Here is Part two of Jay P. Hailey’s The Holly-Hop Incident. As before, Jay requests any feedback and visit his site http://jayphailey.8m.com , or email him at “Jay P Hailey” <email@example.com>.
Star Trek: Outwardly Mobile
The Holly Hop Incident Part 2
“Captain’s Log: Stardate 44623.1”
“The USS Harrier has maneuvered to the edge of Earth’s solar system. All ship’s systems are functioning well. The crew is settling in to their duties quickly. We will begin the test of the experimental drive this morning.”
“Red Alert.” I ordered.
The bridge lights flashed red and the alarm announced red alert to the rest of the USS Harrier. All around me I could see the crew struggling to trim the unfamiliar ship for action. I couldn’t tell right off the top of my head if they were doing it well or not. I was somewhat unfamiliar with the ship, myself.
Soon enough, we were rigged for battle. Or whatever. “Bridge to Engineering.” I opened the channel.
“Engineering here.” Answered Lieutenant Green, my Chief Engineer. In the background I could hear two things. First, I heard Chief Dubonich telling Green “All Secure, sir, power systems nominal.”
I could also hear Charles Holly yelling “What is the point of that racket? What are they up to on the bridge now?” Green Reported. ” All secure in Engineering. Dr. Holly reports that he is go for the test.”
“Very good.” I replied. “We will test the drive in thirty seconds.”
Green replied “Aye, Captain.”
“Finally!” Holly shouted.
“All hands! All hands! Test in thirty seconds!” Li’ira barked. I thought that this was very efficient and considerate of her, but a look at Lt. Colonel Flagg’s face showed that he was displeased. No doubt he felt that the rest of the crew didn’t have a `need to know’.
Thirty seconds went by. It seemed to take forever. I sat in the center seat and struggled not to fidget. I caught Li’ira’s eye. It was plain that she was tense, but controlled. She seemed almost amused at my discomfort. But she wasn’t about to let it show.
“Ten…nine…eight…seven…” Spaat, our big Vulcan helmsman was counting down. His name might have been a source of humor, except that he was built like a football player. It would have taken hours to explain to him why that would make a difference. Ensign Spaat was young, as far as Vulcans went.
“Power to the Holly Device.” Reported Harksain Varupuchu, our uptight Andorian Operations Officer. Everything had to be perfect for Lieutenant Varupuchu. Our current mission disturbed his conscientious nature.
“Shields and weapons are at stand by.” Flagg reported. Flagg was actually my equal in rank, but he was under cover as the Chief of Security for the USS Harrier.
“Four… three… two… one…” Spaat reported.
“Device activated.” Lt. Varupuchu reported.
There was a flicker and the stars on the screen were different. That was all there was to it. I didn’t feel a thing.
“Mr. Spaat, please get a fix on our position.” I ordered. I felt a little let down.
“There are no other vessels nearby. No damage reported. No casualties or injuries.” Flagg reported.
“Stand down from red alert, please. Go to yellow alert.” I ordered.
“Mr. Spaat, what’s keeping that position report?” Li’ira asked.
“I am calculating our position now, sir.” Spaat replied. “Our current position is sector Delta Gamma, near Mereau 4.” He proceeded to give us our position very, very exactly. As I said, Spaat was somewhat young for a Vulcan.
“Uh oh,” I thought. That wasn’t where we were supposed to be.
Spaat continued “I had to calculate our position from natural land marks. I am not receiving any signals from the navigational buoys.”
My head throbbed. I could almost feel my blood pressure rising. With effort, I controlled myself. There was no need to jump to conclusions.
“Open a channel to Starfleet Command.” I said. We were still in range for real time communications.
Flagg reported “I can’t raise Starfleet command, Captain.”
Li’ira ordered “Lt. Commander, check all subspace frequencies, Starfleet and civilian.”
“Aye, Sir,” Flagg responded “No subspace signals detected within our range.”
“Lt. Commander Flagg, please run a level three diagnostic on the communications array.” I ordered. Rule one: Check to see if it’s plugged in.
I called Engineering. I could hear Green and Holly babbling. They both seemed very happy. “Engineering report!” I spoke sharply to get their attention. Perhaps I was still tense.
“It worked! It worked!” Holly shouted “I told you! Stick that in your Starfleet pipe and smoke it!”
