Captain's log, Stardate 53149.9: The Wasp has been assigned to chart subspace currents near Cardassian territory. It should give us a chance to test the upgraded warp drive.

"Lieutenant," Captain Ramsey stated, "are you ready to begin?"

"Yes, sir," The science officer stated.

"Let's get started."

"Captain," Katia chimed in, "we have two Jem'Hadar warships bearing 225 mark 6."

"I thought Dominion ships weren't allowed unescorted," the tactical officer said.

"That would be correct, ensign," Ramsey said. "Hail them, Mr. McWatt."

"Open,"

"This is captain Andrew Ramsey of the Federation Starship Wasp. You are in violation of treaty. Stand down and explain your actions or we shall be forced to take an aggressive stance."

"The ships are closing in on us," McWatt answered.

"Raise shields."

"Shields up."

"Open a channel again." After a brief pause, he repeated his warning. "This is Captain Andrew Ramsey of the Federation starship Wasp. I repeat, stand down and explain your actions."

"They're charging weapons."

"Ready phasers and quantum torpedoes."

"Ready," McWatt said.

The Wasp rattled as the Jem'Hadar ships struck her. "If that's the way they're going to act, than let's not hold back. Mr. McWatt, you may fire at will."

The Wasp responded in kind to the hostile fire. Phasers struck the engines of the lead ship. "We have disabled one of the ships. The other one is still trying to give us a hard time." Sparks flew throughout the bridge as the ship was hit by more fire from the second ship. "Direct hit on the aft weapons."

"We need to turn around. Lieutenant, can you pull a Williamson turn."

"In a ship like this, we'll be putting a strain on the inertial dampers," Katia replied. " I think I can pull it out."

"Do it," Ramsey said. "Divert power to the forward shields and weapons."

"Yes, sir," McWatt and Katia replied simultaneously. The ship turned sharply to the right, and then set about in a loop. Phaser fire and a couple of quantum torpedoes struck the second ship, destroying it.

[image]

"Mr. McWatt, get me Starfleet command pronto."


"Sir," a Jem'Hadar solider stated as he entered a command room, "A Federation Starship has just entered your sovereign territory."

The commander turned around, revealing himself to be a human male with shoulder-length gray hair. "I knew that they would approach our base, but I didn't expect them this soon."

"You can expect that Starfleet will send someone to explain what had happened," another human gentleman said as he entered the room. "The ship our solders just encountered is the Wasp. That ship is part of the wing of ships led by a ship that you are familiar with - the Baldwin." As the gentleman spoke, he displayed an image of the Baldwin on the primary display screen.

"Excellent!" the commander exclaimed. "I hope to be able to challenge him again."


"Come in," Admiral Belding said as the doorbell to her office rang.

"You wanted to see me, Admiral?" Patrick replied as he entered the room.

"Yes. I wanted to talk with you about a cadet that I feel could benefit from serving under you."

"You wouldn't be talking about Cadet Collins."

"How did you know?"

"I'm familiar with the Valiant incident from a year ago, and that she has been lagging behind a bit since then. Why do you thing posting her to the Baldwin would be beneficial?"

"She does all right in class. In fact, she's a top student. It's just that seems to be afraid of field work. I think we can speculate why."

"She clearly had a bad experience when the Valiant was out on its own. I feel that putting her in final field training without any other cadets would be beneficial in that she would have someone willing to give her more positive encouragement."

"Needless to say, she needs proven leadership behind her - that's where you come in."

"Yet, I'm also someone that would be closer to being her peer. I understand, and would be more than willing to take her under my wing."

"Good. I'll arrange for her transfer before you leave Earth."

Before Patrick could answer, the Admiral's com unit beeped. "This is Admiral Belding, go ahead."

"Admiral," Jaimie stated, "is Captain Ingrum still there?"

"I'm here, JP. What seems to be the problem?"

"Admiral Bennett just called. He would like to speak with you ASAP."

"Any explanation?"

"No, but Captain Rabb and Lieutenant Jackson will be accompanying you."

