White Noise

A story draft for the Federation News Service, Stardate 55176.3, by Erica Thomas, FNS bvreporter:

It’s only been three weeks, but the performance reviews of Acting Governor Jacob Whitburn of New Cardiff are already in. If the election were to be held today, he would get a resounding vote of confidence.

Removing corruption in a long-standing government is not something that can be done overnight. Reviews of all the New Cardiff departments remain ongoing, but there has been a decisive change at the security force. The Security agency has been suspended, and Starfleet Security has been called to fill in, until a through background check has been performed on the New Cardiff Security force.

Under normal protocol, Mr. Kline would never have been allowed to wear the uniform of the New Cardiff Security Force, much less be the military leader,” Governor Whitburn noted. Mr. Kline was convicted on involuntary manslaughter and had been dishonorably discharged from Starfleet. “Everyone in the New Cardiff Security Force will be scrutinized. If they have a criminal history or had been discharged from another uniformed service under other-than-honorable circumstances, they will swiftly be dismissed.”

The Starfleet Security detail is being led by Captain Patrick Ingrum, who is also the commanding officer of the USS Baldwin. While he is overseeing the security detail, he will remain attached to his regular command. The day to day operations of the detail have been delegated to Captain Gloria Dawson.

“Captain Dawson served aboard Baldwin during a good chunk of the Dominion War. She is a capable officer, and I would trust her with my life,” Captain Ingurm stated when asked about his choice. “I am pleased to be able to work with her again.”

Of course, there’s a fine line between trust and favoritism, and Captain Ingrum has been known to walk it regularly. He assures New Cardiff’s citizens that he has no interest in replacing one corrupt government with another.” “In addition to reporting to me,” Captain Ingurm noted, “Captain Dawson will be making regular reports to Governor Whitburn and to the Palasis. The Federation Council wants to make sure that its colonies are running under a fair and free government, and frankly, so do I.”

“Good Morning,” Erica stated as she walked into Astrometrics.

“Hello,” Sarah acknowledged.

“What’s the latest from your daily download?”

“Most of the pertinent information has been received,” Sarah noted. “We have received seventy-seven percent of Dr. Murrow’s total database. Much of the data is his archive of genetic research.”

“What sort of genetic research.”

“Enough genetic research to create a psychological profile on both Khan and Melina,” Patrick answered as he walked in the Astrometrics lab. “Augments like them tend to think of themselves as the ultimate in human evolution. That sort of thinking is actually indicative of a mental disorder.”

“So, you’re saying that Dr. Murrow can identify genetic markers in our subjects’ genetic profile that could indicate a disposition toward narcissism?”

“Precisely,” Patrick answered.

“So, when can he begin the psychological profiling?”

“We’re already underway.”

“How is the review coming along, governor?” Gloria inquired as she entered the New Cardiff governor’s office.

“It’s going slow,” Jacob replied. “We can only process one background check at a time. If we try to do more than one, our colony’s link to the rest of the Federation gets cut off.”

“It sounds like you need a bandwidth upgrade.”

“You think,” Governor Whitburn remarked. “I’ve been told that all of the Federation’s subspace relay deployments are still backlogged from the war. It seems that we’ve been put at the back of the line.”

“I’ll mention it to Captain Ingrum. He’s got some contacts in the Corps of Engineers.”

“If you think that he can help expedite our upgrade needs, by all means, give him a call.”

The doorbell to Patrick’s ready room rang as the captain was looking over his paperwork. “Come.”

“Hey,” Jaimie said as she entered the ready room.

“How are you feeling?”

“I just had my weekly checkup with Dr. Bratney. Baby Petrelli is at 22 weeks and is doing well.”

“That’s good. I just got a call from Gloria. She mentioned that New Cardiff was having issues running background checks. They think it’s bandwidth. They get dropped if they run more than one external background check at a time.”

“Maybe there’s an issue with their transceivers.”

“Gloria also tested their connection. It’s also below normal.”