“Dr. Holly could your device interfere with the operations of subspace communications?” I asked, in as reasonable a tone as I could manage.
“Huh? I don’t think so…” Holly sounded like he wasn’t following me.
“Disconnect the device, immediately. We seem to have misjumped.” I ordered
“But, but…” Holly began.
Lt. Green jumped in over Holly’s protest. “Aye, Sir!” And the channel cut off.
“Captain, the communications systems are intact and fully functional.” Flagg reported. There was no doubt who was in command now.
“No interference detected by the sensors, Captain.” Varupuchu reported.
I thought for a moment. “What’s our range to Mereau 4?”
“At warp six, our ETA is 4 hours, 9 minutes, and 23 seconds, approximately.” Spaat reported.
“Very good. Set course for Mereau 4 and engage at warp 6.” I gave the order as though this happened every day.
“Commander, you have the bridge.” I left the bridge headed for Engineering. I had to talk to Holly.
In engineering, everything seemed to be running smoothly. The old NCOs were seated at their panels, keeping things under control, while the junior engineers ran to fetch thing and conduct the minor repairs.
In the middle of the smoothly functioning department, Lt. Green and Charles Holly had the “Holly Hop” about half dismantled and disconnected from the master systems monitor. The two men were engaged in a heavily technical discussion, oblivious to the ship and crew around them.
“Dr. Holly, ” I began as I approached. Holly’s hair had grown wilder, if possible, and he had a strange device on his face. I recognized a micro scanner mounted on spectacle frames. It was a good idea, allowing Holly to look into the guts of his device while keeping both hands free. But the pickups in front of his eyes made him look like a bug.
“Why have we misjumped?”
Holly pushed the scanners back from his face. He looked grim and distracted. He mumbled something.
I said “I’m sorry, come again?”
He said “I don’t know.” And I could tell he hated to say it.
I wanted to laugh at him. I wanted to yell “Hah! Dumb shit know-it-all! Looks like you weren’t as smart as you thought!” The thought occurred to me, however, that we might need to recreate the misjump to get back where we belonged. Besides, he really looked miserable.
Instead I said “We have wound up in the vicinity of Mereau 4. I’ll have navigational data downloaded to your panel if you want.”
Holly shook his head “No, no, that’s not necessary, Captain.” He returned to his work.
“When you find out what happened, please tell me immediately.” I said and returned to the bridge.
We entered the Mereau system 4 hours later, just as Mr. Spaat had said. You don’t have to worry about a Vulcan being inaccurate, usually. There were no sentry and communications satellites at the edge of the system.
By long tradition, the jurisdiction of the Federation ends at the edge of a solar system. Most member worlds will let Starfleet ships operate inside these boundaries. But there are always markers to let you know whose territory you just entered, and to let them know that you are there.
As we approached the planet Mereau 4, I ordered “Scan the planet, please, Mr. Varupuchu.” And with his customary efficiency, he did so.
The results were confusing. There was no evidence of Federation technology on the planet. Nor any hint of warp speed vehicles.
There were fusion reactors, but it was obvious from the scans that they were different from the impulse reactors that were the Federation standard. There were satellites in orbit, but they were fairly primitive.
Just to check I ran a search of the archives. There were historical accounts of satellites from pre-contact Mereau 4, which seemed similar. The satellites we could see were different from the historical accounts, though. They were bigger and more advanced.
I figured that these were “Spy” satellites. Earth had spawned these during the “Cold War”. Before any of the scientific uses for earth orbiting satellites were discovered, all the tools had been invented for military reconnaissance. A perverse and backwards road into space, but, hey, it worked.
I knew that “Spy” satellites were not commonly known. In my work with old records at Starfleet Command I had run across records that were still classified after four hundred years. I declassified them, of course.
The existence of a “Spy” satellite in orbit around Mereau 4 just served to tell me that my initial guess had been correct. We had been thrown back in time by the malfunctioning `Holly Hop’ drive.
However the sensors also reported the population of Mereau 4 to be 4 billion. The population of Mereau 4 has never been greater than 2.5 billion.
We retreated from Mereau 4 and back in to deep space.
It was my first briefing as Captain. The whole command staff was there except for Lt. Green the Chief Engineer. I would have liked Dr. Holly there, too, but they were still up to their armpits in Holly’s device.