"Understood. I'll be there in about ten minutes. Ingrum out."


Patrick entered Admiral Bennett's office to discover Harm and Sara already present. The head of the Starfleet JAG corps began to speak. "Now that you are all here, I can tell you about our situation. We just received word that two ships of Dominion origin attacked Wasp. Mr. Rabb, I would like for you to conduct a investigation. We need to figure out who was responsible and get to the truth as soon as possible. If this actually was a ship under the control of the Dominion, there will be serious ramifications."

"Yes, sir," Harm answered. "I'll assume that you want Captain Ingrum and Lieutenant Jackson to assist."

"Yes. I think that the Federation Council will not wait long before deciding that the Dominion has broken their end of the treaty. We need to avoid bloodshed if we can. Dismissed."

"Yes, sir," Harm, Patrick, and Sara replied in unison. As the trio left the building, they began to discuss the situation. "Both of you do know that I have a friend aboard Wasp."

"I'm sure if Katia faces a court-martial and needed a JAG, she'd call you. If we run into a conflict of interest, we'll cross that bridge when we get there."

"Right now," Harm added, "We need to figure out what happened."

"This could also be a potential intelligence gathering operation," Patrick continued. "I think that we may need to bring Lieutenant Allison in on this one. I also hope that this will be a good break in run for our new crew member."


[image]

A young female cadet walked into Patrick's office, "Cadet Collins reporting as ordered."

"Thank you. At ease, Cadet," Patrick responded. "Admiral Belding says you're doing well in class, but has felt your heart isn't in your field studies."

"I know. It's just that I keep questioning myself whether I'm doing things right."

"I've read the story about the Valiant. You've lost trust in your commanding officers. That's not good. Admiral Belding was my first CO out of the academy. I was but a lowly computer technician, but she saw the potential in me and placed me on the track to where I am today. She sees the same potential in you. If you would follow me, I'll show you some of the operations of our current mission."


"So, any information received through any means can be recorded in here," Sara Jackson said.

"That's correct," Sarah Allison replied as Patrick walked in with his student. "Captain, what brings you here."

"I'm showing our new trainee around. Cadet, this is Lieutenant Sara Jackson, my assistant JAG, and Lieutenant Sarah Allison, my astrometrics officer."

"Pleased to meet you," Lieutenant Allison replied.

"Welcome aboard," Jackson added.

"Thank you," the student answered, "I'm Cadet Dorian Collins."

"We'll be leaving in a few minutes. Miss Jackson, I'd appreciate it if you could join us while I show the cadet our engine room. There is something down there that I need to show both of you."


Patrick, Sara, and Dorian entered the engine room. "Cadet," Patrick turned to Dorian, "You're an engineering specialist, am I correct?"

"Yes, sir."

"Needless to say, I'm going to be assigning you here. Bridget, could I have a word with you?"

"Something wrong, Captain?"

"No, I just wanted to meet your new trainee. Cadet, this is Bridget, she will be be your supervisor. Bridget, I think we need to show them just exactly what we have under the hood."

"I know what you mean," Bridget said as she turned to a panel near the Warp Core and proceeded to open it, revealing a device that Dorian found unusual.

"What is it?" Dorian asked.

"It is the Baldwin's cloaking device."

"I don't understand," Sara replied puzzlingly. "I thought that the Federation wasn't allowed to have cloaking devices under the Treaty of Algernon.

"What you don't know is that as of Stardate 50930, that particular section of the Treaty was considered null and void by both parties. In fact, the discovery of this ship led to that ruling. I had discovered her adrift and cloaked."

"Then how come I haven't seen many ships with cloaks?" Sara asked.

"Starfleet utilized some cloaking technology during the war, mainly with the minefield around the wormhole," Patrick replied. "Starfleet has always been a case of exploration first, military second. What I need you to do is help me set up some rules on when it's appropriate to use the cloaking device."

"My first guess would be that we would primarily use the cloak in the gathering of intelligence. That sounds like your area of expertise. It probably won't help me unless I see how you are using it."