“It could simply be a coincidence,” Jaimie noted.

“Yeah,” Patrick replied, “but I don’t believe in coincidence.” Jaimie could tell by the look on her Commanding Officer’s face that he had a plan. She gave a nod acknowledging him and encouraging him to continue. “We’re going to do some subspace monitoring. If we need to put out some temporary relay stations to assist in upgrading the throughput, we’ve got the tools to install them.”

“I’ll let engineering know,” Jaimie answered, “I’ve been meaning to chat with Bridget.”

Patrick smiled, knowing that the two mothers probably haven’t swapped stories in a while. “Don’t take too long, remember we still have a ship to run.”

Jaimie met up with Bridget in the mess hall, discussing their latest mission. “Right now, the plan is to monitor the subspace bands to determine what needs to be done to improve the bandwidth between New Cardiff and the rest of the network.”

Bridget had reviewed a data PADD that Jaimie had brought with her. “It looks fairly straight forward,” she answered before turning to other matters. “So, you’re past the halfway mark, is Joshua going to have a little brother or a little sister?”

“Don’t tell anyone else I told you,” Jaimie responded, “but I’m going to need a lot of pink.”

“Have you got a name for your little one picked out.”

“Not really. I was thinking something like a Jessica, Justine, Jeanne.”

“Jaimie, no. You, your son, and your sister-in-law both already have ‘J’ names. Why not go for something different?”

“What were you thinking?”

“Something along the line of an Aubry, Eloise, Karina, Ophelia.”

“You’re probably right.”

“You know I’m right.”

Captain’s Log, Stardate 55181.6: We have arrived at New Cardiff and are making final preparations for our investigation into the bandwidth issues.

Patrick and Bridget had beamed down with a small engineering party at the capitol’s main subspace transceiver. Jacob and a group of civilian radio technicians were waiting for him. “Captain,” Jacob noted.

“Governor,” Patrick replied. “This is my chief engineer and also my wife, Bridget.”

“It’s a pleasure to meet you, Commander.”

“Thank you, Governor. Let’s have a look at the transceiver.”

Bridget opened a diagnostic on the subspace signal between New Cardiff and the nearest subspace relay station. “Looks like there’s a lot of noise on the line.” Bridget tried to run the diagnostic on a different subspace frequency. “Noise level is still high.”

“Try connecting to Baldwin, see if the noise level is better there.” Bridget agreed with her husband’s suggestion. She had the radio techs redirect the signal to the closer transceiver from Baldwin. The signal was clean. “It looks like the signal to Baldwin is fine. Double check to Marion.” The radio techs once again re-directed the signal to the other ship in orbit. “The signal to Marion is also clean. It doesn’t look like a problem down here.”

“That’s good to know,” Jacob noted. “I have no idea if Governor Quellen directed resources to maintaining the transceiver.”

“We’ll test the signal from Baldwin,” Bridget continued. It could be a problem at the relay station or maybe we need to build a new booster. You ready to get this show on the road, honey.”

Patrick had gotten used to his wife teasing him with the use of ‘pet names’ while on duty. “You bet, sweet cheeks.”

After beaming back up to Baldwin, the Ingrum couple gave each other a passionate kiss on the transporter pad before going their separate ways – Patrick went to the bridge; Bridget headed for engineering.

Once Bridget was in the engine room, she began to direct the crew. “Okay, direct the transceiver to the nearest booster station,” Bridget ordered. Once completed, she initiated a diagnostic test on the signal. “The signal is noisy on this end as well. Direct the transceiver to another relay station.” The engineering team proceeded as instructed. The signal quality did not improve. “Okay, it looks like there’s something going on between New Cardiff and the relay stations. I’d say further investigation is warranted.”

Bridget met with Patrick and Jaimie over the plan of action. They agreed that they needed to test the subspace link between New Cardiff and the relay station. The best way to do so was to travel between the two points while regularly sending a test signal to both endpoints and checking for signal noise. Over the next several hours, the results of those tests were the same – the signal to the relay station was noisy while the signal to New Cardiff was clean.