I started the meeting “Good evening. We’re here to discuss options for dealing with our current situation. First, Commander Li’ira will update us.” I nodded to the Orion woman.
“The situation is not entirely known.” She started out “Sensors have detected no hint of Federation activity or presence in this sector. It is not known what happened with the “Holly Hop” drive or if the fault can be repaired. Aside from that, all departments seem as ready as can be expected, and the ship is functioning normally and within specifications.”
I caught myself thinking that she had updated us too well. What was left to say? “Anything else?” I asked the room at large.
Spaat gave us the results of his investigation. “We do not seem to have traveled in time. There are a number of stellar phenomena whose appearance changes with time. By measuring the changes of various objects in the interstellar medium, and cross referencing the effects seen, a measure of our place in time can be made. I have cross referenced fifteen different objects using the stellar cartography sensors. Our current time and external time match to approximately 2 hours. I can give a more accurate placement in 2 hours when I have more observations done.”
Our Chief Medical Officer Dr. Joseph Miskele was next. He was as old as dirt and twice as crusty. He was about five minutes shy of retirement age. He started off his report in a crotchety tone.
“Since we have no ship’s counselor on this tub, I suppose I’m it. The crew isn’t a crew yet. We’re a bunch of strangers stuck on a ship. I expect this to improve over time, what with all that `danger shared’ stuff. But right now we’re riding on inertia and the ingrained habits of discipline.” He paused. “Not the most comfortable position to be in, but I’ve seen worse.”
I wondered what that might have been. I really shouldn’t have thought of it.
“Any one else?” I asked. No one seemed to have anything else to contribute. “All right then, dismissed.” And I stood. The rest of the command staff filed out. Except for Li’ira and Flagg.
As soon as everyone else had left, Flagg said “Computer, secure this room.”
The computer beeped, and after a moment it said “The room is secure.”
Flagg rounded on me. “I want you to understand that Holly’s device must not fall into the wrong hands.”
I was taken aback “Huh? What are you talking about?”
“Holly’s device.” He repeated slowly. “It is paramount to the safety of the Federation that no other agency or nation gain control of it.”
“Why not?” I said “It doesn’t seem to work! Why are you worried about this right now?”
He repeated again, with peculiar intensity, “The security of the device must be maintained.”
“Do you have reason to suspect someone in the crew of tampering with the device?” I asked in a formal tone of voice. He was treading on dangerous ground by insisting that the security of the “Holly Hop” was compromised when there was no one but the crew aboard.
He stopped and grinned knowingly “I request permission to increase security around the device, Captain.”
I hesitated. Obviously I didn’t know the whole story. But Flagg’s request was a reasonable one. “Granted.” I said, feeling like I was making a mistake.
In the end, I decided to head back to Earth on normal warp drives. I didn’t expect it to do us any good directly, but I figured that any new information would help.
The trip was going to take about 10 days at warp six. As we left the ship began to settle into a routine. Routines are good for a ship in deep space. Ours, was, of course somewhat strained.
Within a few days it was obvious that Li’ira was doing a good job as the first officer. I was shocked. She was young, and she was a spook. But she took to shipboard life like she was born to it.
She rang the bell and entered my office.
“Commander,” I said “Do you mind if I ask you a personal question?”
She came to attention. I had just recently broken her of that. “I would prefer it if you didn’t, Captain.” She looked straight ahead at the bulk head in back of me.
“Naturally. I understand your position.” I thought for a moment. “Actually the question I had in mind is generic to Starfleet. You answered it when you applied to the Academy.”
That got her curiosity working. “Which one is that, Captain?”
“Why did you choose to join Starfleet?” I quoted from the entrance exam. This wasn’t a coincidence, and I don’t remember things that well. I had tried to look up her records. It took all of my clearance just to get the computer to allow that she might exist. No details were released, though. I had read the question on her application, and the saw the writing blocked out as “Classified.” The authorization to classify Starfleet Academy records came from Col. Flagg.
She looked at me frankly. She was irritated. “Because the Federation embodies some things that are very important to me. It must be preserved. By what ever means necessary.”
“What does the Federation embody to you?” I prompted.
She was more emotional now. She threw caution to the winds along with proper procedure. “You expect me to say `freedom’, don’t you? You have probably guessed that I was born a slave and then rescued. And that I then dedicated myself to Starfleet in thanks for my new found freedom.”
