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The trio materialized in the remains of the station manager's office. All three women wore full Starfleet issue space suits. The station's gravity field had long since shut down. The away team quickly activated their magnetic boots to prevent from spontaneously floating around the room. Instantly, their feet locked to the duranium deck plating peeking out from beneath the tattered remains of 23rd century orange plush carpeting. They were in pitch blackness and all they could hear was the sound of their own breathing inside their sealed helmets.

Annabeth and Daredevil activated their tac-lights and began looking around. Katie pulled a tricorder from her belt and started scanning.

"No power signature what so-ever, no atmosphere, no life-signs, and the temperature is a balmy negative 270.45 degrees celsius. This place is officially dead," Katie said reading off her display. Annabeth tapped the communicator on her suit's left wrist.

"Blackjack 6 to Pershing. Successful transport, condition normal. We are 'go' to continue EVA. Maintain transporter lock in case that changes."

"Pershing to Blackjack 6," Moran replied through the subspace radio. "Acknowledged. Chief Carter has good fix on all three of you."

"I can't believe the Federation just abandoned these stations," Daredevil said looking over to the corner where an old fashioned transporter pad was once mounted. The electronics had long since been ripped out by scavengers looking for any alloy or scrap metal they could sell for a few slips of latinum.

"By the mid-2280s, the K-Series of deep space stations were long since obsolete," Annabeth explained walking over to a sheet metal desk surrounded by floating debris. A grey plastic and black vinyl chair was still bolted to the deck in front of it. She gently rubbed her gloves across its surface as if trying to feel the ghostly presence of past occupants. "When the Klingon Neutral Zone came down in the 2290s," she continued, "there was no need to replace them. They would have been more trouble than it was worth to scrap, so they were just left to the stars and time."

The captain looked out a blown out window panel into vacuum. She could make out the Pershing circling in a holding pattern a hundred kilometers away. In her mind's eye, she could visualize the old Enterprise-1701 flying right beside her ship.

"Wow," Annabeth said nearly giddy. "I'm standing in the spot where Captain Kirk went toe to toe with Captain Koloth!"

"I'm guessing that was a big deal?" Katie said slogging over. Her mag boots clanked against the floor with every step.

"You should read more history, Katie!" Annabeth said. "Kirk stared down the Klingon Empire and uncovered a plot in this very room that probably saved the colonization of Sherman's Planet and the entire disputed territory."

"Am I remembering right that it had something to do with rabbits eating rice or something?" Daredevil asked shining her light out the doors into an abandoned hallway.

"Tribbles eating quadrotriticale, Number One," Annabeth said amazed that neither one of her two companions seemed to grasp the magnitude of where they were.

"Whatever," Daredevil muttered. "I was never much into fad foods. Besides, this place looks a garbage heap and a dumpster fire got together to make a shithole."

"Number One," Annabeth said aghast. "This station should be a national landmark."

"Remind me to write my Federation Councilor…" Daredevil replied sarcastically. Annabeth rolled her eyes from behind her visor.

"I thought tribbles were extinct?" Katie asked still waving her open tricorder around trying to get more readings.

"They pretty much are thanks to the Klingons," Annabeth said still examining the floating objects in the room for a cool souvenir. "I saw a stuffed one in the Berlin Natural Science Museum when I was little."

"Maybe we should try to find a frozen one on this station and send it to the Tigranians," Daredevil joked. "Think they would get a kick out of it?"

"Laria might find it amusing. I don't think Dan would. He once called tribbles disease carrying space-rats…" Annabeth replied.

"That definitely contributes to the shithole vibe I'm getting," Daredevil added.

"Adamson to Away Team," the science officer's voice crackled to life through subspace.

"This is Captain Geist. Go ahead, Aaron."

"I just got a weird hit during an active scan of the station. There seems to be an object in one of the lower storage containers that even our sensors can't get a reading on. All I can tell you is that it's a four cubic meter rectangular box made of some kind of polyduranium composite."

"Check it against the station's last known manifest in our computer," Daredevil replied. "That might give you hint."

