Greetings and Felicitations indeed thought the Captain. The Captain continued to listen as the Starfleet Officer persisted in his flattery of the TOC. The Captain remembered this Starfleet Officer as honorable, he wondered how the fate of his Great House may have turned out differently if the TOC had not disbanded. The Captain made this journey in hopes he could find some evidence left in the historical records. Evidence that could assist in his quest to save, revive, and breath life back into his Great House.
“I will transport down,” said the Captain, almost to himself.
“Captain, I will gather your security team to accompany you.” The First Officer said as he began to enter data into the computer system.
“No!” The Captain interrupted. “I need to do this alone.”
“But Captain, protocol mandates that a command officer shall be accompanied by a security team in cases where he will transport into an unknown environment.” The First Officer protested.
“I know the protocols,” said the Captain with obvious annoyance, “I know this environment very well.” The Captain emphasized the word environment. He did know this place well. He spent a number of years as a member, participating to increase understanding and promoting cultural diversity. He chuckled to himself as he reconsidered his last thought. As he looked back at his time in the TOC, the TOC ran several simulations that involved how to deal diplomatically with others. Many times, the failure in the diplomatic portion of the simulation led to mock-up battles. All in the name of learning to accept others, of course. The Captain smiled slightly. He supposed benefits did occur from these models, but now the virtual reality used almost seemed like playing a game.
“You will be able to monitor my movements while I am at the TOC,” the Captain conceded, “that will suffice in this case.” The First Officer relented, as he truly had no other choice.
A shimmering light appeared than began to take form, the form of a Klingon warrior. As the transporter beam faded, the Captain stepped forward into the antechamber of the TOC. The Captain took a moment to look around the antechamber. He noted the architect designed the antechamber’s décor in the same fashion as the Starfleet Command HQ building on Earth. He always thought the designer placed too many benches along the wall. You could never get any real privacy when trying to plan and discuss strategy. He had made suggestions to incorporate a more Klingon design, which unfortunately the Command had rejected after a deep deliberation. The Captain stopped to stare at the door as he arrived at the entryway into the inner sanctum of the TOC. The door did not seem to shine any longer, but you could still see the telltale emblem signifying that a visitor had arrived at the TOC. The emblem reminded him of a Klingon weapon with three blades colored red. Regrettably, the emblem included a Starfleet insignia in the center. He stood in front of the door now, usually the door would automatically open, the Captain surmised the door controls no longer functioned. He thought to himself, time to do this the old fashion way. So he firmly placed his hands on the door and pulled.
A small crack of light beamed across the floor as the Captain, long gone, slowly pulled open the doors. The chamber, long dark, showed the dust and cobwebs of a great sleep. As the light filled more of the chamber, the Captain bore witness to equipment and furniture unused for what looked like ages. The Captain thought, almost out loud, how strange yet familiar this place seems even after all these years. He could almost hear the voices of long-lost friends and adversaries echoing through the chamber, memories of conversations forever lost in the annals of time and space.
As the Captain moved into the chamber, he saw portraits, portraits of former fleet commanders. This corridor, known as the Commanders’ Row, provided a glimpse at the historical leadership of each race represented at the TOC. He stopped to study a portrait. He found himself lost in thought. This leader fought well in each of the simulation. The Captain, thinking back, had relished the many battles the Klingons had planned and engaged in against this adversary. As he turned to move on, he quickly did a double take as he swore the expression on the portrait changed ever so slightly to one of displeasure. The Captain rubbed his eyes, sure that the dust he had stirred up caused this illusion. Finally, he laughed out loud satisfied with his assessment. He turned to continue deeper into the chamber. The Captain understood his first order of business would be to locate and gain access to the Archives. The Captain felt pressed to search and discover any data that may seem useful in his quest. He knew, if that data existed, the Archives would reveal the answers.
The Captain entered the Archives with a purpose. He noticed immediately a dim pulsing console light, blinking on then off ever so faintly, signaling to all who may brave entry into this chamber. Slowly, he cleared years of debris, which allowed the light to glow more serenely. The fact that these consoles still had power simply amazed the Captain. He had brought a small power supply just in case, but the power pack was unnecessary after all. He pulled out his Klingon Tricorder to record any data he may discover. The glow and pulsing of the light acted almost like a means to mesmerize and beckon the observer. The Captain recalled how a few pranksters, mostly the Hydrans, continually setup tricks as jokes, always trying to capture an unsuspecting victim. This light reminded him of one of those practical jokes. After great thought, he pushed the button imagining the activation of a trap that would soon befall him, one of the last dirty deeds the Hydrans conceived prior to the abandonment of the TOC. Luckily, the First Officer would be monitoring his situation. At first, nothing appeared to happen. Soon a dim light began to emanate from the front wall. Yes, of course, the Captain thought with a slight chuckle, the old viewscreen.
On the viewscreen, through the dust, images danced across the wall. He thought in reverence, ah, the old days. When the images finally stopped, the Captain adjusted the setting on the Klingon Tricorder to determine if the archived data properly transferred. He decided that upon return to the Bird of Prey, he would refine his search parameters to narrow the amount of data to study. As the Captain stood, he looked down and smiled. His fingers seemed to dance across the input panel. He had opted to leave his own message, his own little laughable lark for those who may someday venture back to the beginning, the start of it all. He assured himself the Hydrans would receive the blame anyhow. Satisfied, he turned and walked back towards the door. He stopped one last time before passing through the portal, moving from the past back to the present. After one final look down memory lane, he pushed the door shut grinning as the dark once again claimed dominion over the chamber within.