"You got yourself a deal - that is, if you don't mind observing some more starship operations." Patrick continued by tapping his combadge to call the bridge, "Laura, set course for Deep Space Nine, Warp 7."

"Aye, sir. Warp factor 7."

"Engage." Patrick turned to Sara as the Baldwin entered warp. "We'll start by interviewing the crew of the Wasp."


[image]

"Enter," Captain Ramsey said as the doorbell to his ready room rang. "Captain Rabb, I've been expecting you."

"Thank you, Captain Ramsey," Harm replied. "I guess we should start at the beginning."

"We were in section 3547 when two Jem'Hadar fighters appeared out of nowhere."

"Can you be a little more specific?"

"Not off hand, but the sensor logs should tell you everything you need to know. Since there was no apparent escort, I opened a channel and ordered them to stand down and explain their actions"

"Obviously, they did not."

"I broadcast the warning twice when the ships gave me their answer. We took damage to our aft shields and weapons. I ordered Lieutenant Leigh to pull a Williamson turn and directed power directed to the relatively undamaged forward shields."

"That's when one of the two ships was destroyed."

"Correct. The other ship retreated, and I contacted Starfleet Command to report the incident."


"I understand why you called me for this interview," Katia began, "but I'm not sure what I can tell you that hasn't already been said. Anyway, I had just taken Wasp out of warp to begin charting subspace currents when I observed two Jem'Hadar warships coming in behind us unescorted. Captain Ramsey ordered shields and weapons and proceeded to make contact with the vessels. He ordered the ships to stand down. They answered by firing upon our aft weapons."

"Do you have any other observations?" Harm asked.

"This attack caught us by total surprise. I did not see anything until we got out of warp. I may have missed something, I'm not certain."

"Lieutenant," Harm said, "I was a pilot for some time before I got into law. If a ship was standing just far enough behind when you come out of warp, it may briefly disappear from short-range sensors. I will have the sensor logs processed through our astrometrics lab."


[image]

Sarah Allison was punching commands into her console when Harm walked in. "I just received the sensor logs from Wasp," Sarah stated. "I haven't had a chance to look at them yet. I should be ready in about 45 minutes."

"Thank you. Lieutenant. I'd like to know what you find out."

"Understood. I do think that Captain Ingrum and Lieutenant Jackson should listen in on my report."

"Of course," Harm replied. "We'll get back to you at about 1600 hours. Is that all right with you?"

"1600 is fine by me. I'll see you there."


Sarah Allison was ready as Harm, Patrick, and Sara Jackson walked in. "I think I found something that the three of you may find interesting," Allison said.

"What is it?" Patrick asked.

"The two ships were sitting in the Wasp's blind spot."

"Blind spot?" Jackson asked puzzlingly.

"As a starship drops out of warp, the short range sensors are directed forward to watch for debris or major obstructions. What this means is that the aft sensors have a reduced range. A ship can sneak up on you really easy." Patrick replied. "Anything else, Miss Allison?"

"As a matter of fact, all intelligence reports indicate that no ships have gone through this area since the war ended."

"Is there anything out there?" Harm asked.

"There is one major star system nearby. It contains one class M planet. Judging by the way that these enemy ships came in upon the Wasp, there could be something going on in this system."

"In that case, I think we need to investigate."

"Captain," Sara Jackson commented, "It's possible that those ships were sent out by whomever is in charge, wondering why a Federation ship was out there."

"And if we head out there, we're going into trouble."

"Exactly. If there was a circumstance where a cloaking device was justified, this would be it."

"I agree. Ingrum to engineering, prepare the cloak for operation."

"Aye, sir," Bridget answered. She turned to Dorian. "How are you doing?"

"I'm doing all right."

"I could use some help over here," Bridget said, motioning over to the cloaking device. "We need to make sure the cloak is working."

"Yes, ma'am," Dorian replied. "I'm just curious, how long have you known the captain?"

"Two years," Bridget replied, knowing where the young cadet was going in her inquires. "He's a very capable leader, trusted by the older captains. He's kept the Baldwin in one piece."