"Already did, Ma'am," Adamson replied. "No luck. Lady Blackjack has the most powerful sensor array in this half of the galaxy. There shouldn't be anything onboard that we can't identify. "

Annabeth, Daredevil, and Katie all exchanged worried looks.

"Alright," Annabeth said. "Guide us to the location. I want to check it out. If it's something that shouldn't be there, we should report it. God knows what a space pirate or a smuggler could have left here."


Annabeth, Daredevil, and Katie made their way down a corridor lit only by their flashlights. They rounded a corner to see an entire section of the hallway blown out and open to space. There was a ten meter gap between the jagged edge of the deck plating and the route to the cargo bays only illuminated by thousands of stars.

"Think I can jump that?" Daredevil joked.

"Your legs aren't as impressive as your mouth is, Number One," Annabeth said keying her communicator again. "Pershing, the primary route to the cargo containers is a 'no go.' You see an alternate path?"

"Scanning," Adamson replied. "Looks like there's another corridor behind the old bar and grill. Go back five meters and cut through it. Be careful looks like a lot of debris floating around in there."

"Acknowledged," Annabeth replied.

"Wonder if there's any booze left?" Katie asked pulling her mag boots off the deck, gracefully pirouetting 180 degrees in mid-air, and then reattaching herself to the ground.

"Dibs on the alcohol if there is," Daredevil said. "Say, Katie, you're pretty good in zero 'g.'"

"Thanks," Katie replied as the other two struggled awkwardly to make the turn. "It was my favorite training at the Academy. If I didn't get on-ship security, I wanted to be posted to a deep space observation rig. They get to spend a lot of time patrolling outside the airlock."

"Never say that out loud again," Annabeth said as the trio approached the entrance to the bar. She pulled a manual access handle from her equipment belt, attached it to the sealed door, and pried the panels open. "Human Resources Command would love to yank you off Lady Blackjack as a replacement. Those cats on deep space duty go bonkers all the time. Leaves a lot of vacancies."

"I don't know," Katie said pointing her flashlight and stepping through the portal. "I find floating around really relaxing." She looked around as the others entered behind her. "Wow…" Katie said as her eyes focused.

The entire room was completely filled with floating artifacts. Broken shards of drinking glasses and century-old liquor bottles silently bumped into tables and chairs drifting a meter off the deck. The actual bar itself was still in place on the far side of the room. The three women quickly identified the back door next to the remains of the drink dispenser. Most of it had been ripped out of the wall. The frayed power cables and control wires wafted silently in the blackness.

"I remember reading about a brawl that happened in here between the crew of the Enterprise and the Klingons," Annabeth recollected as she started making her way through the floating morass of objects. "No one really knows how it started, but Kirk mentions it in his memoirs as a time when his crew represented their ship well."

"Funny, I was always taught fighting a Klingon was a bad idea," Katie said chuckling. Suddenly, a shiny object drifting at her eye level caught the beam of her flashlight. She walked over and picked it out of space. "Cool!" she said. "It's some kind of old copper coin."

Daredevil looked over.

"It looks like a Klingon darsek," the first officer said focusing her light on it. "Might be from the day that fight broke out? In any case, it's in great shape too for being in here so long."

"There you go, Boss," Katie said gently sailing it over to her captain. "How about that for a souvenir?"

"Nice," Annabeth replied. "Good eye, Katie." Annabeth admired the artifact for a few seconds. It was covered in pIqaD writing and had the grizzled face of a smooth-headed Klingon chancellor that Annabeth didn't recognize. Finally, she secured it in her thigh pocket.

"A good security chief has to have a good eye, Ma'am," Katie grinned back.

"Remind me to put that on your next evaluation…" Annabeth said pushing her way through the floating furniture to the back door.

After a few more minutes of walking and squeezing down a narrow ladder, they all arrived outside the cargo bays.

"We're looking for 'Number 37' according to Adamson's info," Katie said checking her tricorder.

"Here it is," Daredevil said wiping away a layer of space dust from a metal sliding panel with the corresponding number etched into its surface. "I think it might be rusted shut…" she added trying to pull it open with no success. Annabeth tried to help her, but the panel held firm.

