Monday, 31 December 1990

The Valkyrie Chronicles - Return to the 24th Century Chapter 4

Watt raced onto the bridge of the Valkyrie, and quickly took his seat.
    “I’m picking up a transmission from the surface.” said Winthorn. “It is directed at the oncoming Imperial vessel.”
    “Where is it from?” asked Watt.
    “From Jabba’s fortress.” Winthorn replied.
    “Jam it.” Watt ordered. “That transmission must not get through!”
    A call came through from sickbay.
    “Singh to Bridge.”
    “How are the patients, Doctor?” asked Watt. “We need them for the next stage.”
    “They won’t be doing anything for a while, Captain.” Singh replied. “They have been injected with hagor, a very powerful sedative. They will be asleep for at least another day!”
    “Blast it!” cursed Watt.
    Then Pendragon, Greenleaf, Tompkins and Magus entered the bridge.
    “The fighter is ready, sir.” said Pendragon. “But only just!”
    “We’ve got some re-thinking to do on this one!” said Watt. “Amarus was the one who was going to pilot the fighter!”
    “There’s no one else who has studied the control layouts.” said Pendragon.
    “May I volunteer my services, Captain.” said Tompkins. “Ops has been my station for some time now. It shouldn’t be too difficult to understand the controls.”
    “You will be needed most here, Mr. Tompkins.” said Watt.
    Watt thought for a moment, and then, a slight smile appeared on his face. He turned to Magus.
    “Would it be possible for you to ‘mystically’ guide the fighter into position?” he asked.
    “The last thing I drove was a Bentley in 1965!” said Magus.
    “You’re the only one who could understand the controls in such a short space of time.” said Watt.
    “Do I have any say in the matter?” Magus asked.
    “It’s up to you.” said Watt. “You’re not a commissioned member of the crew.”
    “As I’m the only choice you have.” said Magus. “I suppose I’ll have to.”
    Pendragon and Magus were soon in the shuttle bay.
    “The entrance hatch is at the top.” said Pendragon. “You’ll have to use those steps on the side.”
    “You’ll never catch me climbing those!” snapped Magus.
    Magus raised his cane, and he flew up into the air, to the top of the fighter. He opened the hatch, and seated himself inside the craft. He sat for a few minutes, studying the control panel. He then placed his hand on the computer panel. A glow began to envelope his hand.
    “What izz the old fool doing?” shouted Lom. “He’zz going to blow it up!”
    The glow subsided. Magus peered out of the hatch.
    “I am not linked to the fighter’s main computer, mystically.” he said. “No doubt, if Sutek were her, he would say that was impossible. How long until I leave?”
    “Pendragon to Watt. Magus is ready.”
    “So soon?” said Watt.
    “Imperial vessel is taking up a parking orbit around the planet, Captain.” said Tompkins.
    “Sensors show four small vessels leaving the ship, heading for the surface.” said Winthorn.
    “Just as the droid said.” said Watt. “Lom, are you in the transporter room?”
    “Aye, zzir.” Lom replied. “I’ve managed to get a lock on all of the vezzelzz.”
    “Scans show that three are tie fighters, and the fourth is an Imperial shuttle craft.” said Winthorn.
    “Get a lock on the stern fighter, Lom.” said Watt. “We’ll take that one out.”
    Pendragon returned to the bridge.
    “Magus is ready.” he said.
    “Prepare your away team.” ordered Watt.
    Pendragon nodded to Winthorn, Tompkins and Greenleaf. They soon entered the transporter room where Lom was standing already.
    “Ready, Mr. Lom?” Pendragon asked.
    “Ready, zzir.” Lom replied.
    “Energize.”
    Lom energized the transporter beam. The away team were soon in Mos Eisley again. This time, the first thing they saw were the Monstron delegation, led by the Wolfen, General Chaney, and his bodyguards. They were lucky they were not spotted.
    “Set your phasers on stun.” whispered Pendragon. “I want no killing here.”

    Back on the Valkyrie…
    “Vezzelz coming into range, Captain.” said Lom.
    “Now, Lieutenant.” ordered Watt.
    The transporter beam was energized once again. It first locked onto the tie fighter that was following the Imperial shuttle craft. It vanished for a split second, while another beam covered the tie fighter in the Valkyrie’s shuttle bay. Less than a second later, it was in the place that was occupied by the other fighter.
    “Everything izz in plazze.” reported Lom.
    “Valkyrie to Pendragon.” said Watt. “Maintain an open channel. I want to know everything that goes on down there.”

    Magus sat in the cockpit of the tie fighter, his hand still placed on the computer panel. As he tried to steer the fighter, he felt a strange presence on the shuttle craft in front of him. He was not the only one that could feel something.
    Aboard the shuttle craft, Darth Vader sat just behind the pilot. He suddenly gazed upwards.
    “That presence.” he mused. “It is there once again, but much closer this time.”
    He stood up, and walked over to the main control panel. He pressed a button, and made a full sensor sweep of the surrounding area.
    “Strange.” he mused. “Something is odd about the fighter behind us. Yet our scans show nothing is wrong.”
    Vader once again took his seat.

    Aboard the Valkyrie…
    “Vessels are now entering Tattooine atmosphere.” said an Ensign.
    “They are heading your way, number one.” said Watt. “You know what to do.”

