man calmly downed the rest of the three fingers of 500 credit per-glass, 300-year-old Scotch, and sat the glass down on the table beside him without even a tremble. In that moment, everything Calvin and HHI’s Head of Security ever taught him about hostage situations & hand-to-hand combat began blazing through the man’s mind. Lucas Holloway knew, without question, someone was about to die in that room and he did his very best to mentally prepare himself to take that life or give his own in defence of the closest thing to a daughter he’d ever known. As Lucas Holloway made peace with whatever was about to happen, the man became… arguably… the most dangerous person in the room. He would kill or be killed to save Molly… and he was damn sure that if he were to die, it would be knowing he did all he could to send his Gracie home safe.

“And who do we have here?” Gaddill asked, standing up and crouching in front of Molly’s limp form. The Klingon mercenary approached him and, with a few grumbled words, gave him what Lucas would recognize as the pistol his oldest niece had shown him earlier in the Holodeck. The Cardassian lifted an eyebrow before standing back up and walking back to where the shipping magnate sat, placing the weapon in the coffee table in front of him. The same smirk on his lips. “Well, I am sorry to disappoint you, Mr. Holloway, but this is not one of my buddies. Any clue on who she is, and why she was carrying a projectile weapon?”

Gaddill

“Too bad…” Lucas said coldly. “… she looks like the kind of Merc that would take my cash no questions asked.” His eyes shifted to Molly’s form for a brief moment Good… still breathing and then back to Gaddill. “No clue…” The response was flat without a drop of emotion. As for the firearm, I couldn’t tell you. My father has a similar piece but only uses it to shoot rabbits that come into my mother’s garden back home. A bit archaic for my tastes personally.” Lucas leaned forward making a point to look a bit closer before reclining back in his chair. “1911… forty-five caliber… leaves nasty holes in humans. Completely destroys rabbits.” He shrugged. “That’s about all I know about them.” Nodding to the girl in the corner. “Here’s a thought… why don’t you ask her?”

Lucas Holloway

Even though Lucas’s reply didn’t appease Gaddill, the smirk he held on his lips didn’t fade. “Right… so… Mr. Holloway…” He sighed before continuing. “I thought you were smarter than that… are you really expecting me to believe that someone you don’t know just happened to come on board, somehow subdued everyone on the Bridge, I mean… that was clearly weapon’s fire on the comms… and got on the lift to come up here?” He laughed sarcastically. “If this was some petty ship’s thief she would not have had the upper hand over my crew. And you don’t seem at all concerned about your helmsman… so… likely she had help down there. Not to mention, if she had hypothetically single-handedly taken down both my men and yours, she’d likely be more interested in just piloting the ship out of here than in exploring the ship, don’t you think, Mr. Holloway?” His triumphant grin was wider. “No. I believe that you know her and you are hiding something from me.”

Holloway looked increasingly unimpressed by the accusations of the Cardassian, but his mind was running full speed. If he didn’t intercede soon, the monsters would hurt or kill his Gracie… and the chance of him letting that happen were that of a snowball in hell. This particular snowball being very small and the fires of retribution & hell burning inside the man roared hotter than the universe’s hottest star. “I’m not hiding anything Gaddill. Again, you’ve already been a disrespectful jackass to me. If you are so interested in the girl, ask her!”

Meanwhile, consciousness was slowly coming back into Molly’s body. There was a sharp pain on her shoulder and the hard bulkhead behind her did not help in making her comfortable.

Slowly, words made their way to her ears. Voices… one of them her uncle’s, the other unknown to her. Had she made it to Lucas? Was he okay?

Carefully, she opened her eyes, closing them almost immediately at first when light flooded them. Then she opened them just enough for her to take in her surroundings without giving away that she was awake. Everything was coming back to her memory now.

In her mind, Molly mapped the position of the two Klingon guards and the Cardassian and when the action was fully focused on the conversation between the two men in the middle of the room, she sprung into action.

With a quick movement she produced a blade, one that she kept hidden on her for situations like this. Her step was swift and her leap unexpected, as Molly jumped on the back of the Klingon closest to her, burying her knife on the crook of his neck, his consciousness gone before her feet hit the floor.

Lucas sat in momentary shock as his surrogate daughter went to work. She was way faster than he expected but the action had already drawn Gaddill’s attention from the pistol less than a meter from his right hand.

Having alerted the second Klingon guard, Molly spun around to face the other threat, brandishing the blade in her hand, ready to strike again. But the Klingon was faster, blocking her strike with his arm, before drawing out a small object from within his clothes, and making a run for Molly’s left temple.

The moment the device sparked with electricity in front of her eyes, she knew exactly what it was. The simple vision of it filled her with fear, and the words from another Cardassian permeated her mind. A voice that she didn’t want to hear ever again.

… the Klingons may be animals, but they do understand pain…

And pain she had felt. And now it was coming once again… if she let the Klingon have his way.

But it was too late. Her momentary freeze had been enough for the guard to wrap a strong hand around her throat, slam her against the wall, and lift her up, leaving her feet almost dangling in the air. Molly fought him, trying to ignore the looming threat from the device on the Klingon’s other hand.

The fire within Lucas Holloway roared uncontrollably as he watched the Klingon manhandle Molly. As the Cardassian watched the Klingon & Molly closely, Lucas made his move… swiftly and silently recovering the firearm from the table, leveling it on the Klingon… his sight picture perfect before the powerful, old Earth weapon thundered to life just behind and to the right of Gaddill’s ear.

Focused on her own survival, what the younger Holloway didn’t expect was what came next, as the noise of the commotion was suddenly drowned by the massive roar of her own pistol coming to life.

Molly

The rounds struck true, two to the center mass of the Klingon’s back and one to the back of his head. As the already dead Klingon dropped Molly and collapsed to the floor, Lucas savagely butt-struck Gaddill in the back of the head with all the strength in his body, sending the Cardassian crashing to the floor at his feet. Leveling the still smoking barrel in Gaddill’s face, the magnate asked in an authoritative tone of voice Molly had never heard. “Gracie… are you OK?!”

Lucas Holloway

The loud bang of the pistol was too much for Gaddill’s right ear to bear, and he started to turn around to see what was going on. But he was not fast enough, and with a sudden pain in the back of his head, the Cardassian’s world went black.

Shaking, Molly felt herself slip down the bulkhead. The weight of the Klingon’s dead body falling on her. Taking a deep breath, her eyes met Lucas’s across the room, but she didn’t have long to dwell on the emotions behind them as her uncle was dangerously pointing her own weapon at Gaddill.

“Give me a reason, you bastard,” Lucas growled in a terrifyingly cold manner at the disarmed man. “… one good reason to end you and I promise… I will do so instantly.”

“Stop, stop, stop!!!” In a moment of panic, Molly pushed the Klingon off of her. She could barely speak, and her lungs hadn’t yet recovered from the sudden lack of air. Pink blood streaked the floor and her clothes, as she tried, and failed, to get up. “I’m fine! Please, I need him alive!”

Molly

The huff that left Lucas was chilling. “Sweetie, I have zero interest in killing this son-of-a-bitch… I want him to spend the rest of his worthless existence in a Federation Penal Colony. And I…” There was a pause. Lucas stepped out of arms reach of the unconscious Cardassian at his feet. His eyes turned coldly to Molly. “What in the hell do you mean… you need him alive?” His tone is somehow even colder.

Lucas Holloway


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