At 1630, Bridget returned to her quarters to have some time with her little girl. “Hey, sweetie.”

On seeing her mother, Tiana gave a big smile. “Mama!” she exclaimed as she stretched her arms towards Bridget.

“So, how was your day, little one?”

While her 15-month-old daughter was advanced for her age, much of that was in her fine motor skills. She could feed herself unassisted, and had a habit of dancing around the room when Patrick played his 20th Century music. Her vocal skills were more typical of her age, however. She mainly spoke in one-word sentences. Tiana’s answer to mom’s inquiry was a smile.

“That good, huh,” Bridget answered. “Are you ready for dinner?” Tiana nodded her head affirmatively. “Okay, how about some carrots?” Bridget went over to the replicator terminal. “Strained carrots in a bowl, and a plate of baby carrots.”

As the replicator processed her order, Bridget sat her little girl in the high chair. As soon as she placed the strained carrots in front of Tiana, the young daughter grabbed the spoon and dug in. Bridget sat down with her plate and began eating her carrots. “Look at that, eating your carrots all by yourself. You’re getting big too fast for me, baby girl.”

“We could always have another one,” Patrick commented as he entered the quarters.

“Dada!” Tiana exclaimed.

“Hey, how’s my girl,” Patrick said to his daughter. Tiana smiled as she grabbed another spoonful of baby food and placed it in her mouth.

“Any changes in our test signals?” Bridget inquired.

“Nope,” Patrick stated as he kissed his wife. “Your team is still keeping an eye on it, though. We’re about half way to the relay station. At some point, we should be hearing more noise from New Cardiff and less from the station.”

The Ingrums had dinner in the Mess Hall with Jaimie while Joshua and Tiana played together. “She’s getting bigger every day,” Jaimie commented.

“I know,” Patrick replied. “15 months and she’s moving like a champ.”

Jamie nodded her head in agreement, “I bet you were moving like that when you were her age,” she said to Bridget.

“My Augment brain is sharp,” Bridget noted, “but not that sharp.”

The adults watched as the kids played with a soft foam ball. Joshua tossed the ball over to Tiana. Tiana watched as the ball came towards her as she made a one-handed grab. “Ball!” she exclaimed happily. She then pitched the ball overhand back towards the older boy. Joshua did not have enough time to react as the ball struck him in the chest. He picked up the ball on the bounce-back and tossed it back to Tiana again.

“I can definitely see her mama’s ‘Augment’ genes,” Jaimie noted. “She’ll be giving Joshua a run for his money by the time she turns 3.”

“What about the little sister?”

“She’ll have Stephanie’s baby as a companion. Of course, I’m sure everyone would welcome some company, that is, if you two got busy.”

“Oh, no,” Patrick stated. “I love my girls very much, but I think I’m going to wait until Tiana is 2 before trying again.”

“What he said,” Bridget continued.

Patrick entered the warroom for his daily chat at 0800. “Any news on our noise study?”

“The noise patterns finally ‘flipped,’” Sarah noted. “The thing is, it happened quite jarringly. The 0200 test was clean to New Cardiff, noisy to the relay station. At 0205, the test came noisy to New Cardiff, clean to the relay station.”

“I take it the noise was constant along the line the whole way.”

“Indeed it was,” Sarah confirmed as put up Baldwin‘s flight path on the Astrometrics screen.

“Ingrum to bridge. Laura, double back to our location at 0200 this morning. It looks like we’ve got an anomaly in that area.”

Understood,” Laura replied.

Patrick was on the Bridge when Baldwin arrived at the destination. “Anything on long range sensors?” he inquired.

“Negative,” Kristy noted. “However, I’ve had to turn the sensitivity way down. There’s a lot of subspace interference.

“Well,” Patrick noted to Jaimie, “It looks like we got a noisemaker around here somewhere.”