    The craft landed on Tattooine, at the spaceport. Vader turned his attention to the fighter Magus had been piloting. The being who stepped out of the fighter seemed to be the one who had stepped into it, but there was a certain indefinable something about this man which perturbed the Dark Lord of the Sith. They entered the main administration block, to await the arrival of Chaney. Magus studied Vader closely.
    “Interesting.” he mused. “It’s many years since I last encountered a Jedi Knight, and yet this one seems strangely familiar.”
    He stiffened as Vader walked across to him. The Dark Lord gazed deep into his eyes. Then he realized.
    “You are of the Istari!” he boomed.
    Motioning his guards away, he drew his light sabre.    Magus cast aside his disguise and now stood, cane in hand, as Vader lunged forwards with his blade. As Vader thrust forward Magus vanished, to reappear in another part of the chamber.
    “The old stories of the Istari are true.” sneered Vader. “You prefer to run rather than fight.”
    Magus laughed.
    “You are powerful, Vader, but even the Dark Side of the Force is no match for one who knows the secrets of the universe. I have battled Daleks, confounded the plans of the Sontarans and been declared an honorary Time Lord. You cannot kill me, and you cannot escape this chamber until I will it.”
    With that, leaving Vader cursing him angrily, Magus teleported away. He reappeared next to the away team.
    “The Imperial delegation is indisposed.” he smiled. “Are you ready?”
    Pendragon smiled back. He stood before Magus, clad in the black armoured of the Dark Lord. Winthorn, Tompkins and Greenleaf were dressed as storm troopers.
    “One more thing to do, Magus.”
    Pendragon held out Excalibur. Magus transformed the blade into a light sabre. Pendragon led his group into the main hall at Mos Eisley. Chaney was waiting. He extended his hand.
    “Lord Vader. This is a great day for the twin empires. Soon, joined as one we will wipe out the Rebellion and even rival the Borg for power.”
    Pendragon looked disdainfully at Chaney.
    “There will be no alliance with you of your people. Our Emperor has no need of your misshapen race.”
    “Surely there has been some mistake…” spluttered Chaney.
    “A mistake of evolution in allowing your foul race to exist at all. Even the Predators are attractive in comparison to you. The Emperor gives you two hours to leave this planet.”
    One of Chaney’s guards moved to strike Pendragon. Wielding Excalibur he sliced his arm off.
    “This means an end to our alliance.” stormed Chaney.
    He left the room.
    “The alliance never existed in the first place, except in your mind.” said Pendragon.
    The Monstrons soon beamed back aboard their ship. General Chaney stormed angrily onto his bridge.
    “Target the Imperial Star Destroyers!” he shouted. “Leave no fragment of their ships in orbit! They will pay for this insult.”
    The away team had also arrived aboard the Valkyrie.
    “There is a massive energy build up on the Monstron vessel.” said an Ensign. “Their weapons systems is almost at full power.”
    The away team took up their stations.
    “They are targeting the Star Destroyers.” said Winthorn.
    “If they hit, we’ll also get caught!” said Pendragon.
    “Take us out of here, Mr. Tompkins.” ordered Watt.
    “You must disable the spell first, Captain.” said Magus.
    Watt stood up.
    “Koalc!” he boomed.
    There was a shimmer in space, as the effects of the spell wore off. Both the Imperial and Monstron vessels were surprised by what they saw.
    “Federation!” boomed Chaney. “Federation trickery! The Imperials were not to blame for this outrage! Power down the weapons!”
    “Too late.” said the helmsman. “Once they are powered up, they fire automatically!”
    Aboard the Valkyrie…
    “Warp nine, Mr. Tompkins!” shouted Watt. “Any heading, now!”
    Tompkins quickly fed in the coordinates into the computer. Seconds later, a trail of ion vapours was all that was left of the Valkyrie around Tattooine.
    They were lucky to escape in time. Just as they did, the Monstron disrupters were fired, and they lashed into the Star Destroyers. The Destroyers were blown into pieces. All that was left of them was down on the planet, Darth Vader and his party.
    “Both Destroyers gone.” said Winthorn.
    “Slow to impulse power. Mr. Tompkins.” said Watt.
    Tompkins carried out the order.
    “Another craft is approaching, sir.” said Winthorn. “Speed, warp nine-point-seven.”
    “On viewer.” said Pendragon.
    The image appeared on the screen, but it did not stay there for long. The image was that of the Monstron vessel speeding past them at maximum warp.
    “As always.” said Watt. “The Monstrons doing what they do best.”
    “Sir?” queried Pendragon.
    “Running!” smiled Watt. “Our mission is finished here. Set a course for the Crow’s Lake outpost, warp four.”
    “It would take us four weeks to reach the outpost at warp four, sir.” said Tompkins. “And it would also take us through the Sontaran system.
    “We’d better keep on our toes then.” said Watt.

    A few hours passed, and all was now quiet on the Valkyrie. Watt decided to pay a visit to Gresley at the front of the ship. He entered, gazed around, and found Magus sitting at one of the tables with his four companions. Watt joined him. He was somewhat surprised to see a smile on the wizard’s face.
    “I’ve finally managed to solve the problem here.” said Magus. “I have the barman my other bottle of malt whisky, after I had cast the same spell on it.”
    “You’ll probably start a new trend in Starfleet.” said Watt. “The never-ending scotch! I’d like to thank you for all that you did on Tattooine. We probably cold not have done it without you.”
    “I’m glad to be of service.” said Magus.
    “You realise that if you want to become a permanent member of this crew you’ll have to enter the academy.” said Watt.
    “Members of the Istari do not enter academies, my dear Captain.” said Magus. “Anyway, I’m just here as an ‘observer’.”
    Soon, Watt returned to the bridge, and took his chair.
    “It’s been quite an experience, number one.” said Watt.
    “Aye sir.” said Pendragon. “But I’m just wondering if Starfleet Command would approve of our actions.”
    “I’m sure they will.” said Watt. “And who knows, maybe Magus will receive the honorary rank of Admiral!”
    “He deserves it!” said Trospheo. “He seems as much a part of this crew as anyone.”
    And so, the Tattooine operation was over. But there would be many more adventures for the crew of this starship, the U.S.S. Valkyrie.