"Laura," Patrick said, "are we ready to go?"

"Yes, sir."

"Miss Jackson, I believe this is your first intelligence gathering mission."

"Yes, sir" Sara replied.

"Why don't you take her out?"

"Thank you, captain. Miss Bennett, seal the airlock, release docking clamps, aft thrusters to one-quarter."

"Aye, Lieutenant, one-quarter."

"Set course for Sector 3547, warp factor 8, and prepare to engage the cloaking device."

"Course set. Cloaking device is standing by."

"Engage."

[image]


"We've arrived at the star system that Lieutenant Allison was telling us about"

"Take us out of warp. Donna, anything on sensors."

"I'm picking up a small building facility on the surface. I can't get an exact count on the number of lifesigns, but they are Jem'Hadar. They might be rebels, I'm not picking up any Vorta - wait a minute, I'm picking up two human lifesigns."


"Your excellence," the lead Jem'Hadar stated, "we have detected a warp trail entering this sector."

"They have arrived at last," the leader replied. "Let's prepare a welcoming committee for them."


"Captain," Donna said. "We have a incoming Jem'Hadar bug coming from the planet's surface."

"They must have known we were coming. Drop cloak and raise shields before the get here."

"Shields up. The cloak is disengaged. Phasers and Quantum Torpedoes standing by," Donna replied.

"Captain, permission to speak freely?" Laura interrupted.

"Absolutely,"

"I've got a bad feeling about this."

"As do I," Patrick replied. "Laura, Sara, you're with me. Ingrum to engineering, Bridget, could you please report to Shuttlebay 1? JP, you have the bridge."

"Aye, sir."


"Welcome aboard Neosho, Sara."

"Interesting choice. Why not just a standard shuttlecraft instead of a runabout."

"I prefer the runabouts. Besides, I consider the Neosho my personal craft."

"You have a runabout for a Captain's Yacht? That does sound reasonable."

"You haven't seen anything yet. Laura, prepare to cloak."

"Aye, Captain."

"As soon as you're ready, prepare to launch and set a course for the planet."

"Aren't your going to prepare a launch sequence."

"Negative. Activate the cloak."

"Cloak active."

"Let's rock and roll." Sara watched as the runabout proceeded through the outer door without making a crashing sound. "Looks like the phase unit worked the way it's supposed to."

"That would be good when exploring tight quarters."

"You have no idea. Disengage the phasing unit. Let's find a place to land this thing."

"Understood."


"Donna," Jaimie stated, "Make sure you know where you are shooting. I don't want to be firing on our own."

"Understood, commander," Donna replied as the ship rocked to the hostile fire. "Shields at 85%. The Baldwin fired phasers on the rebel ships. The blows connected, damaging the opposing ships. "The hostiles are disabled."

"Good. Cease fire, it's up to the captain now."


"Smooth landing, Lieutenant," Patrick said to Laura. "How far are we from the compound?"

"About 750 meters."

"Good. Open the main hatch. Let's find out what's out there."

The foursome proceeded over a hill toward the compound, "I'm reading several Jem'Hadar around this area," Bridget commented.

"Tell me something I don't know, Patrick replied as a set of Jem'Hadar troops de-shrouded in front of them.


"Commander," Kristy noted, "It appears that Captain Ingrum and company have been captured."

"Allison to Bridge."

"Go ahead."

"You might want to come down here."

"Understood."


"Could someone please explain to me why the Jem'Hadar do not have any feeding tubes?" Sara asked.

"One thing's for certain," Patrick answered, "The Founders have nothing to do with this."

"Captain," Laura finished, "I think we have a good idea on just who is responsible."

"You don't think," Bridget said, "that perhaps -"

"That I would be involved. I would think it would be so obvious that you wouldn't give it a second thought."

"I know of a few places where genetic resequencing is common, but to be honest, you're the first person that would come to mind."

"Who is this?" Sara asked Patrick.

"This is Dr. Alan Murrow. He's an excellent geneticist, if a bit eccentric," Patrick replied. "So, where is your co-conspirator?"