“Well you’re wrong!” She yelled “I was born on a Federation registered free trader. I have ALWAYS been free. People see my green skin, or smell me, and assume that I am some sort of geisha, or pirate. I am not.”
She pointed at my chest “And you should know better. The Federation is about knowing better, and acting better. There are many `Federation Citizens’ who don’t act these principals out.”
The hell of it is, she was dead right. I had made many of the same assumptions that she had pointed out. I had assumed things from the color of her skin. It wasn’t a comfortable revelation. She had answered another question of mine during her outburst.
“You were born on a free trader?” I asked.
“The SS Carbuncle, Sir.” She seemed to regain control of herself. As I watched she blushed, from green to deeper green. It was sort of fun to watch.
“That explains why you’re so good at ship board routine.” I observed.
“Yes, Sir. Thank you, Captain.” She remembered the report in her hand. She put it on my desk quickly, as though she had taken too long to complete her business. “These are the crew reports you wanted, Captain.”
I took them. “Thank you, Commander. Dismissed.” She turned to leave.
“Oh, Commander?” I called. She turned to face me. Her blush had died down as her self control had reasserted itself.
“When one reads off a superior officer, it is customary to request permission to speak freely.” I reminded her, wryly. “Yes, Captain. Thank you.” Her blush returned as she left.
It was a couple of days later when we spotted the starship. It was crossing our path ahead of us, moving slowly. As we closed, Lt. Varupuchu scanned the ship. I ordered us to approach slowly, and take up a standard contact stance.
What Varupuchu saw was a primitive ship. It was making warp three. It might have gone as high as warp four. It had similarly primitive navigational scanners and defenses.
Now, I was faced with a problem. If we were lost in time, the contact might violate the Prime Directive. It might disrupt the flow of history. I had read accounts, in my time in the records department, of some of the things that had happened to time traveling Starfleet personnel. Captain Kirk and Dr. McCoy at The Guardian of Forever were just the tip of the iceberg.
But unless we did something, it seemed we were stuck. I ordered the Harrier to cross in front of the unknown vessel, to trigger their primitive navigational sensors.
We came out of warp just as the alien ship did, and we hailed her with a sublight communications beam.
“This is the starship Harrier.” I said in the hail “We are on a peaceful mission of exploration, and mean no harm. Will you speak with us?”
Flagg reported “Alien ship coming around. It has raised shields, and has armed weapons. Laser cannon and particle beams armed. Electronic activity detected in the missiles.”
I ordered “Raise Shields to minimum power, sound yellow alert.” The klaxon sounded as Flagg reported “Aye, Captain.”
The Alien ship answered our hail. There was a face of some kind on the view screen, but it looked like an electron microscope scan of an insect. It chittered and spit for a bit, and then the universal translator kicked in.
“We are an allied ship. We respect your curiosity, and will to explore. It is with the deepest regret and sympathy that we call for your immediate and unconditional surrender.”
Now this was an interesting development. The lasers and particle beams of the alliance ship couldn’t damage us. Not with the defensive systems operating, even at minimum power. The missiles were just as primitive and susceptible to our technology.
I came to a quick decision. “We surrender.” Li’ira gave me a shocked look and then recovered her poker face. I was getting better at reading her, now that I was getting to know her.
Varupuchu and Spaat gave me a perfectly timed significant stare in unison, and the returned their attention to their stations. Flagg sputtered “But, I mean… You can’t…”
I turned around and gave Flagg the order to cut audio. As soon as he did I said “Don’t tell me what I can or can’t do, Lieutenant Commander! Follow your orders!”
I turned back to the screen where the insect was waiting for audio patiently. Once the channel had been restored, he said “You will follow our instructions explicitly, or be destroyed. You will follow us along this course until told to stop. Any hostile action or resistance will be grounds for your regrettable destruction.”
“I understand. Where are we going?” I replied.
“No questions. Comply, please.” And the channel was cut.
As soon as the channel was closed I said “Does anyone have any idea of what those were?” As I expected there were no positive answers.
“The alien ship is turning about and preparing to enter warp, Captain.” Varupuchu reported.
“Very good, Mr. Spaat, please follow that ship.” I had always wanted to say that.
“Aye, sir.” Spaat replied.
“Mr. Varupuchu, please scan all data banks and historical records for word of these creatures. Mr. Flagg, please come to my ready room. Commander, you have the bridge.” I went into the tiny office just off the bridge of the USS Harrier.