"What the hell? That's not corrosion. It's welded shut."

"That's weird," Daredevil said.

"Try my way?" Katie said casually from behind them. Annabeth and Daredevil turned around to see her drawing a hand phaser from her belt. "Work smarter, not harder."

"WHOAH!" the other two said deactivating their mag boots and floating back behind Katie.

The security officer made a few adjustments to her weapon and pointed it at the panel.

"Fire in the hole," Katie said pressing the trigger. A wide beam instantly turned the panel to ionized vapor.

"Subtle…" Annabeth said walking forward and shining her light into the compartment.

"Have phaser, will travel, Ma'am," Katie replied re-holstering the weapon.

"What do you see, Skipper?" Daredevil asked. Annabeth looked around the blackness. The compartment seemed to be empty, but she finally made out a large, black shape bolted to the bottom of the storage container about five meters away.

"I see something," Annabeth said furrowing her brow, "and it ain't quadrotriticale."

"I got no readings on the tricorder. Whatever it is, its shield hardened against even close range scan," Katie said confused.

"One way to find out," Daredevil said grabbing onto a metal handle welded to the wall and deactivating her boots. She instantly floated free from the ground. "You said you liked zero 'g' right?"

Katie shrugged and deactivated her boots as well.

"I never said that I liked zero 'g'," Annabeth muttered as she followed suit. The trio floated through the hole, awkwardly drifted over to the object, and reattached themselves to the floor.

"It looks like a transport case of some kind," Daredevil said while feeling around for some kind of release handle. "It's definitely 23rd century Starfleet though."

"How can you tell?" Katie asked.

"Cause there is a stencil right here saying 'Sealed for transport on Stardate 7412.3' at Jupiter Station," Daredevil chuckled while pointing to the side of the long object made of matted black sheet metal. "I also got what looks like an access pad."

Katie walked around and took a look at the small electronic control panel.

"I highly doubt this thing's power cells are still charged," she said prying open the panel and manually attaching a pair of wire leads from the back of her tricorder. Slowly, the keys glowed to life and signal started flowing to Katie's handheld. "Wow, this thing is encrypted six ways to Sunday. Even a modern tricorder is not enough to crack it."

"Away team to Pershing," Annabeth said. "Adamson you there?"

"Yes Ma'am," the science officer replied.

"We're at your mystery object. It looks like it's Starfleet, but it's locked with an encryption. Remote into Katie's tricorder and see if you can use our computer to break it."

"Working," he said. "Wow, a sixteen level recombinant active key. That was Starfleet's best code…eighty years ago."

"So you can't break it?" Annabeth asked.

"I never said that…" Adamson said. "There, the main computer's got it."

The manual locks on the case clicked open and the entire lid slowly opened with a loud hiss of compressed argon gas. The away team looked inside. Then, they all cocked their heads to the side in confusion.

"Um?" Daredevil said. "Those just look like long range warp probes…very, very old long range warp probes."

Annabeth furrowed her brow. Three meter-long silver cylinders rested inside the transport case. The words, "UNITED FEDERATION OF PLANETS" were still visible on their hulls just forward of the two, cylindrical warp micro-nacelles attached to the aft of the each casing. Annabeth had seen plenty of pictures of these things in her reference books. They looked no different from the standard long range interstellar probe of the late 23rd century. A Constitution-class ship like the Enterprise-1701 would have carried a complement of at least a hundred.

"There's no reason why these things should be sealed away in a storage compartment with this level of security," the captain said. "Starfleet dumped thousands of these things out into the stars a century ago. Katie, see if you can get a reading now."

"Roger," Katie said calmly before holding up her tricorder. She hit the button that read"SCAN."

Instantly, the display on her device began flashing bright red. A deafening alarm started shrieking in her helmet.

"FUCK! FUCK! FUCK!" Katie screamed as she read her display.

"Katie, what is it?" Annabeth asked terrified. Her security chief didn't answer. Instead, Katie charged over, grabbed Annabeth and Daredevil around the waist, and shoved them back against the wall like a Parises Squares lineman.