The turbolift door opened to reveal the chief engineer. “Commander, we’ve got some noise out there. Think you can pinpoint the source.”

“On it, JP,” Bridget replied as she moved over to the engineering station.

Jaimie joined Bridget at the console. “That’s a nickname I haven’t heard in a long time,” she noted.

“That’s because ‘Number One’ is a long-standing nickname the captain uses for his XO,” Bridget retorted. “I’m not the captain, and I happen to think your initials are a good nickname for you.”

“I’ll also guess that’s also why you don’t think I should give my daughter a ‘J’ name,” Jaimie quipped.

Bridget smiled as she tweaked the controls to the subspace transceiver. “Turning up the sensitivity of the sensors.” Bridget continued to adjust the controls until the subspace noise was just detectable. “Okay, I’ve got the sensitivity tuned so we can just barely pick up the subspace noise. Now, we need to pinpoint the source. Laura, let’s move our position a little. One quarter impulse, captain’s discretion.”

“Anywhere you want to go, Miss Bennett,” Patrick added.

“Aye, Captain,” Laura answered.

As Laura piloted the ship through empty space, Bridget kept an eye on the subspace noise. When she noticed the noise level change, she asked for a change in direction. “Laura, let’s turn bearing 2-8-5 mark 3-2-0.”

“On it,” Laura confirmed.

Bridget continued to watch the noise readings as the ship moved on the new course. After several minutes, Bridget requested another course change. “Okay, now turn 1-9-5 mark 8-0.”

“Hang on,” Laura replied as she took the sharp turn Bridget requested.

“Okay,” Bridget continued. “We’ve collected enough noise data to triangulate the source. It will take a few minutes for Astrometrics to process.”

“As soon as Sarah has our source identified,” Patrick stated. “set course and best possible speed.”

“Aye, Captain.”

Baldwin was still underway when Bridget got off duty and returned to her quarters to find Patrick there playing with his daughter. “Hey, honey,” Bridget stated.

“ETA to the site is 0800,” Patrick noted.

“Sound like we’ve got some time to kill,” Bridget noted as she pounced on her husband.

“I thought I said I wasn’t going to try again for a while.”

“Who said anything about trying,” Bridget noted. Patrick gently breathed in to absorb his wife’s scent. There were many ways they communicated non-verbally. One of the strongest ways was with through the olfactory system. Bridget’s heightened sense of smell could pick up subtle changes in Patrick’s mood, while her own heightened pheromone production helped her husband ‘feel’ hers. One whiff left no question to what his wife wanted, as he began to echo her desires. Work, for both of them, kept their intimate moments to a minimum. Patrick was somewhat content with it. Bridget was his first, and only, intimate partner. However, she a become a little less patient. “I want you, Patrick. I need you, and you know damn well how much I love you.”

“Well, I know two out of those three ain’t bad,” Patrick noted as he began to lock his lips onto his mate’s. “The perfect trifecta is even better.”

“You better believe it, my love,” Bridget answered between kisses. The couple’s intimate embrace was interrupted by the doorbell. “Come in,” Bridget stated.

“Get a room,” Jaimie said as she entered the Ingrums’ quarters.

“Last time I checked,” Patrick remarked, “this is our room.”

“Well, before you two go parallel parking,” Jaimie answered, “your daughter has a play date with my son.”

“Jay-Jay,” Tiana noted

“Just make sure there’s no ‘whoopie’ going on between them.” Patrick answered. “Bye, baby girl.”

“Bye-bye,” Tiana said as Jaimie took the toddler to her quarters.

“Where was I?” Bridget inquired as she pulled her partner in. “Oh, that’s right. Tonight’s reserved for a little love-making.”

Patrick arrived on the bridge just before 0800. “Looks like someone was busy last night,” Donna teased.

“Does my sex live have to make scuttlebutt?”

“Hey, it’s good for you in somewhat regular doses,” Laura commented. “You gotta keep that fire maintained.”