Flagg followed me in. I rounded on him “What the hell do you mean questioning my orders on the bridge!”
“You can’t surrender the device to those aliens!” Flagg got right back in my face.
“Who said anything about turning the device over to anybody!? Question me on the bridge again and be prepared to relive me, Colonel!” I was quite hot under the collar myself.
“What?” Flagg seemed taken aback “Why did you surrender?”
“I was hoping to gain more information from these aliens. With their technology, there’s no way they can board us or fire on us without us knowing about it well in advance. So I played along, hoping to get more information.” I could feel the flush in my face and knew that I didn’t look at all like the restrained and controlled image of command “I’m not used to having my decisions questioned or debated! Decide who is in command right now, and then stick to it!”
Flagg quieted down quite a bit. “I’m sorry, Captain Hailey. It won’t happen again.” He seemed quite contrite and abashed. But I didn’t believe it. The issue wasn’t going to be settled that easily.
We left the ready room and returned to the bridge.
The trip to the rendezvous took four days. The days were quiet, and free of incident. Repeated questions beamed to the Alliance ship resulted in brief replies requesting silence.
There were no records in our archives of anything resembling the aliens. A complete scan of their ship was compiled. It didn’t take long to scan the frequencies of their primitive shields and start slipping sensor scans in.
We got good scans and information about a race no one in the Federation had ever seen.
I stood the Harrier down from yellow alert early on, but each watch was told to keep a good eye on the situation.
On the night of the fourth day, I was asleep in my cabin, when the yellow alert went off and I was summoned to the bridge.
“Report.” I said, as I stepped out on to the bridge. I was sleepy. I was trying to cover, and not yawn. It wasn’t the most pleasant experience I had ever had.
Truth to tell, I had almost run down to Engineering first. It had been since I was the Chief Engineer on the USS Akagi since I had been woken up by a yellow alert.
“We have gone sublight. There are twelve ships in the area, moving towards us at about one quarter impulse speed.” Spaat reported.
“Hail the alliance ship that we were following.”
“Aye, Captain.” The call was placed.
The aliens answered “Please stand by.”
As we watched, the alien fleet formed up and began to en globe us.
“Hail them again.”
The call was answered by another ship, and a different bug. “We are the alliance fleet. We have heard of your polite behavior and wish to express our sincere appreciation. As a gesture of our gratitude, we agree to kill you as quickly and as painlessly as possible. We hope you continue to be as considerate as you have shown yourself to be, by not resisting, or destroying any of your advanced technology. Thus can our war be ended quickly, with a minimum of pain and suffering.”
“Are you sure there is no room for discussion of this?” I asked.
“Thank you.” I turned to Flagg and made the motion to cut the channel. “Helm, begin evasive maneuvers at full impulse. As soon as we are clear, go to warp speed. Raise the shields to full power. “I was giving the orders with a calm I did not feel. It seemed distant, and not entirely real.
“Aye, Captain.” Spaat said as he keyed the commands. The Harrier leapt away from the formation of alliance ships.
“Shall I arm weapons, Captain?” Flagg asked. Was he asking because he wanted to blow up the insects, or because he thought it would be in character?
“No,” I replied “It’s not necessary.”
It wasn’t a few moments before we were well away from the alliance ships. The
USS Harrier strained under full impulse thrust, but her hull was still tight, and the inertial dampers were brand new and functioning perfectly.
Soon we had put enough distance between ourselves and the Alliance ships to return to normal cruise conditions. I set us on a course for Earth.
We were back in the briefing room, again.
“There is no way ships that primitive could have made it this far into the Federation, with that kind of attitude.” I stated the obvious. “Any opinions?”
“If they could not have overcome Federation defenses, and they were in the heart of the Federation, then logic suggests that the defenses of the inner Federation were incapable of responding.” Spaat pointed out.
“What might have kept the Federation from responding?” Varupuchu asked. It was plain he didn’t approve of this line of reasoning.
“There are several possibilities.” Spaat said. He was working on expanding them when I interrupted.
“It’s obvious to me that we don’t have enough information. Let’s define what we know.”
“They have met humans before.” Flagg said. We all just looked at him. “`Thus can our war be ended quickly,'” Flagg quoted. “Their war with whom?”
“That’s quite a leap.” I said “Their war might be with anyone.”