"LEXINGTON!?" Daredevil screamed. "WHAT THE HELL!?"

Katie still ignored her superiors like a person possessed. She slammed her gloved hand against her communicator.


The three women dematerialized and re-appeared back on their ship. The strongest forcefield available to Starfleet isolated them inside the transporter platform.

Annabeth looked out to see Chief Carter in a total panic behind the control console as he reached into a cabinet and pulled out a gas mask and protective clothing. Annabeth still had no idea what was going on, but she did know what "LEVEL 10 BIO-HAZARD PROTOCOL" was. Simply put, it meant that an agent capable of eliminating life on a planetary scale had been detected. Despite her years of training, Annabeth felt the beginnings of panic building insider her. Daredevil tried to shake off her own confusion. She started reaching up to unfasten her neck collar.

"NO!" Katie shouted at the top of her lungs. "DO NOT UNSEAL YOUR SUIT!"

"WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON!?" Daredevil shouted edging into panic herself. Annabeth looked out to see Chief Carter now completely encased in protective gear. The doors to the transporter room opened and Doctor Katan entered with two medics at his side. All three were inside thick, plastic bio-hazard garments with self-contained air supplies. Annabeth was impressed with their reaction time. If she survived this, she would write a commendation in their files. The ridiculous thought actually caused her to smile a bit at the insanity of this situation.

Without speaking Katan walked up to an emergency panel next to the transporter. He ripped it open and began the emergency decontamination protocol. As he worked, both of his medics stood at the ready with hyposprays of noroatropine. It was standard procedure for individuals exposed to an unknown chemical or biological agent.

"Alright, Ladies, can you hear me?" the doctor said through the intercom. Annabeth could only nod. Daredevil was muttering obscenities while Katie was doubled over nearly in the fetal position with genuine fear. "Do you have a good seal on your suits?"

One at a time, the three of them managed to flash him a thumbs up.

"Ok," Katan said keying a final sequence into the control panel. "Just remain as calm as you can. We got you." Sweat started pouring from his brow. He was telepathic and could hear Katie's thoughts. He already knew what they were dealing with.

Instantly, the air was sucked out of the sealed transporter pad and fed directly into the ship's EPS network. Every molecule of oxygen and nitrogen that had contacted the exterior of the away team's suits would be ionized by the 5000 degree Kelvin raw plasma. Once a vacuum was established, valves in the ceiling released high pressure clouds of purple decontamination solution. Clouds surrounded the women and washed the exterior of their suits as completely clean as the day they were replicated. Finally, scrubber fans sucked the contaminated solution out of the chamber before new atmosphere was pumped in.

Once the pressure returned to normal, Katan turned to Chief Carter.

"You're all doing great," Katan said calmly over his suit's speakers. "Chief, I need a level 10 forcefield over this entire room." Carter was still staring wide-eyed and in shock. "CHIEF!" Katan yelled more firmly. The petty officer finally snapped back to reality and complied. A wall of energy began isolating transporter room 2 from the rest of the ship. "Alright, I'm gonna deactivate the pad forcefield to get a solid scan. I just need the three of you to stay still, ok?" he asked. The three of them managed to nod. Katan input his access code and the first forcefield shut down. He pulled the probe out of his medical tricorder and individually scanned each member of the away team.

"Good, good," he said smiling wide. "We're looking good. Ok, you can remove your helmets now. All of us can too." Reluctantly, everyone in the room broke the seals on their suits, pulled off their helmets and masks, and took a deep breath of fresh air.

"So, we're gonna be alright?" Daredevil said trying to steady her voice

"Definitely," Katan said reassuringly.

"Are you sure?" Daredevil reiterated.

"Positive, XO," Katan laughed. "If that stuff was still present, we'd all already be dead or dying."

"ENOUGH!" Annabeth screamed. "Katie, what the hell did you detect with your scan?"

"See for yourself, Ma'am," her security officer said holding up her tricorder. Annabeth read the display and nearly collapsed. It was far worse than she imagined.

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