Jason had the point, Mark the rear. Princess and Tiny kept their eyes on the doctor as Keyop just looked around.
“I do not understand why you feel it necessary to take this action,” the doctor said as Tiny nudged him along.
“That’s the idea,” Jason snapped over his shoulder.
“Don’t worry about it,” Mark added. “You cooperate and we might let you live.”
Phlox’s eyes widened. “Threats are not necessary. I can see now why the Captain was concerned.”
“Concerned about what?” Jason asked.
“That you might be in a bad mood when you awakened.”
Jason laughed. “Bad mood? You haven’t seen anything yet.”
“Jason,” Mark warned. Jason ignored him and signed they were coming to an intersection of corridor. They slowed and Mark moved up to the doctor’s side. “Which way?”
“There’s a lounge on the right that has a viewing port that should give you a view of your ship.”
Jason slipped around the corner and motioned for the others to follow. A little further and they did come to an empty seating area with a large window. They moved to the window and looked out.
To the far right, they could see the Phoenix, floating next to the ship they appeared to be on, an umbilical between them. The background was dark, with stars glowing off in the distance. They really were in space. Deep space.
“Damn.” Mark’s eyes widened at the damage they saw on the Phoenix. The front of the ship had practically been torn off. The only thing still there was the tilting G-2 and the bent locking mechanism barely holding it in place. Tears were visible in the hull, scorch marks marred its surface. The port pod was hanging, the wing severely damaged. If they had been in atmosphere, the ship would have broken up.
“That’s real,” Tiny said, his face pressed against the window as he looked sadly at his baby. “There’s no way they can fake that.”
“So this is a ship,” Jason said, also close to the window, looking around as best he could. “And we’re in space.”
“Yes. I told you you’re on the—“
“Enterprise,” Mark said for the doctor. “We’re in orbit around Earth?” he asked. Phlox shook his head.
“No. We were on our way back to Earth when we found the wormhole.”
“And we came through the wormhole in the Phoenix,” Jason stated. Phlox nodded again. Jason rolled his eyes. “Wormholes don’t exist.”
“I can assure you they do,” Phlox insisted.
“Tiny, from what you can see, is the ship space worthy?” Mark asked his pilot, motioning for Jason to drop it. Tiny shook his head.
“I doubt it.”
“So we’re…stuck?” Keyop asked, his face still pressed to the window. “Can’t we…contact the…Chief?”
“Good question,” Jason said and raised his left wrist to his mouth. “G-2 to Chief Anderson, come in,” he said into his bracelet and waited. There was no response. He tried a second time and then Princess tried, just in case there was something wrong with Jason’s bracelet. She received no answer as well.
“Are we being jammed?” Mark asked.
Princess shook her head, frowning. “Not that I can tell.”
Mark stared at their ship, his arms crossed over his chest, his lips thin.
“It appears we’re stuck here for the moment. Unless there’s some other means off this ship.” He turned to stare at Phlox as Jason moved in closer to the doctor.
“What’s the complement of this ship?” he asked, his eyes still showing his displeasure of the situation.
“We have a crew of eighty-three at the moment.”
“So you enter a planet’s atmosphere and land?” he asked. Phlox shook his head.
“We’re too large for that and it’s quite unnecessary.”
“Oh?” Jason smirked. “So you have to have a method for getting on and off this ship?”
“Of course. The transporters and the shuttles, but we are several light years from any inhabited planets.” Phlox looked at each of them in turn. “This would be so much simpler if you just allowed me to contact the Captain.”
“Does this ship have an armory?” Jason asked. “Weapons?”
Phlox took a deep, exasperated breath. “And why would you want to know that?”
Before Jason could make a snarky retort, Mark held up his hand.
“I’m not convinced you’re telling us the truth,” Mark said to the doctor. “But we’re apparently between a rock and hard place. Contact your Captain.” Jason opened his mouth, but Mark’s look silenced his protest before it left his lips. “Let’s see if he has a better story.”888
The moment they walked into Medical, Archer knew there was a problem. There was no sign of Phlox or their guests and the MACO guards were unconscious on the floor.
Hoshi crouched down beside one to check his pulse as Trip checked the other.
“Dammit. This wasn’t supposed to happen,” Archer muttered as he activated the intercom.
“They’re both alive, Captain,” Trip announced, looking up unhappily.
“Archer to bridge.”
“Yes, Captain?” The watch officer said.
“Is Lt. Reed back?”
“Right here, Captain,” Reed announced.
“Our guests have taken out the MACOs and have disappeared with Dr. Phlox. I want Security put on alert. If they find them, no action is to be taken,” Archer ordered as Trip and Hoshi helped the MACOs sit up. Both were rubbing their necks with grimaces. “Tell them to report back with the G-Force’s team’s position.”
“Captain Archer, this is Dr. Phlox.” The doctor’s voice broke into their conversation. He sounded a bit tense to Archer.
“Doctor, are you all right?” the Captain asked, watching Trip help his MACO to the nearest bed.
“I’m more worried about the MACOs.”
Archer had to smile. Phlox had never shirked from his duty, regardless of the danger to himself. “They’re both conscious but woozy. Are our guests with you?”
“They would like to speak with you.”
“Where are you?” Archer motioned Trip back to his side.
“The forward lounge.”
“Commander Tucker and Lt. Sato will be with me.”
“Understood,” the doctor said and Archer turned his attention back to Malcolm.
“Malcolm, did you catch that?” he asked, fixing his eyes on Trip, who shrugged, an apologetic look on his face.
“Yes, sir. Shall I have a team in waiting?” the security officer wanted to know. Trip’s eyes widened as he shook his head.
“Yes, but keep them at a distance. I don’t want to know what G-Force is capable of when cornered first hand.”
“Aye, sir,” Malcolm acknowledged.
“Captain, I think we should go with you,” One of the MACOs said, trying to get to his feet as Archer deactivated the intercom. Hoshi moved to help him as he swayed dangerously. “They’re dangerous.”
“They could have killed you and they didn’t,” Trip pointed out. The MACO turned hard eyes on him.
“And we won’t make the same mistake twice.”
“Stand down,” Archer ordered, looking at both men pointedly until they unhappily nodded. “They just want to talk.”
“I hope you’re right, sir,” the other MACO said, still rubbing his neck.
“So do I,” Archer admitted.
Archer led Trip and Hoshi to the turbo lift and took it two levels up. Once the door opened, he cautiously stepped out. Seeing no one, he walked towards the lounge, making no attempt to be quiet.
As they neared the corner that would put them into direct view of the lounge, a voice behind them stopped them in their tracks.
“Just keep going,” the voice said, a medium male voice. “You try anything and you’ll regret it.”
Archer looked over his shoulder to see Jason, his numbered T-shirt identifying him, standing behind them, pointing a gun at Trip’s back.
“We don’t want any trouble,” Archer tried to assure him, but the smile he gave Archer chilled the Captain’s blood.
“Then I suggest you get moving.” He motioned with the gun for them to start walking. Archer nodded and started moving again, Hoshi and Trip right on his heels.They rounded the corner to see Dr. Phlox sitting in one of the lounge chairs and then found themselves being surrounded by the other four members of the G-Force team. The dark haired young man wearing the number one on his shirt stopped in front of Archer, who found himself staring into the deep blue eyes of his great-grandfather.