“Hmmmm.” Flagg responded doubtfully.
The rest of the briefing went downhill. We just didn’t know enough.
We continued on a course for Earth. I noticed two contradictory things at about this time. First, things around the Harrier were running more smoothly. The crew was settling in, and learning their tasks. The second was that morale was at the same time failing. We were lost under unknown circumstances, traveling around at random, because I couldn’t think of anything better to do.
The cure for bad morale is easily said, but not easily accomplished. Knowing the source of the problem didn’t help in this instance, because there wasn’t a whole lot I could do about it. The next step in the manual was to keep the crew busy. A crew that’s hard at work doesn’t have time to think depressing thoughts, and emotionally feels that are accomplishing something, even if it doesn’t help with the actual problem.
With this in mind I started classes on the Harrier. I found people with useful or odd skills, and asked them to teach a class of their crew mates. To my delight, most of them accepted.
Starfleet is about learning things. It’s always been an adventure about exploring the unknown. I had a crew of people who wanted to run around in a starship and see new things. Maybe the classes weren’t magnificent new discoveries, but they were unknown to the people who took them, and learning was something we had all had trained into us at Starfleet Academy.
The morale problem stopped getting worse, and maybe even got a little better. We were still lost, and the crew wasn’t stupid, but many of us now had a project to while away the time with until we learned something new about our predicament.
Then we spotted another ship.
“Report.” I ordered.
Varupuchu replied “Scans show a fairly primitive warp signature, but it’s not an alliance ship.”
“Close in and continue scans.” I said. As we closed with the unknown ship, we detected their energy output and warp efficiency. We detected subspace sensors, of a particularly primitive nature, as well as an identification beacon. The beacon read USS Hood NCC 1703.
In the briefing room, the command staff and I were trying it again.
We were shadowing the primitive Hood outside their sensor range, while we discussed what we would do.
“It is almost certainly not the USS Hood with which we were familiar.” Spaat stated. He read off a list of statistics and showed a series of scan analysis that showed that this USS Hood was much more primitive than ours.
“I think we’re clear on that. The question becomes weather or not we wish to contact them.” I said, trying to narrow the subject down.
“I recommend against that.” Li’ira said “It would be a clear violation of the Prime Directive.
“Although it would be nice to know more, I agree” said Flagg. “We are, after all, on a sensitive mission.”
The consensus seemed to be that contacting the primitive USS Hood would be a bad idea, because of the Prime Directive. My problem was that if the Hood was too primitive to contact, The Earth was probably going to be, too. If we couldn’t go to Earth, where could we go? I couldn’t handle just drifting around waiting for something break our way.
“I have an idea….” I began
Later as I left the briefing room, Snoopy came up to me. I had secured a promotion to Lieutenant, Junior Grade for Arthur. Flagg didn’t like him and tried to keep him away from Engineering. So it was a surprise when he said to me “Lt. Green wants to see you in Engineering, Captain.”
I followed the security officer to the Engineering room. Green and Holly were there, next to the master systems monitor, and the Holly Hop.
“You wanted to see me, Lieutenant?” I spoke to Green. Green was nervous, and looked to Holly. Holly’s eyes were large and he was quiet.
“Report, please.” I said to them.
“Well, ah, it’s quite extraordinary.” Holly began.
“We discovered the source of the misjump, Sir.” Green jumped in.
Holly continued “Working on a line of reasoning suggested by young Lieutenant Hendrickson, we have discovered the source of the malfunction.” He looked worried.
“Yes, go on.” I prompted.
“There was no malfunction, Captain. The device was tampered with.”
“Are you certain!?” This was grim news indeed.
“Yes, in fact the interference was ingenious. It uses factors within the device that I had not fully explored.” Holly said. He was excited. Mad science was in the offing.
My head swam. “Was this deliberate?”
Green and Holly Looked downcast. “We think so.”
“What did the saboteur expect to gain from this ?” I asked.
Hendrickson answered. “We can’t tell, yet, Captain.”
“Can you put us back where we belong?” I asked.
“I need more time to examine what was done.” Holly said.
“Then get on it!” I ordered, oblivious to Holly’s civilian status.
For the next day, we engaged in a furious bout of preparations. All the while, I was waiting for results from Green and Holly. It was not a comfortable situation.
Soon we were ready to begin.
-To Be Continued-