"The Search Begins"

Author: Lieutenant JG Tricia McMillan
Date: April 16, 2384
Location: Starfleet HQ, Earth

As Ryan and Samiz travelled back to the Medical centre after their meeting with Admiral Pike on the air-tram, they sat in total silence. Ryan had opted to take the tram rather than the more direct route of a site to site transport.

This was the first time in over a week now that he had been away from the medical centre. The medical central was a monolithic building with no greenery, just concrete. Ryan missed his green valleys back in Wales, the clean air, the smells.

At least by using the tram, Ryan could feel the slight breeze as they passed by the various buildings and see the greenery of Starfleet HQ and further over the Academy gardens.

Samiz was busily using a data padd, writing up her report on Ryan. Although she wasn't comfortable with the current situation, she was convinced that the only way to help Ryan would be to allow him to go back into space again. Hopefully, once installed back in command the other thoughts that had been 'haunting' him would fall back into the back of his mind.

"Have we had any luck finding anything about Klara's current whereabouts?" Ryan asked.

Samiz closed the file she had been working on and brought up a second file.

"There's nothing new Ryan. She was like the rest of your crew when you arrived back, brought to the medical centre for a thorough examination and debriefed by Starfleet Intelligence. From the records she was then released into the care of Admiral McCaffee, whilst Starfleet checked for any living relatives." Samiz replied.

"Admiral McCaffee." Ryan remarked.

*Why would she be protecting Klara ?* He thought.

"Given Klara's abilities, I'd have thought that would have been obvious." Samiz said.

"What ?" Ryan enquired at hearing Samiz's reply.

"I'm sorry Ryan, but your thoughts are so strong, I couldn't help but pick up on what you were thinking." Samiz said apologetically.

"That's OK. I guess Klara would be of interest to the Admiral." Ryan replied.

Captain Devore had informed him about Admiral McCaffee's other status. As the head of Section 31, she would obviously have been interested in a human telepath. Such a person could be turned into a powerful weapon.

"When we get back to the medical centre, I'll see if we can't contact the Admiral. Klara maybe the only hope for discovering the truth about what is happening to Tricia." Ryan announced.

Within half an hour Ryan was back in him temporary quarters, resting from his day he slowly drifted off to sleep.

~Captain, I'm here.~ A voice from inside his head spoke.

*Tricia, I'm going to get you back* He thought *Just hold on.*

~Pain, severe pain, they're hurting her, killing her~ The voice said.

*Who ?* Ryan thought.

~Klara. She's dying. Captain, she needs your help.~ The voice in his head announced, then nothing.

*Tricia, Tricia* Ryan thought, suddenly rising from the bed.

The chimes of the door rang out inside the room, brining Ryan out of his semi-sleep.

"Who is it ?" Ryan asked, rising from the bed and heading across to the small sink.

Starting the water, he picked some up in his cupped hands and threw some on his face.

"It's Samiz." The voice from outside announced.

Quickly wiping his face on the edge of his shirt, he walked across to the door and opened it.

"Good morning Captain." Samiz said.

It took a moment for the statement to sink in to Ryan's still groggy mind.

"I think you'll be needing these." Samiz continued, handing Ryan a box.

Ryan opened the box and looked inside to see a red Starfleet uniform. On top of the uniform was a small box. Ryan picked it up and opened the smaller box as well. Inside were four gold pips.

"Welcome back to Starfleet, Captain. " Samiz announced. "You've been given a clean bill of health. There are a couple of conditions attached, the first being that you are to see a counsellor once a week and the second is that you are to have a psychiatric evaluation once a month. They are my recommendations Captain, you may be able to pull some strings, but if things go wrong it will be my head on the block. Please don’t let me down."

"I won't." Ryan reassured Samiz with a smile.

"I guess I should leave you for now, get back into that uniform and have some breakfast. I'll meet you in an hour at transporter room twelve, we don't want to keep Admiral McCaffee waiting do we." Samiz replied.

All the action of the previous day had obviously taken its toll on Ryan as he'd fallen asleep almost as soon as he'd arrived back. He'd not had time to try and contact the Admiral."

"Thanks Samiz." Ryan said.

"It wasn't easy. The Admiral wouldn't even speak to me until I mentioned that I was looking for Klara. As soon as I mentioned her name, the Admiral agreed to a meeting at 11:00 hours." Samiz explained. "I'll see you in an hour."

With that she left Ryan alone.

Quickly Ryan headed for the sonic shower and within fifteen minutes he was back in his uniform. Now all he needed to do was find Klara, help Tricia get well again and be given a new commission.

*All in a days work.* He thought.

With that he headed towards the mess hall for some well-needed breakfast.

Forty minutes later, he entered the transporter room and acknowledged the Ensign dressed in gold who was standing behind the controls.

A couple of minutes later, Samiz arrived as well,

"Shall we get off ? " She asked.

"After you." Ryan said as Samiz stepped onto one of the transporter pads.

Then they were standing in the outer office of Admiral McCaffee. Her aide greeted them with a smile and gestured for the two new arrivals to take a seat.

