• Published 6th Apr 2012
  • 6,682 Views, 259 Comments

Equestria Trek: First Contact - MetBoy



A Starfleet ship discovers that the Orion Syndicate is enslaving ponies & her commander decides to do a good deed and return Rainbow Dash home. Things don’t go smoothly for the USS Judges, but what they find is one of their biggest discover

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A Trap and a Rescue

A Trap and A Rescue: In which the narrative begins, sometime after the beginning of the story.

“Space... the Final Frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Judges. Her continuing mission: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no one has gone before... At least when we can find the odd moment to do so when we’re not fighting the Borg, or Klingons, or shepherding cargo ships...”

“Commander?”

“Just muttering to myself, pay no mind Lieutenant.”

Delilah sighed as Siatt returned his attention to his console, chuckling to himself. He was as bored as she was, so she wouldn’t fault him for finding a moment’s humor at her expense. It was the midday watch, so it was expected that the captain would stand the watch, ready and available to deal with trouble. Not that there was supposed to be any trouble on this mission, just keeping three cargo ships from being hit by pirates. Command thought that the presence of the light escort ship would be enough to deter the riff-raff from even trying, but Delilah wanted more. Outside of orders, she had arranged for a holo-emitter system that projected the image of a fourth cargo ship, fat and happy like the others, trailing off at the end of the line. For the final leg of the approach to the colony world they were even holding down their impulse speed below the convoy’s normal max, as if one of the ships was babying a worn impulse engine.

A chime came from Bindalla’s console, followed by the pakled science officer’s voice. “Commander. Two contacts on passives, stern approach. Designating Bogy Alpha and Bogy Bravo,” she reported. Heads rose up around the bridge at the news; were these the pirates they had been trolling for?

“What else can you tell us about them?”

“Stealthy, no cloak, but em-con. No transponders, no names. Guessing frigates, guessing Orion config. Time to engage range for us, thirty minutes.”

“Yellow alert,” Commander O’Niel said, the wooping of alarms as background to her following words, “Lieutenant Onehli, what’s our menu of engagement options?”

Siatt spoke while tapping commands into his console, using the intercept calculator to work through the possibilities. “Long range choice, we turn to face them, and let loose with torpedoes and phasers. They’d likely evade, but we’d have a chance to destroy one. No risk to Judges. Short range choice, we let them get close enough to tear apart with our phasers. We’d be more likely to destroy both, but they’d get a chance to hit us as well. We’d win, but if they see through our disguise, they’d get first shot.”

Delilah hummed to herself. “Chance to capture one or both?”

“Low at either long or short range.”

Delilah turned to the officer next to her. “Thoughts, Vulzy?”

Lieutenant Commander Vulzy Raat, her first officer, frowned in concentration. “Commander, our primary mission is to guard the convoy, and the long-range option lets us do that with the least risk to ourselves.”

“True, but that’s only a short-term solution,” Delilah countered with a smile. “I’d like to know where these pirates are based, and for that we’ll need their computers as intact as possible. To that end, I’m thinking we should go with ‘Bird In The Hand.’”

Raat sighed, but nodded. He didn’t like fancy deception tricks, but he trusted his captain. And in any case, she WAS captain of USS Judges.

Delilah smiled serenely, and pressed a combination on the command chair’s arm.

“Engineering here, Syoosi reporting,” came the deep, resonant voice.

“Syoosi, how soon can you give me your half of Deception Four?”

“Thirty seconds, Captain.”

“Good. Tarah,” she continued, speaking to the Female Andorian at the communications station. “Thirty seconds after we kill impulse broadcast that our EPS finally blew, and that it’ll take some hours to fix. The others can stop ‘holding back for us’ and continue to orbit. Omni-directional and no encryption.”

“Aye-aye, Commander,” the Ensign replied.

“Bridge, we’re ready for Deception Four,” came over the ship’s comms.

“Good, activate on my mark. Mister Thirs, reduce and end thrust at the same.”

Delilah paused for a moment. “Mark!”

A plume of warp plasma appeared outside the fourth freighter, the ship’s impulse engines shuddering to an end. Half a minute later, an explanatory message went out, and the first three freighters went to full impulse away from their sibling. Seconds after that, the two Bogies dropped their stealth, attempting to overfly the lamed ship, clearly planning to come back and loot it after catching as many as they could of those that could still flee.

Delilah’s smile morphed into a hunter’s grin as she looked at the tactical repeater on her command chair’s arm. The trap was set, the prey was taking the bait.

---=={***}==---

The battle had been quick and decisive. One of the frigates was destroyed in the first fifteen seconds of the engagement. The other, finding their engines disabled and their weapons pointed in the wrong direction, had surrendered when called on to do so. The survivors were being kept under the watch of the Judges’ security department, while the rest of the away teams were inspecting the ship for clues about their possible base of operations. Commander O’Niel was leading one of those away teams herself, currently looking through the ship’s hold.