Patrick turned the subject back toward their mission. “Any readings on our noisemaker?”

“Sensors are inoperative,” Kristy stated. “There’s too much interference.”

“How about a visual?”

“Front window camera is working. Visual on screen.”

Bridget and Jaimie arrived together on the bridge. “I take it the noise has overloaded the sensors,” Bridget quipped.

“Very observant, Commander.” Patrick retorted. “Last time I checked, your eyes were sharper than mine. You see anything?”

As Bridget concentrated on the void, Jaimie returned to the XO’s seat. “So, did their make-out session disturb you?” Donna inquired.

“They’re a well-oiled machine,” Jaimie answered. “Yes, they did what consenting adults do. However, they kept it a quiet as possible.”

“You know we can hear you,” Bridget said. Here smile indicated that she was proud to be the Captain’s mate. “Right there, she noted toward the screen, “looks like 600,000 klicks 320 mark 6.”

“Can we zoom in?”

“Negative, Kristy stated. “We’ve only got the fixed cameras. Optical sensors are jammed by the interference.”

“Well, then, let’s move in slow.”

“Aye, Captain,” Laura stated.

“So, this is the mad scientist I’ve heard so much about.”

“A bit eccentric, perhaps,” Dr. Murrow stated.

“So, how does this genetic research work,” Erica inquired.

“I’ve been told you’re an intelligence analyst.”

“Well, sometimes the best way to get an answer is to ask the right questions.”

Touché, Miss Thomas,” the doctor noted. “Well, as you know, every person has a unique DNA profile. In the 20th Century, scientists began manipulating gene sequences in an effort to identify what each gene does. Between their research and my ‘mad science,’ I can now identify the physical and mental characteristics of much of the human genome. For example, Lieutenant Taylor permitted me to take a sample of her child’s DNA.”

“You can get a DNA sample from an unborn baby?”

“It’s not that hard. It’s been done since the late 20th century. Anyway, here’s Baby Taylor’s DNA profile.”

“I suppose you can tell if it’s a boy or girl,” Erica noted.

“That’s easy,” Murrow retorted. “I can also tell you that she will have flaming red hair and blue eyes. She’s got no major genetic disorders. With role models like her mother and Baldwin‘s crew, she’ll be a fine young woman.”

“What about your granddaughter?” Erica inquired.

Murrow pulled Tiana’s DNA profile. “Something tells me, she’s going to be a near clone of her mother. She obviously picked up her strength and dexterity from her. She does carry Patrick’s gene for Vitiligo. So she may have a blotch of skin and/or hair with no pigmentation later in life, but, like Baby Taylor, she’ll be a healthy girl. These two, I know, your supervisors are interested in. Let’s start with Khan.”

As Murrow pulled up Khan’s DNA profile, Erica nodded. “So, in a nutshell, what can you tell me about Khan?”

“In analyzing the DNA of Khan, and the other DNA profiles of notable augments and oppressive dictators, I’ve found this particular gene to be of interest.” Murrow zoomed in on one particular gene pair. “I call this the ‘Alpha’ gene. Those that possess this gene tend to be more narcissistic, believing themselves to be like an Alpha in a wolf pack. They tend to think they are never wrong. Having this gene does not guarantee narcissism, the trait can be suppressed by nurture. However, when combined with genes that enhance their strength and/or intelligence, it becomes harder for nurture to mitigate those tendancies.”

“And you believe that Khan is a prime example of an Augment with this ‘Alpha gene.’”

“Exactly,” Murrow noted.

“What about Malina?”

“Orions are similar to Humans in that regard. In the case of Orion females, Alphas are also the ones with the strongest sexual appetite. Ironically, by unlocking her sexual hunger, I may have activated her Alpha gene.”

By 1000, Baldwin had closed in on their apparent source of subspace interference. “It appears to be a decommissioned Subspace Relay Station,” Jaimie noted.

