Prologue: The Armis IX Gambit
Star-Date 4202056.416 2365
THE EVENTS OF THIS NOVEL, TAKE PLACE AFTER THE STAR TREK THE NEXT GENERATION EPISODE: NEUTRAL ZONE, AND BEFORE THE STAR TREK THE NEXT GENERATION EPISODE: THE CHILD.
ARCHEOLOGICAL DIG SITE
“ADA, come quick?”
“We’ve uncovered a new chamber! Bones, my dear….. We’ve found bones!”
“Bones professor?! Of, what species?”
“I think, that it may be related to Gorn….. I have need of your- expertise.”
“The professor told us to wait Sabek.”
“Let the professor wait Kebas..... We will capitalize on all the- artifacts the humans fail to find.”
The brothers- Ferengi, twins on an expedition, for expenditure of profitable gain; moved slowly into the breach. The laser drill, now powered down from its continuous operations.
Lamps in hand, Sabek searched the chamber walls. Brother- Kebas, concentrating on the soil and the rock covered grounds beneath their feet.
“There is nothing here Sabek..... Let us get out from here?”
“We have yet to find anything of any substantial value Kebas! We will not leave; until our quota has been succeeded!”
“Something, it is not right in here Sabek. It smells as if.....”
“Kebas? Look- here!”
“What is it Sabek? Some kind of device?!”
The twin Ferengi, eyed the strange black box and its working multi-colored flashing lights; with rising curiosity.
Sabek, dropped the box in surprise; as his fondling of the objects’ exterior, is cause enough for the box to open.
The twin Ferengi immediately replaced their fear with a sense of overwhelming curiosity, driven by their inherit need to find out the objects’ monetary worth; as the brothers made a united decision, to peer into the open container.
“It is empty Sabek! So small a container….. What, could have been stored inside it?”
The sounds of movement in the darkness, quickly drew on the attentions of the twin Ferengi; to another chamber.
Brothers Sabek and Kebas marveled in an intrigued silence on the new chamber they have now discovered.
Unexpected by the twin Ferengi; the walls came alive with multiple unidentified lifeforms; hiding in shadow.
Sabek and Kebas spun about wildly; their lamps directed into alternating positions, on attempts to localize the source of the shadow-cast movement, that was quickly surrounding them.
Panic now overcoming their need for profit; the twin Ferengi made a hasted attempt to flee from the first inner chamber of the ruins.
The muffled cries- from brother Kebas, are quickly drowned- out by the whining, and whimpering sounds of brother Sabek.
Silence soon taking hold the surroundings, as the unconscious twin Ferengi are carried away into the darkness, by something unnatural stalking the ruins.
“USS Horizon, to Armis 24-16……. Professor Matheson, do you read me? I repeat, this is the USS Horizon NCC-176-A, to Armis 24-16; can anyone respond?”
“Still no answer to our hails Lieutenant?”
“Not even so much as static Captain.”
“Continue hailing on all frequencies..... Send word to Star- Fleet.....
We are not equipped to deal with the rise of any kind of hostile planetary problems….. We’re going to need some assistance.’
“Yes- sir. Message sent, and has been received by Star-Fleet Command…….. NCC-1701-D is on route.”
“…... Picard? It’s been a long time….. Alert me to the arrival- of Enterprise. I’ll be in my Ready Room.”
“Yes-sir. Enjoy your rest Captain.”
Past recollections of a bar-room brawl; nearly costing the brash cadet known as Jean-Luc Picard his life; are quickly waived- away from Captain Rollands'- immediate thoughts, by the urgent need to focus on problems now being raised.
“Captain’s log….. Science vessel, NCC176-A: USS Horizon..... Captain Reginald Roland Reporting…..
We are on our regularly scheduled rendezvous with the team of researchers stationed at Armis 24-16, a science research laboratory transported to Armis IX near the end of 2364……...
We have lost all contact with the research team, and our scans for signs of remaining life-forms are proving: inconclusive…..
Some constant source of rising radiation, is interfering with the accuracy of our scanners….. On orders from Star-Fleet; we now await the arrival of the USS Enterprise…..”
“Warning….. Warning….. Red Alert….. Red Alert…..”
“Captain, to the bridge! We’re under Attack!”