The difference between an Orion frigate used for commerce raiding and an Orion tramp cargo hauler was often the difference between Monday and Tuesday. So Delilah was not surprised to see the hold half full. Most of it was neatly packed into cargo containers, but the random ‘booty’ piled around on any available flat surface took up volume disproportionate to its mass. There were pieces of weapon systems, emergency ship batteries in various states of charge, and...

A box.

Delilah didn’t know what first drew her eye to the cargo container. Her left eye told her that it was a standard design for transporting live animals, which made her decide to focus her telepathic senses on its contents.

“What does their manifest say about that one?” she asked, pointing to indicate.

Siatt glanced at the data pad. “Weather control system. I can find some details on where they were supposed to take it, but nothing else immediately,” he reported.

“Interesting,” Delilah mused, moving to stand in front of the container’s hatch. Her implant presented her with information about weather control systems, how they were shipped, but she didn’t need it. “There’s something alive in there. Guessing intelligent, but I can’t decipher the thoughts. Certainly bored. Open it up; I want to see what exotic new slave the Orions are trading in.”

As a crewman operated the hatches to release the door, the clicks and clacks echoed through the cargo hold. It didn’t take long for it to open, which is why Delilah only had a second to shout, “Evade!” as she dove to the side. A furious bolt of cyan, followed by a spectrum-spanning wake, burst from the box, missing the Starfleet commander by less than an inch.

---=={***}==---

Some time later, U.S.S. Judges, Brig

Rainbow Dash was not happy. Not yet, at least. Yeah, so she had gotten out of that dark little box, where the only interesting stuff was occasional noise, but she had only been able to buck two of them before the big one tackled her, and now she was in another box.

Okay, so calling it a ‘box’ was something of an overstatement. It was well lit, there was enough room to stretch her wings, even hover a little, if not really FLY. And they had even given her food. Raw hay, but after days of only occasional water, raw hay was good enough to eat. They’d given her all she wanted of both that and the clean water, asking if she wanted more until she had enough to kill the aches in her belly.

But she was still trapped. Three walls had no doors. The other wall wasn’t there, like it was an invisible wall between her and her audience. She’d noticed things behind it would ripple, and when she tried hitting the wall it glowed around the impact. Somehow she got the feeling that Pinkie Pie could break the fourth wall, but that pony was so random, Rainbow Dash had no idea how she would do so.

But Pinkie Pie would break it so she could play with the audience; Rainbow Dash just wanted to get away from, from, from...

“Ugh, you are SUCH a total EGGHEAD!” Dash complained.

“’Egg-head’? I can understand the words, but I miss the idiom.”

Dash groaned, putting her hooves over her eyes. This guy was a total egghead. When she had been put into this new cage, he had come with, looking at her in a way she didn’t like, waving weird things at her, babbling at her. The Pegasus had ranted at him, telling him to let her go, or at least leave her alone! Then asking him. Then she tried begging, and pleading, and beseeching, and asking politely, and... none of it worked. But, as Dash wound down, his babble turned into sensible Equine... and he asked if she was hungry. And food appeared in a cloud of sparkles inside the cell. He had kept talking while she was eating, and seemed to be really excited about something, but it could have just been more babble for all the sense it made. It reminded her of Twilight Sparkle talking about what comets are made of, as if Dash cared.

After she had finished eating she had tried asking him some questions of her own, but she might have not bothered. Half of the answers were more egghead babble, the other half were just, “I’m sorry, I’m not allowed to tell you that.”

Eventually, the door on the other side of the magic wall opened, letting in another of the creatures. This one was shorter than most, and that purple hair... yeah, that was the one Rainbow Dash had first seen on launching out of the first box, the one that dodged. Back to the moment, it was speaking.

“So tell me Lieutenant Commander, how is our guest doing?” it-no, she, from the voice- asked the egghead.

More babble. The newcomer’s face slid into an expression of half-attentive boredom, and she interrupted him mid-word.

“Female. Was hungry. Talks. Was there anything else you found out that won’t wait for your written report?”

“Ahh...” the Egghead paused.

“You know, useful little things, like her name?”

“Umm...” Egghead looked embarrassed.

She sighed, one paw/talon thing holding the bridge of her nose. “Raat, you’re great at xenobiology, but you need to learn how to listen to people if you ever want to hold command.”
“Commander-”

“Just get me a chair, I’ll take over from here.”

As he moved to obey, Rainbow Dash asked plaintively, “So why does he shut up when you tell him to, and not me?”

A half smile moved onto the she-thing’s mouth as she turned to face the pegasus pony. “Because I am captain of this ship, and he is one of the officers under my command,” she explained. Egghead returned with the chair, and she sat before asking, “So what’s your name?”

Rainbow Dash’s eyes narrowed, suspicion replacing her amusement at Egghead’s discomfort. “Why should I tell you? You could have been behind that attack! Who are you, anyway?”

“Good questions. My name is Delilah. Delilah O’Niel if you’re feeling formal. I also respond to ‘Captain,’ or ‘Commander’ while on duty; ‘Sexy,’ or ‘Hot Mamma,’ while off duty. I’m in charge of this ship, the U.S.S. Judges, which is part of Starfleet. I’d like to help you.”