“Whoever bought it didn’t bother to paint over the Starfleet markings. I want a full history on this particular station.

“I’ll prepare an engineering team to -“

“Wait!” Jaimie interrupted. “There may be a booby trap.”

“I concur,” Patrick added. He was glad his XO suggested the possibility before he did. Although he knew Bridget could protect herself, he knew how depressed he would be if he lost her. Had he suggested it first, it would have looked like the actions of an overprotective husband.

“Point taken,” Bridget answered. She did not need to read her husband’s mind to know what he was thinking. I know you’re looking out for me, she messaged telepathically to Patrick.

Patrick’s smile indicated that her message was received. “Once we get the history of that station, then we can compose a plan of action.”

Bridget joined her husband in the kitchen for lunch. “Hey,” she stated.

“Well hello, Sweet Cheeks,” Patrick replied, “You OK.”

“I’m fine,” she answered.

“Have I told you how much I love you?”

“75 times last night, while you were in the afterglow of an amazing night of passion.”

“And here, I thought I was the statistics guy,” Patrick quipped as he kissed his partner.

“I’ve got the supercharged Augment brain, remember?”

“Oh, I do,” Patrick replied. “And I love you for it. Don’t you forget that.”

“Okay, stop it before we get in trouble with JP.”

As if on cue, Jaime entered the kitchen. “I take it I just interrupted an exchange of witty and flirtatious banter,” she noted.

“But of course, number one,” Patrick stated.

“The history of the subspace relay station came in. Serial number charlie tango 4-9-3-8-4-7-5-6. It was decommed on Stardate 40980, replaced by a larger facility.”

“What was her disposition?”

“Sent to the salvage yard in the Timor sector.”

“Wasn’t that the yard that facilitated the theft of Abilene?” Bridget inquired.

“Coming from you,” Patrick quipped, “that should be more of a definitive statement than a question.”

“A cursory inspection reveals no evidence of explosive or any physical booby traps on board,” Jaimie noted.

“However, knowing that Vredo could be involved, we should be on the lookout for a cyber attack.” Patrick thought aloud about a plan of action. “How about this, a cyber attack would have to be transmitted by the station. What if we declined to receive the transmission?”

“In other words, go on radio silence. That may keep us safe, but what if the attack doesn’t stop until it is successfully received?”

“We could wire one transceiver directly into a virtual console on the holodeck,” Bridget noted. “It should only take about half an hour to set up.”

“Do it,” Patrick ordered. “Once the honey pot is set, send a team to examine the station.”

“On it,” Bridget replied as Jaimie nodded in approval.

Bridget relayed the plan and instructed her team to perform the necessary tasks to isolate the holodeck from the rest of the ship. Meanwhile, Patrick announced the impending radio silence to his crew.

Once Bridget signaled that she was ready, Patrick ordered Baldwin‘s transceivers to go dark. Once radio silence was confirmed, an engineering team, led by Sonara, beamed over to the relay station. Patrick was on the Bridge, and in constant communication to the away team via normal-space radio. “What have we got?”

The away team had beamed over in environmental suits, in case the life support systems had been de-activated or sabotaged. “Life support functions have been disabled. The place appears to be automated.”

We pretty much guessed that already. Anything we don’t know

Sonara walked over to a monitoring console. “The transmitters of this station have been re-configured to transmit white noise in the subspace band. De-activating the transmitters should clear the signal.”

Make it so.

Sonara punched a couple buttons to turn off the transmitting signal. Once the signal was shut down, another signal began to be broadcast. “Bridge, this is the Chief Engineer.” Bridget stated. “The relay station is trying to infect our systems. It looks like she’s trying to shut down the antimatter containment fields. It’s also sending out an automated distress call on a very popular civilian channel.

“Is there any imminent danger to the ship?” Jaimie inquired

As far as the cyber attack is concerned, no. However, It shouldn’t take an augment to predict that there will be a warbug or two arriving here soon.