"The Admiral won't keep you long." The aide announced "Would either of you like a drink ?"

"No thank you." Samiz said, looking over to Captain Evans who shook his head.

"Nothing for me either." He replied.

The Admiral's office was situated in an unusual position within Starfleet HQ. Most of the Admirals had outer offices, with a view either over San Francisco or over the bay. Admiral McCaffee's was situated in the dead centre of the building complex. There were no windows around to look out of, just solid walls and artificial lighting.

After waiting about five minutes, the door to Admiral McCaffee's office opened and two Admirals dressed in black uniforms left the room in silence. Then Admiral McCaffee herself came out of the office and walked across to the two officers.

"Captain Evans, Ensign ...... ?" McCaffee stated.

"Barker, Samiz Barker. Starfleet medical. I was the person who you spoke to yesterday about the young woman that Captain Evans here rescued, Klara." Samiz said, realising that the Admiral was struggling to remember.

"Shall we go into my office." The Admiral enquired.

The two officers rose from their seats and headed into the office, followed by the Admiral.

The office was large, even for an Admiral and appeared to be split into three distinct areas. Over the far end was a large conference table, with seating for around twenty people. Strewn across the table were various data padds and cups of half drunk coffee. In front of them was a large desk, this had a pair of data terminals, which were both black. The final area was a lounge area and Admiral McCaffee gestured for the two officers to take seats in this area. On a desk in the far corner were the only personal items in the room. There were mainly made up of framed photos, some of Admiral McCaffee and her husband and the rest of a boy taken at different ages. Captain Evans recognised the more recent photos as being those of the Admiral's adopted son Brayden.

"Admiral, it's very good of you to see us at such short notice." Captain Evans stated. "Tell me has there been any word from the Leviathan ?" He asked.

"We've had not reports come back since you arrived back in our galaxy." The Admiral replied. "I just hope that Brayden's OK, you can't help worrying about your family when there away."

"The Ensign here is the younger sister of Lieutenant Commander Chu Barker, who's also aboard the Leviathan. It's a small world isn't it." Ryan remarked.

"I wasn't aware of that. I hope that we both get to see the people we love very soon." The Admiral replied. "Now down to business. I'm afraid I can't give you any information on the whereabouts of Klara. I'm curious Captain as to why you're now trying to find her, from the reports I read you appeared to see her as a threat to your ship and crew."

Ryan and Samiz explained about Tricia's situation, the destruction of the Ronin and Ryan's belief that Klara was now the only person who could explain Tricia's condition.

"I'm sorry about the loss of the Ronin and for the loss of the crew. I'm also sorry that I can't give you anymore information about Klara." Admiral McCaffee said after listening to her two visitors.

"We thank you for your time." Ryan said rising from his seat.

Admiral McCaffee also stood up and held out her hand toward the Captain. As they shook hands, Ryan was aware of something in the Admirals palm and as they released their grip, he realised that he now had the object in his own palm. Admiral McCaffee also shook the hand of Ensign Barker and the two visitors left the Admiral's office.

I wasn't until they were back at the medical centre that Captain Ryan opened up his palm to see what exactly the Admiral had passed across. In his hand he saw a single iso-linear chip.

"What's that ?" Samiz asked.

"I don't know." Ryan replied. "There's only one way to find out."

Ryan picked up a data padd and inserted the chip.

Immediately a message started to play.

[Captain Ryan. I am giving you this message to assist you in finding Klara. I couldn't say anything in my office. On this chip is a complete medical record of Klara since you brought her back to Earth. I have also included a map of her current location.] Admiral McCaffee said as the message played.

Ryan passed the padd across to Samiz.

"You'll be able to understand all the medical stuff. But why would the Admiral deny knowing the whereabouts of Klara ?" He said. "And why now this secret message ?"

Samiz examined the information and a look of horror swept across her face.

"Captain, these records are very thorough and detailed. It appears that something called Section 31 has Klara and has been performing experiments on her for some time now. Some of these procedures are pretty horrific, some are even illegal in the medical world. I think these experiments may be the reason the Admiral has passed this information on to us. Klara's become a 'lab rat' for this Section 31, whatever and whoever they are." Samiz remarked.

"Then I guess we're going to have to go and rescue her. The Admiral has given us her location, that probably means she wants us to do just that. Is there any other information on the chip." Ryan asked.

"Yes. As well as the map, there's also security codes and protocol overrides. With these it shouldn't be too difficult to find as rescue her." Samiz replied handing the padd back to Ryan. "What do you mean we ?"

"I can't do this alone Samiz." Ryan said "Are you in or out ?."

Samiz thought for a moment. "OK I'm in." She confirmed.

"Let' see, from these records the best time would be around ten tonight. That's when the Beta shift ends and the Gamma shift arrives. The Gamma shift has the lowest number of patrolling guards, given the time of day. We should be able to 'sneak' in undetected." Ryan said.

"You're planning to rescue her tonight ?" Samiz said.

"It maybe our only chance. This information is going to be missed sooner or later." Ryan said "We go in tonight. See you here at 19:30 hours OK."

"OK. I'll see you then." Samiz replied and headed off.