"I am right here," another man said. "I've been expecting you."

"How come I'm not surprised about that, Khan," Patrick retorted. "Just what the hell are you trying to do, push the Alpha Quadrant back to the brink of war."

"On the contrary, I intend to bring peace and order? It's a shame that you won't be a part of it."

"Knowing you, I wouldn't want to be a part of it."

"You don't know me at all. Put them in the brig."


[image]

First Officer's Log, Stardate 53164.1: Khan Noonian Singh has captured Captain Ingrum, but not before discovering that Khan is attempting to succeed where the founders have failed. We are proceeding back to Deep Space Nine, but we are doing our best to keep our ears on the captain.

"We know where the Captain is being held. If they try to move him at any time, we'll be on to him.

"Good. We will require some help if Khan's rogues decide to mess with us."

"Commander, considering they probably know as much about the efficiency of the Dominion as we do, we have to assume that the can build ships quickly. Time is something we may not have."


"You know, Khan," Patrick commented snidely, "Matt Drudge would have had a field day if he had ever learned of you."

"Who is this Matt Drudge?" Khan answered.

"Never mind," Patrick answered as Khan sealed the cell.

"So," Sara stated, "are you going to tell us who this Drudge character is?"

"Matt Drudge was sort of a pioneer of reporting news over the digital network of the time. When the prospects of cloning and genetic engineering came out, he felt that there would be potential negative consequences. It's unfortunate he did not know that one of them was barely under his nose. Nevertheless, he was one of the major supporters of the ban on human genetic engineering that has been in force for centuries."

"What do you think that they are going to do with us?" Laura asked

[image]

"If you want my guess, you and Bridget will become cannon fodder while Sara and I are forced to watch."

"Why those two?" Sara inquired.

"Laura is very skilled in Klingon combat. She's a natural, especially for only 10 months of training. As for Bridget - "

"Dr. Murrow could be considered to be my estranged father, in a manner of speaking," Bridget broke in. "Genetic experiment number seven, created Stardate 24592.470. He never bothered to give me or my sister a name?"


The Jem'Hadar first approached the cell. "It is time," he said.

"We are ready," Bridget answered.

The Jem'Hadar lowered the force field and escorted the foursome into the center of the compound. Khan moved to take a look at Laura, "I've heard much about your extraordinary abilities. I'm sure that my friend Dr. Murrow would be interested in examining your genes."

"What would genetics have to do with Laura's telekinetic abilities?" Sara asked quietly to Patrick.

"Ever hear of an incident with the Enterprise around stardate 42494?"

"You're going to have to tell me about that one."

"Begin," Khan said as Laura entered the ring.


"Cadet," Jaimie said as she entered engineering, "I just wanted to see how you were doing."

"I'm doing all right, commander. The staff here has been nice and very good if I had any questions."

"Good. You're here to learn about operations on a starship. You're going to have questions. Don't be afraid to ask. From what I've read, you've also been a little homesick at times. You're young, that's perfectly normal. If you ever feel like talking, don't be afraid to talk to someone."


"That was a good match, Bridget," Sara said as they were escorted back to their cell.

"Thank you," Bridget answered. "I've learned not to keep a reign on my abilities. There's an old expression: 'With great power comes great responsibility.'"

"Good words to live by, Lieutenant. Where did you learn that?"

"An old comic book. I can't remember who he was."

"That's nice," Patrick answered, "If the three of you don't mind, I'm going to lie down for a little while."

As Patrick lied down on the bed, Bridget sat down to watch him. "He's kind of cute when he's asleep."

"Lieutenant," Laura whispered, "you have a serious crush on the captain."

[image]

"To be honest, I adore him. I'm just not sure how he feels about me."

"From what I've seen," Sara added, "If you want to know if he shares your affection, you are going to have to flirt with him a little. I think that he would be interested in a woman if she shows interest. I know that he wants a family eventually."


The next morning, Khan appeared in front of their holding cell. "Bridget, I request that you come with me."

"What do you want?"