“I suppose not,” Patrick said. “Away team, stand by to return to Baldwin. Donna, once the away team has returned, go to red alert. Load two QTs, 60 isoton yield.”

“Aye, Captain,” Donna responded.

“Bridget, can you flush the virtual console?”

Already on it.

“The away team has returned safely,” Donna noted. “Torpedoes are also ready.” Per Patrick’s previous orders, the red alert klaxons began to sound.

“Fire.” The tactical officer immediately fired the torpedoes at the station, destroying it. “Now, we wait and see who shows up.”

Captain’s log, Stardate 55184.9: The source of subspace interference has been neutralized. However, the party responsible for causing the interference has responded. Baldwin is more than ready for this tactical engagement.

“What are we up against?” Patrick inquired.

“Five warbugs bearing 357 mark 20.”

“Weapons status?”

“Shields are at full charge. Phasers at full power and torpedoes tubes are hot.”

“Engineering,” Julia inquired. “is the radio back online.”

“Subspace transceivers have been reconnected. All channels are free and clear,” Bridget answered

“Open a channel.” Patrick ordered. He looked toward Donna to acknowledge that the channel was open before continuing. “This is Captain Patrick Ingrum of the USS Baldwin. We can do this the easy way, or the hard way. Stand down and prepare to be boarded. If you fail to do so, we will take your ships by force”

The Baldwin crew did not figure the crew of these warbugs would be interested in surrendering; however, they did want to give them a chance if they were wrong. The ship rocked as the warbugs gave their answer. “So much for a peaceful surrender,” Donna quipped.

“Okay, the hard way it is,” Patrick answered. “Return fire. If we can, I want at least one of those ships captured intact.”

“Aye, captain.” Donna did not take anything for granted as she targeted the ships. Her phaser and torpedo shots were precise and effective. Two of the warbugs, which appeared to have been in poor running condition, were destroyed by a single phaser hit.

“Looks like someone didn’t put enough latinum in the maintenance fund,” Patrick quipped. “Try setting the phaser output down a notch, and open a channel.” Patrick waited for the hailing frequencies to re-open. “This is Captain Ingrum. Your defense systems appear to be compromised. I hope this wasn’t intended to be a one-way trip.”

For the third bug, they began to make a kamikaze run at Baldwin. Donna was well aware of the attempt, and fired full phasers at the would be weapon, disintegrating the ship. The last two ships were disabled with reduced-power shots, and were subsequently held by tractor beam while security teams boarded and secured the ship.

While waiting for reinforcements to pick up the prisoners and the seized ships, Bridget decided to pay a visit to the ship’s intelligence liaison. “Hey,” Bridget stated, “how have you been?”

“I’m doing all right,” Erica answered. “I’ve been reading your father’s research. His exploration into the mind of Khan is quite telling. The saying ‘superior ability leads to superior ambition’ is not necessarily true, at least in the context of the ambition to subjugate others. It’s truly a crap shoot. Augments can demonstrate the worst of humanity, or the best.”

“I hope you would put me in the latter,” Bridget commented.

“Of course. You are a kind, caring woman. You love your family, and despite the fact that the captain is not an augment, the two of you have amazing chemistry. Your father thinks that Tiana, and any other children you may have, will reflect the two of you well.”

“I’ll remember to tell Patrick that when we’re in bed tonight.”

“Anyway, this mental mindset that Khan and Melina share, it’s obviously not restricted to augments. He’s done DNA profiles on people like Hitler, Green, and Dukat. Every one of them had similar DNA markers that indicate a predisposition towards a narcissistic mindset, placing themselves above all others.”

“So, how does that help you?” Bridget asked.

“Have you ever read The Art of War?”

“I have,” Bridget answered. The Wild Roses had studied the philosophy of Sun Tzu since they were young girls.

“Then I’m sure you understand the value of knowing your adversary. While these genetic markers can’t tell us if someone is going to be a tyrant, we can have a better understanding of what makes them tick, perhaps even better than they can.”