"You have fought valiantly, but that was just a test. I understand that my friend Dr. Murrow is your father."

"For lack of a better term, I would have to answer yes."

"Why does a perfect woman like you commingle with lesser humans?"

"I may have been designed to be stronger physically and mentally than the average human, but I do not consider myself perfect, as I think it would be a sign of delusion. Certainly, you must have shortfalls of some sort."

"If that's the way you feel, then, as the Klingons would say, 'Defend Yourself.'"


"What the heck is going on out there," Patrick said as he observed Bridget and Khan fighting.

"I'd say that Bridget is going head to head with Khan," Laura answered.

"But why?"

"Maybe something he said didn't go to well with her."

"Probably that 'I'm superior' mantra that Khan is best known for. Recruitment tool, perhaps?"


"Why don't you just have your Jem'Hadar kill me with those plasma rifles," Bridget said as she delivered a right hook.

"I would prefer to eliminate you myself, or have you admit that we are a superior race."

"Did anyone ever say you have a very nasty superiority complex," Bridget replied as she neared a small kiosk. Khan answered by throwing a left toward her face. Bridget ducked the punch, forcing Khan to hit the control panel on the kiosk.

"Neosho, Jackson" Sara said to as the force shield dropped, "decloak and initiate emergency beam-out." As soon as she finished her command, Sara was beamed out.

"How did she do that?" Laura asked.

"Sara had an open line to the runabout the whole time," Patrick said. "A little contingency plan, but we will really need to be together in order for Sara to get the rest of us. On three - one, two, three." Patrick and Laura quickly charged out the holding cell. They did not go unnoticed by the Jem'Hadar for very long. Plasma rifles quickly blazed as the duo ran towards their comrade. "Laura, do you suppose we can make this a fair fight."

"Not a problem," Laura said. The closet Jem'Hadar solider was surprised as he lost control of his weapon. The plasma rifle flew across the plaza until Patrick caught it in mid-air. "Is that any better, Captain."

"Much."

"Something tells me you didn't see that coming," Bridget commented to Khan, "I think I've found your shortcoming - you underestimate your opponent, you don't plan all your contingencies. You think you're in control of the game. I hate to tell you this, but you are not."

"Believe me, I figured that you would try something stupid like that. First, eliminate the captain." As the First got ready to fire, Bridget swung and kicked Khan in the lower thigh area, brining him to the ground, buying her enough time to make a run for the first. Laura concentrated her mind on the first's next move while Patrick ducked in anticipation of the shot. Laura worked the rifle out of the first's hands, but the first had a stronger grip. He managed to get a shot out just as he lost the handle on his weapon. The Plasma charge flew wildly through the air, heading in the direction of Bridget. Bridget instinctively dove to her right to dodge the blast, but it still managed to just get her near the side of her waist.

Patrick and Laura ran toward their comrade as Bridget fell to the ground. Patrick quickly examined Bridget's injuries. "Hang on lieutenant."

"I won't let you down, sir," Bridget answered.

"Bye-Bye," Laura commented as trio was beamed up.

Dr. Murrow approached Khan from behind. "She's good."

"Who?" Khan asked.

"Miss Bennett. I didn't realize the skill and precision she would use with her telekinetic abilities."

"So did I. Next time, I will not fail. I will make Captain Ingrum bow before me before I give him up. Let them go, we will get another opportunity."


"That's strange," Sara commented. "I don't see any Jem'Hadar attempting to chase us."

"Khan must have given us an invitation to join him another time. Set a course for D.S. Nine, warp 8. I'm going to keep an eye on Bridget. Until I can have a doctor treat her, I owe her that much. She took a shot meant for me, and it's just that... when I look into her eyes, I can somehow tell why."

"What do you mean, sir," Sara asked.

"I have had a good sense of who had the leadership capabilities to captain a starship. That's how I got to be the squadron leader. Somehow, I'm just able to tell by looking at Bridget... that she loves me. I have to admit sharing the same feelings for her. I think I've been denying it myself, because she's genetically engineered to be attractive, but I just look at her and cannot forget how beautiful she is."